When I was first diagnosed with leukemia, I thought no problem, people get treated for this everyday. When I was told that there was a unique mutation associated with my particular type of leukemia, I thought that if they knew such a thing existed, there must be some form of treatment for it. When I was told that I needed a bone marrow transplant, I believed that I was on the road to being cured. Then I found out that my form of cancer usually only shows up in girls under the age of one and oh, by the way, your ethnic makeup makes it nearly impossible to find a genetic match for a transplant.
It never occurred to me to give up. I was told that with the standard chemotherapy protocol for ALL that I'd have a 92% chance of being dead by the end of the year. My insurance company wasn't overly concerned with the fact that I'd be dead and off their books when they denied my stem cell transplant. Still didn't believe it would happen.
I discovered that there were a lot of people who cared about what was happening, and took it upon themselves to do whatever they could to help us. Some I knew very well, and some were complete strangers who had read about our story and wanted to help. I was constantly surprised by how caring people could be and the lengths that they would go to in order to make things happen.
The insurance company gave in and paid for part of my transplant. The part that they wouldn't pay for involved expanding one of the umbilical cords in order to give me more cells during the transplant. The expansion of the cord was an experimental procedure and was not covered by my insurance company. I didn't have to have the expansion, it just happened that a computer randomly assigned me to have it done for a transplant study. The expansion would potentially increase my chances for success and so we were prepared to pay for it ourselves. Someone beat us to it. To this day, we don't know who sponsored me for the study. We've heard rumors implicating a transplant doctor and we've also heard that it may have been sponsored by a private cord bank. A stranger paid a very large sum of money to give me a chance. I hope they know how forever grateful we will always be.
This January, I wondered if I would live to see my birthday. Deep down, it just didn't occur to me that I could really die. I was terrified by everything that was going on and I was worried about how it was affecting Chris and I just wanted to be able to pick up and be normal again. Abstractly, I knew that my prognosis was not good and I could die at any time.
I turned 33 in October. Thursday, I shared a lovely meal with people I love. Today, I sat quietly, alternately reading and knitting. Today marks my sixth month anniversary. I got yet another day to be thankful for everything that has happened to me. I got another day to talk to a friend living far away and another day just to be.
I hope to be able to live quietly for the next thirty years, thankful for every precious moment.