Ashley’s Cancer Journey
When I was 26 years old, I was diagnosed with CML, Leukemia. Once diagnosed I was immediately admitted to the hospital and began chemotherapy. Since my diagnosis, in 2009 I have taken an oral chemotherapy daily. This has allowed me to live as normal of a life as possible with my diagnosis. It also allowed me to work full time and keep up with my vivacious 4 year old daughter,
I have been blessed to be able to keep my cancer at bay for so long with just an oral chemo.
However, in July of 2018, my body stopped responding to chemotherapy, as my molecular blood levels continued to elevate. My team of doctors decided to see if my body would respond to a difference oral chemotherapy, which unfortunately did not help lower my blood levels. This led my doctors to decide it was time to move forward to have a bone marrow/stem cell transplant.
After searching for a donor and finding a match, the doctors proceeded with the transplant process. On June 6th, 2019, I was admitted to the hospital to begin a journey that will hopefully lead me to a cancer free life.
After six days of intense chemotherapy, my body was given one day of rest and on June 14th, 2019, I received my transplant. On the bone marrow/stem cell transplant floors of the hospital transplant day is known as your “New Birthday. The doctors and nurses warned me that the side effects would be rough. I would have to say rough is an understatement, and I can now say I have a new appreciation for the phrase, “bald is beautiful.” Every morning when I wake up in the morning, I tell myself “I’ve got this” and I can do this.”
Since being released from the hospital, I am able to be at home but still have to return weekly to follow-up appointments. These doctors appointments last most of the day and take a lot out of me. They check my blood levels to make sure the new cells are growing, and to ensure I remain infection free. It will take 6-9 months to determine the success of the transplant, while a full recovery could take up to two years. Living with cancer is something you have to learn to embrace. It is not something that defines you, it is just a diagnosis. Cancer has taught me how to appreciate love, life and what a strong support unit looks like, with them you really can conquer any challenge, even on your worst day. Cancer gave me character, acceptance, never give up, courage, energy and radiance.
Thank you so much Living Proof Cancer Warriors.