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Inspirational Stories


acute myeloid leukemia (AML)

At 22 years old, I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). My first hospitalization was a month long which was followed by four more hospital stays for my chemotherapy treatments. In between each of those hospitalizations were home nursing visits, blood transfusions, doctor’s appointments, and even more hospitalizations to treat potentially life-threatening infections. I lost a total of 40 pounds throughout those months. Despite the many struggles I encountered during those months, I was able to successfully complete my treatments.

Just two months after finishing my treatments, I relapsed. Before I knew it, I was back in the hospital for more chemotherapy. The plan then shifted to a stem cell transplant. I underwent chemotherapy and total body irradiation in preparation for the transplant. I had trouble walking on my own, I couldn’t eat, and my eyes turned black and blue from vomiting so frequently. It was a long and strenuous recovery.

Just over two years later, I began working as a pharmacy resident at a cancer center taking care of patients in a similar situation as I had been in. I’ll never forget the lessons I've learned as I feared for my life within those four walls in the hospital. Each day I wake up, I am constantly reminded of those horrific days. I still have nightmares about relapsing. I still have the scars on my body from all of the beatings my body took. Each morning, I relive those moments. But most importantly, each day I wake up I am constantly reminded of one thing. Despite everything I had been through, I won.

I began serving as a First Connection (FC) peer volunteer through The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) to connect with other blood cancer survivors as they faced the same struggles I did. Last year, I was able to serve as an Honored Hero in a Student Visionaries of the Year Campaign to raise funds for research, patient advocacy at the legislative level, and patient support programs. LLS has provided me with a whole community of people in a part of my life when I felt most alone.

I wrote a recollection of all of my experiences and recently released my own self-published book. I hope to impact the cancer world as much as I can while I am still living and breathing. One wall is down, only three more to go.

acute myeloid leukemia (AML)