Emily’s Leukemia Story (Part 1)
Before she officially received her diagnosis, she had been transported to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center at 1:00 AM. She was admitted into the oncology/hematology special care unit there. By then, doctors had already began to tell her their concerns that she had leukemia.
“The way my blood was looking, there wasn’t really anything else it could be.
Even so, once they gave me the official word of acute lymphoblastic leukemia the first thing that ran through my mind was, ‘Why me?!? I am 23 year old, living an extremely healthy lifestyle. I exercise everyday, eat healthy, and do everything I can to be the best I can be. Why me?!‘”
August 11th, 2016 would be day 6 of treatments and day 7 since the official diagnosis. She told us, “I haven’t really been able to wrap my brain around the whole subject matter yet and really grasp any sacrifices or hardships. Yet the biggest pill to swallow so far is that this journey will be so long. Treatment is looking like a 2 year process to kick this cancer’s ass out of me. I was supposed to be attending my second year of my masters program at the University of New Hampshire for Occupational Therapy at the end of August. This is obviously being put on hold. My whole life is being put on hold. No job, no school, so what will my future look like?!”
However, even with such thoughts going through her mind she still knows that her community of family, friends, and loved ones are all around to comfort and support her.
“The greatest comfort and support for me during this past week and throughout my whole journey is my friends and family. The day I announced my diagnosis, the support and love that came in and out of my room and through my phone was heart warming and overwhelming. My mom flew in from Florida the night I was transported to Dartmouth and my sister hopped in her car from Colorado at the same time. Knowing I have so many people who care and love me really makes me feel like this fight is worth it.”
If she could leave others with an inspirational quote, she’d tell them that, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you make of it.” Regardless of the situation someone is in, it’s always important to make what you can of it. For Emily, this means decorating her mask she has to wear to prevent her from getting sick. In addition, knowing that she’ll most likely be losing her hair, Emily instead chose to cut most of her hair off and donate it. She put it best when she wrote on her GiveForward page, “because why not?!”
She believes in living life day to day. Her advice to someone going through a similar battle is to, “Just take this battle one step at a time. If you feel good today, cherish that moment and live in the moment. If you aren’t feeling so hot, remind yourself why you are fighting, and how many people love you. Remember to laugh! Don’t let your body take over your soul as well.”
For Emily, her support system has been amazing.It may be hard to be happy when you have been diagnosed with cancer, but it’s good to look at all that others have done to help and love you. Support has poured in from all over. Emily tells us one of nicest thing that has been done for her is when her community came together to throw an event in her honor.
“Everyone has been so nice and willing to do anything. My whole family grew up swimming and a former swimmer reached out to offer to create a “swimathon” event for me. This event would involve former and current swimmers on the club team we grew up on creating teams and swimming continuously to show support and raise money. It was heartwarming to hear that my community is willing to involve themselves in something like that for me.”