Saturday, September 10, 2011

First Blog Post!

I was diagnosed with Cancer on Tuesday, August 30th, 2011- just over a week before I was supposed to start my senior year of high school. I had been getting fevers every night consistently for a week and when I went to my pediatrician and she did blood work, she found something that concerned her enough for her to refer to me the doctors at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. My parents and I met with the Pediatric Leukemia team there on that Tuesday who gave me the official diagnosis. At the time, I was obviously in shock and I didn't really know what to think or how to act. I've always been a very rational and level-headed person which I think helped stabilize my initial reactions. Most of my concern and frustration (after I learned that I probably wont die from this:)) came from the realization that any shred of normalcy for my senior year of high school was going to be far from reality. Most of the logistics of what the doctors explained to me on that first day went in one ear and out the next- not because I couldn't listen to what they were saying but because I didn't really care about the specifics of what I had. I decided to leave the "paying close attention to everything the doctors said" to my parents. I did learn that I have Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, which for those of you who don't know is cancer of the blood. Pretty much some of my white blood cells mutated and started attacking healthy blood cells. (If you want to read more this Website covers it pretty extensively.) As far as treatment goes, the doctors are 99.9% confident that I will be treated and cured but it's gonna be at least a 2-year process. I started chemotherapy with a mix of a bunch of other drugs (that mostly just subdue the side effects of the chemo) on Wednesday, August 31st. That day, they inserted a semi-permanent central line into my chest so that they don't have to keep poking me with needles every time I need a treatment. They also checked my spinal fluid to make sure there weren't any leukemia cells hiding there (there weren't!) and they checked my bone marrow to confirm that there are in fact leukemia cells being made there (there are). It all happened while I was under anesthesia and aside from the initial pain of the central line, it wasn't too bad.

Now that we're past the explaining of my health condition, I want to write about why I decided to create a blog.
The number one reason is that I hope one complete stranger reads it and becomes inspired to never give up hope no matter how much shit life throws at you. I've always clung to the fact that life goes on and there's always a tomorrow and no one knows what's going to happen tomorrow so at the very least they shouldn't complain about today. To make one stranger understand that and truly believe it would be awesome.
The number two reason I'm starting this blog is because for most of my treatment, I'm not allowed to have a lot of contact with the outside world (too much risk of infection, especially when my blood counts are down). No school for a while, etc. :(. So this blog is partially so that my friends and family can be kept updated but it's also so I can have something to do to keep myself in the loop.

The last thing I wanna acknowledge on my first official blog post is the amazing, superb astonishing amount of support I've gotten from my family and friends. I obviously always knew that people would care if something bad happened to me but the extent of the warmth and caring has been overwhelmingly beautiful. It's humbling to think about the amount of people thinking of me and wishing for me to do well, so from the bottom of my heart, Thank You.


Love,
Ella

13 comments:

  1. You go, girl! You are great and this blog is great. You've got a regular reader in me!
    Love,
    Renee G-Z

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  2. Ella - I am so happy to hear your own words describe the past few weeks and I feel better now hearing you give the update. (The shock of the email when I learned you were sick was pretty tough!!) We are thinking of you and your family and I too will be a regular reader!! Stay strong. You have LOTS of people who are rooting for you and know you will be a champ! xoxoxo Lisa and family.

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  3. I'm not sure if you remember me from years ago (before summer 2005) when I lived in NYC, but I just want to wish you strength, health, and a happy senior year! :D -Amitai Zand

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  4. When the great tenor Jose Carreras was diagnosed with leukemia in 1987, he was given a 1 in 10 chance of survival. But his courage, optimism, and resilience helped him pull through, and he is still singing (quite wonderfully) to this day. I'm positive that you will soon be sharing a similar story, and I look forward to keeping up with your journey with much hope and anticipation. Thank you for posting!

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  5. Hey ella
    We go to school together and though I never really got to know you, I just wanted to wish you the best and to applaud you for being such a strong person; words seriously can't describe the respect I have for your resilience. I also wanted to let you know that seeing how optimistically you responded to all this really helped me put my own life and my own problems into perspective and gave me strength and hope that I can one day resolve them myself. I can only hope that one day I can be as strong as you are. Best wishes for recovery -

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  6. Beth & Emanuel EbinSeptember 11, 2011 at 1:45 AM

    Ella,
    Your strength and optimism is inspiring! We are thinking of you and sending you lots of love and positive energy, hoping each day is better then the last.
    Love,
    Emanuel & Beth

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  7. I knew you once, we were never really friends but we had conversations and saw each other a couple times a week. I just wanted to let you know that you're one of the most inspiring people I've met, even though I haven't talked to you in years. just this post alone makes me think of all my day-to-day "problems" as so unimportant, and you really put things in perspective. I will continue to follow your blog and I really, really do hope you get better. I'm sorry that anyone has to go through something like this, and even though we don't talk anymore, I'm so sorry that it's someone i know. That makes it so much realer. Really, best wishes to you and your family and I'm honestly rooting for you.

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  8. There have been times in my life when I have a problem and say, "I'll never get over this." It happens to everybody - not making a sports team or play, being dumped or cheated on, having a fight with your best friend. Thanks to you, I will try to never look at life that way again. You are truly inspiring.

    Are you going to/have you already missed some school? Is the chemo process painful or damaging? Is there a chance that your siblings are also sick, or were they tested? Don't answer any of these questions if you don't feel comfortable.

    Once again, best wishes to you and your family.

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  9. Ella,

    You're one brave girl! We hope that every day will bring you renewed strength and brighter times. We care about you, love you, and are here for you.

    Thank you for blogging us through your recovery.


    Yael and Daniel

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  10. Ella,

    In three years, you will look back at this experience and wonder how you ever spent your days in a hospital bed, counting the hours from seeps of sunlight through dusty blinds. Doctors and tests will be white noise from a strange dream-like moment too small in the timeline of your life to ever matter. Now will become an afterthought.

    Your strength today and for all days will fortify a better world to come. With each day you grace this world, more people become confident in their hopes and dreams. Your battling this disease will only embolden your leadership as a light upon the world. Thank you for being that light.

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  11. Hi Ella,

    I've known you for a while even though we've never been close, and we don't go to school together. I hope you stay strong and know that the people who love you will always love you and support you. and you are definitely right; life is beautiful. I hope you recover soon!

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  12. Ella, you are awesome!!!! May Gd bless you with a speedy and complete recovery, and with continued ability to use your incredible gifts of positivity and insight and great writing and a desire to find meaning and to share your reflections with others during this challenging episode of your life. We are with you throughout. Send our love to your twin brother and your sister and parents too! Love, Aunt Susie and Uncle Neil and your cousins

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  13. Hey Ella,

    What a beautiful blog entry. We are inspired by your positive outlook and courage to share your thoughts and feelings with the world. We wish you a speedy recovery.

    All of our love, Hillary & Guy

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