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.