In fall 2013, I wasn’t feeling well. I had a slew of issues that I couldn’t quite place and went to countless medical consultations for them. Then, after I got an abnormal blood test result, everything started happening very quickly. Racing back and forth to doctor’s appointments, scans, ultrasounds, bone marrow samples. A few weeks later, my diagnosis came: essential thrombocythemia. Telling my family wasn’t easy, especially when we were so worried about the future.
I am the mother of three boys, two of them very young, and we had so many questions and concerns. And many of those questions remain unanswered, because there isn’t much data on younger patients like me. One thing that really helped ease my worries was getting involved in managing my own care: asking questions, getting informed and surrounding myself with positive people. It’s so important to ask for help. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada helped me learn more about my illness and find many of the answers to my questions. I feel more prepared when I go to my medical appointments. Day to day, I still have highs and low. As a highly active person, it can be difficult for me to accept limitations. However, I now know my limits—and that I should listen to them. I’m coming up on my sixth year with this diagnosis. I’m looking to the future happy and confident.
Yes, getting news like this means changing your habits and realizing certain things, but in hindsight, I can say that it hasn’t been all bad. I got to know myself and learned to re-center what matters to me and use my energy for things that make me feel alive. I now have more than dreams. I have very specific goals that I strive for, one by one. I have never felt so accomplished as I do now. I appreciate all the sweet things life has to offer. If I could do it again, I wouldn’t wait for a cancer diagnosis to start living like this!