One year ago today, a Dr. walked into my emergency room. Placed her hands on my shoulder and said “you have leukemia.” So matter of fact, it was as if I had a cold. With obvious Kayla fashion, I FREAKED OUT. Sobbed uncontrollably. I tried to remove my IV. I tried to leave. But I’m so glad I didn’t. I’m glad I choose to fight. I’m glad I stayed. Because I’m still here. I survived 2 weeks of egg retrieval shots, appointments, blood draws, prayers and tears. I have officially helped pave the way for someone else who receives this life altering diagnosis.
Due to how dangerous acute lymphoblastic leukemia is, and how quickly it grows throughout our tiny bodies, they do not typically release patients from the hospital to do this. However, they took a leap of faith, let me do the egg retrieval process and now I have 31 eggs waiting for me to fully recover. Now, I’m being written about in an academic journal that will be published worldwide to HOPEFULLY help another 20 something female have a chance of taking the same path if she so chooses. Don’t worry, I already asked if they would write my name in the journal (I worked hard for this title ya know ) but of course, that’s not how these things work. Silly me.
I survived a ridiculous amount of bone marrow biopsy’s, 13 rounds of chemo (3 of which were spinal tap chemos), 6 cycles of full body radiation, a feeding tube, two months in the hospital, an endless amount of blood draws (that still happen regularly), tests and scans, quarantine from friends and family for nine months and the most devastating part of all, the passing of my sweet Momma.
I have a new friend with the name of “anxiety” that follows me around now. I haven’t had a period since the full body radiation destroyed my ovaries. My cheeks are still a little puffy from the high doses of steroids, my hairs different, my bodies de-conditioned and I am still exhausted.
However, I’m not sharing this for sympathy. Im not sharing this for anyone to feel sorry for me, because you know what? With all things considered I’m truly happy and so incredibly blessed. I AM IN REMISSION STILL. I’m engaged to the absolute BEST human to ever walk this planet. I have the most incredible support system. I have a very loyal dog, emotionally unstable, but loyal. I have the most supportive job I could ask for. I am closer to God than I’ve ever been. And the best part, I have a whole new perspective on life.
So, why am I sharing all of this? I’m sharing this to give hope to anyone going through a terrible season of life. Whether you’re battling a terrifying health diagnosis or a broken heart, if you’re grieving a loss, if you can’t look forward to getting pregnant “the fun way”, if you get anxious every time you hear the word cancer, if you’re lonely, if your body just isn’t what it used to be. It’s not game over. Your path is just different than the “norm” right now.
My advice to you.
– Please do not give up and be kind to yourself as you figure out the best way to get through the difficult season you’re in.
– Please try to find people who have walked a similar path before you. They can give you encouragement and friendship.
– Please do not waste any of your days here on Earth going to a job you hate just to make stupid amounts of money. When you go to sleep some nights, not knowing if you’re going to make it to tomorrow, I promise the money doesn’t matter. Your car, size of your house, clothes, shoes, material things… don’t fricken matter.
– Please do not waste your days surrounded by toxic people. It’s exhausting and mentally draining. Rather, find people that fill up your cup and bring you happiness. True happiness, where you can fully be yourself.
– Be kind. You will never be able to understand the difficult season someone else is going through, because it’s THEIR season. Not yours. So be compassionate. Listen. And seriously guys, just be kind to each other.
– Help where you can. If you see a gofundme link posted for someone on your social media… I promise that $20 will mean ALOT more to them than it does to you. You won’t even notice it’s missing. If you see a mealtrain link, bring them food. It takes a few hours out of your day but it makes a world of a difference in someone’s life when they can’t even get out of bed.
– If you are ever in the situation of having a child and are asked to donate the cord blood DO IT. Because of a Momma in Germany who donated the cord blood after the delivery of her baby boy, I am happy and healthy today!! My blood is boy blood now but it works! Prayers up this German Baby has a fantastic immune system.
Lastly, thank you to everyone who has stayed by my side this past year. For the sweet words of encouragement. For the thoughtful care packages. For the food. For loving me whether you’ve met me or not. For praying for me constantly. For checking in on Aaron. For absolutely everything. Please know I made it through because I have the best support system I could hope for. I love you all.*
*For those of you interested in reading the academic journal once it’s published I’ll post the link once they send it to me.