Meet Emily, 4x Leukemia Survivor
“Hi! I am Emily! I am a 4x Leukemia survivor. Cancer-one loaded word that can be described by a million other words, perspectives, emotions, feelings, frustrations, worries, doubts, confusion and overwhelm. A word that no one wants to be applied to their life. A word that often leads to, “Why me?” My cancer story starts when I was first diagnosed with Leukemia in kindergarten when I was 5 years old. I didn’t understand the severity of it all. I knew it meant a lot of “pokes” and throwing up! At the time anti-nausea medicine and ports were not a thing. The perks were I missed a lot of school, got chips from the vending machine, spend time with my mom and extra attention. After two years I was done with chemo.
When I was 11 years old, I relapsed. As a middle schooler I was embarrassed and self-conscious to lose my hair. I hated people looking at me wondering what was wrong with me and missing sports and friends. I did my best to continue life-going to school, planning chemo around tests, spending time with friends and playing soccer. Two more years of chemo and into remission.
When I was a junior in high school, 17 years old, about to be a starter on the varsity soccer team, l relapsed again. This time severe hip pain led to the discovery that Leukemia was back. It felt like my world was shattering around me. I was playing the best soccer of my life, was surrounded by incredible friends and loving life…and then this! Cancer! I was angry and frustrated and disappointed and couldn’t believe I had to go through this again! I had a stem cell transplant, responded great and back into remission I went.
My freshman year in college, 19 years old I relapsed again. The 4th and final time of having Leukemia. Two more years of chemo, anti-body treatment and I was back in remission. This time was different. My body really struggled. I had a infection in my face that quickly spreading throughout my body, a reaction to a medication caused severe diarrhea and I lost 30 pounds in a few weeks and was and I had a neurological reaction to a medication that left me not remembering a whole week. It was scary!
Through it all I knew I was going to make it. I knew there was a bigger plan for me. Now my husband Ryan and I have identical twin boys, I get to empower people to take care of their body and stay as healthy as possible so they can live life to the fullest. I would never wish cancer upon anyone, however I am grateful for the perspective it has given me. We don’t know how many days we are going to get, so live every day with an open heart, love fiercely and live life to the fullest…it is meant to be enjoyed!”