I cannot seem to fall back asleep yet so maybe now is a good time to do this, since I’ve been thinking of this post for about a week now.
Last Thursday, I was diagnosed with two types of cancer: Chronic Lymphacytic Leukemia (CLL) and Small Lymphacytic Lymphoma (SLL). I was originally admitted into the hospital last Saturday (the 14th) after finally visiting urgent care and getting proper blood work. I had been experiencing symptoms since last month (exactly one month) but I kept getting answers from doctors telling me it was just an infection or something I didn’t need to be worried about.
It turns out that these two types of cancers, sister cancers, were incredibly rare for me to get. CLL & SLL are typically diagnosed in patients over 65 and have been rarely diagnosed in anyone 35 years old — let alone my age, 26. In fact in the pamphlet the doctors gave me, the age bracket 25-30 was literally N/A. Lol. My mom said I should play the lotto based on those statistics.
Here’s the thing, I wanted to write about this because, it’s important to me and, although incredibly personal, I am and have always been an open and honest person. This is something that is rare and needs to be brought to attention because, what if I’m not the only one? My doctors and I think that my first experience of symptoms actually occurred in October when I was misdiagnosed with “Mono” and in thinking back now, I realized I had most, if not all of the same symptoms. Not saying that mono and this present the same symptomatically. I do not believe they do but I do not do I claim to know anything about diagnosing either. Just saying that my diagnosis was flippant. I actually wasn’t tested for mono until about a week after I was diagnosed and even then the test was “inconclusive”. I might have had it. Above all, at the moment there are treatments but no definitive cures. The chronic part in all of this is not a fun chronic (sorry, snoop) or an epic chronic album (I wish, Dre). The chronic part means that with treatment I will get better. My cancers can go into remission and I can be well for a long time. But I have to stay vigilant and monitor it. Because there is a high chance that it will come back. And so I will deal with it again.
My point is, sometimes, you have to trust in yourself and your body. I was running myself ragged and at full cylinders as always even though I knew that something felt wrong and it was frustrating to feel like the doctors I saw weren’t listening. I don’t blame them, it was a hard decision to see and come across. It took very skilled doctors and a hell of a lot of blood work (omg so much blood work), labs, tests, and one particularly painful bone marrow biopsy to figure it all out.
I am very grateful to all of the doctors, nurses, techs, and staff I’ve met. They have been so gracious and kind and so warm to me. Their diligence to my care and my comfort cannot be outmatched. I am grateful for my doctor at the urgent care who called me personally to make sure I went to the hospital and who was the first person to believe that this might be cancer. Without her, I probably would still be taking antibiotics for something completely unrelated (I DID NOT HAVE SWOLLEN SALIVARY GLANDS, UGH). I am also grateful to my oncologist and his team for watching over me and for allowing me to get the best care and consultations.
I know I’ve never shown how openly religious and spiritual I am. I believe that my relationship with God is personal and my own. But I have faith that this is sign from God. I believe that I was given these lessons to learn something about myself and about the world around me. I am no longer afraid and I am not going to be passive about this.
I know that posting about it is a bit counterproductive but this is also something that my family is dealing with. So if we are quiet or distant, please allow our space a bit. This is still a process.
I am full love love and joy and I have been overwhelmed by the responses of the people I have told. But I do not want this to be self serving. Please listen to your body. Listen to that part of you that’s telling you to slow down and relax. Listen to the part of you that says, i think something is not right, I need to go to a doctor. Be patient with yourself and with others. And, hard as it can be sometimes, be open and be loving. We are all a little lost and just trying to do our best.
Anyway, the sun is coming up and I’m going to watch it from my hospital room window and maybe see if I can fall back to sleep for a bit.
Thank you for reading and thank you for caring. Please know that I love you. Whomever you are. For taking the time. ❤️