Posted by: illinigirl | January 13, 2011

Grateful–A guest blog entry by my friend L

I’ll reveal her name if she’s okay with it, but right now, I’m going to keep it somewhat anonymous.

This will be the coolest entry I ever post, and I’m not writing it!  My friend L posted this on myspace a few years ago after dealing with Leukemia.  This might be the best remnant of the desert that is myspace!

L is such a special person.  She always has been. . . but it seems this experience has amplified her awesomeness to the 10th power.  🙂  She takes the time to tell people that she loves them and why.  Is there anything more special you can do for someone then to tell them why they matter to you?

I find this entry so inspiring.  Please read it. . . and share it on your blog, if you are so inclined.  It’s just another reminder that when we have a bad day, is it really that bad in the grand scheme of things?

Thanks L, for letting me post this and for all you’ve given me and everyone you touch!  🙂  So glad you’re doing well, and I hope we can all dance at your 99th birthday party!



So… back in October, the 19th to be exact, I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Leukemia (AML, sub-type APL).  My world stopped.  I remember the doctor delivering the diagnosis… my parents, my husband, a professor friend of mine, and our long-time friend were in the room.  I didn’t even hear what the oncologist was saying… my only question… will I lose my hair?  His response – “you should be more worried about the risk of heart attack or stroke right now”.  The doctors say that if I had waited one more week to go to the hospital… I may not be here today.

A few weeks before, I started to notice strange bruises on my body that I couldn’t explain, shortness of breath, fatigue.  I was really tired, grouchy – work is always really busy and intense in September / October.  I was working a lot of hours every week, so I didn’t notice the fatigue on my own.  But because I had played on a co-ed volleyball league the week before, I got a little banged up and had the opportunity to bruise more than usual 🙂  Thank GOD I played!  Might not have caught it otherwise…

So I spent a very long and painful month in the hospital.  Luckily, I don’t remember most of it – just the really painful sick times.  I made a trip to the ICU when my blood pressure bottomed out.  A really nice nurse named Catherine bathed me and helped me to the bathroom.  She had an English accent and spoke in a very soothing voice.  The chemo made my hair fall out, the drugs made my bones feel like they might explode…  every bone in my body ached and morphine did little to help.  I thought I would be more upset about my hair… I’m not.  I’m just so happy to be here, breathing, standing, running, laughing, loving, eating, enjoying.  You learn to give up the superficial stuff pretty fast.

I’ve now had three bone marrow biopsies – the last one as clean as can be!  I’ve been very blessed.  The doctors assure me that if you’re going to get an adult leukemia, this is the one to get.  It has a very high cure rate and responds very well to the available treatments.  It was hard at first to be grateful for that, but I’ve actually become grateful for the whole experience.  I’m not sure how that will make sense to anyone who hasn’t had a major health threat, but this has made me really appreciate life in a whole new way.  A way I might not have otherwise seen.  I’m awake.  Really awake.  What matters, what doesn’t?  What do I want to spend my time on?  Who is important in my life?  What do I want to do while I’m here?  Do I matter to anyone else?

My husband is an absolute saint.  Is there a better human being?  He took amazing care of me and has been by my side for every moment, every treatment, every doctor’s visit.  He rubs my back, and what we affectionately call my “sprouts” (new hair 🙂  He gives me hope, he encourages all my hopes and plans.  He tells me to slow down when I try to do too much.  He tells me I’ll live to be 99.  I need that.  I’d always assumed that I would grow old…  I plan to!!  But certainly… I don’t expect or assume anything anymore.  My real plan is to follow God’s plan and that’s enough for me.

So here I am, about to embark on my last week of chemo and with lots of hope before me.  What lies ahead… we never know.  But life really is short and can change in an instant.  It could have been totally different for me… one cell, one chromosome difference and I might not be here.  Enjoy today… even if it doesn’t go your way.  Give thanks to God for every breath.  Enjoy your life – this is it.  It is now.

God bless you.  Tell someone you love how you feel.


  1. L – so glad your biopsies came back clean! one of closest friends had leukemia our freshman year of college but luckily went into remission. cancer sucks.

  2. thanks for sharing…this hits close to home.

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