Alexandria F
Posted by

My Story

Alexandria F
Posted by
01 Jun 2015

In 2001, at the age of 8, I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. I stayed at the Children's Hospital in London, ON for 8 months. My treatment plan consisted of nothing but chemotherapy.

Being only 8, I was awful at swallowing pills and hated needles. I had to get blood drawn once a day so to make that, among other things easier, a double luumen hickman line was surgically implanted in my chest. 

Unlike others who experience minimal side effects during chemo, I got just about everything. During one of my chemo sessions I suffered a collapsed lung as a result of an exaggerated case of whooping cough. I was in the PICU for four days. Needless to say, my lung capacity isn't as great as it could be. 

Fortunately, I was never alone during my journey - one of my parents always stayed with me while the other stayed home (Leamington, ON) with my sister who was only 5. I was always surrounded by friends and family who had came to visit me. 

My treatment was completed on March 18, 2002 and I have been cancer free ever since. I made it out of my battle luckier than some...for one thing, I made it out. I fought tooth and nail, blood, sweat, and tears, but I made it. But just because I did, doesn't mean that other people don't and doesn't mean that I don't know anyone who hasn't. Most of the friends I made at the hospital died because of their illness...the kids who were my best friends during the scariest time of my life are no longer around to share the success of remission with. It's heartbreaking. While I may have made it through the war with full cognitive and physical capabilities, there are still scars. I have physical scars that I can easily show people, but I have a lot of emotional scars that I can't even begin to explain. 

It doesn't matter how much time has passed, a cancer survivor never forgets their journey and the people they met along the way. I'm not sure if my fellow survivors can relate, but speaking for myself, I can tell you that I think about cancer more than the average person does. I guess I can't help it...no matter what I'm doing or what kind of day I'm having, my mind always wanders to the topic, either for a minute or for a good portion of the day. 

There are so many wonderful organizations designed to help people struggling with cancer. Cancer is not an easy thing to deal with - whether you're the patient or a family member/friend of the patient, it will have an effect on you for the rest of your life. It is my hope that your own experience with cancer, whatever it may be, effects you enough that you will choose to help others who have been in your situation to see the silver lining and to find their own source of strength and courage. 

Comments

Anonymous
01.06.2015

❤️

Anonymous
02.06.2015

You are my hero .... Love Mom

Anonymous
02.06.2015

You're a very, beautiful, brave and strong person, May God Bless you.<3.<3

03.06.2015

Alexandria,

Thank you so much for sharing your story and writing so openly and honestly about your experiences. It sounds like you had it tougher than most with the collapsed lung and all the side effects but it's fantastic to hear that you came out the other side and are now enjoying life again.

I, too, am a 'survivor' and completely agree that you never forget about the hourney or the people that you meet along the way when undergoing treatment. I'm still in touch with a number of the nurses that treated me and still see my consultant every 6 months and have a fantastic bond.

One of the hardest parts for me was seeing people who were being treated at the same time as me go in and never come out as I did. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to it and some of the most positive and determined people I ever had the privilege of meeting were amongst those that didn't make it.

It angered me in a way and made me ask the question why I survived and they didn't. I still ask myself that question on occasions which serves to spur me on to keep doing my bit to help beat blood cancer. I owe it to myself and those that didn't make it. 

Thank you for making me reflect on things once again and good luck with everything that you do. You're a real inspiration!

Anonymous
03.06.2015

You are in my prayers ! Thoses counts will rise just hang in there.

Anonymous
07.06.2015

Thank you for sharing your story.

Being a survivor (but only at the age of 5), I commend your courage for sharing your story. Your are a beacon of hope for those afflicted by blood cancer.

You are not alone. Whilst a distance memory, there's not a day that goes by that I don't think about cancer and its consequences for me and fellow sufferers. It is so hard not to see it as defining feature of who are you because of the intense experience - both of unconditional love from family, doctors and nurses but the inevitable bad.

Remember you are who are you - (after a long time) I have come to realise that the experiences and enduring consequences of leukaemia inform but don't change who you are fundamentally. I remind myself of that every time my mind wonders.

All the best,
Matt

Anonymous
07.06.2015

There is so much of what you say ( and Andy ) which I can relate to . I was about to start my 2nd course t/t for AML and was up on the morning of Boxing Day 2004 , to others it may sound weird , but I felt so crushingly guilty about the resources that were being poured into me whilst hundreds of thousands were wiped off the face of the earth. The funerals of those on the ward who didn't make it through treatment

Thank you for being so honest about your thoughts and the time you spend each day thinking about this .

Anonymous
07.06.2015

God Bless You!! I know how hard the fight can be...I lost my son to AML. He was only 23. You my dear are a strong brave soldier who has won the war. Stay Strong!! Live Laugh Love and keep smiling...Sparkle...Sparkle!

Anonymous
07.06.2015

It was bitter sweet to read you wonderfully written blog, but I'm so glad that your life as you know it now is moving a much better direction......as well for you sister and your parents sand all the other important people in your life......because, as you probably know, had written and understand more now @ this point in your life, that when one person has Cancer the whole family/ network of friends is affected by your illness. It will be 20 years this coming Aug. 4th. that I was diagnosed with Indolent non Hodgkins Lymphoma (NHL) stage 1a @ the age of 46. This many years later in and out of remission twice, I'm so thankful to continue to be alive and relatively well. It is all the young people like you and much younger than I, that I pray for, think about and want to give support to the LLS. So improvements and @ best a cure can be found. Wishing you continued success, good health, and a very happy productive life Alexandria. God Bless you and your family.

Anonymous
08.06.2015

Thank you for sharing your story. So wonderful how hard you fought and now you are able to help others.
My daughter, Marik, was diagnosed with AML at the age of 7 & she has a little sister three years younger than her! Marik is 17, almost 18 now and she has an organization called "Marikle" (miracle) that helps families financially with their bills while their children are receiving treatments.
Treatments & everything that comes with it is a horrible thing to go through, but what you and Marik have learned along the way is something you can never teach a person. Good luck to you and your mission!
~Carrie