Blessed to Be Alive

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I have always been a hard worker all my life. I started at the age of twelve babysitting and cleaning houses for people. My childhood was a very poor one. We lived back in a hollow without water or bathrooms. I got married at the age of seventeen to a man who was ten years older that me. He has been the most wonderful man I could have ever met. He has been there for me through all my bad times and good times. We had two sons and now we have three grandchildren, one of whom we are raising. She is fifteen now. In 2004 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy and had to undergo twelve weeks of chemo and thirty-seven treatments of radiation. I lost all my hair but in a few months it grew back curly. I was happy about that. In 2005 my blood started dropping pretty fast. They did a bone marrow aspiration and found out I had MDS (Myleodisplastic Syndrome), which is a sleeping leukemia.

In June of that year, I had a pressure cooker to blow up on me and burned my arms first and second degree burns. On September seventeenth of that same year, I fell and broke my arm really bad but they could not operate because of my blood being so low. Even though I was taking shots to build it up it was not working. Four days later, my porta-cath I had in my chest broke and a large piece went into my heart. I thought I was having a heart attack and was taken to the emergency room. They rushed me to a cardiac hospital for immediate surgery. While they were operating on me, they somehow touched my vocal cords and I couldn’t talk for months. In 2006 I had to go in the hospital every two weeks and get blood transfusions because my blood had dropped down to a four. My body was so weak I could barely walk to the bathroom from the bed. In April my husband took me to another Oncologist/Hematologist and I was diagnosed with AML Leukemia with 40 percent blasts. I did not know what that meant but I soon found out I had to be rushed to a University Hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia. I immediately began taking high doses of chemo twenty-four hours a day. I was there one month and lost twenty-seven pounds. I lost all my hair again. This was devastating. I had so many reactions to drugs while I was there. My heart started acting weird so they put me on heart medicine. Then my kidneys started shutting down. I was so depressed I could barely make myself think straight. My husband stood by me day and night. He is so deserving of a reward. My children came to see me. They did not think I would live. I was so pale and skinny and weak. I didn’t think I would live either. I had already written them all letters saying good-bye. I had to go back for three months straight and stay a week each time for more chemo and then I would come home and go in the hospital here to get blood and platelets. I had reactions to platelets and almost died. But slowly I began making a little progress and getting a little strength back. Then they done another bone marrow aspiration on me and the nurse practitioner hit my sciatic nerve in the process and I could barely walk for three months. In February of this year I was here in the kitchen cooking and fell and broke my left hip in three places. I had to be rushed to the hospital for surgery. They put a titanium plate with pins and screws in my hip and leg. I had to have five units of blood again. It took months of therapy before I could get back to walking. 

My life has been a roller coaster ride the past few years and I don’t understand why all these things have happened but I don’t question God because there are people worse off than me. I would just like to have one good year without anything happening. It is so hard raising a granddaughter who needs you and you aren’t able to do for her. We have so many hospital and doctor bills that I don’t know what to do. I would love to help my husband get out of debt since I was the one who put us there but he never complains. He just gets up and goes to work every day even though he isn’t able. Someday I will be able to take him on a good vacation and reward him for his kindness to me. I know I’m still here for a reason and only God will know when it’s my time to leave.


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