It has been exactly 7 months since my diagnosis with 'Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia' on Feb 21, 2010. It was Sunday afternoon; I was riding my bike on the way home when everything around me just turned black. I opened my eyes to the screams of the cab driver saying, “I didn’t hit him; he fell.” I tried to get up but everything hurts, the bike fell on my leg and crushed my ankle. When the medics arrived they were very concerned because I was bleeding heavily from my nose. They rushed me to BRI and when they pulled my medical records they all knew what was going on. I was their ‘favorite’ patient in 2003 when ALL hit for the second time, my first onset was in childhood.
What a mess it was to go through chemo with a broken leg; I couldn’t get out of bed. My friends tried their best to help but I didn’t feel comfortable being a burden to them, after all what they have gone through with me in 2003, so I just packed a couple of shirts and pants, and flew to Arlington the first chance I got.
I haven’t told my family about the relapse, only told them I had a minor accident and a broken ankle. You can imagine the surprise on my dad’s face when he opened the door.
This was the first time I come home since I patched up things with my parents in 2008. My family and I were never close and I stopped talking to them after my dad literally forced the treatment on me in 2003. I only visited him in 2008 when he had a heart attack. However, that was not the time to address the old issues that remain hanging until today, like taboos.
I had quit school and my job at the university and just came ‘home’ not knowing if I even would have a place to stay. However, my dad did not disappoint me, and am grateful for that. He took in his arms for what seemed an eternity and cried.
Depression was the major feature of that period. I locked myself in my room all day. The only time I was out of the house was for my chemo sessions, the side effects were devastating and my body was a total wreck.
Blood tests and biopsy done in late May showed that chemo had failed and I had to redo induction. Some meds were changed, others were added or dosage increased, that’s when I had a bad reaction mid June that almost took my life. I was given a ‘rest’ to recover and build up the counts until the Lumbar Puncture on June 30th. When leukemic infiltrations were found in the CSF, I said enough.
It was during this time that I came to know some of you. I have met some of the most amazing people in the world on FB that became my support group and lifted me up. I’m thankful to each one of you, specially to my beloved ‘Willow’ for all the things she has done, I’m more grateful than she will ever know, and I hope it’s not to late to tell her how much I love her, I have her ‘leaves’ rustling inside my heart. I’m also eternally grateful for a special “Angel’ who saved me once and will always be a part of me, way down deep inside my heart.
As if cancer wasn’t enough, August 22, I had what I thought was a ‘heart attack’. I sat in my room trying to breathe and asking for God’s mercy that this be the ‘end’ when dad walked in on me turning blue and unable to catch my breath. He took me to ER. I had Pericarditis; the doc jabbed a needle in my heart to drain fluids. My cardiologist said this could/would happen again any time within 90 days. Only this time, I will not sign consent to have another ‘pericardiocentesis’ done. I have my ‘Living Will’ signed and am ready to say goodbye.
God bless you ‘ALL’
Marc J. Kennedy