When I was 15 years old, I began having terrible headaches. On October 25, 2013, my brother's 18th birthday, I was diagnosed with my First Cancer, a very rare form of Ewing's Sarcoma (a bone cancer) which presented in my sphenoid sinus (soft tissue) the size of a golf ball. The occurrence of this cancer occurs in less than 2% of the world's population. My survival rate was calculated at 15%.
My Ewing's treatment consisted of 15 rounds of compressed chemotherapy. I treated at Mayo, Minneapolis Children's and Riley Children's Hospital in Indiana. I had to go to the University of Indiana-Bloomington to have 31 rounds of sedated Proton Radiation. After 9 months of therapy, I was pronounced NED - No Evidence of Disease on July 15, 2013.
After missing my entire sophomore year of high school and attending my junior year part-time, I graduated with Honors with my class from Edina High School May 31. 2015. I had been accepted to the University of Minnesota – College of Liberal Arts in the “President’s Emerging Scholar’s Program.
But college would have to wait. On June 8, 2015, on what would have been my late sister's 22nd birthday, I was diagnosed with Secondary High-Risk AML Leukemia. The likelihood is less than 1% of the original 2% of the world's population to receive this diagnosis.
After completing the sarcoma chemo, radiation and then leukemia chemo, I thought I would be prepared for BMT; I was greatly mistaken. It is the worst and most ominous experience of my life. Shortly thereafter, I was in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) and developed both Heart and Kidney Failure. A Dialysis Catheter was inserted as were two additional central lines. I stayed in the PICU for 15 days, for most of which I was sedated, unconscious or in poly-pharmacutical delusions. After being readmitted to the BMT Floor, I was mostly hospitalized until December 16, 2015. I developed Graft-vs-Host of my Skin and Gut and an arsenal of other side effects.
The chance of survival from BMT is 30% on a good day. The chance of dying in the hospital before your BMT release is 1:5.
My life continued with my “New Normal” and in summer of 2018, I had transferred to St Catherine University to continue studying Nursing when I found a mass in my chest. I was admitted into Masonic Children’s Hospital where I was treated for Relapse AML Leukemia/Myeloid Sarcoma. I received a second Bone Marrow Transplant, which took place February 12, 2019. I suffered several complications but am doing better. The road ahead will be difficult but I am optimistic that I have beaten cancer for a third time!
I can now proudly refer to myself as a Three Time Cancer and Two-time Bone Marrow Transplant Survivor. I hope my Cancer Journey can help the Journeys of others. I take pride in the fact that I represent Children's Cancer Research Fund and have helped them by being featured Cancer Kid at the CCRF "Dawn of a Dream" Gala November 2016. I also have performed at “Date for Life” and other CCRF Events.