Lac La Biche AB
April 9th, 2019 was the first day I went to the hospital, and at first I was diagnosed with H1N1. Between April 9th and May 22nd, I was in the hospital about 10 times. Then on May 22nd, 2019, I was admitted to U of A and put on blood thinners. I was sent home 3 days later, and then on May 31st, I had a stroke at 4AM and went to Strathcona Community Hospital. They also had my biopsy diagnosis; I had lymphoma and I had a vegetation on one of my heart valves because of the lymphoma that caused me to have a stroke. I was transported by ambulance to the Cross Cancer Institute, and by the time I got there, I couldn't say many words. The lack of speech made everything more challenging for sure. 6 months later, I had a stem cell transplant - I didn't take to the chemotherapy well; I was feeling like I didn't really want to see anyone because of the severe side effects, I didn't want anyone to come into my room - I just wanted to sit there and do nothing. After about a month, I started to feel a little bit better. However, after I went home, it was hard to even go grocery shopping; I had to lean on the cart for strength. Now, though, I am biking 20 - 60 kms / day and just got my driver's license back.
My life has changed quite a bit since being diagnosed with a blood cancer. I used to always be active, but I don't quite have my strength back - I'm at about 90% of where I was before.
My 10-year-old nephew, Andrew, got involved with Light The Night and was doing the fundraising, so I went out there to support him. It was inspiring, for sure, when you hear everyone else's stories. It was a nice night, and I was tearing up a little bit when I stood with all the others holding white lanterns.
I feel like The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada is a good organization. The biggest thing is building awareness about what people go through in their blood cancer treatment.