Theresa Tlion Gerhold
Hello, I'm Teresa also known as "Tlion". To be told you have Cancer is terrifying. When I heard that six-letter word I immediately feared the worst. I have cancer, how is that possible? I'm young, I was diagnosed when I was 29 years old with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML). I was at the prime of my life, I had everything going my way newly married, career, about to start having a family. I have always had to fight from a very young age meaning I had a pacemaker put in when I was 15 months old. I survived that. I paid my dues. Then, April 2009 my life change and it has been a long, tedious and exhausting journey, as I refer to it a “HELL LIKE” roller coaster ride that has had a lot of sudden twists and turns that had confused me.
The first few years after my diagnoses there had been these LARGE ROCKS and BIG BOULDERS which I had fell across. Thinking to myself why me??? What did I do to deserve this? Where did I go wrong on my path of life? During my fight, on May 2, 2011, I welcome my son Nolan into the world. It was when I saw him for the first time that I truly understood what a miracle life was. After fighting the battle of my life the last two years before he was born and having this little miracle growing inside of me as I continue the battle with AML. I realize when I first saw him that he was my miracle and he saved my life.
To hold this little human on May 2, 2011, with his little fingers and tiny feet, left me in awe of just how truly amazing life is. And this sense of awe had changed how I view my everyday surroundings and my fight with Cancer.
During my pregnancy with my son I went into remission and it was a great feeling and a great accomplishment. Two months after he was born July 2011 I went out of remission and my Leukemia was back with the vengeance. I am still doing chemotherapy treatment and fighting it like a glorious lion today in 2016. Not a day goes by and I think about the what if's. Then I look at my little miracle who is full of life and full of smiles and I know that life is right in front of me.
My journey to date has consisted of over 7000 injections, 6 rounds of aggressive chemotherapy, weekly blood work, many scans, tests and bone marrow biopsies, a bucket of pills to take daily, and most of all a positive attitude, a barrel of hope and faith, a boxing ring of friends and family and many days we were not sure if I was going to make it. But here I am alive and breathing life to the fullest. Having cancer has taught me many things. I could list all the unpleasant things, but what for? I can tell you that Cancer has me learning things I could have not have learned from my career and normal everyday life. I have learned how important family and friends really are, I could not have gotten through it without them.
One of the most important life's lessons I have learned is courage.
There have been so many times I have wanted to give up. However, I know I have the unwavering support of my family and friends and the prayers of countless others guiding my health, and for their sake and mine, I am determined to survive. From my journey I have realized how you cannot let obstacles get in the way of living your life. You have to live your life in the present, forget about the past and not worry about the future. Always remember that there is something good in everyday, even if you think you are having the worst day ever and if you think your life is unfair, remember that someone out there in this world has it worse than you, so we should be grateful for what we have. I have learned I have to deal with the onslaughts as they come, one at a time, giving it my all to each individual battle in this war so I am determined to win. My story has been an interesting Hell Like roller coaster ride and I always have my hands and arms in the air screaming like a little kid yelling “wheeeeee” as I hit the peaks, the twists, the turns and the lows.
Life is simple. Life is being able to live it for today as no one is promised tomorrow, to be able to breath and smile every day that you have filled with love, hope and peace. If you don't have that then what is life.
I am honoured to be able to share my story, and I am proud to be a survivor and to carry that white lantern every year at Light The Night Walk in October and to show that every donation made towards this event is one step closer to help find a cure for all blood Cancers out there.