The Leukemia Diaries, part 5 - Remission!
I thought that a post that brings good news deserves a happy photo! If I recall correctly, this is the last photo shoot I managed to do before I got hospitalized.
I can’t tell you how much I’ve been looking forward to writing this post, specifically. My doctors have declared me to be in remission! It doesn’t mean that I’m cured, but it does mean that I’m on my way there.
"She could go at any time."
A little over a month ago, my parents heard those words from one of my physicians. One can only imagine how a parent would feel if they found out that their ONLY child could die at any moment, that their child could’ve died on the car ride to the hospital, or in their sleep the night before. I was in the emergency room at that time, and I’d been poked with so many needles, had a CT scan and an x-ray taken. The results of all the tests had pointed towards me possibly dying. Test results showed that 87% of my cells were “bad”/unhealthy cells, which is an alarming majority. I had pneumonia, meningitis, and leukemia, all at the same time.
I don’t think I will ever fully understand how my parents felt when they heard that, but I believe my dad put it pretty well. In his words: “I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, not even my worst enemy.”
I’ll be honest, it only really sank in that I could’ve died on my last day in the hospital.
"You’re in remission."
My hematologist dropped by a day after they’d performed a biopsy to find out where exactly I stand, health-wise. She told me I was doing well, that my counts were looking good, then she said the words that my parents and I longed to hear: “You’re in remission.” I wish my parents had been around to hear that from the doctor herself, but they had to go to work that day.
The leukemic cells in my body only accounted for about 3.2%, according to my doctor. That’s a far cry from the 87% at the beginning of my treatment, and I’m extremely happy about it. Remission was the final factor they needed to clear me for discharge, I think.
A week for rest and observation
I’ve been given a week to rest before we take on the second round of chemotherapy. There are restrictions to this “freedom”, of course, but I’ll take those willingly. I’m only allowed to be in controlled environments, and I pretty much have to have an air purifier nearby, just to make sure I don’t pick up anything from the air that could aggravate my condition. Densely-populated spaces should be avoided (no malls for me!), and I should still get plenty of rest.
Even though medicines are no longer being introduced to my system, the effects of chemotherapy continue to manifest. My hair is still falling out, albeit to a lesser degree. My skin is peeling in various spots, and I mostly leave it alone, though the temptation to scratch is great. XD
I’m still weak and get tired easily, but I try not to let that stop me from being as active as possible without hurting myself. My legs are just strong enough to support me when walking short distances, but I don’t think I can walk a kilometer yet. My balance is still a little iffy, though I’m happy to say I’ve managed to stay upright and have not toppled over so far.
It’s already halfway through my rest week, but there’s so much I still want to do! I have plans for the remainder of this week, I hope I get to accomplish them. Been getting tired out by slightly complex tasks like getting dressed up in lolita (I couldn’t continue with my tights and shoes, I was exhausted by the time I slipped on a petticoat!) and handsewing, but I’d really like to accomplish stuff before heading back to the hospital.
I am so, so thankful.
It is not always in the divine plan for cancer patients to continue living. Some find out too late, some are not physically strong enough to take the beating that treatment will put their body through. The support, the prayers, the encouraging words are all very much appreciated. Thank God there are “earth-bound angels” who do what they can to save lives. I will be eternally grateful to all my blood donors - all from different walks of life - who gave without asking for anything in return. I cannot thank enough those who have extended help to my family.
I didn’t cry during most of my first round of treatment, but nowadays I find myself crying at random. I’m thankful that I’m still alive.