Sunday, April 15, 2012

Leukemia Part 3 - My Story

Just Me
Just an ordinary day in February.  I went about my day, doing the things I normally do, and ended up in class that evening at BSU.  Class was great!  My favorite: book arts. Or the art of making books.  Upon exiting class, I turned my phone on and noticed a voice mail.  It was Mom.  

 “Call me when you get home.” Not “when you get this”, but “when you get home.”  There was an ominous tone to the call.  

I called her. “Are you home?” she asked. 


“Go home and call me.”

So I called my sister instead.  “Are you home?”


“Well, go home and call Mom.”

What was going on?  So I called Alex (who was then my boyfriend and is now my wonderful husband) and told him about these two conversations.  I was feeling so eerie.  Something was obviously wrong but no one was talking to me.  We talked as I drove, trying to calm my nerves.  I thought maybe Grandpa had passed away or something.  

Finally I pulled into the driveway and my sister’s car pulled in right behind me.  I KNEW something bad had happened.  

“Did you talk to Mom yet?” she asked me.  


“I can tell you or you can call her.”

“I’m calling Mom.” I was so filled with fear that I was almost angry at this point.

My sister looked distraught.  With shaking hands and pounding heart I dialed Mom’s number.  I didn’t understand what she said.  The only things I got out of the conversation were “car…accident…gun…he didn’t make it.”

I stood there for just a moment in shock.  I didn’t understand.  Who got in a car accident?  Who didn’t make it?  What happened?  And then all of a sudden it all registered to my brain.  

I fell to the ground in front of my car and all but screamed as I cried.  How?  How could this happen?  I cried like I had never cried before because I finally realized that Mom was talking about Dad.

Fast forward three years.  February again.  You know the story.  (And if you don’t, go back and read part 1 of the Leukemia series -- Leukemia: Gordon).  February is a rough month for my family anyway because of the anniversary of losing my dad, but what you may not have known is that Gordon’s leukemia diagnosis came one week prior to the terrible anniversary.  

Gordon and Dad were great friends.  Best friends, you could say.  In fact, they were together when Dad died.  I always felt like I had a little link to Dad through Gordon.  Then last month when the leukemia took Gordon away too, it was like I lost not only my uncle but one of the last little pieces of my dad.

I was very angry when Gordon was diagnosed and then even more so when he died.  So instead of wanting to go out and punch something or yell at someone, I signed up for a marathon.  (Who does that?  Really? Besides me?)

But there’s another side to my decision to sign up for TNT.  I didn’t just sign up on a whim because I was mad.  A lot of thought went into this decision. 

I do this in honor and memory of a great man who gave so much to others.  A man who did everything he could to save my dad’s life even when there wasn’t any hope left.  I do this because it is devastating to lose someone you love so quickly to a disease where treatments can kill just as easily as the disease itself.  

I do this in honor of a good friend who has already been through so much and deserves all that life offers.  A friend that deserves peace of mind instead of constantly wondering if today will be the day that leukemia will take her away from her husband and child. 

I do this for myself.  Mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially.  There isn’t a part of my life that this program and these people aren’t touching.  There comes healing and strength in banding together with those around you, united in a common cause.  A cause worth fighting for.  And this is a cause worth fighting for.  

Whether it be blood cancer, or brain cancer, or thyroid cancer, I want to do my part to help find a cure.  One person can only do so much.  But that one person can spread a message and share it with others.  That one person can start a cause or a program or whatever it is and little by little it grows.  

By my joining TNT, I am one but I am not alone.  My small donation, my desire, my training, and my heart are just a small part of something greater.  Please join me in my efforts to wipe out blood cancers (which in turn provides needed treatments for all cancers) by making a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through my TNT fundraising page.  

You can learn more about LLS here: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® - Official Website

You can learn more about TNT here: Team In Training - Together We Train to Beat Cancer

Every little bit makes a big difference!  Thank you for your support.

And PS. If anyone cries even half as much as I did while writing this dang thing, I apologize.  It didn’t go quite the way I had planned, but I wouldn’t change it.

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