Surviving Childhood Cancer can leave quite an impact. Not only are there long term health effects from intense treatments, there are often emotional scars left. Children undergoing treatment miss out on many normal activities and this can shape how they approach the future. Sometimes the things that childhood cancer survivors look forward to the most are basic milestones, birthday celebrations, getting married, having a family.
Marjorie was 12 when she was diagnosed with leukemia. After 3 years of chemo, she finally had the chance to get back to normal and was about to start the next chapter in her life, marriage when she was diagnosed with Breast cancer. She got married and is now in the midst of her greatest adventure to date- Parenthood. We will hear some more from Marjorie next month about Breast Cancer, wedding planning and how she approached starting a family after multiple cancers. Marjorie is a childhood cancer survivor, a blogger, a wife, an advocate and now mom.
I was diagnosed with ALL when I was 12, and underwent 3 years of chemotherapy. On Sept. 12 of this year, it was 18 years since my diagnosis! CRAZY!
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 at the age of 26, which prompted my genetic testing. It came back as LFS. My mom was negative, but my dad and younger brother haven't been tested.
What would you like to know about my childhood cancer? I surprisingly remember a lot about it, despite being only 12. I knew I was sick, but I didn't know/think it was "serious"; it didn't cross my mind that I could have died until like 10 years later.
My uncle (my mom's brother) died of childhood Leukemia when he was 2, so when I was diagnosed it was hard for my grandmother, especially because she watched her son die of the same thing her granddaughter had just been diagnosed with.
I was relatively lucky with my Leukemia treatment and didn't face many setbacks, except pneumonia. My 7th grade year of school (I was diagnosed in September 1997) I was homeschooled so I missed school. I also never got to have my Bat Mitzvah, which was already planned for that December.
We had to cancel my Bat Mitzvah, which was probably the most heart breaking part of my experience. getting sick while planning my Bat Mitzvah was the starting point of this fear I had of getting sick again during big life events. Sure enough, I was diagnosed with breast cancer only two months after I got engaged. Luckily and so blessed, we still had our wedding on the day it was planned.
Although I am almost 18 years out of Leukemia, the disease is not lost on me, not even close. Because of that experience, and because of my LFS, I get blood tests every four months (not to mention all the glorious LFS scans!!) and to this day I check and double check bruises to make sure they heal. The same goes for any cuts and scrapes. I know that if something doesn't heal right, or I don't feel right, I get scared. 18 years later and I pay very close attention to every ailment. That's what cancer survivors and fighters do, I think. Every lump, bump, cut, bruise, ache, pain could be something. So I get it checked out. But in the meantime, I live.
Thank you Marjorie for taking the time to share this piece of your cancer history with us. If you'd like to follow along and read more about Marjorie's day to day celebrations and experiences, her blog is at: http://www.marjiepinkandpearls.blogspot.com