In October of 2013, my husband and I were loving our idyllic suburban life raising our 5 year old son when out of the blue my 43 year old healthy husband Steve was diagnosed with leukemia. I am a planner, I plan for everything, but this was not in our plan. I was scared for our future. I was angry that the future I had planned out in my head was now not only uncertain, but was forever changed.
Angry that my amazing and giving husband was now battling medication side effects and constant doctors’ appointments to try to figure out how to manage his new daily life. And I was sad, sad that my son was now growing up in a world where cancer was the "new normal" for his dad and therefore for him. In the fall of 2014 I knew I had to do something, for myself and for my family. My husband Steve, who lives this "new normal" life with such bravery and strength every day allowed me to partner with Be The Match, the largest bone marrow registry in the world. If I couldn't do something to help him I knew we had to do something for others with leukemia who were faced with a bone marrow transplant.
Steve currently takes a line of treatment called TKI's which we hope will keep his leukemia numbers low, only if his leukemia becomes resistant to this treatment would he be a candidate for a transplant. About 70% of people faced with a bone marrow transplant will turn to the registry for a lifesaving transplant. With a simple swab of your cheek you can join the registry and potentially save a life. I knew that if one day Steve needed a bone marrow transplant, we would have to turn to the registry and we would be forever grateful to find a match. Steve's two siblings had been swabbed but unfortunately, neither of them were a match for him. Not only was this something that I needed to do for me, but we wanted our 5 year old son to see the power and goodness in the people that are around us. Our community was amazing and helped us in raising over $5000.00 and adding over 70 people to the National Bone Marrow Registry.
Although this "new normal" life we live is nothing any of us could have imagined with blood tests, doctors and managing medication side effects a fact of our everyday life, we are so very lucky to be surrounded by an amazing medical team and supportive friends and family. They help us every step of the way. There are some days it's not easy to be a caregiver and mother, but I wouldn't choose any other life. This one teaches me lessons every day about the power of optimism, love and humor and I have my husband, Steve to thank for that.