Burkitt’s Lymphoma is obviously something near and dear to my heart now…I mean the awareness aspect of it is anyways, the rest of it can kiss my white behind. Burkitt’s Lymphoma Awareness Week is March 1-7th every year.
Did you know that Burkitt’s Lymphoma (BL for short) is a rare form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma? It is best known for being humanities most aggressive tumour, capable of doubling in just 24 hours. This type of cancer can affect both children and adults.
Here’s where I get really real on you. Really truthful. Really painful. Here’s where I drop my truth, my reality, my pain.
BL took a lot from me, and to be honest, it STILL takes a lot from me. Every day, I’m reminded how lucky I am to still be alive, about how lucky I am to have the life I have, but every day I am also reminded what BL took from me and what it continues to take from me.
BL took my memories. It took 98% of the memories I had from Hadley’s first 3 weeks of life. Then, BL continued to take the next 6 months of memories, of experiences that Hailey and Hadley would share, as their love would grow, as their bond would form. Speaking of bonds, it took the newborn bonding experience, a bond that is missing and has truly made my relationship with Hadley a lot harder to come by, it’s a lot more work and effort on my part, it’s a lot more patience, a lot more guidance, a lot more love and strength. This…this is the hard truth. Hadley and I have a somewhat strained relationship and she’s just over 2 years old. BL took that and BL continues to make this relationship that much harder.
BL took my hair. Not just the hair on my head either. The hair on my entire body. Eyebrows…eye lashes…legs….well you get the idea. My eyebrows still don’t look like they used to, thank god for eyebrow pencils, sometimes they save my day. BL took the colour of my hair and changed it slightly, and for the longest time, people didn’t connect the girls red hair with me, it was always “they get their hair colour from their daddy, I see” NO. It’s from both of us, I promise.
BL left me with daily pain, swollen joints, scar tissue beyond belief – in my spine, neck, shoulder, abdomen, groin. BL left me with scars riddling my body. Just last week, the sun hit my bare arms in the perfect way and I could see EVERY IV attempt, every scar that covered my arms was visible. BL left my abdomen and love handles covered in more stretch marks than I had during 2 pregnancies, stretch marks on my legs, behind my knees, on my hips. BL left me with short term memory loss, with extreme amounts of ferritin from so many blood transfusions that I run on fumes from 4 months ago, on a daily basis. Chronic fatigue sucks. I can get 8-10 hours of sleep some nights and wake up feeling like I drank a 26 of vodka, passed out, waking up two hours later to get on with my day. Chronic pain. Scar tissue. Chronic illness.
BL left us with mountains of debt. Debt we are having a hard time making a gain on. It left me in a position that regardless of having two small children and wanting to be at home with them until they’re in school full time, I won’t be able to hold a regular job that requires a high level of brain function and memory. It’s left me wondering where my once prominent life as a wedding and event planner is heading now. With short term memory loss, a list won’t even help me because I lose my lists on the daily, just like I’ll put my iPad down in a spot where I know I should remember where it is, then I’m asking Hailey where she saw mommy put her iPad down, and she knows, because she has a better memory than I do, at 3 years old.
But, this is where I get real again. This is where I tell you what BL actually gave me, besides cancer, scars, memory issues, and stretch marks. BL gave me a new outlook on life, a great gratitude for what my body accomplished for me when I was on the grim reapers doorstep about to knock on his door, several times. My body pulled me through something I never even expected. So, despite all of the shit that BL has left me with, it has also given me many blessings. The best blessing of all, being alive and being with my family, walking through life’s journey with the most incredible human being by my side, Wade.
Signing off for BL Awareness Week,