Long Story. After going through some tragic events in my life, in February of 2006 - I finally felt as though I had come through on top. I was ready to start over and my life took on a new meaning. I went to my doctor for trouble I had with my colon since having a hystorectomy in 2005. During a test, they noticed that I had an enlarged spleen. I was sent to an oncologist and she promtly sent me in for a CT Scan with IV contrast. Within minutes, I became extremely ill. Within an hour, I was in the ER with what was later diagnosed as "the flu". I returned to the ER for 4 days - being sent home everytime as if I were lying. My UA's looked red - strange for having no uterus! Finally, on the fourth day they finally noticed that I had gone into complete renal failure. By now the doctors were telling my husband that they would do what they could, but it may not be enough. I spent weeks having complete plasma exchanges every other day and kidney dialysis. Against all odds, I made it (obviously)! I have never been happier to be alive! Life was beautiful! Oh - and the spleen - I was told in the hospital that I was cancer free!
May 10, 2006 - A few weeks after I left the hospital, I returned to the oncologist for my "release". She asked why I came alone. Why wouldn't I? Still feeling on top of the world! She asked that I get my husband on the phone. I didn't hear a word she said as if I were not in my body when she told me that I had cancer. I had Chronic Lymphocitic Lukemia, Stage II. WHAT THE ***l IS CLL? The problem is - I was the "youngest patient ever" - 31 years old. There is no cure or treatment for CLL. I would live "as long as" 10 years. "Go home and forget you have it". Only chronically ill patients would have a reaction to IV Contrast. End of story. I lost my entire life in 10 seconds! Most of my "friends" said that it was "too hard" to go through with me.(I already know..Friends?) I went to counseling. I acted and felt as if I were already dead. A year later, I went to MD Anderson ready to fight! THERE WAS NO CANCER! I have an extremely rare immune disease that will not kill me. No CT scans obviously! or shots, injections, etc. There are a million reasons for me to feel more alive than anyone on this planet but I am having a hard time. that I just want my life back. How does something like this happen to anyone?
-Michelle, 33 years old
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