You’re used to making decisions. You multi-task while leading others in your job. Suddenly, you’re being told the decisions; you’re excruciatingly tired and weak; you can barely decide what to have for dinner. That was how I felt after my Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) diagnosis in May 2009. And through countless rounds of blood work, doctors’ office waits, cardiograms, scans and the dreaded bone marrow biopsy, the system-focused health care system soon taught me that sometimes, in order for MY voice to be heard, it had to sound loud and confident.
The first year, I was sick with the side effects of my first cancer treatment and from the leukemia itself because the medication didn’t work for me. That year, I didn’t have the energy to make myself heard so just blindly did what I was told. Take this every day, do that, be here at 2 pm, don’t eat grapefruit, wait here, turn on your side, come back in three months. This series of short commands ruled my life. Then somehow, in that fog, I started questioning the commands. That was the first inkling of my voice coming back. Soon after that, we switched to another medicine for my CML treatment.