August 1st I have an appointment to take my drivers test. I don’t think people or my parents really understand why I stress over it the way I do. Yes every teen wants to get there license super badly but for me it’s more than just being able to drive myself around “whenever” I want.
To be honest, I never thought I would be able to get a license and drive myself places. My shoulder had collapsed due to my cancer treatments leaving it pretty much useless to me until I could get surgery. Now even after surgery I don’t have much outward rotation which discouraged me when thinking of driving. I also had AVN in both of my legs. I was in and out of a wheelchair for a good portion of the last 5 years. Being in those states made me feel helpless like I was never gonna be able to do things for myself that I would always need assistance in some way or another. Since this last surgery in December, I have slowly working my way into doing things for myself and being independent. It all boils down to me wanting to be able to do things for myself. And a part of it is also not feeling like a burden. I struggled with that numerous times throughout treatment. Although, I have been told numerous times that I am no where near a burden, I still struggle.
I think have been working for about a month now and I absolutely love it. The people I work for are absolutely amazing and have been a huge part of my cancer journey. I am very grateful to them for giving me a job. This is my first real job and I am very grateful for this experience.
I am on my feet for a good part of my shift and I am always doing very active arm movements. I have had very little strengthening through physical therapy so, my body is still getting used to it. When my body does begin to ache, I do have my DoTerra essential oils that I apply. For the most part, I am great! A little a bit of aching here and there after my shift but with my oils I wake up the next day feeling brand new.
I absolutely love working, it’s teaching me how to save and how to have good work ethic.
For the past 5 years my life has been all about cancer, from age 12 to 17. Not saying that is a bad thing, I am grateful to those I have met along this journey. An to be able to stand here today, at almost 18 years old and tell my story. But, I never got a chance to sit down and figure out I was and what I wanted. Cancer was apart of my life, but my life shouldn’t and will NOT revolve around it. Now it is time to sit down and figure who Alyssa Marie is. I am not Alyssa the cancer patient or Alyssa the girl who had cancer. I am Alyssa, the girl with high hopes for herself. The girl who is reaching for the stars. The girl with amazing dreams and goals. Now its time to figure out who I truly am. I can’t wait to see what this chapter holds and where it’ll take me.
Okay, so I have decided in the past week to make a very important decision: i am stopping my medication, ALL OF THEM (the last few pain meds). I have done this many times before on my own accord with previous heavy medications I have been on. What prompted this decision is the fact that I already don’t take them the way that I should because I forget and we have weened me down pretty low as is. It seems like this weening process has been taking forever and I am over it. I didn’t want to continue with that, so my only other option was to go ‘cold turkey’ and just stop and that ended up being the decision I made. I felt as if with God by my side I am strong enough to do it. Now it isn’t easy, let me tell ya. I have woken up with shakes every morning for the past week, my breathing feels uneasy and I have the worst sensation of pain running through my body. You have no idea how this is for me, how many times I just wanted to reach for the morphine for relief. But I decided to stick with it because that is my only way to get off of it since we having some issues with getting a prescription written and I was running out of medication.
I felt so dependent on them. Even when I didn’t necessarily need them I felt as I had to have them. I hated the fact that they changed my mood and how I acted, as soon as I took a morphine, everything changed. An being in school made it even harder, I walk through halls half present and half out of it. It made it hard to focus on my school work and be present/participant in school. I decided enough was enough, I control my life. Changes needed to be made and I needed to do it on my own accord. If I was forced into this then I would not have been able to do it, the motivation and determination wouldn’t be there and i’d slip back into that cycle of “i need, i need, i need”. Ultimately this was my choice and I feel like it was something that needed to be done.
Today is my 5 year anniversary for the day I was diagnosed! It is so crazy to me to look back and see how far I’ve come. I remember the days where I used to think I wouldn’t make it or couldn’t do it anymore. Thanks to God and my amazing support system I am here today. I carry the scars of what I went through and I am proud. Proud to tell my story and proud to be able to shine a light on Childhood Cancer.
I want to say a huge thank you my new friend Denise Truscello. My family and I had a photo shoot with her for Evening of Hope (she is an amazing photographer by the way). I ended up talking to her about how I take fashion and photography in school right now. Also, how I wanted to major in fashion with a minor in photography because they kind of go hand in hand. We then had a long conversation about photography and cameras. Towards the end of our conversation, she offered to give me a camera. Which I was in shock and so thankful because cameras are pretty expensive. We met up about a week later to get the camera and have a quick lesson on how to use the different aspects of it. An not only did she give me a camera, but she gave me a flash for it, SD cards and flash drives, an entire lighting kit, camera bag, a monopod, and more. It was such a blessing. I then got to take a couple pictures of her and her client that was there at the time (which I think came out great!). I am gonna start taking lots of photos and she is going to help me build my portfolio. I am so thankful to her for all of the stuff she gave me! An I can’t wait to start displaying my work! God is so good!!!!
Sorry I have been absent for a couple days, I have been recovering from surgery. By the way, everything went amazing! For those who don’t know why I had surgery, I will explain..
Because of the cancer treatments and steroids they gave me, I got something called a vascular necrosis. Which essentially means my bones are dying. I have it in both my knees and my shoulder. In 2015, we had a bone graph done on my right knee. This winter, they did the exact same thing on my left knee. And then, my shoulder ended up collapsing so we had to replace it in 2016.
Back to the surgery update.. I have been doing well since surgery. I am on a pain plan to help combat surgery pain as well as my regular pain. Although, my foot and my ankle are pretty swollen. We talked to the doctor and we are elevating it in a different way now that should help as well as icing. If it gets worse though, we will go to the ER straight away. But as of right now, we are working with our first plan.
Another thing I wanted to say was thank you for all your guys constant prayers and support. I feel as your guys love! Thank you so so so much! PLEASE continue to pray for a speedy recovery and healing.
On July 7, 2017 I went to see Dr. Kam, the doctor who did my half shoulder replacement. I first want to say he is an amazing doctor and I am so thankful to him.
We talked about my range of motion since I last seen him, since I haven’t been in PT, he said it is better than last time. I wasn’t sure if it was because of not being in PT. We also talked about how long ago my surgery was, which is 1 year as of June 24. I am so proud of the progress I have made. We have now worked up to seeing him once a year, of course we can come in sooner if needed. Most of all, I am so proud of my progress. This surgery has taken away my pain, besides a little pain ever so often, and now I can move it without hurting. I thank my family for being by my side through all of this. I also thank God for helping make the decision to go forward with all of that as well as him put his hands on the nurses and surgeons.
Maybe by the next time I need another shoulder replacement, we will some new things we don’t have now..
On June 24,
I went to the DMV to take my permit test. I have taken before and failed by just a little bit, so I was so nervous and anxious. BUT GUESS WHAT!! I passed, I am so proud of myself. I really owe thanks to my family for believing in me, because I really wasn’t sure if I could do this..
Also, June 24th marked my one year after my shoulder replacement surgery. I am so thankful to Dr. Kam for all he has done for me. He is an amazing doctor. An I am so thankful to have had him as my doctor.
As of February 20th, it has been 4 years since my diagnosis of Pre-B cell ALL Leukemia.
I would like to thank my family for always being by my side fighting this battle with me. This diagnosis didnt onmy affect me, but the closest people around me as well.
I also want to thank God for guiding ne and giving me the strength to fight the battle.
Without God and my family by my side, I dont know how I would be able to handle this.