On November 3rd, 2014 I was admitted to Tucson Medical Center for a “Chronic Migraine.” As I left my house, I left with every intention of being back home within a night, two nights tops. When I walked out the door I didn’t know that it would be the last time I could breathe in fresh air for nearly a month. I was clueless to how much it meant to me to drive past the Catalina Foothills mountains every morning. As they locked a band around my wrist, I thought later that week I would be back to failing precalculus and dreading the long bus ride to our playoff game.
The first night went just as planned. attached to monitors, blood pressure checks etc. The next morning was I forced to face my biggest fear; needles. With an IV in my arm I was pushed off to into an MRI machine. They took blood, and then came back and took blood again, I was confused, but not enough so to question what was happening. Later that night I strapped into a gurney and being forced into an ambulance. When we arrived at Diamond Children’s everything changed; everyone knew…everyone except me.
The next morning, a bone marrow biopsy would confirm that I have Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a blood disease that is extremely rare in children and must be treated aggressively with chemotherapy and a possible bone marrow transplant. Blindsided is an understatement. As I began to have a migraine attack from the overwhelming amounts of shock they injected morphine into my IV which would end up making me more sick. Suddenly, my hospital detor turned into what seemed like a never ending black hole. School, my senior year, football, training, all of it; ripped out of my hands.
500 children are diagnosed with AML every year, There are less than a thousand children battling AML in America. AML is uncommon in people under the age of 45. AML is more common in men than women. 3 out of 4 childhood leukemia cases are ALL, the remaining is mostly AML. The survival rate for AML is 50-70%. There are hardly any clinical trials for AML because it does not affect as many children as ALL. On November 5th, 2014 my life became a numbers game, I was forced to put my trust in people who had given me no reason to trust them, I lost control, I lost my senior year, I lost my life. But I gained strength, willpower, and maturity.
I will never truly understand why I was given AML, I will never get back the things I’m losing, but I will fight and because of that, I will be stronger, and I will impact the world. Since being diagnosed with AML I have learned so much about myself. My name is Kelsey Taylor Luria and I am more than cancer.