I have been on Gleevec since October of 2001 and I have to say my life has changed in profound ways.
I went from being an energetic mom of 3 who worked full time at an airline career that began 24 years ago. I was a fixture at the gym and crammed each minute with non-stop activity. That changed in 2001.
I traded in uniforms and business attire for comfort clothes. I could no longer keep pace with the meetings and travel commitments of my job. My travel now includes only visits to Dana-Farber and my time away from home is dictated by my energy level, nausea, diarrhea and heartburn. My appointments to get my hair done, a manicure, pedicure and facial have been replaced with appointments with my local oncologist for blood work, ultrasounds, etc., as well as counseling sessions.
But as life has presented this challenge I am thankful to be at such peace and to recognize the several layers of silver lining. I had never been a stay-at-home mom and I have loved being there when my 3 boys 17, 16 and 8 wake up, to make them breakfast, see them off to school and be there when they get home!
My career brought me from Los Angeles to Atlanta and I miss the beach but found I love the trees! I love the changing of the seasons! I love to sip coffee on winter mornings by the fire with my 2 dogs nearby as I read or write in my journal! I have loved watching my son during autumn chasing leaves and catching them before they touch the ground. He calls them magic leaves and makes a wish before giving me each one. I have a beautiful vase that contains all of my magic leaves and I know that each one represents love and wishes from my son for his mom to survive cancer.
I am thankful for the many blessings that have occurred in my life. My parents re-located from California and live right around the block! I am blessed with friends that I’ve had for over 30 years who send sweet cards and gifts. I attend church more often and have made new friends. I am thankful for the Gleevec that appeared right when I needed it! And for the right doctors at the right time at the right facilities! And for the insurance to cover the expenses of this catastrophic disease!
I am at peace much more of the time, rather than feeling like I am part of the daily rat race. It has been so nice to slow down and to appreciate each day and celebrate each holiday and birthday. Each one is so much more meaningful. It is my hope that even if I don’t survive GIST, that my family and friends know that I have had the best times of my life with them.