On April 22, 2021, just two weeks after my 18th birthday and just 5 months after undergoing spinal fusion surgery to correct 45 and 46 degree curves from idiopathic scoliosis, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. The doctors allowed me to attend my senior prom on the 24th of April and on the 26th I checked into Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Two weeks after my treatments began, I began losing my hair and by week three, I made the decision to shave my head. On June 6, 2021, I gave my valedictorian address to my graduating class and openly talked about my diagnosis and its effects. I told the crowd that under my wig, my principal and I shared the same haircut!
The weeks ahead included many blood products and medicines to keep my levels in a safe range. I am currently in the consolidation phase of treatment and receiving chemo weekly. Because of an allergic reaction, I travel 3 times a week to Milwaukee to receive alternate medicine. My treatment is in Milwaukee, so my parents travel 164 miles round trip with each visit. I am anticipating starting college at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse to study biology with a biomedical concentration this fall. The distance from home and from Milwaukee will likely be difficult, but I am determined to fight this and win.
Emily’s Life List:
- MacBook Air laptop
- Shopping spree