Dear Jack

Grace O

Active LifeList Participant

I’m Grace and I am 22 years old and was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in mid-January 2022. For a couple of months beforehand, I had been feeling what I now realize were symptoms of leukemia. The three biggest symptoms I had were fatigue, paleness, and

random bruising. However, I was in the thick of a college semester and gearing up for finals, so I easily chalked the fatigue up to that. The paleness was pointed out to me by my mom a few times, but again, I was in the middle of my hardest semester and thought it had to do with being inside too much. Again, since cancer was the last thing I was thinking of, I blamed the random bruising on being clumsier than I realized. Then, I tried to donate blood before Christmas and my hematocrit level was not only too low to donate, but low enough that the worker was concerned for me. Still not thinking cancer, I bought some iron supplements and carried on. Over the next few weeks, my fatigue got bad enough that I needed to sit anytime I went upstairs to my room and could barely go on the walk that I usually did daily. Finally, my mom put a stop to it and made me get my bloodwork done. Immediately after seeing the results, my primary care physician made an appointment for me to get my bone marrow checked out and I was diagnosed with leukemia on January 14th. When the oncologist called with my diagnosis, he let me know not just that I have cancer, but that he highly recommended going to the hospital to start treatment that night. Within an hour after talking to him, I was checking into the emergency room at Cincinnati Children’s with my mom and then-fiance (now husband – we pulled a wedding off in the middle of this) to start a 33 day stay. We found out that my bone marrow had been almost completely full of leukemia and the cancer had also spread to my spinal fluid. The first month of treatment was called “induction,” where I stayed inpatient to receive intravenous steroids and chemo as well as chemo in my spine through lumbar punctures. After that month, I began the “consolidation” phase which was primarily outpatient and I now am wrapping up “interim maintenance” which has had 4, four day hospital stays.


Grace’s LifeList:

  1. A trip to California with her husband

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