I survived Leukemia, I will climb.
69 Flights I 1,356 Steps I 788 Ft. Vertical Elevation
Why am I climbing?
I am climbing because I am a Leukemia survivor. I was diagnosed with Leukemia on September 28th, 2012. My Leukemia is : (AMLM3APL) Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL) is a subtype and also referred as M3.
In the weeks leading to my diagnosis, I noticed symptoms but disregarded them as I need to work out more. I must be out of shape. In the week that I was diagnosed, my skin color was pale, my gums were bleeding, I had bruises all over my body and I felt weak when I tried to work hard. All of these symptoms were abnormal to me but it was the bruising everywhere that raised the biggest concern.
I went to urgent care at 10AM on 9/27/12 and had my blood levels checked. They said it would be several hours before I had my results. The waves were amazing so I surfed from noon until 230pm. I surfed ok that day but felt like I was slow to get up and my paddling felt weak. Once again, being out of shape came to mind. I got the phone call around 4pm. The news was: your white blood cells are 0.8 and they should be min. of 3.8 and your platelets are 7k and they should be min. of 150k, you need to got to the hospital immediately.
So I went home, took care of the dogs, prepared mentally for a long stay at the hospital and decided I would go in the morning. On 9/28/12 I went to the emergency room and my platelets had dropped from 7k to 4k. I was running on empty at this point. An immediate bone marrow biopsy was done, an oncologist was consulted and I was quickly diagnosed and admitted to the hospital.
I spent 12 days on the medical floor. I received continuous, intensive chemotherapy, no radiation needed. On 10/9/12 (day 12) I was supposed to go home but between the chemo and the leukemia, my body had enough. My liver and kidneys shut down, my intestines swelled to the point of several bowel obstructions, I had a fever, hypotension, blood levels were at an all time low. My next stop was ICU.
Things got heavy. My heart, my lungs and my brain were still working is what I told myself. All other systems weren't working. The doctors were afraid to give me intravenous nutrition because of risk for infection due to the WBC being so low. I was following the course of treatment and waiting for the body to show signs of recovery. This was the scariest time for me because I knew that the only control I had was to keep breathing on my own and avoid being intubated. I felt that once I was intubated, I would be sedated and I would have no conscious interaction or control over my life. My oncologist was very firm. Simply he said, Kino has to complete the treatment regardless of how bad things are, either the cancer will kill him or the chemo will. At this point I needed to start showing signs of improvement or it was believed that I might only have 1-2 days to live.
The first week in the ICU was the scariest for my family and friends. The doctors knew we had to eventually start emergency dialysis, I had to continue taking 9 pills orally twice per day during the entire time, and my body was going through major transformations. On 10/17/12 after 1 week in the ICU, I started having bowel sounds again, emergency dialysis was done daily, my NG tube was removed and I started to walk to the nurses station and back. I was released from the ICU on 10/25/12 and admitted to a medical floor. On 10/26/12 I went outside for the first time and got to see my dogs on 10/27/12. I got to go home on 10/29/12 after 29 days in the hospital and had just fought the biggest battle of my life.
I went in to the hospital weighing 180lbs, ballooned up to over 200lbs due to fluid retention, and came out at 155lbs with little to no muscle mass. I was alive and it was time to re-build. I followed the plans. I did outpatient dialysis and started producing my own urine by Thanksgiving. I went snowboarding on the first week of December. I was officially cleared from dialysis around Christmas and also went surfing for the first time that week. Every day had small accomplishments. I saw my oncologist and received treatments daily, then weekly and monthly. In May 2013 I went back to work after 8 months of my Leukemia journey.
I believe in medicine, I believe in the power of the mind, I believe in the power of positive thinking and healthy energy, I believe in proper nutrition and I believe in Leukemia research. My oncologist knew what I had, he knew the protocol and knew it was 90% effective since they started using it in the 1970's.
I am climbing because I have the health to do it. I am climbing in support of those who can't or have lost their battle. I am climbing because I want to help bring more awareness and support research for Leukemias.
Climb. Conquer. Cure.
Hello! I will be participating in the 28th annual LLS Firefighter Stairclimb on Sunday, March 10th in support of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Before I ascend the Columbia Center in downtown Seattle, WA, I will be raising funds throughout the season in the name of funding and finding a cure. Please consider making a donation to not only help me achieve my personal fundraising goal, but to benefit patients and their families everywhere.
What is the LLS Firefighter Stairclimb?
The LLS Firefighter Stairclimb is the world's largest on-air stair climb competition, and annual fundraiser held at the tallest building in town, the Columbia Center. All 2,000 participants are career or volunteer firefighters who will climb up the second tallest skyscraper west of the Mississippi in full turnout gear, weighing over 50 pounds, while on-air. Throughout the 69 flights of stairs, 1,356 steps, and 788 ft. of vertical elevation gain, we all remember that every step forward is representative of moving closer to a cure. Although this is an extreme test of physical endurance, it pales in comparison to what blood cancer patients endure. All proceeds raised directly benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and since its inception in 1991, this event has raised over $17 million thus far.
Thank you for your time, consideration, and sincere generosity. We climb because beating cancer is in our blood. Be Positive.
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