Beating leukemia to the ground is one thing; surviving the nasty side effects that linger for many years, possibly forever, can be daunting.
I've cataloged my own complaints: destroyed tear glands, three tooth extractions, melanoma surgery on cheek and ankle, leukemia cutis, neuropathy, weakness, loss of most muscle, extreme gvh of the skin and a touch in the liver; psychological issues. Forgive me if I've left anything out.
I have two friends who've made it past the so-called 5-year mark. (I'll be there in 3 months). One friend is suffering the debilitating side effects of prednisone withdrawal. We are as weak as newly born birds. She has gvh of the lungs, which makes it even worse. Another friend has lost 11 teeth to the treatment of the disease and will be getting dentures. She's had cancer of the tongue and mouth. Due to our toxic treatment, we are at risk for secondary cancers.
We manage to live the lives that were given back to us wisely if not as well as we'd like.
Not all leukemia survivors face these issues. Some return to productive lives, which for me would be having a job. Not dying is good.
And then there are several I've known who haven't survived. My heart continues to go out to their families.