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frederick_design's picture

frederick_design

Fighter: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

38 Year Old Male

Hayward, CA

Get and/or give support


2013

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Stage: Recurring


frederick_design's picture

frederick_design

Fighter: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

38 Year Old Male

Hayward, CA

Get and/or give support


2013

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Stage: Recurring


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I am a Fighter

I am a graphic designer, photographer, and had just graduated from nursing school at San Francisco State University. I am happily married for nearly three years to my husband with whom I've been in a loving relationship for more than ten years. Though I had to take a year off... [Read More]


Treatment Information 

Stage of Treatment

Currently in treatment

Treatment Types:

Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant

Bone Marrow Biopsy

Chemotherapy

Immunotherapy

Lumbar Puncture

Radiation Therapy

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Hospital:

N/A

Side Effect:

Chemobrain

Depression

Fatigue/Weakness

Appetite Loss

Headaches

Infertility

Insomnia

Light-headed

Mood changes

Neuropathy

Oral Problems

Sexual Complications

Body Aches

Decreased Lung Capacity

Seizures

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Discussions (3)

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IHC Blog Posts (1)



An Ode to Fellow Cancer Warriors & Survivors

March 22nd, 2016

tonight, i sleep tight
humbled
inspired
liberated from self-pity
knowing that my story
isn’t mine alone.
there are others;
others who have been through
the same sufferings
the same epiphanies.
more or less?
it doesn’t matter.
comparison is an obsolete concept
in the world of survivors
cancer warriors.
to the exceptional beings
who appeared out of the blue
with open arms
bearing their stories
resembling mine
but uniquely their own:
THANK YOU.

by Frederick Ferrer-Miller

Comment (0)


Depression almost pushing you to the edge too?

February 5th, 2016

I've been feeling depressed lately, moreso than I did during my first year of fight with cancer. I've always been a naturally gleeful person, so before cancer hit me, I always thought that I would be depression-proof. Fighting cancer the second time around, after the stem cell transplant, proves to be more challenging...way more challenging. I'm not allowed to work or take the nursing licensure exam yet. I worked really hard to graduate from nursing school in a university all the while fighting this disease. I even graduated magna cum laude. With my previous graphic design and photography professional experience, I accept as much gigs that I can do in bed and around my symptoms to have some source of income, no matter how inadequate.

It's during this recovery period from my stem cell transplant that I first experienced having suicidal thoughts...probably caused by the combination of my many meds, hormone depletion after many radiations and stem cell transplant from my sister, and not being able to move on with making my ambitions (that I worked so very hard on in spite of medical challenges) finally happen.

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Dreams Being Delayed by Cancer

January 7th, 2016

One of the most difficult challenges that cancer has caused me is it has repeatedly put my dreams on hold without leaving me much choice. I was 28 years old when I decided to change my career to Registered Nursing. It had been a long process, especially for me. My illness and treatments has me lagged behind two cohorts of former classmates in pursuing our dreams of becoming full fledged nurses no matter how hard and persistently I worked. These, I realized, are what have been the cause of my lowest days.

I was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in the summer of 2013 during my school break from nursing school at San Francisco State University. I had to take a year off to allow for several month-long inpatient chemotherapy treatments for a year. As soon as I was done with treatments and was considered on remission, I worked right away on going back to the university and picking up where I left off my studies to become a nurse.

The first semester I was back went really smoothly health-wise. The next, which was my last semester as well before graduating, had been shaky to say the least. Halfway through that final semester, I had my very first seizure while I was working in a hospital as part of my final training in nursing school. That's when the doctors found out that there were leukemia cells in my cerebrospinal fluid, even though I received many doses of prophylactic intrathecal chemotheraphy during my first year of treatments. I was then referred to another hospital for stem cell transplant, radiation, and more chemotherapy (both systemically and in the central nervous system). I had to work extra hard to finish my school requirements all the while I had to be in hospitals for more than a week or so, while experiencing side effects from the new intrathecal chemo I was receiving at the time, and to make time for several clinic appointments in preparation for my stem cell transplant. I also had to work with my new oncologist with scheduling so I could finally graduate from nursing school. Then in May, I finally graduated Magna Cum Laude! That was the highlight of my life in 2015.

Right after graduation, my classmates were rushing to take and pass the national nursing licensure exam, while I did not have any choice but to take it after my stem cell transplant. Most of them are full fledged nurses now working in hospitals while I am currently in a long recovery from the transplant. My oncologist advised me that the earliest I can take the licensure exam is in March of this year, and we haven't discussed yet when it would be safe for me to work as a nurse. These restrictions on my endeavors to finally have a rewarding professional career can oftentimes make me feel depressed. I also have a major dilemma of whether it would be best to leave off my long battle with cancer during my job interviews in the future as it would make me seem like a liability of an employee, while opening up about it could make seem more competent than my peers as my extensive experience as a cancer patient has truly taught me a lot of things about nursing. Things that my classmates and peers never had the chance to learn from nursing school alone. This experience has also made me more aware of patients' needs. I can speak through experience, not just from what I learned from books, what to expect during many different procedures and tests.

No matter how scary, painful, and challenging all my treatments and tests have been, nothing compares to the pain I feel about being left behind because of things I have no control over. I'm not the kind to usually resort to self-pity, but this illness and its treatments are strong enough that I feel an emotion that I've always avoided feeling: that life has been especially unfair to me. Has anyone else had the same experience and faced the same dilemma?

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