Here's How I Fought (And Still Fight) My Rare GIST Cancer

Today is GIST Awareness Day; a rare sarcoma cancer of stromal tumors that can affect the soft tissue of any organ in the Gastrointestinal Tract. However, it'll take a lot more than that to stop Kaylee, who's become an active blogger since her diagnosis.

Cancer: the big C.

It seems as if cancer is everywhere and has the ability to touch everything we know. My life completely changed when I was told the words "you have cancer." When those words were spoken, cancer crept into my life and made its home. Cancer devoured my future plans. Cancer laughed at my worries. Cancer turned my world upside down.

Three and a half years ago, I was a 26 year old sitting on my living room couch when my breath was taken away. I was hit with a bomb, totally unprepared and vulnerable. I was buried under a pile of what ifs, unknowns, and fears. I listened to my parents uncontrollably sob while holding each of their hands. Three and a half years ago I tried to reassure my younger sisters I was strong, that being told I had cancer wouldn’t hurt me. I remember lying in bed, holding my husband’s hand, tossing and turning for hours with haunting dreams preventing any amount of sleep.

Since that, my life was consumed by, and is now sprinkled with, visits to the Mayo Clinic for CT scans, blood draws, and doctor visits. My diet consists of leafy greens, green juice, and more leafy greens. My dessert is a chemotherapy pill every night. My immune system is low and there are times I could sleep for weeks. My cancer, GIST, [Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor], is rare, and my future is, at times, uncertain.

However, I consider myself one of the lucky ones.

I’m lucky to have my chemotherapy pill, Gleevec, which works for my battle. I’m lucky to have a support team at the Mayo Clinic, researching, learning, and developing new, better treatment plans. I’m lucky to have loved ones to lean on, when there are days that are too hard to stand on my own.

Since that bomb was dropped on my living room couch, I have learned how to climb out of the rubble pile of negatives. I have learned tears are okay, anger is okay, fears are okay, and not having a plan is okay. I have learned to meet each waking day with gratitude and appreciation. I have learned everybody is fighting a battle of his or her own. I have learned to ask for help. I have learned I will get through tough times and years to come, because I will.

I will not let cancer win. I will not let it destroy my hopes of being a mother. I will not let it snicker at my worries. I will not let it capture my peaceful mind. I will not let it breathe. Or, simply put, I will fight like hell until I can’t anymore.

So, here’s to you, fighters and survivors. We’re in this together and we’re not going to let it win.

Want to read more by Kaylee? Check out her blog at The Gist of Life.

Photo courtesy of Author.