This is the story of Britt Hemsell
Country: United States
- September 18, 2023

My 20 Year CML Journey

I was diagnosed with CML March 19, 2004 at age 34, three weeks after routine blood work from an annual physical came back with an abnormally high white count. My family and I’s world would never be the same. I had an almost 2 yr old at the time, and blessed with a supportive husband, good insurance, and lots of friends and family that rallied while I went through the worst of getting acclimated to the 400mg Gleevec daily pill I now had to take. Side effects were the worst in the first few months and subsided as new ones took their place. While none were fun to go through, I am thankful they were tolerable, and I was still able to function while looking after a toddler. I found holistic ways to manage my side effects and went FISH negative in 6 months, and then got PCR negative confirmation at my two year visit. I took Gleevec for 12 1/2 years and remained PCR negative when I convinced my oncologist to back me up in attempting to stop the TKI as I was a perfect candidate. I stopped on my birthday in November 2016 and have successfully been able to remain PCR negative the past 7 years and about to achieve my 20th year cancerversary of my diagnosis.

I’m not going to lie, it has been a journey, and still is. Even though off the TKI now healing my gut and body has been a slow process. I remember a time when I didn’t know if I would see my baby grow up. I’m so proud as he is now about to graduate college in the Spring. I have considered myself blessed and thankful to be in a position to give back all these years. Helping others along the way where I can, advocating and educating, as I know there are many that still suffer harsh side effects, are misunderstood, have disease progression, and still die from CML. Knowing what healthy survivorship as a CML patient is, tapping into resources, and figuring out how to get there and embrace it with gratitude for life are all part of the journey.

Many healing blessing to all.

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