In 2015 my daughter was diagnosed with the blood disease MDS and in the Fall of 2017 the MDS morphed into AML, an aggressive form of leukemia. She needed urgent treatment for this cancer, and had to undergo a Stem Cell Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT). A critical part of her treatment was the miraculous and perilous drug Prednisone.
After 3 months of hospitalization, there was another 2 1/2 months of critical after-care. Once discharged from the hospital, I took over the responsibility as her full time 24/7 caregiver.
As caregiver, my duties were informed by my love for my daughter and her family, and by my journey through my own life-threatening illness many years earlier.
When I was 25, I myself was diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome, an often terminal kidney illness.The first line of treatment —that same miraculous and perilous drug Prednisone— was tried and failed. Nevertheless, before there was any need for dialysis or a transplant, my four year illness and declining kidney function completely reversed itself My doctor called it a spontaneous remission, highly unusual for the type of kidney damage I had sustained. I called it a miracle.
The illness changed the course of my life for the better, enabling me to extract meaning from my difficulties. As caregiver, these early lessons kept me strong and made an invaluable contribution, helping me buoy my daughter’s spirits and helping me guide her to endure and to prevail.