Long Hair? Don’t Care!

Michelle beforeHi, my name is Michelle Rivera and I’m 14 years old. This is my story on how I’m winning my fight against cancer. I have APL Leukemia.

It started in the summer of 2012 when we went to Miami. I was always tired and had a lot of nose bleeds, sometimes they would last for up to an hour. During the first two weeks of school, I was getting a lot of headaches and was really tired. My mom thought I started looking yellow and pale and took me to a doctor. The doctor did a blood count test 3 times to make sure of the results and it was 4.6 so I was rushed to the emergency room where they tried to draw blood seven times and did not succeed. I cried a lot. The nurse then told my mom that we had to be rushed to Blank Children’s Hospital where the oncologist would be waiting. We got air lifted.

I was feeling awful. When we got there, I was put on oxygen in the ICU. They did an emergency bone marrow test because they couldn’t draw any blood. When the results came in, the doctor sat down and explained to me that I had no immune system and my bone marrow was full of cancer.

That’s when he said I have leukemia. I was in shock and said, “ok doctor, I have leukemia, so now let’s get rid of it.”

I asked him if I would lose my hair and he said yes, then I cried. I was in intensive care with oxygen for 3 weeks and had sores all around my mouth and my tongue and down my throat. I couldn’t talk for 2 weeks. I was on a feeding tube for 27 days. I lost my vision for 4 days and I was hallucinating all the time.

My mom never left my side. After 2 ½ months in the hospital they did another bone marrow test and I had no signs of cancer but I still have to do treatment for three years and my hair is growing back! YAY!

So now we stay at the Ronald McDonald House Monday through Friday because we live too far to travel every day to the hospital. My mom and I just love everyone at Ronald’s House, especially Brenda, Florence, Jack, Lynn, even Al! They are awesome!

Well that’s my story. Thank you all for your support.

Michelle 🙂
January 2013