Surreal is the word I use to describe all of the things going on in my life today. Cancer, bone marrow and cord blood transplant, fundraising, etc. Every day I live my life, leukemia or not, heading to transplant or not, I am living it and it feels like every day life to me now, but to the outside world it is not normal. Every now and then I think about it in different ways or just realize how surreal it is.
For instance it is surreal to walk into your daughters school and while checking her into the computer look down and see a flyer advertising a spaghetti dinner, and see your families photo on the bottom of it. To have a full front page article written about you and your struggle with leukemia and fighting to bring awareness to how important it is to be a bone marrow donor. Yes, there was this article, it was written in the Rome, NY Sentinel and published today, my mom called tonight to read me bits and pieces. I will publish link when it is up online. To go to the transit site and see the appeal letter that was written and being sent out for you. To be out with your family at Lowe's doing a fun kids building activity and have someone compliment your hair and ask where you get it done. The compliment is not surreal, telling her that it is a wig is, and the look on her face, being honest and open about cancer and the effects it has on our life, how it is effecting us, our friends, our families, etc. is all surreal.
Reading this appeal letter written on my behalf, and realizing they are talking about me, totally surreal. As I said I have been living what I am going through and it just seems like a part of my life and we have gotten used to the tests, hospitals, etc. But when put into perspective like below, it just takes it to a whole different level.
Kimberly Russo is fighting for her life.
In 2007, Kimberly and her family received devastating news when she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Kimberly, a devoted wife and mother of three, had a life she loved. She was determined to fight her disease, and after treatments went into remission. Kimberly and her family were thankful for her recovery, and she made a conscious effort to live each day to the fullest. Now, two years later, her cancer has returned. Doctors have told Kimberly a bone marrow transplant is her only hope for a second chance at life.
Despite her struggles, 35-year-old Kimberly is optimistic about the future. She looks forward to the lifesaving transplant that will allow her more time with her family. Kimberly and her husband, Steven, would like nothing more than to grow old together and watch their children grow up. But they need your help.
Unfortunately, Kimberly’s dream of a new life comes at a very high price.
A bon marrow transplant costs approximately $675,000. And that’s only the beginning. Even with health coverage, Kimberly will face significant medical expenses. She will require costly follow-up care and medications, which are as critical to her survival as the transplant itself. Because the transplant center is 220 miles from her home, Kimberly will incur substantial travel and temporary housing expenses as she goes through treatment and recovery. Her family will relocate to Tampa for several months to be near the transplant center, further adding to their financial strain.
What if your life depended on the compassion and generosity of others?
he National Foundation for Transplants (NFT) is working with volunteers and supporters to help relieve the growing burden of expenses for Kimberly and her family. NFT has been assisting transplant patients with advocacy and fundraising support for 26 years. Your gift—of $25, $50, $100 or more—will enable NFT to provide Kimberly with the financial support she desperately needs.
You can help by visiting www.transplants.org/donate/kimberlyrusso to make a secure online donation. You can also mail your check to NFT, 5350 Poplar Avenue, Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. Please make your check payable to NFT Florida Bone Marrow Fund, and write “In honor of Kimberly Russo” on the memo line.
If you have any questions about NFT, feel free to contact the NFT staff at 800-489-3863.
So even though all of this seems like a dream, like I am looking at it from the outside in, it is really happening to us and even today while it is happening and in the future after it is all over, I look at it and just can not wrap my head around it. I am in awe of the knowledge of the medical professionals who are doing all they can to cure me, in awe of all the love and support we have received and still are, in awe of my strength sometimes to endure all of this and keep on fighting, even though it does not seem like fighting, as cancer is not an option for me and I will get past this.
I hope when all of this is over and I am healing to be able to take my knowledge and what I learned through cancer and turn it around and help others, I have always known I was given cancer for a reason, I don't understand the entire reason yet, maybe one day I will.
I do know being a mom and wife every day is real. As I prepare to have my transplant, I am still doing carline, diapers, cooking and cleaning and being mom. And of course, one of my favorite things - taking some photos of my family.