Sarah's Story

Bonnie Schuman
Last Modified: May 25, 1997

What happens to a young woman with dreams of becoming pregnant, when she walks out of a fertility doctor's office with a diagnosis of Leukemia instead of a baby? She falls apart emotionally . Her life takes on an entirely different course. Until that awful moment in time, Sarah describes her life as perfect. Both her husband, Roger's, and her career were going well. No matter how busy, every week, they set aside at least one evening to go on a date with each other. Life was good. Sarah completed the last class she needed for her degree in journalism and now Sarah and Roger were going to have a baby.

CML Leukemia. Without a bone marrow transplant Sarah's expected survival could be as brief as three to four years. With a bone marrow transplant, Sarah will likely become infertile. From the beginning, Roger has been an incredible support to Sarah, but the shock, grief, and fear she experienced with the diagnosis called for additional help. Her physician suggested The Wellness Community. Coming to The Wellness Community was one of the most difficult things Sarah had ever done. The words, "I have cancer," were and still are almost impossible for her to say. However, the first evening Sarah came to The Wellness Community and talked about her Leukemia, a young man in the orientation group began to cry. When he explained that Sarah's words brought him back to when he was first diagnosed, Sarah realized that finally she found someone who knew exactly what she was going through and that being with people who understood took away some of the pain. She immediately joined a support group and was amazed how quickly she bonded with other cancer patients. Roger also found comfort in The Wellness Community family support group with other family members. According to Sarah, Roger is her pillar, and The Wellness Community is holding them both up.

Sarah is learning from her group members techniques to help herself, ways to partner with her physicians, the importance of her attitude, and that a lot of people love her and are rooting for her. She describes the people at The Wellness Community as courageous, amazing people who keep her on focus and don't allow her to become short-sighted Sarah has found the support she needs to deal with today and to face what's ahead tomorrow. She is terrified about the upcoming bone marrow transplant. But surrounded by the love of her husband, her family and her support group, Sarah has completed a process of harvesting eggs and storing embryos, so that when she is two years past her bone marrow transplant, Sarah and Roger can pick up her lives where they left off and have the baby of their dreams.

Next month, Sarah will travel to Seattle for her bone marrow transplant. She will take with her all that she has learned at The Wellness Community. Sarah says she wishes she could be the last person to need to walk through the doors of The Wellness Community in search of support. Unfortunately people continue to be diagnosed with cancer every day and Sarah says if she knew someone with cancer, she would not only recommend The Wellness Community, she would drive them there.


Cancer on Your Own Terms
by Bob Riter
October 29, 2014