Love When You Least Expect It
April 21 is AML World Awareness Day. This day seeks to raise awareness about acute myeloid leukemia and to show support for all people and families affected by AML around the globe.
As most people can probably assume, going through cancer treatment is far from romantic. I can tell you, the last thing on your mind is looking for love. Although love is truly an unpredictable thing, it just happens. That is how it happened to me.
When I was 19, I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. It turned my world upside down. Cancer makes you want to curl up in a ball and stay there - at least that is how it made me feel. Being diagnosed in the middle of college put my entire life on pause. I was isolated from my friends, unable to take classes, and had to watch the rest of the people my age continue on with their lives while I fell behind.
As a result of having plenty of downtime on my hands, I spent much of my time scrolling through social media and stumbled upon an article of a man named Ryan who was diagnosed with the same cancer as me, who was the same age as me, and who was also a collegiate athlete. Right there I knew I had to reach out. Little did I know it would turn into something much more than social media friends.
Is it more?
When Ryan and I first started talking, it was really only about our cancer. We talked to each other about our diagnosis, our road maps, and how cancer had affected us physically, emotionally, and mentally. It was like a breath of fresh air having someone truly understand how you felt.
As we continued to talk, we found we were quite similar and compatible. Our dynamic began to shift after him and his mom came and visited me while I was in the hospital for my bone marrow transplant in November. Once I was out of isolation from my recovery, he invited me to watch his team play. That is when we realized this might be more than just a friendship.
Flower in the concrete
Ryan and I began to see each other more often, and as we did the connection we had grew deeper and deeper. It was no longer just about cancer, we barely talked about it anymore, we just loved being around each other and having endless conversations.
After a few months of getting to know each other, we started our relationship in March of 2020. Whenever we tell people how we met no one ever believes us (wonder why!) but we have been together for almost a year now. In retrospect, it truly is unbelievable we were brought to each other by coincidence and social media. Although as Ryan and I put it, it was the flower that grew through the concrete.
Editor’s note: We are extremely saddened to share that since the original writing of this article, Ryan has passed away. He is deeply missed.
Did you have to make diet changes after your blood cancer diagnosis?
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