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My AML Patient Workshop Experience

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Here's what I was asked during an AML patient workshop...

image of Alan Katz

Recently, I participated in an Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) patient workshop sponsored by a pharmaceutical company. They hope to be running a clinical trial next year for a new therapy they are developing. Two of the questions they asked were thought provoking and they made me pause and think very hard.

The first question asked was, "What does it feel like living with AML?" Living with a cancer that has no cure and can easily recur is a huge burden. I always feel like there is a grand piano floating over my head. You can’t always see it but it is always there and you never know when it will come crashing down on your head. Instead of worrying about it falling on my head, I choose to look forward to a future full of good health and happiness.

The second question asked was, "What effect has AML had on my life?" The first thoughts that rushed through my mind were all negative. This cancer has stolen many of years of my life. I think about the negative toxic effects the chemo has had on my body as well as my mind.

When I pause and think for a few minutes, I realize that this cancer has also had some positive effects on my life, too. I have become a more caring and compassionate human being. It has brought my family closer together. I have more empathy for others who are suffering like myself. I also feel compelled to volunteer and help other AML patients who are currently going through the same things as I have already experienced.

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