It was 2 years ago on December 31st when 34 year old Kristen Comer received the devastating news that she had Chronic Myeloid Leukemia.
“I said, ‘okay, I’ll be on chemo, when are we going to start’ and he said, you know, ‘this is the type of chemotherapy you’ll be on.’ And my husband said, ‘it’s chronic, so she’ll be on it forever.’ And I said, ‘forever?’ It was kind of like a moment you never forget,” Comer recalls.
Since there is no cure, Comer can manage the disease through her chemotherapy. And she says she’s thankful for the routine physical she had just 6 weeks prior to the diagnosis.
“I definitely think that that visit and that routine physical and having a responsive physician, knowing when it was time to refer me over to an oncologist, it absolutely saved my life.”
That life-saving decision has her dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of having a yearly physical.
“I understood the importance, I just didn’t ever think that it would be that important in my own life.”
“It is very important to get the diagnosis very quick. It makes a difference to protect the patient from other side effects like clots, dizziness and bleeding sometimes,” says Comer’s Oncologist, Dr. Nameer Mardini of Swedish American Hospital.
Despite her difficult situation, Kristen is maintaining a positive outlook on life.
“I think trying to be positive and focusing on the blessings that are here instead of focusing on what I might miss out on is absolutely key.”