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  • Writer's pictureEmily Sandusky

Cancer in the words of a 4x Leukemia survivor - by Emily Sandusky

PIcture of Emily a cancer survivor who is thriving in her life

Emily Sandusky is a 4x Leukemia survivor. She's a former Special Education teacher and author of Hope Triumphs ALL. She's an independent consultant with a holistic health, skin, and beauty company where she helps people discover the powerful connection between mind, body, skin, and soul.

Hi! I am Emily Sandusky! I am a 4x Leukemia survivor.

Cancer is one loaded word that can be described by a million other words, perspectives, emotions, feelings, frustrations, worries, doubts, confusion, and overwhelm. A word that no one wants to be applied to their life. A word that often leads to, “Why me?”.

My cancer story starts when I was first diagnosed with Leukemia in kindergarten when I was 5 years old. I didn’t understand the severity of it all. I knew it meant a lot of “pokes” and throwing up! At the time anti-nausea medicine and ports were not a thing. The perks were I missed a lot of school, got chips from the vending machine, spend time with my mom, and extra attention. After two years I was done with chemo.

When I was 11 years old, I relapsed. As a middle schooler, I was embarrassed and self-conscious to lose my hair. I hated people looking at me wondering what was wrong with me and missing sports and friends. I did my best to continue life - going to school, planning chemo around tests, spending time with friends, and playing soccer. Two more years of chemo and into remission.

When I was a junior in high school, 17 years old, about to be a starter on the varsity soccer team, l relapsed again. This time severe hip pain led to the discovery that Leukemia was back. It felt like my world was shattering around me. I was playing the best soccer of my life, surrounded by incredible friends, and loving life…and then this! Cancer! I was angry and frustrated and disappointed and couldn’t believe I had to go through this again! I had a stem cell transplant, responded great, and back into remission I went.

During my freshman year in college at Northwestern University, 19 years old, I relapsed again. The 4th and final time having Leukemia. Two more years of chemo and anti-body treatment and I was back in remission. This time was different. My body really struggled. I had an infection in my face that quickly spread throughout my body. A reaction to a medication caused severe diarrhea and I lost 30 pounds in a few weeks. I had a neurological reaction to a medication that left me not remembering a whole week of my life. It was scary!

Through it all I knew I was going to make it. I knew there was a bigger plan for me.

I have been cancer free for 21 years! I deal with some late effects like being infertile and having a type of arthritis called Avascular Necrosis which has led to 4 joint replacements and cataracts. My husband Ryan and I live in Colorado with our 7-year-old identical twin boys! I have a business where I get to educate & empower people to take care of their bodies, feel their best, and create a life they love full of joy, abundance, and health.

I would never wish cancer upon anyone, however, I am grateful for the perspective, purpose, and connections it has given me. I wrote a book called Hope Triumphs ALL to give other people the extra courage and strength they need to get through their own challenges and obstacles. Stay tuned for a children’s book that is in the works!

We don’t know how many days we are going to get, so live every day with an open heart, love fiercely, and live life to the fullest…it is meant to be enjoyed!


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