How One Woman Faced Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia and the Unknown

What do you do when you are facing the unknown? We all have to at some point. And many of us will face the unknown while sitting in a doctor’s office, waiting for the results of a test or scan to come back. When faced with potentially life-altering news, some people cower in fear. Some lash out and attack. Some take it quietly. Some will try to talk their way out of it.

As she writes about in a post for the International Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia Foundation, Wanda Huskins had to face the unknown on several different fronts throughout her diagnosis and treatment for Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia (WM). And she didn’t back down or give up.

Wanda was a seemingly happy and healthy middle-aged woman when a routine physical exam led her doctor to recommend an ultrasound. The results of that ultrasound caused a whirlwind of further tests, scans, and truckloads of uncertainty. Eventually, Wanda was diagnosed with Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia.

This extremely rare form of cancer came out of nowhere. Wanda was healthy; she didn’t have any symptoms that pushed her to see her doctor. However, the months that it took to properly diagnose Wanda’s Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia saw her struggling with how to face the unknown. At first, she thought she had pancreatic cancer, but the surgical biopsy proved what it was.

Wanda was fortunate that she had a job as a nurse and was covered for medical issues. However, the hospital where she worked was looking at possibly downsizing her department. Again, Wanda has to face uncertainty, this time of the financial variety.

Her first round of chemotherapy, which her doctor described as “chemo light” had no effect on her cancer. A more aggressive attempt yielded much better results. Shortly thereafter, Wanda’s department at the hospital was downsized. She stayed on a bit longer, working outside her specialty.

On the day she turned 62, she retired and applied for alternate medical insurance to cover the cost of her continual care. Fortunately, her husband was there for her every step of the way. Their retirement plans had to be downsized as well, but that unknown was easier to face than the cancer and the bills.

Today, Wanda and her husband are traveling the country in an RV seeing the wonderful unknown that surrounds them. We could all learn from Wanda’s strength in the face of everything that has tried to slow her down.

Read her complete blog post on the IWMF by clicking here.

To find out more about this rare cancer, check out our partner the IWMF.

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