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KEARCHER COOKIES FOR A CAUSE

9/5/2019 | Tracy Kearcher

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On March 22, 2017 my life as I knew it, changed overnight. I had been experiencing a horrible tooth infection, night sweats, and difficulty breathing when I would exercise. The poor dentist at Zahner Dental here in town (Ellington, Ct) recommended a trip to the Hartford Hospital emergency room. Less than twentyfour hours later, I was undergoing chemotherapy for Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a form of blood CANCER! It all happened so fast that it didn’t hit me that I, a healthy, active, thirty-four-year-old, mother of two young children had a blood cancer. It wasn’t until I was about to go back into the hospital for the second round of chemotherapy since the first one wasn’t fully effective, that I realized how scared I really was! Not only did I have Leukemia, but I had a strain that was known to be resistant to chemotherapy. At this time my family and I decided to seek treatment at Dana Farber in Boston. Friends and family came out of the woodwork! The website that my husband and his sister set up to keep everyone informed quickly had over 200 members and was growing daily.

Neighbors were making dinners for my husband and kids and I was greeted daily with multiple cards and get-well gifts. My name was added to prayer lists all over the United States as well as here at St. Luke’s in Ellington, Ct.

I ended up going through two rounds of chemotherapy and unfortunately still wasn’t in remission. This was by far the scariest time in my entire life. I had so much to live for, dying at the age of 35 with a husband and my two young kids just wasn’t an option. I though why God? Why me?

Finally, some good news came when my sister was a perfect match for a bone marrow transplant which was the only option I had left! On June 16, 2017 I once again entered the hospital to start the conditioning chemotherapy for a Stem Cell Transplant. One of the worst parts of undergoing all the chemotherapy sessions was being away from my kids and home for over thirty days each time. I have also never been poked and prodded so much or undergone so many tests and taken so many pills. I felt like a human pin cushion! My mind and body will never be the same. The three rounds of chemotherapy and the transplant saved my life but left me with many emotional and physical scars. I now have Graft vs Host Disease in my eyes. I wear glasses and have times when my eyes burn and are extremely dry and blurry. I have Osteoporosis due to the Chemotherapy regimens and experienced a compression fracture in my back over the winter from coughing to hard from a cold. My body aches every morning. I tease my husband and parents saying that, “I may only be 36 but I feel like I am 66”.

Many positive things did come out of this horrific experience. I have a new-found love of life, my friends and family (my parents, sister, in laws and sister in law are and have been amazing) and a stronger faith in God than ever. I take each and every day as a gift and never let the “why me moments” “and this stinks attitude” last for more than a day or a few hours. I know now life can literally change overnight, and I also never realized how many people were affected by cancer.

While confined at home with a compromised immune system, I started to craft and bake again and take online cookie decorating classes. I found it to be a great distraction from all the stress of being ill and a lot of fun. One night as I was laying in my bed I had a great idea. I could sell my decorated homemade sugar cookie and a percentage of the sales could go towards supporting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This is how I started Kearcher Cookies for A Cure. I love being creative and staying active.

Now two years later I continue to spread Leukemia Awareness and fundraise for All Cancers! You can find Kearcher Cookies For A Cure on Facebook and once a month at The Ellington Farmers Market!

Thank you for all the love and support!!

Love, Tracy Kearcher

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