April Jakubauskas
April Jakubauskas

5 Worries I Will Leave Behind During the Climb
Thursday, February 16
Before I leave to hike the long awaited journey up the majestic Mt Kilimanjaro, I was asked what worries I might leave behind.
 
I really need to think about this because it's very hard for me to let go of worry. The worries I had before diagnosis were big at the time: Will I be able to pay my mortgage this month? Will my father be okay alone since losing my mother to cancer 14 years ago? How can I generate more business at my barber shop?
 
After my diagnosis of multiple myeloma with secondary plasma cell leukemia, all of my past worries meant nothing – nothing at all. Those worries were replaced with: Will I live? Will I survive the many treatments? Will they find a stem cell donor so that I can continue living? What kind of life will I have? Who will care for me? Will I ever do anything that gives me joy or happiness again? I went to bed with those worries and with what little sleep I could manage I woke up with my fists clenched with anxiety thinking those thoughts again.
 
That started September 25, 2012. And today, I am here to write about the worries I will leave behind as I climb a 20,000-foot mountain...IN AFRICA!
 
I'm still here!
 
And as good fate, faith, amazing doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a selfless stem cell donor from Germany will have it, I am here, I am alive, I'm engaged to a beautiful woman AND I've been chosen and sponsored by Takeda Oncology, CURE® Magazine and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation to hike a mountain with five other hard core, life-loving, enthusiastic multiple myeloma patients. I am honored to be amongst these life-loving individuals, and as long as we are together facing this glorious once-in-a-lifetime climb, I will leave behind my worries of doctor appointments, blood tests, test results and questions of who will care for me and how long I have.
 
I will replace it with love, gratitude and peace in my heart.
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