Philippe Villemure      
Chronic myeloid leukemia

Philippe Villemure

Chronic myeloid leukemia

Quebec City QC

It’s important not to isolate yourself, to go to peer support group meetings and to eat healthy and exercise.

We all know that life is fragile. In just a moment, everything can change.

In the summer of 2005, I went to the doctor’s for a slew of alarming symptoms. But it wasn’t until April 2006 that I was diagnosed with a silent, insidious illness: chronic myeloid leukemia. The diagnosis came after a 15-day hospitalization, throwing a wrench into my plans and ambitions at a time when I had just finished my studies and gotten a job.

That day, my life was turned upside-down. After a blood test, I was hospitalized immediately. Suddenly, everything flew into a giant spiral: a mess of blood tests, white blood cells multiplying out of control, spleen swelling. The tests escalated into bone marrow aspirations.

My brother was not a match for a bone marrow transplant, so other care options were presented to me incredibly quickly. The doctors I saw were very competent and followed their protocols to a T. I was sent home with a diagnosis, appropriate and effective care and a solid medication plan. I was full of hope. Despite side effects like fatigue, I always take my medication “religiously,” because it allows me to move forward with my life.

You can’t heal all on your own, so you learn to trust your care team and, most importantly, to trust yourself. Because you’re the one most affected. You also learn to get informed about important resources like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada, to ask the right questions, to make informed decisions and to keep up with your medication and doctor’s appointments.

That’s how you learn to live with the illness and respect its limitations. It’s also important not to isolate yourself, to go to peer support group meetings and to eat healthy and exercise.

Now, fifteen years later, telling my story lets me see the enormous progress I’ve made in my recovery from leukemia.

And today, I’m able to enjoy all the great parts of life and do things that I love!

Philippe Villemure