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Survivor Story: Dusty Rees

Posted by Pete Visintin on


Written by Dusty Rees

Contributed by Michelle Wiley


My story begins on June 6th, 2012 when I made a trip to the hospital because of some health issues I had been having.  My test results revealed that I needed a bone marrow biopsy.  Within two hours we were told my marrow was positive for leukemia.  


I was then admitted to Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, IL.  It took about four days to figure out the subtype of leukemia I had so the doctors could determine my chemo regiment. 



Leukemia is a very fast paced cancer and must be treated aggressively.  It made me very sick, gave me lesions all over my body, black eyes without reason, and I lost all of my hair.  


This was not the end of my struggle though.  I still had 4 more rounds of chemo to go, called "Consolidation Chemo."  It's like a maintenance level dose.  During my treatment I was very ill and in and out of the hospital with fevers and sickness they couldn't diagnose. 


This made life very difficult for me and my family.  Shots everyday, bloodwork every other,  and lots of blood and platelet transfusions may things almost unbearable.  


I remember my last bag of chemo that year.  They kept me in the hospital until Christmas Eve to prevent any further illness from going home.  I thought I was finished with chemo.  I still had appts every week, then every other week and eventually once a month. 


In total I had 7 bone marrow biopsies.  6 of them detected no leukemia cells but not number 7.  Biopsy Number 7 showed 17% leukemia cells which meant a relapse.  


Now what?  My world was crushed all over again.  How could this be happening to me? And happening on June 6, 2014 exactly 2 years later.  This time my battle is a little different.  Not only have I gone through the first round of chemo, but this time I will require a bone marrow transplant. 


I am scared.  I will have a whole new team of doctors treating me, and the process of recovery is on the over 3 months.  That's such a long time to be so sick and vulnerable.  Such a long time to lose my independence, such a long time for someone else to raise my children. 


My only hope is God, and the many prayers and all the love and support I've been shown by so many friends and family and even strangers.   My only way to get through this is to think positive and know that I can and will survive. Thank you for taking the time to read my story. 






50% of the proceeds from all Fight the Fight purchases made from November 30th, 2014 to December 20th, 2014 will be donated to Dusty to help cover her medical expenses.


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