Flu-like symptoms – My Leukemia Diagnosis Story (Part 1)
I was in the best shape of my life when I graduated highschool in 2015. I was super active and ate mostly healthy. 18-year-old Ali was a hip-hop dancing, gym enthusiast and was weightlifting 6 days a week. After graduation, I started going to college to learn more about nutrition and was working towards my goal of becoming a personal trainer.
During my first semester of college, I started having flu-like symptoms. A painful lymph node had swelled in my neck, so I went to the doctor to get checked out. The doctor told me it was most likely a virus and advised me to “wait it out.” Although I felt absolutely exhausted, I continued dancing and going to the gym. Since I was no stranger to pushing myself, I kept ignoring my body’s plead to rest. I didn’t care that I was feeling under the weather, I just kept trying to tough it out and continue on with my normal routine.
I struggled to stay awake during my classes. I started needing to take daily naps, which I never did before. My ‘virus’ wasn’t getting any better. For the first time, I had to sit down during a dance class because I got super dizzy and nearly passed out. I assumed I had just been overworking my body.
My leukemia diagnosis
A couple weeks later, I woke up with excruciating jaw pain. The flu-like symptoms I once had, had evolved into a swollen lymph node that was visibly popping out of my neck. My jaw hurt so bad I couldn’t bare to chew my breakfast and flinched in pain each time I swallowed. I decided to head out for a smoothie since chewing food was a no-go. The smoothie shop was across the street from my mom’s office. I thought I’d drop in to say hi and surprise her with her favorite smoothie. I mentioned my pain and after looking at my swollen neck, my mom sent me back to the doctor. The doctor told me I might have mono and had me get bloodwork done.