Author of W. Chandler Tells Captivating Story in New Book About Living with an Incurable Disease

The title of the new book by West Chandler author Anne McAuley Lopez, “We Can’t Ring the Bell: My CML Story,” comes from chemotherapy patients who, after their treatment is finished, ring a bell. With no known cure for the chronic myelogenous leukemia, which she suffers from, “We can’t do this because we have to take the medicine until there is a cure. “

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2016 was a pivotal year for Anne McAuley Lopez, for better or for worse. In March, she was married, having become engaged the previous September. During the hectic six months leading up to her marriage, she often did not feel well.

“I thought it was exhaustion,” she said. “I really had a lot of anxiety.”

She also bruised easily and lost her hair.

Soon the 43-year-old Chandler resident, a successful professional writer and online content provider, would learn that she wasn’t just suffering from marriage exhaustion and nervousness. In the summer of 2016, just a few months after her wedding, she visited a naturopath, then a hemato-oncologist, from whom she received a test called BCR-ABL. This detects a mutation in blood cells that indicates a rare blood cancer called chronic myeloid leukemia.

Some five years later, McAuley Lopez published a book about his experiences with the disease: We don’t have a chance to ring the bell: my CML story.

“The title comes from chemo patients who, when they finish treatment, ring a bell,” she said. “We cannot do this because we have to take the medicine until there is a cure.”

Chronic myelogenous leukemia is very rare. According to the American Cancer Society, it accounts for about 0.05% of all new cancer diagnoses in the United States.

McAuley Lopez contracted the disease young. The average age to be diagnosed is 64. To date, there is no known cure. Management of the disease consists of daily chemotherapy in pill form.

As difficult as that prospect is, McAuley Lopez notes that until recent years there was not even a cure.

“Before the late 1990s, (CML) was fatal,” she said. “It was a diagnosis of about two years.”

This changed with the development of a drug called Gleevec (Imatinib), which was approved for use in this country in 2001 and made the coverage of Time magazine in May of the same year.

Needless to say, the challenges of CML changed McAuley Lopez’s life. Originally from Stratford, Connecticut and graduated in economics from the University of Connecticut, she had an active career as a writer and blogger, writing for hire on topics such as marketing, real estate and travel and overseeing web content. for a variety of customers. CML asked him to suspend these activities.

“There is definitely a feeling of finding a balance in all of this,” she said. “It has been a balancing act with my business. “

This balance seems to be paying off. The treatment was effective, recently allowing McAuley Lopez to return to work part-time. She looks forward to fully resuming her career.

“I feel more like my old self than I have been in a while,” she said. “I showed zero percent leukemia for almost four years and normal blood tests for a year and a half.”

The low point of her trip, she says, “was a weekend when I was on the couch, I was in pain, I called (the doctor) on Monday, I didn’t get a callback.” She called back Tuesday, telling them the pain, a stiffness from the hips to the knees, was so intense that she thought she might “stop taking the pills and die”.

Fortunately, she was dissuaded from the idea.

And the highlight?

His response is immediate: “Make this book! “

For that, it really looks like McAuley Lopez should ring a bell.

We don’t have a chance to ring the bell: my CML story by Anne McAuley Lopez will be available on Amazon on Wednesday, December 15 for $ 9.99.

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