Brent Chivrell: The Call That Changed My Life
A year and a half ago, my world was turned upside down by cancer.
After having gradually worsening stomach pains for several months, my wife convinced me to go get it looked at. The doctor’s initial thought was that I was suffering from acid reflux. They took a blood test and sent me on my way with stomach pain medication. The next day, they called to tell me that my white blood cell count had risen and that I should go see an oncologist. Once again, the doctors took a bunch of blood and sent me on my way. While at work the following day, I received the call that would change my life forever. The oncologist told me I have chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
Hearing the words, “you have cancer,” is an indescribable feeling. You never think it’s going to happen to you. It felt like a train hit me. I had tunnel vision. I was in complete denial and didn’t really believe the words when I first heard them. I learned at my next appointment with the oncologist that I had stage 3 CLL with minimal signs of symptoms. Turns out, the stomach pains I was experiencing weren’t even related to my CLL diagnosis. If it weren’t for my wife convincing me to go to the doctors in the first place, I might not have found out about the cancer until it had reached stage 4.
After the diagnosis, I started using the watch-and-wait method, which means that my doctor can monitor my condition with regular physical exams and lab tests until treatments are needed. Every three months I now need to visit the oncologist so they can check my blood and my symptoms. As a father of four children, I owe it to my family to do everything in my power to beat this. For me, that meant getting a second opinion from one of the best cancer hospitals in the world, which also happens to be right in my backyard: MD Anderson.
At this point, I have handed everything over to the amazing doctors here. I’m now at a point where I need to make a decision on if I want to continue with watch-and-wait, or if I should begin a trial drug that the doctors say can prolong my life. They even mentioned the word “cure.” I’ll be spending the next couple of months deciding if I want to start treatment; a decision I do not take lightly.
I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by colleagues who have been through similar experiences as the one I am going through. One particular co-worker, Deena, has been a saint to me as I have been navigating through my new life. She gives me hope that things will get better with treatment. Having a strong support system at home and at work has been crucial during the last year and a half. I feel very blessed that Gexa is partnering with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) for the upcoming Light The Night Walk. This will be my first time at the Light The Night Walk and I will be participating as a cancer patient which I still find hard to wrap my brain around. The company has shown me so much support and I want to do everything in my power to show my support to them in return.
Please help me do so by donating towards our fundraising efforts today. You can help bring us closer to living in a world without cancers! To donate, please visit http://pages.lightthenight.org/txg/Houston17/gexaenergy.
As part of Gexa’s support of LLS, Gexa has announced an electricity plan for residential customers that will directly benefit LLS. Gexa will donate up to $50 to LLS for every new residential customer who enrolls on one of the EveryDay | EveryNight® Low Price Plans using the promo code HOPE. Customers can sign up online at www.gexaenergy.com/hope/ or call (855) 639-8573 and mention promo code HOPE.