Martha — Service

Location: Stony Brook, New York

One year of pre leukemia, turned into AML leukemia, the deadliest leukemia. I was given 1 year to live without a stem cell transplant. Amazingly, my brother was a match, and I had the transplant..alone..everyone got there late. I then developed rejection of my gut, eyes, mouth, and skin. I was put in isolation and couldn’t leave the room. Again I was alone.. After 5 months of being in isolation, I was allowed home. That night, my husband had a heart attack and died in my arms at age 52. There I was screaming, with my IV and feeding tube. Alone. Two years later, I developed stage 3 cancer of the mouth and jaw. In my 23 hour surgery, my jaw was removed and replaced with a bone from my leg. I was alone and scared. I only have my two boys who do not live local. 30 rounds of radiation followed. Alone. I was not allowed a dog until my counts improved. Then, one day in 2016, the MD said you can get a dog. That is when Martha came into my life. She was a 16 week old maltipoo. I was afraid I couldn’t take care of her, but she took care of me. I wasn’t alone anymore. If I needed anything, from meds, to PTSD help, from retrieval, to calming me at constant doctor appointments so I didn’t have to go alone, to making me feel part of the world to love. I even went back to school at 61 at Harvard to get a masters in psychology. Martha is with me every step of the way, even saving my life twice. The picture is taken in a hotel with her service dog gear, and my inhaler hanging from her vest