Elizabeth Dechen was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in March 2011 with 17p deletion after a follow-up blood test for her ovarian cancer that she battled several years before. After her initial shock and lack of knowledge of CLL, Elizabeth determined to learn as much as possible about the blood cancer. She found a CLL specialist, read many articles about CLL treatment and found CLL support groups
After being in watch and wait for two years, it came time for Elizabeth to decide on treatment—even though common 17-deleted treatments at the time were not long-lasting. She consulted another CLL specialist out of state to find other recommend treatments. After initial testing to determine her qualification, Elizabeth was accepted into a new clinical trial for ibrutinib at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
She has found normalcy during her time on ibrutinib treatment, and her feelings of fear and uncertainty have been replaced with hope. Elizabeth has found exercise to be very helpful and therapeutic during her CLL journey. She wants to share with other CLL patients and care partners, "Hope can be so much stronger than fear. Simply stated, you need to find a reputable CLL specialist, take control, join support groups and enjoy the life you presently have. In life, there are no guarantees so make an sincere effort to enjoy each and every day! What are you waiting for?”