Being terminal isn’t for the faint of heart.

On August 1, 2017, just weeks before the start of my last year in graduate school, I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia — an aggressive blood cancer. I was immediately hospitalized for treatment and on November 7, 2017, I received cells from an anonymous donor for an allogeneic stem cell transplant, a hope for a cure.

Almost exactly one year from my first diagnosis, I was diagnosed again with AML on August 13, 2018. Having a relapse with this type of cancer is dangerous. It is a beast and it will stop at nothing to kill you. As a second line of defense, on October 31, 2018, I had another stem cell transplant but this time, I received cells from my father, another hope for a cure. However, less than five months after my second transplant, I relapsed again — the beast is back, and it will eventually kill me.

When the shock of “being terminal” wore off, my life got significantly better. We tell ourselves we want to live in the moment and this is my opportunity. I don’t have a timeline. I don’t know when I’ll be too sick to do what I want. For now, I wake up, I eat delicious foods, and I travel to as many places I possibly can. I want to be with the people I love, pet dogs, and learn to cook the perfect filet mignon. My life has never, and will never be defined by my diagnosis, but my diagnosis has helped me define and morph my life into something I never imagined it could be.

GRYT is what polishes the stones and makes the pearls. It’s the little pieces of dirt and grime, the hard times that annoy you, that if left alone, make something worth keeping.

GRYT is pain and suffering in any form that force change upon a person.

GRYT is at the crossroads of time and discomfort where you find growth and progress despite the circumstances.