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Blood Cancer Awareness Month: La Quinta woman seeks adventure despite having rare blood cancer

September is Blood Cancer Awareness month, a time to educate the public on different blood cancers. A La Quinta woman was diagnosed with polycythemia vera, a rare blood cancer, about 22 years ago. She's made it a point to live her life to the fullest.

Polycythemia vera is a rare blood cancer that causes bone marrow to make too many red blood cells. According to Kathryn Burrows, who was diagnosed with this specific blood cancer, it isn't genetic, yet it's the same type of cancer her mother was diagnosed with.

Burrows received her diagnosis after more than a year of visiting doctors to explain the many different symptoms she was experiencing. She said originally one of her doctors diagnosed her with anxiety, but she knew it was much more.

When Burrows was first diagnosed, she said many fears came to mind. She remembered the pain her mother was in from the different surgeries she had.

But, it was her fear of leaving her nine and 10-year-old son behind. She said she feared she wouldn't be there for them as they grew up because of how sick she was at the beginning of her diagnosis.

It took a few more doctor visits for Burrows to be put on a treatment that worked for her and allowed her to live a normal life again.

Since then, she has lived a very active lifestyle where she's traveled the world, hiked, climbed mountains during snowstorms.

All of this while working to spread awareness of her journey with polycythemia vera, and help other people with cancer.

With September being the month for blood cancer awareness, doctors urge the public to listen to your body when something is wrong.

Dr. Soe Maunglay, a hematologist oncologist for Desert Care Network said during the pandemic medical care was interrupted due to the patient's fear of going into medical facilities. This caused people to put off necessary medical treatments.

But slowly, it is getting back on track with attending to all its patients.

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Crystal Jimenez

Crystal Jimenez is a new reporter who joined the KESQ News Channel 3 team in June 2021. Learn more about Crystal here.

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