My Honored Teammate – Jeri Alonzo

Jeri Alonzo. Diagnosed with Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in July 2009.. and Fighting Strong!

Jeri Alonzo. Diagnosed with Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in July 2009.. and Fighting Strong!

Meet Jeri Alonzo.     I found out about Jeri’s battle with Chronic lymphocytic leukemia from her daughter Kelly who works at a client of mine in San Clemente.  This journey I am on while training for my marathon and fundraising for LLS is even more about the people I encounter who are impacted by the disease than my running.   I am honored to have Jeri as my personal Honored Teammate.  I am running for you and your family Jeri!! 

MY CLL STORY by Jeri Alonzo 

My name is Jeri Alonzo and I reside in a small town in Illinois. I received my life-changing diagnosis of Stage 4 Chronic Lymphocytic Lymphoma (CLL) in July 2009. Up until that time, I had been relatively healthy for 66 years. My husband Louis and I have been married for 50 years and have four children, all of whom reside in Southern California. 

When my oncologist and I consulted, I decided my first medical choice would be chemotherapy. While I began preparing myself mentally and emotionally for chemotherapy, my husband’s excellent health suddenly took a turn for the worst. At 69, he was diagnosed with Cryptococcus Meningitis. He was critically ill and hospitalized for several months. During his rehabilitation process, he fell and broke his hip. He lived at an assisted care facility for many months, because I was too sick to care for him and myself. 

Our daughters played a large roll in both our care, tirelessly flying back and forth from California to Illinois. They would take turns using their FMLA benefits at their respective administrative positions. In addition, countless family and friends devoted their love and support in our care. They relentlessly gave of their time by completing household chores, driving us to doctors’ visits and organizing meals to be brought to our home, along with many other efforts. Their confidence and conviction was instrumental in my emotional and mental state of health. 

 In the meantime,my chemotherapy treatments were unsuccessful. Riddled with fear,uncertainty and realizing time was not on my side, I decided to look into other medical options. Initially, I considered undergoing a bone marrow transplant. However, I decided it was too risky. 

I then opted for holistic therapy. It has certainly given me a new-found hope! When I met my new doctor, she literally took me by the hand and said, “Come with me…” I now take forty herbs and minerals every day along with a special tonic that I drink four times daily. My diet had to change radically and is now very restricted. It has been well worth it! 

In April 2011, Louis fell and broke his other hip. He is once again living in a rehabilitation center an hour away from me. His physical therapy is helping him regain his overall strength and stability. His optimism and clear mental faculties have certainly played a vital role in his accelerated mending. Although this has put a great deal of stress on my body, I have still maintained my daily diet and vitamin regimen. Additionally, my family once again helped in both our care.  

I remain positive and hopeful that I will soon go into remission. I am fighting a hard battle, but I am strong and determined. With all the love and support I have received, I am surely thankful. I have always thought, ‘that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ And I am a fighter.

Jeri Alonzo

I was lucky to meet Jeri and her two daughters Kelly and Melanie when they attended our Honored Teammate Potluck in March.

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