Becky and Peter were engaged in 2019 and celebrated with a trip to Hawaii. During that trip, Becky noticed she was experiencing a rapid heartbeat. She wanted to get it checked out, but back at home in Chicago, her doctor dismissed her concerns for blood work citing she was young and healthy. Fortunately, Becky persisted – and she was right, as her blood work showed elevated platelets. Two weeks later she had her labs checked again and this time was referred to an oncologist. Becky was diagnosed with essential thrombocythemia. It was an accidental finding, she says, because her heart issue wasn’t related to the ET. Becky later realized the severe itching she was experiencing and times when her feet would become extremely hot were symptoms of ET.
Unfortunately for Becky and Peter their Chicago wedding planned for the fall of 2020 was not looking promising as the pandemic worsened. Becky, as an eternal optimist, came back from a run one evening and had the wild idea of eloping. Peter loved the idea, so the couple set out on a long road trip across the United States and secretly tied the knot in Lake Tahoe with just their maid of honor and best man by their side. Becky says, “It was a wild time carrying a wedding dress and Lysol spray across the country.”
Peter has always been inspired by his wife’s energy and says, “I’m so in awe of how she’s handled everything. She doesn’t let anything get in her way. She’s an amazing woman.”
As a distance runner and avid hiker, Becky loves staying active and isn’t one to sit idly, but she does say the ET diagnosis has shifted her priorities. Peter quips Becky is the one who is always inspiring him to be more active. Becky says, “The number one most important thing to me is maintaining my health. I used to be very career driven, but now my priorities have changed. I want to have the flexibility to take care of myself.” Becky has recently found a position which enables her to work from home.
Peter goes on to say, “Information is powerful and we have good professionals behind us. It’s important to have a united team. And if I can’t fight this thing, I’m going to do everything I can to help Becky.”
It’s apparent there’s nothing Peter won’t do to support his wife. He admits reading every published paper within the past five years on MPNs and then creating a spreadsheet of 20+ MPN specialists he researched to determine who would be the best fit for his wife.
Peter may soon be doing some more research, of a different kind. In June of 2022 the happy couple will be expecting their first baby.
These represent first person accounts of real people living with Essential Thrombocythemia, Polycythemia Vera, and Myelofibrosis. It does not represent the views or opinions of anyone associated with MPN Research Foundation. Please consult your doctor before taking any action to manage your health.