About This Blog

Hi, my name is Justin Ozuna.

In January of 2006, at the age of 24, I was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. Despite having a blog platform, I never explored the feelings of being a young adult living with a relatively incurable form of cancer. A few weeks after my 29th birthday, I was informed that my leukemia cells had a t315i mutation – the most difficult mutation to overcome. At the time, no FDA-approved medication was available to effectively treat my leukemia. My only hope to avoid a bone marrow transplant was a clinical trial drug called Ponatinib. That event changed my life and inspired me to share my story.

This blog is an imperfect attempt to capture the undefined moments of a young adult living with leukemia. I’ll finally explore feelings that I once ignored, pushed away, or pretended didn’t exist. I’ll share thoughts and ideas not found in cancer pamphlets and rediscover what it is to finally accept a “new normal.” Having dropped out of school on three separate occasions due to my health, I’ll also document the adversity of pursuing my dreams for the fourth time.

I married my best friend, Katie, in October of 2013. I work in Public Relations/Communications for Oncor, Texas’ largest regulated electric  utility company and sixth largest in the nation. I’m currently an Emerging Media and Communications major at the University of Texas at Dallas.

This is my life. 

 

 

  • Mary M. Valentine

    I was diagnosed with Ph+ CML about a week before Thanksgiving. Unlike you, I’m not a “young” person – 56. I don’t feel sick and I only discovered that I have CML through a routine blood panel. I am now being treated with Tasigna. So far, so good. Side effects are minimal. It’s working. But I have to say, I’m still barely able to wrap my head around this change in my life. I have so many things going on in my head right now – Will I feel worse? Will the drugs keep working? I am a widow… I wonder, Could it be possible for someone to want to be with me knowing I have this thing wrong with me? Should I expect to be alone for the rest of my life? Should I keep working out at the gym? Should I keep going to school (I’m a full time college student)… It’s all just so weird.

    • http://theozunaverse.com/ Justin Ozuna

      Hi Mary, I completely understand the overwhelming feelings. A million things run through your mind when you hear, “you have cancer,” and it’s impossible to wrap your head around a new, unfamiliar (and scary) reality for a while. The good news is that you eventually do.

      The most important thing to remember amidst any diagnosis is that this life is yours to live. Keep doing what you love to do, keep enjoying life, keep pursuing your dreams. Cancer doesn’t define you, and it never will. Your life is defined by how you respond to adversity, not how little of it you encounter. Set the standard for what a cancer survivor is able to do because someone will come behind you and ask the same questions. Never give up on anything. Ever. :)

      • Mary M. Valentine

        Thanks, Justin. Inspiring words.

        I have 5 older brothers. The one I’m closest to, Emmet, he asked me how I was doing, and I told him honestly, “You know, really it’s not so bad, Em. Lots of people have to take some kind of drug or another to keep alive… people with high blood pressure, people with diabetes, people with kidney disease, people with high cholesterol… I just have leukemia and I have to take medication to control it.” He, a Vietnam War veteran, said, “Huh, I never thought my baby sister would be tougher than I am.”
        I’m not all that tough, but it was fun to hear from my bro-han.

  • Rhonda

    Just found your blog as I was looking for more CML info. I was diagnosed 19 1/2 yrs ago before all of these amazing new drugs. Having some minor issues and have been on Sprycel for the past 6 yrs. Was in the original clinical trial for Gleevec in 2000. Did 6 years of interferon prior to that and Gleevec was a very welcome relief!! Looking forward to following your adventures.

    • Justin Ozuna

      Wow, I’m so thankful that you were able to navigate the CML journey prior to the incredible options we have now. Thank you for sharing, Rhonda. My best to you and your journey! I look forward to hearing from you more in the future.

Musings. Observations. Humor.