When Life Handed Her An Abrupt Turn


Tamara has redefined what it means to dress yourself with strength. This Plant High School teacher, wife and mother of three had enough on her plate before things took a turn for the worse. On her way home from a vacation, she began to feel sick. She went to the doctor and was told to come back in if her symptoms worsened after three days. When she returned to the walk-in clinic she was indeed much worse and after a blood draw she was transported to a hospital by ambulance. In her own words, “it became apparent very quickly that I had leukemia.”

Signs You May Have Leukemia

  • Weakness or a feeling of being tired
  • Fever
  • Lumps in the neck, underarm, stomach or groin that are painless
  • Pinpoint blood spots under the skin, known as petechiae

Know more signs

Coming to Moffitt

Tamara chose to come to Moffitt because she felt confident that her cancer could be treated effectively.

“I was familiar with Moffitt's reputation. And I felt like leukemia was part of what they specialized in,” Tamara recalls.

Tamara shares that her treatment was not a one size fits all kind of treatment plan. She felt that she wasn’t just a person in the crowd and that Moffitt had her best interest in mind all along.

Compassionate Care

Beyond the specialized care, it was the strength and fortitude of the staff that she dressed herself in during her treatment.

“I think one of the best things about Moffitt is from the people that draw your blood to the doctors that are making your major treatment decisions, I feel like all of them are so invested in your care and I feel like they really have not just a professional interest, but a personal interest that you get better. And I think that through that it gives you confidence and it allowed me to remain positive that I was not going to die from this disease,” she says.

Tamara says that even the little things made her feel better. From the refreshments in the lobby to the music playing for the patients, warm blankets and a hug- all of these elements strengthened Tamara and helped her through this terrible disease. She recalls a special nurse who stayed later and past her dinner to ensure that Tamara was well taken care of. It was the compassionate care that got her through.

Back to Normal

Now, a survivor Tamara is back to her normal routine as a Plant High School teacher, wife and mother.“I'm an active mom and I'm teaching every day and just living life almost as I did before,” says Tamara.

Are you concerned about yourself or a loved one? Find out more about leukemia symptoms, call 1-888-663-3488 and schedule an appointment or fill out a new patient registration form.