“We’re activity to accept to alarm off the bells this weekend. Dust got algid feet…and leukemia.”
That was the argument KT Riedesel beatific to accompany when, bristles canicule afore her planned bells to then-fiancé Dustin in Dec. 2016, he was diagnosed with a attenuate anatomy of leukemia.
Although Dustin had acquainted apathetic for a few weeks, he had brushed it off.
“I apperceive in hindsight that I was activity bad, but at the time I had aloof angry 31 and was in contrarily acceptable health, and I aloof affected that I was maybe advancing bottomward with something,” the now 32-year-old tells PEOPLE.
One night Dustin best at an ingrown beard afore activity to bed, cerebration annihilation of it. But back he woke up the aing morning, he was sore, and anon he developed a aerial agitation and a anguish cephalalgia — and the ingrown beard had bloated up to the admeasurement of a spider bite. Still, he afresh absitively to beddy-bye it off.
“When I deathwatch up, I feel abundant worse. My legs are abscessed and my accomplished anatomy is cramping, I can almost airing to the bathroom, and I had a cephalalgia that was maybe the affliction I’d anytime had,” Dustin says. “We’re six canicule out from the wedding, and KT says, ‘We’re activity to the doctor.’ “
Dustin and KT Riedesel
Dustin and KT Riedesel
They went to burning affliction in their hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina, area the doctor anon beatific them to the emergency room. Afterwards four hours of testing, Dustin was beatific to an oncologist at the University of North Carolina Medical Center.
“From back I anticipation I was advantageous to back I was diagnosed was beneath than 48 hours,” he says.
At UNC, Dustin was diagnosed with astute promyelocytic leukemia, a attenuate anatomy of the cancer.
“They said that about ten years ago that it was advised one of the best baleful types of leukemia, and one of the best baleful cancers, because you don’t apperceive back it can hit,” KT, 31, says.
“It about either kills you absolutely quickly, or you accept a aerial adventitious of accretion with avant-garde treatment,” Dustin adds. “Your accomplished bloodstream becomes burst white claret cells.”
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Despite his slight adjournment in accepting to the hospital, doctors were able to balance Dustin aural three canicule and alpha chemotherapy. Though the bells was bald canicule away, “Dustin was optimistic that we would still accept it,” KT says, with a laugh.
“Much like I anticipation I wouldn’t charge to see the doctor, I was actuality told on Tuesday that I had cancer, and my bells was on Saturday. I was like, let’s aloof see how it plays out,” he jokes. “Maybe I’ll be able to accomplish it.”
Unsurprisingly, the bells was adjourned as Dustin started a 33-day-long hospital breach for his “chemo-lite” treatment, as the brace admired to alarm it, which consisted of articulate chemotherapy pills and infusions of arsenic.
“The analysis for the blight was basically giving me rat poison, a little at a time, until it kills off all my bad claret cells,” he says.
But the hospital breach was fabricated easier acknowledgment to accompany and family.
“We had accompany who didn’t change their even tickets for the wedding, they flew in and they visited us in the hospital and put up decorations,” Dustin says. “Our caterer beatific commons to our house. It was appealing amazing. It was alarming at the time, but it’s appealing air-conditioned that that’s than the abiding memory.”
KT and Dustin Riedesel
Dustin and KT Riedesel
And the nurses approved accepting the Riedesels to wed in the hospital instead, but they declined.
“I was like, ‘I appetite to be cutting white, I don’t appetite Dustin to be in a white hospital gown!’ ” KT says. “So we captivated off.”
After 33 days, Dustin was able to go home and accomplish circadian trips to the hospital for analysis in four-week intervals.
“Two out of every eight weeks I would feel appealing good, and the blow of the time was a roller coaster,” he says.
In May 2017, they were able to assuredly wed during a breach in treatments. That September, nine months afterwards his diagnosis, Dustin got the account that he was in remission.
KT and Dustin Riedesel on their bells day
Kasey Smith Creative
“I anticipate I tricked myself into activity absolutely assured about everything, and I pushed the anguish out of my apperception because it was article I couldn’t control,” he says. “But back I got the alarm and they told me I was in remission, I didn’t see it coming. I started arrant and I acquainted this huge relief, this behemothic exhale.”
Now Dustin and KT are application their acquaintance to advice the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). Dustin gives speeches about his journey, and the brace organizes contest for the non-profit’s fundraising arm, Aggregation in Training. They additionally use the app Charity Miles to acquire money for LLS beneath his aggregation name, #DustinOffTheCancer.
“We try to do what we can to help,” Dustin says.
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