Ashley Monroe revealed on Tuesday that she has been diagnosed with a rare type of blood cancer and is scheduled to begin chemotherapy, sharing the news with fans in a post on Instagram. The country singer explained that her doctor was doing lab work a few months ago when it was discovered that she was anemic, which led to her cancer diagnosis.
"Well my red blood count just kept falling, and they found out my iron /b12/ folic acid numbers were actually fine. short story long, they did a bone marrow biopsy, (ouch) , and VOILA.. a rare kind of blood c word called 'waldenstrom macroglobulinemia,'" she wrote. "It's causing my body to be pretty severely anemic, and I feel it." Alongside a series of photos of herself with 3-year-old son Dalton and husband John Danks as well as friends including Pistol Annies bandmates Miranda Lambert and Angaleena Presley, Monroe shared that she begins chemotherapy on Wednesday.
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"Seems like such a negative thing to say," she wrote. "Until I flip that doom feeling on its head and think, wow, I'm thankful I have an illness that is VERY live with-able. I'm thankful there IS a treatment that actually works to fight what is causing harm to my body. THANKFUL for friends and family who have gathered around me praying and sending flowers and letting me lean on them during this super weird chapter of my life. Thankful for my angel son. Who I am fighting for the most."
According to the American Cancer Society, Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia is a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma where the cancer cells make large amounts of an abnormal protein. The buildup of that protein can lead to many of the symptoms of WM, including excess bleeding, problems with vision, and nervous system problems. The WM cells grow mainly in the bone marrow, where they can crowd out the normal cells that make the different types of blood cells. This can lead to low levels of red blood cells, known as anemia, a symptom Monroe described.
The singer had begun her announcement with a message of gratitude for those close to her. "Moments like these I am overwhelmed with gratitude," she wrote. "Getting flowers delivered weekly from @genajohnson507. Enjoying a staycation in Nashville when we had to cancel our Florida trip. Sitting with my sisters the day I found out. Seeing John be my rock and the best dad to Dalton, and being surrounded (and prayed for) by the best friends (and family and manager) I could ever dream up."
The 34-year-old concluded her post by sharing that she "would greatly appreciate if no one gave me any unsolicited advice or medical opinions" but would appreciate prayers sent her way. "I DO believe in the power of prayer guys," she said. "I also believe in the power of love healing us all on an even deeper level. I love you all big. Here I go