Now She’s Living her Dream
By Amber Schatz
“We’re pretty normal, if you want to call us normal,” Kim Bloms laughs. Her husband Adam chimes in with, “Nobody’s calling me that.”
Kim and Adam are living in their dream home about to celebrate ten years of marriage. It’s hard to believe — looking at them now — what this couple has faced.
“I remember asking him quite a while after we had come home, ‘Did you ever think I was going to die?’ And he was like, ‘Every day,’” Kim says.
In July 2016, Kim felt fatigued and feverish, so she went into the clinic to see a doctor. He sent her to the hospital.
“We went in and he said, ‘We think your blood marrow stopped working, and we think you have leukemia,’ and it was just like our world was turned upside down,” Kim says.
Kim was taken by ambulance to Rochester, Minnesota, where she was about to battle leukemia over the next few months. She immediately started blood transfusions and chemo.
“I remember saying, ‘I don’t want to die — like, what’s happening?’ And then after that, I flipped a switch — like, c’mon let’s do this.”
With Adam by her side, she went through three rounds of chemo. Adam updated family and friends on a Caringbridge site along the way.
“There were some nights where you start thinking about, what if she doesn’t pull through this? It’s a high possibility because there’s a lot of people down there that you meet that aren’t pulling through it,” Adam recalls. “Each day where there was something positive, you could cling to that and just keep going.”
“The worst part about it was being homesick,” Kim says. “It just crushed him because I would be very sad. I missed everybody and I wanted to be home.”
She was told she could go home 100 days after receiving a stem cell transplant. She needed one to survive. She got a match — a 27-year-old male from somewhere in the United States. He donated his stem cells to her.
“I’d love to know who it was because obviously the man saved my life. I had a zero percent chance of surviving without a stem cell transplant,” Kim says.
The couple got very close with other donor recipients living at the Gift of Life house in Rochester.
“We just lost a friend this weekend. We met some of the most phenomenal people. I honestly think that’s the blessing and the curse,” Kim says, through tears.
“Somebody’s going through this every day. When you start to complain about things, you stop and are way more mindful of that kind of thing,” Adam says.
Sixty-seven days after her transplant, Kim got to go home.
“I remember that first night we turned on music, [as we were] unpacking boxes, and I remember dancing in the kitchen and I was bawling my eyes out,” Kim says, looking at Adam. “I won’t say that you were crying, because that’s embarrassing, but I — just [in] that moment — was like, holy cow we made it.
“We found out at my one-year follow-up from transplant, October of 2017, that I’m the only person that’s survived AML-7 deletion leukemia from Mayo … It hasn’t come without some heartache to be honest with you. Like there’s — I’ve talked a little bit about that pressure to kind of carry on the torch for other people — there’s a lot of responsibility that comes along with that.”
She’s become involved in “Be the Match” (The National Bone Marrow Donor Program) and advocacy work in Washington, D.C., and she’s choosing to go after a dream of starting her own business.
“Would I do this had I not almost died? What do I have to lose?” Kim says.
“You’ve got to get busy living, or live in a shell, and she’s not one to live in a shell, obviously,” Adam says.
She will open the first pediatric therapy clinic in Mandan, in the old Brea building on Main Street. She’s hoping to open in July, but as for this May, it’s the couple’s ten-year wedding anniversary.
“I’m taking her lobster fishing,” Adam laughs.
“I’m taking him lobster fishing!” Kim corrects with a laugh.
Amber Schatz is the executive director of the Bismarck Library Foundation. She has more than 11 years experience in broadcast news and is excited to utilize her storytelling skills for Inspired Woman magazine.