"My blood work looked amazing and normal and so did my scans!," Monroe shared on Instagram. "They say this kind is incurable, but I'm just gonna believe it IS curable, and it's gone forever. That was truly one of the most difficult seasons of my life."
Monroe announced on July 13, 2021 through social media that she'd begin chemotherapy treatments the following day for a rare type of blood cancer.
"A few months ago my [doctor] was doing some routine lab work and found that I was anemic," Monroe wrote. "I was like, fine, I'll just double up on cheeseburger patties, take some extra vitamins and call it a day. 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'."
Despite it bearing bad news and ending with a prayer request, Monroe's message mostly reflected a spirit of thankfulness.
"Moments like these I am overwhelmed with gratitude," she wrote. "Getting flowers delivered weekly from [producer and engineer Gena Johnson]. Enjoying a staycation in Nashville when we had to cancel our Florida trip. Sitting with my sisters the day I found out. Seeing [husband John Danks] 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."
Rolling Stone updated Monroe's status through a Sept. 7 Q&A feature.
"I've gotten through two cycles now of chemo," she said. "Each cycle is back to back, once a month. It's hard, I'll be honest. It doesn't feel good the day of and the week after, but I feel like I've bounced back a little quicker this time than my first time. I've got a lot of support. I definitely feel people praying."
While laying low because of her compromised immune system, Monroe's continued working on a stripped-down covers project with Tyler Cain. An EP aptly titled Covers arrived Sept. 8 and included versions of the Beach Boys' "Don't Worry Baby," The Police's "Every Breath You Take," Extreme's "More Than Words," Bryan Adams' "Everything I Do (I Do It for You)" (featuring Brittney Spencer) and Boudleaux Bryant's "Love Hurts" (featuring Ruston Kelly).
On Dec. 15, Monroe shared on social media that she'd finished chemotherapy treatments, with a celebratory video of her ringing a bell and hugging hospital staff accompanying the good news.
"Ring a ling a ling a ding dong ding... My last chemo is done! Merry Christmas everyone," she wrote. "Thank you for praying for me. I felt them more than you know. I've never been more thankful. Ready to come back like never before in 2022!"
Ring a ling a ling a ding dong ding?
My last chemo is done!
Merry Christmas everyone
Thank you for praying for me . I felt them more than you know. I?ve never been more thankful. Ready to
Come back like never before in 2022! pic.twitter.com/eoKQcBvBFu
— Ashley Monroe (@ashleymonroe) December 15, 2021
Per the Mayo Clinic, Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia is most common among white men over the age of 65.
"If you have Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia, your bone marrow produces too many abnormal white blood cells that crowd out healthy blood cells," reads the Mayo Clinic's description. "The abnormal white blood cells produce a protein that accumulates in the blood, impairs circulation and causes complications. Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia is considered a type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. It's sometimes called lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma."
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