Yesterday we found out that she has Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia. Childhood leukemia is much different than adult onset leukemia, in that it manifests symptoms after a matter of weeks. It develops rapidly, not slowly and silently over time as it would in an adult. It also strikes otherwise healthy children. Before this, Chloe hardly ever even got sick. It is also CURABLE. The doctor wasn’t giving me a prognosis, so I asked what kind of good chances we have of beating this. She smiles at me and says, with all of the confidence of someone who does this every day for a living, “It’s curable”.
AML is the less common of the two types of childhood leukemia (the most common type is Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia). AML is a much shorter treatment time however the chemotherapy is more intense. This scares me, as she will have no immune system for the initial course of treatment. For this reason, she will be staying in the hospital for the first month of her treatment, in order to minimize her exposure to germs, because her body’s inborn ability to fight them off will be almost non-existent.
Today she is undergoing a few procedures while under general anesthesia. They are putting in a central line (IV) so that she can have her arms free of IV catheters. It will be in for the duration of her chemo treatments. They are also going to do a spinal tap and a bone marrow biopsy. Sometimes leukemia cells can get into the spinal fluid so they need to know if they’re there, so they can treat it accordingly.
After these tests, they will know more about the exact subset of leukemia and this will determine the specific course of treatment. Chemo will probably start tomorrow.
The last few days have been a HUGE whirlwind, to say the least, and we are all still processing all of this. I’m starting to accept that my daughter has leukemia. I am extremely thankful that they have a treatment that will cure it and save her life. We are hanging in there, but we are exhausted. If we are not returning your calls, texts, Facebook messages, and emails, it is because we are overwhelmed with constantly needing to talk to the medical professionals as the revolving door of her hospital room opens constantly. Things will probably settle down here once we get through the initial start up and resume treatment.
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Steph and Family