At the end of January 2018, we brought our five year old son, William, to a walk-in clinic for flu-like symptoms. He was treated with antibiotics, but his fever never completely went away. During our second visit to the clinic a few weeks later, he tested positive for strep and received antibiotics. Still, his health did not improve. On March 05, 2018, we then took William to his pediatrician to find out why the antibiotics were not working. His doctor was concerned with his pale skin color, fatigue, and his constant low grade fever. He immediately requested blood tests. When he ordered a rush on the test, we realized it could be something more serious. A hour later, our doctor told us that the results were consistent with signs of leukemia. In our state of confusion and shock, we were then directly routed to our new oncologist, who confirmed the findings of the blood work. Because of the rapid rate of growth of leukemia, William was immediately admitted to the hospital for blood and platelet transfusions. The following morning, he had a spinal tap, and a bone marrow biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and determine the exact type of leukemia. The procedures confirmed that William had acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) B type, which is the most common and curable form of leukemia. After he had a medical port implanted into his chest, two bone marrow biopsies, three spinal taps, five blood transfusions, six platelet transfusions, and fought off a mersa infection, he was finally released from the hospital nearly a month later, on March 28, 2018.
Although we were sent home, William’s treatment will continue. He will have chemo administered orally, though his medical port, and directly into his spinal fluid the next three years. The different combination of drugs used during his fight against cancer have already caused, and will continue to cause, extreme side effects including; severe nausea, loss of appetite, insatiable hunger, rapid weight gain, leg and bone pain, headaches, violent mood swings, weakness, easy bruising, dizziness, and hair loss. Because of his compromised immune system, William will not be able to attend school for at least a year, and he must be careful to avoid exposure to illness.