Thursday, April 30, 2009
I guess this story begins last Monday (4/20/09). Grant had 3 "unexplainable" fainting spells. He seemed to be very clumsy and very sensitive to pain. We took him to his pediatrician on Wed. and he acted completely normal. Then on Friday (4/24/09) he started running a temperature. We began a Tylenol regimen trying to get him well enough for his birthday party on Sat. He was so excited about it. He did go and did very well, especially considering what we know now. He played for about 2 hours and then he crashed. He never really recovered from that point. He ran fever and became very achy all weekend. By Sunday evening, he was very miserable. I took him to the pediatrician first thing Monday morning. They immediately commented on his breathing and how pale he looked. The took a blood sample and then another. The pediatrician then came in and referred us to Cook Children's hospital. His white and red blood cell counts were very low. Rudy came and got us (b/c most of you know how well I handle medical situations) and we went straight to the hospital. We checked in there about 10:30 a.m. and they ran some more tests and took a chest x-ray. The ER doctor came and told us that Grant would be admitted to the hospital for further testing. Once we were moved to the hematology/oncology unit around 3:30, we were able to speak to the oncologist. At that time, we learned that we were most likely dealing with leukemia. They gave Grant 2 blood transfusions that night. The next morning, they did a procedure to extract a bone marrow sample for more testing. After that, the doctor was able to confirm the leukemia diagnosis and tell us that it was the ALL strain of leukemia. We got a plan of action and began right away. He had surgery yesterday to place a port in his chest to be used for future chemo treatments. They also took another bone marrow sample and did a spinal tap to test for leukemia and administer the first chemo treatment. He did very well, but took a long time waking up from the anesthesia. He got two more treatments of chemo last night and has had another one this morning. He is doing well and has been sitting up and talking this morning. He asked for Trent and wanted to go outside. He is going to take a nap now.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
1. What is acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)?
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a cancer of the white blood cells, the cells in the body that normally fight infections. There are two main types of white blood cells-lymphoid cells and myeloid cells. ALL affects lymphoid cells.
Leukemia cells are abnormal cells that cannot do what normal blood cells do. The abnormal cells are immature white blood cells that cannot help the body fight infections. For this reason, children with ALL often get infections and have fevers.
ALL is also called acute lymphocytic leukemia. It is the most common leukemia in children.
2. What are the symptoms of ALL?
Like all blood cells, leukemia cells travel through the body. Depending on the number of abnormal cells and where these cells collect, patients with leukemia may have a number of symptoms. Children with ALL frequently have low amounts of healthy red blood cells and platelets. As a result, there are not enough red blood cells to carry oxygen through the body. With this condition, called anemia, patients may look pale and feel weak and tired. When there are not enough platelets, patients bleed and bruise easily.
Some of the common symptoms of ALL include:
• Frequent infections;
• Swollen or tender lymph nodes, liver, or spleen;
• Paleness or pallor;
• Easy bleeding or bruising;
• Tiny red spots (called petechiae) under the skin; and/or
• Bone or joint pain.