Start of Our Journey

4 January 2008

   When I was given the diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia I ran out of the room like a lunatic. Never in my life have I acted like that. Because of loosing two adult friends to leukemia, when I heard the word leukemia I thought it was a certain death sentence. The medical staff assured me this was not true and after they calmed me down I had to go and face my little girl who I know I scared terribly.

We were rushed to All Children’s Hospital from Mease Emergency Room.  All Children’s is about an hour from our home.  Luckily, Bill and I decided to have me rush home to pack some suitcases for Kayla and I while he waited at the emergency room.  This way, Kayla and I had supplies when we arrived.  This one act made a big difference for both of us.

   Upon Arrival at the hospital, it was found that Kayla’s kidneys were already stressed by the abundance of Leukemia cells in her body.  She was put on an IV with medication to correct her body chemistry and help her kidney’s.

    As new arrivals both Kayla and the rest of us were in complete shock.  My mind went into overload and I remember the doctor speaking to me and I cannot understand a word he is saying.  When I walk down the halls, the actual walls move.  It makes me think I have some sort of inner ear imbalance or fluid that is causing this reaction.  Very strange.  I am also crying all the time and think nothing of walking down the street crying.  At 9:00 pm I set up a room at Ronald McDonald House, (RMH) so that I can vent in private.  When I arrive, I am surprised by how nice the place is.  It is very clean and spacious.  The back porch has a smoking area and picnic area with seating.  Meeting other parents is enlightening because hearing other stories lets me know that there are situations much worse than ours.

   Saturday 5 January 2008.  We get to do our first Bone Marrow procedure.  The versed is given to Kayla.  The doctor talks to her as she gradually goes into a simi-conscious state.  She is turned over and he puts the needle into her hip.  Kayla is trying to scream and I am holding her down.  I blow air by her face so that we can do deep breathing together.  This was one of the most awful experiences of my life.  Afterwards, Kayla does not remember a thing.  Her hip is very sore.  What is the point of forgetting if one is screaming in pain? I would rather remember but have no pain because of being given a good pain killer instead!

    Sunday 6 January 2008.  Kayla is very tired and listless.  She sleeps all night and also sleeps during the day.  She is not speaking much.  This in itself is alarming to me.  Today we found out that Kayla has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia which is the best Leukemia to get with the highest cure rates.  What a relief!

    We bought a calcium-magnesium supplement to help Kayla’s bones and were told we could not use it because she starts chemo tomorrow and the die off of cells will overload her system.  Apparently it was the leukemia cells that made her bones weak.  (Her leg was broken two days before going to the emergency room again for a horrible nose bleed.) Dr. Jerry told us that other vitamins can be very toxic for leukemia patients such as folic acid.  These make the cells divide and multiply much faster.  For now, no supplements.  The other news was that Kayla would have died within 8 weeks without treatment.

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Deb Witter

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