Sunday, September 26, 2010

One Year On

As some of you know, my little girl, Megyn, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) last year. 

This is the most common form of childhood Leukaemia. It's when the white blood cells go into rapid reproduction and increase until they crowd the bone marrow, preventing the production of healthy blood cells. ALL needs immediate treatment since the blast cells rapidly progress and accumulate, then enters the bloodstream and spread to other organs of the body.

We are coming up to the one year anniversary of Meg's diagnosis. But before we get there, we have to pass the one year anniversary of her falling ill. It was on September 24th 2009 that I picked her up from her after school dance class to be told she'd almost fainted halfway through class. Thinking she'd probably picked up a bug, I took her home and cared for her. Normally, Megyn bounces back from any illness within three to four days, so it came as a shock when five days went by and she was still feeling unwell.

By this time, bruises started popping up on her body and I couldn't figure how she was getting them since she hardly moved around. 

I would pray over her, we would claim her healing and she'd feel better for a day or so then fall ill again. I couldn't seem to get a hold of my doctors for love or money so we took her to the out of hours doc, who calmly informed us that though Meg was covered in bruises and petechiae she was perfectly fine and if she starts to bleed from any part of her body bring her back. I know my anger doesn't translate here (and I'm glad it doesn't) but you can't know how badly I wanted to punch that female doctor!

Needless to say it was another week of praying, claiming and trying to see a doctor.

By the third week, Meg was still up and down. Then on the 17th of October she woke with blood smeared across her face where her nose had bled in the night and she'd wiped it with the back of her hand.

I can't tell you how frantic I was at this point! It took NHS Direct THREE hours to get back to me. After each hour, I'd phone them only to be told the doc was going to phone me. Finally at the third hour, they said they'd tried to contact me but my phone didn't accept withheld calls and did I know why that was? I ask you!

If I hadn't kept phoning them they would not have bothered. That also adds another heap of anger. But since I know anger is a very negative and destructive emotion, I've chosen to let it all go. As a family, we focus on God's goodness and grace. 

All of that agro ended in a trip to A & E to discover Meg's liver and spleen were hugely swollen. She was admitted and had her blood checked for Blast cells, which they found. 

From the moment we found out our precious little girl had Leukaemia, life became a massive emotional roller coaster and five weeks living at Leicester Royal Infirmary Hospital.

I think being able to focus on finishing Let's Pretend, the story I was writing at the time, helped me to keep it together.

So it's been one year since Meg fell ill, and a lot has happened in that year. But, praise God, Meg is now on maintenance chemo and is doing extremely well. We estimate she'll finish treatment around March/April 2012. She'll never be free of doctor's visits for check-ups but I know she'll always be healthy, and nothing else will touch her, because Jesus healed her in her first week of treatment!

This is Meggie on her seventh birthday last year:

And this is her on her eighth birthday this year:

She is still gorgeous! And when her hair grows back this time around, she'll get to keep it. I can't wait to post those photos!

I'll post the symptoms of Leukaemia in case it could help someone out there. My advice to anyone suspecting your child may have Leukaemia, is first, don't listen to anyone who tells you your child is fine if you know in your heart something is wrong. The medical profession still fails to recognise a mother's intuition when it comes to her child. Second, push for tests! It is better to come across as an overprotective mum than fail your child!!! And all it takes is a simple blood test.

Symptoms of Leukaemia

Symptoms might include feeling sick, fevers, chills, night sweats and other flu-like symptoms, or feeling fatigued. Some patients experience nausea or a feeling of fullness due to an enlarged liver and spleen; this can result in unintentional weight loss. If the leukemic cells invade the central nervous system, then neurological symptoms (notably headaches) can occur.

Red blood cell deficiency leads to anemia, which may cause dyspnea (shortness of breath) and pallor (paleness to the skin due to low hemoglobin). Because normal bone marrow is rapidly being replaced by a higher number of immature white blood cells, the lack of red blood cells results in a lack of blood platelets, which are important in the blood clotting process. This means people with leukemia may easily become bruised, bleed excessively, or develop pinprick bleeds (petechiae).

It is true also that all symptoms associated with leukemia can be attributed to other diseases. However, leukemia is always diagnosed through medical tests.

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  1. ((((HUGS))))) to you, Mon. This story always makes me cry. I can't imagine. You're such a strong woman. Am going to hug my kids. Am keeping you and Meg and your family in my prayers. Am positive that Jesus is holding her in his lap throughout all of this. Carrying her through it. Love to you. <3

  2. She's such a cutie and so brave! It's so heart warming that she's getting better. (Hugs) to you!

  3. So emotional right now...I read this blog with tears in my eyes but also with a surge of admiration. Thank you, Monique, for sharing this with us. Meg is just so lovely! And you are a woman more brave and strong than I've ever known.

  4. Joanne, thanks for the hugs! I'm sure hearing about things like this makes you appreciate your children's health.

    Give your kids a hug from me, won't you. :)

  5. Lacey, thanks for the hugs! You're right, Meg is very brave--a fabulous child. So incredibly loving and honorable. I am so proud to be her mum.


  6. Hi, April,

    Writing this blog entry made me cry, and now reading that it touched you set me off again. Thanks for your kind words, hon.

    Love & hugs xox

  7. Praise God she's doing well! Thank you for sharing your love and joy with us.

    God bless your family!

  8. You are a wonderful mother! Meggie is beautiful! Her spirit and love of life shines in her eyes. Jesus is walking through this with her for sure. Tell Meggie she is a brave and beautiful young lady. Hugs to both of you. Will continue to pray for all.

  9. She is truly blessed... such a beautiful brave little girl to have undergone so much at such a young age. I have no doubt who she takes after.
    (((Big Air Hugs)))

  10. Thank you for sharing this with everyone. It's so important people know what to look for with this disease. The sooner it's treated, the better the chances for recovery. They've come so far in the fight against leukemia and childhood leukemia in particular. My prayers for your family. Meggie is a beautiful little girl with a huge spirit!

  11. Megyn is so blessed to have a praying mother. I thank the Lord for her continued improvement and for the joy in her adorable face.

  12. Megyn is a beautiful, brave and important child to God who is looking after her and making her strong for a purpose he has yet to reveal - loads of love to her and you, Monique. I admire you for going through Megyn's illness and still keeping up with your writing and your wonderfully helpful forums.

  13. Monique and Meg, you are two very brave people. Your story makes me treasure my family even more. I'm looking forward to seeing photos of Meggie with her gorgeous hair all grown back.

  14. Donna, thank you so much for dropping by and leaving a comment! Sharing this helped a lot.


  15. Carol Ann,

    Thank you for your lovely words. I still have moments when I wonder if it was something I did/didn't do that cased this. Then I realise it's the enemy using guilt to beat me up.

    Thank you for your continue prayers. We very much appreciate all the well wishes, kind thoughts and prayers. :) x

  16. Neecy, you are very sweet!

    Big hugs right back to you :)

  17. Lynnette,

    You are so right! Yet many doctors completely miss the symptoms. While we were in hospital, I heard of a family who took their little girl to the doc with all the bruising and the doc call child services who had the parents arrested. Meanwhile the poor little girl remained undiagnosed! The lack of simple common sense brings tears to my eyes.

    You are also right in recognising Meg's wonderful spirit. She is such a giggly little girl and none of this has changed her! If anything, she's even more of a happy spirit with the ability to brighten a room just by walking in! :)

  18. I will reply to all ASAP. Eldest daughter is in labour and needs me!!

  19. What a nightmare, Monique! Good think you persisted! You have a beautiful daughter and I look forward to seeing her with her hair all grown back. God bless you both!

  20. Mon, what can I say....Meggie is one brave and truly inspirational little girl. You have both had such a hard year yet you still manage to inspire and encourage others with your words. So looking forward to seeing Meg with her new hair when it grows back. Much love to you all, Jen x x x

  21. It's difficult for me to imagine what your family has gone through, but I'm so glad you have all come through smiling and with faith.
    Megyn, a little boy down my road had the same as you and it's wonderful now to see him zooming up and down on his bike! With hair!
    Juliet x

  22. Sending prayers across the Atlantic! And when your daughter's hair does come back, it will probably be a beautiful head of blond curls. When my hair came back after chemo for breast cancer, I had beautiful curls. But after the first haircut, I got my plain old regular hair back. But I love it and I no longer complain about my hair. It's beautiful. And your daughter's will be too!

  23. Thank you, Chicki!

    And the great thing is that Meg is learning that faith can move mountains. :)

  24. Aw, Rachel, you're gonna make me cry!

    Meg, too, is convinced her sickness is for a good reason. She is always talking about the machine she is going to invent which can scan newborn babies, detect whether they have cancer genes and what sort of cancer they might get, and extract the "bad stuff" so no one ever has to have cancer again. Bless her.

  25. Thanks, Leigh.

    This sort of thing makes you realise how lucky you are! I'll be sure to post Meg's hair-growth photos. :)

  26. Thank you, Susan! May God bless you and yours also :)

  27. Thank you, Jen!

    You made my day.

    Much love & hugs :)

  28. Thank you, Juliet.

    It's the stories of children who get through treatment and end up with great health that helps.

  29. Hi, Lilly!

    Thank you so much. I pray you continue to be in fantastic health!



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