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:
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.