On Feb 2, 2007, at the age of 3, Haidyn was diagnosed with Pre-B Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. She finished treatment in April 2009. She still goes for monthly checkups - but she has shown leukemia it picked the wrong kid to mess with. Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain.
Here is the background - On Friday afternoon, February 2, 2007, we took Haidyn to the pediatrician's office for a check to clear her before the weekend.She had been fighting a mild virus (low grade fever, achy legs, low energy) for the past 3 days, but we were a little concerned that her coloring was looking sort of jaundiced. The pediatrician listened to Haidyn's heart and became immediately concerned; he said her heart was racing. A finger-prick blood test proved alarming as well - she was severely anemic and all her blood levels (RBC, WBC & platelets) were dangerously low. We were immediately taken by ambulance to Wake Medical Hospital, Raleigh. More tests were performed there. While we were waiting for results, Haidyn started acting strange. She got agitated and started saying words that weren't in line with what was going on. Her head was moving in a rhythmic nodding. Mark could see from where he was sitting that her eyes were blinking. The doctors said this sounded like a seizure and Haidyn was rushed for a CT scan to rule out a brain hemorrhage. (just when we couldn’t believe the nightmare we were suddenly in could get any worse!)Thankfully, the results of the CT were negative. Although she was very sleepy after the seizure, she was responding normally again. They explained that they wanted to have her airlifted to UNC's Pediatric Oncology. She was taken by helicopter to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (a 12 min ride for her, a 30-40 min. drive for us). Neither Mark nor I could not go with her - I think we made the trip in about 17 minutes!
At UNC's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, we quickly became educated. Haidyn needed blood transfusions to elevate her dangerously low blood counts. Her RBC level (hemoglobin) was so low that her heart had to pump as fast as it could to get all the oxygenated blood through her body. They would give her blood transfusions slowly - her body was so severely anemic that if it was given too quickly, her heart could fail from the change. She tolerated multiple hemoglobin and platelet transfusions beautifully. Note: normal hemoglobin levels are 11.5-13.5 and Haidyn's was 3. Over the next two days in the PICU we learn more - Haidyn's diagnosis of Pre-B ALL (Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia). We are thankful that it is the more common type of cancer and more easily treatable than other forms of cancer. She has some things going for her - she falls under a ‘risk category’ that typically responds well to treatments (because she is between the ages of 1 and 10 years old (she is 3), she is a female, and her white blood cell count was within a certain range. We need these positives!!
After her hemoglobin was stabilized, she could be moved from ICU to the children's floor. She also starts to feel better after the transfusions.She is able to play. Tyler (4 1/2 year old brother) comes in and visits (they both are so happy to see each other!) they have a good evening, have dinner together in her hospital room, and awaits surgery the next day.
The 'rest of the story' is located in the journal - a day by day or sometimes week by week update of how we are dealing with Haidyn's fight with Cancer.
Today, April 28th, marks one year off treatment.If you are looking for a reason to celebrate, this is a good one.
You see, the chances for relapse drop significantly after 1 year.The chance is still there, but today it becomes lower - and that’s what remission is all about, keep reducing the chance that Haidyn will have to beat Leukemia again.
So today is a pretty bad day for Leukemia.Pardon us if we don’t give it much sympathy.