For a few months, our precious Atma Karam has had an intermittent dry cough especially during exercise. We took her to see a couple different doctors who did not think it was asthma related. We were working with an ND to treat what we thought was an allergy related cough. In mid-October, Atma Karam started experiencing a little shortness of breath and more coughing after exercising. We thought she might be experiencing exercise induced asthma.
On Thursday afternoon, October 19th, her teacher called from school to say she was having trouble breathing and sitting out of games. We picked her up from school where she was eating lunch, walking around and playing with her friends. We took her to the urgent care where they thought she had asthma until they looked at the chest X-ray and told us to go to the ER because her right lung was partially collapsed.
Initially, the ER doctors thought she had pneumonia and would need to stay in the hospital on IV antibiotics for several days. Then, once her CAT scan results came back, they discovered cancer in her chest.
She was taken by ambulance to the pediatric ICU at UNM hospital in Albuquerque, NM. There she received many different tests to confirm whether she had Leukemia or Lymphoma. The oncologist at the UNM Pediatric ICU further reviewed her CAT scan results and determined that she had a tumor in the thoracic area of her chest with fluid building up around both the lung and the heart. They started administering a specific kind of chemotherapy to dissolve the tumor and reduce the fluid. She then had a bone marrow biopsy once the chemo had the desired effects. The biopsy helped them to determine the kind of cancer. We now know she has T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
She also had a lumbar puncture where they took a sample of the spinal fluid to determine if she is high risk or low risk. (Thankfully, they did not find evidence of cancer in her spine/brain). At this time, they also gave the first round of a chemotherapy spinal treatment.
All of us (Atma Karam, Sat Sandesh and Saibhang) are doing as well as can be expected, keeping up and learning as much as we can about what we need to know to handle this in the best possible way and get Atma Karam well again ASAP. Of course, our families are rallying with us and we will continue to provide updates when we have more information. This site is a great way for us to be able to communicate with all of you, because we are laser focused on what is in front of us right now and don't have much time to give individual updates. Please feel free to share this link with anyone you think would be interested in staying in touch.
Keep little Atma Karam in your prayers and we send love and blessings to you all!