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Our son Axel has been undergoing treatment for a serious condition for approximately a month. The following is an explanation of that condition and how things have unfolded these past weeks.
Both boys came down with what we thought was a nasty virus that was making its way through Brookings in early September. Tycho ran a fever for 3 or 4 days and then was fine. Axel started running a fever the following week and we thought it was the same thing, but his lasted about 6 days longer. We noticed that he had developed a very swollen lymph node under his arm and his stomach was getting kind of hard like he was bloated as well so we took him to the doctor. They drew blood and ran some tests and said to watch the lymph node, but nothing was too concerning at that time. There was a lot of viral stuff going around. He wasn’t getting any better after a few days so they put him on an antibiotic.
While the course of antibiotics were run Axel remained lethargic and generally under the weather. After the antibiotics ran out we took him in for follow up. Since he wasn’t responding more blood work was done and an x-ray of his stomach/chest was taken. The x-ray showed his liver and spleen were both enlarged and the results of the blood tests were concerning. His platelet count was 9 (a healthy person is 140-400), so we were transferred to the Sanford Children’s Hospital (the Castle) located in Sioux Falls.
We were checked into the Castle Friday afternoon and he was started on IV fluids right away while we waited to hear why we were there. After some more blood tests, x-rays and visits with the Doctors we were informed that he has leukemia. Being Friday afternoon we would had to wait until Monday for the appropriate personnel to be back at the hospital in order to perform tests determining what type of leukemia he had as there are a number of different types.
It was the longest weekend of our lives. There we sat all weekend in the hospital with a scared baby hooked up to all kinds of tubes and cords away from his family in a strange place trying to keep him calm and comfortable when we had no idea what was really happening.
The following Monday morning, October 1st, Axel underwent a bone marrow extract. We received the results late that afternoon that Axel has PRE B-CELL ACUTE LYMPHOBLASTIC LEUKEMIA (ALL). ALL is the most common and curable leukemia with a 95%+ survival rate. The likelihood that he will lead a life free of related determinants after being cured is equally good.
The next day Axel had a port implanted into his chest to more easily administer fluids and medications and do remove the IV from his hand. A spinal tap was also done at that time in order to administer chemo therapy and extract spinal fluid to test for leukemia. We spent 11 days in the hospital from the time of his initial diagnosis.