She used to be a very active and jolly 3yo. Just recently, we noticed she gets tired easily, complaining of her knees and legs, especially the left one. She gets sick more often, especially after school started, which was usually mistaken as tonsilitis.
Back in summer, my mom noticed her tummy is a bit larger than it should be. I didn't entertain the thought as I remember 2yo's have bigger tummies than usual, forgetting that Anya is already 3.
One weekend, she was running around the house, playing. Then suddenly, she sat on my lap and was unable to move freely telling me her legs hurt. I let her sit on the bed but she can't even sit properly saying her hips hurt too. She was like that overnight. The following morning, she was able to stand up to have her dad carry her. Still, the legs hurt and she still prefers to be carried.
The following week, she had fever one weeknight. We thought it's just because of sore throat or tonsilitis.
Come the next weekend, and she is again complaining of her left leg. We had her checked by her pedia for that reason and were immediately referred to a pedia-ortho mistaking the pain for a fracture. But upon PE of the specialist, there's no fracture at all. So we went ahead ato the bowling game we are about to attend that day.
She was able to run around and play with my officemate's little girl, although she had to sit down to take breaks. The following week was quite okay and she had no fever. Saturday night, she had fever again.
The following week, I was hesitant to send her to school Tuesday morning after the holiday on Monday. She didn't have fever for 2 consecutive nights and so I let her attend school on Wednesday. It was their Buwan ng Wika presentation Friday morning. She had low grade fever so I still let her go so she can participate as she was so excited to dance and use her straw hat. She was late so it was only their final group presentation that she's able to join. That night, she had to be rushed to ER. My mother-in-law accompanied her first as I had to report to work. Lab results as well as the xray were bad that she had to be admitted. I then left work and headed to the hospital. We stayed there for 5 nights. She was negative of dengue and was instead diagnosed with bronchopneumomia, pancytopenia and nutritional anemia secondary to infection. PBS results were negative of any blast cells. We were discharged but she still has colds and starting to get cough. She was prescribed with antibiotic to be taken for a week.
The following week, she did not have a fever, perhaps because she is taking antibiotic. We went back to her pedia as scheduled that Saturday. We were scheduled for another CBC 1 week after that visit, then another after 2 months. In the middle of that week, she started to cringe whenever we comb her hair, especially the hair behind her ears. We thought it would just go away. Sunday night, she is a bit irritable and was crying. She was unable to tell if something hurts but was able to sleep anyway. Then Monday morning, we were alarmed when we saw her right temple swollen and immediately went to see her pedia. From there, although no fever, she noticed Anya's spleen and liver are both bigger than usual. She immediately referred us to a specialist she knew well, different from the specialist when Anya was admitted. We were supposed to see that pedia-hema/onco but I failed to bring Anya the next day as the doctor was said to already be leaving the time when Anya was awake. We had no yaya that day, and Anya's dad also was away for duty. I just observed Anya overnight and thought of bringing her next day to a different specialist since I am already anxious to wait for Saturday to come just to have her checked. So far she still had no fever. The next day, Wednesday, I decided to have her admitted upon seeing her lab results. (She just had blood transfusion last Sept.4 but the results seem to show as if it wasn't done! It's supposed to be good for 3 months as ler the pedia hema who checked her during Anya's previous hospital admission.) Unfortunately, the 2 nearby hospital does not have any private room available for us. We were again forced to go home that night.
Thursday morning, I swore to bring her to the specialist a mommy friend referred to us through my post on a mommy group in FB. Jim caled the hospital to check if the dr.was still there. Otherwise, we'll go to her clinic in Megamall. We went to World Citi Med and saw Dr.Marieleise Afable. She immediately sent us to HOPE Center at the 2nd floor. PBS was read 10mins after extraction and the dr.'s preliminary diagnosis? Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (A.L.L.). She even let Jim take a peek of the blasts. I was right to have our things ready as we were ordered to have Anya admitted that same day. There were series of blood tests again to check everything and a bone marrow aspiration Friday sent out to NKTI for official evaluation. The dr.is already convinced it is AL.L. Saturday, she had 2D-echo. It was good that it was all normal and thriving. Official results came in Monday which confirmed that it is indeed A.L.L. Chemo protocol started Monday.
Recommended treatment regime is chemotherapy: 3 Phases
1st stage is Induction. Goal is to have remission. It means that leukemia cells are no longer found in bone marrow samples, the normal marrow cells return, and the blood counts become normal. This is usually done for 1 month. Usually the session is done every other day on the first week, then 2-3 times a week until 1st phase is done. Drugs given are Prednisone, Doxorubicin, Vincristine and L-Asparaginase. Second is Consolidation (intensification). Consolidation phase of chemotherapy typically lasts about 1 to 2 months. This phase reduces the number of leukemia cells still in the body. Several chemo drugs are combined to help prevent the remaining leukemia cells from developing resistance. This requires Anya to be admitted for 4 days straight every week for the chemo sessions, with just 3 days rest.
Third and last stage is maintenance. If the leukemia remains in remission after induction and consolidation, maintenance therapy can begin. Most treatment plans use daily 6-Mercaptopurine and weekly Methotrexate, given as pills, often along with Vincristine, which is given intravenously, and a steroid (Prednisone or Dexamethasone). These latter 2 drugs are given for brief periods every 4 to 8 weeks. The total length of therapy (induction, consolidation, and maintenance) for most A.L.L. treatment plans is 2 to 3 years.
Funds are needed for hospital bills as she would need to be admitted every now and then. (We are currently admitted again since last Monday.) Also, her HMO limit has already been exceeded. We will continue to need funds as chemo drugs are quite expensive and our family, single-income earning, needs help in funding to extend the life of our little princess. Please help us in getting her normal life back. I can't bear to lose a child just because of something she doesn't deserve to have.
Aside from funding, we would also need donors of blood (particularly pack rbc and platelet concentrate) same as Anya's blood type, O+. During the therapy, her blood is expected to go up and down as per our pedia-hema/onco. We would also need materials such as cytocan needle (disposable), EMLA cream for her bone marrow aspiration every now and then as needed. We will coordinate with our pedia to check other items we would need. But for now, we really need funds as the chemo has already started, resources are already depleting, yet we still have a long way to go. (We are still on the Induction phase, which keeps getting interrupted by some unfortunate events - her on and off fever, backflows on her portacath inserted on her upper right chest,.)
My daughter's HMO has already been exhausted with just the hospital bill from our previous admission (Sept.21 until Sept.29), and it was not even enough to cover everything. We hope to accumulate enough funds to cover expenses all throughout the course of her chemotherapy.
I already lost my dad at the age of 7. I still can't explain that feeling of seeing your father being buried. I can't imagine and I don't ever want to experience that same feeling to my own child. Please help us save her and bring her normal life back.