Leukemia and Children

One of the most tragic of all forms of cancer is Leukemia, which each year kills thousands of children all over the planet. Leukemia is a disorder of the blood, the bone marrow, and the lymphatic system. as one would expect with a system of this size, complexity, and importance to the body, there are numerous ways that things can go wrong. Because of this, there are various types of leukemia, all with different areas of activity and effects on the body.

There are a few ways to breakdown which type of leukemia is being dealt with. There are divisions that could be made based on whether or not the patient is a child or adult, for example. But most commonly the division is made based on how the blood cells are effected, and where the abnormality is taking place.

With symptoms that mimic those of many other, milder illnesses, leukemia is a difficult disease to diagnose initially. Some of the symptoms one is likely to experience are pervasive feelings of fatigue, constant chills and night sweats, and susceptibility to infection. As you can see, these are all conditions that could come from something as mundane as being overworked and run down. Many people assume that’s exactly what the problem is, and don’t seek help until their condition becomes so bad that they are unable to perform normal everyday activities without extreme discomfort.

When a person does report to the doctor, a blood test or bone marrow test may be conducted. These are the only ways to reliably screen for leukemia. Because of the variousness of the symptoms, and the invasiveness of the screening methods, leukemia often goes undiagnosed, by some estimates in as many as 20% of all cases.

The classification of leukemia arises from a four-fold matrix of conditions. The first axis is that of acute vs. chronic. In the case of acute leukemia, large numbers of immature blood cells are rapidly released. Since they are not fully developed, they crowd out the productive cells, resulting in quick deterioration of health. In the chronic case, blood cells are more mature and build up more slowly, resulting in a gradual worsening of health.

The second axis of the matrix is that of lymphocytic vs. myelogenous. Lymphocytic leukemia effects the cells which make up the body’s immune system. Myelogenous leukemia effects the myeloid cells, which are responsible for producing the range of blood cells-white, red, platelet-in the body. This matrix yields four distinct forms of the disease, all of which have different degrees of danger and populations within which they occur.

Unlike some other forms of cancer, leukemia is not primarily caused by any lifestyle choices. There is a strong genetic component, which can be exacerbated by exposure to radioactive compounds. If you have a history of leukemia in your family it is important to stay vigilant and aware of your health. There are different treatments available and the earlier you can diagnose the problem (especially with the acute leukemia) the more likely you can survive.

Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, Marriage, and Children – It Was Meant To Be

Once diagnosed at age twenty-five with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, I was certain my love life would be on the back burner during my two and half year protocol. Living life as a cancer survivor and hoping one day marriage and children may be a part of my future seemed more like a fantasy than a reality.

I found myself going out on one or two dates with someone and end what could have been a potential relationship on purpose. What if he found out I was stigmatized with cancer, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and ran for cover? How would I feel? How devastated would I be? Could I handle that kind of rejection based on my medical situation and physical appearance? Marriage? Children? These questions were far from superficial and barraged my mind. They were real, right down to the core. It was the fear of rejection, humiliation, and thoughts of what gentleman would want a girlfriend bald, gray, and going for cancer treatments?

I had a great wig and with some make-up no one was able to tell I was struggling to survivor cancer. I was twenty-five years young going to the bars, parties, and any and every other social function imaginable. The cancer didn’t stop me there. It just kept me from entering into a relationship; actually it was me who kept me from entering into a relationship. During that time, I gave the cancer way too much power. Until I met Ronnie. I never would have expected that within nine months, post the non-Hodgkins lymphoma diagnosis, love was about to bloom and change my life completely. Yes, it was meant to be.

When Ronnie first asked me out on a date I was extremely apprehensive. He wanted me to let go of feelings of insecurity that I allowed to control me as I was on the path toward surviving cancer. He saw how I managed my cancer diagnoses, and was inspired by watching as I was capable of maintaining a smile on my face every time he saw me. I was relieved by his reaction; nevertheless, at that time, I couldn’t bring myself to get past the vulnerable state. As a result, I refused to go out with him, thinking I was doing him a favor. Mentally and emotionally I still had my love life on hold. That went on for about six months; however, during that time we became the best of friends. We went to the movies together, out to eat, golfing, just enjoying each others company.

Regardless of the non-Hodgkins lymphoma, Ronnie remained persistent and helped me to see that I deserved to be happy in every aspect of my life.

He knew I wanted to be with him, just as he wanted to be with me. It was so surreal that someone like him would accept me as a girlfriend, hairless and with a blotchy gray complexion. He gave me the confidence to be secure with our relationship as it progressed further, finally culminating into true love. He became my rock and never asked for anything in return-just my health and happiness. We married on our four year anniversary, and sixteen months later we had our first of three *miracle* children.

We feel just as strongly about our relationship, if not stronger than before. We were given the opportunity to have children – something the doctors were certain would never happen. The cancer protocol was supposed to put my twenty-five-year-old body into menopause. The love and appreciation I have for my husband and children will never be taken for granted, not after living with cancer. Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, Marriage and Children ~ it was all meant to be.