Anonymous
Anonymous asked in HealthDiseases & ConditionsCancer · 1 decade ago

What happens to you after you are diagnosed with leukemia?

I am writing a story about a young girl who is diagnosed with leukemia. I need to know the effects of leukemia and what it is. Give me all the detail you can. Don't include all the scientific crap.

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  • 1 decade ago
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    My little girl had Leukemia. First, a description from faqs.org: Leukemia is caused by the overproduction of white blood cells. This has two effects on the body. First, the white blood cells may not mature properly as they develop. They may lack the ability to kill foreign bodies in the bloodstream. This defect seriously damages the immune system and the body loses its ability to fight off infections.

    Second, so many white blood cells may form that they pack the bone marrow until there is not enough room for red blood cells and platelets to develop. Without red blood cells, the body's cells do not get enough oxygen, and the condition known as anemia develops. Anemia is characterized by general weakness, headache, pale skin, and dizziness. It can become a life-threatening disorder. Without platelets, blood cannot clot properly and simple injuries can lead to serious blood loss.

    My daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia (specifically, Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia) when she was 6 years old.

    Her symptoms were: lowgrade fever x 2 months, severe nosebleeds, bruising easily (like just from touching her arm), extreme fatigue and anemia.

    They diagnosed her via a blood test - a "CBC with Manual Differential" which showed "BLASTS" in her bloodstream (the immature cells explained above). They then proceeded with a bone marrow biopsy, which both confirms the diagnosis, and tells them which kind of Leukemia they are dealing with. (There are different kinds: acute & chronic, & whether it affects granulocytes, lymphocytes, or monocytes cells.)

    They then put together a chemotherapy regimen for that specific type of Leukemia. There are 3 phases, the first is the "Induction" phase in which they try to kill all the leukemia cells in the bloodstream. This phase usually lasts a month. They do blood tests and once no more leukemia cells show up in the blood, they have achieved "remission" and they proceed to phase 2, the "intensive" phase. This phase is to irradicate the leukemia cells still in the bone marrow and brain/spinal fluid. She received chemotherapy every other week, for 3 days in a row, for 6 months, via IV. She also received regular spinal taps, and injections of chemotherapy directly into the spinal fluid, (because cancer cells can hide out in the brain tissue, and the brain has natural barriers that prevent the IV chemo from entering the brain via the bloodstream.)

    After 6 months, the spinal fluid is tested again, and another bone marrow aspiration is done. If no leukemia cells are found, they proceed into the 3rd Phase "Maintenance". In maintenance, they receive outpatient, lower doses of chemo by both injection and pill. This goes on for 2 years. Spinal taps and bone marrow aspirations are done regularly to make sure the leukemia cells aren't multiplying again. If they are found, they stop "maintenance" and begin all over again.

    My daughter went through all three phases without a recurrence, and after that, she had to see the oncologist every other week for a blood test. After a month, we went every other week, then every month, then every 3 months for a year, and then every 6 months for another year, and then yearly until she reached age 19.

    Throughout her treatment, she also received phsychological testing and we answered survey after survery about her milestones (did she get her period on time, how did it affect her learning/schoolwork, how did it affect her mentally?). These surveys help to pinpoint possible problems with chemo effects, which I am happy to say she had no long-term affects.

    She is doing well and is 23 years old now.

    I hope this helps!

  • 4 years ago

    What Happens In Leukemia

  • 1 decade ago

    What it is:

    The bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells. The abnormal cells are leukemia cells. At first, leukemia cells function almost normally. In time, they may crowd out normal white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This makes it hard for blood to do its work.

    Effects - Common symptoms of leukemia:

    Fevers or night sweats

    Frequent infections

    Feeling weak or tired

    Headache

    Bleeding and bruising easily (bleeding gums, purplish patches in the skin, or tiny red spots under the skin)

    Pain in the bones or joints

    Swelling or discomfort in the abdomen (from an enlarged spleen)

    Swollen lymph nodes, especially in the neck or armpit

    Weight loss

    In acute leukemia, symptoms appear and get worse quickly. People with this disease go to their doctor because they feel sick. Other symptoms of acute leukemia are vomiting, confusion, loss of muscle control, and seizures. Also, some patients develop sores in the eyes or on the skin. Leukemia also can affect the digestive tract, kidneys, lungs, or other parts of the body.

    Actually for answers to all your questions in simple language go the link below.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Unfortunately, your right. Not much hope. It sounds as though he also may have bowel cancer.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    A lot happens after diagnosis. I can give you lots of details but don't have time right now.

    you can email me at eendje1990@yahoo.co.nz if you want to know anything. =-)

    Good luck with your story. =-)

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