Cancer of any kind is dangerous - there is no such thing as a good cancer. Leukemia takes lives of children and adults every day but at the same time, there are many survivors that are in remission and doing very well. The most common cancer for children and young people is leukemia, and the most common type of leukemia is called either Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, or Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). How well a patient does depends on so many different factors including age, cell counts, what type and subtype of leukemia he or she has, the will to fight, and so many other factors.
My son E was diagnosed with a Wilms' Tumour as a newborn, won his battle, and was recently diagnosed with Secondary Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML). AML is related to ALL but is still quite different. His cancer is most likely a secondary cancer caused by the chemotherapy his first time when he fought Wilms. E somehow passed his screenings he has every 3 months back in October but in the end of November we started to notice he wasn't quite himself, and he was diagnosed December 19th.
The first person I met after my son was diagnosed the first time told me to make a caringbridge site for my son Eli. This was the most wonderful thing I could have been told. We gave the website to family and friends so they could keep up with E's progress without having to constantly ask us. This gave us more time to spend devoted to fighting for E and being with our other 7 children. The other thing is get family members (that have close relationships with him, too many that aren't as close may be overwhelming) involved in his treatment. Since all of our children are too little to fully understand what cancer is, we told them that E isn't home because he's being very brave and fighting a monster right now.
Your friend will probably be very scared for quite a bit of it and that's normal. You just have to stay strong for him and make sure he knows it's ok to be scared but that he is loved. And yes, it is perfectly fine for you to have moments of sobbing. My wife and I sure have but we try our hardest to stay as strong as we possibly can in front of E and our other children. No sense in worrying them more than they already are.
There are lots of symptoms of leukemia but each individual is different. Some display some symptoms while others display other ones. E had a cold in November that he just couldn't kick. We took him to the doctor and he was given an antibiotic. He got a little better but as soon as he finished the antibiotic he got sick again. He usually has a couple bruises here and there since he is a 2 year old. His walking was greatly affected from one of the drugs in his first chemo cocktail so he trips and falls pretty often. But the bruising he had was more than usual - he bruised at the slightest bump. That's when we really knew something was wrong and took him to the doctor again. Once he was diagnosed we found out that his spleen and liver were enlarged - also symptoms of leukemia. Due to the extent of enlargement of his spleen, he had it removed after a round of chemotherapy. So far he has had 3 strong doses of chemo and he's labeled as being in remission! He still has 4-6 rounds of consolidation chemo left just to make sure all of the cancerous cells are gone.
A leukemia diagnosis is absolutely not a death sentence. It's treatable but you have to keep in mind that it does take lives. I know many children and adults that have gone on to live completely normal lives after getting their No Evidence of Disease (NED) status. Sometimes a patient does relapse but it is absolutely possible that he or she can reach remission and eventually NED status.
I hope this helped you out some. If you have any more questions feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or IM me (crazycanuckj).
My 2 year old son is a warrior who beat a Wilms' Tumour and is currently battling Secondary Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.
· 1 decade ago