16 April 2011


Paige has Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). The formal diagnosis was important, even though we had been told nearly 24 hours before that she had Leukaemia, because there are different types. It could have been AML, which would have required a slightly different treatment (though not much different in the first few weeks). Also, it could have been something else - it is not unheard of for Leukaemia to be misdiagnosed. 

(Neither of us got our hopes up - Dr Walker was so sure and she has seen many cases like this.) 

The treatment for ALL is chemotherapy (in the first instance). The first phase is called Induction and consists of five weeks of various drugs, starting with steroids. After that she will have some time to recover (probably four weeks) and then another phase of drugs. And so on. For each of these phases she will be in the hospital 24/7. And so will one of us.

The thought of such a small person undergoing chemotherapy is frightening - I remember what it did to my mother. The list of drugs is mind-boggling, and they will literally destroy her immune system, leaving her very vulnerable.

Although the diagnosis has been confirmed, further tests will identify exactly what type of ALL Paige has. This will impact the treatment beyond the Induction phase. The results take up to 10 days, so stay tuned.


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