acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
When Gabriel ran a fever and wouldn’t settle down at 3:00 a.m. one night, I immediately called our pediatrician. Something just didn’t feel right. Our pediatrician sent us to a local emergency room to get Gabe checked out. Thankfully, nothing was obviously wrong, and the ER chalked it up to a viral illness. However, Gabe’s bloodwork came back a little strange. He had something called “blasts” in his blood, which is abnormal. The doctors told us it could just be because of the virus, and since the rest of his bloodwork looked great, they didn’t think it was leukemia. They sent blood out for further testing as a “just in case,” but everyone assured me that Gabriel was a healthy kid.
Fast forward a few days, and I got the heart-stopping call from our pediatrician that the bloodwork (called flow cytometry) came back and that it did, in fact, look like leukemia.
We immediately headed to Boston Children’s Hospital where we would go on to spend four weeks. It was confirmed Gabriel had acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) via a bone marrow biopsy. Hearing this was the scariest and most heartbreaking moment of my life. I did not even believe the doctors at first and even demanded a hard copy of the results so I could see for myself. Gabriel was always a healthy kid aside from a fever that lasted only two days! Lots of kids get fevers. How did this happen? No one can really answer that question, but what they could tell me was that they can treat this and that they have a plan.
Gabriel has been undergoing chemotherapy ever since. While we did encounter a few hiccups during the treatment so far, he actually has been doing very well. He entered remission at the end of induction, and we are cautiously optimistic that he can beat this horrible disease.
As a mother, this has been the most difficult experience I’ve ever had. The worry, anxiety, and fear are like nothing I’ve ever felt. I have learned to lean on the doctors, nurses, and my family and friends for support and hope. Medical science has come so far, and in 2023, these kids with ALL are truly getting the best and most updated treatment protocol. I can’t properly express how much comfort the doctors and nurses have given me throughout this experience. They have been so knowledgeable, and their confidence gives me strength.
I will be forever grateful for family, friends, and even the strangers who have offered the most amazing support, kindness, and generosity! Our community has been absolutely unbelievable in supporting our family.
I pray every day for my son and all the other children who are going through what he is. It’s something no parent or child should ever have to endure, but together, we are strong in our mission to beat this! Keep your hope and faith strong, and know you’re not alone in this fight!