Birth Date - March 25, 2015
Diagnosis - Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Theme: Paw Patrol
Due Date: 10/1/18
I had taken my 2 1/2 year old daughter to the doctor for a wellness check. I told the doctor that she didn't seem to be gaining weight. He ordered a full lab panel just to see if anything was going on. It came back with her white blood cell count being low. He referred us to a hematologist/oncologist. The hematologist ordered an additional lab panel and her count was again low, with a few other counts slightly elevated. She scheduled another appointment in a month to follow up. At the follow-up appointment Merleah's white blood count was still low, and the doctor was a little concerned. That night Merleah was running a fever of 101.1, and I took her to the hospital. She was admitted because of her WBC.
After tests, daily labs and antibiotics for 7 days, they still couldn't find anything going on except the continued fevers and low WBC. The doctor finally ordered a bone marrow biopsy. While there were no obvious cancer cells in her bloodwork, she said the bone marrow slide was very concerning. Merleah had lots of WB cells that were similar which set off a red flag. To my horror and surprise the doctor diagnosed Merleah with leukemia. Specifically ALL which is Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. People with ALL have too many immature white blood cells in their bone marrow.
After being in the first hospital for 7 days, she was transferred to Deornbecker Children's Hospital in Portland, where she stayed for an additional 6 days and began her chemotherapy treatments. After day 6 she was released and we we were able to go home. Thankfully most of her chemo and lumbar punctures can be done there. Treatment will last 2 years and we will still need to travel to and from Portland often.
This little girl has been such a trooper and is so brave and strong. She has a very long road ahead of her for the next 2 years.