acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
Oakley was a typical 2-year-old going to gymnastics and play dates with her friends until a week after her third birthday when she began to decline health-wise very quickly. Oakley’s eyes began to swell, alternating between both eyes. We went to one urgent care visit, two ER visits, a visit with her primary pediatrician, and two blood draws before she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
The odd thing was eye issues aren’t necessarily a symptom of leukemia at all. It began as being diagnosed with a stye. A few days later, I had to take her back for a high fever, and now her other eye began to swell. We did a Zoom call with her pediatrician, and she diagnosed her with possible allergies and wanted to do a blood draw. Lucky for us, she already had an order for a standard blood test. The following day her doctor rushed us to our nearby LabCorp to get even more blood drawn because something wasn’t right. That next morning, he called us urging us to take her to Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital because she most likely had leukemia. Her doctor was right; she was diagnosed with leukemia, and our world was shattered.
Learning everything there was to learn about ALL, I dove right in, reading every book and online story, and reached out to several people because I wasn’t aware of childhood cancers like many aren’t. Oakley had a hard time gaining the muscle back for walking and dealing with being very afraid of new things, but being thrown into the “cancer world” had made my once very shy kid into a social butterfly. I truly believe her bubbly personality is what’s allowed her to keep thriving with treatment, as well as being hooked up to a blinatumomab bag for multiple months. She’s the true definition of a sunshine girl and that there is always a brighter tomorrow. She is in maintenance now and struggling to adapt, but she will get there and will ring the bell in December 2024.
The story was written by a parent.