by Crystal Sinclair
When Monika first started having problems I didn’t really understand what she was going through and how I could help her, so I did some research on crystal meth to find out all that I could so I knew how to help. Then when I found out my mom was sick, I was really freaked out because I’d just been given a chance to get to know her, and then there was the danger that she could be taken away from me again. So, I did the same thing that I had done with Monika, I learned what was happening to my mom to try to understand the problem and stop obsessing about it all the time.
My mom has adult leukemia or its medical name is Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, which is cancer of the blood and bone marrow. When we’re healthy, our bone marrow produces immature cells or stem cells that will develop into mature blood cells, which then carry oxygen through the body helping to fight infection and prevent bleeding.
When you have leukemia, there are too many stem cells and they develop into a different type of white blood cell called lymphocytes or leukemia cells. These cells can’t fight infection very well, so this may cause you to take longer to heal from any sort of injury or sickness. The more leukemia cells there are, the less room there is for healthy cells in the bone marrow and blood, which makes you bleed easier.
The most common symptoms are feeling tired or weak, fever, easy bruising or bleeding, shortness of breath, loss of appetite or weight, pain in your bones, stomach and below the ribs, as well as painless lumps in the neck, underarm, stomach or groin.
Doctors use various tests to diagnose adult leukemia, including a physical exam and an evaluation of family’s history. They will test your blood, and may also take a bone marrow sample.
The most common treatment is chemotherapy, but my mom will also be treated using Indian medicine as well. Although I’m not quite sure what that will be, but I’m sure I will learn fast.
I think one of the best ways to face something that is scary and strange is to know and understand what you’re dealing with. Knowing what’s going on with my mom will make it easier when I have to see her, as she goes through her treatments. I don’t like it, but at least I have an idea of what to expect.
It’s going to be a long road, but we will travel it together.