Essay Preview: Leukemia Case
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It had been a long year battling Breast Cancer, all the doctor appointments, chemotherapy and then the radiation therapy, Grannie was exhausted. She just wanted to sleep all day, she was worn out. The family was told that she would bounce back after a month or so, the radiation therapy would wear off, then she would be back to herself in no time, but that never happened. She had told us that she was going to the doctor that afternoon; he had called to ask her to come in. That is never a good thing. My aunt called and said that Grannie wanted a family meeting at seven that night, when my husband asked what was going on she just said “she just wants us all together so she can talk to us all at the same time. She doesnt want to have to make a bunch of phone calls.” It was then, everyone knew it was not going to be good, but our first thought was the breast cancer had returned. Who would have ever imagined what she was about to tell us. The family was sitting in the living room and was in total shock when she explained that the doctors told her she had leukemia. They did not know when she contracted it; there was no way of knowing how long she had it. She said they told her that she would need extensive chemotherapy and radiation treatments to battle the leukemia, but there were no guarantees that she could beat it. She sat there with tears running down her face when she said, “I am just too tired. I cannot fight this battle, Im too weak. Im sorry and I love you all, please know that, but I am not going to go through with the treatments.” My heart broke at that moment. She was admitted into the hospital six days later, and she was with us only three days before she was gone. Nine days was all the family got to spend with her, the leukemia took her so fast. My hero, my role model and my best friend was gone. Everybody prays that no one else in the family will have to go through this heartache again. Our family is still so confused; there are so many unanswered questions that we will never have the answers to. How is it diagnosed? What are the symptoms? Could it have been treated and cured? Are there support groups available for patients and their families? Exactly what does someone need to be aware of, in case another family member starts to display signs of this disease? Our family does not want to become a victim to leukemia ever again.
Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) is diagnosed usually after routine blood work is ordered from the patients doctors office. If they are experiencing symptoms that imply leukemia, their doctor may ask that they have one of the following tests, physical exam, blood tests, or a biopsy, to rule out leukemia.
According to MedicineNet.com:
During the exam, the doctor will check to see if the lymph nodes are swollen and
will look for pain in the abdomen from swelling in the spleen or liver. Blood will
need to be drawn to check the number of white and red blood cells and platelets.
Leukemia causes a very high level of white blood cells, and can also cause low
platelet levels, which are found in red blood cells. Having a biopsy done is the
best way to know if there are any leukemia cells in the bone marrow (Leukemia,
The hipbone and other large bones are the perfect place for bone marrow to be drawn from when looking for leukemia cells.
Like all blood cells, leukemia cells travel throughout the whole body. If a person has symptoms, it depends on where their leukemia cells are and where they collect in the body. The signs and symptoms are likely to develop slowly and can include:
tiring more easily, shortness of breath doing daily activities, pale colored skin,
night sweats, swollen lymph nodes (especially in the neck or armpit), frequent
infections, bleeding and bruising easily (bleeding gums, purplish patches in the
skin or tiny red spots under the skin), weight loss for no apparent reason, and an
ability to tolerate warm temperatures. If the brain is affected a person may have
headaches, vomiting, confusion, loss of muscle control, or seizures (Leukemia,
Leukemia can also affect other parts of the body like the kidneys, lungs,