I was in the first grade and I had a high fever.
In January 2012, after a week of high fever, Elias was diagnosed with an acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The cancer treatments started on January 20th 2012 at the Children’s Hospital. It felt like the world had collapsed, and the worry over Elias’ recovery and strength was hard. What broke our hearts particularly was leaving the small boy alone in the hospital overnight. At that time, Unit 10 did not allow the parents to stay at the hospital overnight.
I went to the doctor many times but it was not until the fourth doctor, who took proper samples, that they realized that I had leukemia. I was taken to the Children’s Hospital. There, I was scared and confused. I thought that I would be in the hospital for only one night but I was in there for four weeks. I was missing home. Mom and dad could not stay in the hospital overnight. At night, I was thinking of our dog Nipsu. I got an iPad so that I could better deal with it.
It was tough to follow how Elias had to go through the difficult treatments that caused pain, changed his appearance temporarily and affected his mood too. Elias himself thought that the worst thing was the injections.
One day, my hair came out and I looked ugly. Cortisone made me hungry and I ate like a horse. Once, I ate a whole large pizza. I became fat. I hated the yellow medicine because after that I always had to stay in the hospital many nights in row, and I had to be anesthetized. Once I was anesthetized, they put the same medicine into my spinal cord.
Because of decreased defense system, Elias was living at a risk for infections, which meant that his social life was cut down. The first-grader had to leave his school for a while and studying took place at home and in the hospital. We also had to forget, for example, visits to the grocery store, hobbies, friends’ birthdays and vacations.
Because of the risk of the infections, I was not allowed to go to shops. Once I went secretly to a game shop, and once dad took me to grocery store without telling mom. I was not allowed to go to swim, or invite my friends for my birthday. The leukemia treatment took two and a half years. Last summer, the treatment ended because I was healthy. It felt good when leukemia did not exist anymore. I wanted to have a party but we have not arranged that yet.
At the moment, Elias is in the fourth grade and he goes regularly to blood tests and doctor’s appointments. The deepest wish of Elias and the whole family is that the leukemia will not come back and that Elias can continue the life of an ordinary child.
Every time I have a fever, I am afraid that the leukemia has come back.