Santeri was like any other two-year-old boy until in fall 2007 our world collapsed and he was diagnosed with leukemia (ALL). Santeri was diagnosed as high risk. However, he responded well to the treatment, so it was not seen as necessary to go through the roughest treatment, which would have ended in stem cell transplantation. So, given what was known then, Santeri started the demanding cytostatics treatment. The treatment was supposed to be over after two years but only few weeks after the end of his treatment the cancer recurred in Santeri’s left eye.
The extremely tough cytostatics treatment started again, however, in many ways it was improvised because there was no known protocol for treating an eye and the prognosis was very bad. In January 2010, as a consequence of the treatment, Santeri lost his ability to move and the medication made it impossible to make contact with him. By March all other options were tried and Santeri was ready for stem cell transplantation. The chosen transplant corresponded to Santeri’s cells pretty well but not perfectly. Therefore, the new cells’ ability to resist the disease was supposed to be better. The transplantation went pretty well, although some infections and symptoms of graft-versus-host disease occurred. These were treated by taking medication, and probably as a consequence of this, Santeri’s immune response did not activate even though his blood values normalized slowly.
At the moment, the situation is stable. We have a normal everyday life, which feels pretty much like a party after everything we have experienced. Santeri stays well by visiting the hospital where he receives antibodies and his graft-versus-host disease is controlled by medication. In athletics, Santeri cannot really keep up with the others speed-wise but otherwise he is able to do everything as the others can. After all, what is most important here is that we still have Santeri. Fate decided otherwise with so many others who were in the same position.