There are four children in our family: a 14-year-old big sister, 13-year-old big brother, 4-year-old big brother, 2-year-old Venny - and then there’s me. :)
Venny was constantly ill in March – 14 fevers, ear and urinary tract infections. After the first 10-day treatment of antibiotics there was one healthy day between and the fever returned. Venny had to go through another 10-day treatment because the ear infection had not gotten better. Around the same time, Venny started getting odd bruises, and at her daycare the teachers made a notice of her walking which was a bit troubled.
During the Easter, we left to Tornio to visit my brother. Venny was okay but in the evening her fever rose to 38C and that was when we left to Oulu University Hospital. That was also the first time that Venny complained that her feet were hurting. They took blood samples at the emergency room and discovered that Venny was anemic and her platelets were very low. The doctor sent us to the kids’ emergency room where the pediatrician examined Venny. The prognosis was leukemia, a blood cancer. We were sent to Unit 51, which is an internal medicine unit for 0-18-year-old children and youth, and also treats blood disorders and cancer. There she was put on fluids and started receiving both red and white cells. Since it was Easter, we did not get the final certainty of her diagnosis until after the holidays, after they performed a lumbar puncture.
So, Venny has leukemia, a lower-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The treatment has worked well, and at the moment we are going through the maintenance phase 1. There are still six liquid cytostatics left, and if the treatment plan remains the same, the last will be on June 15th. After that, she will be administered cytostatics through her mouth. After that, they can remove the central venous catheter. Next fall, if everything goes well, Venny can re-start her daycare.
In the beginning, it was just shocking and I was certain that Venny would die. Death was actually the only thought in my mind because, at least for myself, that is the only association I have about cancer, or had before this. At first, I just thought that it is pointless for doctors to talk because Venny will just die.
Luckily, the time has its effect, and your mind and thoughts clarify. Of course, still sometimes I get anxious and the fears about the return of the cancer and death reappear. Sometimes I feel a sting of bitterness and think that why of all the children my child got sick. I remember that once I was standing in line for the cashier and looked at the family in front of me and thought that why did not the damn cancer strike their kids when they even had two parents in their family. Luckily, my conscience was knocking pretty hard at that point. Of course, I do not wish this on anyone.
Sometimes, I feel terrible hate toward that cancer devil because it took everything. It took away Venny’s chance to be an ordinary little kindergartener, her freedom to move and wander. Because of the risk of infections, we just live in a bubble. For myself, the cancer took away my studies which I had started in the fall and the aims in exercising that I had had for several years. But luckily those feelings of bitterness, fear and hate are not there every day and mostly I just feel happy that Venny’s treatment is working and the girl has strength to be her own joyful self :)
Those who have not been affected by cancer cannot really know what it is. I think it said well in “Ung Cancer”’s site: “Cancer is an obnoxious disease that tramples on people’s lives without showing any respect or consideration. A disease that takes life and creates an infinite amount of sorrow and distress.”