Ava's Leukemia Story

I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia On December 20, 2017, when I was just 14 years old. I was halfway into my freshman year when I began to have a severe sinus infection. No matter what antibiotics I was given, it would not go away. My nose was constantly clotting with mucus.

During this time I also suffered from serious fatigue. I would come home from school, do my honours homework and fall right asleep. I could only breathe through my mouth at this point.

Next, I started to realize huge lymph nodes along my neck. Everyone began to notice them as well in school. Then, the worst part came. The severe leg pain in an abnormal spot below my knee. I could not run, I could not go up the stairs but with my personality, I kept pushing through every day. I was truly a mess.

My mom knew something was wrong and that we need to push further so I got a blood test to look for mono. All the symptoms plus the fact that my spleen was enlarged pointed to this illness but the results came back negative. I started to bruise and bleed very easily. As I walked out for the second time to test for mono I fainted into my father's arms. My doctor then pushed for an MRI as my leg pain worsened. There everything came crashing down.

During school, my mom received a call that something in my leg did not seem right and I must be brought into the children’s hospital immediately. There I was diagnosed and my journey began. 50 per cent of my body was leukaemia cells and I needed a port and an IV placed right away to begin treatment. Everything is a brainwash because the first month I was so so sick. Thankfully, I happened to reach remission by the end of the month of January and I since then been in remission.

Last month was my one-year remission celebration. I am so thankful to be alive. Throughout my journey, I’ve gone through so much. ER fevers, C diff, Stomach bugs, severe bone pain, mouth sores, eye infections which caused both eyes to shut, abscess, septic shock and so much more. That isn’t even including the side effects from chemo like headaches and nausea. I’ve received over 60 transfusions and have been poked more times than I can count. I’ve had over 20 lumbar punctures and my journey is far from over.

All I would like to say as I have now reached maintenance is things DO get better. Keep your head high and you WILL get through this.

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