Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia Blog Part One: Diagnosis

Posted: June 17, 2010 by rosalindayli in HBL, Leukaemia, medical conditions, Pupil
Tags: , ,

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) is a form of leukaemia. It is the most common form of childhood cancer. I didn’t know a lot about leukaemia or childhood cancers until September 2009, when my little sister was diagnosed with ALL.

My little sister, H, is four years old. She was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when she was three years old. H was quite ill before being diagnosed, she was showing signs of a cold, complaining of leg pains and was constantly tired. H was taken to the doctors twice and he thought she might have a little bit of asthma so gave her a inhaler and some antibiotics, but the cough and runny nose just wasn’t leaving. H was very active and healthy, always playing in the garden with the next door neighbours, but some days she just couldn’t walk. She was complaining of leg pains and we originally thought it was growing pains as she was only young, we never thought it could be cancer.

On 7th September 2009, H was taken to the accident and emergency department because she couldn’t walk. She was in so much pain with her legs. We thought that she would have to have her leg reset then we would be home. H had to have a cannula put in and have some bloods taken. About 3am the nurse told us that H would have to stay in because there were further tests that the doctor needed to do.

The next day was one of the worst days ever. I arrived at the hospital with my mum in a state of panic. The doctor had told her that if it was what he thought it was then it didn’t look good. That made the whole family and friends panic. The doctors came around later that day and called my mum and dad into a room. Me and my older sister were told to wait outside with H whilst the doctors spoke. The doctor who was talking to my mum was the same one who diagnosed me with my condition (type 1 diabetes). I was standing outside the room trying to hear what they were saying. I could see the look on my mum’s face. It looked like she wanted to burst out into tears but couldn’t. I started to cry before my parents came out. I knew straight away that it wasn’t good. My mum and dad both walked over to H and kissed her on her forehead, then my mum told me and my older sister to go outside. We started to walk when my mum told us. I looked at her waiting for her to start laughing but her face was dead straight, I couldn’t hold the tears in anymore. I started to cry, I didn’t know much about leukaemia but I knew it was cancer. I couldn’t believe my gorgeous little sister had cancer. I didn’t stop crying for hours, when we went back up to the ward, my mum told us not to mention anything or look upset in front of her. We didn’t want to upset her. She was then transferred to the Royal Marsden’s Children’s Cancer Unit were her very long battle began.

  1. evelinasec says:

    HBL, this is excellent. It grabbed my attention from the beginning. You have written it so well. The way you describe your feelings and the reactions of your family is very moving.
    You have structured the writing well, and really thought about the balance of medical information and how to keep your reader’s interest. Your voice comes through, making this both an intensely powerful and an informative piece of writing.
    Well done! I hope your sister’s treatment continues to go well.

  2. Ms Francis says:

    Brilliant, Brilliant, I could see you as I was reading it – the expression of some of your words really emotional

  3. Aleunam says:

    What an excellent piece of writing. You really draw us into the experience you had and we cannot but help be involved in this moving family drama as it unfolds. You are a gifted writer, H.

  4. Julia says:

    I found this piece of writing very moving. It captures all the horror and drama of the situation and makes the reader very aware of the emotional impact of the illness on the family. I also felt very sorry that the family had two serious illnesses to contend with – diabetes and leukaemia. How unfair. I shall be thinking of this family and rooting for them.

  5. Bernard says:

    Very engaging piece of text. Great paragraph structure, and a sort of gripping sentence structure that conveys the drama in a very efficient way. As a reader I feel safe as you guide me through events, for whilst you are speaking of news that has brought great sadness, your writing is not overly emotional or melodramatic.

  6. EBagg says:

    A very moving and well written piece. Thank you for sharing this with us, and keep strong.

  7. vicki says:

    When I first read this I thought you were writing about something that happened last week. On re reading I realised that it was last year! It really touched me that you can now write so clearly about your experience. Many people can’t and I think it is important that those who can, to share their experience with others who may draw strength from this. For young people who don’t often have the opportunity to read what is happening for others the same age, this is especially significant .
    Writing stuff down can also help you – I hope it did.
    The thoughtfulness about you sister and your parents’ situation showed that you are a caring and insightful person, your love for them was clear.

  8. M the Chap says:

    That was so moving and vivid, and so very very real. I can’t think of many pieces of writing where so few words conveyed such depth of feeling, and from a young person’s perspective. Would permission be given for this to be used in training people, like chaplains, to work with young people?

    • HBL says:

      Thank you for your comment. (: There are also a couple of other students in the secondary classroom who are thinking about writing there own personal medical experiences. 🙂

  9. j beachward says:

    I think it was engaging and very well explained, and it was a good size peice. good…really good.

  10. Mary says:

    H I thought what you have written was very moving yet very informative. Most of all it is a very mature and fantastic piece of writing! Everyone is talking about it. I look forward to reading more of your posts.


  11. Pseu says:

    I have read this and have felt very moved by it. I’m so glad to have found it. You are brave and thoughtful and obviously a loving sister.

    I used to work as a children’s nurse, so have an idea of what you and your family are going though. Plus I have a type I diabetic son, so even more interesting. I hope you write some more as you obviously have a a talent for the written word.

  12. jc says:

    hbl dunno that was well gd i had a tear in my eye reading it i could here ur vocie in it to well done hlb xxx:)

  13. roh says:

    HBL I’m sorry that I am late posting a comment on your post but it was so moving it took me a while to think of the right words to describe your writing it was so well written that for some of it I thought I was reading the work of a well known author. I cant wait to read the next piece. And my thoughts go out to you and your family and I know that H will get better.

  14. Bushiie says:

    I hope your sister, H gets better…It is well written. It was a bit like one of my favorite authors, Jacqueline Wilson, writing this blog. Hope the next piece comes out soon 🙂

  15. Mrs Skinner says:

    I’ve very glad that I was sent the link for this post HBL. It is an excellent piece of writing that although is really sad is constructed really well so that the emotions don’t get in the way of the events. I do hope H is better now. Perhaps it is time for a follow-up post?

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