Children who receive a stem cell transplant have a small risk of developing a second malignancy (cancer), particularly if total body irradiation was used during conditioning. Since transplants are relatively new treatments for children and teens with cancer, the overall impact and long-term effects are not yet clear. Your doctor can explain known risks given your childs disease and treatment.
Every day I wake up, I am lucky. I kiss my kids good morning, yell at them to get dressed, make breakfast, pack lunches, and drive them to school. I get home and smile and say I am SO lucky. You see, leukemia has taught me to appreciate each and every day. I have learned so much about myself, and I am a much better person for it. Little things that might bug others just flow in one ear and out the other. My kids get so many hugs and kisses every day that they whine about it—OH MOM, not another one.
Leukemia and cancer are part of our lives, but they are not our whole life. I remember so many bits and pieces of treatment, but our positive attitude is the thing I remember the most, and what others always commented on. During transplant, when things were really tough, I would turn on the music loud and all of us, including Robby hooked up to 10 different med lines, would get up and dance and sing. The nurses would come in and start dancing, and people would watch through the windows, wondering why they didn't get invited to our party.
What else did I get? I have a teenaged son who is the most gentle soul. Despite missing 60 percent of third grade for BMT, as well as many other missed days, he is in a school that is for the academically advanced and is in the top third of his class. He has three game balls from this baseball season, which are given to the player of the game. During basketball, his coach was amazed at his gift of never giving up, despite having virtually no talent for it. I have a child who helps the third graders carry their backpacks because they are too heavy. I have a child who opens doors for women and who gives up his seat to grown-ups. I have a child who loves playing with babies and making them laugh. I have a child who has his college picked out. I have a child who, when told he had relapsed, was concerned I would have to miss work so much.
I can remember, after the shock of hearing about our second relapse was gone, Robby made the comment, "I know I'm not going to die; look at all of the chemo that would have been wasted." Am I lucky—YOU BET
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