How did you discover that Gregory had cancer? Were there any signs that you brushed off in the beginning?

This is a common question. I wish there was an answer that pointed directly to “This is what to look for.”.
Gregory is the youngest of three OffSpring. Before diagnosis, he had lots of colds and would spike a fever with every illness. Something I gave very little thought to. I just figured since he had two school age siblings, he was just being exposed to more illnesses than the previous two. He also had a run in with Rotovirus when he was 20 months old. Which landed him in the hospital for five days with dehydration.
Looking back, we could have looked at his blood work from then and been more critical. Gregory’s leukemia (JMML) does not present like other leukemia’s. It’s subtle and has a slow burn. His labs from then might have given an indication of what was brewing, but they probably just looked like he was fighting something viral. Which he was. *shrug*
In February of 2009, Gregory had a head cold. Nothing out of the ordinary for him. He had had a juicy cough for about 10 days. At the time I was still working and my mom had him. He had fallen asleep in her lap and suddenly woke up with dry heaves. After our Rotavirus experience, recognizing dehydration was easy. I took him to the pediatrician. Nasal swabs indicated to Strep or Flu. He just look bad. We went to the ER for IV fluids. Typically kids perk up after IV fluids. Gregory did not. The ER doc ordered labs.
His labs indicated either a viral blood infection or leukemia. Like mentioned above, JMML is very hard to recognize.
We were admitted to figure out what was going on. More blood testing, a ton of nasal swabs and everything was coming back negative.
Two days later he had a bone marrow aspirate and this is what led us to the diagnosis of leukemia. Not the kind of leukemia, just a leukemia. JMML took several weeks to figure out.
Probably covered too much, but this is his experience.
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About Mindi Finch

Living with Magnificence. Kicking Childhood Cancer's Ass.
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