SHELDON: Age 17
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
After just 2 weeks into Grade 10, Sheldon was feeling tired and winded when walking to and from school. A few days later he began looking very pale and mentioned that he had had a few nose bleeds.
We made an appointment for our family doctor who sent us the very same day to Cambridge Memorial Hospital for blood work, a chest X-Ray and an echocardiogram. Although I was a little concerned when they took us in right away instead of making us wait in the packed waiting room, I was not at all prepared for the news we were about to receive. Our world was forever changed on that day, September 18, 2017, when we were given the diagnosis of High Risk Pre-B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. To say we were shocked and terrified is an absolute understatement.
Following an ambulance transfer to McMaster Children’s Hospital, Sheldon began an intense treatment protocol that will last over 3 years. He has already had many red blood and platelet transfusions, high dose chemotherapy and steroids, 30 leg injections and many lumbar punctures. Due to the side effects of the chemo and steroids Sheldon has endured nausea, vomiting, neuropathy in his hands and feet, mouth sores and steroid induced hyperglycemia which requires insulin to control.
It goes without saying that this diagnosis has changed him, but not all negatively. Throughout it all, Sheldon has maintained an amazing outlook and positive attitude. He has come out of his shell speaking out about the importance of blood donations and bringing awareness to Childhood Cancer. He is a magnet for the little kids in clinic and he has made fast friends with the teens he has met as well.
The road is a long one, but Sheldon has a great support system and 4 older siblings who look out for him and will be with him every step of the way.