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Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)
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My daughter Alexandria Schaefer, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) on May 17, 2004 at the age of 2 1/2. It will be a day that we will never forget. I took her to her pediatrician that day because she was complaining of leg and stomach pain, and was very cranky.
The first 6 months of treatment were said to be the hardest. I believe the first month was the hardest for all of us. Alexandria had to take steroids for 1 month straight; she blew up like a balloon, ate non-stop, could not walk up the stairs, and was very moody. After she was off the steroids, she returned to old self. Within the next few months, Alex had a port put in, blood was taken, chemo was given, and her hair came out. We went to the King of Prussia clinic weekly for her treatments. Alexandria gave us a lot of problems taking her oral medicines, and getting her port accessed. She has a VERY strong willed personality, but I think in the long run it helped her fight the leukemia.
The last 1 1/2 years of treatment she was in maintenance. She only had 2 hospital stays for fevers, and was always anxious to get home. The nurses and doctors at CHOP were always supportive and caring to us at the hospital and at the clinic. Alex really grew attached to the staff at the clinic that took care of her.
On July 14, 2006 Alexandria took her last medicine and is now off treatment. She is a 6 year old who is full of energy, very intelligent, and gorgeous. She is finishing up Kindergarten this year. She enjoys being outside, playing with her brother & friends, loves animals, and singing. She plays t-ball and takes dance.
In July 2008 Alexandria will be Off Treatment for 2 years! We are so lucky to live near Philadelphia and being able to have the staff at CHOP treat Alexandria!
Written by: Becky and John Schaefer
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