Leslie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on Christmas Eve 2017 when she was 5 years old. A couple of high fevers, a headache and tummy pain brought us to the ER but in our wildest dreams we were not expecting to hear that she had cancer. She spent a month in the hospital initially where she had numerous hemoglobin and platelet transfusions, bone marrow aspirations, surgery the day after Christmas to install her port and her first of many months of chemotherapy. Santa Claus did manage to find her in the hospital though as well as all her family and friends.
The first ten months of Leslie’s chemotherapy were the more intense stages of her treatment. At the end of these stages in August 2018, Leslie was granted a respite vacation in OC MD by Believe In Tomorrow Children’s Foundation. It was perfect timing as she had recently completed her most intense phase of chemotherapy. She had a big surprise while on vacation in OC MD she met a “real” unicorn and a “real mermaid” on the beach and had her picture taken with both of them. She loved all the Believe In Tomorrow activities while on vacation especially the horseback riding and going to Frontier Town.
Although her treatments have gone near perfectly in terms of fighting Leslie’s Cancer she has had to deal with difficult side effects from the treatments. These include two broken wrists over Christmas 2018, two broken ports which required more surgeries to remove and replace and then remove again. As well as several mobility issues which required her to do continuous weekly physical therapy. She worked very hard at PT and after a year and a half has almost completely recovered. She still has issues with her ankles due to the chemotherapy and has to wear daily night braces on her legs to bed.
In September 2018 she reached Maintenance chemotherapy in which her intravenous chemotherapy moved from weekly to monthly. She also takes daily oral chemotherapy.
Leslie lives at home with her Mommy and Daddy and her pygmy goats and chickens. She loves driving the farm tractor around with Daddy and swimming in her pool.
She was in kindergarten when diagnosed and has now just completed First Grade. She has continued to get excellent grades in school despite balancing schoolwork with all her treatments and side effects. Throughout her illness her Monkey LuLu sits at her desk at school when she is not able to attend. Her classmates take LuLu to any activity that Leslie would have normally attended at school. It helps to keep her connected to her classmates when she is not able to attend school. Leslie also takes dance classes. She loves being in her dance recitals and even had the courage to go on stage shortly after phase IV chemo last year when her muscles were still very weak and just after she lost all her hair.
Leslie has now completed the first eighteen months of chemotherapy and has eight more months of chemotherapy remaining. We are hoping for a complete recovery and that she will never relapse. Throughout everything Leslie has endured she has remained the same sweet, caring, funny little girl that she always was, she has been a role model for everyone around her as how to overcome such an adversity.