Harrison Diagnosed with High Risk B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

by Johanna Ackerman on August 05, 2018

It is hard to write this as it is still fresh in my mind and we are still going through it. When we first found out Harrison's diagnosis we started Googleing. I found a lot of articles and blogs about leukemia signs but nothing really telling us how it was going to be. Obviously, each person's journey with leukemia is different. I just wanted to share his story in case it could be of some comfort for families that are going through this.

Harrison's battle with Leukemia
Meet Harrison:
• Born on March 3rd 2016
• He was born as a preemie who was 29/30 weeks
• Diagnosed with High Risk B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on July 16, 2018


Saturday, June 16, 2018- Harrison had a cold. A low fever of 101ºF. His appetite started to decrease (I just figured he was a 2 year old who didn't want to eat anything). His appetite decreased until he was diagnosed
Thursday, July 5, 2018- Harrison had a 101ºF fever and went to after hours clinic and got diagnosed with double ear infection and was given Cefdinir.
Friday, July 6, 2018 - Harrison's fever went to 102ºF 
Saturday, July 7, 2018 - Harrison's fever went to 103ºF. I felt like I needed to take him back in and get a different antibiotic. When to urgent care. The Nurse practitioner said that the Dr. didn't prescribe the correct dosage of Cefdinir for Harrison's weight. She increased it.  Harrison was also breathing weird where it looked kind of like RSV. She noticed it and checked his lungs but he was clear. She gave him a breathing treatment anyway. We also mentioned him not eating more than 1 bite of something and she looked in his throat and he had drainage. She went ahead and gave him steroids to help with that. ( a 3 day dosage) 
Sunday, July 8, 2018 - Harrison still had a 102ºF fever.
Monday, July 9, 2018 - I decided to take him to his pediatrician  and his ears were still a little red. He gave him a Z-Pack
Tuesday, July 10, 2018- Harrison's fever went down to 101ºF
Wednesday, July 11, 2018- Harrison's fever went down to 100ºF and he was acting more like his playful self
Thursday, July 12, 2018 - Harrison was back to his normal self 
Friday, July 13, 2018 - Harrison's fever was back at 101ºF, later that day it went to 102ºF. He had no symptoms. No cold symptoms, no runny nose, nothing. I took him back to his pediatrician. No ear infection, no sores on his throat, etc. He suggested it was just pressure behind his ear.
Saturday, July 14, 2018 - His fever was 103ºF. I decided I needed to take him back to urgent care and get a blood test done because I just knew something was wrong. The Dr. ordered a blood test and a chest x-ray. X-Ray was good. His neutrophils were less than 1%.  I began to get nervous. The Dr. told me he had a call in to the Dr. at Riley's for a consultation. They decided they couldn't do any more test until Monday so they were going to send us home and come back on Sunday for another blood test. Before we left, I had the nurse take his fever again and it was 105.9ºF. The doctor said not to go anywhere and that we would probably be admitted to the hospital. He talked to Riley's dr again and she said she wanted him up here to monitor him. We had to leave Evansville, IN and travel to Indianapolis, IN (3.5hrs away) go to the emergency room at Riley Children's Hospital. Around 10 that night the Resident in Oncology came down and basically told us that it was looking like it was leukemia but they wouldn't know until they did a bone marrow test because the hematologist said the blood work was inconclusive.  
Sunday, July 15, 2018- Harrison was put on strong IV antibiotics and we still had hope for a bad virus. 
Monday, July 16, 2018- They did a bone marrow test in the morning. That afternoon he was diagnosed with High Risk B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Tuesday, July 17, 2018- That morning he had his port a cath put in along with a spinal tap to insert his first set of chemo and to test to see if there was any leukemia cells in the spinal fluid. 
Port a Cath for Chemo

He was put into the category of High Risk because he received steroids a week before diagnosis. The steroids could make him not respond to the chemotherapy as well because steroids are actually used in the first month of treatment. That is why he was better for a couple of days. 

My plan for this blog is to take you through the different phases of his treatment. We are almost done with his first phase. After that phase I will write a new post that will give you charts of his daily blood work. Something you can compare to. Obviously every child is different. I could not find anything like that on Google and I wish I did so I wanted to provide it to another family. 


This was his blood counts the day he was diagnosed:

Hemoglobin (Hgb) - 7.1
Platelets (Hct) - 92,000
White Blood Cells (WBC) - 6.7 
Blasts - 49%
Absolute Neutrophil - 0 


Here is a great video explaining Leukemia 


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