This section is for children who have ALL. You will find answers to many of the questions you have on this site and there are links to other websites that you might find helpful. Remember, you can always speak to your parents, doctor and nurses about what you're going through.
ALL stands for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (say it like this: a-cute lim-fo-bla-stick loo-key-mee-ah). It is a type of illness or cancer that affects your blood. This can be treated by your doctor who you will see a lot.
Your blood is made up of a mixture of cells and a watery liquid called plasma that the cells float in. There are three types of cell in the blood: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets (Picture 1).
Red blood cells carry the air from your lungs around the body. Platelets stop you bleeding after you have been cut. White blood cells fight against disease when you get sick. In ALL, your body makes too many white blood cells that don't work properly and this can make you feel ill.
No one knows what causes ALL but we do know that you did nothing wrong. If you are worried or upset, talk to your parents, carers, doctor, nurses, counsellor and friends.
Yes, you are not alone. Most children who have leukaemia will have ALL just like you.
Most children with ALL will get better after being treated with a type of special medicine called chemotherapy (say it like this: key-mow-th-air-rap-pee).
Your doctor will examine you (Picture 2) to find out the exact type of ALL you have. You will then be treated with some chemotherapy that helps to get rid of the extra white blood cells. Your doctor will help and support you through your treatment and can answer any questions you might have.
Some chemotherapy will be given in the form of tablets which you will swallow but most chemotherapy will be given by injection or through a small tube through your skin – usually in your arm – using a needle. Your doctor will be very careful when giving you treatment and there is nothing to worry about. Remember you can talk to your family, friends, doctors and nurses if you are scared about your treatment or anything else.
Because everyone is different, some children will feel differently to others when they are given chemotherapy. Chemotherapy might make you feel tired and sick but this is a sign that it is working properly.
Because of the treatment you are given, your hair may fall out too but DON’T WORRY, it will grow back after you have finished taking the medicine. As the medicine starts to work and the cancer goes away you will start to feel better. Your doctor will carefully check to make sure you are coping well with your medicine. It is important that you tell your doctor and nurses exactly how you feel so they can help you through your treatment and you can speak to your parents, doctors and nurses if you are worried about anything.
You have to try to relax and sleep well so that your body can recover its strength after each treatment. It is also important that you eat healthy meals and drink plenty of water. You should make sure that you wash your hands often and avoid people that have a cold, the flu or people with other illnesses such as chicken pox as it is not a good time to get sick. Remember, everyone around you is there to help you through your treatment. Your parents, doctor and nurses will listen to you and answer any questions you might have.
You will need to go to a hospital to be given chemotherapy and you might need to stay at the hospital for a little while. Your family will be allowed to visit you lots and the doctors and nurses at the hospital will take care of you (Picture 3).
When you start chemotherapy you might need to take some time off school because you will probably feel tired and very sick. DON'T WORRY about missing school work, just rest and try to get better. Your doctor will tell you when you are ready to go back to school (Picture 4).
No, you cannot pass on ALL to anyone else, so your friends and family can visit you (Picture 5). If someone does get sick, it is not because of you.
Your friends are a great source of support and if you are well enough your doctor might let you see your school friends. Your doctor has to be careful because seeing your friends might make you tired and you could catch another illness from them which will make you feel worse. There will be other children in the hospital with you that you can make friends with while you are there and you can always stay in touch by phone, letter and email.
You will not be able to do any sport for a little while as you will probably feel very tired and sick during chemotherapy and will need to be careful following your treatment. DON'T WORRY, you will be able to do everything again once your doctor feels that you have recovered from the chemotherapy.
Ask your parents and doctor about going to a support group for children with ALL. Here are some websites that might be helpful:
Your parents and carers can find lots more detailed information on this site. You can speak to your parents, carers, your doctor and nurse and your counsellor about ALL.
Fun and learning sitesHow the body works - www.kidshealth.org
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