Finally a doctor comes in, sits down and tells you that your child has Leukemia and needs to start chemotherapy as soon as possible. He walks out the door to make arrangements and there you sit. Shell-shocked. After you gather your thoughts for a minute you call your best friend. Surely she can make sense of this, surely she can make everything ok. With tears running down your cheeks you fill her in on the last few hours of hell that you and your child have endured and then you pause to give her a chance to fix it, to say something... and she says, "Well, at least it's just Leukemia. That's the good cancer."
The good cancer... the cancer that wreaks havoc on your body and makes you sicker and sicker until someone figures out what is going on... and then you start chemotherapy which makes your hair fall out, makes you throw up, can cause long term problems with your heart, your hearing and several other things. The good cancer. Ask Charlie's mom how "good" Leukemia is. Talk to Erica's fiance or sisters or mother; I'm sure they can tell you exactly what they think of Leukemia. Caylyn, Chloe, Janelle and Sierra's parents may have a few words about Leukemia too...
Or better yet, ask Matthew.This is Matthew Litchfield. He is 14 years old. In September 2006, Matthew was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. Instead of finishing his junior high school career with his friends, he was going through chemotherapy. In December, he relapsed. The doctors at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital were able to get him back into remission and on March 14, 2007 when Matthew should have been deciding what to do for Spring Break, he had a bone marrow transplant from an anonymous donor.
The transplant worked! And though Matthew had his ups and downs and had several complications, he faced each one head on... and he thrived. Still, in the Fall of 2007, when Matthew should have been starting his Freshman year of high school, he was busy going to endless doctors appointments, watching his counts and battling one setback after another. Finally, in April, things were looking good and Matthew and his parents were able to go to Hawaii for Matthew's Make-A-Wish Trip. It seemed that all was going well and Matthew looked forward to spending the summer hanging out with his friends and getting ready for his Sophomore year of high school. Until last week.
During a routine clinic appointment, Matthew's doctor noticed that his numbers were going crazy... again. This time though it was enough to warrant a bone marrow biopsy. And while his friends and family and the staff and Vanderbilt prayed SO hard, it turns out that Matthew's Leukemia is back again.
Matthew Litchfield should be spending his days deciding if he wants to play football or run cross country. He should be choosing his subjects for his Sophomore year of high school and talking to his friends on the phone about girls. He should be going to the movies and hanging out at the mall and he should be able to do so without wondering if he has enough neutrophils to do it safely. Instead, Matthew and his parents had to decide whether or not to fight this cancer again. Matthew had to decide whether or not he wanted to be admitted to the hospital for 4-6 weeks and pump chemo into his body and make himself sick all over again. He had to make a decision to go through yet another bone marrow transplant and endure all the horrible effects that goes along with that. He has to think about things that no 14 year old should ever have to contemplate.
And Matthew will fight. He will continue to fight just like he has for the last year and a half, and people all over the world who love him and care about him will pray, so hard, that he wins. I'm pretty sure if you ask Matthew about Leukemia, he won't tell you that it's a "good" cancer. I'm pretty sure he'll tell you it sucks. I know that's what his mother would say. I know, because I say it every day.
Visit Matthew's Page and learn more about him. Find out how you can be praying... and watch for the miracle... and if you EVER hear someone say that Leukemia is a "Good cancer"