Leukemia

Single dad Chris Bosley is currently in his second monthlong stay at Roswell Park for treatment for acute myeloid leukemia (AML). During his first hospitalization, back in December, he saw his parents every day and, best of all, his son three times a week.

It was the middle of May. My son and his wife had just had their first baby — my first grandchild — on Mother's Day. I hadn’t been feeling well and got dizzy every time I went to stand up.

Dr. Wang and her Roswell Park colleagues travel the world to identify new clinical trials for leukemia for our patients at Roswell Park. "Our patients should have access to the same trials as patients in Boston, New York, Chicago and San Francisco."

Chronic and acute leukemias are completely different diseases, and they progress at different speeds. The way they’re treated can be very different.

Last October, at age 19, I was diagnosed with cancer. I had recently graduated from high school and begun working. And then I started not feeling well – I was tired and under the weather all the time.

At Roswell Park, he enrolled on a clinical trial evaluating a drug combination that would later become known as “7 and 3,” for the dosing schedule of two drugs — seven days of cytarabine followed by three days of daunorubicin.

To help Dr. Griffiths' patients understand myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), she typically starts by telling them to think of their blood as a grocery store and their bone marrow as a farm.

When she was almost 11, Kayla was mysteriously sick for two months. First her doctors thought she had a cold or mono, and then a stomach bug. Her blood work showed that her white blood cell count was through the roof.

Twelve-year-old Emmett is big into hockey. He started skating when he was 4 and playing when he was 6. He had hockey hair. He skateboarded. He was outside playing sports every minute he could. Then when he was 10, he started to feel lightheaded and fatigued.

The advice I would give to other people going through cancer at my age is to never give up. Find something that can symbolize your journey and push you to keep fighting.

Nobody expects to hear the words “Your child has cancer.” Nobody is prepared. And in our family’s case, our son Emmett was diagnosed with leukemia in an emergency room, and treatment began that day in the ICU. We had no time at all to prepare, or even to comprehend it all at the time.

The fact that you live in a particular country or community should not impact your ability to get good care for cancer.