Keeping KennaStrong

It all started with an ear infection...Our sassy, little blue-eyed baby girl has always been very healthy, with 'sick' visits to our pediatrician being minimal. The first week of June, she began complaining of her ears hurting. She wasn't running a fever, but she never complains about anything hurting, so I quickly took her in to have her ears checked on 6/4/14. She had a double ear infection and was given an antibiotic to take for a ten days. She took her medicine as scheduled and the time passed, but after completing the antibiotic, she began waking up at night and crying that her right ear was hurting. Kent and I also noticed that her right eye looked swollen, kind of puffy, and knew something was going on with her--just not exactly sure what it was.

I took her in for a recheck on 6/16/14 to determine what was wrong with her ears, only to find that her ears were fine--not a sign of infection. Our (always thorough) pediatrician thought it could be a virus, but he wanted to check her blood count (CBC test) just to rule out any possibilities. Her counts were somewhat off, but he thought that could be a result of a virus, so he told me to watch her and bring her back at the end of the week to recheck, and we'd go from there. I called Kent as I left, unsure of what to think, he (knowing more about this stuff than me), in turn, called and got the actual numbers from the CBC test. Kenna continued to feel terrible and our worries increased…two days later, Wednesday, 6/18/14, we decided to take her back early for the follow-up CBC test at our pediatrician's office. From there (again, thank you to the amazingly persistent nurse at our pediatrician's office), we were sent to the ER at Children's Hospital of Alabama for more blood tests to rule out a virus, or to determine something more. After five hours of waiting, our world was turned upside down when her lab results were delivered to us by a team of pediatric oncology/hematology doctors. This wasn't a virus, or an ear infection, this was leukemia-- and they weren't sure exactly which type.
The rest of that night is a blur -- instantly being admitted to the hospital in preparation for a bone marrow aspiration the next morning that would give us more information, and the overall shock of this situation (healthy, active little girl, ear infection, leukemia?!). Results from the many tests concluded the following: she has AML, it is not in her CNS (central nervous system), all genetic test results fall into the 'favorable' category for treating this type of leukemia, and the treatment (aggressive chemotherapy) is mostly inpatient (meaning maybe three days at home per month & basically living at the hospital to prevent risk of infection during treatment) and treatment will last 6-8 months. Officially diagnosed on 6-19, treatment started the very same day, and so far she is responding exceptionally well. Please keep sweet Kenna and our family in your prayers as we take this unexpected journey, fighting one day at a time.
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Kimi Cabaniss 
Pelham, AL
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