Loads of people ask me what happened, so I’ll try and explain.
On Saturday 17 November, after coughing for about a month, Héloïse started having fever. That day we had gone to the Fête de la Châtaigne (Chestnut Fair) and she was so tired that I had to carry her back. We passed in my friend Sabrina’s house who found her pale…
The day after, she was reached 40°C and so we called a doctor who prescribed antibiotics, found her pulse rather high at 160 beats per second but gave no more explanation nor advice about it.
Monday, as she was still in pain over her foot, Ana Paula asked me to leave work early and bring her to hospital. At Clinique St Jean, the doctor looked at the radio and saw nothing, so he advised to go the the Lenval hospital which specialises in children and have her checked. This doctor deserves our respect.
At Lenval, after waiting a long time because of a strike, she was examine by a doctor who could not see more that his colleague and decided to have her foot immobilised, and give us an appointment 10 days later to see what had happened. The nurse who was making the cast told me a number of times that Héloïse was pale before she decided that a blood test was in order. This nurse has all my gratitude for her professionalism saved us precious time!
The first blood test was only about red cells. The normal rate is 10 to 12 g of hemoglobin for 100 ml of blood. The critical level is 5. She had 4. At that point, I was told whe would need a blood transfusion… a what??? Transfusion??? Must wake up from that nightmare!!! That’s when they decided a more complete test was in order…
The second blood test revealed that not only the red cells were few, but the white cells and platelets too. She was to be transfused red cells and platelets in emergency, kept in a sterile room where one could only enter with protective mask and gown. White cells cannot be transfused, so the first thing to do was to fight infections.
The day after (or rather a few hours later), we met the hematologist. She explained the different possibility. It could in theory be no more than a virus, but more likely leukemia. Only a myelogram could tell.
The results came on Wednesday. She had lymphoblastic acute leukemia. She had 85% chances of total remission and more tests were needed to assess the exact type of gene mutation.