Throughout the early levels of the pandemic, Brittany Gabrel did all the things in her energy to ensure she and her household stayed secure and Covid-free. They stayed house, recurrently cleaned the surfaces of their Corpus Christi, Texas house, and washed their palms religiously.
However on 5 August 2020, a involved Brittany took her three kids, Nick who was 15 on the time, Landrey, who was six, and Bodhi, who was simply 18 months, to the emergency room after her youngest appeared to grow to be progressively an increasing number of unwell.
The 40-year-old instructed Tyla: “We had all gotten sick as a household, and all people was beginning to get higher. However Bodhi was getting worse.
“He was now having nosebleeds that had been simply uncontrollable. He wasn’t getting any higher. After which I began considering, ‘Nicely, perhaps it is simply his first chilly.’
“, I by no means thought Covid as a result of we did not go anyplace,” Brittany admitted. “And that alone upset me, as a result of I used to be like, ‘how did we get Covid?’
“I believed that was the worst doable factor you might get.”
Little did she know that Bodhi, who has Down syndrome, was additionally battling one thing far more sinister.
Docs within the A&E division started to ask whether or not her youngest son at all times seemed so ‘pale’.
“I mentioned, ‘yeah, I imply, he’s a child,” the mum-of-three recalled. “We use sunscreen, we’re all form of pale ourselves.”
However the physician insisted that they wanted to run additional exams on Bodhi.
“I used to be simply oblivious to what he was saying, and he defined to me that he was going to do an entire blood depend. I requested why, and he mentioned, ‘I feel he could have leukaemia’.”
After what felt like an eternity, the medical doctors returned to verify Bodhi’s most cancers prognosis.
“It was the longest half-hour of our lives. I referred to as all people I knew and instructed them what [the doctors] had been considering. I referred to as my husband and mentioned, ‘you must come house from work’.
“They [the doctors] got here again in and so they mentioned, ‘Yeah, he has leukaemia. It is advisable go to the kids’s hospital proper now, you haven’t any different selection’.
As soon as the medical workers returned with the devastating information, Brittany and her household had been quickly thrust into the surprising actuality that their toddler was battling most cancers.
“I used to be instructed to have somebody decide up my different youngsters. We did not even have time to return house,” Brittany recalled.
“We went to the hospital and [got] checked in and so they had been ready for us… All of it occurred so rapidly, all the things.”
Bodhi began his chemotherapy the next morning, and he and his mum stayed within the hospital for 46 days in isolation throughout his first spherical.
It wasn’t till her son began therapy that Brittany realised the gravity of the signs he was experiencing all this time.
“His platelet depend was a 3, which is why his nostril was bleeding… His physique couldn’t clot,” Brittany mirrored. Keep in mind, the traditional blood platelet depend is between 150 and 400 x 109/L, as per NHS England.
“After they gave him the blood and about three hours later, he perked up a lot. And I used to be like, ‘Oh my gosh, like he is been sick for some time’.”
Wanting again, the mum-of-three had observed worrying adjustments in Bodhi – however these had been merely dismissed as signs of his Down syndrome by their household’s paediatrician three months earlier than he could be identified with most cancers.
“He stopped crawling, he was drained on a regular basis, and he would have frequent bloody noses,” Brittany recalled of Bodhi’s early warning indicators.
“I believed perhaps he was simply choosing his nostril or [doing] issues that toddlers do.”
However after studying academic books concerning the hyperlink between leukaemia and Down syndrome, Brittany took Bodhi – who was 15 months previous on the time – to his specialist.
“I had talked about that I used to be involved as a result of I’ve learn that leukaemia and Down syndrome form of go hand-in-hand.
“I had simply requested, ‘had been any of those indicators that I used to be seeing, may that be an indication of leukaemia?’ And our paediatrician mentioned, ‘no’.
“And so he didn’t order testing or something, and we had been despatched house. Wanting again, he actually had each single signal,” Brittany recalled.
And her mom’s intuition was proper. Kids with Down syndrome are 150 instances extra prone to develop acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and are at 33 instances higher danger of growing acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), in line with Leukemia Care.
After 4 rounds of ‘high-dose chemotherapy’, Bodhi, who’s now two years previous, fortunately recovered and will likely be celebrating one yr of being in remission in January.
Brittany instructed us: “Each month that goes by, a sigh of aid might be given as a result of they are saying that relapse will occur within the first three months [of recovery]. And so when he hit that three-month mark, it was like, okay, we will breathe.
“So now, we undergo each month, and he will get invoice of well being. It is like, okay, we’re gonna make it and now right here we’re in January, it’s going to be a yr,” Brittany mentioned.
“We’re getting nearer and nearer to the end line, which they will not contemplate him completely cured for 5 years, then so he’ll be seven at the moment – and that is once we can actually breathe.”
Whereas Brittany and her household are navigating Bodhi’s remission journey, she has taken it upon herself to foster a platform by her TikTok channel to boost consciousness of the indicators and signs of childhood most cancers.
She mentioned: “I’ve immersed myself into the most cancers group and [I’m] simply persevering with to unfold consciousness.
“My job right here isn’t executed, I’ll proceed supporting others as a result of [Bodhi] has nonetheless acquired little associates in therapy. And as we get new households identified, I am nonetheless part of it.
“Numerous it’s actually arduous after I hear one in every of our associates that we help goes to [the] hospice as a result of their tumour got here again, or issues like that. It’s actually one thing that you just don’t need to be part of, however I must be part of it as a result of I need to assist as many individuals as I can.”
As for different mother and father who could be nervous about their kids’s signs, Brittany has urged that they ‘push’ the medical doctors to seek out out the solutions.
“To start with, I hope no different mum or dad has to undergo this,” she instructed us. “However I do know that is not occurring anytime quickly.
“I hope that if a mum or dad does see these indicators of their youngster, they do push their paediatricians to do the straightforward blood check, to get identified early.”
For recommendation and help concerning a toddler or younger particular person with most cancers, name Younger Lives vs Most cancers on 0300 303 5220 Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm or electronic mail them at [email protected].