A type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that most often occurs in young people aged 12-30.


Burkitt's Lymphoma Resources

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My daughter Anna was diagnosed with Burkitt's Lymphoma at age nine in 5/99. Anna is an amazing child. She IS an athlete, she lives and breathes sports. She was always the healthiest, happiest kid around. The week before being diagnosed, she pitched a winning softball game and scored 2 goals to help her team win a soccer game, all in the course of a few hours. The following week, she wasn't feeling well. She had intermittant fevers and was very tired. I took her to the doctors on her ninth birthday, because she called from school to come home. He did an xray and saw 'something' near her intestine. "It" was the size of a large sausage, and he believed it was constipation. She was treated aggressively for that 'constipation' for 6 days (mineral oil, enemas, ...). She still had blood in her stool, nightly fevers and was extremely tired. We spent every other day at the doctor's office trying to find a solution. Finally, he ordered an ultrasound. We found out that the tumor had grown from sausage-size to football-size in six days. We immediately went to Fairfax Hospital.

I didn't realize what was happening ... a 'mass' was what I was told. I couldn't think beyond getting her there and getting the other two kids cared for after school. My husband and I met that Friday evening with many doctors. One finally told us ... she had Cancer. They didn't know what type ... maybe ovarian, maybe .... maybe...maybe. They scheduled her the next day for her biopsy and insertion of her central line (to administer chemo, antibiotics, take blood, etc..). She was so sore and miserable after her surgery. We didn't tell her about the Cancer initially, we wanted her to be strong. On Sunday (Mother's Day), we told our precious daughter that she had Cancer. Prior to watching Anna suffer through treatment, that was THE most difficult moment of my life. We were told after her surgery that it most likely was a lymphoma and the treatment would be 6-12 months. We found out the next day that it was Burkitt's and the treatment would be constant highdose chemo for three months (to this Anna said, "that is GREAT news" She didn't realize how difficult this was going to be for her.)

Anna spent last summer in the hospital. She was able to come home a day here or there between treatments and infections, etc... Often when she was home, we would administer antibiotics or IV fluids .... and the daily GMCSF shots. Being home made a HUGE difference for her though, and I appreciated every minute of happiness she was able to have while being home. She, of course, lost all of her hair and eyebrows and eyelashes. Before she got sick, her hair was down to her bottom. We cut it shortly after she became ill to her shoulders (to try to ease the thought of it falling out). After a week or so, when it really started falling out ... we cut it short. As it turns out, losing her hair WHILE she was sick wasn't really a big deal to her. Only after returning to the 'real world' did it become an issue! There are so many reasons for all of us to be thankful, mostly because she is here. The chemo was really hard and the spinal therapy that she had many times….was agonizing. The mouth and throat ulcers were horrible for her (Difloucan, twice a day ... the 'MIRACLE' drug!!!) Every test, brings back the fear ... and I suppose always will.

Anna is in remission. Her treatments ended a year ago. She looks to be a perfectly healthy, happy 5th grade girl. I thank God for her every day. I thank God for my family that helped us through this, I thank God for my friends and neighbors that never forgot us. I thank God for Dr. Greenberg, Dr. Perdahl, Dr. Horn and Dr. Wile .... who helped her get well and were a constant source of patience and information. I thank God for the Oncology Nurses that were so wonderful to Anna. I thank God for Growing Hope, a foundation that works out of the Oncologists office and helps the children endure this horrendous disease. Anna is a wonderful person. She has helped Make-A-Wish and Growing Hope raise thousands of dollars to help other children. I am so proud of her. Make-a-Wish was wonderful. I urge anyone with a seriously ill child to contact them. Anna wrote a speech and delivered it at their annual triathalon. One of the most important things she said was, "Make-a-Wish gave me something to think about besides being sick. I had something to look forward to and was able to concentrate on that when things got really bad." We have found the people at Make-a-Wish to be wonderful and supportive. As we go through our testing every few months ... it all comes back. I hope that I have the strength to give back also. Any one with this disease or that has a child with this disease that needs support please contact me.



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