Lily's symptoms began in mid-November 2008 when Lily
was seven years old and in second grade. The most severe symptom was intermittent back and leg pains. Over the
course of two weeks she saw her pediatrician and had two emergency room visits. Each time the diagnosis was either
a bladder/kidney infection or a pulled muscle. She was given antibiotics. The pediatrician and the emergency room
doctors initially dismissed her pain as a pulled muscle from gymnastics. At one point they thought she
might have a kidney stone, and a CT scan was done to rule that out. The emergency room doctor told the family that they
had "ruled out the bad stuff." Though she had many tests and saw several doctors,up until December 1st,
no blood tests were done. In
addition to the pain, she also grew quite pale and was fatigued easily.
On the Monday after Thanksgiving, December 1st, when the
pain didn't abate and she started running a fever, their pediatrician had them come in. Concerned
by Lily's continued symptoms of fatigue, fever, pale skin, dark circles under eyes, and pain, they decided to do
a blood test.
When the doctor looked at the results, she
sent the nurse to play with Lily so that her mom could come to a private room to talk with the doctor. She
said she was 90% certain Lily had leukemia, and for them to take her immediately to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.
Later that night, December 1, 2008, the definitive diagnosis was given. Lily had leukemia - Pre-B acute lymphocytic
The next day Lily began chemotherapy. She had a port-a-cath surgically
inserted in her chest to make it easier for her to have blood withdrawn for testing, and to receive IV injections and chemo.
She missed a year and a half of school, lost all her hair, and endured over two years of daily chemo and finally took her
last chemo pill on February 21, 2011.
The first year after ending treatment,
she went to clinic each month for blood tests. The second year she started going every two months. Each year she will
attend clinic less frequently until five years have passed. Then she'll attend survivors' clinic once a year for the
rest of her life. Because of her treatment, she is at greater risk for secondary cancers and for late effects such as
bone and neurological problems.