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Friday (1/21/05)

Sophie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia on January 21, 2005. She was two years and nine months old. She had been experiencing unusual bruising for about a week and seemed tired and pale. When the bruises were accompanied by little dots (tiny bruises called "petechiae") we decided to take her to the doctor. After a quick morning trip to the doctor, Susan took Sophie for a blood test (anemia was suspected). A few hours later, the doctor called to say he wanted Sophie to see a special pediatrician in Raleigh and set up an appointment for later in the afternoon. The pediatrician called a short time later and said he wanted us to take her directly to the hospital, either UNC or Duke. We chose UNC because it was affiliated with her primary care physician. We arranged care for Elisabeth (6) and arrived at the hospital at 4:00. By 4:30, they were telling us that they suspected she had Leukemia. They took another blood sample to confirm the earlier results, which showed her white blood count at 50,000 (10,000 is normal) and her platelets at 8,000 (150,000 is normal). We were admitted to the Children's Hospital. They immediately gave her a platelet transfusion. This was preceded by a routine infusion of Benadryl to prevent a possible allergic reaction. She had a paradoxical reaction to the Benadryl, which meant that instead of relaxing her and making her sleepy, it made her very agitated, and she was hysterical for 6 hours (11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.). Needless to say, our initial hospital experience was a negative one.