Harper, a Leukemia Warrior

Harper was diagnosed at the age of 2 with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on February 5, 2020, just four weeks after her little brother was born. Leukemia is a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow and is the most common childhood cancer. It occurs when a bone marrow cell develops errors in its DNA.

It can present itself in different ways, such as bruising, enlarged lymph nodes, or fever, but in Harper’s case, she presented with night sweats and bone pain in her right leg. She receives treatment and chemotherapy at USA Children’s Hospital in Mobile, AL. Most of her treatment is outpatient at the HOPE infusion clinic, but she has had several inpatient stays starting with an 11-day stay at diagnosis.

Harper stays upbeat and positive throughout treatment. She is now off treatment and goes monthly for labs and check-ups. She had a port-a-cath in her chest which allowed her to receive chemo, fluids, draw labs, etc. without an IV. She was put under anesthesia often to have bone marrow aspirations and lumbar punctures. During the lumbar punctures, chemotherapy is injected into her spine. She also takes many medications at home such as antibiotics, appetite stimulants, steroids, and chemotherapy.

Harper reached remission after the first phase, induction, but still requires 2.5 years of treatment to make sure there is no relapse. Her treatment lasted 2.5 years. Harper is so strong and resilient. She calls the hospital the “big doctor house” and loves her nurses and doctors. She has fun and plays games and jokes with them and is great when they need to take vitals or hook up her chemotherapy.

Harper loves to dance and sing. She is obsessed with the movie Frozen and loves to sing and dance to “Let It Go” and “Into the Unknown.” She likes to color, play with play dough and watch videos on her iPad.

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