On Saturday, August 9, 2014, we were on our way to take our daughter Giana to her second swim lesson. While putting Giana in her car seat, Rita (Giana’s Mom) noticed a weird rash on her right elbow. It didn’t seem to bother her. We sent a picture via text message to her pediatrician. While waiting, Rita noticed more spots on Giana’s arms and legs as we got closer to the swim club. We still hadn’t heard back from the pediatrician so we decided not to go to the pool. Instead, we went and got breakfast and by that time our pediatrician responded to the text. She said take Giana to the emergency room immediately. We took Giana to Howard General Hospital in Columbia, Maryland where we showed the doctors the rash on her arms and legs. They asked us several questions and said they were going to draw her blood for labs. A few hours later the doctor came in with the results. It did not look so good. Giana’s white blood count was high, her platelets, and hemoglobin were dangerously low. The ER doctor told us that Giana would be transferred to Johns Hopkins Children Center, in Baltimore, for more testing and treatment. We arrived at Johns Hopkins Children Center emergency room and more test were ran. The Oncologist team came in and said they’re almost certain that Giana has leukemia. She was admitted and sent to the children’s Oncology inpatient center. After more test Giana was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
It’s been over a year since Giana was diagnosed and so much has gone by and changes since that frightful day. As she is past the most intense part of the chemo treatment, Giana has blossomed into a beautiful, playful, and intelligent little girl. A very observant and independent toddler who loves to explore and tell you what she does and does not want to do. As her hair grew back (and in curls), the missing hair has become less of a reminder of what faced us every day event though it still does. Giana is a fighter and will always be a fighter!