Abby Boone hates the word blood. Unfortunately, it has become an all-too-common one in the Boone family’s vocabulary since the 8-year-old was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a cancer of the white blood cells, in March.
It’s a sweltering hot day in July, and Abby, along with her 6-yearold brother, Andy, are leaving their Suwanee home with their mom, Kim, in anticipation of long hours of doctor appointments and errands.
Later that day, the kind lab techs at Abby’s pediatrician’s office are ready for her. Abby is scared. A past blood draw from her hand was painful, and she hasn’t forgotten. Her mother soothes her. And then it’s done.
The news is good. Abby’s counts are high enough for her to begin her new treatment round. Kim high-fives Abby, happy to be moving forward.
It’s two days after their busy day of appointments, and Kim is up by 5 a.m. She, her husband, Jamey, and Abby are at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center long before their 8 a.m. appointment. The nurse calls Abby and her parents back to check her vitals.
Rachel Segneri, a Children’s physical therapist, comes into the room. Abby is part of a research study that will show how certain exercises affect long-term outcomes. Abby stretches, then marches in place with her mom while her dad watches and encourages her.
Melinda Pauly, M.D. comes in to give the Boones Abby’s new treatment schedule. She also has good news.