I am The Leukemia Slayer!
Hello, my name is Jacob, AKA The Leukemia Slayer. I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on December 2, 2010 when I was 9 years old. I was very sick and had to stay in the hospital a lot for chemotherapy, so I missed most of my 4th grade year at school.
I went back to school part time in 5th grade but I missed many days being sick and when my blood counts were low I could not go because I was at a high risk for infections. I went to the hospital once a week for IV chemo, some weeks chemo in my back and shots in my legs (those suckers hurt!) and blood counts every week at least once. I needed lots of blood and platelets since the chemo kills all cells, good and bad. Some weeks my parents had to bring my chemo home and give it to me for 4 days in a row in my port (something they put inside my chest to give me my chemo) and that stuff made me feel really bad. I lost all my hair but I didn't really mind that. My teacher was not very helpful or nice to me during this time. She told my parents I didn't seem that sick to her. Hello, you try to fight cancer and do your job at the same time! She made it hard for me to get the work I missed to make up and try to keep up with my class. Luckily I am smart and was able to do work on my own and with my parents so I could go to the 6th grade.
In the 6th grade I started middle school and also started the maintenance part of my treatment which is less than the first year of chemo but still no fun. I get IV chemo once a month, go in for labs once a week, I take chemo pills every night and once a month I take high dose steroids for 5 days (I hate steroids!) I started my year off really good and was able to go full time and keep up with my work. I was getting straight A's. Then over the winter I got sick, and a cancer kid getting sick is not the same as a healthy kid getting sick. If I get a fever I have to go to the emergency room and if my counts are low I have to be admitted to the hospital for IV medicine. I had to stay in the hospital 3 times over the winter, and missed a bunch of school. I got behind and it was really hard to try and catch up plus keep up with what I was supposed to do at the same time. It made me really stressed and I didn't like going to class because I was so far behind my class mates I felt stupid and didn't like being in class.
At the end of the year the principal said I missed too much class time. It's really hard to fight cancer and go to school, and I got straight A's all school year in spite of everything and it made me feel bad that my school did not understand how hard it is. I did not feel like I belonged there and really wanted a teacher that would understand what I am going through.
My parents and I talked and we decided to try K12 California Virtual Academy for 7th grade this year. I have met with my teacher 2 times so far and she is really nice and she understands it is hard to be in treatment for cancer and do school at the same time. I get tired really easy now and my left foot is weak and I still have lots of days I feel sick from my chemo. The great thing about CAVA is I can work around all that! When I feel crummy I can rest or sleep in, and when I am feeling good I can catch up, and I am never behind. I like the class connect sessions and all my teachers are really nice. I am learning a lot and I feel like everyone cares about me here and wants to help me do well. Also now when my counts are low I don't have to miss school, and I can work around all my trips to the hospital and chemo.
Leukemia treatment lasts a LONG time, my treatment is about 3.5 years long. My end of treatment date is getting close though, March 2014! I am very happy to be a CAVA student and I would recommend it to kids like me who are fighting cancer. It has made school way less stressful for me, and I have more time to do other things I like to do like raise money for childhood cancer research and make videos. Here is one! http://youtu.be/CeuxK_pfjB0