Tess was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) on 28 March 2018 at the tender age of 11. Her official diagnoses came from Fiona Stanley Emergency Department after a quick-thinking family friend (who works at the hospital) recommended heading straight to emergency after hearing her symptoms. Tess was rushed into ICU and although Tess’ parents didn’t know it at the time, the hospital did not think she would survive the night. Meanwhile, Tess’ older sister Ella was also in hospital undergoing her own medical emergency.
AML is a type of cancer where the bone marrow makes a number of abnormal blood cells. These myeloid stem cells usually become immature white blood cells called myeloblasts and do not become healthy white blood cells. These leukemia cells can build up in the blood and bone marrow resulting in less room for the healthy white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
Tess has completed three rounds of chemotherapy and has two more rounds to go. Her third round of chemotherapy hit her pretty hard. Thankfully after her first two rounds of chemo, she was able to go home for a couple of days. Unfortunately last time she was home, her two sisters were unwell so Tess had to be quarantined in her own home.
It is estimated that Tess will remain in hospital for another four to seven months. She is confined to a very small isolation room because her immunity level is so low. Her parents are giving her around the clock care, with her mum being at the hospital 16 hours every day and her dad spending 8 hours at the hospital. On top of everything, her dad continues to work full time in the family business, and her mum is also looking after Tess’ two sisters. Her parents have to monitor every aspect of Tess’ life to ensure she does not develop an infection. Tess just can’t wait to move to the new hospital in June.
The treatment has cause Tess to experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, reduced her white blood cells along with many other side effects. Most of her hair has fallen out including her eyebrows and eyelashes. This is something Tess has had a hard time dealing with but she understands that it is part of getting her better.
Tess keeps her spirits up by watching her favourite YouTubers and playing SIMS. She has staring cross stitching and knitting and enjoys making magnets with her big sister Ella.
She also loves playing with generation dolls, doing arts and crafts and making little families and homes for them to live in.
Tess can’t wait to get out of hospital and so she can play with her little dog Tilly who she has been unable to see whilst undergoing treatment. She also really wants to have a ‘hot chocolate date’ with her family and share scones and cream with her sisters Ella and Georgia.
Tess loves cross stitching and knitting. She loves playing with generation dolls, doing arts and crafts and making little families and homes for them to live in.