“Love is like a wind, you can’t see but you can feel it.” – A Walk to Remember, 2002
Whatever it is that you are doing before reading this article, try to stop and think. Take a breather. Your business proposals and sales records from Quickbooks Online can wait for 5 minutes.
Even after years of not encountering the words that made you feel fear, anger and bliss all at the same time, everything is coming back right now. You just simply begin to remind yourself of the emotions you once had for the love story of Landon and Jaime.
Your brain and heart start recalling how much A Walk to Remember touched your life in any way that maybe up to this moment you cannot comprehend. You feel again your deep connection with both the book and the film adaptation.
You remember the day they went to two places at once. You remember the butterfly tattoo.
You remember how they got married on the church where Jaime’s parents exchanged vows.
You remember the leukemia.
The illness has become the exclamation point of this beloved love story. You cannot deny how much leukemia changed the lives of the two protagonists.
At the back of your mind, you pray that it does not change your life, too.
Learn more about the nature of leukemia, and find out you address or mitigate the terminal disease before it change your life forever.
What is leukemia?
Mostly found in the bone marrow, blood cells can either be red blood cells or white blood cells. The red blood cells serve as the carrier of oxygen to and from your heart, while the function of the white blood cells is to protect your body to alien organisms. In other words, they fight infections in your body.
The problem with leukemia is that your bone marrow does not produce white blood cells that follow their supposed nature. Instead, your body produces abnormal number of white blood cells. In this light, cancer cells form and replace the healthy blood cells in your bone marrow.
Basically, leukemia (or leukaemia) is cancer of the blood cells. It is a progressive disease in which the organs and other tissues that produce blood, like the bone marrow, create a higher quantity of abnormal or immature leukocytes. This event may lead to anemia since the presence of leukocytes blocks out the production of normal, healthier blood cells.
Despite the massive advancement of medical technologies, the exact reasons or causes behind leukemia still unknown to mankind. However, this does not mean that researchers and scientists are not doing anything to determine the causes.
According to current studies, the researchers and scientists link the roots of leukemia with genetic and environmental factors.
With regard to genetic factors, there are cases wherein the changes in the genes can be passed to an offspring, and this can be a major factor for children to develop blood cancer cells early on. One good example is the Li-Fraumeni syndrome. It is a way of inheriting tumor suppressor genes which can activate the leukemia cells.
Considering the environmental factors, mutations in the DNA can result to cancer cells. The basis for the mutation, however, is still unknown. In addition, cancer may come up when there is a chromosome translocation, resulting to the birth of cancer-promoting genes. Unfortunately, the change in chromosome just happens randomly at your body without even knowing about it.
What are the symptoms of leukemia?
Check the following list, in case that you are experiencing any of these symptoms:
- You have fever
- You experience excessive sweating especially at night
- You always feel weak and highly fatigued
- You lose weight despite any dietary routines
- You have swollen lymph nodes
- You can easily bleed and bruise
- You experience bone and joint pains
- You see red spots all over your skin
- You experience repetitive nose bleeding
The symptoms list is just a guide, they do not intend to scare you. You just need to look after yourself and take note if the said symptoms are always happening. If that is the case, seek for medical advice from your doctor to verify your condition.
Then again, do not diagnose yourself and immediately call your condition as cancer just because you experience everything listed. It might be a different case. It is still advisable to have a formal check up with your doctor.
What are the types of leukemia?
Leukemia has four major types: acute lymphocytic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and chronic myelogenous leukemia.
- Acute lymphocytic leukemia – this type of leukemia is the most common type that can be found on children. However, it does not mean that adults cannot be diagnosed with this type.
Your bone marrow is producing too many lymphocytes, a type of white blood cells, for your body. If you have this type of leukemia, then you have immature lymphoid cells that can grow rapidly in your blood.
- Acute myelogenous leukemia – unlike with the previous type, the second type of leukemia is common for both children and adults. The rapid growth of your myeloid cells is the center of this type of leukemia.
In other words, your bone marrow is producing abnormal myoblasts, red blood cells, or platelets. If you are smoking, undergone chemotherapy treatments and exposure to radiation, then you have a higher risk on this type of leukemia.
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia – this type of leukemia normally affects people from 55 five years old and above. In this type, the growth of the cancer cells is slower compared to the first two types.
Your body is producing too many blood stem cells which become the abnormal lymphocytes. They do not transform into healthy white blood cells. They also overthrow healthy white blood cells in your bone marrow.
- Chronic myeloid leukemia – this type of leukemia has the same characteristic with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. It also attacks adults, but it rarely happens to children.
The said type of leukemia is also an example of a slow progressing blood cancer. Your bone marrow is producing an abnormal number of blood stem cells. They eventually become granulocytes. Granulocytes are abnormal white blood cells that occupy the spaces for healthy white blood cells in the bone marrow.
In addition to this, there are three minor types of leukemia.
- Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia – it is an example of a chronic leukemia. This type of leukemia normally attacks four-year olds and younger.
- T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia – this type of leukemia is an example of mature T-cell leukemia. T-cells are subtype of white blood cells. It has an aggressive behavior, and it normally attacks the bone marrow, blood, lymph nodes, liver, spleen, and sometimes, the skin.
- Hairy cell leukemia – this type of leukemia is a subtype of chronic lymphoid leukemia. It is also an example of tumor that can be differentiated through its accumulation of abnormal B lymphocytes.
Learning and putting into heart the knowledge about leukemia does not mean that you are now immune to the ailment. Gaining the knowledge is just the first step towards a better understanding of the disease.
If you or your loved ones leukemia, knowing more can help you address the terminal disease as early as possible. Consequently, it is now all up to you on how you are going to act up on a disease that can change your life forever.
“I’m sorry she never got her miracle.”
“She did get her miracle, Landon, her miracle was you.”