There is almost nothing more devastating than finding out that what you thought was a double ear infection on top of bronchitis, is much bigger and much more ominous. Two years ago, Damon’s family received such news. At the age of 18 months, Damon was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL).
Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (or ALL), is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow which mostly affects children. This is one of the more “curable” childhood cancers, and 80% of children with this type of cancer respond to chemotherapy treatment within the first 6 weeks.
Unfortunately for Damon and his family, he was not among that group. He is in fact in the category of children who have a very high risk of recurrence. As such, he receives daily oral chemotherapy at home and once per month he goes to the hospital to receive higher dose “pulses” of chemotherapy. During chemo “pulses”, Damon also receives high doses of steroids, which have a tendency to increase his activity level. This is scheduled to continue for 15 more months.
Damon’s weakened immune system prevents him from attending school or spending much time out in his community interacting with other children. That makes the home-based nature of the Elks Therapy Program a perfect fit for Damon!
Damon has some fine and gross motor delays and primarily after his pulses, some sensory regulation issues. Through his therapy, Damon has learned how to manipulate buttons, which is important for dressing. Damon is more engaged in fine motor activities such as writing and coloring, although these are still not preferred activities. He has also found a new passion in Legos which helps to develop his fine motor skills. Damon and his family are learning strategies to helping him regulate his steroid “highs”