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March 17, 2021

Updated: Apr 7, 2021

A day I will never forget.


The story starts a few weeks before. Mid February, I noticed Ellie’s Lymph Nodes on the back of her neck we swollen. When she woke up the next morning she had a cold. When I woke up the next day I had one too. It’s perfectly normal for anyone, especially children’s, to swell when sick.


After the cold was gone I began to notice her face getting fuller. By March 4th, we were in the pediatrician‘s office. They prescribed antibiotics and sent us home. The antibiotics we working until March 11th. We called the pediatrician and were seen immediately for bloodwork and evaluation.


Monday, March 15th, bloodwork results came back with a lot of red flags. The main one said “results consistent with Acute Leukemia.” I didn’t see the bloodwork first. Instead the pediatrician called at 8AM and said, “Mrs Sutton we are calling in an emergency referral to the children’s hematology department at UNC Chapel Hill.” UNC called to schedule the appointment but the earliest they could see us was Thursday March 11th. We were anxious but willing to wait. Then Tuesday night, March 16th, her lymph nodes began swelling again. We called the after hours at our pediatrician to see if they could rush UNC along.


Wednesday morning the pediatrician called and said that UNC wanted her to go to the ER for more test and possible admission. We were told to pack a bag for a night.


The ER department is amazing. We didn’t wait. We were seen immediately. More bloodwork was done and they got confirmation to admit us. We moved into 5C17 and spent our first night. The picture below is from the hallway the first night because there was a tornado warning and everyone had to leave their rooms for the hallway.




Thursday, March 18th, was nothing short of a rollercoaster inside a tornado during an earthquake. We met so many doctors and got so much information. By Friday, the 19th, Ellie was under anesthesia for a lumbar puncture, bone marrow biopsy and port placement.





The bone marrow biopsy confirmed B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She began chemo Saturday, March 20th.


We’ve now been in the hospital 15 days. They moved us to a bigger room and are settling in for another 15 day!


Its been surreal. My husband and I still haven’t gone home. We’ve not been more than 15 minutes from UNC.


Ellie is doing great. Its strange to look back on the chaos of the first three days of this but so much as eased off and Ellie has adapted so well. We are optimistic that she will do well.





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