What You Should Know When Your Toddler Begins AML Treatments

When your toddler falls ill and begins to have issues with their energy levels and even the strength of their limbs, you may not expect to come away from their doctor's appointments with a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). However, if this does happen to you, you may not know what to expect going forward as your child begins their first rounds of chemotherapy and goes through the process of fighting their AML. Before you panic and worry that you will not be able to provide your child with the support and care that they need through their treatments, get to know some of the things you can expect during their treatments and what you can do to help your child adjust to their new reality.  

Your Child Will Be Spending More Time At The Hospital Than At Home

AML is a complicated form of cancer because it affects the blood, specifically the white blood cells. Because the white blood cells are responsible for protecting the body against infection, treatment for AML can leave the body susceptible to illnesses that it cannot fight off on its own.

As such, when your toddler begins their chemotherapy treatments for their AML, they will almost certainly be doing so as an inpatient at a cancer center or hospital. Most toddlers are very attached to their room and their possessions and this transition to being in the hospital can be scary to them.

To help them adjust to spending more time in the hospital than at home for several months, you will want to do everything you can to make the room they are in feel like home. Decorate the room in pictures and characters that they love or that are in their room at home. Bring some of their favorite toys, blankets, and stuffed animals from home. The more comfortable you make their room, the better.

You Should Be Prepared For Good Days and Bad Days

It can be difficult to accept, but it is very unlikely that the entire course of treatment for your toddler's AML will go smoothly and easily. You need to prepare yourself for the fact that some days your child will fell like their happy, bubbly self and others they will not feel well at all.

This is the nature of AML treatment as the chemotherapy treatments are intense and the effects of changes in their white blood cell levels can have a major impact on their overall sense of well-being. The first few days of chemotherapy can often be misleading as your child will likely feel pretty good and be in good spirits with a normal energy level. However, this is because the chemo drugs have not yet really begun to do their work.

So, do not be surprised when your child begins to feel tired or nauseated. This is not necessarily a setback so much as a sign that the chemo drugs are doing their job. And, of course, there can be real setbacks in the treatment process that can include infections in the IV site or illnesses that your child may contract in spite of hospital precautions. Good days should be welcomed and cherished and bad days expected and prepared for.

With these facts in mind, you can better prepare yourself to provide your toddler with the care and support that they need to handle their cancer treatments and hopefully overcome their AML in the process.