The fight against leukemia: As brave a little girl defies the cancer

Your daughter has leukemia: This is a sentence that no mother wants to hear. Patrizia Fricke’s eleven-year-old daughter, Sienna the blood was diagnosed with cancer. From this Moment on, the lives of both change abruptly. In an interview with FOCUS Online, Fricke remembers the bad time.

A simple hospital room with a bed. For the eleven-year-old Sienna, it is a place of rest, but also a prison, that should you leave. Sienna has cancer.

The tumor to get rid of the cells, must go through the girl’s chemotherapy. Since your immune system is weakened, carries any risk of contagion is a large risk for you. Sienna lives, therefore, the outside world being encapsulated. “Your life has changed abruptly. Go to school, meet friends – all of these things were during the chemotherapy is no longer possible. She was suddenly locked up and the weeks,“ says her mother, Patrizia Fricke.

Sienna gets a high fever

It all began in March of 2018: Sienna suddenly gets a high fever. For a week, your body temperature is almost 40 degrees. The pediatrician suspected an infection with the flu and sent Sienna home, to cure by itself. But the fever remains resistant, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.

“She was so flat that she could hardly keep on the legs,” recalls Fricke. Again, it goes to the children’s doctor. This Time he makes a blood-picture and is alarmed: The leukocyte value is much too high. Leukocytes – the white blood cells in the blood, in the tissues, in the mucous membranes and lymph nodes and is responsible for the defense of pathogens.

In leukemia patients the white blood cells are degenerated. They are not fully formed and uncontrolled producing in large quantities. Leukemia is characterized by symptoms such as skin paleness, fever, anemia, shortness of breath and a drop in performance.

Children’s doctor is concerned

Although Siennas have a fever and your blood may indicate sample on leukemia, thinks at this time, none of the blood cancer. The children’s doctor is still very concerned and calls an ambulance. Sienna and her mother should immediately go for further investigation to the nearest hospital. In the car, Fricke Siennas father calls. They meet in the hospital.

The father is upset and goes to the doctor: “Be honest now. I would like to you the truth. What has my child?“

The answer of the doctor: You don’t go from the Worst. Then the family must to the judgment of the on-duty oncologist have to wait, for a cancer specialists. A night that passes. In these hours, everything is possible. It could still turn for the Good.

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The next Morning the oncologist with a serious facial expression comes into the room and says: “We have called the Charité.” Sienna has leukemia. Her mother breaks down and cries. You lose the ground under their feet: “It feels like you would fall all the time. And then you fall.“ Unlike her mother, Sienna doesn’t understand yet what is going on with her.

“And then the nightmare started”

There’s no time to pack her bags, the girl is immediately brought to the Charité. His condition is so critical that the Doctors start the treatment immediately. “Then the nightmare started. We have entered a Station, it is hoped, you will never have to enter,“ says Fricke.

Based on the children’s Oncology Sienna is put under anesthesia and get a blood transfusion because her hemoglobin value is much too low. Hemoglobin is the dye of red blood cells and carries oxygen through the body. A low value indicates anemia. The red blood cells and the hemoglobin has been replaced by the large number of abnormal white blood cells. This can have a lack of oxygen supply to different organs.

A doctor puts Sienna access for the infusions of the chemotherapy. She keeps everything to himself, without realizing in what condition it is in. Their mother is clueless, you lack the words. You can’t make it, to tell Sienna that they have the disease. The Station psychologist is Siennas mother, therefore, a book about a Princess who is suffering from leukemia. This is a story she reads to her daughter. This Sienna, and what happened to her and gets scared understands. The following night she sleeps poorly, cries and gets homesick.

A year without a Childhood

The chemotherapy begins immediately. This is a medical treatment with cytostatic drugs, colloquially known as a cell poison. It interferes with cells in the division and brings you to the death. So also the cancer cells should be killed.

Sienna is a five-part chemotherapy. In the first time, you must not leave your station in the room and hardly receive visitors, to large, the risk of Infection for the girl. Between the Chemos you are only allowed to short home, for a week. It is a living out of a suitcase, as Fricke says.

Sienna gets a fever and a gastrointestinal infection. She has a great deal of pain. The disease caused her to lose appetite. The monotonous hospital food does not make it better. You eat barely and weight lose almost half of your body. Also the hair. During the time in the hospital, her mother is always at your side. She sleeps on a daybed next to Siennas bed.

The change in the lives of her daughter, makes Fricke to create: “it has been stolen a year of Childhood.” The school, your friends, your dog – all things that have the Sienna in the eight months in the hospital. On the Oncology Station, you will be constantly faced with death. Many other children die.

Sienna may to eight months of home

After eight months, she has made it. All the troubles and pain are over. Sienna confessed to all the chemo treatments and the cancer is officially free. Fricke remembers the Moment: “A nurse came around the corner and yelled, Sienna, you’re free to go!”

Finally, you can live home and your old life. That was in October 2018. For a year, you need to make a maintenance therapy to avoid a relapse, gets Sienna monthly low doses of the Zytostika administered. If it suffers then five years of no relapse, she has beaten the cancer completely.

Now Sienna must also go back to school. In retrospect, Fricke said, Sienna had become by the disease forced adult: “The Child is your lost.” But now Sienna can breathe a sigh of relief. You want to just enjoy your newfound freedom, her mother says. It’s the little things that you will be happy for your chemotherapy. To shower properly again. Because the access for the catheter could not be wet, it was for Sienna. Now she is enjoying the jet of water back on the trickle.