Honored Kid

Avery Kate Leachman

Age 19
Avery Kate Leachman Kid Photo

Location

Louisville, KY, US

Diagnosis

Papillary Carcinoma

Date of Diagnosis

May 2012

Status

Cancer free

Treated At

Kosair Children's Hospital, Norton Healthcare

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My Story

I was diagnosed with papillary carcinoma in May 2012, just before my 9th birthday. My mom and dad saw a big lump on my throat on Mother's Day. We went to see a bunch of doctors that week and 8 days later I had surgery to remove my thyroid and 32 lymph nodes in my neck. It lasted 6 hours and I was pretty scared! When my mom and dad told me I had cancer, I was freaked out. But they also said I had the "easy kind" of cancer so that made me feel better. That meant my cancer was curable and I wouldn't have to have chemotherapy. I also learned that only 1 in every one million kids under age 10 have thyroid cancer....Wow! In June, I went to the hospital for my treatment. I had to take a BIG radioactive iodine pill (I learned a bunch of big words that I'd never heard before!). The doctor told my parents it was like a "heat seeking missile" that would find the thyroid cells that carried cancer around my body and zap them. Because the pill had radiation in it, I had to stay away from everybody (including my brother and my parents) for three days. I got a little sick the first day, and watched a bunch of movies in my room for the rest of the time. I was so happy when I finally got to hug my mom and dad and see my brother, Max, again! Oh and I was on this diet for almost 2 weeks before my treatment where I couldn't eat anything with iodine in it...which is pretty much everything! I could eat grilled chicken, fresh fruit and vegetables. No milk, no bread, no ice cream!! NO FUN. :) But after my treatment my mom got a Subway sandwich for me and my dad made bacon...two of my favorite things! A week after my treatment, I went back to the hospital for a scan to see if the pill zapped the cells it was supposed to. Luckily, it worked. I was really happy (and so was my family)!!! So now, it's just a bunch of tests. Doctors can tell what's going on in my body by looking at my blood. I go to the hospital and have my blood drawn a few times a month. At first, I gave the nurses (and my mom) a really hard time when they brought out the needles. It took 5 nurses and my mom to hold me down on that first draw. But every time we go back, things get better. I am still really scared of needles, but now I don't even cry. I just get sweaty palms and take deep breaths. (Plus there's this thing called a j-tip that numbs the spot where the needle goes in....that helps a lot!). Anyway, my story is a "good" cancer story...even though my mom says there are no good cancer stories. It's been hard, but I know there are other kids with cancer who have to go through much worse. I'm lucky but I know others aren't so lucky. I pray a lot for kids at Kosair who have cancer. Thank you for raising money to find cures for those kids, and for other kids like me.

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