What causes Leukemia?
Nobody currently knows the answer to this question. Some believe the illness is connected to a virus. Since identical twins have a much higher risk of developing Leukemia if one sibling has it, there could be a genetic link. The incubation period is unknown but believed to be relatively short. It could be days or weeks from being exposed.
All these unknowns drive me crazy. Many times I have tried to figure out the cause in my mind.
Thinking back, I could see definite signs of Jemma's Leukemia around three weeks before she was diagnosed. Thinking much farther back to when she was less than a year old she was diagnosed with Renal Tubular Acidosis. Later we were told this was probably a misdiagnosis. Could she have had Leukemia way back then, but it didn't yet bother her? When my mind wanders into the question of "How could she possibly have developed Leukemia?" I think back to what my family did around one month before she was diagnosed.
We were wrapping up our homeschool year and preparing for a summer break. We visited a local wild animal park, played with friends at playgrounds, tie dyed some clothes and went on a cruise. We are a family that is always willing to try new things and up for an adventure. On the cruise we ate many strange foods; ox tail soup, horse meatballs, pheasant, and shark. We visited strange lands. The Turkish tea we drank was delicious, and so was our lunchtime meal. The 1000+ year old cistern was fascinating. Was the water in the hot tub too hot for her? Were there chemicals in the hot tub which reacted badly inside her body?
After visiting the park we made stinging nettle tea. Did she get a tick? At the wild animal park we played with the goats and pigs. The kids loved petting the horses and trying to touch the antlers of the deer and other herbivores in the park. We had a wonderful afternoon tie dying summer clothes with friends. They dye was everywhere. There were kids involved. It certainly got on skin.
Could any of these things be the cause of her Leukemia? Which one? Or is it something even more innocent? Did she touch a piece of metal that had a bad reaction in her body? Did she get a cut from a twig? Did a sick bug bite her? Did she use the wrong public bathroom? Did she walk through the mall, touch the cart, then wipe her nose?
This endless circle of thought keeps replaying in my mind and I still don't have any answers. Now I'm apprehensive about taking another vacation let alone another cruise. I wonder if we should be eating less popular foods deemed safe. What should I do to prevent a relapse? The Leukemia must have come from somewhere? But where?
Perhaps the medical community, or a patient will figure out the answer to this question someday. I know I would like to know.