young girl in a yellow shirt and headband standing against a rock wallIt all began at the beginning of February 2019; our daughter Gisselle Guerrero (GG) 10 years old at the time, had been feeling sick off and on for two weeks. A few days before her diagnosis, she was seen at a local urgent care to be told, “It’s a virus going around”, she was given an antibiotic as a precaution and was told to drink plenty of liquids and rest. The weekend came and she was feeling better, she played basketball with her friends from school. Tuesday night came she was feeling worst, she was aching, feeling shaky, and said “Mommy I just don’t know what’s wrong”. Her skin color was pale, it was late in the evening and I decided to take her to be seen at a local Pedi urgent care. Per our arrival her paleness was more noticeable, MD then asked if her skin color was normal and if she was ever anemic, I said “NO”. First thing labs were drawn, he came back in the room and informed us that her hemoglobin level was at 4, and I knew those results were no good. I asked him if he was going to admit her, he told us he was waiting for a call back from the Hematologist at Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera. Valley Children’s wanted her to go up and she was transferred by ambulance. My husband and in laws rushed over and followed us there, it was about 5am, and it was raining. Upon arrival to the hospital in Madera the hematologist was waiting for us, we discussed Gisselle’s medical history, and she did more labs, again confirmed her low hemoglobin. She informed us that she wanted to do a few more test which included a spinal tap, lumbar puncture and a bone marrow biopsy, to rule out as much as they can. On Wednesday she had all the test done, the doctor said she would give us results on the weekend, since some results take longer than others.
Well the day came 02/14/2019, Valentine’s Day, the doctor came in, asked to talk to me in a separate room. I knew It was not good news my heart sank, I started feeling anxious scared. My husband was not in the room at the time, I could not wait, and I needed to know. Then doctor said “It’s not what we wanted it to be, Gisselle has what they call (ALL) -Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia a common childhood cancer”. I asked, God why? Why her?  Never thought we would hear the word CANCER, for one of our kids. Then my husband, the doctor and I went back to the room and told Gisselle she had CANCER, the only thing she knew about that word, is that it’s bad. Doctors told us they caught it in an early stage, since it was only in her bone marrow, and gave her hope that it was treatable. Our daughter’s drove up to see her and received the news of her diagnosis. We all cried together, that night I was unable to sleep my mind was racing, with the “what if’s”, then we prayed for her life to be saved.
The morning of 02/15/2019, she had her medi-port placed and had her first chemo that day. The Oncology team and child life specialist were there and explained to her every step of the procedure and how her port would work. She was admitted for 10 days, these days were full of anxiety and fear in all of us. We received so much information on Leukemia and treatments. On the 29th day of induction they did a bone marrow biopsy, which showed no more cancer cells, she is in remission. Even being in remission our journey is not over. She was hospitalized a few times for fevers, the flu not once but twice. She was also admitted for meningitis along with West Nile Virus. Chemotherapy and medications that go along with her treatment make her feel tired, have pain, nausea, and have many sleepless nights. Her hair fell twice, she decided to be brave and shave it off. At first, she was embarrassed but not anymore.
Since her diagnosis, friends and the Bakersfield community have reached out to our family. Our family is grateful to Tigerfight Foundation. They been a great support system and have helped us financially for expenses that occurred when Gisselle was first diagnosed. As of today, Gisselle is in maintenance, where she will be going monthly to appointments. Hopefully she can return to school soon, play with animals and most important of all just be a kid again.
She is Gisselle Alicia Guerrero; a warrior against Acute Lymphoblastic
Leukemia. Stand with us and Be GG Brave!