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    User: GregP_WN

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    Celebration (Remission): I know that I went into remission, relapsed, and then went into remission for the final time. I was diagnosed on my fourth birthday and went into remission for the final time sometime when I was eight years old. We had a pill trashing party with friends and family members that I will always remember. One of the greatest things to come about from being sick was getting to go to the camps designed for kids with cancer. I went to two separate camps. One was Camp Quality in St. Joseph, MO. I went to this camp every summer for seven years. Some of the most fun experiences as a child were at that camp. I vow that someday, I will become a camp counselor at Camp Quality so that I can provide same euphoria for a child that I received when I was young. The second camp I went to was The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp which was created and run by Paul Newman. The camp itself was fantastic....the ammenities were awesome, the food great, and the counselors were very good with the kids. I only went to this camp one time though, because for one reason or another, the kids at this camp were cruel to me. I was actually punched in the face while lying in my bed by another cancer patient. Perhaps it was because of this camp's proximity to New York (I loathe NYC by the way)....who knows, but I called my mom crying and I never went back.

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    Side Effects: I had many different side-effects from the chemotherapy, some of which I am still dealing with today. Obviously, I lost my hair and dealt with many bouts of nausea and just fatigue in general. There are some side effects which in more recent dates I have been told were caused by my chemotherapy. Nobody in my family has ever needed glasses, but I became legally blind. I could see, but I was severely near-sighted. Luckily, two years ago, I had Lasik surgery and have perfect vision without glasses now. Another side-effect I am told was caused by my chemotherapy is just an inherent weakness or predisposition for injury/arthritis in my joints. I have knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, and wrist problems that will probably continue to get worse as I get older. I feel like I've traded chemotherapy for massive quantities of ibuprofen. Other than those things, I am doing remarkably well. I have been able to have children and have had no other major medical related issues as I have gotten older.

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    Drug or Chemo Therapy (Chemotherapy): I'm not sure what chemotherapy protocols are today, but in 1985, on experimental medication, I was taking 82 pills every day. That's 82 pills a day for a four year old child. I can honestly say that my clearest, earliest memory is sitting in a hospital bed being taught how to swallow pills. Some of this pills were extremely horrible tasting and would make me gag instantly. My mom arranged it so that the pharmacy would give her empty capsules and she would shove as many pills as possible into each capsule to minimize the total number of swallows I was forced to do each day. I don't remember how many rounds of chemotherapy I actually went through, but I can remember the day that I got to dispose of my remaining pills because I didn't need them anymore. It was a family celebration with the climax being the actual chucking of my pill bottles into the trash!

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    Procedure or Surgery (Spinal Taps): These weren't really surgeries, but I went through countless spinal taps. I was only a tiny child, but it would take three or four full grown adults to hold me down during these procedures because they hurt so badly and no anesthetic of any kind was allowed. I can remember finding places to run and hide when I knew it was a spinal tap day. To this day, the memories of those spinal taps still haunt me. As with my diagnosis though, I believe these procedures were harder on my mother than myself. She would actually be forced to leave the room because she couldn't stand to see me in so much pain.

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    Oh No (Diagnosed): I was diagnosed with both Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma on my fourth birthday. This was much more of an "Oh no" for my single mom. I remember almost nothing of my diagnosis. My mother's insurance would only cover treatment options that showed little chance of success (doctors said I only had about two weeks to live), so I was enrolled into an experimental research program to try new procedures and medications.