In Remission from Childhood Leukemia
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Meet Ellie, Age 6
Ellie was just 3 when her family discovered she had leukemia, the most common type of childhood cancer.
Because the hospital closest to her Harford County home did not offer pediatric oncology services, the family came to the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital (UMCH) where they quickly met the team who would be taking care of Ellie.
“A cancer diagnosis is startling at any age, but it is particularly hard when a child is the patient. We do all we can to take the fear out of it,” explains Ashley Munchel, MD, of pediatric hematology/oncology.
Ellie’s family was both pleased and impressed with how thorough the physician team was in explaining all the details of the diagnosis and the treatment that would be required to cure Ellie. In addition to Dr. Munchel, Ellie’s doctors included Teresa York, MD, and Regina Macatangay, MD.
“The typical treatment for leukemia is chemotherapy, which Ellie had over two and half years and it was put directly into the spinal fluid,” says Dr. Munchel.
“It was a really hard time and it was really difficult to get through with the therapy, but we did. Thankfully we had really good doctors and that was very helpful,” says Ellie’s mom, Irina. “All the staff in that office are very supportive,” she adds.
At UMCH, the team in the division of pediatric hematology/oncology works very hard to take care of both the child and the families, since caregivers are an essential part to successful outcomes.
It was a long, hard road filled with hospital stays and chemotherapy, but today, Ellie is in remission. Her hair has grown back and she now has big dreams of being a swimming coach one day.