Hannah Hivner was diagnosed with High-Risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (HR B-ALL) on May 21, 2016 when she was 11 years old.
Hannah is a fun loving girl who loves to hang out with her friends, make music videos on her iPod and participates in Theater classes. She attends Governor Mifflin Intermediate School in Shillington, PA where she is a member of the 5th Grade Student Counsel and Girls’ basketball team. Hannah also plays the role of both little and big sister to her siblings, Caleb (12) and Leah (6).
On May 12, 2016. I got a call from the nurse at Hannah’s school. The nurse told me that Hannah came to her office after swim class looking pale, feeling tired and dizzy, and had a rapid pulse. When Hannah got home from school she had a fever of 102.9. I called the doctor and explained her symptoms. They told us to watch her for the next couple days for reoccurring fevers or symptoms. Hannah rested a lot over that weekend and seemed better. That following Thursday, May 19, 2016, Hannah had field day at school and ran the 50 yard dash. My husband went to watch her, and she was in the nurse’s tent. She almost passed out from running. She was pale, dizzy, fatigued, and had a rapid pulse again. We called the doctor and went in to get her checked. The doctor ordered blood work and talked about possible anemia, as her symptoms looked like it could be anemia. Saturday morning, May 21, 2016, I took Hannah for blood work at 10:30 AM. At 2:45 PM, I received a phone call from Dr. Amir, a doctor at her pediatrician’s office, saying that Hannah’s blood work showed that her white blood cell count was 195. He said it should be around 15-16. Dr. Amir said Hannah needed to come to the Emergency Room at Reading Hospital immediately. He then continued on to say that we are possibly looking at Leukemia. I immediately called my husband at work to tell him to meet us at the ER. I got the kids in the car and called my sister-in-law and brother to see if I could drop Caleb and Leah off at their house. Hannah and I headed straight for the ER. This was the scariest moment of my life. Having to rush my daughter to the ER to see if she has Leukemia – it was so surreal. It still takes my breath away thinking about that moment.
Dr. Amir met us at the ER. There he said Hannah would be transferred to Hershey or CHOP. I asked for her to be taken to CHOP. When we got into a room they started Hannah on fluids and ran her bloodwork again at the request of CHOP doctors. She also had a CAT scan of her brain done and a chest x-ray. Around 7:30 PM, the Ambulance transferred Hannah and I to CHOP while my husband drove behind. We arrived at CHOP around 9 PM and went right to a room on the Oncology floor. The doctors started Hannah on meds right away. The next morning Hannah had a spinal tap and bone marrow taken to see what Type of Leukemia she has. After the bone marrow results came back, the doctors were able to tell us that Hannah has High-Risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (HR B-ALL). She started chemo meds right away. On Tuesday, May 25, Hannah had her Port surgically placed in her chest. We were at CHOP for 6 days receiving Spinal taps, chemo, meds (for chemo, to calm her stomach and for nausea), needles in arms and finger pricks, fluids, Port placement, and EKG. Hannah was discharged on Friday, May 27, 2016 from CHOP in Philadelphia to continue her treatment as Outpatient at CHOP King of Prussia.
On May 31, 2016 we started our travels to CHOP in King of Prussia from Shillington. We have gone every Monday for doctor visits, chemo treatments, spinal taps and meds. On Thursdays, we travel for Hannah to get lab work. During the induction phase, the doctors found out that Hannah has a change in the chromosome of her Leukemia cell identified as a “Philadelphia Like” chromosome. This means that Hannah will have to take an extra chemo medicine called Imatinib for her entire treatment to help get rid of this cell and stop the chromosome mutation.
Hannah has been through a lot physically and mentally. The steroids have made her face puffy, increased her appetite and deteriorated her muscles. She has painful stretch marks on her sides from her stomach being distended from water retention, gas, acid reflux and weight gain. She has experienced excruciating spinal headaches and stomach cramping. Hannah woke up screaming from muscle cramps in her back, neck and arms. She was on Valiums for 3 days for muscle pain. Her hair is falling out which is causing a lot of emotional stress for Hannah. She doesn’t want her picture taken because she says she looks awful. She has her moments too when she gets so upset and yells why is this happening to me. Though, through all of this Hannah still smiles and laughs and hasn’t lost her sense of humor.