A Melbourne mother is sharing the story that has resulted in the diagnosis of her little girl with cancer, with the hope of raising awareness of the tiny signs to watch out for.
A few months ago Amelia Nesci went from being a happy child who was rarely sick to experiencing multiple bouts of illness.
The three-year-old no longer wanted to play outside and became a “fussy eater”.
After taking her to multiple doctors and different types of medical experts, mother Nadia Carli was still no closer to the answer. Amelia was treated for constipation and worms but wasn’t getting better.
At the end of May, Amelia had a nosebleed that lasted for hours.
“It didn’t look right, the blood was very pale and coming out like tap water,” Nadia said.
By the time they arrived at the hospital, her nose had been bleeding for two hours and the little girl was struggling to walk.
Results from a blood test showed that her white blood cell count was extremely low.
A few tests later, doctors diagnosed Amelia with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is a kind of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow which is most common in young children between zero and 14 years old.
“Our world went upside down,” Nadia said.
“A lot of that day is a big blur. I remember the doctor telling me those words [that she had cancer] but after that I don’t remember anything,” the mother-of-four said.
Amelia started chemotherapy three days after being diagnosed.
If the treatment works, she should finish chemotherapy by February next year.
Nadia’s best friend Laura Ward, said the teachers’ aide had been putting on a brave face but was definitely struggling.
“Nadia has been my best friend of 21 years and in all that time I’ve never seen her cry or heard her scream like the one I did on Tuesday when Amelia was diagnosed. It will haunt me for the rest of my life,” she said.
Ms Ward has started a Gofundme page to support the family.
Feeling guilty that she didn’t spot the signs sooner, Nadia has spoken out to encourage other parents to seek answers.
This kind of cancer is characterised by an overproduction of immature white blood cells.
Because the bone marrow can’t produce enough red blood cells, normal white cells, and platelets, common symptoms of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia can include persistent tiredness, paleness, dizziness, or shortness of breath during physical activity, as well as increased or unexplained bleeding or bruising.
Nadia has also urged more people to consider donating blood to help children like Amelia.
This article originally appeared on Over60.