Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
July 8, 2024 ·  4 min read

Mom is Diagnosed With Leukemia After Her Kid’s Pediatrician Spotted Something That ‘Didn’t Look Right

Laura Hendricks took her 3 kids to the doctor because they all had colds. However, the doctor noticed something seemed off with her and suggested she be seen. Shortly after, she was diagnosed with Leukemia. She has recovered and is sharing her journey, and some tips, with others navigating a scary and painful journey like hers.

Cause for Concern

A profile of a leukemia survivor in a red blazer. White background.
Image Credit: Laura Hendricks | Newsweek

“Five years ago, on a cold day in February, life was normal, until it wasn’t.” She recently wrote. She shared that she took her kids to the doctor but the doctor was concerned for her health. After some discussion regarding feeling more exhausted than normal (and assuming she was getting whatever bug her kids had) the doctor explained there was seemingly more happening. Laura explained that the doctor told her, “No, your coloring doesn’t look right. Let me see your hands.” So, I showed her my hands, and she said: “I think you should get some blood work done.” Although, at first, she didn’t think much of it, her parents persuaded her to be seen anyway.

Read More: Mom Shares Heartbreaking Photo of Daughter Comforting Her Younger Brother Battling Leukemia

Finding Out About Leukemia

Friendly mature female doctor using stethoscope to examine breathing and heartbeat of middle aged patient. Confident doctor checking woman lungs during medical checkup in modern sunny exam room at the
Source: Shuttertock

That night, I missed two calls from my primary care practitioner because I had gone to bed early, and missed a third call the following morning as we were getting the kids out the door. I then realized that I had three missed voicemails, and as I was listening to them, my husband, Brock, happened to be working from home. I said: “My doctor wants someone to take me to the ER.” She wrote.

I called her back, and she was unable to diagnose or say anything over the phone, but she said: “I think you need to go the ER right now, and you need a blood transfusion. It could be anemia or something else, but you need to go now”. After 45 minutes of blood testing in the ER, 48 hours after my kid’s pediatrician suggested I get checked out, we were sitting in an emergency room listening to the words: “You have leukemia.” Laura Shared.

Young Kids Don’t Know About Leukemia

A leukemia survivor with her 3 kids in matching orange shirts. Laundry backset and white wall and door with handles in the background.
Image Credit: Laura Hendricks | Newsweek

Laura and her husband decided to protect their kids from the word Leukemia as they were too little at the time. It wasn’t until around the time that Laura shared her story, that her kids finally found out the truth. She set up a support system of family and friends and explained they wouldn’t use the word Cancer or Leukemia around the kids. Instead, they said her “blood was sick.” She explained that her children only saw her in the hospital a few times. “It was very simplistic, and we were very clear with our community of friends and family.” She explained.

Beating Leukemia and Feeling “Lucky”

World cancer day (February 4). colorful awareness ribbons; blue, red, green, black, grey, white, pink and yellow color for supporting people living and illness. Healthcare and medical concept
Source: Shutterstock

Despite her condition having a 10% survival rate she powered through. Admittedly, she had great health insurance, lived near “a top 10 cancer hospital in the U.S.”, and had a solid support system of social workers, family, and friends. However, her ample resources weren’t lost on her. “I realize not everyone has these advantages when they face a cancer diagnosis. As we enter a new era of healthcare, if we don’t act now, fewer people will have any of those resources to constitute a positive outcome in the future. My husband and I knew we wanted to do something to mitigate this problem.” She added.

Read More: Teen Knows Sister May Not Live to Attend High School, Invites Her as Date to His First School Dance

What is Acute Myeloid Leukemia

A newspaper with the word "Cancer" enlarged by a magnifying glass.
Image Credit: PDPics | Pixabay

According to the Mayo Clinic,Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) is a cancer” that affects the bone marrow and white blood cells, which when healthy typically develop into red blood cells.

A Meaningful Message

A typewriter with the words "female empowerment" typed out on white paper. Greenery in the background.
Image Credit: viarami | Pixabay

Laura warns that cancer increases your risk of other health concerns such as heart disease, diabetes, sleep disorders, and PTSD/anxiety. However, she took her newfound health and co-founded  Luminaries, whose mission is to “support cancer survivors” and “help them lead happier, healthier lives.” She proudly notes that medical experts get closer to finding a cure “every year.”Luminaries offers a health and wellness program that “focuses on wellness practices” and includes tools that “survivors can revisit anytime they need.”

Tips that Might Help

A woman running while listening to headphones. Woods with green and yellow leaves in the background.
Image Credit: StockSnap | Pixabay

Everyone is different so not everything works for everyone. However, Laura shared some wellness practices that have best helped her recover from leukemia.

She said:Sleep and Rest are the “Cornerstone[s] of good health and recovery.” She also explained that staying hydrated and nourishing the body with intention by listening to signals and cues” are also tools that have helped her work through her post-leukemia recovery. Lastly, breathing exercises, physical movement, and practicing gratitude have also been advantageous on her journey.

She offers another piece of advice and support for those who may be battling or recovering from Leukemia or other types of cancer. She notes that “survivorship” isn’t “elating.” Rather, it’s often “confusing, lonely, or paralyzing.”After having your life turned upside down, it’s hard to know how to rebuild your life with purpose and gratitude.” She explained.

A Powerful Improvement

Strong woman, winning, success , and life goals concept. Young woman with arms flexed looking up to the sky.
Source: Shutterstock

Five years ago, Laura Hendricks battled Leukemia in a fight for her life, with the help of her healthcare providers and loved ones, she has recovered and found her life’s purpose, helping other cancer survivors maintain good mental health and feel empowered.

Read More: Doctors suggested girl with Down syndrome be institutionalized – fast-forward 15 years and she’s a top model

Sources

  1. “Acute myelogenous leukemia.” Mayo Clinic
  2. My Kids’ Doctor Asked to See My Hands—Her Comment Saved My Life.Newsweek