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Childhood leukemia impacts family

Parish support helped Adam Morys’s family stay strong through leukemia diagnosis and treatment.

Sophomore Adam Morys was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) on November 2, 2003. ALL is a cancer in which the bone marrow in the body creates too many immature lymphocytes, a type of white blood cells.

“I don’t remember too much since I was very young,” Adam said, “but I do remember having all of those tubes in my arms for the treatments.” One of these tubes was the central line, a large tube inserted into the chest to inject the chemo drugs into a large vein in the body.

Symptoms of ALL can include very easy bruising and bleeding, flat, pinpoint dark-red spots under the skin, lumps in the neck, weakness, and loss of appetite, according to the American Cancer Society.

Morys received his chemo treatments through his mouth, veins, or spine.

“I had complications because of the fungus and had to spend three more weeks in the hospital,” Morys said. “I also had to be rushed into the hospital every time I had a fever in case of blood infection.” To treat that, Adam received antibiotics directly into his bloodstream.

Side effects of treatment for ALL are low resistance to infections, but higher risk of bruising and bleeding, fatigue, feeling sick, sore mouth, changes in taste, changes in heart muscle, hair loss, and anemia — a disorder in which red blood cells lack hemoglobin, the protein in charge of binding oxygen to the red blood cell.

“I use to have to go to CHOP monthly to have my blood checked,” he said, “then every quarter, then every six months, and now it’s only once a year.”

As tough as Leukemia was for Adam, it was just as rough for his parents, Marian and Jolanta. “It was really tough handling Adam’s leukemia and our everyday lives,” Mrs. Morys said.

Mr. and Mrs. Morys both work and had to manage time at their jobs along with time with Adam.

“Usually, Mr. Morys would work during the day while I spent it at the hospital until he finished,” Mrs. Morys said. “He would stay with Adam in the hospital after work while I went home to care for the house and Adam’s siblings.”

The Morys family came over from Poland, so they had no family around to care for Adam while they were at work.

“It was hard, but we had a lot of support from the parish. Whatever we couldn’t do they would help us and do that for us; they also prayed for us everyday,” Mrs. Morys said.

Although Adam is currently in good health, his cancer is still part of the family’s story.

“It is a great relief to know Adam is cancer-free, but we still have to visit the doctor for the next ten years to make sure the cancer does not return,” Mrs. Morys said.

Mrs. Morys said that Adam’s leukemia was difficult, but that it was a growth experience for Adam.
“Adam grew up very fast. Being so sick at a young age forced him to mature quickly and he thought like an adult at the age of five,” she said.

About Luke McClatchy

Luke McClatchy has been on the Blackfriar Chronicle for one year. He is involved with Malvern’s Rugby Team as well and a pretty cool dude.

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