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Child cancer patient deals with drug shortage
February 24th, 2012
10:04 AM ET

Child cancer patient deals with drug shortage

Editor's note: Owen McMasters, 12, was diagnosed with Acuta Lymphoblastic Leukemia in November 2011. His family has been dealing with the shortage of methotrexate, a drug that treats cancer by slowing the growth of cancer cells. Between 2006 and 2010, drug shortages increased by more than 200%. Read more about these shortages, and what the FDA is doing to help, on The Chart.

Learning that the enlarged lymph nodes I showed my mom meant Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), a type of cancer, and not mono, was devastating.

It meant that I would not be returning to school until at least next August. It meant I would spend unknown amounts of time in the hospital. It meant I would not be able to be around groups of people. (I have to limit which friends and family members I am around, since a simple cold for you could mean severe illness for me.)

It meant my hair I loved fell out, leaving me with baby bird fuzz on my head.

I underwent two operations in the first 36 hours and then went under anesthesia for either a spinal tap with chemotherapy, a bone marrow biopsy, or both, nearly every week. Because my platelets and white blood cell count are often critically low, I am unable to ride my bike, play any sports, wrestle with my brothers or do many of the things I like to do.

My new friends are other kids with bald or fuzzy heads who are going through the same thing as me.
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