Teen battles cancer while learning at home - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Teen battles cancer while learning at home

April 13, 2004

Moultrie - It's tough enough dealing with an illness as an adult, but how does it affect young ones.

Jeffrey Madison is a typical teenager. He smiles, "I have a Nintendo 64." Eyes glued on the TV screen, fighting the bad guys with the push of a button, but this 13-year-old Moultrie teen is fighting his own battle inside his body.

Three months ago he was diagnosed with cancer. Jeffrey attempts to say the name, "Acute ... something ... leukemia."

A cancer he can't even pronounce, Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia.Jeffrey explains the side effects, "Sometimes my back hurts, I have a headache and my stomach hurts."

When his immune system weakens he can't go out and play. He says, "Not too fun, cause I like getting on my bike and play basketball and run around."

Doctor's orders go as far as keeping Jeffrey away from a crowded classroom. Colquitt County Homebound Teacher Tasha Coney gives him one-on-one lessons in his living room. She laughs, "He has been a wonderful student."

Some days are tough. Coney admits, "When he's up, he's up with a sense of humor and character, we get a lot of work done. When he's not feeling that well, we re-arrange our schedule."

A schedule that includes chemotherapy treatments once a week in Augusta.

For a kid who's used to getting the bad guys in seconds, it will take a little longer to destroy the remaining cancer cells.

Children like Jeffrey have to get spinal taps to instill chemotherapy into the cerebrospinal fluid to kill any leukemia cells that may have spread to the central nervous system.

posted at 5:25PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com