TAMPA, Fla. — Sanci Hiscock is a bright, bouncy 14-year-old with a love for animals and a smile on her face--but an uneasiness about the future.
She has leukemia.
"I worry about it; whether I'll have a relapse," said Sanci, whose cancer is in remission. "You have to keep a positive attitude. But sometimes it's hard."
Doctors at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa are optimistic about her chances. Barring flare-ups or setbacks in the next year, they say a cure is possible.
Sanci says she has developed friendships at the clinic. When her dog was run over at her suburban home, nurses bought her a puppy.
She also likes the special room for teen-agers, equipped with video games, computers and a stereo.
"She's a delightful, vivacious girl with so much energy and zest for life," said Dr. Jaime Estrada, Sanci's physician while she was in the hospital for treatment of an infection and a reaction to antibodies this month.
"Attitude is very important in patients with malignancies, and she has the right attitude."
In her age group, with her type of disease--acute lymphocytic leukemia--up to 75% of cases can be cured, Estrada said.
"She has done well, but she is not out of the woods yet. When I first started treating her, she was faced with the possibility of dying. She adapted. She concentrated on the fact that she could also live and do well."
Doctors urged her parents, cattle rancher C. W. Hiscock and his wife, Avis, to discuss the disease frankly with their daughter and to answer the tough questions.
"I answered the questions, but it took me two months before I felt comfortable about it," Avis Hiscock said. Her daughter was always forthright, she added.
"I think her main concern was how we were feeling, what this was going to do to us, not concern for herself."
Sanci missed most of last year in school, took part in a homebound program via telephone, kept up with her classes and made the honor roll.
She went back this year in ninth grade.
"At first I was kind of scared because I didn't know what was going to happen to me," she said. "Then I thought, 'I've got this thing; why not get it treated?' "