Monday, February 28, 2011

The Continuing Leukemia Saga: A Visit to My Gynecological Oncologist

The February 1, 2011 insurance date did not come to fruition, they said it would probably be March 1st. Knowing that I had this eye issue, I kept my 6 month appointment with Dr. Ernest Han, my gynecological oncologist. I had borderline ovarian tumors in 2004 and have been following up with him ever since. I did not have cancer and with the exception of surgery, I have had no other treatment. There has never been any recurrence of the tumors.

On February 8, 2011 I began my visit with Dr. Han with my bleeding eye story. I continued that I have also had headaches fairly regularly for the past month or so. I also told him that I had been having some night sweats and wondered if my hormones might be out of whack. While I was on my “whine” soapbox, I also mentioned that I seemed a little more tired than usual and that I seemed to be a bit short of breath when I danced. And oh, yeah, the bruising! I seemed to have more bruises than usual and some kind of a rash. And yes, I checked my bed for bed bugs! And one more thing, since I am on such a roll….Super Bowl Sunday Joe made and awesome dinner. I took about 5 bites and was so stuffed that I couldn’t go to bed until midnight. I felt as though I had just gotten up from the Thanksgiving table! There, I am done!

Now it is his turn. Immediately upon examining my abdomen he says, “How long has this been like this?”, and of course I say, “What?”, “This thickening under your left rib cage.” “Oh, that….I suppose I noticed that things just didn’t seem to fit like they used to about a month or so ago.” Dr. says, “Well, we had better run some blood work and get a CAT scan.” Of course I am thinking, oh, great, probably one of those tumors that they said might grow back someday. What a pain it will be to have that removed!

February 9, 2011, early in the morning I get a call from Dr. Han. I tell him that I have an appointment for my CAT scan at 2:30 that afternoon. He tells me to cancel it. He says that he has been on the phone all morning with Dr. Elber Camacho, a hematologist. He says that my white blood cell count is astronomically high and that I have leukemia. He tells me that it is imperative to get to the emergency room immediately to be admitted to the hospital. I, of course, am stunned. I ask him if I can drive myself, and he adamantly said “No!” we are afraid that you are going to have a brain bleed.

As my “brain” begins to process this information, I quickly realize that I do not want to have leukemia and be drooling and half paralyzed from a stroke, so I respond with “I am getting dressed now and will be there within the hour.” And that is how one just wakes up with leukemia. And now the journey begins.

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