Thursday, September 29, 2011

Back to Where It All Began: A Visit with Dr. Han


For those of you that have been following my story, you will remember that my leukemia (CML) diagnosis resulted during a routine checkup, following ovarian tumors that I had seven years ago. I continue to have regular checkups every six months and as of today, I am a bit overdue!

I briefly saw my doctor, the one that diagnosed me, when I was in the hospital in February. I have not seen him since. I am hoping that today’s visit will be uneventful and that no new issues will appear. Oddly enough, I have never been concerned when going to these appointments; I truly believe, that even though I had borderline ovarian tumors, and there is a chance that they will return (in a different location, of course) that they were removed and that is that. They are gone and will never return. I have never been concerned or worried. I thought that I “did” my big ticket item and that I was done. Ha! Jokes on me!! The irony of being diagnosed with leukemia during one of these visits is still boggling my mind.

Fast Forward: I saw my doctor yesterday and fortunately it was uneventful. Everything in “that” department looks A-OK. He told me that he is still astounded that I have leukemia and that in all of his years practicing medicine; he has never diagnosed a patient with a second cancer. He is a gynecological oncologist, so he sees and treats cancer patients every day. I almost think that he feels worse about my diagnosis than I do! He was just so shocked and empathetic; and the girls in his office, the same one that I have been seeing for years, just kept saying how blindsided and sorry they are; and how they just can’t stop talking about it. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or not. I believe that to them, I represent the reality that no one is invincible. We are all vulnerable and even the healthiest people can and do, get cancer. I am living proof of that.

When my ovarian tumors were discovered, also routinely, everyone thought that they would just turn out to be benign cysts. I was young(er), strong, healthy, ate well, exercised and did all of the “right” things. We were all quite surprised at just how sick I was. Fast forward seven years and I show up, for all intense and purposes, I looked, and was, healthy; a bit pale, but otherwise healthy. One blood test later and BAM; I am in the hospital with leukemia. So, I believe that to the girls in the office, as well as others, I represent the unexpected reality that your life can dramatically change at any given moment. No one is bulletproof.

Anyway, life goes on and I am happy to report that other than this stupid cancer; all is well in my world. 

3 comments:

  1. You are very strong and a inspiration to me. I am 26 years old and have always been a healthy person. I don't do drugs, smoke and rarely drink. One night I went to a good friends birthday party. I drank a little too much and the next day, no matter how much water I drank, I couldnt get hydrated. I went to the ER to get IV fluids and just to check, they ran some blood tests. The ER doctor came back to my room and he looked like someone had just took his breath away. He sat on the bed and told my husband to hold my hand. I was really confused, I thought he was going to lecture me about drinking. That's when he said he was admitting me to the hospital. I thought oh no, what have I done. He said my white count was 50k and that is very bad and has nothing to do with drinking. My husband asked him what he thought was wrong and that was the first time I learned I might have cancer. A few days latter and lots of testing resulted in CML. So, the moral of the story is you never know when your life will change. Just like in your story, all the nurses in the ER that night kept coming in and telling me how sorry they were. Personally I'm really happy I drank too much that night, who knows when I would have had blood work done. Could have been years later or too late.

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  2. So very true and you are so lucky to have caught it at 50,000! Mine was 372,100..ugh! Did you have chemo? What meds are you on....funny how the little things turn into big things sometimes. How are you now?
    My best to you and please stay in touch!

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  3. Hello,
    I have a question about your blog. Please email me!
    Thanks,
    David

    ReplyDelete

Bricks for the Brave!!