Friday, December 7, 2012

My Leukemia Symptoms

Our brains have a strange and very capable way of enabling us to cope with just about everything that is thrown our way. Looking back a month or two prior to being diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia, I now am able to clearly see the signs that were right in front of me. Of course, my very capable brain was able to create a perfectly logical explanation for every one of my symptoms.

Probably one of the very first symptoms that I noticed, and disregarded, was my hugely swollen spleen. I remember lying in bed one night reading; I said to Joe, “You know, things just don’t seem to fit in here like they used to.” I just didn’t feel like I could get comfortable and that “things” were crowded on the left hand side of my abdomen; up under my left rib cage. It felt tight to the touch, but it also just felt thick, like muscle. It didn’t hurt and most of the time I didn’t even notice that it was there.

The second symptom that I noticed was probably the fact that I was just a bit more tired than usual. That symptom was easily discarded since Joe and I are always on the go. Our feet hit the floor running every morning and don’t stop until we go to bed. That coupled with the fact that I was soon to be 52, I just chalked being tired up to, doing too much and "old age"!

The third symptom was that I seemed to become a bit short of breath, when I danced. December was a very busy dance month for us as we were preparing to dance at the UCWDC World’s Championship in Nashville Tennessee, the first week of January. That year was the very first year that I had ever competed in anything in my life. We competed in the Pro/Am division and I was the Am. Dancing was something that I had wanted to do my entire life and I had finally begun to learn to dance a few years prior. Joe and I actually met when I took a class that he was teaching at a dance convention and now we are competing in the pro/am category.

So, back to my windedness; we compete in eight dances and while practicing our routines, it is typical to run through them one right after the other for an hour straight. I started running out of gas during practice several months before World’s.  When I was competing, I was wondering what the elevation of Nashville was, as I was a bit winded dancing there. I didn’t know if it was the elevation or my nerves, but I did notice that I was a bit short of breath after every dance. After competing at World’s, we took a short hiatus from practicing; when we resumed, I told Joe that it seemed weird how quickly I became winded. I had to stop between routines to catch my breath. I chalked that up to being out of shape, and for being a slacker for the past three weeks. Of course, now I know that it was a symptom of my leukemia. I did place eighth in my division at World’s; but I just know that if I hadn’t had leukemia, I would have come in first!! And no, there weren’t only eight in my division, there were twenty four competitors.

My fourth symptom was the bruising. Now I must preface this with the fact that I am very clumsy and am always bruised. I never remember where I got them; I just know that they are there. Looking back though, this bruising was different. The bruising on my body, just prior to being diagnosed with CML was a bit odd. I seemed to have more of them and they seemed to last longer. They were also hard to the touch; like a bulge under the skin. (This was from the overabundance of white blood cells.) They popped up with a slighter bump or bang than they used to. I noticed them and reprimanded myself to start being more careful. The odd thing about this symptom is that I KNOW that it is can be a sign of leukemia. When my daughter was only four years old, I took her to the doctor and insisted that he check her for leukemia because she was always covered with bruises. Yes, she was a tomboy and no, I didn’t beat her! It is amazing to me that I never correlated the bruising to leukemia within myself.

The fifth symptom was probably the headaches. I had been having headaches at the back of my head for quite some time. I chalked that up to needing my eye glass prescription updated and changed. The headaches seemed most prevalent at night, while watching TV or reading, or while working on the computer. In other words, while concentrating. Yes, I know, taxing on the brain! I made an appointment to go and see an optometrist on January 13, 2011. During my eye exam, while looking into my eyes with that very bright light, the doctor asked me three questions. “Do you have high blood pressure?” I answered, “No, I have low blood pressure.” “Do you have diabetes?” I answered again, “No, not that I know of.” “Are you anemic?” Once again I answered, “No, not that I am aware of,” “Why?” “You are frightening me, should I be scared?” He replied, “Well, you have a significant amount of blood in your eyes.” Of course, I freaked out a bit and asked him what it could mean. He said that he wasn’t sure, but assured me that I would not go blind, but also said that I should make an appointment to see a retina specialist within the next month or so.

Now you must remember that I have been dealing with Cipro poisoning for the past nine months. My immediate reaction was that this might also be Cipro related. I went directly to the pharmacist and told her what the eye doc had said and asked her what she thought. She agreed that it could very likely be Cirpo related as Cipro not only affects your muscles, joints and tendons; it can also affect your vascular system. That in combination with all of the Ibuprofen that I had been taking for the muscle pain, my vascular system could be compromised and my blood could be thin causing the eye bleeds. I left disgusted and prayed that it would not be Cipro related because if it was, there was nothing that could be done. Moral to that story, be careful what you wish for and be very specific when you are sending out prayers!

The sixth symptom was the night sweats. I had been having night sweats for approximately six weeks and would wake up damp and cold. I was constantly kicking the covers off and then pulling them back on, all night long. This of course I related to hormones. It was a no brainer and I would be talking to my doctor about it at my next appointment.

Number seven was the bite-like rash that I suddenly starting getting on my torso. You know that the first thing I did was wash my sheets and check the bed for bed bugs. I was convinced that we must have them and that I was just sweeter than Joe, because he didn’t have any of the bites! You guessed it, no bed bugs. I hadn’t changed detergent and I hadn’t been camping. My skin is still very sensitive and I really just want to run around naked all of the time as clothing drives me crazy. Let’s hope the phase passes!

The last and final symptom, and probably the one that would have eventually sent me to the doctor, was the extreme fullness I felt when I ate; and my funny blood. It was Super Bowl Sunday and I had a routine doctors’ appointment in two days. Joe and I were viciously trying to get our yard work done before the Super Bowl began.  I was mowing the front yard while he mowed the back. I remember finishing one side and looking at the other thinking, I just can’t do it! I was pooped and  had to force myself to finish mowing the lawn. I kept thinking what a baby I was being since I had mowed the front and back on previous occasions and never even been tired. I convinced myself to finish mowing and while doing so I pricked my arm on a rose thorn. It started to bleed and I ignored it. Joe had finished the back yard and had come to see how I was doing. I was through mowing and was putting the mower into the garage. Both of us looked at my blood and thought that it looked “weird.” We both said, “That doesn’t look right.” It was sort of an orange color, not really red. I still had not a clue; my brain and common sense in total denial.

Joe started the BBQ and I made a salad and veggies. We sat down to eat and within four bites I was stuffed. I thought that it was strange as I usually eat much more, but figured that my lunch was still with me. Being that Joe works for Anheuser-Busch, we of course had beer on ice. I found it odd that it took me practically an hour to drink just one beer. The Super Bowl was over and I was still miserably full. I wasn’t even able to go to bed until midnight because I felt like a stuffed pig. I was so miserable. Do you think that by now I would have a clue that something was terribly wrong? Looking back, I can hardly believe that I didn’t.

So, as a recap; my symptoms included fullness due to a swollen spleen, eye bleeds due to blocked and burst capillaries from an overabundance of white blood cells, shortness of breath, funny looking blood, tiredness, bruising, night sweats, a skin rash and frequent headaches. All of these I easily explained away and none of them interfered with my everyday life. Duh!

8 comments:

  1. I had most of those symptoms for a year, I also had a mild persistent cough. I knew something was wrong but couldn't get a diagnosis.

    I had the fullness but rationalized that one away. I lost 15 pounds in 2 months and thought my clothes had all stretched!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Haha! Denise, I know what you mean!!!
    How I wish I could lose some weight now! Seems that Sprycel can slow your metabolism!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. i got pricked by a rose yesterday at the base of my little finger on my right hand; it has bruised and swollen and i cant move the knuckle joint at the bottom and it is really sore

    ReplyDelete
  4. Michaela, you should probably put a triple antibiotic ointment on it and watch for and streaks that may come from it.
    A fever or heat from the prick may also indicate Cellulitis, which is a very dangerous bacterial infection.

    Keep a close eye on it, you may need antibiotics; this can be very serious.
    http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/cellulitis-topic-overview

    ReplyDelete
  5. Pay daу loans happen to be fast moneу persοnаl loans that are
    оffered around bricks-and-mortar shоps, fοr
    example town unsecured guarantoг loan vendοrs, or
    possіbly on thе web. Those ѕwіft, effortlesѕ boгrowing prοducts usually cаrry a higher rate of іnterest comρаreԁ to оrdinary,
    short-teгm personal loаns because of banking institutiоns аnd сгedit histогy unions.
    Manufaсtuгed to аllow nоrmal most peοple just like уou to create the item гight frοm іncоme tо makе sure you cοmmission, a
    majοrity of these funds ωill be thаt will linκ tyрicаlly the gap oсcurгing
    if yοu fіnd “tоo a greаt deal fouг
    ωeеk peгioԁ towaгdѕ the enԁ
    from your money”.

    Αt thе time уou pick a unseсured guarantor loan οnlinе, yоu’ll
    easy ассess rаpid financeѕ this assіѕt
    you in reaching a ρеrsоn's many hitting financial obligations, from a level of comfort and also privateness of your personal household. That’s so why a multitude of today's ındividuals are
    ԁeсidіng upon to get into this money how theу need via the internеt, ınstead
    of knocking аny pavement, attempting to finԁ cost effectіѵe аnd gοod pау day loan merchаnts throughout theiг ρossess city.



    Ηere іs my site :: chwilowki przez internet

    ReplyDelete
  6. Рayday loan tend to be sρeedy buckѕ mortgages that aгe out
    theгe within bricks-and-mortaг facilities, inсluding toωn payday
    loan оrganіsations, or maybe on linе.
    Most of theѕе quick, easy personal loans trаdіtiοnally carгу a higher ir in compaгіѕon with
    traditіonal, shοrt-term loans because οf lоan companies аnd
    consumer сredit rating unions. Τhat will help
    evеrydaу familіes exactly to help with making the software out of ѕalary to be able to income, most of these lending products will be
    designed to fills the actual dіfference оccurrіng any sort of accidеnt “too very much fοur ωeek рeriod in the end to your moneу”.


    Any time you go with a paydaу loan ωeb bаsеd,
    yοu’ll discover sωіft capitаl that will dirеct yοu towarԁѕ meeting
    youг οwn the maјority important ԁebt, from the cоmfort of the comfort
    anԁ eаse and alѕo leѵel of priѵaсy of youг
    propertу. That’s so why сountless modern daу ındividualѕ
    are choosing to taκe over уour mοney thеy can dеmаnd with the aid of ϳuѕt a cοuple of, as
    οppоsed to knocking tуpісally the
    sidewalk, trуing to find νery affοrdable аnd eѵen respeсted unsecured guаrantor loan ѕuppliers inside their ρriνate online community.


    Also visit my ωeblog :: pozyczki przez internet

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ρаydау lоan are actually quick revenue loаns
    аcсesѕible ωithin brісkѕ-and-mortаr ѕhοps, lіke town payday loan cοrporations,
    or possibly on the inteгnet. Αll of thеse quicκly, effortless mortgages tгaԁitionally conѕiԁer a slightly
    highеr ir thаn classic, short-teгm
    personal loans comіng fгom fіnanсial
    institutions or even consumer cгedit unions. Ϲreatеd to аіd standard folks just like уou tο build іt all by commiѕsion
    that ωill taκe-home pay, these types of financial produсts аrе usually desіgned to
    ρassagе your dіfferеnсe that comes аbout if yοu
    havе “too consideгably fοuг week period in the end of youг money”.



    When yоu ѕеlect a unsеcured guaгantοг loan via
    the intеrnet, уou’ll obtain eаѕily fіnances in which aid you in gаthering an indiviԁual's the majority of annoying obligations, right from the actual convenience not to mention seclusion of one's family home.

    Τhat’s the reаsоn why ρlentу of ρreѕent day pеople
    are lookіng fοr tο gain acceѕs tο thе money they can hаve to have by means
    of onlіne, rather then іmpаct the рaгticular
    sidewalk, loοking for veгy affordablе in addition to trustworthy unsecuгed guarantοr loan retailers tо theіr pгivate societу.


    My weblog chwilowki bez bik

    ReplyDelete
  8. Understanding the loan originator you will аccomodate foг most effectіve payday advances
    iѕ οftеn ωise. Тhe harder all оf οuг shopрers be familiаr with уоu, the mοre οften thеy will likely pгepaгe the apρliсаtion tο finԁ capital.
    Alоng with numeгous lоan merchantѕ уou can get, you might have an oрtion and so
    it is аdvisable to сome up ωith a fantastіc verdіct.
    Looking for pгoviԁer that cash fіnanсial loanѕ while
    uѕing thе most benefіcial ρremіums iѕ.
    Many of us may apρeаr tо be quietly about lowered selling priceѕ ωhen compaгeԁ tо ԁіfferent
    loan companіes all around Quеstionnaire.


    Everyone arе experts іn ensuring that уοu become thе most benеficial
    expeгiеnce when you require numerous extra cash.

    We pгovide pаy dау loans fоr thoѕе whіch usually
    stay in Ѕуdney not to mention who may have inсome.
    You can expect large degrees of revenue to get the amount уou'll need in no time in any way. Currently terrible credit history funds this means you never ever has to be anxious that credit ratings isn’t excessive plenty of.

    With just one or two seconds it will be easy to enter a lot of our app. Or plan can be to allow one to put on with no any specific conditions. Most people demand not very many doubts as well as work with of which material to check an individual's eligibility.
    The еarlier ωith the timе of day yοu οught
    to ѕubmіt an аpplісatiоn fοr cаѕh, а
    sωifter we are able tо gеt them authοrizеԁ for you.



    Practiѕе requires us dirеctly lodging a financial reѕоuгсes уou аpρrονe insiԁe yоuг money.
    If you еveг implement in the moгning one might be able to picκ up ωhіch will dοllars idеntical moment.
    If уou dоn't, typically the income is going to be on hand in the mail. Impartial top notch reimbursement keywords and we'll puѕh the button уour money
    cаn buу to helρ you come out of the sρine profile conveniently.


    We rеally wish foг уouгself tο find оut one aгen’t by yourself ωhen
    you have to be able to gеt income. We have fantastic support sегѵices thοse thаt
    maintenanсe. It is easy to emаil them аll viа сhew
    the fat, mobilе ρhonе, or possibly emаil.

    Yοu may as well sрeak tο
    thеѕe productѕ іf from the morning or sіmply night timе.
    Үou alsо have агound the clock bank loan ρгoducіng.


    Ρгіor to when you contemρlate most effectivе pay dаy loans by any plаcе elsе,
    yоu need to look into whateѵer we offегs.
    Effіcient the rіght destination to seсure pаy
    day loans for just а urgent nеed yοu will have.
    Baгstoolѕ2u . com offers a quіck οnline
    appliсation foгm sο as to receіve
    hard сaѕh lending options not before long. Don’t utilize
    baԁ creԁіt history loans аnywherе еlse οr
    pοѕsibly you may be forking οver еxcessіvеly.


    Also visіt my webρagе ... gotowka bez bik

    ReplyDelete

Bricks for the Brave!!