At lot of people have beein asking how it came about that I ended up getting tested for leukemia. It happend very fast really, but looking back I had some symptoms for a few months. Mny of the symptoms include fatigue, joint pain, flu like symptoms, excessive bruising and of course a low white blood cell count, which you can't tell unless you have a blood test.
Mid summer, I started to notice a lot of joint pain, especially in my hips. I remember when I drove to Visalia in September with my Mom, we made the drive without stopping, and when we got home I had horrible hip pain. That had been around for a while. Of course, I've always had fatigue, but I never really thought it was "my norm" with the kids. All summer, I had a lot of bruising on my legs and arms, and it started to get worse and more out of control in the last few weeks.
The week before Thanksgiving, I found a lump in my arm and my breast, so I made an appointment with my general doctor. She saw me Friday before Thanksgiving, and at the time I showed her my bruises. She decided to do a CBC. The next day, she called me at 7:00 a.m. and sent me to Hoag because the results indicated that I had a super low white blood cell count. At Hoag, they re-checked the labs, and found the same results. The ER doctor sent me home because they were not able to do a bone marrow biopsy, but he told me I needed one as soon as possible.
The Monday before Thanksgiving, I called my hematologist to get an appointment, and the soonest they could get me in was Wednesday. As a funny, on Tuesday the hematologist office called me and told me they wanted to post pone my appointment until after Thanksgiving. Not wanting to wait that long, I hung up on the receptionist and told her I was coming the next day. Not once, not twice but 3 times (and I usually don't do things like that!) Brett didn't want us to wait around either.
When we met my Hematologist, Dr. Quan on Wednesday, she sprung into action once she saw my labs and did the bone marrow biopsy right there in the office. They gave me a local and some Ativan, so it wasn't so bad. Dr. Quan was so adamat about getting the results before the holiday, she had a nurse drive my biopsy to the lab. After some lunch, I went home to rest. Dr. Quan called Brett's cell around 5:00 with the results. He was driving home from picking up Jenelle from daycare, and she told him to pull over. While I hate that he heard the news by himself, I'm glad he was able to break the news to me.
On Wednesday night, we went from our home to admit me at Hoag. At that time, we didn't know the specific type of Leukemia, and wouldn't know until the next day. Either way, treatment was going to be the same, so Hoag did their best to prepare me for Chemo. Once we determined the sub-type, Hoag transferred me to UCLA ASAP, and you know the rest.
From the moment I was hospitalized, I started "pre-chemo" with a drug called Atra and once at UCLA a Vitamin A regime. The sub-type Leukemia I has responds well to both. I've learned that with Leukemia, there is no catching it early or late, it just seems to come on with a vengence. Of course, because this is a blood cancer, I have been given transfusions, platelets and something called cryopecipatate. All are blood products. I have been having problems with too few platelets, and clotting in the wrong places (DIC). This is just something they expect to see and wil manage carefully.
When I have more information, I will post about donating blood. I cannot have flowers or food because of the bacteria involved. They call it Neutropenic. Again, this hospital is absolutely wonderful, and I am at such peace being here.
Thanks again for the thoughts and prayers. Please keep them coming!