Sunday, March 24, 2013

7th Anniversary of Diagnosis

On March 24, 2006, I received the worst news of my life. It had been an average Friday. Shortly after I arrived home, the phone rang. It was my doctor telling me I had leukemia.

Are you sure? I feel fine. Yes, I'm positive. A hematoligist/oncologist I recommend will call you as soon as we get off the line.

I'd gone to the doctor two days earlier complaining of a swollen finger. Lyme disease? Rheumatoid arthritis? Blood tests were done, including a CBC. It was the CBC that showed I had leukemia.

The new doctor called and in 20 minutes explained everything I needed to know right then about the disease. My husband walked in during the call and I told him I had leukemia. His face went from disbelief to shock in a second or two. I told the doctor I'd meet him the next day at the hospital.

There were plans to unmake, relatives, friends and colleagues to call. Then I had to tell my kids. Try being a scared, tearful mother putting a relatively positive spin on leukemia. They too were shocked and terrified. They didn't know what to ask or expect, just like me.

In the next 7 years, I would have 10 doses of chemo, 7 of total body radiation, 2 stem cell transplants, 75 units of blood, significant graft versus host disease wherein my donor attacks my body, 15 doses of targeted radiation to destroy a patch of leukemia on my skin, and monthly low dose anti-cancer injections. The injections are on-going for the foreseeable future.

I'm lucky to be alive, although some days don't feel like it. I have a 30% chance of surviving for 5 years post-transplant. Three and a half years down, one and a half to go.


Anonymous said...

Unbeknownst of the weighty significance of the date we were drinking blood orange margaritas on Sunday night...seems appropriate as it was you guys who showed us how to make a kicking a belayed toast "to continued health, wealth and happiness for the divine Miss P..and Mr M as well of course"

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Rooting for you!


Ronni Gordon said...

We're on just about the same page with those anniversaries.

Here's to continued good health. Happy Passover to you, too.