Barb Koss Barb’s fight against AML

First post: Dec 20, 2017 Latest post: Jul 1, 2020
 As many of you already know I was diagnosed with leukemia (AML) at the beginning of December 2017 and have been hospitalized this entire time. The diagnosis came as a complete surprise to both Sam and I.  Our friends and family were also in complete shock when we delivered the news to them.  It all started the morning of November 30th. I awoke with body aches and cold chills. I went to work to attend a conference but ended up coming home halfway through the day because I was feverish. I stayed home and rested until Saturday afternoon, and finally decided I should probably go to an express care to seek further medical attention. 

The  doctor at express care wasn’t sure what I was sick with but  offered to have me take a Complete Blood Count (CBC)  to test my white blood cell count. An elevated  white blood count  could  indicate I had a strong bacterial infection. The  doctor sent me home with medication that would treat me for the flu or something viral and told me she would call me with results in the morning. 

Later that night as I was getting ready for bed, my phone rang and it was the express care doctor. She sounded very urgent and said that my test results had came back and my white blood cells count’s were extremely low. She said that her and the pathologist discussed that I should head immediately to ER so they could further assist with my diagnosis. 

Although  I sensed the urgency in her voice, I still asked if it was OK if I waited until morning since it was nearly bedtime and we all know how ERs can be late at night. But she insisted that I go immediately tonight and to not wait until morning. At this point I expressed the concerns to my husband Sam  and packed a bag and preparation of spending the night in the hospital.  

When we arrived  at the ER room, they begin testing me for random viral bacterial type symptoms they took a lot of blood work did some x-rays check to see if I had pneumonia or any other things  later the ER doctor came up to me and asked if I knew exactly why I was told to come to the ER I explained to her what the doctor had told me her and the pathologist have discussed at this point the ER doctor decided to go back and make a phone call to the pathologist. Soon enough the ER doctor returned with some  quite  concerning news.  

Although we didn’t quite digest the information she was telling us she basically stated there was a worst-case scenario for the symptoms that I was having and that worst-case scenario is leukemia.  she proceeded to have a team of doctors from hematology and oncology department come to the ER to talk to us.  when they came to talk to us they begin preparing us for the worst case scenario which was leukemia they didn’t say I have leukemia but wanted us to be prepared. They told me that I should not plan on being at work on Monday or Tuesday or possibly the rest of the week. They told us many things and realized that we had that deer in the headlight look and we weren’t quite taking it all in so they told us they would take it one step at a time for us to allow us to process what we have been told.  

They prepared us to stay in the hospital for the first night and the following morning  The team of hematology doctors visited my bedside again with their extremely somber faces they proceeded to talk about more things Involving  leukemia.  from bone marrow biopsy‘s to chemotherapy I had to stop them as I still wasn’t understanding. I looked up at the doctor and I said blankly so what you’re saying is there is a good chance that I have leukemia and  her answer was yes.  Sam was not in the room at the time so after the doctors left I had to pick up the phone and call him and somehow get the words out of my mouth so that he understood they are saying for real that it is leukemia even though there still more test but haven’t came back.   With test still pending  Sam and I still couldn’t accept the diagnosis although we started to we cried and got angry asked many questions why why is this happening and no this isn’t the true official diagnosis we’re still waiting on results has to be something else.  

When Sam arrived at the hospital we embraced and shared more tears I looked him straight in the eye and I said we have to we have to accept this diagnosis the doctors are telling us this is what it is and we have to accept it or else we cannot move forward to kick it in the ass!  At this moment we both realized it was true we must accept it and if something changes great,  but if not, we are continuing to be prepared for the future.  

For the rest of our story I will continue to share journal updates  to allow our family and friends to participate in the daily lives of our ups and downs as I kick cancers ass with my superhero cape on!!!!

CaringBridge is a nonprofit social network dedicated to helping family and friends communicate with and support loved ones during a health journey. Learn more about CaringBridge.

To interact with Barb’s website, sign in or register today.

By registering with CaringBridge, you will join over 300,000 people a day who are supporting friends and family members.

Sign In Or Register