On Thursday, July 28, 2016, I went to the ER for what I thought was a pulmonary issue as I had been being treated for that in the not so distant past. I had had a persistent cough for about 6 weeks, been diagnosed with strep and bronchitis 3 weeks before. I was having trouble keeping my oxygen saturation levels up in the normal high 90's range. In fact, that day they hovered around 85. My wife had been encouraging me to go to the doctor but I was holding out for my physical the next day. However, my wife and family intervened and my wife took me to the ER that night. We were expecting a diagnosis of pneumonia or chronic bronchitis or something like that. Imagine our shock when we were told on Friday that they think I have leukemia and they want to do a bone marrow biopsy to find out.
I was transferred by ambulance from Harris SW to Harris downtown to the oncology floor where I met my oncologist, Dr Richey. He told me they were starting a chemo drug that night to bring down my white blood cell count (which was 186,000,normal is 3,000-11,000!) and that I would be in the hospital for a month. Whoa! Our lives have just taken a 180 degree turn in 24 hours. And so began my leukemia journey.
Day 1 of my chemo regimen was Saturday, July 30. That began the killing of my white blood cells which would last for 7 days. Then for the next 3 weeks my body will try to recover and I will get blood products to help. After that I will have another bone marrow biopsy and the results will determine the next phase of treatment.