A blood test on a routine physical on November 15th showed a deficiency in my elements thus prompting Dr. Dee to retest on November 18th. These results confirmed my blood counts were at an alarming level and he immediately contacted the hematologist for further diagnosis.
My get up and go was slowly leaving me and this prompted me to take leave of my part-time job at Food City. Over the past several months I have been increasingly tired and out of energy and a sinus infection that would not quit since early fall. The wisdom of good old hindsight comes into play here because if I had known then what I was told on Friday, December 16, 2016 I would have had a head start on my illness and already been battling this fight.
Now that Thanksgiving was upon us, we faced the holiday with anxious anticipation. We waited for a call back for an appointment to no avail. A week or so went by and I finally go to see a doctor (not the one originally requested by Dr. Dee, but within the same group). We saw Dr. Hesamm E. Gharavi, who ordered more lab work and put a rush on a bone marrow test. That happened this past Monday, December 12, 2016. By Wednesday we had a call from the doctor’s office to schedule an appointment on Friday for the results.
Dr. Gharavi is a very thorough and very direct individual. As I sat there with my dear wife (who is also a nurse by profession – and probably already had a good idea of what was going to be said) and my sister, Anita, we hear the not so good news. I have been diagnosed with Acute Leukemia for which there is no cure. He said I could quite possibly had it for years and it just had been dormant. The good news (if you want to call it that) is that they do have treatments and I start on Monday, December 19th. I will be given a morning cocktail mixture of the chemo called Vidaza …doesn’t that sound tasty at 8:30 AM? This is a 30-minute treatment and will continue for the rest of the week, plus Monday & Tuesday of the following week; then I rest for 28 days and we repeat again and again for the next 4 months. At that time, Dr. Gharavi will review my progress and determine what next. In addition to the Vidaza and at the doctor’s discretion and my approval I will also be given a blood cell booster also called a “biologic response modifier” by the name of Aranesp, similar to the one that Lance Armstrong took illegally to enhance his cycling abilities…watch out Lance here I come! (This one does come with some severe side effects for which we are going to get clarification before administering. All thanks to our family team effort and knowledge from our daughter-in-law, Michelle.)
I am already blessed to have the support of my family and strong faith. Margaret has been by my side through thick and thin since September 12, 1953. We have made it through “for better and for worse, richer and poorer and now through sickness and in health”. I ask that now your support and prayers be with her as well as me as we enter this next chapter of our life together. My sister will be here for the weeks of my morning power drink and knowing that I have the love and support of all my children, grandchildren, and other family & friends is a comfort way beyond the medicine.
We will keep you posted in the days ahead, right now we wish you a very blessed and Merry Christmas. Remember not to take anything for granted and enjoy the moment and the blessings.