Can you believe it’s been 130 days since I was diagnosed? I can. In fact, thinking back I haven’t really felt “normal” since May of 2020 which is more like 201 days of feeling off. A lot of people have asked what my symptoms were and I don’t think I ever posted about that. So I wanted to give you a quick run down before we drop into the results of my bone marrow biopsy post-transplant. Dating back to March 2020 I was on a run with one of my roommates. We were averaging about 3 miles or so a day. At about 0.6 miles into the run I noticed my heart rate on my Apple Watch read 189 bpm and I couldn’t breathe. I thought I had COVID for sure. We had to stop running, walked back home and I had a zoom call with my Dr. She laughed when I told her I think I have COVID because she said, “if you had COVID you wouldn’t be able to breathe even while just sitting there.” So I chalked it up to being out of shape.
I went about life. Was getting my butt kicked when I continued to workout. I thought I was just being a wimp and kept pushing myself. End of June rolled around and I had a sore throat. I tried to sleep it off but it wouldn’t go away. So… I went to Urgent care this time. I told them what was happening and they tested me for COVID, Strep and Mono. All came back negative. The Dr. that saw me at Urgent Care was like, “eh, I don’t know, it’s probably viral but here’s a 10 day prescription for Amoxicillin. It should just go away.” Okay. Sweet. So I went about my life ONCE AGAIN. Then July rolls around. I started noticing grey dots in my vision. I went to my glasses Dr. on Tuesday, July 7th. He took pictures of my eyes and confirmed they were blood hemorrhages. He said you’re probably anemic. Go get your labs drawn by your primary physician.
So I made an appointment with my Dr. for Friday, July 10, 2020. I explained what was going on and how I needed to be seen in person. An hour before my appointment and my Dr.’s assistant called and asked to change the appointment to a virtual visit. I had to forcefully demand that I NEEDED to get labs drawn and I can’t do that over the phone. This irks me because SO MANY people are having other health problems BESIDES COVID-19 and they’re not getting treatments as quickly as they should because Dr.’s aren’t seeing patients like they would normally. The assistant was very annoyed but said okay. I was seen. She took my blood and said they will call sometime next week with results. She also said she recommends I go to an actual eye Dr. about my eye hemorrhages. My Dad’s a miracle worker and even though it was 4:00 pm on a Friday he was able to get the UCHealth eye center to see me same day. I went in and the Dr. basically told me I either had AIDS or was an avid Heroine user. I SOBBED. The woman was crazy. I knew I didn’t have either but was anxious that she thought something so serious was going on. That night when I went to bed my body hurt. I don’t know how to explain it. Just full body aches everywhere. I told Aaron I have cancer. I just had a feeling. He said no shot. And my Dad, he had been on Google, and knew I had Leukemia that night. Obviously hoped I didn’t, but he had a hunch. Dad’s always know.
July 11, 2020 at 8 am the lab called me. The woman on the other end that was running my labs freaked when she saw them and said they couldn’t wait until next week to call because I needed to drop everything and go into the ER. So off we went. When I showed up my throat was still sore and the Dr. said my tonsils were virtually swollen shut. They told me I was septic and that they’d start me on antibiotics and I’d be fine in no time. Phew. Thank goodness! But then, an hour later. A different Dr. walked in, put her hand on my shoulder and said, “you have Leukemia.” I absolutely lost my mind. I started sobbing hysterically. Having seen your mom suffer from cancer for so long I immediately went there. I thought that is cancer and now I have that. I kept trying to pull out my IV and begged my Dad to take me home. I kept saying I wasn’t going to do it. That I couldn’t do it. My Dad hugged me in that tiny ER room as tight as he could. Tried to soothe me. And asked the nurses to bring me some meds to help me chill out (shout out Papa Blick).
Once I calmed down and accepted my reality they let Aaron come back. I told him and immediately followed it up with, “so we should break up. You don’t need to do this. You didn’t sign up for this.” He LAUGHED. He informed me he wasn’t going anywhere and that we will fight it and then just go on with life. He’s an angel. A literal angel and I was so incredibly blessed with such a selfless human to go on into this battle with. So Aaron Michael, thank you. Thank you for not being 99% of the male population and dipping when life through a curve ball. Making it through this I’m like let’s goooooooo. What’s next life? Bring it.
With all that history thrown at you I wanted to go into what my labs were the day I was diagnosed with Leukemia and what they are now. That will be the final piece to show you not only how messed up my body was back in July but how I am trending in the right direction currently.
|Test||Importance||Normal Range||July 11, 2020||November 17, 2020|
|White Blood Cell Count||Helps body fight infection||4.0 – 11.1||52.1||3.3|
|Red Blood Cell Count||Transports oxygen throughout the body||4.18 – 5.64||2.95||2.95|
|Hemoglobin||Protein in red blood cells that helps transport oxygen||12.1 – 16.3||9.0||9.6|
|Platelets||Helps your blood clot||150 – 400||16||143|
|Neutrophils||Front line defense in against invading pathogens (keeps you from getting sick).||1.8 – 6.6||0||2.0|
As you can see my bone marrow is busy working and my numbers are slowly starting to come in. They aren’t in the “normal range” yet but they are increasing inline with what my Dr. would expect which is great news. I expected my numbers to be normal already but I guess growing all new bone marrow takes time or something (HAHAH). Additionally, he said I’m doing exceptional and all the tests that have come back thus far show no sign of cancer and that engrafting is happening perfectly. So I am so thankful and so blessed. I overall am doing better and better every day. My entire body is still so sore and stiff but we’ve been trying to get a mile walk in daily and I try to pretend I know yoga and stretch out all my muscles. I’ve never been 100 years old but I imagine that when I get to 100 this is what it will feel like. Everything being worn down and hurting. The Dr.’s believe that will all just go away one day so in the meantime I’m just waiting for one day to get here hahaha.
Thanks to everyone who has brought Aaron and I meals over the past few weeks that I’ve been home. It has been SO HELPFUL and I am so appreciative of everyone. It’s hard not being able to see people when they come over to drop off food because I have to live in a bubble but mark your calendars for April 2021. Once I’m free of this mess we are throwing a no more cancer party. COVID BETTER ME UNDER CONTROL BY THEN. PRAYERS UP. And thank you for everyone who has kept me in their prayers. Healing takes time and it’s been a struggle at times but I am so blessed that I am overall doing pretty well. I love you and all and can’t wait to be able to drink White Claws and dance our booties off once I’m cleared.