Saturday, July 28, 2012

Day 42, nothing special to record

Things are getting very much back to normal. Tommie is here for a visit. Ellie cleaned her room of extra books that she wants to keep, but doesn't want in her room (being both packrats, we're very understanding of this and just put them in storage) and then after I got 2/3 of the way through packing them carefully so they would take up the minimum number of boxes, she wailed, "Mom! you messed them up; some of those are books that are supposed to go back in my room after I clean it!" She couldn't tell me which ones were and which ones weren't except for one pile which I did keep out separate so I feel like things are really returning to normal. This is good because in six short days it's back to chemo jail, or as Tommie calls it "the clinker."

We took the dogs for a walk and they had a great time and we saw the most dragonflies Tommie has seen in a while doing all kinds of interesting dragonfly business which aficionados like Tommie can point out. A tired dog is a good dog and if there are two and one is a terrier terrorist with a taste for plastic, two tired dogs are even better than one.

Otherwise, I hung out today, did some weaving and went to Kittery with Terry for coffee and to visit his studio, an utterly satisfying day.

I don't think I've talked about how I was diagnosed yet so I'll do that now in case you haven't heard the story. The more I learn about AML, the more I think I was tremendously lucky because I think we caught it pretty early and it was totally a fluke and really very weird too.

So, in March, I was in clinic one afternoon and just felt terrible, like even after chemo and rigors, I still have never felt as terrible as I felt that day. Everyone who looked at me said they thought I was pretty sick looking. Clearly I had a virus and every other time in my life I've had a virus, I have said to myself, "I have a virus; it will go away." This time, for reasons I still cannot really explain, I said, "hey! I've never felt this bad before, let's get a set of labs and see how bad they are."

My ANC came back at 700. It should really be more like around 2,500 and 700 is actually quite low. I made plans to recheck it in a few weeks and the next thing I knew it was two months later. I checked it on a Thursday, actually on my way to cancer committee where I saw all the oncologists and the pathologist who diagnosed me. Around lunch time, my secretary came back and said, "Dr. Braun, I'm looking for a doctor, it's the lab at CMC, but you can't take it because it's about you. I'm looking for a doctor! Where is everybody?" Eventually she found one who took the call and when I had a break in my day, I went over and got the scoop. Dr. Ong told me that they thought I might have leukemia.  My ANC was 200 which was really impressively low. On my drive home, I called the pathologist and talked with him. I had myself totally convinced that it was viral because I can always convince myself that I have a virus. In retrospect I was maybe a little tired, but I wrote that off to "I'm working too hard" which I knew was true.

It seemed to me that I should take the day off because I wasn't sure I could concentrate very well on some one else's problems with the possibility of leukemia in the back of my brain (even though I knew I did not have it--still). I called the clinic and told them I was sick and taking the day off. 

Dr. Shafeh who was the doctor who had ordered the labs called me to tell me that the more labs had come back (the "flow cytometry" for the doctor crowd) and that it really looked like leukemia. The pathologist called and told me he had arranged a bone marrow biopsy for me at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center. Terry talks about going to his studio that morning, and having me call him partway there to tell him the news. On the way there, it was a normal day, on the way back, the earth had shifted.

I think that is enough for one day; I'll tell the rest probably tomorrow unless something interesting to tell you about happens between now and then.

I hope you are having a nice Saturday. I am.

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