So I really needed to put into words life as it has been over the last couple weeks. Maybe an idea of therapy or just some way to chronicle what has happened.
So over the last month or so, my wife was noticing bruises all around her body. She hadn’t done anything to seriously hurt herself or remembered any time where she may have banged into anything. This all seemed really strange and we made jokes that maybe she was sleepwalking into stuff and it may not be anything of note. People hurt themselves all the time without noticing and maybe it was just a fluke. Time went on and bruising slowly continued. It was starting to be a concern, so we went ahead and set up a doctor’s appointment for both of us, since neither of us had set up a new doctor since we moved. As you might expect, setting up appointments as a new patient take time and it still did not seem of immediate concern. We had a couple weeks until the appointment so life continued on.
So things continued on about the same until the week before our doctor visit. Rather suddenly, my wife began to experience severe pain around where her leg was attached to her hip. She had trouble walking and moving around, sleeping and so on. Since we still had a few days until we got to see the new doctor, we instead went to an Urgent Care clinic which was unable to determine the source of her pain. Their recommendation, go to the ER so they can do an ultrasound on the area in question. We headed down to the local ER and got checked in. Long story short, after hours of waiting and tests, the ER discovered 2 things.. 1: They found a cyst which may have been the source of the problem and 2: Her blood levels were in the trash. They set up some pain meds and sent her on her way.
The Improvement and Decline
Following the ER visit, the pain started to go away things seemed to be improving. We continued along going to a doctor to check on the cyst and finally got to see the scheduled doctor. The situation was explained to her and she noted that she was going to follow-up on the blood test results when she could look over them. A few short hours later, and we received a phone call from the doctor saying we needed to get my wife down to a hematologist / oncologist. Now at this point, we were starting to get seriously concerned. Also, my wife was beginning to get weaker, due to what we thought was lack of sleep. The next day we visited the hematologist and after much blood being drawn, my wife passed out in the chair at the specialist’s office waiting for some of the blood test results. This started the first time in a very long time I had ever been as terrified as I was in that moment. When the hematologist returned with the results that my wife’s blood was still in terrible shape, the doctor opted to give her a bone marrow biopsy immediately and highly recommended we take my wife back to the ER for a blood transfusion. We were told the results of the bone marrow biopsy would be back in about 4 days. I took her back to the hospital and she was admitted overnight while they gave her the transfusion and monitored her. The next day, she was feeling improved and got to return home, but was feeling drained and tired. Over the next few days, her tiredness began to grow. On the day before the day we expected results, she couldn’t easily get out of bed.
So finally the day of the expected results arrived. With much nervousness, we returned to the hematologist. They took even more blood from her, which seriously concerned me due to her already weak state and fear of her passing out again. Finally, the gruff old hematologist came in and stated the results were bad, but also good. The diagnosis was Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia, a rare subset of Acute Myeloid Leukemia. It was aggressive, but among Leukemia types, was highly receptive to treatment. However, my wife would need to be taken down to Philadelphia immediately for treatment. However, she would need another blood transfusion which would require another visit to the hospital. We arrived again at the local hospital and waited for her transfusion while I made phone calls for arranging her transport and admission at the Philly hospital. She passed out again while waiting which shook me to the core that maybe I would lose her before we could her her the help she needed. On coming back around, we were able to get her in the hospital bed and I had to leave to get our son. Since our son was too young to be allowed in, this ended me being able to see my wife until we could join her down in Philly.
Family to the Rescue
At this point, I was able to call the family and let them know what the diagnosis was and work to get help once we got down to Philadelphia. My wife’s mom and best friend scheduled flights to meet me down in the city and my wife’s brother was able to secure lodging for us all. After a night of fretting and worrying, I received word that my wife did arrive in Philly and was receiving treatment. All I needed to do was get down with our son. A few hours driving down and I was finally joined with our family support and was able to see my wife. Her condition had improved and we spent the next few days having a cycle of visitors to her as her condition improved.
Stability and the Long Haul
Now that things have been looking up, I’ve been working to get our son back up home and in school with my wife’s mom watching over him. With the routine in place, I’m set to return back to Philadelphia tomorrow to settle in for the long treatment of 21-27 days. Hopefully things continue to look up and we can eventually return home. The hospital has been great and I have the utmost faith that my wife is receiving the best care she can. I’m sure there will be more info to come in the upcoming weeks as we settle into “normal life” for the time being. More to come…