Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Getting the referral and a babysitter

This blood count thing has been happening, and I haven't had the nerve to post about it until tonight. You can catch up by reading this series of messages to a friend.

Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014
An email to a friend:

So... this is me asking for another favor and trying to keep from freaking out. 

Could Ella hang out with you guys on Monday afternoon for a bit? I have a doctor’s appointment at 4 p.m. at the hospital and Justin is going to come with me. My mom is still sick, so she can't do it. I have a few other options, so if you’re busy I can ask someone else. 

This is the not freaking out part: My annual blood test results showed a low white blood cell count (2.5 from last year's 3.3, which was already low compared to the normal range of 4.3 to 10). My doctor diagnosed me with leukopenia and referred me to an oncologist, which Justin says is just because they are the doctors who are hematologists--the blood specialists. My problem is that you don't see the word oncologist on a referral without freaking out. A lot. Justin must be a bit worried, too, since we opened the mail right as we were heading to dinner Wednesday night and we didn’t just go to dinner right away. Since there were still 30 minutes left in the business day, he called a doctor that he works with and likes at his hospital and made the appointment. Granted, that might be because I told him we had to, since it was still business hours and he was at home and if we didn't do it now, we'd put it off and it wouldn't get done. 

But, still.

Oncologist? I really can't keep letting that word bounce around in my head unattended. 

The other reason I think he's worried is that I keep asking him what it could be and he just says it could be lots of different things and he doesn’t know, but doesn't list them off. I really think there are just too many possibilities. Plus, he knows I'd WebMD them all, so that's probably for the best. He did say, however, that the reason he made the appointment with a doctor he likes and whose partners in that group he also likes (which matters in case I have to see someone else someday) at the hospital he trusts is that in case I do need to have something done, I’m there. I think he mentioned a bone marrow test, which apparently is quite painful. I don’t know. I asked what they might do, and he said run some more tests, probably draw some blood, and do a smear, and then that thing about the bone marrow. 

So, not freaking out. These are all just possibilities. Not freaking out. Really. He’d probably tell me I’m being silly for worrying about it. And I’d tell me not to borrow tomorrow’s troubles for today. Boy is it easier to dole out advice than take it! 

Anyway, that is all. Probably no big deal. Right? 

Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014
A text to another friend:
In case you were wondering, I'm in high inner-freak-out mode. Justin knows I am and is scared too, but insists it's not cancer, based on the data from the other labs. So that's kinda comforting.  We're hanging out a lot with neighbors this weekend, so the distraction of friends helps. Pretty sure otherwise I'd be a weepy puddle. I am so restless and fidgety as it is. 

Monday morning, Sept. 22, 2014
Another text: 
Happy Monday! Just telling you because you're one of my prayer warriors: 

In case you were wondering, this would be a perfectly good day to take a klonopin and hide in my bed until I was magically transported to the doctor's office while holding Justin's hand. But, since anti-anxiety meds make me sleepy enough to do just that, I suppose I'll just go about my business with this anvil pushing on my chest. Another deep breath.

Monday evening, Sept. 22, 2014
An email:

OK. So here's the scoop so far:
The hematologist/oncologist thinks the leukopenia is probably medically induced, since I'm so healthy otherwise. So, the good news is he doesn't think I have cancer.
Of course, to figure out exactly what caused my white blood cells to drop so low, there's still a lot of research into my medical history and a lot of other testing to do. Yesterday, they took blood to rule out lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Hep B & C, and probably some other things I do not remember.
In the meantime, we have a lot of homework to do. We need years and years of medical records to see when my white blood cell count got low and whether it correlates with a change in medications. Justin and I don't remember it ever being a problem before last year. Fortunately, we have copies of most of my CBCs filed in the house, so we'll start there. The bad news, is that if it is my meds, we'll have to change those up. That scares me, too, since I've been stable for so many years and don't want to screw that up. 

Luckily, the pharmacy can print my prescription history out for me, so I don't have to call every psychiatrist I've had since 2006 and ask them for a list of all of the meds they ever prescribed me.
I'll let you know more as it happens. In the meantime, I have to try to "avoid sick people." Awesome with a preschooler in my world.

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