Hi everyone. I’ve been putting off doing this for a few days as I come to grips with my life right now. I went to the doctor for a follow up visit from my January annual. My triglycerides (carbs) were double what they needed to be so Doc put me on a limited carb diet (literally everything I eat, bread, pasta, potato etc etc) and told me to come back in 3 months. At that time he also casually mentioned that my white blood cell count was higher than normal and he’d flag that to look at again in 3 months. Could just be allergies or the ever present sinus infection I always seem to have.
Fast forward to last Tuesday. Blood work has been done and I sulk into the meeting knowing I didn’t do enough about the triglycerides to make him happy and I was about to get “yelled at”. Not really, Doc is amazing and really inspiring and would never yell at me about my failures. He works from a laptop and shows me that my cholesterol numbers went down or up as needed and he was happy. The triglycerides were not quite where he wanted them (let’s be honest here I ate a box of mac and cheese the night before the blood draw) but they were much much better than in January.
Then he asked how I was feeling. Being an honest person with my doc here in my 30’s I told him that my depression and anxiety were pretty horrid and I was exhausted all the damned time. That some weekends all I do is sleep. I don’t eat, do laundry or shower, I just lie in bed, to exhausted to do anything for myself. I’d been under the impression this was my depression working on me and that maybe if I got a new pill or a 2nd pill it would help. He prescribes Wellbutrin to go alongside my Lexipro script easily. Too easily I thought.
So drops the bomb. He says “Well let’s look at that white blood count.” I had 100% forgot about it, so focused on my eating habits.
The numbers had climbed from January. I literally had no idea what he was trying to tell me. I remember the word allergies from January so I told him I’d been sleeping with my window open and been trying to be outside more but wasn’t taking any allergy meds. It was just allergies, I’ll start taking my Claritin and it’ll be ok. He dismissed this and said that the concern was in my lymphocytes, whatever the hell THAT means. I just nodded along oblivious to what he was telling me. He’s the doc, he knows what’s best. I know very little about the blood, it’s never been a concern of mine enough to study and read about blood disorders.
Doc said, I’m referring you to a hematologist who can go over this with you more in depth. They’ll be calling you this afternoon (the appointment was at 9am) and I want you to see them ASAP. Um, ok doc, whatever that means.
So I get my print out of what we talked about today with my next appt to see him about how the new anti-depressant in 3 more months. I think “Sara you should probably check the Mayo Clinic website to see what the fuck he was talking about” and to prepare myself for this new doctor I’m about to add to my list.
Fuck it all the first thing that came up was leukemia. I might have fucking cancer in my blood trying to kill me. Instant panic attack. Anxiety goes through the roof and I just want to go home, get in bed and cry my eyes out. But I’m to tired for that and I need to work for the insurance I’m probably going to need.
Then the “rational” part of my brain tries to take control back from the panic part of my brain. Panic part has ALWAYS been larger than the rational part so this took a while. “You don’t have cancer you idiot. No one in your family has a history or leukemia. You need to figure out of you are due for your 10 year updated colonoscopy, that’s the cancer you need to worry about. Jesus God Sara I swear you need to calm down.”
Panic part of the brain won out again and kept reading about the symptoms/signs of leukemia. Let’s just copy and paste that list from the Mayo Clinic and go over it together, shall we panic side?
- Fever or chills YES
- Persistent fatigue, weakness OMFG YES
- Frequent or severe infections Sinus infection count?
- Losing weight without trying Yeah right thankfully although I did loose 3 pounds!
- Swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver or spleen Kind of?
- Easy bleeding or bruising All the time…. I’m a klutz
- Recurrent nosebleeds It’s not drippy but it’s been bloody all winter I just figured it was because I was snorting the dry air of Indiana winter.
- Tiny red spots in your skin (petechiae) No, thankfully. At least I think.
- Excessive sweating, especially at night ARE YOU WATCHING ME SLEEP MAYO CLINIC (this has been going on since like January where I wake up and my pillow is soaked and there is sweat dripping down the back of my neck. I just thought it was to hot in my room so I turned off the heat and it was still happening)
- Bone pain or tenderness Everything hurts all the times, even parts I didn’t know could hurt on me besides my normal ankle, knee and back. Hips, shoulders, everything on my hurts all the time right now and has for a few weeks.
So…….. rational part of the brain is no where to be seen at this point and hasn’t returned. I’m literally in panic, fight or flight mode, 100% now. My appointment with the hematologist isn’t for 8 days. 8 days of panic. Great….
Other things this could be: my spleen or appendix acting up, raging infection somewhere in the body that I have no idea about. But honestly the symptoms for those things don’t really fit.
Yeah, I might have cancer. I might be in a literal fight for my life this summer/fall. So if I seem panicky, anxious or just out of it the next week or so just bear with me, I’m going through some shit I never thought I’d ever have to deal with in my life.