September 28, 2003

Home again 1

So, the hospital let me go home for the last weekend in September. I didn't have an official diagnosis at that point, but it was clear it was either a form of leukemia or a form of lymphoma. The thing that gave me pause was the discovery of a good number of blast cells in my blood stream, suggesting very active cancer of the bone marrow.

Needless to say, I was pretty anxious to know the results, so I asked when I could get them. Wednesday, they said. Almost a week after my bone marrow biopsy and five days after the lymph node theft. When I asked why it was taking so long, they said it was because my oncologist, whom I call Dr Zed, works at other hospitals on Mondays and Tuesdays. I said that in that case, I simply want another oncologist. One who's available. Dr Zed's partner, whom I was talking to, blinked a bit, but he quickly made arrangements, and the final agreement was that I would phone Dr Zed to discuss the results on Monday.

Weekend was lovely. I was home, the sun was out, the garden looked good, the house was actually clean because a good friend had gotten her cleaning woman in there for the day (thank you, Marla). Best of all, the animals were there to greet me. Oscar, the 18 lb Maine Coon, refused to let me out of his sight, galloping from room to room slightly ahead of me, so he could fling himself on his back and wave his paws at me to invite a tummy rub as soon as I arrived. He became particularly fond of lying on my keyboard, achieving one complete system shutdown, two major recalibrations of the monitor's performance, and one email. So, if you got something that said

ty88vweytru o/
fgq i[b-oh34$$$$$B09igh1`6TZ
0UI4U 8\rt

it was probably from Oscar. I don't think he mentioned anything about penis enlargement, but you never know with a cat.

On Monday, I called the doctor. She's learned from experience with me that it's better to be direct. Diagnosis? T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma -- a neat aggressive little number that manages to essentially straddle the fence between leukemia and lymphoma. I asked the prognosis, and she said "I'm aiming for a cure". I politely persistently asked how likely she thought it was that she would meet her objective. One in three, basically, make it to ten years. She thinks we can do aggressive chemo and then a bone marrow transplant.

A friend happened to call five minutes after this conversation. I wasn't even too sure who it was calling. What I found myself crying about was my animals: who would look after them? How can I provide for them? Poor Rebecca handled the conversation with tender aplomb, but it must have been rough for her.

Posted by maddy at September 28, 2003 09:05 AM
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