Monday, March 30, 2009

How it began-Part 1

Yes I have a disease. I have always been semi-closed off so its hard for me to say this in person to a lot of people. So if I may borrow a line from the late Jim Croce...
Everytime I tried to tell you, I sounded like a frog.
So I guess I have to tell you, in my Blog.

Okay, this first one will be long. How did I get here? What were my symptoms? Why did I go to the doctor? It wasn't the worst I had ever felt, but it was just a combination of all these symptoms that led me here. Here we go...

I felt tired all winter. I always liked a good nap, but there were MANY times I needed it or I would be in bed by 8PM. I had some nagging coughs/sinus infections that never got serious and never went away. When I would play basketball (and of course dominate) I would get extremely cold after and then burn up at night. I also developed night sweats. Then a pain and swelling developed right below my ribcage on my left side. It was very uncomfortable at times. My wife tried to get me to see the doctor and I made an appointment for mid February. But of course, ALL the symptoms went away as soon as I called. So I canceled.

Then on March 7th, we had friends over and one who works in the health field heard my symptoms and said that I needed to go ASAP. So I called on Monday and told the answering service my symptoms. Withing two minutes, I had a call back and an appointment for that day with the doctor (extremely rare for flu season). That was the first sign something was wrong.

The Doc sent me for blood work/Chest X-ray/Ultra sound of my abdomen on Tuesday morning. He set up an appointment for Friday to discuss results. That same day, the doctors office kept trying to reach me at home and at school. They basically said "We have been trying to reach you for 20 minutes. The doctor needs to see you today." I knew then it was bad.

I would like to say I took it well. I would like to say it didn't affect me. I would like to, but I can't. I called my wife and couldn't even speak the words to her. I finally blurted out something to the effect of "Its bad. They want to see me today. He cleared his schedule after 4:30 for me."
I left the school in tears, I went home. I did a little (lots) of weeping. My wife came home and we cried together for a time.

At the office, he took us right away. The conversation went exactly like this...
Me: You found something, didn't you?
Doc: Joe, it's Leukemia.

Bam! March 10th, 2009. 4:10 PM. My life suddenly took a whole new direction than what I had planned. After conferring with him for awhile, he told us exactly what he wanted to do. He wanted me treated in Pittsburgh. He was referring me immediately to an oncologist who would either treat me or refer me on. To his credit, from the first call on Monday, he was on top of EVERYTING. No waiting for appointments or test results, no questioning the legitimacy of tests, he worked fast and wanted to get me treated that week. He was honest and said what I had was not something he could treat himself. To be honest, I didn't exactly trust him 100% before. I do now. God bless him. To be continued so you all can get something to drink.....

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