Sunday, November 25, 2012

This is my new road

So as most people were spending their Thanksgiving holiday with family in warm and cozy houses, maybe by fires or with festive candles lit, I was spending mine at the hospital with my husband as he started chemo-therapy.

Let's roll back a little bit here and figure this all out.

It started 3 weeks ago, what you ask? The flu. My husband came home sick with the flu, or so we had thought for the last 3 weeks, my boys even got sick, the whole nine yards, runny nose, (whiny-ness) coughing and sore throats. So we thought nothing of it until the boys started getting better but my husband got worse. He went into sick-call at work and they loaded him up with stuff to treat the symptoms of the flu. He immediately started taking these medications to start getting better. One week goes by and nothing. He consults with his uncle who happens to be a Dr. and we all decide he needs to go back to sick-call as soon as possible. Oh did I mention his BP was through the roof as well? He goes to sick-call and pretty much demands a chest x-ray. They find an abnormality in the center of his chest in between his lungs. This mass is the size of a large softball.
Next, I get a call from the hospital where he was transferred to. They have done further x-rays and imaging to see what the heck is going on. The doctor comes back and notifies us it is most likely a Lymphoma.

Now, my husband is transferred to a larger hospital with a cancer center. This hospital is an hour away. I don't get to go with him or see him for the rest of the night. I have two small children that I have no one to care for. It was a long night.

I get to drive down the next day and after a little while of waiting (because the kids cannot go into the ward) some lovely nurses offered to watch them for awhile, which turned into pretty much the rest of the afternoon. I see him and know I needed to be strong for him. The doctor comes back in and lets us all have a seat (my mother-in-law had already flown in from another state) so he can let us know exactly what is going on.

My husband is diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). They started chemo and he gets it 2 times a day along with a bunch of other stuff to kill off this systemic blood disease. On top of all that, his kidneys' function had begun to decline and he needed to do Apheresis to remove as many excess white blood cells as possible. He had 197,000 WBC's in his body when the normal amount is around 10,000 or so. All these extra cells were putting pressure on his kidneys to do a harder job and work more so they were beginning to shut down.

He is currently undergoing treatment for his kidneys as well as this Leukemia and is expected to be at the hospital for at least 4-6 weeks. This is such a scary prospect and I think I am still processing it as reality because it feels like a really bad dream. I have never ever known anyone close to me with cancer or had been affected in such a way by any disease so this is something completely new. My husband is 31, physically fit as well as active and in the Army, how could this happen to him? It is a question that goes through my mind over and over but there is no answer. It just is, and we just need to push through it.

We can do this, he can do this.
Jennifer