Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hair today...gone tomorrow

I had hoped that cutting my hair super short would keep me from having to shave it all off.  Once again, I was mistaken.  I swear this cancer crap is making me feel about as stupid as I do when I'm trying to understand my 5th graders math homework.  Way to kick a girl while she is down cancer!

Although large clumps aren't coming out and finding themselves lounging upon my pillow to stare back at me when I wake up.  But just from Monday when it was cut to this evening I am seeing more hair falling out and I don't forsee it getting better.  So instead of letting myself look like a human with a case of mange, I am gonna bite the bullet and shave it all off. 

I'm nervous as hell.  You'd think I was sitting here contemplating what appendage to cut off.  The nurse practioner that did my last bone marrow biopsy is known to shave patients heads when they are ready to take that step, so today when my mom was visiting we told him that we would be requiring his services.  He said he didn't have his clippers on him so he would come and see me tomorrow.

All the nurses have been really supportive and keep telling me that I will feel much better once it is shaved.  I hope they are right.  Jon says that he will shave his head as well so that I don't feel alone.  I think it is both sweet and laughable at the same time because my husband keeps his hair so short to begin with that going bald really wouldn't be that drastic a move for him. 

I'm still touched that he would do that for me.  When Hannah came for her visit to the hospital we had talked about the fact that I may lose all my hair and Jon said that he was going to shave all his hair off if that happened so I wouldn't feel alone.  Hannah just got this look on her face like "you better not expect me to shave my head". 

I assured her that we wouldn't expect her too.  But the look on her face seemed to say "I don't believe you people for a second so I'm gonna be sleeping with one eye open". 

I'm hoping that once it's done I won't have an emotional breakdown, but knowing me...there will be more than just a few tears shed over the loss.  But at least I am doing it on my terms and hopefully that will carry me past the waterworks that will ensue as the clippers touch my head.

Oh when my hair, oh when my hair, oh when my hair starts falling out....

I had just made it to day #14 in the hospital, which was 5 days after completing chemotherapy and I had yet to lose my hair.  I didn't kid myself into believing that I wouldn't lose my hair.  But with each passing day and nothing coming out I began to feel optimisitic.

I have been around enough people that have undergone chemotherapy to know that it is a side effect.  So I had seen people who had lost all their hair right away, some that lost just a little and others that lost no more than a few strands. 

I wasn't trying to put myself in anyone of those catagories.  In all honesty I was trying not to think about it at all although it seemed to be the only thing that consumed my conversations with my mom.  I knew that if and when it happened I would be emotional but really thought I would just take it in stride like I had all the other things that had been taking place since being diagnosed.

All that rational thinking flies out the window though when you wake up to a clump of your hair no longer attached to your head, sleeping oh so peacefully on the pillow beside you.  I felt like someone had torn off one of my limbs. 

I must have laid there staring at it for a good 20 minutes before actually picking it up and acknowledging that yes it indeed did come from my head.  I started to sob.  Again.  For me in that moment it all became real. 

You'd have thought the 7 days of tortuous chemotherapy and the side effects would have been an indicator that "yes Jessica, you REALLY have Leukemia" or even the repeated platelet and blood transfusions I was undergoing on an almost daily basis.  And to a point they were.  But it became a different reality with that first clump of hair.

I sat up in bed and got out my brush to try and pull my hair back into a pony tail.  With each brush stroke more and more hair came out.  Some were just tiny strands and others were clumps.  I sat in my hospital bed holding the balled up hair that moments before had been on my head and sobbed. 

It was my moms day (her and Jon's mom have been taking turns) to stay with me and as soon as she walked in the door to my room I burst into tears about my hair.  She just walked over and threw her arms around me and told me how brave she thought I was and how well I was handling all of this.  I thought she had gone off of her meds again because clearly she was not seeing the semi hysterical daughter clutching a fistful of hair that would not be going back onto my head.

I endured another 7 days of having clumps and strands fall out before I finally called a friend of mine who owns a salon and asked her to come and cut my hair.  I was not ready to shave my head yet although I get the distinct impression that is what is going to end up happening. 

As she was trying to comb through to start cutting she said it was just coming out in large amounts.  I tried to keep from crying because although it's just hair and it will grow back, it is one more thing that I am having to cope with.  Once she was finished I felt a bit better, mainly because I had taken control of my hair and not just waited as each day more and more fell out.

So for now this is my new do....

I'm hoping that I will be able to avoid having to shave my head and hopefully not lose anymore hair, but ya never know.  All I can say for sure is that this morning was the first time since that first clump of hair was on my pillow that I woke up to nothing laying next to me.  My new "do" is taking a lot of getting used to, but its nice to touch my hair and not have strands just fall off from the faintest touch. 

And on the upside, I will finally know what it's like for Jon to just hop in the shower, wash his hair, towel dry and go.  Always gotta look at the brightside of life's little detours....

Monday, May 17, 2010

Not your everyday Cinco De Drinko....

May 5, 2010

For those that know me...I mean REALLY know me, they know that Cinco De Mayo (or as I call it Cinco De Drinko) is my FAVORITE holiday.  I tried to not let it get me down that this year the only cocktail I would be partaking in would be whatever they fed me through my IV. 

Earlier in the day my co workers came and visited bringing me all sorts of goodies and really making me feel a lot better than I had been when I woke up.  I was plagued with mouth sores which made talking difficult but I didn't care because I was so excited to have visitors.  They stayed and made me laugh, took a few pictures that I forbade them to post in the office, but am not entirely sure that they will actually heed that warning. 

After they left I started to feel all gloomy about the fact that all my other friends would be going out and enjoying the evening and I would be here in the hospital sucking on lidocaine to make the mouthsores bearable.  I had decided to try and go to bed early and was just about to get comfy (as one can get in a hospital bed) when all of the sudden Jon, Mar & Stacy busted in wearing sombrero's and carrying margarita glasses full of limeaide so it looked like a margaritta. 

I was speechless and so overwhelmed that they would come down here to the hospital, which isn't close to home, to suprise me.  I took everything in me not to cry from sheer gratitude and appreciation.  Every day I am amazed at what people are willing to do in order to cheer me up or make it so that my family has things easier.

I feel so blessed to have the friends that I have and a husband that is stepping up beyond what I could have ever imagined. 

Finding Chemo...

Chemotherapy Day #1 ~ Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I don't know what I thought chemotherapy was going to be like.  I don't think anyone can prepare you for it.  One minute you feel okay and the next minute your shivering, puking, feeling like your just gonna come unglued.  Or at least that was how it was for me.  Think Excorcist minus head spinning.  Yeah...that sounds about right.

Before they had started running the chemotherapy drugs they went over the side effects and risk with me.  I love how they always feel the need to add in that line "and possible death".  Ummm, I have been diagnosed with Cancer...if you DON'T give me those stinking drugs I run the risk of "possible death", let's roll the dice shall we?

After going over side effects they let me know of the additional medicatons that they would be giving me to assist with pain management and nausea.  Since I had done well with the platelet and blood transfusions I really didn't think I was gonna have a huge issue with the chemo.  I was all like "I got this"! 

Ignorance, really is the best kind of bliss.

About 6 hours into treatment I was having horrible nausea and they ordered compazine to help quell the overwhelming urges to vomit.  I don't remember much after being given that medication.  So I've had to rely on my mom to fill me in.  Apparently I became extremely combative, I thought the nurses were trying to kill me and I was just generally going nuts. 

My poor mother had been on pins and needles just trying to get here to be with me and here I was acting like a lunatic.  Thankfully my mom stayed the night in the hospital with me which made me feel a bit better especially since where they had her bed was just on the other side of a plexiglass panel, so when I'd wake up panicked or scared wondering where the hell I was I could look over and see her sleeping and then I'd feel calm come back over me.

Chemotherapy Day #2 ~ Thursday, April 29, 2010

I'm finally beginning to feel the effects of the compazine wearing off and the nurses have assured me that they have taken that off of my medication rotation so that we don't run the risk of giving me that medication again.  My nurse today is hell bent on making sure I don't stay in bed although it's all I feel like doing because this chemo is kicking my ass.  She made me sit up in an overstuffed chair that is in my room and even suggested going for a walk in the halway.  I gave on the chair but drew the line on walking because I felt so horrible.  The nausea is one of the worst parts of the chemo but a close second is the strange areas that I am getting pains.  For instance I spent most of last night thinking I had broken my toe.  How I have no idea??  But still I was in dire pain and couldn't move it.  But then mid morning today, it just stopped as if nothing had ever been hurting.  Bizarre.

Chemotherapy Day #3 ~ Friday, April 30, 2010

Pretty quiet day today with the chemo.  I had to go for another chest xray because when I breath or try to take deep breaths there is this popping feeling in my back.  Sadly, I look forward to these little outings to the radiology department because other than that I am stuck here in my room or in the halls of the Bone Marrow and Transplant unit.  I've been trying to eat, with no such luck.  Pain seems to be all on my left side and up into my shoulder which is really strange.  The doctors say that the pain in my left side is from my spleen being enlarged and that is a common issue with Leukemia patients.  They are just gonna monitor it and keep pumping me with pain meds so that I can tolerate it's little antics of causing pain. 

Chemotherapy Day #4 ~ Saturday, May 1, 2010

Just as I was starting to lose hope that I would never be able to eat and keep down a meal again a doctor came in to check on my case and suggested putting me on on an anti-nausea medicine called Marinol.  Marinol contains a synthetic version of THC found in pot.  The doctor thought that I would turn it down but I was like, "dude...if it will get it so I can eat, not throw up and make me feel a bit better....sign my ass up".  Once I started that medication it was like night and day.  I was able to eat without immediately throwing up and I was mellowed out.  Everyone found that it was extremely fun to tease me about it but I didn't care because for once I wasn't feeling like shit.

Chemotherapy Day #5 ~ Sunday, May 2, 2010

Each day is feeling like it is running into the one before it and the one still yet to come.  I still feel like this is not real.  I mean I feel the IV in my neck and I see the fluids being pumped into my veins.  But I still can't comprehend that I have Leukemia.  I'm glad that I have my mom here and when she isn't here then Karen comes so that breaks up the long hours of waiting while the drugs do their thing.  My appetite is still holding strong but I contribute that entirely to the Marinol.  I swear that pill is a wonder drug.  Why they didn't just start with the medication in the first place is beyond me. 

Chemotherapy Day #6 ~ Monday, May 3, 2010

Ironically today was to be the day that I would have been returning back to my job full time after being sick with "mono".  What a difference a week makes...but thankfully my work has been wonderfully supportive along with everyone around me.  I am truly blown away with how people are coming out of the wood work to make sure my family has meals so they don't have to worry about cooking.  Mar and Stacy have organized a blood drive and Jon's dealership is doing a blood drive as well.  I'm just trying to focus on getting better and making it through the final days of this chemo. 

I was doing pretty okay with side effects up until today when I started realizing I had some mouth sores.  Not a lot but enough to be annoying.  It makes eating certain things a little tricky but at least I still have an appetite, so I'm thankful for that.

Chemotherapy Day #7 ~  Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Finally finished my first round of chemo and I feel as though I've been drug behind an 18 wheeler on a gravel road.  The few mouth sores that had cropped up yesterday have multiplied making eating, drinking and even swallowing hard.  I have the worst nausea and vomitting that I have ever had in my life and the colors that are coming up....oh, lord...wow...seriously never knew your body could make something that putrid looking.  Be grateful that I did't want you guys to have the full experience with pictures of some of my "masterpieces".  The fact that I had to witness them was enough.  I wouldn't wish it on anyone else. 

I'm so tired.  I feel as though my body has been drained of all energy and now understand what they meant when they say they take you as close to the brink of feeling like you are going to die, with chemotherapy, and then yank ya back at the last moment. 

I'm in pain all over.  Mostly in my mouth and throat.  But there is still a constant pain in my left side and it has now been joined by a pain in my lower right side in my back.  They decided to have an ultra sound to see what may be causing the pain in those areas and found that while my spleen is still enlarged now my liver is enlarged as well. 

I'm trying not to freak out about it because they say it is a normal occurance with Leukemia patients.  This has been a hellatious 7 days and I'm hoping that it will get better from here.

Fingers crossed....

Whirlwind of a first day....

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Arriving at Tulane Medical felt like I was being transported into a whole different universe.  A very sterile, hepa treated universe.  But the nurses that were there to greet me as I was being wheeled in from the ambulance ride did everything possible to make me feel like I wasn't just some cancerous specimen being handled. 

Everyone was talking so fast about my platelet and blood counts.  I felt like I was going to need a translator.  I was exhausted and loopy from the morphine they had given me to ease up some of the abdominal pain that I was having.  I wished I had opted to make Jon come with me, because suddenly I was feeling very outnumbered and scared.  I also had to repress the extreme need to just cry out for my mother. 

I don't care who you are or how old you get, when the shit hits the fan in regards to your health you want you momma.  And I wanted mine BAD! But it was barely 5 am and my mom had just been given the news so there was no physical way for her to get to me that fast with her in GA and me here in LA. 

I made Jon go to work and act as if life was normal.  I didn't want the kids to know anything until we had a definite diagnosis.  I didn't want anyone to know at first because I felt like if I said it aloud then it really would be true.  Basically, I was taking the approach of if we don't discuss or acknowledge it's existance then it can't possibly be happening.  Very four year old I think!

Karen, Jon's mother, came to be with me and god love her for doing it because I was a wreck.  From the moment I was put in the room it was a flurry of blood test, cultures, xrays, poking, proding, tell me where it hurts, where did you get this bruise and that bruise and how long have you had that mark.  Stick your tongue out.  Put it back in.  Does it hurt to swallow?  Bat your eyes.  Do you feel dizzy?  Do you feel nauseated? My head was spinning with all the different directions they were handing out and all I could do inside myself was just cry.  Leukemia.  Leukemia....I just kept repeating it in my head hoping that it would either stick and begin to make sense or that I would realize what a ridiculous notion this was and the staff would realize the errors of their ways.....we'd all have a good laugh and I'd go back to resuming my life.

No such luck. 

On top of all of that going on there was a young social worker that came in to go over paperwork for possible financial options, because as if being struck with leukemia wasn't enough...I am uninsured.  It's painful just to write it, let alone think what the bill is going to look like when it comes.  If I had to speculate at this moment (in my high dramatic form) I see a large refridgerator box in our future as a home.

Thinking like that right now will do me no good so I pushed it out of my head and answered her questions as best as could through the flurry of commotion in the room.  They were hanging blood because they said I was in need of a transfussion and all I kept thinking was I just wanna go to sleep can ya just wake me when this is all over? 

If only I had known that it was just the beginning of possibly one of the longest days of my life I may have opted to sleep in the ambulance ride over instead of making small talk with the paramedic to cure my anxieties.  Way to screw up another plan Jessica! 

Karen tried to get me settled in as much as possible and distracted me with conversations.  I was nauseated and didn't want to eat.  Thankfully they didn't push that fact.  I was worried because they kept mentioning that I would have to have a Bone Marrow Biopsy and I'd heard those were no fun.  I don't know what my issue was at this point of being stuck again.  My god, I had and IV in each arm and had every blood test  and culture known to man run on me.  Some with big needles and some with little.  I just tried to grin and bare it the best I could but there were tears and sobs that slipped out from moment to moment.

Since they were quick to start me on a blood transfusion I had to have a nurse with me at all times for the test that they needed to run.  I was bundled up in a wheelchair and whisked away to have an EKG to make sure that my heart would be strong enough to handle the chemotherapy that they would be starting just as soon as possible. 

My EKG went well and then it was time for xray.  By the time we made it back up to my room all I wanted to do was nap, but there was the social worker again with her clipboard and questions.  I felt like screaming, "hey lady...ummm, I think you should allow the newly diagnosed cancer patient at least 24hrs before you start diving into the financials" but I was too tired to even say that. 

While having Karen there was a comfort, I began to wish I had Jon with me.  The day progressed on in a blur of one lab or another. 

Taking my vitals.   Cursing that the fever was still hanging on or going up, but never down.  I had to keep oxygen on which dried out my nose and made for horrible nose bleeds which were hard to stop because I had nothing to help act as a clotting agent in my system. 

Everytime I tried to get a little rest there was something new to be poked at or prodded on or another doctor to parade in and speak so fast that I literally just sat there with the most idiotic look on my face and then when they walked out was like, "huh...I hope that wasn't too important because I have NO idea what they just said". 

As morning turned to afternoon and then early evening it was time for Karen to pack up and head out.  I hugged her and thanked her for being there with me.  As soon as she left the surgeons swooped in and so did the doctors that would be handling my Bone Marrow Biopsy.  It was a little scary, for obvious reasons...ya know like the PAIN!  But what I found more scary is that they were practically racing to see who could get their stuff set up first so they could be the first to do their procedure. 

I felt like saying, "hold up boys...there's plenty of me to go around".  But when your about to have some midevil torture device shoved into your hip bone and another team will be working very close to your jugular vein, well...you keep those smart ass comments to yourself.

Bone marrow doctors won so they did their thing first.  My nurse Michelle was a god send, because withouth her I think I would have hopped off the table and taken one of the doctors out.  I get the whole "big pinch...burn, burn, and then you should feel numb".  Got that.  What I didn't realize is that they were gonna have to do it several times and each time they were trying to actually get it down deeper into the bone.

Can someone say OUCH?!?!?!

And in case you ever wondered what Lidocaine feels like when it's injected into your ass or any other part of your body....ummmm, it's like having a mixture of hot lava  and acid shot into you.  Once they proclaimed me good and numb, which I totally begged to differ with, they got to work on getting out a sample of the marrow and the bone. 

They decided to give me a quick run down of how the whole procedure should go from start to finish.  They would mark the area where they were going to extract from, which of course was the area that they had just numbed.  Then they would insert this tool, that I refused to look at or acknowledge for fear of  passing out.  they said there would be a pop when it went through the marrow and then another pop when it got to the bone.  Finally it would be time to take a deep breath, exhale....and they pull out the sample.

Ta da...no big deal!

Yeah, right.

It sounded like a really big pencil sharpener was being used.  Like the tool was the pencil and my hip was the sharpener.  The pain wasn't pain as much as it was extrememe pressure and I could tell that they were working hard to get the sample.  Finally, I felt the first of the two pops, then the second one and finally it was time to take a deep breath and exhale so they could remove their specimen. 
I'm not gonna lie to you...it hurt like HELL, but at the end I really felt bad for the doctor because he sounded as though he had worked hard to get that sample.  I just kept asking, "are you okay back there".  I would hear a chuckle and so I assumed he lived.  After a few minutes he exclaimed that I had really healthy bones and that is what was making it so difficult.  That made me feel a bit better...at least there was something left on this damn body of mine that hadn't failed....yet.

Once that torture diagnostic test was performed it was time to have a central line placed for my chemo, give me my other meds and to draw labs from.  I had originally thought that I was going to be having a port put into my chest but my counts were so severly low they couldn't run the risk.  As it was they were worried about me being able to clot just getting this line in. 

If there had to be a winner out of the bone marrow and central line fiasco, it totally went to the bone marrow guys, cause at least they didn't shove my head under a sheet and suffocate me.  NOT COOL, NOT COOL at all!!

There was no rest for me, once they had that line in it was time to tackle the next thing which was a treatment where they would cycle out my blood, cleaning out the bad Leukemia cells, and then reintroduce clean blood back into my system.  It required a huge machine, with two nurses that were with me throughout the procedure taking my vitals.  It took a little over 7 hrs to complete and as soon as it was over all I wanted to do was sleep.  No such luck. 

They unhooked all the lines for the treatment they had just finished and then brought in my first bags of chemotherapy.  I wasn't even a full 24hrs into diagnosis and I was starting chemo.  Thankfully Jon decided NOT to listen to me and came down to the hospital to see me along with Mar and Stacy.  It all just seemed so surreal sitting in this hospital bed, my husband, two of my best friends and me with Leukemia. 

Never in a million years how I thought I wold be spending my Tuesday....

Friday, May 14, 2010

Forget left field...this is in a whole other ball park

Monday, April 26, 2010

If I had to pick a point to start at when I thought, "hmmmm, maybe there is something really not okay here" was truthfully on the day that I, a 33yr old, married, mother of two children had to pick up the phone to call and ask her parents (yes you read that right MY PARENTS) if I should be, oh I don't know  "overly" concerned by the fact that the left side of my stomach was rock hard and that I hadn't had a decent bowel movement in oh....hmmmm, I don't know....2 weeks? 

And I define decent by me not requiring the maneuver of  clenching my ass cheeks together as I make a mad dash for a toilet.  I'm talking about one of those get up in the morning and greet the new day with a poo kind of bowel movements.

Jon and his flaunting colon and intestines can have as many as 2 or 3 of those before leaving the house to start his work day. GOD, SO UNFAIR THAT HE GETS THE GOOD COLON AND DIGESTIVE SYSTEM!!!

How my parents who have both worked in the medical field (my mom as a nurse and my dad in radiology) did not come through the phone and slap me silly is still beyond me?  I did admit that I had gotten a little bit of motion with the laxatives and such but nothing that I would define as a nice #2 if ya know what I mean.

My mother listened as I listed off all the over the counter and home remedies I had utilized to try and get more than just a lot of toot in the chute but hadn't managed to get enough motion in the train.  Moms are good like that.  They will listen in detail as you describe the exact color and texture of the snot that is coming out of your nose from a cold you just can't seem to shake.  It is NO different with your bowels.  Once you have been carried in that woman's womb for close to 10 months baking she will always be able to stake that little claim on how your body is working....or in my case NOT working.

Feeling that she was ill equipped to deal with the magnitude of this situation and the fact that I had spent most of the conversation relaying every detail through sobs and sniffles of pain she then asked if I wanted to speak to my dad because she was even perplexed.

I love my dad...really I do.  But really what grown woman wants to talk about her bowels with her father?


Anyone at all??

Yeah, I didn't think so.  So I quick as I possibly could thoroughly reprized the whole list of things I had gone over with my mom and then my dad told me that if I was in that much pain and hadn't gone to the bathroom by morning to go directly to my doctor's office.  I asked what I should do if it got worse during the night.  He told me to go straight to the ER just to be safe.  Said they'd most likely get a few films, get my fever down (which had been hovering at a little over 101 for the past 4 days) and hopefully the end result would be poop.

Sounded like a brilliant plan.  I tried to wait it out until morning because like one of the many millions of people in this great country of ours, I am uninsured.  So any medical treatment of any kind was gonna be out of my bank account.  We have no credit cards and currently sit in debt consolidation hell because those had been used on previous illnesses or just on "getting by living expenses".  Oh stop making that face at me...yes that pair of khaki capri's and sandals were a necessity...geeze can't a person live a little??

Anyways, when I left my last place of employment I lost my medical coverage, when we attempted to pick it up through Jon's dealership we found that the monthly premium for our family of 4 to be covered would cost more than the mortgage payment on our home.  We tried going to alternative routes and looking at private carriers but of course with my LONG ass list of medical conditions, it was always "sure we have a plan that will fit you and your budget but there will be a bazillion year waiting period for Sickly Sue over there"....what a crock of crap!  So we basically played Russian Roulette with our families health needs.  And we had been pretty fortunate.  I really didn't think this time would be any different.

I had Jon drive me up to the local ER.  He stayed long enough to do the initial paperwork with me because I was hurting so bad I could barely write let alone let it be legible.  Within minutes they whisked me back to triage where I kissed Jon on the cheek and told him that I would call him when they released me in a few hours as a brand new woman who hopefully will have a cleaner intestine.  He chuckled in his very tired way since it was just past 11p on a Monday.

Our house is in the same neighborhood as the hospital so I felt it was better he go home look after the kids and rest since he would be going to work in the morning.  When the doctor's finished their magic on my "business" I would call him, he'd pick me up, I'd fall asleep in my comfy bed with a much lighter tummy and the world as we knew it would return to normal.  I was so full of shit literally that I was believing this story. 

I knew that something was up when I was brought back to a room in the ER and the doctor started doing my medical questionaire while a two nurses worked feverishly to get IV's in and blood drawn.  Everything was coming rapid fire.

How long have you had the fever?

When did you notice the bruises?

What about all of the red spots on your neck and arms?

Where is the pain again?

Are you sure you're not pregnant?

As soon as I would answer one question another one would be flying at me.  I was in so much pain and trying hard not to cry while I answered.  I was more than a little unnerved that a doctor, an actual DOCTOR was doing all of this paperwork.  It scared me and made me wish for a second that I hadn't let Jon leave me here. 

But I'm a grown up so I just put on my big girl panties and listened as they told me that they were ordering a chest xray, CT scan of the abdomen and a shitload of labs, cultures and so forth.  I just laid there in agony waiting for someone to get to the part where they offer up the pain medication.

The offer didn't come but it wasn't for lack of things going on.  Matter of fact I felt like I was in one of those scenes from a television show where the person is standing still but everything around them is moving super fast.  I was brought to xray and then back to my room.  Then it was time to drink the contrast for the CT scan and although I felt like vomitting their little concoction of Crystal Light and whatever the hell it was I managed to choke down both cups in the alotted time frame before getting the first glimpse that while I believed I was there for a stomach problem, the doctors had found something else.

One of my nurses came in with a consent and said I needed to sign to have a platelet transfusion.  I was confused.  Who comes in to the ER constipated and ends up needing a platelet transfusion?  Did I miss something here??

I mean I know that I am the Queen of bizarre illnesses but seriously...platelets?  That sounded way serious and I was just having poop chute issues I was sure.  Her face told me otherwise but when I tried to ask more questions she said I would need to talk to the doctor first and that he was on the phone with another hospital regarding me. 

Great as if I wasn't hesitant to take the transfusion before, now I'm being "talked about" with another whole hospital.  Oh lord.  So I signed and she hung the bag of what looked to me like Tang in a clear whoopie cushion bag.  She read through all the side effects that could possibly happen and then had to stay with me taking my temp every 5 min and monitoring my blood pressure.  I really wanted the doctor to come in so that someone could explain to me what the hell was so serious that I had to be monitiored like this. 

It took about 30 minutes for the transfusion because they ran it fast.  She said they really needed to get my platelet count up before I was transferred.

Ok, hold up...wait a minute....who the hell is being transferred??

She did manage to tell me that it was me, but of course couldn't say why so all I could do was speculate that clearly this hospital was NOT equiped to deal with the amount of shit they must have seen built up inside me in the xray.  Next thing I know I am being whisked off to CT which I have now assumed is to clarify the exact amount of shit that is impacted and how they are going to formulate a plan with this other hospital to get it out. 

Seriously people, this is how my mind works when left to it's own devices...it's NOT a pretty picture. 

I had just been wheeled into the hallway to make my way to CT when the doctor came over to let me know that as soon as I got out of CT he would be in to explain everything to me.  He then patted me on the arm and walked away.   I wanted to scream after him to tell me now that there was no way that I would be able to be fully compliant in the "take a deep breath...hold it...don't move...now breathe" sequence that takes place repeatedly through the damn test if he was gonna make me wait until afterwards to find out what the hell was going on.

The CT seemed to take FOREVER because I had that anticipation of what was coming next.  I never in a million years could have guessed and if he had let me phone a friend and poll the audience I still would have been able to have been knocked over with a feather when he leaned over my bed took my hand and said "you've got Leukemia and we are transfering you to Tulane Medical". 

I heard nothing in the room.  Not my breathing.  Not the monitors....nothing.  I had come to the hospital thinking I needed to take a crap and now I was being diagnosed with cancer.  There were no words for the longest time.  I kept moving my mouth to formulated questions or sentences or even sounds of some kind but nothing would come out. 

They asked if I had someone there at the hospital with me and I managed to shake my head no.  They asked if there was someone they could call and I gave them Jon's number.  It was now close to 3:30 am and just a few hours before my biggest worry had been how I was going to get to feeling better for my May 3rd return to work since I had been out with what I had been told was Mono. 

I spoke to Jon on the phone and then my parents and it took everything in me not to just beg for them to get into their car right that second and begin driving to me.  At a little around 4:45 am the ambulance arrived at Slidell Memorial to transport me to Tulane.  The nurse gave me my room number and told me I would be on the Bone Marrow & Transplant floor.  It all seemed very surreal.  I just couldn't believe that less than 6 hours earlier I thought I had Mono and was constipated. 

Life as I have known it is now changed and I'm about to get a crash course in cancer.  Ready or not...