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Monday, August 29, 2011

Three Little Words

. . . forever changing my life . . . and they were not "I love you" . . .

On August 18th, 2011, I left my office to go to Grace Clinic to be . . . what I thought it would be anyway . . . diagnosed with high blood pressure (HBP).

It starts way before then though . . . .

On August 11th, I had gone to Sonic and decided to treat myself to a foot long coney with an order of tater tots. I normally do not eat like this but I had been good (in my book) and under a lot of stress at work so decided what the heck! Tater tots were a little salty but I ate them anyway. After finishing my lunch, I developed a dull headache and felt a little nauseated. HBP runs in my family and I remembered my sister, Eva, once telling me these were symptoms of HBP. I remember thinking . . . crap . . . . but the headache and nausea passed and by Friday I felt better. Saturday afternoon I once again developed a dull headache and nausea. I also developed a little bit of a tickling cough. Nothing I thought I needed to freak out about. The headache and nausea also passed and quickly this time but I thought Monday I should schedule me an appointment with the MD. Monday came and I remembered my supervisor was on vacation and he is rather a peach about my being absent when he is not in the office so I decided to wait until he came back. Mondays are always super busy for me at work and I didn't get a chance to call and set up an appointment. Tuesday I woke with a little chest pain along with the cough and it was rather a nuisance. Wednesday, I still had the cough and I felt a little short of breath and noticed it was difficult to answer the phone at the office because of the shortness of breath. Eva texted me and told me she was going to the ER because she was having chest pains. Lilly later called me to tell me Eva was having a pacemaker put in! WILD! Yes, completely caught us by surprise. Scared me a little so I decided I would have the cough checked out. Went to Grace Clinic before going to work on Thursday and at the time I only had the cough and shortness of breath so I was X-rayed and diagnosed with walking pneumonia. I have had this before and knew what to expect. I was informed I should be hospitalized but I had lots of work back at the office and, again, peach of a supervisor on vacation would not be happy to come back and learn I had been out of the office at the same time. I thought I could rest when I got home from work. I refused medical advise and signed the waiver and left for the office. After arriving at the office I developed a wicked headache and now when I coughed there was SEVERE chest pain . . . no longer just a nuisance. It started in the middle of my chest and traveled to the back between the shoulder blades. I had read years ago women have severe headaches and upper back pain when they have heart attacks so I thought maybe I should go back to Grace Clinic just to make sure all was OK. At 2 PM I notified my production counterpart I was going to leave early to go back to the Grace Clinic. I left the office at 3 PM and headed to Grace Clinic again and I really believed deep in my heart I would be diagnosed with HBP and given some meds and directions on how to take care of this. I arrived at Grace Clinic and this time they took a whole bunch of blood and in addition to more x-rays, I got an EKG that proved normal. I remember thinking when the physician's assistant (PA) came to give me my results, if I had HBP, I would go to McDonald's and get a side salad and fruit and yogurt parfait . . . and if not . . . . a Big Mac . . . cause I was starving! I had not eaten since breakfast and that was coffee and a Texas cinnamon bun from the vending machine at the office. At approximately 5 PM, Dr. Lear . . . not the PA and I knew then something was wrong . . . came into the examining room holding my lab results and announced my white cell blood count was 183,000 and normally it should be 10,000. I asked him what this meant . . . and he spoke the three little words that changed my life forever . . . . "You have leukemia."

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