Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Remember my horrible rash last week? Well after days of no changes, my nurses sent me to a dermatologist. A mystery dermatologist. In McClean.
The mystery dermatologist took one look and said, "well it could be leukemia cutis," and immediately wanted to do a biopsy. The idea made me nervous--I had just been cross & matched for a transfusion; my platelets and white blood cell counts were VERY low and I worried about the risk of bleeding and infection.
But she didn't listen. And she didn't ask any other questions. She just dug out a piece of my neck and stitched me up. No other rash possible explanations, no consultation with my oncologist, no cream or anything to care for the rash.
Of course on the drive home I called Janiece, who looked up leukemia cutis while I drove. Not good. It's the spread of leukemia to the skin. Basically, it means the chemo isn't working, that I would need an immediate bone marrow transplant, and that my body is falling apart and has a very good possibility of not going back together.
Needless to say it's been a very uncomfortable week, fraught with anxiety and fear.
BUT as I pieced together things my oncologist had said to me in the past ("you are leukemia free;" "leukemia doesn't hide; it always shows up in the blood;" tri-weekly blood tests with no leukemia showing up; "the chemo is working"), and the lack of information from the dermatologist or from cancer websites, I worked to discern the words of the dermatologist.
And I prayed. A lot. As did my close friends. And I reached down deep. I remembered promises and blessings and all sorts of things. I realized previous answers to prayers. And I tried oh so hard not to let my fears carry me away. Even as the angry red bumps on my arms and neck came and went and came back and went.
Well today I have some great news. It's most definitely NOT leukemia cutis. I'm still waiting to hear what these bumps are--most likely a side effect from chemo.
So while I'm still a baldy, I have a whole life ahead of me.