I’ve learned something the hard way. Pay attention to your body and how you are feeling. Doing the typical guy thing of putting it off and not paying attention because it isn’t convenient is NOT the way to go. Same with the old “I don’t have the extra money on hand right now to pay for a doctor visit.” Maybe some women do this too, I don’t know, but I suspect they are much smarter than that.
One morning I woke up, went to shave and when I looked in the mirror I saw that I had bruises all over my chest and arms. They weren’t painful and I called to Nancy and asked her if she had been slugging me the night before in our sleep. Without missing a beat, she replied “not any more than usual.” When she saw the bruises she immediately said that I need to go in and see my doctor. Of course my immediate reaction was that I didn’t have time for this because of meetings at work.
But at Nancy’s insistence, I went in to my oncologist’s office. While they were drawing my blood I was thinking how I had been feeling pretty run down lately, but then I had also been working very hard on a special event project at work. But there was no avoiding that I was looking like a five day-old banana.
Come to find out that my blood counts were out of whack – everything was low, especially my platelets. My doctor repeated the blood tests later in the week and my platelets had dropped even further. My doctor then had them take a bone marrow biopsy. This is where they drill into your hip and remove a little bit of your bone marrow, which is then sent to the lab. This was on a Friday and my doctor said they should have an idea what is going on by the next Friday. So I compartmentalized all of this and went back to work and my life.
Well, the next Tuesday afternoon I was on my way back to the office from a meeting and decided to partake of a guilty pleasure – a lunch from Taco Bell. I walked back to my car intending to eat my lunch “on the road” on the way back to office when my doctor called me on my cell phone. I sat in the Taco Bell parking lot listening to my doctor tell me that he was sorry to tell me that I had Acute Myeloid Leukemia. After he explained to me what it was, he told me that I needed to go into the hospital the next day for a month of extreme chemo treatments, and then I was looking at a long period of treatments.
I was stunned. I asked if I really needed to go into the hospital the next day, December 1st, and spend all of December in the hospital. He told me that if I didn’t, I would likely be dead in two weeks. Well, guess who went into the hospital the next day? That afternoon I drove to the office, packed up my stuff and put together instructions for the rest of the staff to cover my work, then went home and told Nancy. Needless to say I lost my appetite and was not able to eat my delicious Taco Bell lunch.
Moral of the story – pay attention to your body and DO NOT put off having things checked out because it is inconvenient. And maybe don’t go to Taco Bell for lunch, although I am not ready to totally write that one off yet!