That’s what he said… the bloke who called me from the hospital on Mon 31 Jan 2011… “This is the blood lab at the hospital. There’s nothing to worry about.” WHAAAAAT??????
I’d just had one of the weekly blood tests that punctuated that month, trying to find a reason for the chronic kidney failure, before they could start treating me.
The blood test was taken in the morning, and this call came around 6pm. “Nothing to worry about…” Well, I don’t know about you, but having a phone call from a hospital at 6pm, especially when you’ve been feeling really ill and not eating for over a month and you still don’t know what’s wrong with you, only made me think, “OMG! WHAT should I NOT worry about?”
Apparently, the blood test they’d taken showed my haemoglobin level to be 4g/dL. The normal range is 11.5-16.5 g/dL in adult females. There have been times when I’ve had to have a blood transfusion or been prescribed EPO injections to increase production of red blood cells, when my HB count has been under 11. So 4…!!!
Someone with only 4g/dL would not just be anaemic, but would be in a coma. That is exactly why they called me. To make sure I wasn’t lying in a heap in my living room. The very fact that I answered the phone, sounding most definitely un-comatose must have made him sigh with relief. It also allowed him to very promptly explain the reason for his call. He clarified that the blood analysing machine must have been in error and there really wasn’t anything to worry about.
We had a wee chuckle about it, but afterwards, I felt unsettled. So I called a friend to ask her to come with me the next day to see the kidney consultant.
It turns out that while the mini drama of a low blood count was caused by an error, they had also tested for calcium, which had been missed off the previous tests throughout January. It was this particular result that was not only correct, but also provided the clue to what was happening. In four short days, after various tests, it led to my diagnosis and the beginning of my Myeloma odyssey on 4 Feb 2011.
So today is the two year anniversary of my diagnosis.
How time flies when you’re having fun… oops, I mean treatment!
It’s good to notice, even celebrate these milestones. Everyone I’ve encountered in Myelomaville seems to amass several anniversaries, other than their own original birthday. There’s the day of diagnosis, the auto stem cell transplant birthday and for some like me, their allo/donor transplant birthday. New stem cells, new immune system, new me!
Even if I am constantly tired and have a sore mouth, I am much recovered. So it’s great to report that I’m about to go on holiday. I’d wanted to go away after my initial recuperation period post-transplant. However, I didn’t feel up to it in the summer, with fatigue, depression and anxiety. But now, I’m about to go on an adventure to the Arctic. Yes, on Wednesday, I’m going to Tromsø in Norway for four nights, and will hopefully see the Northern Lights.
It’s my first trip post-transplant. It’s my first airplane trip for over two years. It’s my first time in the Arctic. In fact, it’s my first cold weather holiday ever. It’s the first time I’ve spent almost as much on the clothing and kit to keep warm – temperatures can get down to -13°C – as I have on the flights.
As well as my normal activities, which as you may have just read, tire me out, I also have to pack and make sure I remember to take everything and get enough sleep and write up this anniversary blog and get to the airport on time and… and… and… Guess what? Can you tell, I’m a bit more anxious than excited just now.
I dare say that will change as really, especially when you consider all I’ve gone through in the past two years, there’s nothing to worry about!