Two years ago today the first outward symptom of my cancer to make me sit up and take notice appeared. It was a small swollen lymph node on my neck just behind my right ear. Why this one little "thing" was what made me call the doctor, I'll never know. For weeks leading up to this event I was suffering from severe fatigue, migraines, a swollen stomach, poor appetite, and diarrhea. I managed to explain all of these things away with excuses like working forty plus hours a week in addition to carrying a full time load at school. I had projects galore to finish and was in the midst of finals. I worked in the retail world and we were ensconced in the holidays. It meant for a lot of pressure. Add to all of this that Chris and I were caring for a pet with terminal cancer who we were not ready to let go.
Wednesday, when I got my CBC results I was speechless. What Chris didn't mention in the last post is that my doctor put forward the possibility that I was relapsing. She was very somber and said that she was sorry. Me too.
I'm having a hard time believing that I managed to survive two very difficult transplants only to have my original cancer come back. Let me be very clear that as of this moment we don't know for a fact that the ALL is back, but as my doctor said, my subtype is very aggressive and comes back very quickly. We may know today, or we may not.
I've been feeling very angry over the last two days. I have absolutely no control over this situation and having to stand by and watch people that I love suffer through this with me is tearing my heart out. To add insult to injury, I feel really well. I'm not manifesting any outward symptoms of illness. My appetite is good and my energy levels are normal. Inside, I know something's brewing in my chemistry. My white blood cell count is rocketing, as is my absolute neutrophil count. Then there's the mystery of the blasts circulating in my blood. I want off of this ride, but that's not possible.
I took a moment the other day to think about all of the treatment that I've had in the last two years and realized that there have only been four months that I haven't had active chemo. That's a lot of chemicals saturating my organs, which makes me wonder if I'm a candidate for any more. If I have relapsed, I don't know what my options are. I'm only 105 days out from my last transplant which leads me to believe that there isn't a lot left open to me. There is only so much the body can take before it starts to shut down and to be frank, if my cancer is back after only 100 days who's to say it won't come back again more vicious a week after the next treatment.
I have labs at 11:30am today and then a follow up with Dr. Kebriaei at 1:30pm. I know anything can happen and that it's only been two days since my last labs. My numbers will either be close to what they were on Wednesday, or significantly higher. If the past is any indicator and I am relapsing, then the blasts will have increased ten fold. I have a microscopic granule of hope that I'm just being dramatic and this is all really nothing, but I'm faced with the reality that there's a reason that I don't know a lot of ALL, t(4;11) survivors who were diagnosed as adults. Truth be known, I'm the only one that I'm aware of right now.