Sunday, November 17th, 2013
At 12:36 AM loverman sent me a text… “In room. Waiting. Will let you know.” (Yes, we text in robot language. lol)
At 1:24 AM, he sent me another text… “Can you please come to hospital? I have a problem.”
So I jumped out of bed, woke up my son to let him know he had to watch the girls and raced out the door.
When I arrived at the ER, security brought me back to the room my loverman was in. From the look on the nurse’s face standing outside of his room, I knew there was something seriously wrong. When I walked in the room, loverman looked really sad and horrified. I was greeted by a doctor who took my hand and introduced himself.
Doc: “There is a serious problem with your husband’s blood. His white blood cell count is extremely high, so it’s causing the blood to clot and that is causing complications and the condition he has called priapism. This usually happens to people who have a type of leukemia that we are pretty sure he has.”
Me: “You mean cancer?”
Doc: “Yes, cancer of the blood.”
Me: “But you don’t know this for sure right?”
Doc: “Well, we are still waiting on the lab to confirm the diagnosis, but we are pretty sure.”
*A normal white blood cell count is between 4 and 10. Loverman’s white blood cell count was 414. No, that was not a typo… it was 414. The doctor explained that they had never encountered a WBC that high in the history of that hospital, and quite frankly could not understand how he was able to walk into that ER that night.
I walked over to loverman and gave him a careful hug and kisses all over his face. I told him everything was going to be ok. Then I took a glace around the room and noticed there was blood on him, on the bed, on the floor and in a container on the bedside table. But not regular looking blood. It looked like tomato soup. That is not an exaggeration.
The doctor noticed me looking at the blood and told me that they already had to drain some blood to try and relieve some pressure. However, it was not very successful.
Before I could ask any other questions, a second doctor rushed in the room and blurted out. “The tests came back and I’m sorry to have to tell you, but you do have leukemia. We do believe it is Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia.” Then he walked out of the room just as quickly as he walked in.
The other doctor looked at me, then at loverman and apologized. “I’m sorry about that. He can be a little bit blunt and abrupt.” “What we really need to focus on right now is stopping the blood from clotting and plugging up the arteries.” He said, “I know this is all a lot to take right now, but we are going to have to perform an emergency surgical procedure here in the ER and then maybe an operation after.” Then he left us alone for a few minutes. I looked at the clock. It was 2:05 AM.
All I could do was hug my loverman and tell him to keep focusing on a positive outcome. We both cried and he told me he was so scared that he was going to die and he was worried about me and the kids. I told him he couldn’t think about that because I had a good feeling that he was going to be ok. I told him that he was just very sick and it just sucks right now, but the doctors would make him better. Then a team of Urologists and a Urology surgeon came into the room. They explained that they would be doing the emergency surgery and I was asked to leave the room. I stood outside of the room as much as possible, but I had to walk away when I heard him cry and shout. The ER was a zoo that night. It was jam packed with highly intoxicated and unreasonable people. Just a regular Saturday night/Sunday morning for the ER staff, but I felt like I was in a nightmare. But it was not a nightmare at all, it was a new reality and I knew I had to stay strong and focused on the best possible outcome.
During that time, I had another doctor sit down with me and ask if I understood what was going on. I told him I really didn’t fully understand. He said that Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia is not the worst leukemia to have, but it’s not the best. He said that because the white blood cell count was so high, he believed that loverman might not respond very well to initial treatment and would need a bone marrow transplant.
They worked on loverman for about 3 and a half hours with not a lot of progress. The surgeon informed me that he was pretty sure they would have to operate.
At 6:30 am, loverman was moved to another section of the ER for observation and they started aggressive chemo treatments and blood thinning medications. Soon after he was moved, I called my oldest son and daughter-in-love and they came to the hospital. I spent the rest of the day informing our family and close friends and making arrangements for Lexie.
I returned to the hospital at about 2:00pm. Other family also came to the hospital and we all agreed to keep him focused on the positive and the humor. Yes, we were all devastated, but we couldn’t be sad for us. We had to be strong for him. Everyone agreed to adopt this attitude and it was really powerful and awesome.
At around 11:00 pm, they took my loverman to the operating room and I sat in a waiting room with my mama who brought me a much needed and appreciated fresh coffee. We just talked and laughed and waited. Around 1:00 AM, the surgeon was whistling happily as he walked toward the family room. That gave me an awesome feeling. The surgery was successful, but they had to insert a shunt. The surgeon himself talked to us about the fact that my loverman was a very blessed man to be alive and basically, it was a miracle given his white blood cell count. But the response to treatment would determine how well he would recover.
Loverman spent the entire night in the recovery room and so I went home to take a shower and pack some stuff so I could spend the rest of the nights at the hospital.