Posts Tagged ‘leukemia’

Health Issues – Recap

July 22, 2008

Yet another installment of “Who Needs Soap Operas When You Have Real Life” – –

Ed. Note: This post is written to wrap my own brain around all that’s been going on in my life the last 15 years. It is not intended to garner sympathy or validation from others (though I’d be lying to say I didn’t appreciate it). It’s really so I can recount my life experiences in order to validate my thoughts and move forward with my own life.

Okay, so let’s recap…

GnuKid’s marriage loses its heart and soul.

GnuKid and The Wife hit the counseling circuit, marriage and personal.

The Wife contracts leukemia.

GnuKid takes on caretaker role through leukemia treatment.

The Wife contracts toxoplasmosis.

GnuKid’s tenure as caretaker is extended.

Yep, that’s the quick summary of the last few posts (and some of you may be wishing I’d left it at that level of detail…tough, this isn’t about you…Nyaah!!).

The addendums: some other personal issues going on through this 15 year time frame which may have had a mild influence on my mental well being (presuming there was any to begin with)—

GnuKid’s left eye gets a detached retina. They have to pop it out, freeze dry the rips to keep them attached, put a band around the ol’ eyeball, and put it back. My vision is saved, but my prescription goes way up.

Most likely due to stress, GnuKid develops a bad case of Urticaria (otherwise known as “Hives”). Swelling (and not in the good place), itching, and general misery. This lasted about three months, during which there were quite a few meds.

GnuKid’s right eye gets a detached retina. First fix attempt is to pump a huge gas bubble into the eye to hold the rips against the eyeball, requiring me to lie face down for 48 hours. When that doesn’t work, they resort to lasers, welding the rips back into my eyeball.

Mom passed away.

GnuKid is diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy, an enlargement of the heart which reduces its effectiveness. (See? I knew I had a big heart.) Luckily, in my case it is mild and its effects are controlled with exercise and diet.

One of the hives medicines, a steroid, resulted in my developing nasty ass cataracts, first in my left eye, then a few months later in my right. Both cataracts removed surgically… thankfully on separate occasions. (On a good note to this, the doc inserted intraocular lenses which meant no more glasses [other than reading glasses which I would’ve ended up with anyway]! And, it adds a certain twinkle to my eyes as well!).

And you already know about my sister’s lung cancer (remission) and my brother’s brain cancer (still fighting)…

So… I think I’m quite ready for some health and happiness in my life, thank you very much – – –



Health Issues – Leukemia

July 18, 2008

The next installment of “Who Needs Soap Operas When You Have Real Life” – –

CML… Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia.

The wife was diagnosed by chance, having done a routine (and, actually, very overdue) cholesterol blood test. Yeah, she’d been tired a lot lately, but not seemingly more so than any person raising two kids and holding a job. Hell, I was tired, too.

Prognosis for CML was (is?) not that great with just chemo. The best treatment is a bone marrow transplant. And, even with a bone marrow transplant, assuming a donor could be found, survival was not guaranteed.

In my heart, I knew the right thing to do was see her through it, whatever the outcome. Despite my feeling disconnected, I had to help. She was still my wife and, more importantly, the mother of my kids. I set aside my plans to seek a separation and took on the role of caretaker for her.

After months of chemo and negative tests for compatibility from family members’ blood, a bone marrow donor was finally found for her. Amazingly, it was from a non-related donor–rare, to say the least.

Our research showed the best place to have the transplant done was in Seattle, so we traveled out for the procedure. My employer was kind enough to grant me all of my vacation time, plus some extra ‘compassionate vacation’, to be her caretaker through the process. We still had to lean heavily on family to cover the time after I had to return to work, as well as help watch the kids when they weren’t in Seattle.

The procedure was successfully done, if painfully (pretty standard for this). Still, there was a very rocky recovery. Blood counts plummeted and recovered numerous times. It seemed to me it was never the same thing… platelets one time, white blood count the next time, and so on. Because of this, there were also a few unexpected hospitalizations. There were a couple of times I heard doctors cautioning, “Prepare for the worst.” But she finally recovered, stabilized, and looked to be on the road to remission. And, finally, back home for her recovery…

…recovery… not for awhile still (remission takes time), but recovery nonetheless… which means hope that i can get back on track to regaining my own life!

Then came the diagnosis of toxoplasmosis.

Damn. Fucking. Damn. Crap.