The Illusion of Normalcy

I recently published a post called The Joy of Normalcy, where I extolled the pleasure and comfort of being able to live a pretty normal life, despite George’s diagnosis. He basically had no debilitating side effects from his chemo treatments, like nausea or loss of appetite. He did get an infection, but that was treated with antibiotics and he was still able to put in a full day of work, or at least a half day. This past weekend, things really seemed normal. We went to lunch on Saturday at Brio after a family event and Sunday, we had brunch at Zinc Cafe after church.

Brunch at Zinc Cafe

In the back of our minds, we knew George was supposed to start another round of chemo and Dr. Grimire has said he thought possibly last Thursday or at the latest on Monday. Well, Monday came and we hadn’t heard anything yet. Dr. G said he was going to reach out to Dr. Loren at UPenn and get her input as well. Maybe he just hadn’t heard back yet. Maybe it wasn’t that urgent. So, because it was Monday, George went early to the base lab and had his blood drawn. They immediately fax his white blood cell count over to Dr. G when they get the results. So, later in the day, George received a message from Dr. G’s office saying he should start his next round of chemo on Thursday. It would be like the last one – 7 days of injections and 14 days of Venclexta pills. So, we planned for that.

However, later Monday afternoon, George received a call from Dr. G’s nurse. She asked him how he was feeling. George said fine! The nurse was concerned because George’s white blood cell count was 0.68 (normal is between 5-11). Not only had his counts not started going back up, as they should have, they had gone down since his last blood draw the previous Thursday. She said she would check with Dr. G to see if he still wanted to start the next round of chemo on Thursday, because from what we have experienced, you do that once your counts are back up.

At around 5:00, Dr. Ghimire called and talked to George. He expressed concern over George’s white blood cell count. He wanted George to go and get his blood drawn at their MD Anderson/Cooper lab the next morning to make sure they get the same numbers and run additional tests to make sure there is nothing else going on. That was a bit scary to hear. We didn’t understand. If he had an infection, we assumed his counts would be up. But what do we know? George asked Dr. G what he was going to look for & after mentioning a couple of things I can’t remember, he said “to make sure the leukemia hasn’t come back.”

We were stunned. In my gut, I feel this is not the case, because his red blood cell and platelet counts are good, which wasn’t the case when he was first diagnosed. Also, he has been undergoing chemo regularly.

So, George is at the lab this morning getting more blood drawn while I am sitting here at Hamilton Mazda getting my air conditioner looked at. I wish I could have gone with George…he is worried and he appreciates the moral support.

One good thing did come of George’s phone call with Dr. G. He said he had talked to Dr. Loren and that she said the bone marrow transplant would probably take place in a month and that she had located some donors!!! We have been anxiously awaiting George’s appointment with her and are counting down the hours until tomorrow when it will happen. I think we will get a lot of information then! Meanwhile, we will be waiting to hear about George’s blood tests today. Thinking about the bone marrow transplant coming up is another reminder that things are anything but normal and that sh*t is going to get real soon.

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