Leukemia. Certainly not one of the words you expect to hear from your doctor when he’s calling about blood test results and telling you to get to the ER.

I hadn’t been feeling great since about October 10th — no appetite, a light fever of about 100F, and was easily getting out of breath due to light physical exertion. But I also wasn’t stuck in bed or on the couch the whole time, so I figured I was just fighting some cold or flu.

After over a week of not feeling great though, I decided to see my regular doctor this past Tuesday the 18th. He had bloodwork done that morning and called me late that evening with the results, telling me to get to the ER immediately. I believe he said a normal white blood cell count while fighting an infection might be something like 12,000 while mine was 94,000 — the highest he had ever seen in a patient. There were also immature white blood cells in my blood stream and other signs of serious trouble.

Now, after having had lots of tests done, including a fairly painful bone marrow biopsy, it’s confirmed that it’s leukemia, specifically acute lymphoblastic leukemia. I start chemo today and I’ll be stuck in the hospital for 4-6 weeks. They say most people actually start to feel better despite the drugs although I will eventually be losing all of my hair. It’ll grow back, but that’s going to be quite the experience.

My understanding is once I get out of the hospital, I’ll still be coming here a few times a week for about 6 months for further care and it’ll be possible that I’m feeling well enough to both drive myself and go back to work. Even after that it’ll be another 3 years of treatment.

The details are of course still a bit fuzzy since it’s early on and more tests still need to come back, but they seem very optimistic about my long term chances.

It’s been pretty surreal to go from feeling perfectly normal to starting chemo in a period of less than 2 weeks.

This is going to be quite the journey…

83 thoughts on “Leukemia

  1. Well. Fuck. The amount this sucks…

    I strongly recommend pedialyte, especially the frozen pops. They appear to be the easiest to stomach and the best tasting of the various electrolyte drinks. Also know you’ve got the WP community here for you. Just ask. Even if it’s for something stupid to distract you.

  2. This is shocking, sorry to hear this Alex. I’ll be thinking about you – we have plenty of stupid videos and things to keep you occupied while you recover if you need them. Big hug.

  3. I’m so sorry to hear this Alex! You’ll always have the WP community around to support you of course, and we could always organise a game of Resistance to distract you – I’m sure we could manage it over Hangouts somehow…

    Praying for you man 🙂

  4. Oh my goodness, Alex! I’m sorry you’re going through this! I hope that chemo goes easy on you. All the best to you on your journey!!! Hugs!

  5. Wow man you seemed great just a few weeks ago when I saw you in PDX. Sounds like this happened fast, which is actually positive because the treatments generally are much more effective in those circumstances. Hang in the man, I’ll be thinking about you!

  6. Fuck cancer. I have absolutely no doubt you will destroy this thing and come out the other side engines roaring and keyboards clacking.

    We’re here for you, you’ll get through this, and we’ll celebrate that fact with you now, as you do it, and after it’s done.

  7. Hey Alex I am very sad to hear this. You need to keep a strong psychological state to fight it man. I recommend you to change your nutrition (food habits) immediately. Drink juices from fresh beetroot, carrots and broccoli everyday. Change your food habit completely to fight this. Be positive always.

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