We are sort of in the "countdown" phase during our stay here in Tumwater. I've checked the calendar on the fridge and counted the days before we leave for the East. We have changed our departure date to March 9th. That means only 23 days after today and we'll be on the road again.
Bruce and I have repeated the phrase, "It's always something!" many times over the past 15 years while dealing with our ailing parents. Well, once again we have to say, "It's always something!" During a routine annual physical exam our doctor found Bruce's white cell count to be too low. This was in early January. She had the test repeated about 3 weeks later and found the count to be even lower. This could certainly be a danger sign. Dr. Wolfe phoned us at home to give us the new results and recommended that Bruce see a Hematology/Oncology specialist. Well, that is sure something you don't really want to hear.
We went to see Dr. Xuan here in Olympia 10 days ago. She went over the blood test results and said that not only were his cells too low in number, they were also abnormal in shape. (I've always known he was abnormal). :) She did a bone marrow biopsy right there in the office and sent the sample away for analysis. Well now things are getting even scarier. All sorts of things run through your mind as you await the test results for several days. For Pete's sake we were just beginning this full-time lifestyle we'd dreamed of for many years! Does this mean we have to hang up our wheels already?
We returned to Dr. Xuan's office on Friday the 13th of all days. The news wasn't horrible but it wasn't great either. The bottom line is they can't diagnose anything with certainty at this time. What he may be heading toward is an illness called myelodysplastic syndrome. He has some of the signs but without the diagnosis really required to make that determination. If Bruce gets the full on diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndrome or MDS for short, it could mean his body will require blood transfusions every 2 to 3 weeks. Well, that would put an end to our free-wheeling lifestyle. But transfusions are only a possibility and the list of "could be's" goes on as long as my arm. Another "could be" with MDS is that many patients will develope Acute Leukemia after that.
We are returning to Dr. Xuan's office on March 5th. She is well aware of our plans to travel to the East and not return home until August. So far Bruce has no signs of feeling ill which surprises our doctors. They kept asking him in the beginning..."Are you sure you don't feel ill and have sore aching muscles and joints?" "No," he told each of them and in fact we are still walking 4 miles each morning and he has no ill effects from that either. When we return in August, Bruce will make the rounds of the doctors again and I'm sure Dr. Xuan will order another bone marrow biopsy to see if there are any changes to be seen.
I'll admit the first 3 or 4 days of waiting was the pits. Now we are still in a bit of a confusion as to what is actually going on with Bruce's blood abnormality. However, we are guardedly optimistic about the situation and are continuing with our full-time plans. It makes perfect sense to us that we continue on with our plans to travel as much as possible for as long as possible. Each new day we get is a gift from God to open and enjoy. Why not go out and enjoy those days? Who knows what tomorrow may bring?
Assateague Island National Seashore
1 hour ago