Friday, 20 November 2009

You need to come for further tests!

"You need to come in for more further tests asap, i.e. tonight" These are words you never want to hear. I was at work last night when the call came. I had been for a routine blood test a week or so ago and had already been called back to the GP yesterday morning for a repeat full blood count (FBC).

So when I got the call from the GP, it meant to me that they had confirmed something was wrong with my blood. The GP told me to go as soon as I could to the A&E department of the hospital and ask for the haematology department where a Doctor was waiting for me. I couldn't understand the urgency of the request - just last week I had been running round London at 3am singing karaoke and feeling on top of the world!

When I got to A&E around 8pm that night, of course, they had never heard of me and started to put me through the standard A&E process of initial triaging (Them: "What's wrong with you?" Me: "Nothing that I know of, but you're expecting me" Them: "No we're not") then eventually being seen by a doctor. They repeated the blood tests again and found elevated white blood counts. Around 1am last night they also realised that I was meant to have been sent to a different hospital but the GP hadn't relayed that message.

So now I knew I had elevated white counts and that I had to go to Hillingdon hospital the next day. A quick google later and I was an armchair expert in all the various diseases and other causes of these symptoms. Not great reading!

So this morning, filled with denial-optimism that it was all a mistake, I went to Hillingdon hospital where they rapidly did a large array of blood tests and an urgent bone marrow biopsy / aspirate. The urgency once again unsettled me, but the nurses explained that they wanted to get the samples off to Kings in the afternoon and therefore needed to hit the 12:00 courier.

For those who are lucky enough not to know, a bone marrow biopsy involves inserting a needle directly into the bone and extracting a sample of the bone marrow and bone marrow fluid. It hurts. A lot. I'm not ashamed to say that when it was done I had a panic attack and started hyperventilating. The staff were remarkably good though at (a) getting it over with quickly and (b) calming me down so - THANK YOU!

After a recovery period, I met with the doctors - they didn't give anything away, but from my reading and the tests they performed, I suspect they thought it was AML - Acute Myeloid Leukemia... my next meeting is set for next Tuesday when the results of the biopsy will be ready.

(written retrospectively)

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