How we found out Gregory had Leukemia.

One of the questions I get asked the most is:  “How did you know Gregory was sick?”  This entry has been tagged and can be easily found via the tags.  It has the same title and tag.

Well, we didn’t.  We have three OffSpring.  From the start of school, pretty much until about May 1, the five of us usually rotate on kind of “cold” or another.  Public school will do that to you.  Curtis and I  also have a habit of developing coughs that just won’t go away.  Curtis had one this winter and it was awfully persistent.  Larry’s mom commented on day, over the phone, that his cough didn’t sound good.  So I took him in and he got a clean bill of health.  Well, Gregory also had a cough.  It was a wet, deep chest cough.  He had had it for about 10 days.  So on Monday February 232rd, I called and scheduled him an appointment to see his Ped on Wednesday.  I work three days a week and Gregory stays with my mom, on the days that I work.  On Monday February 23rd, Gregory fell asleep in Nana’s arms (which is really rare).  Early afternoon he sat up from his nap and started dry heaving.  *shiver*  Dry heaves make me really nervous.  Gregory had Rotovirus March of 2007.  He was not quite two.  Anywho…..  Mom also reported that his temp was elevated and he was acting lethargic.  So I called the docs office back and they got me in that afternoon.  I raced across town, changed into some “regular” clothes, picked him up from Mom’s and got my butt to the doctors office.  We waited for a little bit in the waiting room and then we were ushered into the room.  Meanwhile, Gregory was curled up on the exam table, just kinda looking punky.  He continued to dry heave, as well.  They did a couple nasal swabs, one for RSV and one for Influenza.  As we all know, they came back negative.  The doc examined him and couldn’t figure out what was going on, so he sent us over to the ER for IV fluids.  Since Gregory had Rotovirus, I was familiar with the procedure.  Before we left, though, the doc gave him 1/2 tablet of Zofran.  Which is the heavy duty anti-naseau pill that they give Chemo patients (ironic, eh?)  Note: He continued to dry heave, through the Zofran.

We get to the ER, get settled and the IV is administered.  (This is where it starts to get a little hazy)  Post fluids, I guess kids usually perk back up.  Well, Gregory did not.  Which alerted the doc to something else.  He ordered blood work.  When the results came back, he walked in the room and said:    “Well, we either have a viral blood infection or leukemia.”  It was inconclusive.  At this point we were sent to Peds Intermediate and the grilling began.  Questions, questions, questions.  All kinds of history was taken.  More blood work.  More blood work.  More nasal swabs.  They were testing for Epstein Bar, Whooping Cough, Mono………..  This all happened to flippin’ fast, yet it felt like forever.  Tuesday they had to do FIVE nasal swabs.  Then one of them had to be re-done, due to somethingorother reason.  More blood.  By mid afternoon on Tuesday, they were talking about Bone Marrow Biopsy.  Since they were not finding any answers, Larry and I were really hoping they would do this.  Only to rule out “worst case scenario”.  Finally they did confirm that they were going to do a Bone Marrow Biopsy.  Whew!  We did not want to be sent home, not knowing what the hell was going on, only to have it rear it’s head later and stronger.  It was scheduled for the next day at 9:00am.  Needless to say, I did not get very much sleep that night.

Wednesday, as we were being prepared to go down the hall, to the procedure room………  Our room was filled with people.  A couple nurses, different docs.  It would seem that Gregory’s case was attracting much attention.  I can only imagine what the discussions were like, between docs.  We had this one doc, who spoke heavily accented english.  Sometimes haltingly.  Gregory was crabby the morning of the biopsy, he hadn’t eaten since the night before.  (You are going to LOVE this.)  Well, this doc asked how he was and I said he was crabby because he was H-U-N-G-R-Y.  (I stalled a moment before spelling it out, I wasn’t sure if he would get it.)  The doc looks at me, quizzically, with his head tilted to the side and says, quite loudly, “He’s HUNGRY?”  The nurses that were in the room, looked at him and all “shush’d” him.  I don’t know if the doc ever got it, but here’s a note to all people who work with kids.  If a parent is spelling something ~ do not say it! 

I had cleaned and packed all our belongings away.  The plan was that if we didn’t have leukemia, we would be staying where we were.  If he did have leukemia, we would be transfered to the Peds Onc Unit.  I carried Gregory down to the procedure room.  They got him settled and hooked up.  There were a ton of people in the room.  He was put under for the procedure.  They didn’t use general, just something that knocked him out for about 20 minutes.  It was kinda weird, ’cause myself, Larry and mom all stood just outside the door, super close to the foot of his bed.  They administered the sedation and started to go to work on him.  They finally pulled the curtain closed as they were pulling down his drawers.  It was at this point that I started to lose it.  I remember standing there just absolutely mortified and what was happening to my child. 

It wasn’t very long and they were done.  Everyone vacated, except for one nurse and Larry, mom and I each took our place, around the munchkin.  He was sound asleep.  It would be about an hour and 1/2 before results would be back.  So I snuck off for a much needed smoke.  (yes, i’m a smoker, DO  NOT  give me grief over it.  It is what it is and I CANNOT quit right now.)  We all stood around and watched Gregory’s monitors.  His numbers would rise and fall, based on whoever was speaking.  He never fully woke up, he stirred and slept.  Not long after the “time of results”, Larry realized that his meter was going to expire and he didnt’ have any change.  Well, my stuff was in our room and the end of the hall and I just ran down there to get him some change.  Well, I boogied down to the room stepped into the room and it had already been cleaned and turned, ready for a new patient, our belongings GONE.  See previous paragraph.  I KNEW at that point.  I got back to the room and told mom.  She knew what was up.  Larry fed the meter and returned.  Dr Reynolds eventaully came back into the room, along with the nurse and another woman (Who is now our coordinator).

His first words:  “We have a lot of work ahead of us.”


About Mindi Finch

Living with Magnificence. Kicking Childhood Cancer's Ass.
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One Response to How we found out Gregory had Leukemia.

  1. Ury says:

    so he tears the house apart looking for this guy. Finally he’s on the seoncd floor, in the kitchen, he looks out the window and sees some guy sitting in a Volkswagen. Aha! he thinks, That’s the guy who’s been sleeping with my wife. He’s so furious he picks up the refrigerator, throws it out the window at the guy, has a heart attack, and dies.So St. Peter meets him at the gates of Heaven and asks What are you doing here? The guy says Well, I knew my wife was cheating on me so I came home early from work, saw him sitting in his Volkswagen out on the street, threw the refrigerator at him, I had a heart attack and died. St. Peter says You don’t belong here; go to Hell. He pulls a big lever, a trap door opens up and the guy disappears.A few minutes later another guy comes up to St. Peter at the gates of Heaven. St. Peter asks What are you doing here? The guy says I don’t know! I was just sitting in my Volkswagen, minding my own business, when suddenly somebody throws a refrigerator at me. St. Peter wags his finger and says I heard about you you go to Hell too. He pulls the lever and the guy disappears.A few minutes later another guy comes up to St. Peter at the gates of Heaven. St. Peter asks What are you doing here? The guy says I don’t know! I was just sitting in a refrigerator, minding my own business

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