I am currently staring at my tattooed foot and reminding myself (somewhat forcefully) that "we are so blessed"..... I do not feel blessed right now. However, peace is wrapping me in its sweet embrace.
Joe has taken on most the stress from this move. Providing for us, finding a beautiful house to call home, navigating a new work dynamic and getting used to the climate (a literal rain forest). This has all taken a toll on him and he really hasn't been feeling himself for the past couple months. At one point we were sure he had ulcers and was suffering from horrible allergies. Shortly after, realizing the course of treatment wasn't working, we decided to get some lab work done.
The labs came back abnormal. His complete blood count (CBC) was very low. This could have indicated any number of things. After one ER trip (in an attempt to force the hand for more information), a follow up appointment with a hematologist, a bone marrow biopsy and many more tests we know a little more that we did at the start. It's not allergies.
Joe has a preliminary diagnosis of MDS (a bone marrow failure disorder that can progress into acute myeloid leukemia) and hemolysis (the rupturing of red blood cells). We are still waiting on the PNH (yet another blood disease) test to come back and the final diagnosis. This has hit us hard. I don't feel like it's "fair" or that I am ready to do cancer again. But as Joe so often says "it is what it is". So, we will fight.
From what we understand right now treatment will most likely be intense chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant (which we will have to travel to Duke for).
While this is all very bad news, there is good in it. We caught it extremely early which is great because it means that Joe did not need to be admitted to the hospital right away and we have time to try to find a bone marrow match. The other good news is that Joe is young and healthy enough to fight to remission.
Our initial consultation with Duke is scheduled for October 20th. It is frustrating that it is so far out, but again we are so thankful that this isn't considered an emergency. In the meantime Joe is having weekly lab work to insure that a blood transfusion isn't necessary.
We would love and will need your prayer through this. Our God is one of power and we trust that he will carry us through this.