8/20- Went to Nashville to do the Spartan Race. Joe began treatment for possible ulcers. He completed the race but felt horrible and suspected that something more was going on.
8/24- When there was zero improvement with the ulcer treatment (he was actually feeling worse) Joe was urged to get lab work done.
8/25- Lab work done
8/29- Lab results came back abnormal. His red, white and platelet counts were all very low. We were told that it could be viral, however it could also be something more serious.
8/30- We were told the local hematologist could not get us in for two weeks. We made the choice to go to the ER in Asheville in an attempt to force the hand. The numbers were about the same and they recommend that we go home and wait one week before going to the Asheville hematologist. That way if it were viral there would be enough time for his numbers to rebound.
9/6- Appointment with hematologist. Repeated lab work, numbers were still declining. The doctor recommended a bone marrow biopsy that day and told us that it was very unlikely that this was viral.
9/8- The preliminary diagnosis is MDS (a bone marrow failure disorder that can progress into acute myeloid leukemia).
9/15- Heard about more lab results. Doctor said it was still looking like MDS (rather than AML) but that there were also signs of hemolysis (the rupturing of red blood cells). They told us that we would need to begin weekly lab work to monitor his numbers and to insure that a blood transfusion would not be necessary.
The doctor also sent a referral to a doctor at Duke since treatment would likely require a stem cell transplant. (At this point we were still waiting for the gene test to come back. This would tell us how aggressive the MDS is.)
9/16- Weekly lab work done. No transfusion needed! They also ran a test for PNH (another blood disease that has similar symptoms to what Joe has been showing)
9/22- Heard from the nurse that the gene test came back and the doctor said they were "very good" however we didn't get details on what that meant (we assume that it means that his specific type of MDS is the one that responds to treatment better). They also heard from Duke, the earliest they could get us in at this point is October 20th. This may change if Joe ends up having PNH, but at this point his condition is not considered critical.
9/23- Weekly labs done. Numbers are trending downward but no transfusion was required.