The nurse’s eyes widened as the test result came up, so she ran the test again. Same result. She hit print and ran with the printout to the Doctor who was waiting to step in to see his next patient. He looked at the report and realizing he hadn’t ever seen these kinds of numbers in 15 years of practice, he took a breath and stepped through the door to share the news with his next patient.
The Doctor stepped through the door, I looked up and saw the results of my blood test in his hand. He told me what had just happened and I had to remind myself to breathe.
The day started of with meetings, consultations and branding, like most days. After my first couple of meetings, I decided to begin filling out my forms in preparation for my blood test later that day. My family Doctor said he’d like to get further detailed tests of my blood, I thought nothing of it. I’m getting older, had other issues that I had gotten under control, he was just being thorough.
I was a little naive I guess. I started filling out the forms and saw questions about cancer keep coming up. Over and over. It freaked me out. Honestly, I should have known, I was scheduled to see an oncologist. But I had no idea what an “oncologist” did.
He explained the results and what it could mean. There would need to be more tests.
He told me that he couldn’t let me leave without a phlebotomy AKA bloodletting. He would need to take half a bag of my blood, the blood would be thrown away in the toxic trash can. Then for the next 12 weeks, I would need a weekly visit and a whole bag of my blood would be taken.
After further tests to rule out possible causes, it was determined that I have Polycythemia Vera. It’s a genetic mutation that affects the bone marrow and thereby the blood. I wish the mutation gave me superpowers, but alas no.
Here’s the description from the Mayo Clinic for what Polycythemia Vera is:
Polycythemia vera (pol-e-sy-THEE-me-uh VEER-uh) is a type of blood cancer. It causes your bone marrow to make too many red blood cells. These excess cells thicken your blood, slowing its flow, which may cause serious problems, such as blood clots.
Polycythemia vera is rare. It usually develops slowly, and you might have it for years without knowing. Often the condition is found during a blood test done for another reason.
Without treatment, polycythemia vera can be life-threatening. But proper medical care can help ease signs, symptoms and complications of this disease.
Right now I don’t have any major symptoms. After the first full phlebotomy, the numbers were down. That’s a good sign.
I wrestled with keeping this private, I just told my immediate family. But I also have an extended family around the world, so I’m sharing it and requesting prayer. I believe in the power of prayer and the power of God to heal.
So keep me in your prayers. Nothing changes with my business, I’ll still continue doing what I’ve always done. Helping clients who quickly become friends get unstuck and moving forward with clarity.
We don’t know what’s ahead in this plot twist to my life and the journey ahead, but I know with the support of my family and my faith in Jesus will keep me strong.