We went bowling the day before. My son, Cory is left-handed. He used his right hand, because his left arm was in a sling. But nothing stopped him….he just adjusted and did it another way. No biggie.
See that focused face? He got a strike.
Diagnosis, March 2013
Cory has a bone marrow sample taken from his hip….they’ve already found something suspicious in his blood.
Cory and I go to a movie while we await the results. We see Oz. We talk about all the parallels of life to this movie.
We had no idea how true that was….The tornado was on its way.
We eat Penn Station (he likes cheesesteak with mayo and banana peppers) and keep checking our phones for four long hours to pass. Having small talk and laughing about meaningless things. We go back to the hospital for results.
There are ALOT of people waiting in the hallway outside our meeting room @ 4:30 pm. This is not a good sign to my mother instincts. All his doctors from his first cancer treatment team were there and a group of new doctors. So many people, they had to bring in extra chairs to sit next to the walls.
Cory and I squeezed in the back of one of the two enormous tables taking up most of the room….are these this big for a reason? Napping? Surgery? Or maybe just to keep their distance….
it shouldn’t be this way. They should be sitting so close and holding your hands and looking in your soul to deliver news like this.
They were all quiet and had forced “I’m sorry” pressed-lips-together smiles on their faces.
I knew it was bad.
Keep it together, Sheyna.
My heartbeat was in my ears.
There is a new face doing the talking. You knew she was in charge of this rodeo. This was the passing of the baton from Team Ewings Sarcoma to Team Leukemia.
“70% blasts (the bad guys) in your marrow. No question, you need a bone marrow transplant.” –world renowned leukemia doctor
“How did this happen???”
(He was cured -that word was actually used- from his previous cancer, Ewings Sarcoma. He’d lost full use of his arm, had a cadaver bone and a metal plate and a really enormous, cool scar that represented the SavingofhisLife, but that cancer was gone. Home Free.)
“Very, very rare. In less than 1% of cases.”
So, he was unique and special…the one time in life I wished he wasn’t.
The chemo from his previous cancer treatment caused this blood cancer…..
I didnt even know that was a thing….chemo causing cancer?
Then they went on about how they were going to pump more of the same chemicals in his bloodstream….
I can’t breathe.
Cory has no visible affect……he rarely does. He has always been even-keeled & “chill” as his siblings or friends might say. Even as a kid. He was not very demonstrative about strong emotion either way, positive or negative —you had to know him to read him. I can read him. Im reading four-letter-words in his brain. Im squeezing his hand tight and he is squeezing back.
And I feel him comforting me through his squeeze. HE is the calm in the storm.
“What’s the survival rate?”….ugh, why did I ask that?
“25% survive 5 years.”
In hindsight, I did not and could not register the reality of these stats. We joked that if he could make it into this 1% club of getting blood cancer this way, that he could make it into the 25% club of 5 year survivors easy…..
I truly,100%, never thought he wouldn’t make it.
Diagnosis: Acute Myeloid Leukemia