In 2020 I started losing weight, looking pale, feeling exhausted, and very stressed. Was working from home. Had agonizing pain in my ribcage. No cracked ribs per x-rays. My sis nagged me until I drove myself to the ER. I would not let her do it because she cares full time for her adult son who has multiple and severe disabilities.
I was hospitalized immediately with 4.8 hemoglobin. I had 4 transfusions. I was referred to an oncologist due to alarming "markers" in my blood. The first appointment at an oncologist I was developing Bell's Palsy. He was concerned it was a stroke, so his nurse took me back to the hospital ER. It was not a stroke, but I was so sick, they put me in ICU.
The bone marrow biopsy showed Waldenstrom's which is a rare form of lymphoma (and severe anemia). The scans also showed stage 4 kidney failure; hence the double whammy. I never had a symptom of any kidney problems.
I had plasmapheresis treatments in which a tube/probe is inserted in the jugular vein to run plasma through a centrifuge to wash it. I had 4 treatments and 7 hospital days.
The day I came home I got a call my job was being eliminated after 8 1/2 years. I had a couple of outpatient transfusions and Rituxan infusions. I started taking Imbruvica for the lymphoma. Two months later I was so sick I could not get out of bed. Back to the ER.
A bad staph infection
I had a bad staph infection that also went into my legs/glutes so I was in excruciating pain. I was back in the hospital for 3 weeks. MRIs, cat scans, echograms, heart scope, more plasmapheresis, antibiotics. Outpatient antibiotics for 4 weeks. I'm back on the Imbruvica and blood pressure med and a very low potassium diet for kidneys. Feel pretty good except for some fatigue and stomach problems. Have to take Veltassa to rid the potassium - it makes me somewhat sick. I'm glad to be alive and not (yet) needing dialysis.
I've lost 35 pounds but I like being thin! My hemoglobin is stuck at 7.9 so now doc wants to try ProCrit if insurance will cover the injection. It's frustrating that I cannot eat good foods that would help my blood - nuts, tomatoes, bananas, avocados, many green vegetables, fish. But I tell people at least I am still vertical and have many people praying for me. I can work only part-time.
What type of blood cancer are you or your loved one diagnosed with?