What a morning. I rushed out of Ron Don to make it back to the hospital in time for rounds. The door to the parking garage opened and revealed a bright sunny day with blue sky. “How dare you,” escaped my lips as I told the sky it was inappropriately joyous on this most woeful of days.
I got to Allistaire’s room just minutes before rounds. I opened the blinds and light flooded in. The doctors donned their ugly pale yellow gowns and blue gloves. I knew what was coming, “Allistaire is our four-year old with relapsed, refractory AML,” the resident would surely say. I had bucked at the word “refractory,” in past rounds. Dr. Leary affirmed they would stop using that word. It means unresponsive, it means a disease that won’t back down in the face of treatment and I was not ready to submit to that word until there was evidence to affirm such a wretched label.
“I guess you can say refractory now,” I mumbled sadly. “There were blasts today,” I say and Dr. Learly responds she hadn’t seen that. The resident goes on with the ordinary daily schpeeel and I just couldn’t take it – whether or not she had a stool, what her hematocrit was, etc. What’s the point of all that stuff, I felt. All I could see were the presence of blasts that spell death! I began to crumple on the bed next to Allistaire and I could not stop crying.
I don’t know exactly what happened next but basically, the staff were looking feverishly at the computer and in baffled shakes of their heads, declaring, “There are no blasts.”
WHAT? I could not believe my ears? But there were blasts this morning. I saw it with my own eyes. Absolute Blasts: 10. But, no, they were nowhere to be found, only a few little basophils and granulocytes. Did I see it all wrong? I had kept stammering to the nurse about blasts this morning and she did not correct me. I cannot say what actually happened. The doctor called the lab and confirmed, there are no blasts. The simple reality is probably I read the line on the computer wrong. It is the most wonderful mistake I have ever made.
So friends, yah, I feel pretty bad and really, pretty dumb for putting you all through this. The sun is shining brightly and never has the day more well matched my joy. Today is another day with no blasts. Tomorrow they may come and I’ll just have to refer back to that most woeful post from earlier this morning, but for the moment, hope has risen up once again. I imagine some, if not many, will say I am far too emotional about this all, far too ready to see the worst. I understand that but you see, I see the worst every day. The worst HAS happened. Time after time after time the news has been heart breaking. My friend came up to visit me on the Unit the other day. While her child does not have cancer, she has had another life threatening illness that is in a good spot for the time being, but it wasn’t always so. She told me she had to fight not to throw up coming here. I know that terror that strikes your whole body. We are too linked to sorrow and shriveling hope that it is hard not to be pulled down in an instant by the next wave of bad news. And this morning, when my eyes read that blast count, I was shoved under again. And might I add, in all the mornings I have read Allistaires labs, which occur every single day, I have never had the joy of reading bad results incorrectly or having a lab error, though I have yearned for such!
But I have been given pardon this morning and I will take it with extravagant joy!