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Thread: Possible Leukemia Diagnosis

  1. #1
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    Possible Leukemia Diagnosis

    Hi guys,

    Just here to ask for any input on what my girlfriend has gone through today, any help would be much appreciated.

    She went to the doctors this morning thinking she had a throat infection, and she was immediately sent to be tested for mumps. The results came back and it wasn't mumps but the results have said she has a very high white blood cell count of 37500. She is a nurse herself so she is obviously very worried. She says she is fine except for her throat, but because of the high white blood cell count, we are both petrified. She gets the results tomorrow.

    Has anyone got any advice or thoughts? I know it might be something other than the obvious but I am fearing the worst .

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Administrator Top User Kermica's Avatar
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    MParker welcome. I am sorry to hear of your GF's anxiety. I think it would be a good time to both be reminded that there are many causes for a high WBC and, while leukemia, is one of them, there are many other more likely and less serious possibilities. This link from the Mayo Clinic will provide good perspective on that fact: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hig...SECTION=causes

    No matter the root cause, a very high white blood count is something to be taken seriously and investigated to a diagnosis. I hope your girlfriend does not have luekemia, of course. Just keep in mind that that is likely true. Do keep us posted and if we are needed, we are here.

    Good health,

    kermica
    When the world says, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
    ~Author Unknown

    Age 63
    Follicular lymphoma diagnosed August 08, Stage 1
    2 cycles (20 treatments each) localized radiation to tumor sites. Remission confirmed July 09

    Restaged to Stage 3 May 2010
    Recurrence confirmed May 2010 - Watch and Wait commenced - multiple scans with minimal progression.

    Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma diagnosed September 2012. Mohs surgical excision 09/2012. Successful, clean edges all around.

    Significant progression detected in PET scan - December 2012

    Biopsy to check for transformation 1/18/2013 - negative for that but full of lymphoma, of course.

    July 2013 - Rescan due to progression shows one tumor (among many) very suspect for transformation, another biopsy 8/12/13.

    August 2013 - No evidence of transformation, 6 courses of B+R commence 8/29 due to "extensive, systemic disease".

    February 2014 - Diagnostic PET scan states: Negative PET scan. Previous noted hypermetabolic cervical, axillary, iliac and inguinal lymphadenopathy has resolved. Doctor confirms full remission.

    June 2014 - started 2 year maintenance Rituxin, 1 infusion every 3 months. Doctor confirms lump under right arm are "suspicious" for recurrent disease, deferring scans for now.

    Remember the Rules!

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the kind words, Kermica.

    We are trying to stay positive. She is trying to remain positive, but also seems resigned to what the results will show. Whilst we know that it could easily be something else (the main alternative would be emotional stress from her nursing job), she ticks a lot of boxes regarding the symptoms for leukemia, and being a nurse, she has also seen the full details of her white blood cell results. She has had a lot of niggly colds and headaches recently - she had a headache for a few days early last week - and then a sore throat came on yesterday morning, which was the only reason she opted to go see a doctor. No sore throat would have meant no detection of the high white blood cell count.

    Thanks again for your post and I will come back tomorrow when I know more.

  4. #4
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    I am afraid we have had the news today that she has acute leukemia, on her birthday of all days. She has to have more tests tomorrow to determine how to start the process of attempting to get rid of this. We are both understandably gutted.

    The only positive that can be drawn from this is that it has been spotted early. That is what we are clinging onto right now. It was only through coincidence of going to have her sore throat checked out that this was spotted. I suppose we have to be thankful for that, yeah? Really hoping the next lot of tests don't come back too bad so we can get started with the treatment.

  5. #5
    Administrator Top User Kermica's Avatar
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    MParker, I am so sorry to hear this news. It is a positive that it was detected early, as you both know, so that is good. When you can, let us know the specific subtype your girlfriend is diagnosed with as this will help those here to be as accurate about things as possible when posting back. This time is difficult because your world just devolved into a whole lot of "what ifs". Once most of them have been eliminated by a clear diagnosis, then you can start working on the mental noise that we all deal with in one way or another after being told we had cancer. One of the benefits of a place like this is that we have all been where you and your girlfriend stand. We are here to offer support and information so please keep us posted.

    Good health,

    kermica
    When the world says, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
    ~Author Unknown

    Age 63
    Follicular lymphoma diagnosed August 08, Stage 1
    2 cycles (20 treatments each) localized radiation to tumor sites. Remission confirmed July 09

    Restaged to Stage 3 May 2010
    Recurrence confirmed May 2010 - Watch and Wait commenced - multiple scans with minimal progression.

    Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma diagnosed September 2012. Mohs surgical excision 09/2012. Successful, clean edges all around.

    Significant progression detected in PET scan - December 2012

    Biopsy to check for transformation 1/18/2013 - negative for that but full of lymphoma, of course.

    July 2013 - Rescan due to progression shows one tumor (among many) very suspect for transformation, another biopsy 8/12/13.

    August 2013 - No evidence of transformation, 6 courses of B+R commence 8/29 due to "extensive, systemic disease".

    February 2014 - Diagnostic PET scan states: Negative PET scan. Previous noted hypermetabolic cervical, axillary, iliac and inguinal lymphadenopathy has resolved. Doctor confirms full remission.

    June 2014 - started 2 year maintenance Rituxin, 1 infusion every 3 months. Doctor confirms lump under right arm are "suspicious" for recurrent disease, deferring scans for now.

    Remember the Rules!

  6. #6
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    She has been diagnosed with ALL. It is all seeming a bit surreal at the moment. She is going back for more tests tomorrow so we need to wait and see what they say. Obviously we have been reading up on ALL and we know it is going to be a lengthy process if she is to get over it, but we just don't know how to deal with this right now. It has knocked the stuffing out of both of us, but I am trying to help her get her head round everything so we can proceed with the treatment to give her a better chance. She is really struggling to find the courage to tell her parents and friends though. I am trying to give her the time she needs to tell them but I think she would feel better if she had more people around her supporting her.

    What do you think I should do? Leave her to tell them in her own time or encourage her to be brave and tell them straight away?

    Thank you for the words. It is very much appreciated to have people there to be able to talk to and relate to.

  7. #7
    Administrator Top User Kermica's Avatar
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    You are welcome, of course. As far as telling others, that can wait if that is what she wants to do. One of the things that is important for a cancer patient is knowing that they are empowered regarding their disease and how they live with it. So, whenever possible, a decision about care, communications, doctors or whatever is best left to the patient. It is, ultimately, her journey you are embarking on even though you share it deeply, as well.

    Good health,

    kermica
    When the world says, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
    ~Author Unknown

    Age 63
    Follicular lymphoma diagnosed August 08, Stage 1
    2 cycles (20 treatments each) localized radiation to tumor sites. Remission confirmed July 09

    Restaged to Stage 3 May 2010
    Recurrence confirmed May 2010 - Watch and Wait commenced - multiple scans with minimal progression.

    Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma diagnosed September 2012. Mohs surgical excision 09/2012. Successful, clean edges all around.

    Significant progression detected in PET scan - December 2012

    Biopsy to check for transformation 1/18/2013 - negative for that but full of lymphoma, of course.

    July 2013 - Rescan due to progression shows one tumor (among many) very suspect for transformation, another biopsy 8/12/13.

    August 2013 - No evidence of transformation, 6 courses of B+R commence 8/29 due to "extensive, systemic disease".

    February 2014 - Diagnostic PET scan states: Negative PET scan. Previous noted hypermetabolic cervical, axillary, iliac and inguinal lymphadenopathy has resolved. Doctor confirms full remission.

    June 2014 - started 2 year maintenance Rituxin, 1 infusion every 3 months. Doctor confirms lump under right arm are "suspicious" for recurrent disease, deferring scans for now.

    Remember the Rules!

  8. #8
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    Thank you, Kermica. I will try and do my best and take that on board.

    It is tougher because we live away from each other and the only person she has told is myself. I hate the thought of her trying to deal with this at home by herself, but I know deep-down I need to let it be her choice.

  9. #9
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    She has been for her four further tests today. Being a nurse, she is aware of the majority of the procedures so in one way, at least she is prepared, but in another, she knows that some of them are going to be awful . She has been sick a few times in the last hour and half, which I am presuming is a knock-on effect from one of the tests, but I have told her to keep an eye on it and go to the docs if needs be. It is going to be a few days now until we get the results so I guess we just have to wait and see.

    I will use this thread as much as I can to talk about what is happening, if that is ok? It just gives me an outlet to get things across and ask for any advice and opinions that anyone may have that I can pass on. It is really needed at the moment. Three days ago, we were simply planning on what to do for her birthday, and now, everything has been turned upside down from a seemingly innocuous visit to the doctors and we need to buckle down and fight like crazy. It is so tough at the moment but we will fight this as best as we possibly can.

  10. #10
    Administrator Top User Didee's Avatar
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    Hello. I am so sorry about her diagnosis.
    She is very lucky to have you supporting her through this.
    It is very OK to use this thread to update what is happening and also we are here to support you, here to read any ranting, venting that you may wish to do as well.

    Hugs from Australia.
    Aussie, age 57
    1987 CIN 111. Cervix lasered, no further problems.

    Dx Peripheral T Cell Lymphoma stage 2B bulky, aggressive Dec/09.
    6 chop14 and Neulasta.
    Clean PET April/10, 18 rads 36gy mop up. All done May 2010
    Iffy scan Nov. 2011.
    Scan Feb 2012 .still in remission.
    Still NED Nov 2012. On to yearly bloods now.

    May/2012. U/sound, thyroid scan, FNB. Benign adenoma. A lump in otherwords, nodule if you wish to be specific.

    CancerForums User Policy

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    Out of all the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most.

  11. #11
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    Thank you, Didee.

    Everyone is finding out the news today. Her parents have found out and are wanting answers that she cannot give them, and she has just gone off to tell her best friend. This is heartbreaking .

  12. #12
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    Just stopping by to say how things are going now for my girlfriend.

    In the three days after her four tests, she had a headache and generally felt sick. Then on Sunday, she was sick several times after dinner, and it was decided within her family they should take her to A and E. She was found to be dehydrated and possibly anaemic. She also had further blood tests.

    The following day, the blood tests revealed her white blood cell count was up to 82000, and the doctors informed her she needed to act fast and start treatment. The doctors have put together a plan of high-dose chemotherapy and radiotherapy as well as stem cell treatment. She has had two daily doses of chemotherapy so far (and isn't feeling very well at all), and she begins radiotherapy tomorrow. I presume the stem cell treatment will come if the two other treatments work to get rid of the leukemia cells.

    Regarding the stem cell treatment, it sounds as though her immune system would be non-existent for a time and she would be spending time in isolation (she is already effectively like that now anyway) until she hopefully builds some immunity. We would just have to pray that the cells given to her would do their desired job and make her begin to feel better.

    It sounds a very complex treatment plan but it is what the doctors ultimately advised so we have gone with it. It is heart-breaking to talk to her how she is at the moment (which I am aware won't change for a long while), but I am pleased she has began treatment now. It is only day two and she is struggling with the chemotherapy already, but I feel a bit better things are being attempted to beat this.

  13. #13
    Administrator Top User Kermica's Avatar
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    MParker, the treatment plan you describe is right in line with what I would expct for someone in your girlfriend's situation. In fact, it is pretty common forthose of us with a blood cancer to be looking at a combination of these elements in order to get well. Your understanding of a stem cell transplant is basically correct. Here is a good description of the procedure from the Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ste...splant/MY00089

    It is good that treatment has started. You are both in for a bumpy journey as this path takes a long time to complete, but the prognosis is good and has been improving for many years so there is reason to be optimistic that better days are ahead. Hang in there for your girlfriend, you are doing a great job of being there for her. Don't hesitate to let us know if we can help.

    Good health,

    kermica
    When the world says, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
    ~Author Unknown

    Age 63
    Follicular lymphoma diagnosed August 08, Stage 1
    2 cycles (20 treatments each) localized radiation to tumor sites. Remission confirmed July 09

    Restaged to Stage 3 May 2010
    Recurrence confirmed May 2010 - Watch and Wait commenced - multiple scans with minimal progression.

    Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma diagnosed September 2012. Mohs surgical excision 09/2012. Successful, clean edges all around.

    Significant progression detected in PET scan - December 2012

    Biopsy to check for transformation 1/18/2013 - negative for that but full of lymphoma, of course.

    July 2013 - Rescan due to progression shows one tumor (among many) very suspect for transformation, another biopsy 8/12/13.

    August 2013 - No evidence of transformation, 6 courses of B+R commence 8/29 due to "extensive, systemic disease".

    February 2014 - Diagnostic PET scan states: Negative PET scan. Previous noted hypermetabolic cervical, axillary, iliac and inguinal lymphadenopathy has resolved. Doctor confirms full remission.

    June 2014 - started 2 year maintenance Rituxin, 1 infusion every 3 months. Doctor confirms lump under right arm are "suspicious" for recurrent disease, deferring scans for now.

    Remember the Rules!

  14. #14
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    Just stopping by to tell you the update - unfortunately, it isn't very good news.

    I have only found out in the last 24 hours, but my girlfriend was actually diagnosed with T-Cell ALL. It goes without saying that this means her chances are a lot lower than what they could of been. When she was spoken to on Monday, she was told that she had two options. The first was she could have pain relief for a few weeks and live her normal life but she would die, and the second was to go with a very intensive treatment plan, which would give her a 'slim' chance. She is receiving the highest dose of Chemotherapy possible and she will be having her second dose of Radiotherapy tomorrow. They are trying to get rid of all of the Leukemia cells within a week - a job that would usually take three to eight weeks. The doctors want to get her into an isolation room as soon as possible.

    She has talked about wills and everything today, so I am not in a good place at all. Whilst having to remain positive to keep her spirits up, I can't help but be realistic and that I could lose her. I really don't know what to do .

  15. #15
    MP i am very sorry your going thru this, do your best, you really need to stay positive.

  16. #16
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    I am really really trying my best, but it is so difficult now. If they thought it was possible to treat and succeed, I'm struggling to see why they would have given her the option of palliative care?

    I hope miracles can happen...

  17. #17
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    Hey Mparker170,
    I just read the thread and am sorry to hear the bad news about your girlfriend. Hope she gets better and miracles do happen! Hope to hear more from you.
    God bless!

  18. #18
    Administrator Top User Kermica's Avatar
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    MParker, I just checked in on the situation and am so, so sorry to hear how things have developed. It sounds like your girlfriend is in a very dicey situation from which most people do not recover, that is why they offered her the option of palliative care.

    I have no words of wisdom or magic bullets for what you are facing, I wish I did. I can only tell you that I am here and I am sending good thoughts to you both. God bless, I am saying a prayer for her.

    Good health,

    kermica
    When the world says, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
    ~Author Unknown

    Age 63
    Follicular lymphoma diagnosed August 08, Stage 1
    2 cycles (20 treatments each) localized radiation to tumor sites. Remission confirmed July 09

    Restaged to Stage 3 May 2010
    Recurrence confirmed May 2010 - Watch and Wait commenced - multiple scans with minimal progression.

    Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma diagnosed September 2012. Mohs surgical excision 09/2012. Successful, clean edges all around.

    Significant progression detected in PET scan - December 2012

    Biopsy to check for transformation 1/18/2013 - negative for that but full of lymphoma, of course.

    July 2013 - Rescan due to progression shows one tumor (among many) very suspect for transformation, another biopsy 8/12/13.

    August 2013 - No evidence of transformation, 6 courses of B+R commence 8/29 due to "extensive, systemic disease".

    February 2014 - Diagnostic PET scan states: Negative PET scan. Previous noted hypermetabolic cervical, axillary, iliac and inguinal lymphadenopathy has resolved. Doctor confirms full remission.

    June 2014 - started 2 year maintenance Rituxin, 1 infusion every 3 months. Doctor confirms lump under right arm are "suspicious" for recurrent disease, deferring scans for now.

    Remember the Rules!

 
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