I sat on my living room chair, absorbing the information from Dr. Sanchez. I was thinking about my sons. Bob was 15 years old, Rich was 28. The possibility that I would be unable to tolerate Gleevec scared the life out of me. If that happened, would I only be around for 2-5 more years? This was surreal. It felt like a dream. I had to tell them both, and my mother, and prepare myself for the bone marrow biopsy next week. My mind was on auto-pilot.
Rich was at work, so I couldn’t call him until later that night. Bob was skateboarding and would be home at 5:00 p.m. It was my mother who would get the call first.
“Hello mom, I have bad news. I have leukemia.” I said, anxiously, without taking a breath.
“Oh Mary, what exactly did the doctor say?”
“It’s called CML, Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. It’s very rare. He said there is a new drug called Gleevec, that is being taken by patients with CML and they are living for more than five years. He prescribed it for me and I should have it later this week.”
“Is the doctor sure? What is it called again?”
“It’s called CML, Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. I’m having a bone marrow biopsy next Monday to confirm the blood work and diagnosis. It’s weird, all about a Philadelphia Chromosome that splits apart from another chromosome or something. It will show up in the biopsy.”
“Okay, we’ll just take one step at a time. I’ll look it up and read about it. Have you told Rich and Bobby yet?”
“Not yet, Rich is at work and Bob will be home pretty soon.”
“It will be okay. We will find everything there is to know about it.”
“Yeah, the doctor gave me a brochure with information. I read it, but I have to read it again. I’ll research it on-line too.”
“Did the doctor say what caused it?”
“No one knows, he said it isn’t environmental, or anything I did or didn’t do. It lies dormant until it decides to make an appearance. He said the drug, Gleevec, really works and that this is the best time to get CML because of this new drug.
I hear Bobby’s skateboard, mom, so I gotta go. I’ll call you tomorrow, okay?”
“Okay Mary, try and get some rest tonight.”
“I will, bye, mom.”
“Hi Mom, what did the doctor say? “Asked Bob on his way to his room, skateboard in hand.
“Oh Bob, I have leukemia.”
“What? Is that cancer?”
“Yeah, it is.”
I explained what the doctor told me and we cried together.
“Does Rich know?”
“We can call him after work. I told Grama.”