Time to Get Fumigated

Chemo round 3 begins tomorrow

Time to get Fumigated
I’m not sure what made me think of this comparison, but I’m remembering back to when I lived in California and they would fumigate houses to kill termites.  On the first day you’d see a tent go up over a house.  Then they’d pump in gas that seeped into every nook and cranny and killed all living things, including the termites.  Once a few days had passed and the gas had dissipated, they’d take down the tent and the occupants would move back in.
Similarly, when I arrive at the hospital they’ll put me in a gown and then pump in some chemo.  The chemo will seep into every nook and cranny of my blood stream, killing almost all living blood cells.  Once the chemo has dissipated, my blood cells will come out of my bone marrow and move back into my bloodstream.  Basically I’m getting fumigated this week.
For the First Time
Tomorrow it’s quite possible that I will be in remission for the first time in my life.  I never thought I would have cancer in the first place (if I had, I would have given the Aflac duck a call well in advance) and I’ll be happy to be rid of it.  May this be my first and only time where I need to go into remission.
For the Second Time
On Friday I packed up my office for the second time.  This time I at least know a general time frame of when I’ll be able to come back.  It was good to be at work for two short weeks and it will be frustrating to be away again.  Just as I got back up to speed on things, I have to stop for treatments.
For the Third Time
For the third time in as many months I picked up each of my children as they slept and said goodbye.  I told them how daddy didn’t want to leave them, but he has to leave for these few days to make sure he gets better and has many more days with them.  I told them how much I loved them and how much I want to see them grow up.  I let them know that I am always with them and that I love them no matter where I am.  Daddy will get better.  I promise.
Two Oh Four
There’s a number printed on all my paperwork.  It’s 204.00.  For those of you that don’t know, that’s an ICD-9 code.  In the medical field, ICD-9 codes are used to classify medical issues into 5 digits for billing purposes.  204.00 stands for “Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia without mention of having achieved remission.”  When I’m discharged this time, I’m really hoping to be upgraded to a 204.01.  That would be “Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in Remission.”  204.01 is where I want to stop though.  The only other code is 204.02 and that is “Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in relapse.”  Here’s to a lifetime of 204.01’s and no 204.02’s.
Speaking of ICD-9 Codes
I’ve often thought that ICD-9 codes would be a perfect way to insult someone without them knowing.  There’s certain things you can’t say to people, but nobody expects a string of numbers to be a bad thing.  For instance, if you had a coworker who always gave you trouble, you could very easily call them a 569.42 and they would have no idea that you just called them a pain in the butt (569.42 is the icd-9 for rectal pain).  Or perhaps there’s someone that won’t ever leave you alone, they just keep coming back again and again.  Just tell them they’re a bad case of 78.11 (genital warts).  Or maybe you know someone who can never make a decision in a tough situation.  Just tell them they really need to get a 62.7 (testicular prosthesis, aka “grow a pair”).  Go ahead, try it out on someone and see what happens.
And the Powerball is…
Not to disappoint, but I don’t have my numbers with me.  This is from memory, so they may be slightly different.
Hemoglobin – 11.1
Platelets – 287
WBC – 4.8
ANC – 3.6
My WBC is trending down a bit, but I can’t really blame my white blood cells.  They’ll succumb to a fiery chemo death this week so I think a few of them were just getting a head start.
A Duck Dynasty Prayer
Father God, thank you for this time of healing.  Thank you for helping me feel better each and every day.  Please be with me as I get another round of chemo tomorrow.  As things become routine, help me to remember where I am and where I am going.  Don’t let me lose sight of the goal or lose sight of you.  Keep me strong and faithful.  Thank you for another day.  Amen.

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