Life Changes in an Instant

Life changes in an instant. I, of all people should know that, but my medical problems were a slow slide into hell. But what about when something unexpected and out of the blue hits home. Here’s the story of my friend’s ordeal that she is still going through.

Back in August 2013–just 5 short months ago–my best friend since I’ve been 6, calls me and wants to go out for dinner. OK, it was my birthday she was travelling in Europe somewhere (can’t keep track of their travels) for my July birthday and we traditionally take each other out for dinner. So, when she called and wanted to go to the Mexican restaurant that weekend, it really didn’t seem that odd at all. Never mind that I’m usually the one who arranges things, but still I was happy to see her since she had been gone for about a month. I was totally unprepared to hear what I did.

We had a great dinner, catching up on our lives, specifically my issues. As we usually do, after dinner we sat outside on the benches and continued the conversation. So, after telling her my tale of woe, I looked at my watch and saw that it was getting late, so I said I would get going. She then said to me, “Wait a minute, sit back down, I have something to tell you.” Right away alarm bells started going off in my head. I said, “Please don’t tell me something bad. Tell me it is not something bad.” She had this really serene look about her and she assured me it was nothing that terrible. I was like a kid who didn’t want to hear; I just wanted to put my hands on my ears and not listen, but I knew I had to. She proceeded to tell me she had been diagnosed with something called MDS (Myelodysplastic Syndrome). I knew I had heard that term before and then remembered that the news anchor, Robin Roberts, had a very public battle with that very same disease. Still I did not know much about it. Apparently Janet had been feeling “rundown” for quite some time, attributing it to anemia, since she had had that before. She figured she’d bring it up to the doctor eventually. On her many excursions to foreign countries, she had not really paid attention to the huffing and puffing she encountered while walking up stairs, and doing routine things. So, who knows how long this was going on—it could’ve been for years. But when she got home from her extended stay overseas, she made a routine blood work appointment to get her thyroid medication checked. When she came back in for the results, her doctor noticed certain blood levels seemed very abnormal, unrelated to the thyroid. He kept looking at the lab results and Janet began to wonder what was going on. He tried to play it off, but told her some levels were abnormal and he was sending her immediately to a hematologist.
That was very alarming to say the least. At that point, she knew something dire was suspected and she tried to get some answers out of him but he just told her he was referring her to the hematologist that very day. It was not his job to guess.