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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Good news!

I wrote a few weeks ago that I was in a panic about a health scare a family member had. I am thrilled and relieved to report that I have good news! So since I am no longer discussing a potentially fatal diagnosis, the whole story is that my sister called me a month ago to tell me that she was on her way to an appointment with an oncologist. She had had her routine yearly check-up the week before, and got a call at work telling her that her lab work was very concerning, and that she had been referred to a hematologist for the next morning. She emailed me a picture of her lab results from the online portal while she was waiting to see her doctor, and I was stunned to see her white blood cell count at 0.2 (or 200 per microliter). Normal is 4.5-12. This was extremely concerning to me. Her neutrophils, of course, were very low, too; her red cells were normal in quantity, but she presented with ovalocytes and burr cells.
I was terrified that she had leukemia, but of course, her oncologist needed more lab work. In addition to more specific hematology labs, she also ordered hepatitis C and HIV tests, in case there was a viral cause for white cell death.

And thus began weeks of waiting. And praying. And anxiety. And worry. And sadness. I was convinced she had cancer! About a week before my sister's follow up, her doctor ordered another set of labs, which my sister dutifully had drawn. Finally, her appointment day came, and I was so relieved when she called to say her doctor had all but ruled out cancer. Her latest WBCs were up to 3, so...still low, but bouncing back. And her cells looked normal. If her numbers aren't in the normal range at a 3-month follow up, she'll have a bone marrow biopsy, but otherwise, her doctor thinks she was fighting a severe virus, perhaps an Epstein-barr virus.

What a relief! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!


  1. Glad to hear that your sister is going to be okay. I can't imagine how scary that must have been for you.

  2. That's so scary, especially coming out of nowhere like that. Glad to hear that things turned out OK!

  3. Oh yikes, that is a terrible scare! My sister and mom are/were nurses so I always share lab work with them as they can usually help interpret it before I see the doctor. It's awesome to have them but it's also crappy for them because they know how to interpret things so they worry more as a result. I'm so glad it turned out to be nothing to be concerned about so far as they can tell!!