June 16, 2005, wasn't just like any other day. John and I sat in Dr. Ford's office waiting to hear what the results would be from John's recent tests. The door to the doctor's office opened and the oncologist strolled in.
He looked quickly over at John. "Well, I have some good news for you. You don't have Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma."
"Great!" John and I both blurted out at the same time, relieved.
"You have something else," he continued. "You have Myelodysplasia."
John and I were both stunned. We thought he was giving us good news, and now he was bringing up this word Myelodysplasia. What was Myelodysplasia anyway?
Dr. Ford explained that Myelodysplasia was bone marrow cancer. John's bone marrow wasn't working properly. He said it would eventually turn into MDS leukemia (something called AML), and that John would need a bone marrow transplant to stop it from doing that.
Now we were even more stunned. And horribly frightened.
Apparently John knew a little bit more about bone marrow transplants than I did. He said, "Well, I've heard about bone marrow transplants before. First they have to destroy some of your bone marrow. If the donor's marrow doesn't take, then I die."
"Well, it's not without risk," Dr. Ford said. "But you need to do it. Because without it you WILL die."
Then he got up to leave the room. "I'm sorry," he kept saying and shaking his head.
On the ride home John says that everything that Dr. Ford said, and everything that he knew about bone marrow transplants kept going round and round, over and over, in his head. It was "traumatizing" is the way John is describing it to me.
Traumatizing is how I would describe it too. I was frightened beyond words. What would the future bring?