When I had my annual checkup last November, my internist noted that there was a slight irregularity in my blood numbers. He suggested that we test my blood again in six months. I made a note in my calendar and forgot about it.
In mid-May, I repeated the blood test. This time my internist sent the results to a hematologist. And now I have a diagnosis of CLL or chronic lymphocytic leukemia. This is a condition in which your body produces too many white blood cells. The bottom line is that there is a huge range of possible outcomes. According to my hematologist, who is now a very important person in my life, some people live for years with this condition. But not everyone.
It turns out that I have probably had it for a long time. A blood test from 1996 showed too many white cells, and my count is really no worse now than then. That is good news. I also don't have any other types of white cells that are irregular or any swollen lymph glands. That is also good news.
I will have to have my blood tested twice a year and my lymph nodes once a year. Although I have what could become a serious condition, I have just a speck of it, or as the hematologist called it "Stage Zero". I am not worried, but given the choice, I would prefer not to have it at all.
It's just six days since I received this news, and I am almost done processing it. Soon it will be just one more thing to be factored into my very good and lucky life.