There have been many low points in the life of Eric McLean, but yesterday overshadows every single one of them.
I woke up like I do every other Friday morning and started getting ready for my appointment and work. I normally go to the hospital in the morning every Friday, and then go straight to work afterwards. My mom had been texting me throughout the week asking me if I had an appointment that morning (yesterday). I knew I did, and for whatever reason, I never texted her back confirming that I did or what time it was at. I’m really not sure why. I guess it’s probably because I look at these appointments as being routine and mundane. Everytime I go in, I go in with high expectations and 99% of the time, I’m not let down. However, yesterday was NOT a typical Friday morning appointment.
When I arrived, I had to get my blood drawn like I do at every other appointment. So I headed over to the labs to get that done quick. Once I finished up there, I headed over to the LIFE clinic. Oh, yeah, I think I always forgot to mention that, but the clinic inside of Froedtert that I go to for all of my appointments is called LIFE…kind of a weird coincidence. Anyways, back on topic. The assistant came out in the lobby to bring me back into the patient’s room. I weighed in…181.7 pounds…up about 5 pounds from two weeks ago. She took my blood pressure…106/66. The pulse/oxygen meter read a pulse of 74 and my blood oxygen levels were at 99%. Normal. Everything looked good…just another routine appointment. After she left, I sat there and waited for Dr. Bredeson.
About 20 minutes later, in walks my doc. He begins by asking me how I’ve been feeling. Well, I’ve been sitting around for the past two weeks waiting to hear what my biopsy results were…which I was fully expecting to look good.
I answer: “I’ve been feeling fine, now how the hell do the results look?”
Dr. B: “Well, they aren’t good.”
Eric: “They aren’t good? So what does that mean?”
Dr. B: “Well Eric, things are definitely not on your side this time. The biopsy results came back with conclusive results that you have relapsed. Normally, the aspirate draw that we do from the bone marrow biopsy would be enough to show this, but this time, like the last time, nothing came up in the aspirate. The only reason we found anything was because we got a good core of bone marrow which we also tested, and there were definitely some ‘blasts’ in there.”
Eric: “Wait…blasts? Relapse? You’re telling me right now that my leukemia is back?”
Dr. B: “In one word, yes.”
*long pause…strongly emotional*
Eric: “So what can we do?”
Dr. B: “Well, this is sort of where the team is somewhat split. Being that you’ve been going through this now for 6 years or so and that you’ve had many bouts of chemotherapy and radiation and that the leukemia has persisted through all of that, it doesn’t look good.”
Eric: “Which means….”
Dr. B: “I said that the team was somewhat split and we all feel that you really only have two options. Option A: You’re feeling good right now. You’re leukemia is back but it’s not at the levels that would start making you feel sick. Live your life as happy and as healthy as long as you can. Option B: We give you some chemotherapy, which hopefully will reduce the amount of ‘blasts’ in your bone marrow. However, this is going to make you feel terrible and will only possibly increase the duration of time we are talking about. Because of what I mentioned just before about all of the stuff you’ve been through, the majority of the team is leaning towards option A.”
*long pause…coming to the realization that he just told me that there is nothing they can do for me…first time I’ve realized that I am terminal…uncontrollably overcome with emotion…Dr. B tries to comfort me…nothing is going to work*
As I was being hit with all of this, I realized that I was going to call my mom as soon as I got out of my appointment to wish her a happy birthday. Yesterday was her birthday. Instead, I had to call and tell her that her son would most likely no longer be here within 6 months. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do and I don’t even know how I am able to type this right now. My eyes are like faucets. It’s been the most insane past 24 hours I could ever have imagined.
I have a follow-up meeting/appointment with Dr. Bredeson, now with the addition of my parents, on Monday afternoon. My guess is that the meeting is more or less to try to find out how much time we are dealing with here.
If this is all truly how this is going to go down, that I am just going to live with cancer until I “kick the bucket,” then it’s pretty obvious that I have a lot of things I need to take care of…and in a pretty short period of time. In the short term, all I can tell you guys is that I am in Two Rivers with my family. My head is nowhere near where I’d like it to be. I’ll continue to write on here until the very end. In addition to that, I am going to go out and buy a video camera today or tomorrow and maybe create some sort of YouTube channel or something…still pondering over the idea. It’s going to take me a VERY long time to wrap my head around the situation…however I don’t think that that will ever happen. I suppose it’s kind of another strange coincidence that today is the 65th anniversary of D-Day…just some food for thought.
I know you are all probably wanting to do something for me, whether is be medically, spiritually, or whatever. All I can say, is that I am receiving the best medical care and attention that any leukemia patient in the world can receive. I will probably call Mayo Clinic or something to see if there is anything crazy experimental right now. But in the meantime, if you really want to help me with something, perhaps you can help me out with my “bucket list.” I am trying compile a list of awesome things that I’ve always wanted to do. If you can think of anything to add to that list that is feasible to do, please post something along with a short message in the guestbook of this site. You can leave your name or leave it as anonymous.
I know all of you are probably totally crushed right now. I don’t even know what to say. I love each and every one of you.
As the title of this entry insinuates, the clock is “ticking.”