History #3 – diagnosis – December 19, 2001 — bleeding gums

January 27, 2007 at 10:01 am | Posted in AIG, Diagnosis and treatment history, Initial diagnosis of APML, symptoms of APML | 1 Comment

Tuesday morning, December 19, 2001, I woke up with the feeling of something in my teeth. Have you ever eaten a roll, and have a bit of bread stuck to your teeth? I did that morning, and thought it odd, since I had brushed my teeth before bed. I got a kleenex, and fished out what it was. It was a blood clot. My gums had started bleeding.

That day, I went to my primary care physician, who took blood work. The next day, the physician called me. It was a very strange conversation. He said he got my blood work back, and because of it, he wanted me to go to a hematologist. He had made an appointment the next day with a local hematologist in San Mateo. That’s all he said. I asked him, why? What was my lab results? He repeated, you need to go to the hematologist. Hmmm, I thought, this isn’t good. I asked him, could you fax my blood test results to me? He says he would. Later that day, I get a fax. It was incomplete, only the last page with results that were fine, but with several pages missing, including the main tests. I took that as a sign that the rest was something he didn’t want me to see.

[An aside — This has always been very interesting to me, in that it flied in the face of what I would consider full patient autonomy and disclosure. I understand why he did what he did — there was no way to make a certain differential diagnosis, and it really only could be diagnosed by a hematologist. In retrospect, it likely didn’t work well. I really like this physician, and I still see and respect him. But I wonder if I should have been told the full story my actual lab work and what the possibilities could have been, but I also wonder if I would have been able to handle it. You’d like to think that you’d be able to be brave and understand, but you can’t never be sure.]

That night, the AIG Healthcare group, mainly the underwriting group, had their Christmas dinner at a restaurant in San Francisco. I was invited and I went. I didn’t want to ruin the mood, bringing up what I thought I might have, so I enjoyed the night. And it was a lot of fun. One of the underwriting assistants Karina brought a camera and took pictures. There’s some great ones from the dinner. A lot of wine flowed, and a good time was apparently had. At the end of the night, as a few of us were being driven home, I made comment that I might not see them tomorrow, that I had a doctor’s appointment, and I might be sick. It was an odd way to end, especially with what happened the next day.

Quick: Pick out the person with undiagnosed leukemia from the picture below, from Bacaar Restaurant in San Francisco, December 10, 2001:



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  1. This change is meant to bring also a change into the international role of Germany, as Dr. ,

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