Cancer Monitoring and COVID-19 Red Flags

posted in: Cancer, Cancer and faith 0

The Prime Minister is in hospital, the Chief Medical Officer is isolating, the Queen addressed the nation to steady nerves. Oh boy.

It feels so weird that we’re living untouched in our little bubble but there are COVID cases at our local hospital. It’s not far away. Husband is still very worried. I wonder if he’s getting a bit breathless. I know I am! I think he’s a bit concerned about the blood results, although he feels pretty good, but what he’s really worried about is COVID.

The Haematology department secretary rang to explain that the hospital has set up a unit in a local community centre for blood tests so that patients don’t have to risk going in to GP surgeries. Hospital review appointments are going to be done by telephone wherever possible.

Husband drove himself in for the blood test 10 days ago, prepared with mask, gloves, clear lensed sunglasses and of course hand sanitiser. It was the first time that he’d been anywhere since lockdown and he was really worried. In addition to waiting for the usual results he’s looking forward to the two-week mark confirming that he hasn’t somehow caught COVID in spite of all his efforts.

We weren’t sure when ‘the’ phone call would come or who it would be. We sat anxiously watching the phone, afraid to leave it in case it rang, ready with our list of questions, a pad of paper and spare biros – just like school children.

It was the senior nurse who rang. She’s awesome – really well informed, very down to earth and very human. I’ll never forget her just holding my hand when Husband was first diagnosed.

Husband’s results were great! The proteins are down from 4 to 3.4, the lowest they’ve been for 3 years. The haemoglobin was up by .1, which we know to be statistically irrelevant but it’s important to us psychologically. The platelets were down a bit to 359 (from 380) but the more important numbers were good and we know that platelet numbers fluctuate much more than the others so even we weren’t worried by that. It’s quite a luxury to have so many platelets! It was a really encouraging appointment even if the nurse did have to emphasise how vulnerable Husband is to COVID: “You have 4 red flags: no spleen, 2 blood cancers and recent chemo”.

I never expected to see the proteins going down again, let alone so significantly. I told Husband that I pray in the morning sitting on the stairs while he walks the dog. I told him about the ‘Lord I believe; help my unbelief’ verse from the Bible (Mark 9:24). Even after years of praying and seeing prayers answered, Christians can still find it hard to pray. God sees the whole picture, we see only fragments. We don’t always get what we pray for in the way we expect or think we need and God does not work to our time frame. He is God, not a genie. I don’t know if it made any sense to him but at least he didn’t get upset at the notion of me praying about it and he’s pleased with his blood results. The nurse said that the consultant had reviewed the results and said he was “more than happy” with them. We can’t ask for more than that!

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