How I found out

Ever since I moved to Philadelphia in December of 2006, I’ve felt like I’ve been struggling with the flu. Everyone’s been sick at work and I was certain that I caught something from them.

I went to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania a few weeks ago when I got sick because at one point I had a sore throat that was so bad I couldn’t swallow. A little percaset, Flonase and sudafed, and I was better. But I didn’t have blood work done and we decided not to treat whatever it was that I had at the time with antibiotics – it not being the first choice of treatment for situations like this. The “flu” seemed to subside in about a week. Then less than two weeks later, it seemed to flare up again. After fighting this last round for more than 2 weeks and not seeing any appreciable improvement, and with some swelling in my left cheek which wasn’t present before, I decided to go back to the hospital on Friday.

When I got to the Hospital on Friday, I was in the emergency room CDU (Critical Decision Unit) for several hours. I recounted the above to them in more detail and they ordered a blood work-up. A few hours later, a nurse practitioner came to tell me that there were some very unusual results, in particular, my blood platlet count was very low. We discussed a few reasons why this may be but nothing seemed to satisfy her.

Around 6pm, I was getting very antsy. I had been in the CDU for almost seven hours and I needed to get home to take of my dog. Now some would say that that was not the smartest of moves. Perhaps not. But I’m a recent transplant to Philadelphia and really know no one here that I could call at the last moment and ask them to take care of the dog for me. So against the hospital’s wishes, I signed the papers and discharged myself from the hospital. They gave me some anti-biotics and some Tylenol with codeine, along with prescriptions for both. They said the hematologist and oncologist still needed to run blood tests and they strongly advised me to return to the hospital, whether I was feeling healthy or not, but eventually relented and said that if I didn’t feel well at any point, I should come back.

I thanked them, returned home, tended to the dog, took my meds and went to sleep. I woke up feeling better than I did in weeks. I suddenly wasn’t feeling sick anymore. My mom was coming to town to visit, and when she came in we were planning to fill the prescriptions and do some other things around the apartment and get me more settled in.

My cell phone rang around 10am. I didn’t recognize the number so I didn’t answer it. I listened to the voice mail a few minutes later: “Hi, Seth … this doctor XXXX the attending physicial at the ER at the University of Pennsylvania. The hematologist has determined that you have acute leukemia and you need to return to the hospital immediately.”


7 Responses

  1. Seth, sweetie! I can’t believe it, I’ve been thinking about you recently, so much!

    Darlin’ keep your strength, and humour, and smarts about all of this. You’re good people, and it’s going to be hard, but your mum is there, and maybe she can sneak Voodoo in (put a coat and wig on her, maybe?) and know that you are loved, by so many people.

    All of our best wellness vibes to you. We got plenty, you need ’em.

    a and Harald

  2. Seth, I’m barely equipt to write this note as i’ve barely processed the information having just read your email, I feel somehow writing is better than not writing to let you know that I am thinking of you and hope and pray the universe conspires to get you through this.

  3. Seth,

    I’m very sad to hear this news. Hang in tight!

    People’ve fought leukemia before and beat it. I know you can do it, too!


  4. Seth, I believe we met just once or twice while we were both at Viant. In fact, I think it was when you were visiting the Chicago office back in the dot com heyday when all things seemed possible. That was some 6 or 7 years ago but I do remember our friendly chat. My very best wishes and thoughts go out to you.

  5. Seth,

    We haven’t been in touch and I am sorry to hear about this. I pray for your health and recovery (inshallah).


  6. Seth,

    Very sad news man. Hang in there and fight it.. Like Tero says – you can do it.

    Our thoughts and best wishes are with you, and we’ll get some pics for your room over soon!!

    Fiid, Susan (now married 🙂 ), Ben (2) and Olly (4mo), and Sunshine the Beagle.

  7. Thank you all for your well wishes – they really mean a lot to me.

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