I first started down my journey of “whats going on with my bloodwork” after going to the dermatologist to be prescribed Accutane (for acne). This required monthly bloodwork and pregnancy tests. After 1 month of the medication, my bloodwork again showed low platelets and white blood cells, but was prescribed a subsequent month (on Friday, 1/6/17). Over the weekend, a small rash had come up on my left hand and was not getting any better. I went back to the doctor on Monday, who pulled me off the medication and sent me to a blood doctor (I wasn’t even sure what the specialist was called at this point). Hematologist appointment is where I was headed, just a month until the appointment (2/13/17).
While I low platelets for 2-years, I hadn’t ever known what to do with my bloodwork in the past, as my GP (general practitioner) had said the numbers were not alarming and not to worry. Looking back, I should have pressed more for answers, referrals, results – something.
After a week or two of waiting for a hematologist appointment (at a cancer center nonetheless), they call to tell me the doctor reviewed my bloodwork and wants me to come in sooner. Great (I think?), but what does it mean? My appointment was moved up to 1/30/17.
If you’ve never been to a hematologist office, I imagine the same protocol throughout, but when it’s your first time, it’s a bit overwhelming. Sign in, insurance, picture, bloodwork before anything, and results within 20 min. I thought I had to fast for bloodwork? I thought it took a few days for bloodwork? No and no… Right then and there. After sitting in the chair, the technician looking for a perfect vein and inputting numbers into the computer (everything is electronic at my office), another patient comes in, that has a port. Well, I had never really heard of much of anything going on, so was curious. Unfortunately, a port is when they access your veins so much, they put a port to either draw blood or put in chemo (or other things I’d be safe to assume), and requires a special nurse and special procedure to access it. It became a little more real where I was sitting at this point.
I get escorted to the exam room, where a PA talks to me, looks at my bloodwork from today (fast) and then leaves to call in the doctor. The doctor, seeing a relatively healthy 34-year old women, examines my stomach and asks if its been swelling or enlarged as of recently. I told her I had a flat stomach in high school, but those days were long gone, and didn’t think much of that interaction until later. The hematologist doesn’t see anything alarming in my bloodwork besides the usual that have been low, but being that I’ve been feeling fine and working, sends me for an ultrasound and refers me to the gastroenterologist. I have my ultrasound performed on 1/31/17.