“What- what are the goals? I- I mean regarding my treatment. I thought I would need screening.”
“Currently, there is no screening for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. The goal of this first phase is to clear the blood of leukaemia cells and to reduce the number of blasts which are very immature cells in the bone marrow to normal. It usually involves treatment with 2 or 3 chemotherapy drugs that are given while you’re in hospital. It takes about a week to give the chemotherapy, and then you’ll stay in the hospital for a few weeks longer.”
“Woah, hang on that’s not possible! Ava could give birth at any time, I mean it’s possible. She’s nearly 25 weeks pregnant. I really can’t do that, not with such short notice.”
“This first phase is very important, I’d strongly suggest that you follow this advice.”
“I’m sorry, it came as a shock that’s all. I thought that I might be able to have treatment from home. I’m so sorry Ava.”
Ava’s bottom lip trembled. “Jesus that’s so scary, you away and me potentially going into labour at any time.”
“You still have possibly 15 weeks to go. When would my chemo start?”
“Shit! That soon? Okay, well that’s good I guess. Ava, I will be there for the birth of our baby, there’s no need to look so terrified!”
Ava pulled her hand away. “I have every right to be! Don’t make promises that are out of your control anyway. Go for the treatment and get this cancer out of your system!”
Oscar pursed his lips, inhaling deeply. “Okay, so the side effects, what about those? I only really know about hair loss.”
“Yes, hair loss is extremely common. You may experience nausea and vomiting, easy bruising, mouth sores and loss of appetite.”
“Well, I have about ¾ of those symptoms anyway. So the others won’t make much difference. I mean what have I to lose?”
“Three days time though Oscar!”
“That’s fine, I-I have no choice.”
“Oscar you’ve gone a horrible colour. Do- do you need some water? You should go and get some fresh air.” Ava whispered.
“Do you have any other questions?”
Oscar shook his head. “N-no. ”
Doctor Cassidy nodded. “We will ring you within the next couple of days so that we can sort out your medication. Don’t go rushing off, have a sit down for a few minutes if you need to, or have a drink in the cafeteria. ”
“Thanks.” Oscar whispered as he vacantly stood up not waiting for Ava and wandered out into the corridor. A woman dressed in a long brown coat and frizzy hair flashed past his blurry eyes. He stared as she darted past, running after her. It was May, he was sure of it. His hearing was failing him, what was happening? “May.” He called in a voice so tiny, no one heard him. Oscar swayed, reaching out for the wooden handrail, completely missing it as he slumped to the floor.
“Jesus Oscar! Oscar?!”
His eyes flickered open, the blurry image of faces looming over him. He felt gentle hands prop him up against the wall, helping him to place his aching head between his knees. ‘ The sound is so bizarre, what is happening ?’ He placed a hand to his burning forehead. Too many people crowding him. ‘I need to get away, I need fresh air.’ He thought. Oscar crouched onto his hands and knees, reaching for the wall and attempted to stand. He felt a reassuring hand against his back, the sound coming to a halt, as he plummeted into darkness.
To be continued….