Monday, March 26, 2012


So where'd I leave off? Oh yes - diagnosis.

I can very clearly remember the day. I had not gone into work (I had been trying very hard to keep my normal 9-5 work schedule, since it was a new job & I didn't want them to think I was being dramatic or that I'd be a 'problem') I went to the laundromat to do the piles & piles of laundry that had built up. Then, I made my way to the hospital. I remember my hair being pulled back in a very messy ponytail. Gord's mom, dad, brother & sister in-law were in the room when I walked in. Gord was sitting up in bed casually sipping from a gigantic Booster Juice cup.
A couple of days before, we had to go to Princess Margaret for a bone marrow biopsy. That is when I started to understand things were serious.
So that day, when I walked in, they had received the biospy results: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

I cried. I cried & cried. I knew nothing about what Leukemia was, and I certainly didn't know anything about how they treated it. They told us not to google. Gord was sent home a couple of days after that. They told him he'd be admitted into PMH to begin his 'induction', which would last a month. They'd call us when a bed was available.

So he came home, and we hung out kind of like normal - just waiting for them to call us & tell us they had room for him. There were a bunch of appointments he had to go to - tests to make sure he could handle the treatment and one to get his Hickman line inserted. I had no idea what a Hickman was - and I don't think Gord did either. They can *tell* you they are going to insert tubes into your chest that go into your heart, but that's kind of hard to picture until you actually see it. The day I came home from work & he showed me.... I stared. 'Oh, so they LITERALLY inserted tubes into your chest?' 'Yeah, looks like it, huh?'

He was only home for about a week and a half before they called to say there was a spot. Saturday November 3rd, 2007.
The night before, some of his friends from work were gathering for drinks - someone's going away or birthday or welcome back, I forget exactly. But we went out. We went out & drank beer & he laughed & carried on with people & a bunch of them sat & talked to me about how much they liked Gord, about what a great guy he was. It was fun.
The next morning, he got all his stuff packed up & his friend Geordie came & drove us to the hospital.

Weekends at PMH are quiet - everything was so quiet, except for the sounds of his roommate throwing up on the other side of the curtain that separated their beds. The nurse gently told us that 'He's not having a very good day....'

This was going to be home base for the next 4 weeks or so - this room in this hospital that would become something of a second home to us. Geordie left, I went to pick up some things Gord needed, and I came back in the evening. The only other thing that stands out so incredibly clearly to me is that night, Gord was feeling good, he wasn't hooked up to anything, he had all his hair, he was wearing his normal clothes & we were just hanging out in this....this hospital. We found one of the quiet rooms & cuddled on the couch, just like at home. It was so hard for me to accept that he was sick because to me, at that time, he was still so strong, so healthy. We talked about what was ahead of us (or what we thought was ahead - they didn't tell us much) and he cried. I remember exactly what made him cry: "I love Canada so much & I haven't seen all of it". I promised him we would.

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