Two weeks had passed since Ed was discharged from the isolation ward at Beebe Hospital. Ed’s immune system has improved greatly and his white cell count had risen to 6,400.
Mary, the receptionist, greeted Ed and Pattie as they checked in. Today was the appointment for Ed’s bone marrow biopsy. The bone marrow biopsy was something Ed was apprehensive over, not knowing how it was performed and wondering would hurt and for how long. Well, Ed surmised, “We are going to find out”.
Soon, Nurse Erica came and escorted Ed and Pattie back to the infusion room where she took Ed’s vitals, then to the procedure room off to one side of the infusion area. There they were met by Dr. Asif, Ed’s oncologist, who would perform the procedure. Dr. Asif began to explain the procedure saying he would penetrate an area to the left of the tip of Ed’s spine. An area of large bone mass known as the “ilium.” It would be there that he hoped to obtain a good core sample of bone marrow. He would give Ed lidocaine to ease the pain but that would only work on the soft tissue and as the biopsy needle penetrated the bone, pain would increase. Dr. Asif would work as fast as possible to help alleviate the pain.
Pattie was seated nearby as Ed laid face down on the examining table he received an injection of lidocaine and shortly afterwards the biopsy needle was inserted. Ed had faced greater pain before but this was right up there at the top of the scale from 1 to 10. Quickly it was over, and Dr. Asif paused to examine the specimen in case it was not adequate. Well, guess what, it was not adequate so a second attempt was made. Ed withstood the pain remarkably well and the second sample, upon examination, was determined to be successful. As Ed sat up he could feel residual pain but found it tolerable and it would be almost gone by dinner time.
Three days later, Ed and Pattie returned for a follow up with Dr. Asif on the results of the bone marrow biopsy. After checking in with the receptionist, Nurse Erica came in promptly and escorted them back to the normal examinations rooms. As they walked down that long corridor that Ed dreaded because of the view it gave inside the wig store, his anxiety gave way to surprise as the windows of the wig store were now frosted. As they continued on down the corridor, Ed felt a sense of pride believing that because he wrote an article in CURE about the discomfort it caused him (and maybe others) he brought about change. The large clear windows were now all frosted.
Soon after Nurse Erica took Ed’s vitals and left them in an exam room waiting for Dr. Asif to bring in the results of the bone marrow biopsy. As Dr. Asif entered the room he was beaming from ear to ear with a big smile and announced, “As of right now you are CANCER FREE.” The feeling of elation Ed and Pattie both felt as they embraced each other is still within their hearts and they will be eternally grateful for the grace of God and his blessings.
As the joy of the moment came under control, Dr. Asif continued, “Your immune system is still recovering and your white cell count is 6,400 and I feel that is good enough for you to proceed with you heart surgery to replace your aortic valve. I will contact Dr. Sunnergren, your cardiologist, and update him. I want to see you every 30 days for a few months to be sure we don’t have any regression with your immune system.”
As Ed and Pattie walked down the long corridor past the wig store, Ed pointed to the frosted windows and said to Pattie, “I did that, I made it happen.” Pattie responded with “I bet you did.” Ed said “Well maybe I did and maybe I didn’t but it is rewarding to think that maybe I did have something to do with it.”
Two days later, Ed returned to the infusion room to bring the good news to the infusion staff and supply them with his traditional gift of Fairytale Brownies. While there, he “rang the gong” one more time as a cancer survivor. Once more as the infusion staff gathered around to clap and wish Ed congratulations. Happiness crept out of the comers of Ed’s eyes and ran down his cheeks.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28