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Losing a Loved One to Leukemia

I really don't know much about Leukemia.  Honestly, I don't know anything about it at all. But I do know it is an ugly disease that took our family by surprise.

My father in law goes for routine blood work every 3 months.  He has been doing it for over 25 years.  On his most recent test he received a phone call from his doctor's office telling him to go the ER immediately.

He is 87 and was frightened by the phone call so he called us to take him.  It seems on his most recent test, his white blood cell count was 70000.  I don't know what a normal count is, but from what I read, this is extremely high.  Also, his platelets were very low.

He spent a week in the hospital getting all kinds of tests, but the doctors knew right away what the prognosis would be.  He also had strange scratch looking marks on him that were indicative of his condition.

The sad thing about this is that there are things that can be done to help fight this ugly disease, but at his age it would be very difficult for him to go through the battle and we wouldn't want him to live out the rest of his days in pain and the treatments would probably kill him anyway.  They tried platelet infusions, but they only held up for a day and dropped again.

About a week after initially being sent home from the hospital we were called by my brother in law informing us that my father in law fell in the bathroom.  He tried walking on his own in the middle of the night and got light headed.  From what I was told, this is the first time this had happened.  He was again rushed to the hospital because with his condition, he can bleed internally.

After going through all kinds of tests and scan to check for fractures and internal bleeding, he has been sent home again and put on hospice to live out the rest of his days.  He now knows that he can not walk on his own and hasn't taken any steps without assistance since.  He spends most of his days sleeping because his body is so weak from trying to fight his disease.

Right now, other than fatigue and bruising from his falls, he seems to be in good spirits.  He tells us he lived a full life and spends his days telling us stories of olden days when he was young.  He wants to make sure we know the story of his life.  He was a war veteran, a fire chief, loving husband and father and to me he is a great father in law.

His sense of humor, great stories of growing up in the olden days and caring heart are the things I want to remember most about him.

It is amazing how only a couple of weeks ago he was up and about driving around, visiting friends on a daily basis and being pretty independent for his age and now he is bedridden, unable to walk, weak and frail.

My hope is that he doesn't fight a long battle and doesn't get to a point where he begins to suffer.  I pray each day that he goes peacefully.

I lost my parents when I was very young to heart and lung diseases and I use to get angry at the fact that I lost them so young. But as I matured I realized how selfish I was for feeling angry.  My mother had been suffering for years with COPD and was getting to a point that she was in a lot of pain.  Now looking back, it was a blessing that she didn't have to suffer more than she already was.  I am glad God took her before she was in tremendous pain and I am thankful for the times I had with her.

This is the mindset I have now with my father in law.  I don't want to see him suffer and go through pain.  As much as I love him and care about him, it would be selfish for me to want him to be here just so that we could have him with us.  I know there is no cure for him and I know that things can go bad quickly.  I now just pray that his suffering is short and the Lord takes him home peacefully.

Life is fragile.  Handle with prayer.


  1. My thoughts and prayers are with the whole family.

    1. Kay I am so sorry I never responded to this. I just saw it. Thank you.

  2. Update: My father in law passed shortly after his diagnosis. He did go peacefully.


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