Yesterday was a very strange day dotted with both good and bad news. I guess the best way to tell it, is to just start at the beginning.
I was a bit uptight as I drove to work. All I could think about was getting the test results so we could move forward in one direction or another with Don's treatment. Although the doctors office did not open until 9, I put a call into the answering service anyway, requesting a call back.
When I walked into my work and approached my desk, I noticed something strange as well. People were gathered together in small groups talking softly between themselves.
I approached. "What is going on?"
"Mike's daughter died last night." one of the ladies responded.
My heart ached for him. Mike is a co-worker of mine. A jovial kind of a guy who works in a different department, but would always lend a hand to help anyone. His 25 year old daughter suffered from a life long birth defect that recently required her to have open heart surgery. We still do not know the exact details, but last I had heard, she was suffering with pneumonia.
Soon after I had settled into my desk, I got the call from Don telling me he had found the dead baby lamb. Since he was already dressed for work and heading out the door, I told him that I would bury it when I got home. This news made the anxiety of waiting for the doctors call even worse. I took a break and called the doctors office again.
"Hi, this is Julie and I am calling to get the Viral Load test results for my husband." I said trying to sound cheery.
"Oh hi Julie, let me get you the nurse. The doctor will not be in the office today until 2pm." the receptionist replied, and I was placed on hold.
A moment later Roxanne came on the line. Roxanne is our favorite nurse. She is kind, smart, attentive...and it is sooooo obvious that she has a crush on Don. I don't mind a bit. Because of that, she stays on top of everything she has control over and gets things done.
"Hi Julie." she said without hesitation."Dr. A got the results last night but he took them with him when he left. He will be in at 2 and I will have him call you then."
a short hesitation followed. I told her thank you before I hung up the phone. I knew in my heart the results were not good. If Roxanne knew the doctor had the results, I knew she knew what they said. The doctor had told us that we could call and get the results from the nurse - so for him to need to talk to us was not a good sign.
I not-so-patiently waited until 2pm before making another call. It confirmed what I had suspected. Don's Viral Load was 23,000. We were hoping for -0- which is referred to as "undetected" and at the most a count of 4,000. Dr. A told me to keep Don on the meds he was taking, but that he wanted us to go to a Hepatitis specialist as well. I jotted down the name and number of another doctor and ended the call.
I took a few deep breaths before I called Don. It is difficult to understand the strange processes of this disease. After all, he started at 400,000, so a drop down to 23,000 seems like a huge success after 12 weeks of meds - right?? Statistically though, you want the number to be -0- and even then you still need to stay on the meds for almost a year. You see, your blood saturates every part of your body...every organ and tissue from your head to your toes. If there is any hepatitis left, it will regenerate. Patients who have completed the treatments must return for Viral Load tests for years after treatment and sadly some again will test positive for HCV. It is a very difficult disease to conquer.
On my drive home, Don and I again talked. He asked me some more questions and I did my best to answer. He is so amazing to me. Not once does he turn his head to look back. He just keeps forging ahead. Don, if you are reading this .. I just want to tell you that you are my inspiration and I adore every part of you. I will never give up doing what I can to get us through this. God brought us together, kept us together and I have never been as happy as I am with you right now! I love you with all of my heart.
* * * * * * * * * *
When I got home, I changed clothes, ate and headed outside to do my chores. I grabbed the shovel and headed for the lambs pen to bury the little guy. I stopped dead in my tracks. There in front of me was a baby lamb standing in the herd. Honestly, my first thought was to question Don's ability to tell a dead animal from a live one! (sorry honey)..but in actuality, our 3rd ewe gave birth earlier that day. I still had to bury the dead lamb, but the day ended on a very happy note as we had a new little life on our farm! I will try and post some pictures tomorrow.