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My stepmom just died yesterday of acute aggressive leukemia at age 82, the worst kind of leukemia to have said the doctor. We got the diagnosis today.

We are reeling not understanding why no diagnosis was made sooner. Her symptoms were fatigue, anemia for two years and a lung infection that would not go away since spring.

I understand that in her case, it was good she went quick and didn't suffer much and the doctor said there was no treatment for her. But what we do not understand is why they didn't pick this up on her blood tests earlier. They knew she was anemic for 2 years. But what gets me is she went in again a few weeks ago after losing 30 lbs and being too weak to walk, and they didn't bother to check her blood count. My dad said, "Hey, did you check the anemia?" and the nurse said no, okay we'll check it and they did and said "Oh my god. she has no red blood cells, send her to the hospital now."

In the hospital they found she had pnemonia, and by then she started throwing up blood, but was conscious until the day before she died, which was a week later. the doctor said he had never seen anyone with such a low blood count still alive. They gave her 4 units of blood immediately, then another a few days later, then finally made the leukemia diagnosis (first said it was aplastic anemia but the doc at Virginia Mason ordered more tests saying it looked like leukemia). When they told her she had leukemia, she decided to die and they quit the blood transfusions and antibiotics on Wed and she died on Sunday.

Today, one day after her death, we finally got the final diagnosis of acute aggressive leukemia. Is it just me or are the doctors not picking these diseases up when they should? How could this have been picked up earlier? I know she's elderly and it wouldn't have mattered, but what about someone else who could have been treated? The doctor said she probably had leukemia for one to two years before it went aggressive.

In her case, she was spared knowing she had leukemia until one week before she died. But I just read about the very young man who could possibly have been saved had the doctors told him to see an oncologist with that high white blood cell count. That makes me sick.


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