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My reply was somewhat in jest, but not entirely. But, yes, for several years I would have my annual Medicare exam with blood tests including CBC, CMP, thyroid, lipids, PSA and a few others. Those labs were all relatively normal and every year my doc would say “see you next year”. But yet, I didn’t feel good with low energy, night sweats, itching to name a few.

I always found it interesting that my previous internist never ran an automated or manual differential along with the CBC each year. I then bought a direct-to-consumer CBC panel but with a differential and went to Quest Diagnostics to have it done. When the results came back my lymphocytes were extremely elevated, near 11,000 as I recall, although the CBC overall was reasonably normal.

Then I sent the Quest results to my new internist on MyChart and asked what could be causing my lymphocytosis. His PA called me back immediately and asked if I could come in the next morning. Of course I did and he then ran a myriad of additional tests and referred me to a hematologist/oncologist who ran another battery of blood, imaging, genetic, immune, biopsy, etc. testing. I’m sure you know the drill. It turned out I did have blood cancer like some of my other family members have.

So if I had taken my previous internist's word that I was fine, I never would have discovered I had SLL. It’s definitely worth it to be one’s own advocate.

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Replies to "Lori: My reply was somewhat in jest, but not entirely. But, yes, for several years I..."

Absolutely, I firmly believe we have to be our own advocates for healthcare. I know from experience, too, that a CBC without differential doesn’t necessarily paint the entire picture. So I’m glad you were able to finally get the diagnosis for SLL with a little more sleuthing. Your symptoms should have warranted more research with that first appointment. Fortunatly SLL is generally very slow to develop.
So you have other members in your family with SLL? That is one of the few forms of leukemia that may have a genetic link. Are you or any of the family members in treatment?

Are you saying that your WBC was normal but the lymphocytes were around 11,000? It was my high WBC, around 15.000, that prompted further testing.