You remember Ruthie’s Brigade, right? Why, they are my family, dear friends and you faithful readers who made up my treasured and much-needed support network when I did battle with breast cancer in 2014!

I am calling on my Brigadiers once again. As you know, I have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AFib) and am taking Eliquis.

Ah-ha, it doesn’t stop there, folks.  A few weeks ago, during a follow-up visit with my oncologist and after some blood work, he noted that my red blood cell count was too high. After a repeat blood test last week, he confirmed I have erythrocytosis, a blood disorder resulting in an increased number of red blood cells.

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But wait! There’s more! An appointment with the cardiologist regarding the AFib brought another shot from left field which blindsided me: I have pulmonary hypertension.

“Pulmonary hypertension is a life-threatening condition that gets worse over time, but treatments can help your symptoms so you can live better with the disease. It may take some planning, but plenty of people who have it find ways to do all the things they love, just as they did before they were diagnosed.

“Having pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) means that you have high blood pressure in the arteries that go from your heart to your lungs. It’s different from having regular high blood pressure.”

OK, so there you have it. I did see a pulmonary specialist; she has scheduled me for pulmonary function testing.  As far as the erythrocytosis, a phlebotomy has been scheduled which should bring the numbers down. If that happens, this condition will be monitored; if not, more blood will be taken until the numbers are in the normal range.

At this point, I haven’t asked about treatment, prognosis, etc. My mind is on overload; I will move along one test at a time and when we get the answers that will be soon enough for me to ask about treatment and what to expect.

Dear Brigadiers, please send up prayers—all denominations are accepted and welcome. This is a different battle and one that frightens me. I’ll keep you posted on the upcoming skirmishes!