MY OLD CARCASS

Our family doctor was absolutely dead on target when he said that my problem is that I’m not absorbing iron. I was also right that some of the problem is the rheumatoid arthritis and another chunk of the problem is asthma. But mostly, it’s my body’s inability to absorb iron.

Right now, just to make sure, I’ve gotten blood tests for celiac disease (which could be the real villain) or some weird lower gut infection that you can (apparently) have for years and not realize it’s a disease. I have to run that test, too, then take it to the lab.

It was snowing when we left the hospital today

It’s very unlikely to be any of the blood cancers. The test results — and she had five years of blood tests — show a slow and steady downward slide from mild anemia to something more serious. It’s probably going to require an infusion of iron which will bypass my digestive system and go straight into the bloodstream. The next miracle will be if they can find a couple of usable veins.

I don’t have veins.This is not the result of aging. I never had “good” veins. It’s not worse now than it was when I was 19, but it’s pretty bad. Ironically, my son and granddaughter have the same problem.

The hematologist asked a lot of questions about family health. Growing up, my parents weren’t particularly open or forthcoming about health issues. They considered health a personal, private matter. I understand why they felt that way, but eventually we need to know if our parents had problems which we might have inherited. There were a lot of questions I couldn’t answer because I don’t know the answer. Both my parents are gone, so I can’t ask.

My father didn’t seem to know details about his health. Some of his issues have only recently been determined to be genetic, like obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (what is why I needed all that heart surgery). This disease, which has now been confirmed as genetic, can go undiagnosed for a lifetime — or kill you before you are old enough to drink. Its diagnosis is elusive. The problem is that failure to diagnose means people die who need not, especially young athletes.

I’m not “better,” but I am relieved. Mostly, I’m reasonably sure I don’t have some kind of blood cancer. While infusion is not a pleasant way to get iron, assuming they can somehow find a vein, that’s probably the next step — unless one of the other two tests shows up as positive.



Categories: #Health, #Photography, Anecdote, Medical, UMass Memorial

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22 replies

  1. I also know that finding a vein problem. They will get one but it may require poking around. After years of blood tests, I think my veins are hiding from these obtrusive assistants determined to take my blood like a vampire on a Saturday night.
    I hope all turns out well. I take a daily vitamin for 50+ people but at some point that might not be enough for us.

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    • I have always been on the edge of anemic, pretty much my whole life and sadly, I’ve never had a vein anyone but those who specialize in vein-finding could ever find. I’ve got one more test I have to run (Tuesday), find out if I actually have celiac disease (possible) — and then, one way or the other, we are STILL going to have to pump me full of iron because the anemia is now pretty bad and we have to address is — regardless of what caused it.

      Getting old is an ever changing kaleidoscope of highs, lows, and medical weirdness. But it still beats out the alternative.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sure hope they come up with a good resolution soon, Marilyn! Be well!

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  3. Figure a lot of us are closer to the end than the the beginning.
    I’m just fighting through by second bout with Covid. And really feeling my mortality.
    I’m not ready to go yet though.
    Are we ever?

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    • I suppose it depends on our lives. If we are still curious and interested in living, we aren’t ready to go. But there are people who ARE ready because they are too sick to really have a life or their lives are empty of anything interesting. We aren’t them. So feel better soon! I’m hoping I’ll feel better soon too.

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  4. I hope they can get the correct diagnosis Marilyn.

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    • Working on it. I’m SO tired of health issues. Sadly, the older you get the more your life seems to center around health — yours and other people in your age group. It’s very frustrating, but that’s just (so far), the way it goes.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds like you may be a little closer to an answer, which has to be a good thing 🤗

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  6. glad you are getting a bit of relief, the more information and confirmation you gain, the better to know how to treat what ails you. I am going through a similar situation with my family medical history, only bits and pieces are known or were shared and no one of that era left to ask. we have a long history of various cancers, and no one knows the details, but I’m doing the best I can for my own health care protocols and for my children and grandchildren moving ahead.

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    • Our generation is much better about sharing medical history with our kids, but we learned the hard way that medical secrets can kill you. I wish I’d thought to ask both my parents more about their health and what their doctors actually told them. Some of the things I’m dealing with are relatively new, but other things would have been easily diagnosed even 75 years ago. I wonder how adopted kids figure this stuff out? It must make their medical histories a huge question mark.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. All the best, my dear 🌹
    It’s good your iron deficiency has been uncovered because it is a treatable thing.

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    • I’m happy that finally we are zeroing in on an answer. The anemia — whatever its cause — is treatable, even if finding a vein will be interesting. The final question is whether this is an absorption issue or celiac disease (for which I’ve never been tested). I wish I’d asked more health questions from my parents while they were alive. Privacy is great, but so is information. There were so many times yesterday when I had to answer “I don’t know” to what were no doubt important questions. I don’t know and now, it’s far too late to find out.

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