You are CONSTANTLY under a microscope. ESPECIALLY when seeing new doctors.
Last month I fired my oncologist and moved to a new one. Of course, that means all new blood work and millions of forms to be filled out.
And usually new issues to tack on to my never-ending list of medical conundrums.
Maybe though this time, the problem might actually explain many nagging issues and actually have a solution.
My blood work showed really low iron levels. Actually critically low was the term she used. For females normal ferritin levels are 12-150 ng/mL although they prefer somewhere around 50.
Mine were 5. Yes, you read that right…5.
(And normal serum iron levels are 60-170 mcg/dL…mine are 32.)
Come to find out, my blood work showed almost exactly the same levels back in January and my old oncologist missed it. Not at all happy about that. If he missed it 5 months ago, how long had it been missed? Sort of like my actual diagnosis, the AF doctors missed it for 2 years. Lose weight and it will all go away…yeah. Yes, I need to lose weight but THAT obviously wasn’t the “fix”.
So, I came home with a “label” of iron deficiency anemia, an Rx for ferrous sulfate 3x a day and folic acid 1x a day. She’s also concerned about WHY I am so low in iron. If I still had cycles, she would just blame it on that, but I had a hysterectomy back in September, so it isn’t that. I’m also not vegetarian (although I do lean that way). Instead, lucky me also came home with a referral for a colonoscopy since she is concerned about internal bleeding. Lucky me.
If the pills don’t work and the tests don’t show any issues, next step will be iron via IV infusions. These pills better dang well do their job.
I started doing some research on iron deficiency anemia because before the blood work, I had no clue I had it. Mayo clinic listed several…
Extreme fatigue – check.
Pale skin – check.
Weakness – check.
Shortness of breath – check.
Headache – check.
Dizziness or lightheadedness – check.
Cold hands and feet – check.
Irritability – check.
Inflammation or soreness of tongue – nope.
Brittle nails – check.
Fast heartbeat – check.
Unusual cravings – ummm nope.
Poor appetite – nope.
Restless legs syndrome – check.
How many years have I been complaining about some of these symptoms and how much worse they have gotten? All along we have blamed it on the cancer but, what if it isn’t? I mean several of these are the same symptoms as leukemia, but what if all along the severity of the symptoms was caused by lack of iron and no one bothered to look?
I am just thankful that I took the uncomfortable step of firing a doctor and moving on. Now I just pray there is nothing wrong “down there” and these yucky red pills work.