I’ve been an anemic for as long as I can remember. So, when a routine blood pressure check showed my pressure to be low, I simply replied that it was always low because “I had anemia.” But I could never have imagined that initial exam would be the catalyst for a medical quandary that’s still unresolved, three years later.
What I assumed were basic lab tests ordered by the clinical physician to measure the current levels of my red blood cell counts, were actually performed on both the red and white cells. My records showed the whites were also low.
After reading the results of the new blood work, the doctor informed me that he feared it might be bone marrow failure. Stunned, I thought to myself: bone marrow failure? I had no idea what that was or what it meant.
He tried to reassure me by explaining the specifics of the condition, and adding it was just a preliminary diagnosis. Nonetheless, I was completely numb when I left his office.
Before that day, I was resigned to having anemia. Doctors in the past had given me the impression it was a simple thing. You’re iron-deficient; you take iron supplements, right?
Well, a couple of them had said I wasn’t iron-deficient, meaning I wasn’t anemic. All the while I had associative symptoms. I bruised easily, grew tired frequently, and even wore socks to bed in the summertime. I must be anemic, I concluded.
Although, the contrasting findings did conflict me, once I got over the shock and denial. I located the physician, an internist, who’d given me that dire analysis in 2010. He’d gone into private practice. I believed he was the only one that could help me confirm or rule out whether or not I had bone marrow failure.
Thus, began my medical odyssey.
He referred me to the Ralph Lauren Cancer Center for a bone marrow biopsy. Because my readings fluctuated from low to within normal ranges – the painful procedure was done immediately. It showed nothing abnormal. I didn’t have aplastic anemia or leukemia. Thank goodness.
Back to square one.
Then a chief oncologist helped me to comprehend it all. She was the first person to tell me that anemia was a symptom of something else. That was a huge revelation!
Anemia is not a simple recurring ailment, it needs to be investigated.
Now, the quest to find the cause…
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Medline Plus health Information
CDMRP (Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs)
CDC (Centers for disease Control and Prevention)
ACP Online (American College of Physicians – Internal Medicine)