My new doctor, a hematologist, described me last week as “the healthiest sick person” he’d seen in a long time. When I asked for an explanation he pulled out my blood work from a few weeks ago and told me just by my blood alone I should be flat on my back. Interesting. Basically I’ve been anemic for quite a while. Since the middle of August I’ve been taking special mega doses of iron (special because it has other things in it that keep me from being sick because of the iron), and I’m still very anemic.
In general, I’m really impressed with this new doc. He spent almost 90 minutes with me—asking questions, listening, doing an exam. “No, I don’t chew ice. No, really—chewing ice sounds kind of disgusting and painful. ” “Yes, it hurts there.” ” Ummmmm—UHT milk and powdered milk in Africa, so no, I didn’t drink much milk while I lived there, but I love milk in America.” And on and on. It was good. I don’t think I’ve ever had a doctor spend that much time with me. I’ve rarely felt rushed at any of my doctors’ offices, but this was exceptional. During the exam he found what he calls a mass along my collarbone. Sigh. Hopefully it’s just a blocked gland and nothing terrible.
The good news is he thinks a lot of the things I’ve been struggling within different systems may be related. The better news is he thinks he can figure it out. The not as good news means lots of tests. Last week he ordered 13 vials of blood drawn for different tests. Two days later I had a bleeding time test. Today I had a CAT scan of my chest. I’m taking my temperature twice a day, every day. He wants to do two biopsies, but he’s waiting till all these tests come back before we discuss that more. I’m not really looking forward to those, but if they help determine what’s going on and how to fix it, I’ll be amenable to the pain.
Hopefully, I’ll have something definitive to tell you about in the next week or so.
photo courtesy of Adrian Clark