Saturday, May 17, 2014

Iron , not ironing!

Back to see the Doc again today. Still have a problem with iron, or rather the lack of it. I had the usual test last thursday and got the call to come on it. Everything we good, or explainable, except the iron. There is some issue with my blood glucose levels, but the blame there can rest squarely on the shoulders of the Easter Bunny! Everything else is good ... except iron.

Whilst not being a rabid carnivore I always thought I ate enough red meat as I haven't really had an issue with low iron before the Thyroid Cancer.  Even after the partial and total thyroidectomy there was no hint that I was anaemic. In fact I was amazed at how well I felt after all three operations. None of the dozens of blood tests I had back then showed any issue.  That was back in August 2012.    Since the Radioactive Ablation in February 2013 there has been a consistent problem with energy, or rather the lack of it, depleted iron levels and a low blood count. Beginning September 2013 the Doc started to hunt for the answer and since then I have had every test known to man to isolate the issue. I have been tested for pretty much every kind of cancer and they have all come back with reasonable results, but with nothing to flag an iron issue. 

As part of that ongoing investigation I was referred to a gastric specialist in January.  In February he, amongst other things, implanted a camera in my stomach while I was under general anaesthetic to rule out bleeding ulcers or coeliac disease as a reason the the iron problems. Again everything came back normal and whilst normal is a good thing it doesn't help when I can't lift my head off the pillow or walk any distance without having to rest and recover.  The gastro bloke reckoned I wasn't consuming enough red meat and so he gave instructions as to how much red meat I needed to consume before the next round of tests.   I have now undertaken a "meat feast" where I have had red meat at least once a day, every day and am also taking iron supplements.   Those results caused the call in from the Doc today. Yes, the numbers have improved a little, but I am still way off "normal". 

The effects of the iron deficiency are becoming a real issue. Gone are the days of an afternoon spent mowing. I can now do about 10 minutes without having to stop and rest.   So if the iron issue isn't a new cancer, coeliac disease, bleeding ulcers, or lack of consumption what is causing the problem??? I asked if it was from being made Radioactive and so Doc is now turning his mind to that as a cause. 
Thyroid cancer does affect a lot of people, but it is not high profile and as such there is little information available on the net in Australia about it. If you were to search the Australian Cancer Council website you would struggle to find anything more than a passing reference to Thyroid Cancer. Searching worldwide does glean a little more information and today I think I hit pay dirt with a couple of lines on an America Thyroid Cancer Survivors website. The following words were buried in a link about Radioactive Ablation under the title "Other potential side effects of RAI" (RAI being the acronym the americans use for Radioactive Ablation). Anyway it said... "Temporary or permanent decreases in blood cell counts can also occur. " YIPEE!!!! Finally a possible reason the lack of iron. Today one of the things Doc said was that my blood count was finally on the rise. So hopefully with some further research by the qualified one ( I rate my Doc, he rocks)  there might be an answer coming.   He is also trying to organise a transfusion for me of chemically manufactured iron (as opposed to a blood product).  This might take some weeks or even months to arrange, but the process has begun.  

Hoping to feel quite normal again sometime soon.  

This may well have been the cause of the iron issues.  Not really the case of what doesn't kill us makes us stronger!!!

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