Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Scatological studies

On my bone marrow biopsy, they found no iron stores. That is very rare in men. Could mean internal blood loss.

But wait you say, you're vegan. Couldn't that explain it? Well, vegan may have no good source of B12, but all iron comes from the ground and is found in many leafy greens (the cows you meat eaters boast of for their high iron content got theirs from eating greens). Veganism does not explain away my low iron.

But you said you are not anemic. That's reassuring, isn't it? Sorry, but that is the last place an iron deficiency shows up. An analogy: The car may still have a full tank of gas, but the petrol station is bone dry.

You might even know that ferritin, the terribly important iron binding protein, is a very sensitive marker of low iron stores and yours is normal so no worries, mate. But remember that CLL is a looking glass world where appearance can deceive, and all things protein and protean are not reliable. Ferritin levels fluctuate with inflammation and are less trustworthy in CLL.

The real contradiction is that the iron studies in my blood, the total iron, the percent that is bound, and the total iron binding capacity are all within normal limits. That makes no sense with no iron in the marrow.

Add it up and what do you get? A contradiction. Now that is familiar CLL territory.

Likely my iron is fine in both my blood and in my marrow, but the test was messed up. It was a poor specimen, and the leaching technique to get rid of the calcium for the iron stain, if not done perfectly, can botch the results.

So how is this scatological? Seems more hematological?

Because the contradiction must be resolved, I need a colonoscopy and EGD tomorrow to make sure I am not bleeding from some occult GI source. Time for a look-see. My last scope was when I turned 50, so it's time anyway.

For those of you who have experienced the prep, you know I am not leaving home tonight. I am not even venturing far from the toilet.

Now you get the scatology.

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Blogger Alison said...

Good luck, Brian!

October 6, 2009 at 8:03 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

50, I thought you were only 45. Hang in there, you are the poster man for CLL.

October 7, 2009 at 5:42 AM  

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