At 62 years of age, I’ve had more than my fair share of health problems. In 1985, I was working as an electrician in the coal mines when I slipped and grabbed a live wire. After 20 minutes of CPR I was revived, but had to overcome injuries to my body as well as my brain. I made a big decision to improve my health shortly after 9/11 when I underwent gastric bypass surgery, cutting my weight from 460 to just 196 pounds.
My wife and I thought the worst was behind us. In early 2012, however, we were dealt a new blow. I started to get so tired that I couldn’t even get out of bed – let alone farm just five acres of corn on our 300 acres of farmland. My wife is a former nurse, so she recognized the signs of anemia. Tests at my doctor’s office confirmed that my iron was very low.
We tried several ways to manage my condition, but nothing seemed to work at first. My fatigue grew worse. It got to the point where I was only getting out of bed to use the bathroom. At the same time, I had insomnia, waking up several times every night, sometimes as often as 10 times. I grew so pale that I blended in with our white sheets and just looked very sickly. As my symptoms worsened, I started to get a bit depressed. My grandfather lived to be 105 and was able to do more at 80 than I could in my early 60s.
My doctor recommended I visit a hematologist to better assess my iron deficiency. My wife and I drove over 350 miles to meet the specialist – and it was worth every mile. We finally got the answers we were looking for.
Now, I feel better than I did in my 40s. I just went fishing for the first time in a year. I’m mending fences, chopping firewood for local campers, working on my tractors and four-wheelers – all activities I had despaired of doing again just last year. Even my grandkids have commented on the color coming back into my face.
If only I had known how good I would feel with the right care, I would never have hesitated to seek out an expert like the hematologist I saw. At this time last year, my wife couldn’t drag me out of bed and now she can barely keep up with me. I wish everyone knew that a good diagnosis and care plan can make a world of difference in your day-to-day life.