Ignoring the Problem Won’t Fix It

Josephine, a diabetic from Baltimore

Every time I got a blood test my red blood cell count was low, but my doctor couldn’t pinpoint the reason.  We actually ignored it for a bit.  Eventually, my level got so low my doctor thought I was bleeding internally.  At that point, he sent me for a colonoscopy, then an upper GI endoscopy.  Neither found a problem. 

Eventually, I found my way to a hematologist and oncologist in Baltimore.  It seemed as if he instantly knew what was wrong!  He diagnosed me with iron deficiency anemia and quickly began treating me.

I am also a diabetic, so when I experienced some loss of kidney function, fatigue and felt generally down, I had assumed these symptoms were related to my diabetes.  I used to have trouble getting out of bed, but not anymore.  Once I began my treatment plan for IDA, I had more energy.  I was able to get on my stationary bike again, and walking was no longer a chore.  As my hematologist says, he’s my gas station so whenever I’m feeling low on gas it’s time to come in and see him again.

If it wasn’t for his diagnosis, I’m not sure where I would be today. 

To any patient out there who’s had low red blood cell counts, don’t wait to talk to your doctor.  Follow your doctor’s advice, but also find a hematologist if your doctor’s suggestions don’t seem to work.  Hematologists are trained to recognize and treat iron deficiency anemia.