There’s Always Something

Yesterday I went to my doctor’s office to see what it was that she called me back for. I was pretty sure something must have shown up on the blood test that had been done last week, but since they made the appointment for a week later and said it was nothing ‘urgent’ I wasn’t worried about it.

As soon as she called me in she started talking about something called Polycythemia. She kept calling it by name as if I was a medical encyclopedia but I hadn’t the slightest clue what it was she was talking about. When I asked her to explain she simply said that it meant that my complete blood count showed a higher than normal amount of red blood cells, which causes your blood to become too thick. Unsettling. Thoughts of heart attacks, strokes and embolisms were all that I associated with blood that was too thick. When I went to write it down so that I could look it up on the internet she said to nevermind, which by the time I got home I understood why; it’s a very creepy, incurable, disorder and she didn’t want me to worry before it was necessary. If I do have the disorder it would be in the very early stages, where treatment is not needed. If this time next year when they do the CBC again and I still have too many red blood cells or if the amount has increased then I think she will begin to deal more with it.

Some facts about Polycythemia: there are about 1 in every 200,000 people who have it. Marfan syndrome is considered ‘rare’ at 1 in 5,000. It’s also very rare for anyone under the age of 40 to have the disorder and it’s more common in men than women. My first thought when reading that was sounds like something I’d get. If it’s uncommon I seem to pick it up. It can be caused by a gene mutation (sound familiar?) that causes the bone marrow to over produce red blood cells. When looking through the potential complications of the disorder you’d think your reading through a medical nightmare: stroke, heart attack, pulmonary embolism, kidney dysfunction, gout, leukemia, myelofibrosis (a disorder in which the bone marrow is replaced by scar tissue), and the list goes on and on. So yeah, I understand my doc not wanting me to look into too much and subsequently be freaked out.

Some treatment options are a phlebotomy, in which about 1 unit of blood is removed in order to reduce blood thickness, this is done in accordance to how severe your disorder is, the worse off you are the more often the procedure is performed. Chemotherapy is sometimes used as well, though it’s use for this disorder is controversial. A medication called Hydroxyurea can also be used to decrease the risk of blood clots forming. It can cause a flood of nasty side effects like vomiting, nausea, hair loss, bone marrow toxicity and so on.

In a nutshell I was not expecting any of that. It’s a bunch of freaky stuff to say the least. I pray that I don’t have this disorder and that the abnormality in my blood they see now will just fade or stay the same without ever increasing. But if not then I’ll deal with it when the time comes. For now I’ll put this information and worry in the locked space in my mind for all that there is to be afraid of. I won’t think any more of it until it’s necessary.

“There was a dream, and one day I could see it. Like a bird in a cage, I broke in and demanded that somebody free it.” – Head Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise by The Avett Brothers

{Any medical terms and/or definitions featured on this blog have been thoroughly researched by me as to not lead to any false consumption of information by the reader. Though, that aside; I am not a doctor and the medical information on this site should not be taken as a substitute for the advice of medical professionals. If you’re experiencing any health issues don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.}

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