Medical Mystery

I love a good mystery when it is in a book. In real life, not so much and when it involves health and medical stuff, not at all.  My dad’s health is presenting the medical conundrum.

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Dad’s ankles and feet have been swollen since early October. At first he blamed it on being stuck in a middle seat and not being able to climb out over the aisle guy on the long flight to South Africa That may have been the trigger but would not explain why his ankles and feet are still so swollen over a month later. Dad also has no energy or desire to eat.

It all started snowballing when Dad went for pre-op labs for his scheduled hernia surgery back in early November. The bloodwork showed that Dad was severely anemic with an elevated white blood count. Dad’s primary care doctor sent him to a gastroenterologist, Dr. Stein. An upper and lower GI later showed no cause for the anemia or elevated wbc. It did show that Dad has an irregular Z-line due to his acid reflux. Dad swallowed a camera pill to have the rest of his intestines looked at. The camera showed minor bleeding in the small intestines. So off we went to a different specialist for that.

In between Dad was sent to a hematologist, Dr. Conlon, to see if he can figure out what is going on. Dr. Conlon ordered up more bloodwork as well as bone marrow biopsies and culture. At this point Dad’s hemoglobin was down to 7.2. On the positive side the white blood count is slowly dropping but still elevated.

As of this past week the bone marrow biopsies showed that Dad is producing red blood cells and the bone marrow is normal. Leukemia and Lymphoma has been ruled out. One of the CT scans shows a lesion on Dad’s liver which is now the focus and concern. Dad has a liver MRI scheduled for Friday morning.

Today Dad is getting the small intestine fixed. The doctor slides the small intestine on a tiny tube with a camera and laser on the tip of it. When bleeding shows up, the spot is cauterized. All the specialists Dad has seen so far agree that the intestinal bleeding is so minimal that it is NOT causing the extreme anemia. Dad is getting it fixed because it needs to be done and hopefully will help him feel better.

Dad’s next appointment with Dr. Conlon is Dec. 22nd. Hopefully the liver MRI will provide some answers to what is going on inside Dad.

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