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10/3/2016 Latest post:
I'm not exactly sure when things started happening this summer, just that I often felt worn out and tired quicker than I thought I should. At the end of May, I was turned down for donating blood because my heart rate was over 100. I had to wait 2 weeks to try again, and on June 18, I was turned down again with iron levels at 29% when they needed to be over 40. Again, I didn't think much of it and started taking iron supplements. I started taking it more seriously when it began to be difficult to play softball or stack hay because I would be exhausted so quickly. [Never stopped me from doing either, just made it tough. :) ] At the end of July, when I walked a couple hundred feet from the house to the shop and my legs felt like jelly, I knew it was time to do something. I still felt fine so I had blood work done and the results came back that most of my blood cell counts were half or less of what they should have been. I began much more aggressive iron doses with things continuing normally until August 9. I was replacing shingles on my garage roof when I started having pretty severe stomach pain. I went home and tried to sleep it off but by midnight it was worse yet, leaving me short of breath. I went in to Good Samaritan Hospital by ambulance and the doctors started trying to figure out what was going on. Numerous chest and stomach x-rays and CAT scans showed several ulcers in my small intestine that were causing the blood loss. ( From the middle of August until the end of September, I needed a blood transfusion about every 2 weeks- a total of 7 units of blood in five transfusions) They also found a swollen lymph node under my left arm which they removed and biopsied, certain that it was lymphoma. The results came back negative and my first bone marrow biopsy came back normal. A stomach scope and colonoscopy failed to get close enough to the ulcers to biopsy so Good Samaritan referred me to Hershey. I was in GHS for a week and a half, home for the weekend and in for another week and a half, then at Hershey for a week. Hershey did a more extensive stomach scope and was able to biopsy several of the nine small intestine ulcers. While waiting for results, they diagnosed my condition as Tuberculosis in the small intestine. I was put on four different antibiotics that I would need to take for about a year. At the time, I was relieved that it was not anything more serious. Two weeks later, the last week of September, a doctor from Hershey called to tell me that the ulcer biopsy results had come back and it was a confirmed case of advanced, high grade B-cell Lymphoma.