Thursday, 14 January 2010


Like most of the population, apart from Bournemouth who haven't had snow, I have now had enough!

I made my way to the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford, skidding along my lane until I came to a road that was more drive able... joined the queues onto the ring road and stayed in nose to bumper traffic for an hour and a bit. Then came the trauma of trying to park the car at the JR with no electric parking signs working, cars abandoned all over the place, cars skidding into parked ones... in all another 35 minutes until I abandoned my car on a patch of snow-covered grass under a tree.

I entered the nearest door and then walked for another 15 minutes until I found the Radiology Department. I expected to wait another 30 minutes, but amazingly I was shown straight in and then began the ultrasound on my abdomen. In conclusion, and with phone calls to my GP and other departments, it seems my problem is Hemochromatosis (iron overload in the body) ... an inherited condition that if untreated at the early stages inevitably leads to Diabetes, Heart attack and or disease, Lung disease, Kidney disease or failure, Stroke and Liver failure. Not the news I wanted to hear. So now I have to see a specialist, will need an MRI scan to see what damage has occurred and will probably have to have blood taken from me on a very regular basis in order to try and remove the stored iron in my organs. Of course I looked it all up on the NHS website and I may now have a shortened lifespan as a result. It explains my brother's diabetes and my parents' and grandparents' early death from Heart disease and Stroke.

Of course, I've been doing all the wrong things for the past 9 months... due to feeling tired all the time, I increased my iron intake via supplements... wrong move! I've been eating all the wrong foods; salmon, liver, steak etc - all high in iron. I should drink more Tea (Tanning helps reduce iron intake); avoid red meat, shellfish and any sugary foods. I look pale, sometimes grey and am losing weight. I managed to get through to the busy outpatients' reception desk this morning... (too many fractures and no staff available), to try and bring the appointments forward, but no luck yet.

So now I have to think of my children and their children... the faulty gene is passed down... some are carriers, and some, like me will have this condition. Apparently, it is more common than doctors first thought and as many as one in one hundred people have this condition and remain undiagnosed. My iron overload has gone straight to my Liver and has formed clusters, one of which is just behind my Gall Bladder and is causing me pain. Ironically, (pardon the pun), I now hardly ever drink red wine, which along with tea, contains tannins that reduce iron intake. Not that I'm about to start - my Liver is too important for me to get it wrong again! I just wish that this condition had been picked up when I'd visited various GPs over the past three years.

Today I hope to get the car out of the garage and venture into the nearest town for a paper. That's if I can negotiate past the piled up snow by my gate and path... left there by my neighbour who has constantly been clearing his side of the driveway! If I had any energy I would clear my side.


Kath said...

Thank Heavens you got a diagnosis at last. I had the snow experience at Stoke Mandeville hospt just before Christmas, when we emerged from 3.5 hours at A&E our car doors were frozen shut.

Puddock said...

Jenny - sorry to hear about your diagnosis. Thank goodness you found someone competent to diagnose it. I guess at least now you know what's been causing your pain and what can be done to help.

It seems incredible (and yet sadly not) that GPs could have mucked you around for three years, when the answer was found so quickly in the end.

Take care of yourself and let us know how things go. ((()))

Are you still planning to move house or is that on hold for a while? SOunds as if the neighbours ain't getting any better...

JennyB said...

Thanks Kath and Puddock... sometimes I've felt very lonely on this long road to diagnosis! I've been mis-diagnosed with all sorts of things... including IBS. My daughters are rallying round and my eldest will be coming with me to the JR clinic in just over a week's time, 'cos it's frightening to know that you may have a much shorter lifespan than expected. There's so much I still want to do.