Wow; wish I'd had had the opportunity to know about or see this extremely well done introduction to this hereditary malady when still a child but I'd discovered I'd had it only after my older sister had been diagnosed with it and asked by her physician to contact her siblings and ask that we be tested as well. "It's genetic, and so, hereditary. I was 49-50 methinks at that time.
Of course, my first thought was; "not me, I've been eating a healthy diet, at least after I'd left home and became acquainted with "health food" and Yoga, and all those marvelous 'new & exciting' fads that came with the latter part of the '60s' & 70's of the last century. While, on the other hand; my siblings, I'd believed, had not. Though I'm not dissing the nourishment provided by my hard working parents who each had one of the particular 'carrier' genes that connected and caused the disease in my sister, myself and our other three siblings; our 'baby' sister and our two oldest, more brothers.
But, "I cannot have the disease," I'd thought; especially one which I never heard of nor could have easily spelled upon first hearing the name, 'Hema' and/or 'Hemochromatosis.' Was shocked when I finally succumbed to the notion purported by my sister, and did an internet search only to find the first entry on the subject citing three large unwelcome words in the form of an arc across the middle of the first introductory page stating a dire directive which I now believe may have saved my life:
"Absolutely NO Alcohol!"
Wow! And me a regular patron of myriad bars and dance halls in a couple or three North American cities over at least three of my five first decades on this 'orb' where sometimes I'd imbibed to excess. My bad!
I was flummoxed by the notion; but guess what? I decided then and there that I would never imbibe the 'iron absorption enhancer' ever again should I have been tested positive. For decades, I'd been an habitual beer drinker imbibing at least 'one drink a day.' However, since my diagnosis was indeed positive for the disease, after my test results were finally returned from a 'special lab' (where all major blood tests in Canada were carried out) in Ottawa on July 27 (I'd seen the date typed on the letter that accompanied my results which my GP at the time had left unattended on his desk when he left his office during our interview and I'd stolen a peek to assure myself it was indeed true. However, I've remained 'almost' true to my promise and determination to never imbibe alcohol again, ever since. Though, I must admit, now and then, I do partake in an occasional alcoholic drink; but only to mark a special celebratory occasions with friends or family. Sometimes, not even once a year. Though at times, a couple or three a year; but no more.
Took 48 regular sessions or phlebotomies administered by the most kind and deliverers of honest to goodness tender loving care (TLC) nurses at the Victoria General Hospital over several years to regulate my condition; so, a couple or three years ago, my 'ferritin' (and or my 'iron overload' level) was finally diagnosed as being "normal." However, a number of my close friends & acquaintances would beg to differ. haha Have been and still am 'quite the character' 'they' say; but I believe my buoyant 'happy go lucky' personality has been mainly due to having been a professional tap-dancing, choreographer & musical theater 'song & dance man, an entertainer on or off the stage, for a major part of my life, where imbibing after a performance was and still is, likely, a 'mainstay' of the post-performance art form. Or, at least, it was during my time professionally after an occasion of 'strutting the boards,' so to speak.
What on earth am I going on about, some may ask??? Well, no need for bewilderment any more; here's the tale explaining the background and remedies of this sometimes 'deadly' disease. Watch this:
One in nine in the general population have the disease; so, please, the next time you're sent for a so-called 'regular blood test;' don't forget to ask to have your 'ferritin' (or 'iron') checked for possible "iron over-load" in your blood, as well.
Am willing all a happy and healthy holiday season. And though not an overly 'religious' person, I do have an indomitable spirit to overcome odds stacked against me; so I'll leave you with a quote from another afflicted soul from another fictional time and place as well as a seasonal favourite: Tiny Tim's words in the last line from the Charles Dickens classic tale, "A Christmas Carol"...
"GOD BLESS US EVERY ONE!"
BTW, the above post is dedicated to my very special 'friend' and 'adoptive nephew,' Colin, whose recent learning curve both astounds and delights me to 'know' end. Pun intended. hehe
Colin dear; you've heard me use the word "hemochromatosis" many times but you likely do not know what that malady I endure entails. So, on this very special occasion celebrating the completion of your recent school semester, yesterday, as well as your very special day today; am thrilled to 'present' you with the above post as a 'gift' in lieu of something material or 'store bought,' as some say in some 'circles.'
But, I'm presenting and dedicating this blog post to you because, not only am I tremendously proud of you and your academic achievements this year, as well as, those leading up to now ever since we first met a dozen years ago and I'd begun to mentor and encourage you to learn to be the very best you're able, regardless of what obstacles stand in your way; I simply adore your presence in my life and your impressive successes and want you to share in the understanding of what exactly my hereditary disease is that causes 'your' Uncle Neil to be so adamantly concerned about you and to realize that it is my disease (presented in the video) that makes me a blathering fool sometimes; but not today my dear one... when I'm saying:
HAPPY 29TH BIRTHDAY, COLIN !!!
AM LOVING YOU ALWAYS, SON HEAPS of WARM (((HUGS)))
Uncle Neil xox