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Low Iron

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
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My six-month lab work all came back great, with no indications of cancer. I am nearly four years out from treatment now. But, my iron (HGB) is low.  I am getting a colonoscopy next week, but have had no signs of G.I.  disease.   It may be from the amount of Tums and asprin that I eat all day long. I am not worried, but would appreciate any "low iron" imput that anyone may have.

A great holiday weekend to all.

max

GKH
Posts: 338
Joined: Jul 2012

after my surgery I was advised to take 1 time release iron plus one B-12 at the same time ech morning. Dont take at night because it causes gas. In 4 weeks mine was back to normal. I can get the dosages if you want.

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
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I am getting an iron infusion on Monday, so I suppose pills will have to wait a little while. I recall when I was on chemo that there were several patients who came in on a regular basis for iron or other non-chemo drugs.  The iron was always a black bag...   One woman had been getting iron infusions for several years.   I became friends with her husband, and she said that doctors had never been able ot figure out her problem, but that she had never had any form of cancer.   Odd.    I also get a colonoscopy Wednesday, so my onc is driving the issue very hard and looking for the problem, whatever it is.   I am due for one anyway, so the timing is right.  I do not have signs of c-r cancer, and he said he is in a process of elimination, starting with worst-case scenarios.   I have read that nexium and antacids together can cause this, and I beleive that that is my issue, since I eat a bottle of triple-strength Tums every two weeks. Wish me the best !

Thanks,

max

Aaron's picture
Aaron
Posts: 241
Joined: Jun 2012

I'm glad everything looks good max, I'm sure you've got the low iron thing figured right. Good luck with the colonoscopy, I'm certain you will be clean as a whistle. Be well my friend

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
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Aaron,

The getting "clean as a whistle" is the hard part !

onlytoday's picture
onlytoday
Posts: 598
Joined: Jun 2010

Max,

 

Haha.  You've got that right!  Thanks for the laugh this morning!  :)  And good luck with the colonoscopy.  It does sound like you figured this out though!

 

Donna

jimwins's picture
jimwins
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Max, forgive me for not remembering why you eat Tums.  Have you been checked for ulcers?  Also, if you are going to be checked for that, make sure they test for helobacter pylori.  They found I had this but had to do a more sensititive test since I tested negative on the regular test.  

Anemia can be caused by ulcers or any type of internal bleeding.  I'm not meaning to be alarmist - just sharing what I know.  Also, if you take a lot of NSAIDs (like aspiring, Iburofen, etc.), they can cause and/or aggravate ulcers and internal bleeding.  I'm sure  you probably know all these things :).

I wish you the best and keep us updated.

Jim

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
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Jim,

I have had a hiatal hernia for years.  Nexium alone has not been enough to control the symptoms for some time. I should have had it corrected long ago. I spoke with the surgeon who is going to scope me from the top and bottom, and related that I have an odd "grunting" nosie from my center left side, and he said that it was almost certainly gas moving through the hiatal opening.

I eat the asprin for arthritic pain and pain generally. With 18 fractures and my spine full of arthritis, I guess that makes sense.  I find that all of my incisions hurt (biopsy incision, IV port incision, gall bladder removal incisions). I know asprin and others cause blood thinning and bleeding, so will have to get on something different. It is worse in the cold, soI await summer !

If it gets difficult for the doc to figure this out, I will difinitely ask him about the h.p. you mentioned.

Thank you,

max

allmost60's picture
allmost60
Posts: 3180
Joined: Jul 2010

Hi Max,

 Sounds like you will be getting things checked out and hopefully the low iron situation will be figured out also. I'll be keeping you in my prayers and keeping positive thoughts all will come out good. Take care...Sue

(FNHL-2-3A-6/10)

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
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Thank you, Sue.  The prayers are deeply appreciated.

max

GKH
Posts: 338
Joined: Jul 2012

Well hopefully its not related to your cancer. I bled out back in 2009 from stomache bleeding caused by gerd. 4 units of blood plus iron tonics for a month. The other time was when I had my surgery to remove a lymph node. I know it works for blood loss but am not sure about any affect it may have for other causes. Honestly I was not aware that there was such a thing as iron infusions. Good luck. I am sure it will fix you up!

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
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Joined: May 2012

GKH,

I suppose there is no part of a person that cannot break, no chemical that cannot screw up.

My infusion center actually does a lot of non-chemo infusions of one sort or another for non-cancer patients, but iron is one of the more common.

I appreciate the good intentions. When I sneeze and someone says "bless you," I reply, "Thanks, I need it bad."

max

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
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I got my first iron infusion today. It was good to speak with all of the staff at the infusion center again.

The thing took 4 hours. First, a bag of benadryl (delightful), then a bag of pepsid (for reflux), then a steroid, and then the iron bag. The iron itself took two hours, so it is a fairly large bag. Just as I remembered --black.

I felt nothing: No problems, no pain. It is the easiest infusion a guy could ever hope for. I hope the iron levels move toward normal fast.

Also: There were four other patients receiving iron when I was there.  The woman next to me was, and she told me that she does not have cancer, and never has.  Anemia is more common than people think.

max

allmost60's picture
allmost60
Posts: 3180
Joined: Jul 2010

Hi Max,

  Glad to hear all went well today. Four hours sounds like a long time, but it really does go fast. My R infusion usually takes 4 hours, but the pre meds put me to sleep, so I jokingly refer to it as my "nap" day. Hope your Iron levels will get to normal soon. Best wishes...Sue

(FNHL-2-3a-6/10-age 62)

jimwins's picture
jimwins
Posts: 2093
Joined: Aug 2011

Hey Max.  Just don't get too close to any strong magnets after this Wink.  Glad things went well.

Jim

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
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Jim!

Great comedic minds like ours think alike ! I was telling people yesterday that I now have a magnetic personality !

jimwins's picture
jimwins
Posts: 2093
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Probably all those years in submarines, Max.  And thank you for serving our country by the way!

 

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
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Joined: May 2012

I finally got my colonoscopy and upper G.I. results today from the surgeon who did them: No cancerous or pre-cancerous cells found. He did cut out a bleeding polyp, which he said might explain the anemia. I see the oncologist tomorrow.

I was surprised to see at my infusion center that a LOT of people come in for iron infusions. It is apparaently a very common thing. Thanks to all of the kind regards that I received  concerning the anemia and figuring it out.

max

cathyp's picture
cathyp
Posts: 366
Joined: Dec 2009

Max,

So happy you got good news.  Hope you get a boost from the iron!

Cathy

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
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Joined: May 2012

Cat,

Thanks dearly.  I read that even with IV infusions, it can take two months or more for hemoglobin and iron levels to normalize.  I do feel a bit better and breath better also.  I mostly mentioned it here at the blog to let people know that it is a fairly common problem, which I was unaware of before.

max

cathyp's picture
cathyp
Posts: 366
Joined: Dec 2009

Glad you mentioned it because the way our minds think I'm sure if it happened to us we would think...cancer.  Anyway.  My father in law gets b12 shots for his type of vitamin deficency anemia.

Breathing easier must be a relief.

jimwins's picture
jimwins
Posts: 2093
Joined: Aug 2011

Hi Max, that is great news!  Thanks for the update.  I'll take a polyp over a tumor any day Tongue Out!

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 1244
Joined: May 2012

But a fudge brownie and iced tea is better than either...

jimwins's picture
jimwins
Posts: 2093
Joined: Aug 2011

Well, if we're dreaming, an exciting cruise or trip to Europe would be nice too and we could get chocolate crepes in France ☺- and that would be just after we won the big lottery. 

Hugs - Jim

 

Aaron's picture
Aaron
Posts: 241
Joined: Jun 2012

I'm so glad to read that they didn't find anything too troublesome, I must admit I've been a bit worried about you sence this thread started. It's great that the iron is helping you feel better all around as well. I must say your new pic is creeping me out a bit, I liked the car much more ;) be well my friend 

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 1244
Joined: May 2012

I'll change the pic, Aaron. I call it my "lucky chair," the chair where I got all 12 of my chemos, and most of my iron. 

I saw the onc yesterday, and he repeated that sometimes it takes months for low iron to get back in normal range. I go back in three months, rather than my usual six. Also, I ran into numerous people getting iron infusions, as I think I mentioned above.  It is more common than I realized.

Bless you, best buddy,

max

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
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Joined: May 2012

I went to the oncologist today (May 1), and got results from a blood draw last week. My Hem/RBC and iron levels were all perfectly in the normal ranges -- no more anemia.  I had not had these values tested since I went for four iron infusions (IV drip) at the Cancer Center in Feburary.

He was delighted.  I related this "low iron" episode because I learned that anemia is actually pretty common, and does not necessarily indicate any form of cancer -- stuff I was unaware of prior to going through all of this.  I met numerous patients who had to go regularly for iron IV bags, some for years.

Perhaps this is informative or comforting to someone currently anemic.

max

 

.

Rocquie's picture
Rocquie
Posts: 545
Joined: Mar 2013

This is a subject that confuses me mightily! I have had chemo induced anemia starting with my very first chemo. I had blood tests every week, throughout all 8 chemos. Any time my hemoglobin got below 8.0, which was many times, I had to have a blood transfusion. With the last couple of transfusions, my oncologist has become concerned about "iron overload", which apparently happens to people who receive a lot of transfusions.

Like you, I have seen people at the infusion center receiving iron. I have also seen 2 different people, 1 was a very young man and the other an older woman, who were having blood removed because they have a condition which produces too much iron in the blood.  (After their bottles were filled, the nurse walked to the trash can and unceramoniously threw it away). 

I'm glad my oncologist, who is a hematologist, understands because I sure don't. 

Undecided Rocquie

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
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Joined: May 2012

Roc,

I am sure that some forms of cancer cause some forms of iron deficiency. My onc rushed me into a colonoscopy and upper GI, thinking that I might be "bleeding out"  from undetected colo-rectal, but such was not the case. I then learned that excessive antacids or liver statin drugs could cause low iron as well (I used both), so low iron can be caused by a lot of things.

When I was in ICU for 25 days years ago, I received over 20 units of blood, and turned bright orange colored. The docs thought initially that I had "liver failure" from bruising of the liver, but they later realized it was from so many blood transfusions.  So, yes, lots of transfusions at times cause blood count abnormalities.  

If they feel your low iron is infusion-related or transfusion-related and not cancer, be happy ! At times, doctors just cannot figure out what is causing something. They rule out the worst, likely issues, and ride along, hoping for the best. 

MAX

girliefighter's picture
girliefighter
Posts: 218
Joined: Mar 2013

SmileMax,

Congats on the good news...time to start whistling....sounds like they got u fixed right up...It is always great to hear good news...so happy for you...I will still pray..I pray for everyone on here daily

I guess the magnetic personality is why I am drawn to you

Carie

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 1244
Joined: May 2012

Carie,

That, or my stunning good looks !   (See picture, at left.)

max

Folks24
Posts: 107
Joined: Feb 2007

Love the picture.  Love to see smiles.

We must have a similiar sense of humor. I have two markers in my body and asked the doctor if I would set off the metal detectors in the airport. I won't - durn it- no fun! Wink

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