Sunday, June 18, 2017

Blood Donation Preview

I am planning to make an appointment with a local blood donation center this Wednesday and my boss will give me 2 hours of leave for the occasion so I will go late in the afternoon.  I haven't made the appointment yet but I don't expect that to be a problem.

What can I expect when I show up?
First, I will be asked several screening questions but I fully expect that I meet all the physical and lifestyle requirements.  I won't discuss those here but none of them are an issue for me.  Next, I will have to submit to a blood test for hemoglobin and blood sugar which will require only a couple drops of blood from my finger.  I'll get the results within minutes.  There is a slight chance that I will not pass those tests but I expect that I will.  The minimum threshold for hemoglobin is actually below the lab's normal range and lab normal does NOT equal healthy.  I cannot imagine having a high ferritin level combined with a low hemoglobin as both are related to Iron.  As for the blood sugar test, I've had it done several times at work and have always passed it easily.  Nevertheless, I will up my Magnesium and possibly take some Taurine in the days leading up to it.  As for the meal beforehand, some suggest beef to boost Iron levels but I will probably go with pizza to raise the blood sugar.  Caffeine and sugar must be avoided.  If in the unlikely event that my blood levels are too low, I will do whatever is necessary to get them up and make another appointment.

Actual Procedure:
I've been stuck with a needle countless times on blood tests.  That's never been a problem but I have only filled a couple of test tube vials.  This time, I'll be losing a whole pint of blood (16 oz).  I don't expect that it will be terribly painful.  I'll just sit back and try to relax.  It will last 10-15 minutes.  After it's over, I will be given juice and cookies then examined after 15-30 minutes to make sure that I am okay to drive home.  The worst case scenario is that I get dizzy or faint and I have to call somebody to take me home.  The potential benefit to my health as well as that of somebody else is worth the risk.  I will be advised to avoid strenuous activity for the next few days and I should probably take it easy in the days leading up to it as well.

What happens after the procedure is what is most important to me.  I MUST lower my Ferritin levels.  Morley wants it as close to zero as possible.  While I'm not sure that I'd go that far, my levels have tested consistently between 168-204.  Cardiologists want it under 50 and most knowledgeable practitioners agree that a value over 100 is BAD despite the fact that the lab "normal" is usually 300.  My latest test was a 186 so I am nearly twice the upper limit and nearly 4 times higher than the cardiologists' recommendation.  Organ damage is likely when Ferritin gets close to 200.  Morley has consistently warned the Mag group that while copper toxicity is annoying, Iron toxicity can kill you.  Could my levels have potentially deadly consequences?  NO.  Not anytime soon at least but if it rises much above 300, I could be in big trouble. I've developed unsightly horizontal ridges on my thumbnails in recent years and everything I've read suggests that's a sign of organ damage.

Why go radical? Could I leave well enough alone after 2 decent races?
Not a good idea.  There is a chance that I could stabilize around 1:40 if remain meticulous about taking all the pills I need and avoid that ones I don't all while strictly restricting sugar consumption.  Maybe I could manage a hair better if I can ramp the volume back up to the 40 MPW range.  However, there is just as much chance that I will ALWAYS remain vulnerable to energy crashes and the foul moods that go along with that.

The biggest misconception about me is that I am going to such great lengths ONLY because I want to run faster.  Simply not true.  All areas of my life are affected by this condition.  I have tried conservative options such as IP-6 and Curcumin.  In both cases, I had some initial success then developed a sudden intolerance.  The latest detox may allow me to tolerate them again if some of the Iron was dumped into the blood and tissues but again, I expect the tolerance will be only temporary.  The week before I left on my epic road trip, I became intolerant to B-6 without any warning.  If the Teton race had been just 1 week earlier, I would have bombed it. Since 2015, I've been crashing on average every 10 days or so.  It takes 3-5 days to recover then I am due for another crash soon.  Nobody could be happy with this condition.  I am thankful for the ability to work, travel and live independently but I will not settle for less than the best this life has to offer.

Possible Side Effects:
I do not expect a simple one shot cure.  Not by a long shot.  While it is nearly certain that I will see a significant drop in my Ferritin levels, I cannot predict what may happen to some of the other lab values. Just how and why Ferritin drops as a result of blood loss is something that I do not fully understand but I trust that it will happen.

 My ceruloplasmin came up nicely in 2014-15 but I felt worse overall.  I know now the reason was a corresponding rise in my already sky high Iron levels.  Upon seeing my Iron panel results, Morley was amazed by how my mitochondria could function well enough for me to run at all.  In cases of blood loss, virtually everybody who has posted said that their numbers looked better all around.  Perhaps if I had done the blood donation BEFORE upping my ceruloplasmin, much of the current nightmare could have been averted.

It is possible that some of the pills that I currently cannot tolerate could become necessary.  The change could be permanent or only temporary.  Also, pills that are currently needed may become less of a factor and maybe even cause harm.  I cannot envision not having to take adrenal or methylation support but it sure would be nice to be able to forget it ONCE and not feel totally worthless until I remember to take it later in the day.  Long term, that is a realistic expectation.  Mercola has suggested that I will probably have to do this maybe 2-3 more times over the next 6-9 months then twice a year for maintenance to keep the Ferritin in check.  Let's hope the procedure is not so bad and I can see that as the best and most effective treatment.

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