Saturday, August 19, 2017

Blood Cancer… Polycythemia Vera…what you should know!

On February 16, 2016 I crashed while riding my mountain bike. Broke my left femur in half at the hip. The orthopedic surgeon quickly repaired that but blood work discovered a new challenge.

A post-surgery visit with an oncologist discovered that I have a rare blood cancer. Polycythemia vera somehow took up residence in my bone marrow. Only some 100,000 or so of us out of the entire population of our great country have this mutant gene. Modern medicine cannot discern how we get PV and there is no cure.

So while the estimate is that some 100,000 or so of us have this mutant gene I ask what about all those others who have PV….and don’t know it. For example, soon after my diagnosis, my 46-year-old son went for his yearly physical and told his physician that I have PV.

The doctor looked perplexed. He didn’t have a clue what PV is. Luckily for my son his blood test revealed a normal level of red blood cells. So my point is this, just how many men and women in their sixties and seventies have PV and just don’t know it?

The vast majority of people don’t have a clue as to what the symptoms of PV are. So here are the most common:

·         Tiredness (fatigue)

·         Itchy feet

·         Headache

·         Sweating (at night or during the day)

·         Blurred vision or blind spots

·         Painful burning or numbness of the hands or feet

·         Bleeding from the gums and heavy bleeding from small cuts

·         Bone pain

·         Shortness of breath

·         Abdominal pain or discomfort

·         Early feeling of fullness when eating

·         Pain under the left ribs

·         Problems concentrating

·         Dizziness, vertigo, lightheadedness

·         Insomnia

·         Reddening of the face, or a burning feeling on the skin

·         Angina (chest pain)

·         Ringing in the ears

So highly suggested that if you are dealing with any or many of the above you should see your doctor and get your blood tested. Better to understand what you are dealing with so that you can get on with your life. I did.

This March 1st I published my 3rd novel, “Volunteer Gap” which is the next offering in the “Gap” series. If you loved the 1985 movie “Witness” you will enjoy this novel.  As a boutique indie author, I’m blessed to have readers who have embraced my passion.

I deal with my PV daily. Yet I don’t let it get in the way of my life. I ride s 20 miles a day on my bike. I swim and I love to take long walks with my wife. I have kicked this blood cancer fear to the curb.

I wallow in the joy of life…each and every day!

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