I am Iron Man.
Thanks to a lab screw up and the monthly miracle of menstruation, I avoided a potentially serious medical condition. I’ve been feeling extra fatigued lately and wasn’t sure why. It could be the combination of school, work, and toddlerdom, or maybe it was something more. Either way, I followed-up with my doctor just to be sure.
He ran a series of tests on my blood and during my follow-up visit he found that my iron load was 80% higher than it should be. Odd, since I don’t take any type of iron supplement whatsoever. Thankfully, everything else on the blood panel was normal. He decided to run another blood test just in case it was fluke but he also ran a DNA test for hemochromatosis, a condition where your body can’t remove iron and it builds up in your major organs causing serious medical issues.
I received my follow-up blood results in the mail and everything, including iron, was normal. Hooray for lab mistakes! Give me allllll the hamburgers!
Two days later I received a call from his nurse. “The doctor would like to meet with you to discuss the results of your test.” Huh? I’m invincible. The blood test said so. So, like the calm, rational adult I am, I Googled hemochromatosis for the next four hours, worried that for years I had poisoned my guts, and vowed to never touch iron again. Hell, I swore off clothes irons too (I’ll take what I can). “I can’t do the ironing, I have a medical condition.”
After two very long days of Google results and swearing off vitamins and chores, I saw my doctor for follow-up. He confirmed, I do indeed have hemochromatosis. Luckily, I am homozygous for H63D (this needs to be on a shirt). Basically, this is an incredibly common genetic disorder and I have the least severe version. Whew! Also, “the womanly curse” is actually a benefit as it helps deplete my iron stores each month.
All in all, I have to watch my iron intake and monitor my organ function on a yearly basis. As I get older, I may have to give blood regularly. Not bad for a life sentence. Who’s up for turkey burgers?