A “Common” Rare Genetic Disease


Mr. Cawley

Iron Overload – Hemochromatosis is Deadly

You may wonder why I’m including this post. You may think it doesn’t apply to you. Since one in 200-300 American probably carry this genetic disorder I hope you will read and share with others.

Daddy never felt well. He saw numerous doctors but with no diagnosis. Mother wondered why his skin had turned bronze in tone. When his blood sugar went out of control and he was almost comatose my brother rushed him to Houston. Within twenty-four hours the head of the medical school diagnosed Dad with hemochromatosis. Some medical journals say it is the most common genetic disorder in the United States. Hemochromatosis is an iron overload condition in which the body accumulates iron that ultimately damages organs and can lead to death. It is sometimes called the Celtic disease since people from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England and Scandinavia have a particularly high incidence of the genetic mutation. Dad’s grandfather was Irish. January 15, 1975, four weeks after being admitted to the Diagnostic Clinic in Houston Daddy died.

In 1983 I was diagnosed when my iron ferritin was over 1200 (normal is 18-160). I began treatments immediately. Therapeutic phlebotomies force the body to use some of the iron to replace the blood that is removed. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the blood. It is a modern-day form of blood letting. And it saves my life.

The Mayo Clinic explains, “Excess iron is stored in your organs, especially your liver, heart and pancreas. Too much iron can lead to life-threatening conditions, such as liver disease, hear problems and diabetes.”

The moral of my story is if you are ill and you don’t get a satisfactory diagnosis don’t give up. And if you are of Celtic descent you may want to have an iron ferritin test.

Daddy died at the age of sixty-six. I was twenty-seven. My first child was four-months old. My sons never knew him.

This is no way intends to be medical advice. This is just my personal experience.
Gail in purple speaking with hand gesturesI raised three children as a single mother before I remarried. I have experienced the potholes, pests, and perils of being the single head-of-household. As an educator in regular and special education for twenty years I know a great deal about child development and how to handle kids. I am the founder of SMORE for Women, a nonprofit whose goal is Single Moms, Overjoyed, Rejuvenated, and Empowered. I’m also a Certified Professional Coach and my stories have been published in several Christian books and magazines. My book, Living Learning Loving is available on CreateSpace, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble online.

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