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Ironman Pops

Father’s got a weird blood disease called hemochromatosis – or too much iron in his blood. Excess iron gets stored in the bone marrow, kidney, liver, and heart eventually turning them into a large hunks of metal. Ugly if you’re not a superhero. There is no cure, only efforts at stabilization. So every few weeks Pops goes to a hard-core cancer clinic and “donates” a pint or so of blood to get rid of all that dang iron. Very medieval. I call him “Metal Man” and he laughs. When he was first diagnosed I certainly didn’t know. He’s always been the type of person to shirk doctors for band-aids and Tums except when Ma yells at him to take the kids – or himself – to the hospital already. My Granny and aunts, all quite educated in the scientific field as doctors, professors and the like, casually call my dad’s condition “serious.” But Pops still insists that it’s “just” hemochromatosis and I believe him.

I feel like I need to do a little Web-MDing so I ask Ma about the correct spelling of the disease. She says, aye aye on the hemochromatosis but also throws in that he’s got that other blood cell thing, myelodysplasia. Myelo-, er what? Web MD show me Myelodysplasia. Also known as… pre-lukemia. WTF? “The stem cells do not mature into healthy red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets. The immature blood cells, called blasts, do not work the way they should and die in the bone marrow or soon after they enter the blood. As a result, there are fewer healthy red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.”

I feel like I really should’ve known about this earlier so I could at least do something productive like worry a lot or maybe just not call him lazy when he’s hanging around the house eating summer sausages and watching sports shows. It makes sense now that he frequents the cancer clinic. Granted the family historically deserves No Goods on their communication technique and as far as I know Pops is stable but I still feel like I should be informed in a more timely manner. Pops is mucho mobile but I am a bit blue knowing that he can’t physically do some of the things that he loves… marathons, long hikes and all around intensive outdoor adventures. Sort of makes all the other BS just not really matter.

Let’s go research some stem cells and clone some babies!


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