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Ferritin downer 2

Posted by on October 21st 2016 in Illness and injury

This last two days this whole affair has become a lot more bizarre...

Yesterday I attended my monthly out-patient consultation at LRI. Good basic blood results, the Hb had climbed back to 148, so no anaemia due to the first venesection. Curiously, I was given no result for ferritin, which I thought was strange as that's the only thing they are actively treating at the moment. The consultant was oddly reluctant to discuss it, so naturally I pressed the matter 🙂

He said that there wouldn't be much effect after just one venesection and that they would check it after 6 or so of them. Not good enough, I said, telling him of the grief that I would suffer when SWMBO asked for the non-existent test-result, and that we weren't going to be happy waiting about 30 weeks to find out if the procedures were working. After me threatening to give SWMBO his email address he relented and said that they would do a test at the next monthly consultation.

I told him again that his "6 weekly" instruction on the venesection referral form had been "interpreted" by me and by LGH as "one a week for 6 weeks" and that the second "bleed" was provisionally booked for today (21st October), 11 days after the first one. He said that he had intended it to mean "1 every 6 weeks", I told him that if that was what he meant, he should have written that instead. I told him that I felt fine, and pointed out that according to his own results my Hb had recovered within only 10 days, so there was no sign of venesection-induced anaemia. Grudgingly he said that "1 every 4 weeks" would do, and then after a bit of muttering and keyboard-mashing he changed that to "1 every 3 weeks". I asked if he wanted me to cancel the provisional for today but he didn't say yea or nay.

So today I made the executive decision and went to LGH for the second bleed.

As previously reported, the first venesection was done on 10th October. On that day, before they drew the blood, they took a mandatory sample so that they could measure the ferritin (yeah, it's not rocket-science) and the Hb. Today I got the result of that test...

Ferritin: 998 × 10-6 g/L

So it had gone down by 677 × 10-6 g/L with no intervention whatsoever between 22nd September and 10th October... just 18 days.

And nobody has yet been able to explain how or why.

I suspect that at least one of the test results is wrong. That, or at least one of the test results is someone else's result. Don't snigger - it's happened to me at least twice this year. I know that I'm often over-cynical, but either scenario might explain the consultant's reluctance to discuss the omitted ferritin result yesterday.

Regardless, LGH proceeded to take another pre-venesection sample and hooked me up to a drain-bag. While that was going on they made me another appointment for 6 weeks hence. After I queried that, the Ward Sister quizzed me regarding the confusing "6 weekly" thing. When I told her that I'd discussed it again with the consultant and that he'd clarified it... and then changed it... and then changed it again, she said that she wouldn't sanction any more bookings for me until the whole sorry mess was sorted out officially and to her satisfaction. She was on the blower to Haematology in seconds flat.

Eventually she returned. 1 every 3 weeks. Official. So now I have 2 appointments at 3-week intervals.

Sorted. But it shouldn't have taken over 4 weeks to sort out and they shouldn't have used me as a go-between.

It'll be another 3 weeks until I discover the ferritin level from today's pre-venesection sample at LGH, and 4 weeks for the ferritin level from the next out-patient consultation at LRI. Those results might just depend on which way the wind was blowing, what colour socks I was wearing and which other patient's tests were being done at the same time.

Observing Report 16th-17th October 2016 (coloured Moon mosaic)

Posted by on October 20th 2016 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports

Moon-gazing again last Sunday... playing around with a colour video camera on the 6" R-C... 17 clips each of 250 frames, stacked with AutoStakkert!2, coaxed into one mosaic using iMerge (see previous post), tarted up with Photoshop CS3.

The result is better than expected.

Feel free to click on it to see the full version, but be aware that it might take a while to load - it's about 12Mb:


If that's not enough, there's a ~40Mb .bmp version here.

One edge done

Posted by on October 19th 2016 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports

We've now got all of the bits, they're fitting together nicely:


Should be finished soon.

Corner piece

Posted by on October 18th 2016 in Astrostuff, Observing Reports

"The moon is essentially gray, no color; looks like plaster of Paris or sort of a grayish beach sand."
James Lovell, Apollo 8, first transmission from first lunar orbit, 24 December 1968.


More of the jigsaw should follow soon.


Posted by on October 15th 2016 in In the garden

It's mid-October and the outdoor strawberry troughs are still producing good fruits, plenty of new flowers and sufficient runners for even more plants next year.

At the first warning of frost I'll transfer them into the greenhouse, so we may still be cropping them in November:



The greenhouse-based chillies are doing well too, only a handful is yet to turn red:


Ferritin downer (updated)

Posted by on October 10th 2016 in Illness and injury

After losing the first referral form asking for a series of venesections to be started within 2 weeks of 22nd September, they raised a replacement on October 4th. On the 7th of October the nice nurse where they do the blood-letting (Ward 1 LGH) called me and we had a chat about it. She thought that I had raised Hb and needed it reducing, I had to tell her that my Hb was fine and that I need the ferritin (FT) reducing. She asked me what my FT level was and was quite taken aback when I told her "1675". She said that the info wasn't clear regarding the frequency and number of treatments - I remember the consultant writing "6 weekly"* on the original and told him at the time that I thought it was a tad vague. Clearly the info on the replacement referral form also leaves a lot to be desired.

That first session took place today, so it was late. I've done some back-of-a-vape-packet maths...

Assuming that the total blood volume is ~5L and that each venesection removes 0.45L of blood (~9% of total blood volume) and replaces it with 0.25L of saline, i.e. each venesection reduces each of the blood's components by about 9%.

LRI want to space them out because a higher frequency means risking anaemia which would not be a good thing. Venesections remove the Hb, and Hb levels don't recover naturally at much more than, in my case, ~10 g/L per week.

So, LRI are looking at a series of venesections to get the FT down to ~500, a level which they consider to be OK and at which they would stop. To reduce it all the way down to the top-limit of 200 would take many more venesections. Now, depending on * below, 6 bleeds could take 6 or 36 weeks, and, say, 20 bleeds could take 20 or 120 weeks, which is probably longer than I have left! Some authorities (at LGH)  insist that it is brought down to 50... good luck with that 🙂

Anyway, we're one down, several more to go. LGH are hedging their bets and have made another appointment for me next week, the day after my next out-patient consultation at LRI.

* As predicted, the "6 weekly" thing was interpreted in different ways. LGH, where they do the procedure, interpreted it as once a week for 6 weeks, the Haematology Nurse Specialist at LRI thinks that the consultant intended it to mean once every 6 weeks. I find it totally bizarre, it's no way to specify a course of treatment.

This post was edited on 21st October 2016 - the nice chart has been removed because it was based on incorrect information (thanks for the duff info, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust!).

Affordable green housing

Posted by on October 4th 2016 in In the garden, Making stuff

Take a few offcuts, a few screws and a bit of eco fence-paint.

Add a few hours of sawing, clattering and pulling splinters from fingers.

Result? Hedgehog house:




Needs an IR camera. And a hedgehog.

Down the Cut

Posted by on September 28th 2016 in Great Escapes, Pics

I got out for some much-needed exercise in the sunshine and fresh air today. A few miles of tow-path walking along the canal near where I lived when I was a kid (from 4 to about 30), mainly to revisit one of the few unspoiled stretches where I used to go fishing, where the banks aren't steel-clad and the trees haven't been felled.

I took a few pics which I will post soon but for now here's a clickable taster:


Ashby Canal between bridges 28 and 29

BANG! and the dirt is gone…

Posted by on September 25th 2016 in Illness and injury, Just for fun

 Manhattan Project


Posted by on September 23rd 2016 in Illness and injury

No, it's not another strange hobby. No Mustelids have been deployed or harmed in the production of this post.

According to the consultant at yesterday's out-patient consultation, my key bloods are now well into the "normal" range:

  • Hb: 148 (normal range: 130-180 g/L)
  • Platelets: 185 (normal range: 140–400 (× 109 cells/L))
  • Whites: 5.9 (normal range: 4–11 (× 109 cells/L))
  • Newts: 3.5 (normal range: 1.5–7.5 (× 109 cells/L))

However, he said that my ferritin level is "a little high". He also said that it's a common thing that they often see in people who are in remission from AML, it's a consequence of them messing with my bloods so much during the treatment.

So, this raises two questions...

1: If it is common and if it was expected, why has this not been explained to me at all during the previous nine months?

2: How is a level of 1675 × 10-6 g/L classed as "a little high" when the "normal" range is 15-200 × 10-6 g/L?

To get some sort of visual perspective, here's a graph of all of my ferritin readings currently available to me:



Feel free to do a trend analysis on that  :mrgreen:

Anyway, the accepted wisdom is to reduce the ferritin level simply by bleeding me at regular intervals, I'm currently waiting for a series of appointments to attend a different hospital to spill my hard-won red stuff into a waste-bucket.

I might just get me a real ferret instead. From what I've experienced it will be just as efficient at drawing blood, it won't cost the NHS a penny, and it will have a much lower carbon-footprint than driving a diesel-powered tin box to Leicester and back several times during the coming months.

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