where can I find a pet leech???

Do you want to do something beautiful for God?
There is a person who needs you.
This is your chance.

Mother Teresa

Isn’t this the greatest picture ever?

Such a happy, handsome and loving couple…

It’s a photograph of my parents in 1958 the year before I was born (hear the pride in my voice)

Oh, you think that couple looks a lot like Gary Grant and Sophia Loren?


well…isn’t that quite the coincidence?!

If you’ve been with me for a while here in blogland, you’ve already heard me speak of my
beautiful mother Sophia…

but shhhhhh, she doesn’t know.

Those of you who know me or have read much of this little blog over the years,
know that I am actually adopted.

I’ve shared this little tale before but for those of you who haven’t heard this
part of the backstory, I’ll back up a tad…

Back in college, my college roommates, whom I loved and still love, all knew of
my adoption.
One evening when I was in the Library having to do some sort of research on whatever
it was I was researching, I happened upon a shelf of books all concerning adoption.
I started pulling book upon book off the shelf and read about a subject I’d never really
looked into, much less discussed.

I shared with my roommates these new findings and curiosities.
And they too were curious…as many friends have been ever since.

But they also had their fun…of which I did indeed find funny.

They knew how besotted this hopeful one-day art historian was with all things Italia.
I yearned for Italy.
I had taken art history course after course on the Italian Renaissance.
I was smitten by those whom I considered to be the world’s greatest artists.
I had never been to Italy, but there some unseen power constantly pulling
me closer and closer.

So as screwball and silly college kids can be, I came home one day to a picture
of Sophia Loren taped to our room’s door with a hand-scrawled note, “adopt a Wop ”
–a word not considered politically correct—
but once upon a time, before this dreaded PC world of ours,
each country, each ethnicity,
each nationality had its own euphemism for their fellow nations
and fellow nationalities…
and it was what it was and no one much protested.

Everyone had a nickname—the yanks being the US, Frogs were the French and on and on…
Most names came from those things that these nations did or ate that would set them apart
from a fellow nationality.
Italians were not exempt.
Wop is a butchered word which roughly meant ‘thug’…
It originated in the southern Italian region—an area known for its heavy Mafia influence…
and so it goes.

But I was happy and even flattered to be linked to someone like Sophia Loren
and I was happy imaging that I had possibly Italian lineage.

Yet this post is not about all of that so I don’t want to belabor the point.
But just know that I knew I was adopted and must obviously be some sort of lost Italian.

Never mind that I’m actually Scotch / Irish.

So claiming Sophia Loren as a mother, who had no clue that she actually had this
long lost child living in the Southern US, as she was from Southern Italy, seemed so grand.
Add to the fact that whenever anything has gone wrong with me, I’ve always blamed it
on being adopted.

So today is no different.

I had my stress test.

It went ok, sort of.

The nurse told me that if I went on for 10 more seconds,
I would have registered having the heart of a 27-year-old….but…
there was a small anomaly.

When I got up to speed and began huffing and puffing, as I was now running uphill
and just praying I wouldn’t come flying off the back end of this inverted rollercoaster,
my blood pressure did not rise with the level of exerted intensity.
In fact, it didn’t rise at all.
It was the same as the resting rate before the treadmill.

Sooo, the cardiologist has ordered a nuclear stress test—
So I will now glow.

Here in the South we like to say that we don’t sweat, we glisten…
so I can now glisten and glow all at the same time!

He’s also ordered a heart ultrasound for the more compelling reason as to why
I had the stress test.

I’ve often referred to my having a bad thyroid.
I have a condition referred to as Hashimoto’s Disease.
It’s a thyroid that fluctuates like a roller coaster.
For a body to function properly, a thyroid needs to be consistent.
If not consistent all sorts of things go awry.

So I take a thyroid medication, which I’ll take forever and it helps to keep
my levels, level. I’ve taken it for years. I blame the adoption.

I have to go every six months for blood work in order to see if the levels have changed.

I did this last week.

The nurse called the following day…she starts the conversation with “Julie…”
I sensed something different in her voice.
“your liver enzymes are slightly elevated…”
meaning I still have a fatty liver—a result of a lifelong love affair with butter…
I get that from my aunt Julia Child…
“your cholesterol is up”—no news there.
and your hemoglobin is up…but that shouldn’t be too concerning…
however, she
(she being the doctor) still has a few questions so she’s sending
for more testing.”

The nurse calls back, following the weekend, and proceeds with “the news.”

A normal iron level, on the high end, is 150
Seems mine was 5 times higher…almost 600

I laughed rather incredulously.
“What does that mean,” I ask.
She tells me that the body obviously needs iron but my system is acting like a giant sponge.
Working on overdrive.
The body does not excrete iron.
There is no eliminating all the excess, it just keeps going and going, soaking it up.

Excessive iron produces symptoms—
all the symptoms I’ve been having but symptoms that have been simply chalked up to age,
or thyroid disease, or in my little mind, adoption…

Because when all else fails, we always blame the adoption…that being the unknown.

Yet excessive iron poisons the body.

Effecting the big three organs– mostly the heart, liver, and pancreas.

It effects the joints.
It causes fatigue.
It causes depression.
It causes hair to thin and fall out
It causes the fingertips to turn blue

and check…

But…doesn’t the winter’s dark cold dreariness make us all fatigued and depressed?
I’ve lost two significant family members this past year, that’s cause for depression right?
The blue fingertips is a thyroid symptom, right?
My osteoarthritis is age right?
The hair loss is also the thyroid, right?

This latest life glitch is called Hemochromatosis Metabolic Disorder.

A hereditary genetic mutation…
as in a mutant,
as in an X-Man.

Now it’s all making perfect sense…
As in, there are secret powers that I don’t know about right?
And now I know my family lineage….

(my new family)

So now we see all the connecting of the dots…

I told you it was the adoption!

I asked how one treats this little problem…as in how do I get rid of all this iron???

The nurse flatly states Phlebotomy.


I nervously laugh again.

Oddly, she is not laughing.

Cause all I heard was ‘otomy’…like a lobotomy…as in a hole in my head…

But then reality hits and I was like, “how is that to work??…
what are we talking about??…
giving a little blood or what??”

She tells me it most likely would be a weekly visit to the hospital to have a liter or so pulled off…
as in weekly!!!
As in like a freaking pin cushion.

Never mind that I also now need to cut out iron, alcohol, fat, sugar, citrus, Vitamin C, chocolate,
cooking in cast iron, using my grill (iron grates)…on and on and on goes the list of horror.

Just shoot me now!!!!!

But tea and red wine are ok as the tannin they contain helps impede the absorption of iron
in the body…Go figure.
Cabernet, a headache, and blocked iron…brilliant!

The last time I gave blood was in 1978, I was a senior in high school.
Once the process was finished and they had me to sit up, I immediately fainted.
After about 30 minutes, they tried it again.
Again, I fainted.
Finally, when they thought all was good, I was dismissed back to class.
By now it was lunchtime.

I had just grabbed a salad and was heading to the table when the next thing I know
I’m on the cafeteria floor looking up at a bunch of faces staring down at me as lettuce
was now scattered all over me…

I’ve never given blood to that level since.
I can do vials, tubes etc… just not bags.
And here now, I’m being told I’ll be giving at least a bag a week…
Geez Louise!

So maybe that’s my secret X-man mutant power…
Goodbye Sophia Loren and hello Leechwoman

So yes, now I’m thinking that perhaps if I could just find a pet leech,
I could work out this siphoning business from home so I wouldn’t have to keep going
to the hospital…makes perfect sense.

To be continued…..

41 comments on “where can I find a pet leech???

  1. oh my…my heart and prayers are with you. I am not particularly fond of needles. You will do well and have many great stories to share with us to the glory of God!

  2. Sarah says:

    Gosh, good luck with that. I’m on thyroid meds too and need regular blood tests. Just had them done yesterday in fact. So I can sympathise somewhat. I wouldn’t fancy monthly bloodlettings at all. The fact that you considered leeches tells me what you think of hospitals… I hope it clears up your symptoms quickly. At least now you’ve got an excuse to drink lots of tea and red wine. Maybe you’ll build up a tolerance to the headache producing chemicals.

  3. David says:

    I would struggle with that cut-out list Julie. But if it would stop my hair from thinning and help it grow back I could be tempted … but chocolate is probably non-negotiable.

  4. @vapor_sage says:

    They want your blood and are using the fe as an excuse to get as much as they can
    Bless you, Julie, sorry I’ve not been on the reader, so have missed a few. Until then Jeff

    • Well I asked if they could at least use it as donation but due to the β€œcondition”— noβ€” such a waste

      • Salvageable says:

        I was going to mention that–they have to take it out, but they can’t give it to anyone else. Bummer.
        Having an answer and a procedure to follow is always better than wondering and not knowing. I hope and pray that the further stages of this condition go well for you and that, through the professionals and procedures, the Lord brings you to better health. J.

      • With this β€œ27 year old” heart of mine one wold think tip top health so go figure!! I’m telling youβ€” it’s the adoption!

  5. Lynda says:

    Prayers that all goes well and that these symptoms that have been a challenge will disappear!

  6. Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging and commented:
    Praying!! πŸ™‚

  7. atimetoshare.me says:

    Oh my sweet iron abundant Yoda. No chocolate! I would sooner die. Of course the wine helps some, but no chocolate. Have you ever done a search on your birth parents to see the heath issues you may have inherited? Maybe the diagnosis would be made clearer. I’d like a second opinion on that chocolate thing.

    I have you at the top of my prayer list. Stay healthy my friend – or thirsty, whatever the case may be. In the meantime, I’d devour as much of the forbidden food group as you can before you can no longer do so. (great advice from JarJar.)

    • well…I am really bummed over the notion of losing my old fashions and a good steak—but I think I will just have to be judicious—from what I’m reading diet will not alleviate this conundrum but only help it to slow down—it’s the freaking bloodletting that will make the biggest difference :/

  8. hatrack4 says:

    Thyroid condition? My wife and I are in that club. Once, my wife had a six-month check up at the doctor. She was rushed to the hospital, no passing GO, no collecting of $100. While she was being admitted, I did the usual calls to the minister, our children, etc. The doctor said that something was so horribly wrong in the blood test that morning that my wife needed immediate correction or she might not last the day. Turned out that the hospital’s test was accurate and the doctor had to replace her machine. She was released without ever being moved from the ER to a room (except the paperwork had already been filed, so we had to wait for her discharge).

    Long story for a simple question – Did they rerun the test? That is awfully high. The first thing I’d do, after the mad dash to the hospital a few years ago, is to ask to test it again.

    Regardless, we will be praying for you.

    • I did Mark– I went back in on Tuesday for more blood work—this one a specific gene testing for the iron mutation…waiting back on the results.
      The thyroid numbers, she never mentioned, which was the whole reason for the blood work in the first place—so I’m thinking they we’re fine but when she saw the iron numbers, it sent her reeling.
      Then the stress test, since I have had some chest pains, but I have the hiatal hernia so that is most likley the culprit, but because of having an impending tooth implant, she said it would be a good idea to have one–more or less a base line—and then the blood pressure never moved, so yes, now another test πŸ™‚
      perhaps one day all the tests will focous in on just one picture πŸ™‚

  9. Oh, you are HILARIOUS! I so appreciate the way you bring your keen sense of humor to life’s bumps in the road! But I’m so sorry that you are dealing with all of this. What a royal pain! Ugh! I didn’t know you had Hashimoto’s. My BFF has that as well! Not fun. And now all the rest of this? I’m going to be praying and praying! Love you!

    • I think laughing is the better option! Otherwise, I’d be a blithering idiot wadded up in a corner someplace…and I thought I was your BFF?? πŸ˜‰
      So now you have two BFFs with bum thyroids…

  10. dbp49 says:

    Ouch, I guess that’s what happens when you trust me to pray a prayer. Sorry about that. I promise to try and do better next time, and I do admire your fortitude in the face of all of this. I do have one thought regarding the removal of that tainted blood. If your love of Italy could be extended to other ports-of-call in Europe, have you given any thought to a nice romantic interlude with a 2 or 3-hundred-year-old Transylvanian Count?

  11. Tricia says:

    Well, I can’t say I’m happy for you but I am glad they were able to make a diagnosis. A former boss of mine had hemochromatosis, but I never really thought what an inconvenience it was outside of the weekly blood draws. More power to you if you can handle leeches!

    Sorry you have to go through this. At least they left you red wine…

  12. SLIMJIM says:

    This post made me think way tangent…of how I donated blood after completing the Marines’ crucible in boot camp which was this crazy final training. Worst blood donation timing ever…

  13. Dawn Marie says:

    Does this mean you get to wear a Superhero suit to the lab each week? Giggles. I will be praying for your sense of humor to be the special band-aid you will need in this unfortunate blood-leeching situation. But I just know your weekly presence will inject so much added joy into the many lives of those you are about to meet – good triumphs once again! Hugs & blessings to you for holding on to the humor!

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