Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Catching up

Hello, loyal blog readers. Long time, no see. I am still here, just super busy with all the stuff going on in my life at the moment, most of it being very good. Today's post will be a quick update on me, a discussion of the blog stats from the past three months, and then some sad AFib family news.

In the previous blog post from three months ago (wow) I reported that my anemia appears to be gone now since my hemoglobin, ferritin, and other numbers from blood work are in the normal range. Since then I was brave enough to schedule another blood donation in April. I donated platelets instead of red blood cells, so there should have been very little stress on my body's ability to reproduce red blood cells. I will definitely wait until this fall before I consider donating again, to be on the safe side.

At the end of this blog post I have not one, not two, but three months of blog stats. One strange blip in the data occurred in February when the blog received 4500 pageviews from Israel in just one day. The average number of pageviews for an entire month, from all countries, is under 2000. So that one day with 4500 pageviews definitely skewed the numbers a bit, as you can see in the chart below which shows monthly page views since the first blog post in September of 2012. I suspect these 4500 views were from a bot of some sort (like most of the hits from Russia and Ukraine probably are). Either that, or a group of people in Israel teamed up to view an average of just over three blog pages per minute for 24 hours.

Israeli Blip

In AFib family news, we lost a member of our collective family in March, at the age of 78. I referred to this person in my blog post about Day 1 of the 2013 Familial Support Group meeting, where I met her and some of her family. As far as I know she did not have any organ transplants for her fibrinogen amyloidosis.

Speaking of the Familial Support Group meeting, the next one (which I will now refer to as the Hereditary Amyloidosis Support Group meeting) is less than five months away. I plan on being there, and it would be nice to meet some of the recently diagnosed people I have been in contact with in the past year or two. Hopefully the Fibrinogen Alliance can make a good showing this year. Here is the link with dates and registration information for the meeting:

That's about it for this blog post. I did recently obtain several articles that are not freely available on the internet, so you can expect the article reviews to resume soon. But probably not in June.

=====Monthly Blog Status Update=====

As of February 28, 2017:

Total posts: 175 (1 in February)

Total pageviews: 60,200 (~6200 in February)

Email subscribers: 14 (unchanged)

Total number of countries that have viewed the blog: 134

One new country viewed the blog in February:


=====Monthly Blog Status Update=====

As of March 31, 2017:

Total posts: 175 (0 in March)

Total pageviews: 61,800 (~1600 in March)

Email subscribers: 14 (unchanged)

Total number of countries that have viewed the blog: 139

Five new countries viewed the blog in March:



=====Monthly Blog Status Update=====

As of April 30, 2017:

Total posts: 175 (0 in April)

Total pageviews: 62,800 (~900 in April)

Email subscribers: 14 (unchanged)

Total number of countries that have viewed the blog: 139

No new countries viewed the blog in April.


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Anemia begone!

Since February is a short month, this will be a short post with a quick but important update on me. As you may recall, in early 2016 I was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia, which led to a series of tests to rule out internal bleeding as the cause. After having my entire GI tract cleansed, inspected, and photographed from one end to the other and finding no abnormalities, I was referred to a hematologist who had me start taking iron supplements in September. That seemed to turn things around as you can clearly see in the chart below:

I took the iron supplements from the middle of September through the end of December of 2016, which brought my hemoglobin up from 13.3 to 15.3. More importantly, my ferritin level increased over this same time period from 5 to 28. I was curious to see what would happen after I stopped taking the iron supplements, and I received the good news at my annual physical exam on February 24 that my hemoglobin went up to 15.9, which was normal for me before I started donating blood in 2013. The really good news is that my ferritin increased to 41.7 (normal ferritin level is approximately 24 to 336 ng/mL), indicating my body is able to store iron in sufficient quantities again. All the other numbers related to the red blood cells were within the normal range except one, which was barely outside the normal range.

I think it is safe to say the anemia scare is over and appears to have been caused by donating blood more frequently than my body could handle, although the frequency was within the guidelines of the donation center. Lesson learned there. And my kidney function is fine, so I can consider myself asymptomatic for another year. 

=====Monthly Blog Status Update=====

As of January 31, 2017:

Total posts: 174 (1 in January)

Total pageviews: 54,100 (~1300 in January)

Email subscribers: 14 (unchanged)

Total number of countries that have viewed the blog: 133

One new country viewed the blog in January:


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Happy New Year!!!!!

Welcome to 2017 everyone. In keeping with my tradition, there are five exclamation points in the title since this is my fifth Happy New Year post in the history of this blog.

This post will be a recap of 2016, followed by some musings about where things go from here.

Here is what happened with the blog in 2016:
  • 11 new blog posts were written. (Down from 17 in 2015)
  • 6 articles were reviewed. (Up from 4 in 2015)
  • 24 additional countries visited the blog, bringing the total to 132. (That is more new country visits than occurred in 2015 (7) or 2014 (22).)
  • The blog received only 1 spam comment in 2016, which heaped a great deal of praise upon Dr. Ogun, the great healer, whose amazing herbal remedies cured the commenter of his KINDLY PROBLEM.

In personal news, at my annual physical exam in February of 2016 my doctor informed me that I had iron-deficiency anemia. That led to the following series of tests to check for sources of bleeding in my GI tract:

  • February: Colonoscopy and endoscopy
  • May: Small bowel follow through exam
  • June: Capsule endoscopy #1 (camera did not work)
  • July: Capsule endoscopy #2 (camera did work)

Since no abnormalities were found during any of those tests, I saw a hematologist in September who recommended I start taking iron supplements as a first step to see how my body responded. By late December my hemoglobin and ferritin were back in the normal range, as were the other numbers related to red blood cells, so I stopped taking iron supplements at the end of the year. We will see where those numbers are at my next physical exam in February.

That wraps up 2016. There are a few recent articles I still hope to review in 2017, and there are a few blog-related projects that I hope to make some progress on. And of course the big event in 2017 is the hereditary amyloidosis support group meeting in Chicago the last weekend of October. More information and a link to register for that meeting can be found here: Hopefully we can have a large turnout for the Fibrinogen Alliance.

=====Monthly Blog Status Update=====

As of December 31, 2016:

Total posts: 173 (1 in December)

Total pageviews: 52,800 (~1400 in December)

Email subscribers: 14 (unchanged)

Total number of countries that have viewed the blog: 132

No new countries viewed the blog in December.