Feeling tired? Why you should make an appointment with your doctor today.

By Graham Lee

Feeling tired, run-down, under the weather? How long have you been feeling like that? When was the last time you visited a doctor?

I don’t want to worry you unduly but tiredness can hide a multitude of potentially life threatening illnesses.

Unfortunately tiredness is also a fact of life in this modern ‘do everything yesterday’ lifestyle. We are all running around trying to do all the things we think need to be done today and not giving our body the rest it needs to basically keep going. Tiredness is almost a given under these circumstances. But tiredness is not just about being tired, it the body’s first warning of more to come.

As we become more tired, we attribute the increased tiredness to the fact that we are just working harder and harder to make ends meet.

And so it goes, in an ever decreasing circle of working too hard, getting a little sleep and working again, until eventually the body says ‘enough,… if you don’t stop and give me some rest, I’m going to take it for myself’ and either stops completely with fatal consequences or provides us with a very real reminder, in the form of a heart attack, a stroke or some other unwelcome illness.

It has been sending us reminders all along possibly for month’s by making us feel tired and run-down but we’ve not taken heed, so it has had to do something drastic, just to get your attention.

Today I am reminded of this fact and of the fragility of the human body.

When the body sends us it’s little reminders, if we take notice, then the body can heal itself, or if it’s something more serious, we can visit a doctor and get the necessary treatments to give it a helping hand.

For the last two years I’ve seen a doctor on average every month, due to something that happened just over two years ago and today I am in hospital undergoing an investigatory procedure for a small lump I have in my groin. My consultant has told me that it could be a small hernia, a fatty lump or something more serious, and will either fix the hernia, remove the lump or at least know what it is and provide treatment.

Until two years ago I would most likely not have even have mentioned it to my doctor, putting it down to a strain or pulled muscle from lifting something too heavy. Whatever it is would have grown until it was more serious and life-threatening than it appears to be now.

But that all changed two years ago when I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML).

Facts about Acute Myeloid Leukaemia

The first published description of a case of leukemia in medical literature was recorded by French physician Alfred-Armand-Louis-Marie Velpeau in 1827. AML was further understood by 1877 and Neumann in 1869,  was the first person to recognize that white blood cells were made in the bone marrow. In 2008, AML was the first cancer genome to be fully sequenced in the DNA

Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), also known as acute myelogenous leukaemia, is a cancer of the blood cells, known as myeloid cells. The rapid growth of abnormal white blood cells accumulate in the bone marrow and interfere with the production of normal blood cells.

The rapid increase of leukaemia cells in the bone marrow causes a drop in red blood cells, platelets, and normal white blood cells and in turn causes fatigue, shortness of breath, easy bruising and bleeding, and increased risk of infection. As an acute leukaemia, AML progresses rapidly and is typically fatal within weeks or months if left untreated. Treatment initially starts with chemotherapy to initially destroy the leukemic cells, followed by additional chemotherapy or a stem cell transplant or bone marrow transplant.

AML is the most common acute form of leukaemia affecting adults, and the risk of being diagnosed increases with age.

Although relatively rare, it accounts for only around 1.2% of cancer deaths in the United States, but as the population ages, the risk increases. 5 year urvival rates vary from 15–70%, and the risk of relapse varies from 33-78%, depending on subtype, of which there are seen different types.

I count myself lucky to be here today, especially when I look back to that fateful day in June 2009.

Diagnosis came about purely by chance, when I visited my doctor for a routine hay-fever checkup. I’d been feeling tired for many months but did not think anything more of it, I told myself I was just working too hard and would get some rest when I could, when I’d finished the job I was on at the time.

Sound familiar?

The surgery nurse thought I looked pale and suggested a blood test as a precaution. That initial blood test showed my blood counts were about as low as they could possible be. They were almost zero across the board and by all accounts I should not have been working at all or even walking around, but I was. I just felt tired and had done so for a few months, adrenaline keeping me going, either that or my obstinance to get the job done.

A Life Changing Event.

Being diagnosed with an illness such as AML is certainly a Life Changing Event.

I’ve always felt that getting AML was my body’s way of telling me to stop working so hard. It had been telling me for month’s that I was ill, by making me feel tired and run down. I did not take any notice. I believe I was feeling generally tired long before I contracted AML. AML was the final stand my body was making on my behalf, to get me to stop. It could easily have been fatal, as indicated by the known facts about AML.

I believe my body has given me a second chance to look after myself better.

That life changing event has made me realise how fragile our bodies really are. It has made me realise that I do not want to subject my body to the trauma’s of modern day to day life. From now on I want to take an easier pace of life and not work so hard, but just how easy going that will be is yet to be agreed, between my body and my work and lifestyle.

I do know that in future, I will be taking more notice of what my body is telling me and visiting my doctor, when IT thinks I should, rather than when I think I should, which on past experience is likely to be rarely.

I’ve been lucky once and don’t want to tempt fate again, who knows the next time my body might just say ‘let’s call it a day and end it now!’

It’s why I’m in hospital today undergoing surgery for what may be nothing at all. Hernia’s and fatty lumps are quite common and are routinely operated on to fix or remove. The surgery, although by general anesthetic, is only day surgery, I should be home by evening.

But I am now more aware of what is going on with my body and think, ‘Why take the chance?’

So – Have you made that appointment with your doctor yet?

If you are feeling tired and run down, do you really want to take the chance

Do it now, before it’s too late. It could save your life!


About the Author

Graham Lee is an online Entrepreneur and owner of a number of websites providing software and tools for Internet Marketers. For more inofrmation visit the About Graham Lee page of this website.

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