The Sick Days: Part 21 - Hot and Bothered
Moving from The Toronto Star to The Ottawa Citizen was supposed to reduce symptom-inducing stress, but once installed in the national newsroom, Shelley Page starts feeling like a lobster
By Shelley Page
While I never told the editors who hired me at the Ottawa Citizen that I had a serious chronic illness, I confessed my secret to the doctor performing the employer-mandated medical exam.
I had to. Otherwise, my blood would betray me.
A routine white blood cell count (WBC) would reveal I suffered from neutropenia and leukopenia — chronically low numbers of white blood cells which left me highly susceptible to infection. Lupus often attacks and destroys these disease fighting, workhorses of the immune system. A normal WBC is between 4,500 and 11,000, mine hovers around 1,800.
If the doctor requested more sophisticated tests, she might also have seen extremely high levels of anti-double-stranded DNA antibodies, which ...