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I had a perorated peptic ulcer at the age of 17 way back in 1959.
At first no-one would believe it was an ulcer although I'd been in considerable pain on and off for three months and got through a lot of Rennies.
The ulcer burst whilst I was at work as an apprentice electrician on the "Big Top" site in the middle of Birminhgham, I was taken to the General Hospital, accused of eating beetroot (for breakfast?) and sent home wiith a letter to my doctor.
I continued losing blood (from both ends) before being rushed across the city to the Dudley Road Hospital where I was put in a medical ward and fed on Horlicks tablets and blood drips - if they could find any veins.
Sunday afternoon visiting time came and I vomitted another kidney bowl full of blood and a surgeon was called who simply said "I'm going in" and in he went removing two thirds of my stomach.
Being so young and otherwise very fit I made a very quick recovery and was discharged from hospital after only nine days and the only advice given me by the surgeon was to give up my job and find "a sedentary job" - whatever one of those were.
Being so young - and foolish - I continued and finished my apprenticeship and qualified as an electrician but I was beginning to notice that I did not have as much energy as previously and my general health began to decline so I remembered the surgeons advice and took a less strenuous job as a buyer for an electrical wholesaler in 1962 - three years after the surgery.
In 1965 I got married but unfortunately my wife was taken seriously ill with heart problems in early 1966 and was hospitalized for several weeks the worry about which dragged my health down even more, I caught 'flu, was off work for four weeks and lost my job.
By now, in 1967 and unbeknown to me, I started to exhibit neurological symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency and in 1968 was sent for a "Schilling Test" which proved inconclusive.
Still my health declined and I was fed a cocktail of Librium, Valium and Tofranil for depression until I was a walking Zombie.
In 1972, thirteen years after the gastric surgery my doctor in one last desperate attempt to "sort me out" sent me for a second "unheard of" Schilling Test which this time proved positive for Pernicious Anaemia.
I was offered the choice of eating raw liver three times a day or having injections of cyanocobalamin B12 every four weeks for the rest of my life.
I've used the words "unbeknown to me" and it is about this ignorance that I have gone through that this post is about and believe me this ignorance is not bliss.
I have lived for nearly 45 years not understanding why I have pernicious anaemia. In all that time I never knew anyone else with it and neither nurses (whom I saw every four weeks for the injections) or doctors ever asked me how I was coping.
In recent years however I've noticed a return of some of the symptoms in the run up to my next injection and that prompted me to find out more about P.A. by joining the Pernicious Anaemia Society and what I know now should have been made known to me fifty seven years ago and that is that gastric surgery makes it virtually impossible to absorb Vitamin B12 from food via the stomach.
A "normal" person has several years "store" of B12 in their liver but gastric surgery prevents this being replenished so after the 13 years gap between surgery and diagnosis and treatment I was probably running on "empty".
There are many other causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency/P.A including diet, medications, other autoimmune diseases, family history, and surgery involving nitroud oxide etc etc but my purpse on this forum is to advise those who have suffered gastric surgery to be aware of the danger of becoming B12 Deficient - also known as "The silent killer".
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