In August 2009, despite the fact that Patrick was feeling generally healthy, he was declined extended disability insurance as a result of some routine blood analysis completed by an insurance company. Essentially, his liver enzymes were "elevated."
He goes on to relate : “My liver enzymes elevated? It was a surprise for sure, so a trip to my general physician ensued, resulting in numerous tests in an attempt to rule out any major infectious diseases. In the end, his biggest concern was hepatitis A or B., which didn't make sense to me, but was the most logical explanation for my liver enzymes. He also lined me up for an abdominal ultrasound which I was able to get in mid-October, and which produced more questions as it showed an enlarged spleen and enlarged lymph nodes in my abdominal cavity. I soon had a referral to a gastroenterologist, which took another six weeks, so there was more waiting and wondering.
“Life went on as usual, but I did stop drinking because we knew my liver was compromised in some way. ... The gastroenterologist I saw at the end of November was straightforward. He asked me about joint pain, ordered a few more the tests and then tested my ferritin. This was the first time I had heard about ferritin.”
Patrick continues by telling the reader how when his wife was away on a ‘work trip’ on the day his lab results arrived in the mail and his ferritin results came back ‘off the charts,’ as he puts it, with the first number high in the 9,000s. By the time she came home that night, he had spent some time with "Dr. Google" on the Internet and realized the gravity of his situation When his wife came through the door, he greeted her with: “I think I know what I have. It is called Hemochromatosis. (Homozygous for HH ie. a carrier of two genes necessary for development of the full-blown disease). It appears that, because of these enlarged nodes and the extremely high level of ferritin the specialist was not convinced that it was just HH. He reckoned that the problem could also be leukemia or lymphoma, so, before he knew it, Patrick was ordered to undergo an urgent CT scan, and he was then left with a message of impending doom - as well as having to wait for the results of genetic tests - right before the Christmas holidays; results he would not receive until early 2010. Furthermore, because no one in his family had ever been diagnosed with HH, at least as far as he was aware , the doctors became even more skeptical that this was his main problem.