Personal Story

Bob Stark

I don’t know for sure when I first became affected by Pernicious Anaemia. Certainly, with hindsight, long before it was formally diagnosed. My first 30 working years were spent in the RAF and although the later years were largely sedentary, I still participated regularly in various sports, sometimes representing the RAF in international competitions and so, approaching 50, I was still relatively fit and still Bowled regularly for Cornwall , although age was beginning to take its toll.

Shortly before leaving the Service, in 1977 my wife and I bought a small Farm and we grew Pigs and Goats and Donkeys and Poultry and just about any Fruit or Vegetable you could name whilst both still working full time; my wife as a midwife and me, after retiring from the RAF, building and managing a successful Homebrew Merchandising Company as well as, simultaneously, a successful Branch for one of the top Insurance Companies, and in my miniscule spare time, building extensions and improvements to the farmhouse. Living ‘life to the full’ you might say.

Looking back with hindsight, it was almost certainly during this period that PA struck but without being recognised. By now I was well into my sixties with no thoughts of retiring, but I found that it was taking longer to do physical things and I was tiring more easily. For example, by 2002 it had become more difficult to carry Breeze locks and to mix and lay Cement. At first I put it down to ageing and certainly, some of it was. Until in 2012, following a TIA aged 78, PA was also diagnosed. One phrase seemed to encapsulate it: ‘I can’t do things I could do 6 months ago and 6 months ago I couldn’t do things I could do six months before that’. Additionally, my sense of balance had become suspect and climbing stairs and simply walking without support more difficult. I had by then retired, but I could still drive without difficulty and so life went on much as usual, albeit at a slower pace. I would like to say that no one noticed the difference, but that would likely be misconstrued. I can say though that nobody believes how young I look for my age, which age I have at last begun to feel. It is said that wisdom comes with age, but I don’t believe I am any wiser, merely older.

Neverthetheless, age does bring a degree of retrospection into one’s thoughts. I am told that Vitamin B12 is stored in the liver and that too much alcohol damages the liver, which leaves me wondering if there is a connection. Food for thought. There is an old Russian Pogavorka ‘Everything is possible but take care.’ Binge Drinkers Beware.

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