Lucky to be Alive

Family Doctor: Dr. Judy Cheng

Twelve years ago, I went to Dr. Cheng for my yearly physical. At the end, she asked me “Overall, how are you feeling?” I told her that I felt tired all the time. Dr. Cheng said that she would send me for blood work to see if I was anemic. I got a call from her office to come in for an appointment and she said, “I want to recheck your blood work to see if there is a possibility of an error.” My ferritin was unusually high. When the second test confirmed the results were correct, she called me in and explained that she was suspecting that I have hemochromatosis. She took the time to explain that it is a hereditary iron overload disease and although there is no cure, she said it is very manageable with regular blood donations or phlebotomies. She referred me to the University of Alberta, Medical Genetics Clinic for further investigation and confirmation of her diagnosis.

Dr. Cheng referred me to two other amazing Doctors. Dr. Melaku Game is my Hematologist that I see yearly for follow-up on my blood work. He is so kind and compassionate, I always leave his office grateful that I am his patient. Dr. Mang Ma is my Hepatologist, he checks up on my liver because the iron likes to store up in there. He is also so kind, offers great advice on diet and ways to manage problems associated with hemochromatosis.

Looking back on family history, my maternal grandmother died at 53 due to an unexplained illness. It is very possible that she had hemochromatosis and it would not have been discovered back then.

I only just heard about this site to acknowledge outstanding Doctors and my first thought was to write about my amazing doctor, Judy Cheng. Thanks to her, I am enjoying a healthy retirement.

Debbie Martin, St. Albert