My dad has been noticeably pale for about a month. He's been tired. He's also been hounded to go see the doctor. A few weeks ago a friend from church, who is a retired triage nurse in the local ER, told him to get himself to the doctor to have his hemoglobin checked. He finally went on Friday. Yesterday the doctor called to tell him to go to the hospital for blood transfusions. His hemoglobin was down to alarmingly low levels. He put off going for a day for a myriad of reasons but as you read this he's in the emergency department of our hospital, blood work-up done and the first of at least four pints worth of blood transfusion started. He'll stay overnight. When they feel his levels are up to a safer level they'll perform a colonoscopy.
They can't say right now what is causing the blood loss. However, based on his own and family medical history, plus his other symptoms, there are a few potential causes. In the doctor's words – we can't say for sure what it is but we do know it's serious and we need to treat it. When he was younger he had regional enteritis. During that time he had several surgeries to remove the effected portions of his intestinal track. The other thing weighing our minds right now is that my grandmother (my father's mother) and both her sisters had colon cancer – all three eventually died as a result although my one great-aunt enjoyed over a decade in remission before losing the battle when it returned about 5 years ago.
We won't know much more than this until after the tests, which are at least 8+ hours off. If you're of the praying variety, please include him in yours. We know he's got something that needs attention, we're just praying it's the lesser of two evils right now.