Meet Jeff Cariker
“10 years ago my Father died of complications from Hemochromatosis, which is a hereditary disorder that prevents the body from assimilating Iron into the system. This in turn overloads the body with Iron and attacks the vital organs such as the liver, heart and kidneys.
After my Fathers Doctor told me it was Hereditary, I underwent the necessary medical test and was informed that I had Hemochromatosis.
So for the rest of my life I’m told it will be necessary do a series of Phlebotomies every 4 to 5 month. Phlebotomies are a blood draw that removes the blood from the body to rid the excess Iron. The series consist of (Blood Letting) once a week for four consecutive weeks, which leaves me sluggish for a day or two each time.
Here is where CrossFit CrownTown and The Paleo Diet come into play.
Vegetables of all kinds and red lean meats are high in Iron foods. Avoiding these or limiting the intake will greatly reduce the amount of Iron stored in my body. As a result, I’d have fewer Phlebotomies, less weakness and better health quality.
With all of this said and mentally accepted, I joined CrossFit CrownTown in October 2011. I had two goals in mind, which were to get fit and as healthy as possible at 56 years old.
After completing the “On-Ramp course”, trainer Wayne Willette spoke with me and shared the concept of the The Paleo Diet. I changed my eating habits to The Paleo Diet and began to consume organic vegetables, grass fed lean meats, organic chicken, turkey, fish, uncured bacon and organic fruits and nuts in moderation.
Setting my mind to just accept that I would begin to suffer the consequences of this diet and understand that I would have to undergo the Phlebotomies every 4 months while having to endure the physical side effects, I jumped in feet first.
After 5 months of CrossFit and The Paleo Diet I’m 33 pounds lighter. I recently went in for my lab work. With all of the vegetables, bacon, lean meats I expected my Doctors chin to hit the floor when he read my lab results, because I expected to hear that my Saturation and Ferritin Levels would be off the charts.
To both the Doctors and my surprise, my levels were all within normal range, there was no need to do the Phlebotomy this time. This caused him to ask, “What lifestyle or diet changes had I made that would result in losing 33 pounds and keeping my levels within range?” I told him about CrossFit CrownTown and The Paleo Diet. His response was, “Keep doing what you are doing because it’s working and that he will see me in 4 or 5 months to re-check.
Needless to say about Wayne Willette, the staff at CrossFit CrownTown and the Paleo diet – “I’M SOLD”. My personal goal is to keep working hard to improve my diet, overall health and fitness. I feel better and healthier than I have in years.”
I’d like to add that Jeff is the classic example of someone who is not afraid of a little hard work, as the saying goes. He listens to what the coaching staff tells him, doesn’t doubt our advice and puts in the work. He never complains about anything. He shows up for class like clockwork 3-4 times per week. Jeff is a soldier and embodies all of the qualities for a member that gets results. Keep up the hard work, Jeff. We look forward to continuing to hear about your successes. – WW
This is a truly inspiring story. Sadly, this man’s family illness is not uncommon. Hemochromatosis, also known as iron overload disease is of two types: Primary and hereditary and secondary or acquired. Some of the additional symptoms include: hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, abdominal pain, chronic fatigue, joint pain, and bronzing of the skin. Hemochromatosis has no cure; and affect’s both male and female patients. There have also been cases of juvenile and neonatal Hemochromatosis. If the disease is caught prior to organ and other secondary related medical issues develop; intense therapeutic phlebotomy, and sometimes oral iron chelation therapy is a main course of recurring treatment. Men are typically diagnosed earlier then woman, as females have a natural blood ridding process; via the menstrual cycle, to keep iron levels reduced; however on occasion this can delay or hinder a timely diagnosis’. Hemochromatosis is often overlooked during medical examination as the disease mimics many other more common diseases with similar symptoms. The diagnosis’ requires a specific DNA blood test, not normally associated with any normal body of tests ordered by practitioners, such as a CBC. As such, very few people are immediately diagnosed; and depending on the progression of the disease, there is often considerable and sometimes irreversible organ and tissue damage. Some families are unaware the disorder is prevalent in their gene pool; and there are occasions following initial diagnosis’ which patients report prior untimely deaths of family members; now thought of as being attributed to the disease. Hemochromatosis; when left undiagnosed or untreated is linked to rare causes of arthritis, liver disease, and cardiac abnormalities. Those lucky enough to be diagnosed prior to often irreversible organ damage can be managed successfully with limited side effects. Others are left to manage this incurable disease following severe organ and tissue damage; having to undergo aggressive phlebotomies, and associated secondary diagnosis’ concerns, often causing severe fatigue, and constant, sometimes very painful joint and body pain for which specialized management becomes essential. Adjusting to a healthy, responsible diet while maintaining an appropriate regular level of physical activity; mindfully developed and managed by professionally trained fitness educators like Mr. Wayne Willett are both crucial, and vital components to successfully balancing a healthy lifestyle, while effectively managing the personal adversity of what life can throw our way. Wishing you all the very best in your next chapter! – Clinton Campbell