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Minister’s Routine CBC Anything But

​2/1/2018

Last year, the Reverend Joseph Phipps, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Fairfield, Iowa, had his first complete blood count (CBC). He had lived many years without serious health concerns, so, until then, he hadn't bothered to get all the preventive tests prescribed at his sporadic well visits — just his cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This time, however, he decided to get every no-cost screening recommended by the Medical Plan's Preventive Care Schedule, including a CBC. And, he could report most of the results for Call to Health points.

To his surprise, within a few days his doctor called with "troubling" news. Rev. Phipps had a greatly elevated white blood cell count, despite his general good health and having no other signs of illness or infection. A subsequent test revealed he had chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a cancer of the blood with no discernible symptoms until Stage 2 or higher.

"I would not have known I had this condition, and it certainly would not have been discovered at such an early stage if I hadn't followed the plan's preventive care recommendations as part of Call to Health," Rev. Phipps said.

The early diagnosis meant Rev. Phipps would see an oncologist for regular blood tests. What began as monthly checks became every three months and now every six. His CLL is stage 0, and his last blood count, while still elevated, was the best since his diagnosis.

"I am truly grateful for Call to Health," he said. "It encouraged me to take care of myself — to get the preventive care tests and screenings that are key to early diagnosis of disease. My situation would have been far worse if it had not been detected early!"