Good news, hopefully anemia will not be controlling my day much longer! I am scheduled to get my first infusion this Thursday. Which is great, because even with the occasional iron pill and daily drinking of the prune, Rasin, grape, and date drink, my hemoglobin is quickly dropping, and it is becoming harder to do even simple task like eating without becoming short of breath. My iron is getting so low that even though I am spending a few minutes in the sun nearly every day to get some natural vitamin D, I am becoming as pale as a ghost.
I am still not a fan of spending most of my day hooked up to an IV, but at this point it is an answer to prayer. It will be so nice to be able to do simple things like stand up and walk down the hallway or get something out of the microwave without becoming winded. While there are many big things, I want to do like complete 5 minutes of exercise on my total gym without gasping for breath or spending ten or fifteen minutes a day completing my next poetry or story book, it is the simple things of life that I am looking forward to.
Each time my iron drops so low, I am reminded how easily we forget the many little gifts that God has granted us. The ability to eat without feeling like you are going to suffocate, to bend down without fearing that your breath will be completely taken away, or comfortably walk a few feet without hyperventilating are all too often taken for granted. Too often we spend our lives chasing the big gifts, and think ourselves ill-used and believe that our prayers have been ignored because we do not receive the big bonus that we deserved, the funds to take our dream vacation, get a promotion, or some other desire of our heart.
Hurray, after more than a month since I got my lab results back showing that my iron saturation had dropped to a 4 (the low end of normal is 15), I finally have an appointment with the hematologist. I wish that I could say that I was looking forward to getting an iron infusion. But while I appreciate the temporary increase in physical and mental energy an iron infusion brings, I am not a fan of having to spend 6-8 hours getting an infusion, and the uncertainty of how I will react. To make matters more difficult, this will be the first time that I have to get an infusion without the companionship and protecting watch of my father.
But even though I do not like getting an iron infusion, my stomach cannot tolerate taking iron pills for more than a few days at a time. After a few days it makes my chronic nausea so strong that I dread meal time to the point that I at times I am delaying and even skipping meals. To alleviate the nausea I have to stop taking the nausea causing my iron levels to sea saw up and down, and slowly causing my iron stores and iron saturation to drop to a point that I can barely lift my head off the sofa and where some days even a few steps leaves me gasping for air.
Fortunately, while I have been waiting for my referral to reach the the hematologist, I found a couple of natural ways to help me get enough iron to help me do one or two task and breath a bit more comfortably. One natural remedy is to drink a bit of beet juice mixed with another juice like grape or apple juice. Mixing it with another juice is important as on its own, probably due in part to its strong flavor, it can be hard to keep down. But mixed and diluted by another juice like apple or grape it become more tolerable.
It was a less then delightful way to spend a birthday, more than 3 hours in the doctor’s office. But it was a necessary misery as it turns out, and not unexpectedly at least to me, that my iron stores are low and my iron saturation at 4 percent is very low.
Even though my hemoglobin was normal on my last visit, I knew that my stores were getting seriously low. Thanks to the serious bouts of nausea and my allergies to food dyes, it is nearly impossible to keep my iron in check. The low dose of over the counter gentle iron helps to keep my energy up a bit. But all it takes is a few days off to try and settle my stomach for my iron levels to come crashing down. Lately it is only a matter of a few days without iron pills before I become as pale as a ghost, find it hard to lift my head off the sofa arm, I struggle to catch my breath, I start forgetting even the simplest of words, and my limbs become ice cold.
So like it or not, it looks like this anemia inspired acrostics is the perfect poem of the day. While I hate having to spend an entire day stuck in the infusion center, it looks like getting a referral to the hematologist and enduring 6 to 8 hours for an iron infusion is back to being a necessary evil.
Summer, that great time of year when warm breezes blow and sunny days beckon one and all to roam a vibrant green world as busy birds flutter through the trees singing their merry song of life. Where visions of melodic waves crashing against the shore and refreshing dips in cool ocean waters fill the imagination.
But for me summer is a time of frustration. As the thermostat rises and the humidity climbs so does the deep ache in my bones. Instead of lounging in a chair by the refreshing waters of a crystal clear pool, summer finds me curled up in a tight ball with a steam of tears threatening to run down my pain contorted cheeks. And in sorrow I watch from the sidelines as the days of summer slip away, never to return.
Frustrated I dream of long walks by the ocean, and of typing by the pool as I sip a refreshing glass of ice cold pineapple fruit shake. My hot brow desperate wishing for the chance to cool off in a shady corner of the pool, even though I know that my achy bones would never allow it.
Haunted by images of the life I long for and worn out by the increasingly debilitating ache that sores with the thermometer, disappointment threatens to engulf me. Oh how I long for a normal life, to know the joy of living with strength and purpose instead of tip toeing around my endless discomfort. As I look at my empty platter and think about how empty my life is of the active joy that I long for, a deep depression threatens to take hold.
But it is at this moment that God in His mercy steps in. With tender love He points my throbbing head upward and reminds me that trying as these days of frustration are, this need not be my unhappy end.With love he reminds me of the promise that one day soon I may rise like a mighty eagle unhampered by the chains of pain that currently hold me back.
Slowly, as I take my eyes off my current suffering and by faith behold the glorious days of promise, my frustration gives way to joy. And although pain still racks my body, my heart begins to sing songs of praise. As my imagination is carried past the fleeting dreams of an earthly summer and carried to that which shall stand the test of time. No longer concentrating upon the sorrow of having been born into a world of pain, I look ahead to that precious day when the clouds do part to reveal a vast host of angels whose song makes the world to tremble. And at last my weary burdens I shall be able to put down, as with the freedom of endless youth I bounce, and a heart filled with joy I fall before my Redeemer and pour out my soul in gratitude that my days of pain and heartache He melted away and transformed into the wonder of the dawn of endless, pain free youth!
In some ways, after years of being chronically ill, I have found myself becoming s somewhat cynical of the world around me. It is not something I set out to do, and it is an attitude I try to repress, but years of discouragement and disappointment take their toll.
Friendships that you thought would last a lifetime come to a quiet end as life for them continues and you remain an frustrated prisoner of pain. Caught up in the excitement of a big new world begging for them to explore, the idea of visiting an old school chum locked in time soon loses its appeal. Thoughts of that old friend are replaced with the joy of reaching new milestones such as graduating from college, getting the first job, dating, marrying, buying a home, and having children. And without meaning for it to happen you have been reduced to a memory entitled “What was her name again.”