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.
Sleepy head is a fun little poem that was originally inspired by my dog Happy on a rare day that he preferred sleeping in to getting up and having an adventure. But since my iron stores and saturation have dropped to near lows, it could easily have been written about me. It does not matter if I get a good night sleep, or I toss and turn most of the night away, the thought of getting up in the morning fills me with dread.
I have a million things that I want to do, so the dreaming and planning portion of my brain is excited by the day, but the rest of me is too tired and achy to respond. No matter how good a nights rest I get, I wake up feeling as if I spent the whole night marching in my sleep. The only way to survive the day is by taking a few dozen cat naps and one or two long naps.
Part of that is because the lower my iron saturation gets, the harder it is to catch my breath, turning everything from the mildest workout to the simplest stretching or bending task into a major workout. Without enough iron, my body is struggling to get the oxygen where it needs to be, increasing recuperation time and massively decreasing my already limited energy levels.
Hopefully it will not be too much longer before I can see the hematologist and get a much needed iron infusion. Until then I guess I will just have to be a sleepy head with a greater appreciation not only for its important role in helping you to enjoy a vibrant and energetic day.
Thanks to another flare of my iron deficiency anemia I have not only been enjoying a debilitating bout of fatigue, chills, and ghost pale skin, but I have been dealing with another round of vegetarian pica. Vegetarian pica is a term that I created to explain my sudden desire for and acceptance of meat when my iron takes a rapid plunge. Having been raised a vegetarian, I had no taste of desire for meat. Growing up the idea of consuming the dead body of a sad faced cow or chicken had no appeal to me. I much preferred my vegetarian hot dogs made of unfeeling soy than the ground up body of a once living and breathing animal.
For years I suffered from rounds of debilitating fatigue that would ground my life to a halt, days of miserable headaches so strong that I could barely tolerate the intense agony of opening my eyes, at times the slightest effort would leave me winded, and with an ever increasing need for ice water. Like an endless merry-go round I would enjoy a burst of energy that with each passing round slipped away faster and remained away longer.
Month after month the need for rest grew. Controlling more and more of time as I scheduled my whole life around the expectation that it was not a matter of if, but when the life-halting exhaustion would bring my world to a halt. Instead of attending my college courses in person I switched to only online classes that allowed me to work ahead so I could accomplish as much as I could and would allow me to get ahead if possible in my two to three working days before my body crashed for the rest of the week.