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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Health Update

Ever since the first part of January, I've felt so damn lethargic.

Not the kind from depression; that feels different. No, this kind is the "I've had a full night's sleep and drunk a cup of coffee and I still cannot muster enough energy or enthusiasm to do more than watch TV. Also, I can't think clearly and sometimes I can't string together a coherent sentence." This latter, as you can imagine, is damn frightening for a writer.

I realized something was really, really wrong when I was drinking a second cup in the afternoon just to get me through the day, and I still had barely enough oomph to walk the dogs. So I started studying what it was I had been eating.

It then occurred to me that, even though I've always been a carnivore, I had been seriously craving protein on a regular basis. Not just "ooh, I'm hungry" but "NEED RED MEAT NOW" kind of thing. And on the days I had felt better, I had typically eaten a nice meal of red meat either that day or the day before. But even after trying to eat more red meat, I was still feeling blah and cloudy-headed. Oh, and I had started to whack the right side of my body into walls, which was definitely unusual, as I am right-dominant.

I only recently (remember, sometimes thinking is difficult for me) figured out that maybe, perhaps, I have some kind of anemia. After all, red meat is full of hemoglobin and therefore iron. I did some quick research on teh Googlez and it turns out that, yes, anemia can include the symptoms of:
  • fatigue
  • irritability
  • difficulty concentrating
  • insomnia
  • headaches
  • paleness
  • clumsiness
Well, I'm already naturally pale and prone to headaches anyone, and I've always been a night owl, so those symptoms could have easily crept up on me. And I've always been a cranky bitch. But the fatigue, the difficulty in concentrating, the clumsiness... it started to add up, especially because my father also has some kind of iron deficiency thing, although his seems to be an old-man sort of thing.

But still, now there was a direct genetic relation.

At this point, I'd make an appointment with a doctor -- but I am poor and have no health insurance. Besides, the last time I had a check-up I didn't have any warning indicators with the bloodwork -- but then again, the feelings of fatigue hadn't started then, either.

So I did an experiment:  I took one of my father's massive iron pills, and what do you know, I started to feel better almost immediately. Not great, you understand, but better. Like the fog was clearing from my brain. Later that day, I felt positively normal. I was talking intelligently, with proper verbs and everything, and I wasn't whacking my right side into the wall.

There you go, then: I was some kind of anemic, and it had come on just after my last blood test. It's not an actual medical diagnosis, of course, but it's the best I can do in this instance. I'll keep you updated as I experiment with dietary supplements.

Hopefully this will result in more productivity.


  1. Glad that you found something which apparently works. I recently found something fairly simple which alleviates my lifelong depression issues, and have been experimenting to find something which can help with recent low-energy problems. I think I've found a solution, but I want to keep trying some things to make sure.

  2. Sorry you have not been feeling and glad you have found a little relief. Hopefully, you continue to find things that work.

  3. Glad you're feeling better.  For the record, you are not now, nor have you ever been a cranky bitch.  :)

  4. Amazing the difference iron makes huh? I had the same issues not to long ago, turns out the multivitamin I was taking didn't contain any iron and I hadn't realized it.

    They do, btw, make less massive iron pills that are much easier to take.

  5. It tends to be beneficial to eat meat in rotation. That is beef one meal, pork the next, some chicken, beef again, lamb, chicken again, etc.

    Also, I personally try to make sure that there is meat or a vegetable with iron in it in at least two of my three meals a day. Granted, I don't always eat three full meals a day with my schedule but keeping the concept in mind helps to make me more aware of what my body needs.

    Glad to hear you're feeling better.

  6.  That's exactly the same problem I had! I was astounded to find my "complete" multivitamin had ZERO iron in it. WTF, over?

    I also found that vitamin C is used to help the body absorb iron from food, so I'm making an effort to take more of that (and because it's water-soluble, I can't take too much of it).

  7. Grumpy darling, have you ever been so mad that you lose all coherence and instead of yelling profanities you just scream at the top of your lungs like an animal? Because I have. :)

  8.  That's pretty much the reason why multivitamins don't contain iron. Vitamin C increases the iron uptake and unless you're pregnant or losing blood a lot (heavy menstruation or other form of bleeding) you generally don't end up anemic unless you're a vegan (without enough beans in your diet. Beans and other legumes is like the solution to 90% of the dietary problems that many vegans suffer from).

    Also, in "multivitamin" form it's quite easy to overdose on Iron. Excess iron can be pretty bad, both short term and long term (short term, vomiting and nausea. Long term, diabetes and arthritis).

  9.  At least a few of them do contain a little iron at least, though its not usually tons yes. I eat red meat, but not as often as I like, and I don't like beans, so....not enough iron.  The multi DOES have vitamin C in it, at a pretty decent amount, so I've been reluctant to up that.

    Personally I've settled on an every other day schedule for the supplement, which seems to be enough to keep me from feeling off, and hopefully won't be enough to cause me problems down the road.

  10.  No, I can't say that I have.  Regardless, I stand by my original statement.  An occasional bout of blinding rage does not equal "cranky bitch". 

  11. I would strongly recommend seeing a doctor. Regardless of your financial situation, it is far cheaper to catch medical conditions early than to try to repair the damage later on. Unfortunately, it took me a long time to figure that out.

  12. Glad you're feeling better.  I know I'm outta whack when liver actually sounds good to me.  

  13. It's always a bit alarming when someone posts "health issues" then stops posting!

  14.  Beans and other legumes is like the solution to 90% of the dietary problems that many vegans suffer from).

    Burritos for errybody!

  15. Good to hear you're feeling a bit perked up but yes, actual doctor visits strongly advised if you can swing them just to make sure there's nothing else going on or underlying what's going on.


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