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02 April 2014 @ 10:47 pm
Recovering from low iron  

Two weekends ago I felt absolutely terrible. My body was fatigued, my mind was exhausted, and I was finally beginning to connect the dots between the odd symptoms that I had been experiencing off and on since last Fall. That Monday after an online search everything fell into place: I was anemic. I suspect that for all of my adult life, my iron levels have been a tad low, but over the last six months, the levels began to gradually drop. My body was a trooper and tried to continue performing at the high level I needed it to (I bike to and from work, which means 8.2 miles a day, five days a week). Finally, my body said: “Enough is enough!”

Praise the Lord, I caught this just in the nick of time. Monday evening while my fiance and I were shopping for new multi-vitamins and slow-release iron supplements for an immediate iron boost, I came very close to fainting in the store. It was a very surreal experience, and not one I plan to repeat. I was fortunate enough to be able to work from home that Tuesday and Wednesday, resting and taking it easy while my body recovered. I diligently took the multi-vitamin with its 18mg of iron every morning with breakfast and for five days took the slow-release iron supplement at lunch. I also snacked on dried apricots, and I absolutely detest dried fruits but it was apricots or prunes, and I hate prunes more. I drank lots of water; made sure to keep up on my B vitamins, especially B12; slept longer; and took a hiatus from all unnecessary exercise, including biking to/from work. By the end of the week, I was feeling much better, though I was still tiring quicker than I should.

I did stopped the iron supplements after five days to avoid the complications that come with iron supplements (namely, constipation). What I needed was an immediate boost in my iron levels, which the supplements provided, but once back up, I would rather maintain those levels through my daily multi-vitamin and well-balanced diet. I drove into work Monday and Tuesday of this week as well; I needed to make certain that my strength and energy has recovered before starting with the grueling 8.2 mile daily ride. I biked 4.1 miles into work this morning to test my strength, but pre-arranged my fiance to pick me up after work so I would not over-do-it.

Anyway, after a scary and not fun week of weakness, dizzy spells, and everything that comes with low iron, I am back to normal. Or closer to being back to normal. I will have to be diligent about this and make sure I am getting the proper nutrients in my diet and supplementing when needed. Even though I eat foods rich in iron, vegetables are only as nutritious as the soil it grows in so it can be difficult to maintain by food selection alone. Anyway, I haven’t felt this good since the beginning of October 2013, which tells me that my health’s decline was quite gradual and unassuming. I will have to pay closer attention from now on… and take my multi-vitamins on a regular basis.

That is my downfall. Since childhood, I have had a difficult time swallowing pills. It took years to be able to swallow at will, and even now sometimes the larger multi-vitamins prove challenging. But then, I am a person who frequently chokes on water/beverages because my throat opens on its own right when I am swallowing. I let my dislike for swallowing pills get in the way of taking a multi-vitamin on a regular basis, and the vegetables/fruits I was buying over the winter months must not have had enough nutrients in them to sustain my active lifestyle. Praise the Lord, I was able to catch this before I ended up in a clinic or hospital and had time to reverse it before the wedding.

Speaking of Which, the big day is only sixteen days away!