Monday, November 14, 2011

AnemiaGirl 2.0- the anemia-est!

Last week I saw the hematologist, gave her my history and had my blood drawn. The whole experience took 90 minutes... not my favorite doctor's appointment of all time.

I was also not super pleased with the encounter because she said that if she looked at my blood results (which she had not seen yet) and saw that I had low iron, it was most likely from 1) being a vegetarian and 2) donating blood fairly frequently. Really? I got a call on Friday with my test results, and my ferritin level was 5. This is referred to as your "iron stores" and shows that my body is just not getting enough iron, so that's why my red blood cells were low too. Her response was to have me take huge doses of iron (at least 65mg 2x a day) for the next 2 months, then we will look at my test results and see if my levels went up. If they have, it indicates that I have not been taking in enough iron through my diet, so I should keep supplementing. If they have not come up, it means I am either losing iron from something internal (like gastric bleeding from an ulcer) or having absorption issues from something like celiac disease.

Ugh.

On one hand, it is not bad to take the iron, although it is upsetting my stomach. On the other hand, it sucks to take this passive approach when I KNOW my iron intake does not suck as badly as the numbers seem to be indicating. Also- I have not given blood in 8 months, pretty sure that's not a lingering effect. But I'm not a professional. Sigh.

 In addition to the high dose of iron, I'll keep my dietary intake high (tonight: veggie burger and big spinachy salad!) and also watch what I am taking my supplements and dietary sources of fiber at the same time as. Example: I used to eat my Cheerios while I drank my coffee, and I was planning on taking my iron at the same time as my multivitamin. Apparently those are both no-no's. I'm going to add orange juice to my morning routine with my cheerios and vitamins.

I've been taking the supplements since Friday and although some people have written that they feel better within a few days, I'm not noticing a difference so far. I suppose I'll be patient and hopefully feel better soon!

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