Friday, August 20, 2010

How do you spell RELIEF? I-R-O-N!

I can't believe it - since I've been taking the iron pills that my OB prescribed for my anemia, I feel like a new woman! I can't believe I forgot what it feels like to be anemic, but more importantly, I can't believe I forgot the transformation that occurs when you bring your body back into balance. What a relief! Who knew so much goodness could be packed into those little red pills...

Before I started on the iron, I was experiencing an all-over malaise feeling, a bit of an upset stomach, a headache now and again, and pretty significant fatigue, with my naps growing closer to 2 1/2 hours or more. What's more, I could have probably gone to bed every night at 9 o'clock, and I'd developed the inkling (and ability) to close my eyes mid-morning (say around 11am) and fall right asleep. Of course, I wasn't allowing myself to do so (I DO have a child to take care of!), but the fact that I was so sleepy, on top of getting 9-10 hours of sleep at night and an extra 2-3 hours during the day, had me baffled.

Of course, the way I work, I had a million and one reasons (everything BUT anemia) as to why I was feeling so crummy: third-trimester pregnancy, a couple of late nights, too much dairy, maybe even lupus. Whatever it was, I just figured I was going to have to grin and bear it. I had every intention of mentioning it to my doctors at my next appointment, but I certainly wasn't going to make a big deal about it. Why is it that when we're feeling bad, our instinct is to just "deal", rather than take a step back and think, "I feel crummy all of a sudden. Could there be a concrete, medical explanation?" Instead, we tell ourselves that we're imagining it, being dramatic, or that we just ate too much dessert. (Speak for yourself, pregnant lady...)

Thankfully, I didn't have to grin and bear it too long, because my high-risk OB was all over my blood tests. As mentioned a few posts ago, my bi-weekly sonograms have turned into weekly appointments, and the increased frequency seems to have come in handy. My doctor picked up on my screwy hemoglobin and determined pretty quickly that I was anemic. And at my last appointment, when I mentioned how tired I'd been, she confirmed that my low hematocrit level (pre-iron pills) would have definitely been causing the baffling fatigue.

So post-iron supplement, I'm feeling fabulous. I can't say I'm feeling particularly light on my feet, (who could be, with a big ole' belly like this one out in front?), but I am feeling pretty darn energized. It was such a significant change from the way I was feeling - I have no idea how I was even functioning. (Isn't that always the case, after the fact?) I also can't believe it took me almost a week to pick up my iron pills from the drugstore after my doctor prescribed them. (More on my reluctance to start OTC drugs immediately upon recommendation in a future post.)

I've even increased the iron in my diet, per doctor's orders. In addition to the pills, I'm grabbing a big bowl of iron-rich cereal every day and adding spinach to our weekly dinner menu, and it's really paying off. I think I'm going to make it these next 8 weeks or so. For awhile, I wasn't so sure!

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