State of the Blog: An Iron Will

Jan 28, 2015

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I’ve been battling anemia for several months now.  It struck last fall, and it has been an unbeatable foe.  A few days ago, I noticed all the tell-tale signs that it was back: exhaustion, inability to think clearly, no motivation to work, etc..

It’s slowly sucking my will to live my daily life.

I’m taking an evening to rest up following a day of being poked and prodded at the doctor’s office.  (I hate needles more than anything, ever, so this is torturous.)  I’ll be back tomorrow with a two ways that every woman can use, a career “Ask Belle,” and a beauty product review.

Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest and Instagram.  Sick Days very quickly turn into Pinterest Indulgence Days.

xo, Belle

*image found here.

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  1. Whitney Gibbs says:

    Feel better, Belle! Know that we appreciate all your efforts here.

  2. Angie says:

    I hope you feel better soon. Take care Belle!

  3. Mo says:

    I feel you, Belle. I struggled with fatigue for an entire year before identifying the problem. Long road working with a nutritionist and GI doctor but think we have it under control now (even back to running marathons–big improvement from not being able to climb a flight of stairs.)

    Hang in there.

  4. Tina says:

    Slow-fe is a great iron pill that won’t upset your stomach, you can buy it over the counter. Be sure to eat some red meat and good healthy meals, stop obsessing about being thin. Also, maybe your body is not absorbing the iron, they can check that as well. I had this same problem in my 20’s and 30’s. Good Luck

    • D says:

      Does she obsess about being thin? I haven’t noticed.

      Stop obsessing about other people’s obsessions.

      I trust her and her doctors.

  5. S says:

    Yikes! I hope you feel better soon. Thanks for all the work you do – I love your posts everyday!

  6. KC says:

    I hope the visit was productive and you feel better soon.

  7. Chelsay says:

    I don’t want to be obnoxious and offer advice I know nothing about, as everyone’s situation is unique, but after watching my mother struggle for YEARS, I figured I would throw it out there. My mom has had regular anemia for years but she wasn’t getting any better with iron, etc., and after tons of tests and GI tract cameras (crazy stuff) it took a new doctor to order a simple blood test to find out my mom had Pernicious Anemia, which is when the body cannot absorb vitamin B12. The change in my mom after her first round of the injections (more needles, but it gets better!) was immediate. She could function like normal and felt happy and lively again instead of just exhausted. She was around 40 when she was diagnosed, but doctors think she had it for years due to how low her levels were. Incredibly simple blood test, but no one ever checked! https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000569.htm

    Hopefully you start feeling better!

  8. LS says:

    So sorry to hear that. I’ve been battling a long-term illness and know how tough it can be both physically and emotionally. You have a huge cheering section here if you ever need it!

  9. Angela says:

    Might want to check out floradex.

  10. artemisia says:

    Oh wow, anemia and law school are a tough combo. Feel better.

  11. Jenn S. says:

    I wind up with iron-deficiency anemia from time to time – suffering a bout now, in fact. I hope you feel better soon – yours sounds worse than what I deal with.

    Glad to hear you’re returning tomorrow, but take care of yourself first.

  12. cara says:

    sending kind thoughts your way, Belle.

  13. Alexis says:

    Ugh. Been there. I hope you’re feeling better today and good luck with the anemia; such a pain!

  14. Leigh says:

    Oof. That’s rough. And getting poked at by the docs just makes it even more exhausting. (I’m in that process myself.)

    Hope you feel better soon. Tell your blood cells that some Internet rando told them to get their act together!

  15. J. says:

    Hello, I’m long time lurker and single-time commenter (I am the “debride” commenter from a long time ago re: flip flops). Thank you for including petite options on your posts; my favourite posts are the 2-3 ways to wear staples.
    Credentials: hematologist (i.e. will never be wearing pretty high heels and dresses to work ><. Also, would love posts on how to be practical yet stylish while being a doctor who does not just sit at her desk!)
    Advice re: anemia:
    – complete workup includes folate and vitamin B12 levels, thryoid levels, liver enzymes (not exhaustive, but where I start)
    – I'm assuming you have iron deficiency anemia. Advice re: iron supplements:
    — ferrous salts (ferrous gluconate/sulphate/fumarate) are the cheapest with the most side effects (mostly stomach upset, constipation), and probably the most elemental iron. Take on an empty stomach if possible (take with food if stomach upset). Take with orange juice or vitamin C or something acidic to help absorption. You can take the 300mg tablets once to 3 times a day, together or apart. Some people take them all together at night so that you're asleep for the stomach upset.
    — proferrin (heme iron), the iron you would find in liver. Much easier on the stomach, more easily absorbed, but less actual iron. Less side effects = more expensive. I'd go up to 3 tablets a day.
    — polysaccharide irons (e.g. Feramax), also much easier on the stomach, and thus more expensive. Probably less elemental iron too, but hard to quantify vs. ferrous salts. I'd go up to 3 tablets a day.
    – humans do not have a way to get rid of extra iron. Identify any sources of iron loss (women: heavy periods, pregnancy, breastfeeding. Older people: screen for colon cancer) and control them. Less commonly we do not absorb iron as well (celiac disease, Crohn's disease). Iron is absorbed in the small intestine.

    By the time your iron in your blood level is low, you are pretty much empty of iron (usually stored in the bone marrow and liver). It can take up to 6 months to replenish your stores completely, so don't stop supplementation because your blood levels are okay. You want your blood iron solidly in the normal range, first, assuming you have controlled all losses. Keep on going if you have ongoing iron loss.

    Haha, that's a consult right there. I'm curious what that would cost you in the U.S. In Canada, if you are a citizen with health insurance, that'd be $157 (but not directly out of your pocket).

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