Today we are going to share a little too much information with you... But in sharing it, we hope that maybe someone out there with the same issue finds a little comfort or help.
We have all heard of Anemia but do we really know much about it?
Well, I didn't, until I was told a few years ago that I had severe iron deficient anemia. My doctor's actual quote was... "How are you even walking around right now? If you were a 50-year-old man with these levels I would admit you to the hospital immediately." My response was something like "I have three kids, I'm always tired... I thought it was normal!"
How many of us Mamas are tired all the time? We don't sleep enough, we are always running around and never getting time to slow down and we are always at the bottom of our own list as far as priorities go.
I thought constant fatigue was the norm! Do any of you think that? Guess what? It is not normal to be bone tired ALL the time... By bone tired, I mean you can actually feel it deep down to the center of your body tired.
I went through a series of iron infusions and a ton of tests and it turned out I had a horrible bacteria called H.Pylori.... I mean, this little bug is NASTY and wrecks havoc on your body... The scariest thing about it is that everyone has different symptoms so it's very hard to diagnose. H.Pylori is also super common, two-thirds of the world's population has it. You can get H.Pylori in a ton of different ways and all of them will make you cringe... I swear I got it from a lemon in my water at a fancy restaurant.... Erin was there with me... We sat down, ordered our food... I took a few sips of my water with lemon and by the time the food arrived I was in the bathroom throwing up. For years after that dinner, I wasn't the same. * Moral of that story- even fancy restaurants may not wash the lemons.
After I took a wicked round of antibiotics to kill off the H.Pylori I felt worlds better... My blood levels were normal and I was feeling all kinds of strong! I was working out all the time and my immune system was back on track.... The world was rosy and bright.
Then life got really busy and I had a crazy year and summer and I started to feel exhausted again... As it turns out, almost three years later I am back to being severely anemic again and back getting iron infusions.... NO FUN.
Now here is the warning part of the story.... Feeling tied deep down to your bones every day is not normal. Not being able to maintain your workouts the way you previously could is not normal... Even if you convince yourself it's because you are busy.
Here are some symptoms of anemia that you may overlook and make excuses for.
* Constant fatigue- A few days of feeling tired after a big night out is normal... If you have a newborn, yep- you're a zombie and that is normal... If you feel this every day, something is off.
* Insomnia- Sleepless nights where the hamster wheel in your head will not stop spinning are not as normal as you think, there may be something wrong with your body.
* Headaches- The painful shooting kind that comes and then goes, don't just shake them off. Anemia can cause a lack of oxygen in your blood which means your brain may no be getting enough oxygen which can cause headaches.
* Mom-Brain- Remember pregnancy brain? Where you often would forget things and sometimes feel like you were in a fog? Yep... If that feeling continues after baby get yourself checked out. That lack of oxygen to the brain can cause a lot of forgetful moments and difficulty concentrating.
* Hunger and food cravings- Do you ever feel like a bottomless pit? Like you could just eat and eat and eat and never be full? Or feel like munching on crushed ice cubes all day? I was eating endless amounts of crispy, salty Nori seaweed and could not stop.... This food craving can be a sure sign of anemia.
* Pale skin- Those dark circles under your eyes? Yep... There may be a reason for those too besides age and sleepless nights. This one was hard for me because I am naturally tan, but those dark circles were new and I very quickly just took them for granted.
I am pretty private about all of this, so sharing it here is a big deal for me... Most people when they hear instantly assume my health issues are caused because I don't eat meat.... "Oh, it's because you don't eat red meat! Time for a burger!"
Here is the problem with that....
1. I really don't want to eat a burger or a cow in any form.
2. You can get protein and B-12 from other food sources besides meat... And I eat a ton of those. *lentils, black beans, broccoli, quinoa, peas, hemp seeds, nuts, nut butter, black-eyed peas, tahini, nutritional yeast & chick peas to name just a few of the mighty, mighty protein packed foods I love.
3. I am actually not a vegan, although, I hope one day to reach that level of awesome... I do still eat fish... So even if you tried that argument it wouldn't apply to me.
I choose to believe that eating animals will NOT be the solution to this issue. I thought I had solved the cause of my anemia by getting rid of the yucky H.Pylori but as it turns out, that wasn't the root of my problem after all. Now my doctors and I are back on the case to find out what is.... Most likely the cause is coming down to my super heavy menstrual cycle! You know that you guys get to hear about all the time in our posts! Have we talked about how fun it is to be a woman?! Lucky us!
I feel like, as women, we are very quick to accept changes to our bodies as the new norm. Our bodies are changing so much so quickly in the years that we become mothers we are very fast to accept our new "mom" bodies and everything that goes along with that.
Almost like it is our payment to the universe for giving us the amazing gift of motherhood.
Saggy boobs and a bigger shoe size are what is to be expected after babies changes in our overall health are not.
When I hear another woman's story about her health, be it vitamin deficiency, hormone imbalance, dietary reactions or something much more serious it helps to remind me to be on the ball when it comes to our health.
While I know anemia isn't a super serious condition and I am not looking for any sympathy or feeling sorry for myself, what I am looking to do is help remind all you wonderful hard working mamas out there to check in with your bodies from time to time. Don't take your health for granted and don't always put yourself on the bottom of your to-do-list.