- Women's Health
Iron Deficiency Anemia
Heavy Menstruation, Cancer scare AGAIN
At the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 I had cervical biopsies done, in which I then had to have a D & C, and while there, had my tubes tied. The doctor pulled out some abnormal stuff and sent it to Pathology. Luckily, it was benign. However, it did not correct my heavy menstruation. NOW, I must deal with it again, in iron deficiency anemia. The iron pills that the doctor has currently given me has had some side effects. Which I am told that I must continue to take these pills for another week. IF the side effects do not go away, I must have I.V transfusions. DELIGHTFUL, RIGHT?!?!?! NOPE!! My doctor says that my iron levels are SEVERELY low. She has recommended a specialist, and I really do not care to go through this again. Guess I really do not have much of a choice. I do exhibit many of the symptoms of anemia, such as coldness, shortness of breath, weakness, fatigue, dizziness, fainting, low blood pressure, chest pain....I am sure that I have had my iron levels checked before, as I have had 3 children, but I do not really know how long it has been. I've been dealing with these symptoms for quite some time. I thought it might have more to do with my seizure disorder. Hopefully the doctors' appointments that I have scheduled will come up with some answers.
Therefore, I went and did some homework and found that my sleepy time herbal tea can deplete iron levels.
Iron deficiency affects 20% of American women, which is defined as "a chronic state of diminished hemoglobin." If you notice in table 2, there are increased needs for iron: growing in adolescence, menstruation, pregnancy, lactation, and cancer. There are only two things that could be an issue for me: Menstruation and Cancer. (Whatever it is, hopefully it is easily corrected.)
Iron deficiency anemia, in extreme cases, can compromise cognition and speech. It can cause fever. If it goes untreated, you could need blood transfusions.
Iron does not ALWAYS equal protein. Red meat may build muscle but it is not any better source of iron than greens. Red meat also contains a different form of iron that can over absorb opposed to those found in dark greens. Spinach can tell when we have had enough iron, and the rest gets filtered out. Iron from meat gets absorbed more quickly and doesn't stop, which is a possible cause of heart disease.
Other foods that can deplete the body of iron: soda, cow's milk, chocolate, tea, and coffee. Tea and caffeine may lend a boost of energy, but ironically, for people prone to iron deficiency, large amounts of these foods and drinks can block cells from absorbing a full dose of iron. (In May 2017, a teenager died after consuming three caffeine beverages McDonald's coffee, Mountain Dew and an energy drink. Therefore, it is probably wise to monitor your caffeine intake.)
Those that are going through what I am going through, or will in the future. Here is a list of things you should be eating:
- Spinach (most effective raw or lightly cooked)
- Whole grains
- Brown rice
- Dried fruit
- Green peppers
- Brussels Sprouts
- Seafood (clams or oysters)
The body also needs food that will help absorb the iron. Those that contain:
- Vitamin C
Now, I have to figure out what I am going to do???
I cannot implement many changes in my current living situation. I really do not think that I have much time for all of this. Guess I have some choices to make. Probably just another wrong choice, but my choice nonetheless.
I, first, continued to take 1 out of the 3 iron pills a day that my doctor recommended. Now, I have moved up to taking 2 out of the 3 iron pills a day. The side effects seemed to have subsided. I have started adding more apples and bananas to my diet, as well as drinking more orange juice, so the iron pill can better absorbed into my body.
I have had my Neurologist appointment and MRI. My Neurologist has decided not to make any changes to my medications. However, I will see my Neurologist again in 6 months vs 1 year. When I had my MRI, they put a contrast in my vein. I was not expecting that, since I have had MRIs before. I am also usually claustrophobic. However, I got through it better than I did the last one. I just closed my eyes and thought of my four legged best friend. That's what I call a "therapy dog." I am glad that that is over. The results of my MRI came back normal. My mammogram also came back normal.
I went to the OB/GYN and went through the wonderful exam that that entails. (NOT!! However, not the doctor's fault.) There are still some more tests to be had. All the tests that I had before I left Jacksonville, North Carolina. I have to have these test done AGAIN!!! Even though I have signed a waiver to have my Jacksonville, North Carolina doctor send my records to the doctor here. (Note to others that are, or will go through something similar, TRY NOT TO stop investigating what is ailing you, if you can help it. Unfortunately, I couldn't help it.) Next test, another Pelvic Ultrasound, while on a happy, happy pill. Which means I will need transportation, so I must wait until my parents come back from their vacation. UGH!!
So far, blood tests that were taken to check my thyroid and the hormone to check to see if I am even going through menopause yet, all came back normal. (Guess I'm not like mom when it comes to my thyroid, but am sure like dad when it comes to acid reflux. GO FIGURE!! And, UNFORTUNATELY, I am NOT yet going through menopause.) I did find out that you have to have a NORMAL pap smear to be able to have the ablation surgery. I also learned that it depends on the person, whether the ablation surgery will completely seize menstruation. It should lessen the flow, but it won't necessarily stop your cycles. However, it will take a week before I get the results of my pap back. There supposedly is also a NON hormonal drug that can be given that you take during your cycle that decreases clotting. (Didn't hear about this before now??) That may be the first option they try, if the medication can work with the medications that I am already on?? Guess only going through the process will get me that information. Either case, I have to figure out how to deal with these issues, or I will have to deal with the issue of my iron deficiency anemia by getting I.V. iron transfusions, along with more passing out. DELIGHTFUL!! :-(
The quest of why I have iron deficiency anemia continues with another surgery. I had to get a substitute coach for my client for tomorrow, since, unfortunately, I cannot be in two places at once. I have received phone calls from both the doctor's office and the hospital on what medications I am allowed to take the morning of surgery with a small swig of water, which there are a total of two. I have my ride to and from the hospital in place. Now, it is just time to get this over with, and get to the bottom of things. No one wants to know what ails me more than I do.
Some changes made
July 2016, I went to see my OB/GYN about my biopsy, and to discuss our next option; ablation surgery or medication, and for the next 3 months we are trying the medication, which I take during my cycle to decrease flow. August 2016, I went to see my Neurologist, in which he changed one of my medications, but not my seizure medication. He asked me what kind of work I did for a living. I told him I was a job coach. He said, "it sounds like Voc Rehab." I said, "that's where I get the majority of my clients." He seemed impressed. It is a great feeling when people recognize what you do.
After having the ablation surgery in October of 2016, in December 2016 I had my iron labs done again. My iron levels are back in the normal range. Which means there are no issues of bone marrow cancer. Some good news, which was needed.
I continue to see my Neurologist about every four to six months. My third Neurologist since moving back to Missouri. This time, she wants me to ask my Primary Care doctor if they can prescribe my anxiety meds. If my Primary Care doctor cannot, then my Primary Care doctor will have to refer me to a Psychiatrist. I am really disliking so many changes with the possibility of Obama Care being taken away by the end of the year. This is not fair to people like me, who has pre-existing conditions. However, I work for a non-profit, who does not offer me health insurance. Guess it is possible that, for some people, our days are number. You can only win so many battles.