Is my iron rusty or what?

5 Mar

A couple of weeks ago (Feb 17, but who’s keeping track) I was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia (you can see my post here). This was actually a great thing, as it allowed me to start taking supplements and I feel ever so much better. But I am finding it somewhat more like recovering from a concussion, than, say, a broken bone or stitches. (As I have had all of these more than once, I am somewhat of an expert!)

When you have a broken bone or stitches, your body heals in a linear fashion. Anatomically speaking, cells begin to form, knit together, get stronger. The bone goes from broken, to having soft bone, to hardened bone. It progresses, and unless you do something unfortunate to it, at the end of six weeks or so it’s as good as new. Same with a cut, whether intentional or unintentional.

What I found with a concussion is that you will feel better one day, and then feel as if you’re back at square one the next three. Since you aren’t declared recovered until you’ve had a certain number of days symptom free, it is a very frustrating process of one step forward, one or two backwards, and so on. (And to be honest, I am seven years past my last concussion and I still mix up words sometimes…)

With this anemia, the first week I felt really good on Wednesday, and got a whole project done with energy, with my brain working… Then was absolutely worn out Thursday and Friday. I learned my lesson and have tried to really pay attention to how I feel and not overdo on the days I feel good, but even still, today I’m really dragging and feel quite tired. I didn’t do much at all this weekend, but I don’t think you have to with this. I think it’s just… how you recover. Two steps forward, one step back. My brain isn’t nearly as foggy, though, so I am definitely still heading in the right direction.

It is hard to find any exact recovery times on anemia. Maybe everyone experiences it differently. Most sites agree that it takes 6-8 weeks to be fully recovered, but that you have to take iron supplements for 6 months to a year to completely resupply your iron stores. What that means is that today, at two weeks in, I can’t really (ok, shouldn’t really) complain about being tired.

I’m learning a lot about expectations lately. How my own unrealistic ones of other people or situations cause problems, and how those of myself need to be kinder. I am blessed to be able to live my priorities. And I think it is a blessing, because when we have what seems like limitless energy and time we fill it. Like the bigger your house, the more junk. Time is like that house… we seem to have an aversion to “empty” in any form. But I’m learning that realizing I will feel much better tomorrow if I relax today is not something to feel guilty for. It just is. And that spending the energy I have on my family and writing is enough.

2 Responses to “Is my iron rusty or what?”

  1. pipi July 15, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

    Please get a colonoscopy ASAP

    Anemia in women is due to menstrual blood loss or gastrointestinal blood loss,
    the latter being more concerning in peri-menopausal women.

  2. Jennings July 16, 2012 at 8:29 am #

    Pipi – it’s not that. And turns out both my kids have low ferritin too (one teen boy, one 20 yo girl). With no GI bleeding or anything easy to explain it. It’s “one of those things”… Gotta love when “hmmmm” is the doctor’s answer!

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