Iron

(I wanted to write about this after Michelle had her diagnosis.)

I only have one medication. Iron.

Years ago, I had my blood tested and the doctor said something like, “The healthy range for ferritin is 20–200. You’re at 11. You need to take iron pills for a month to get back to normal levels, and change your diet to get more iron. You can’t rely on the pills; it’s unhealthy to take them for a long period of time.”

I dutifully bought my first bottle of Ferro-Grad C.

I took one every day, and within a week – or even less – I started feeling different. Less blue, less tired, less grumpy, more resilient, more healthy, more “with it.” Oh my goodness! I’d been feeling so thin-skinned, touchy, emotional, unmotivated, kinda sad, kinda tired… and all I needed was iron? It was like a little miracle drug.

Of course, you forget how simple things are, sometimes. (Like when I forget that paracetamol cures headaches, and I sit around, resigned to the dull pain in my head.) Months after being introduced to the miracle pill, I felt the same way as before. A bit fragile, not able to cope with sarcasm or jokes or arguments that are headed my way, and I’m thinking, “I don’t feel resilient…” and then I remember: iron! I find a pharmacy, buy some pills, and start taking them. The cycle continues. I’m better, I’m worse, I’m better, I’m worse; until I stopped being so daft about it (we all like to think we don’t need help) and made sure that a) I always have a bottle of pills, and b) I take one every Monday. I’m not sure if this does anything for my iron levels, but it works as a great reminder for me to take care of myself. For example, by eating foods rich in iron, or, if I’m not feeling resilient, by taking pills more often.

P.s. I reached new drug-fuelled heights at Burning Man. In the desert, we had to keep hydrated and replace electrolytes etc., so we were prepared with many options, including sports drinks, coconut water, and vitamin sachets (vitamin B, C, electrolytes, etc., in powder form). Every morning, dried out like a raisin, I would fall out of my tent, throat parched, limbs almost working, and dissolve a magical sachet into a cup of water and drink up the goodness. This was followed by sipping tea, eating breakfast, and guzzling coffee. Throughout the day, I had gallons of water, and one bottle of sports drink (and cocktails, but that’s another story). And you know, after a few days, I started feeling buzzed – the type of buzz I imagine health nuts feel. You know, doing juice fasts, or eating no processed foods and running 5KM every day. I felt optimum. It was a strange sensation, as though without iron pills or other supplements, I’m running on 30% energy, and with iron I’m up to 70%, and then the vitamins and electrolytes took me up to a perfect 100% charge. It felt alien. Anyway, I will buy more sachets, to see if the same thing happens.

 

4 comments

  1. Nicole says:

    Oh man, I am right there with you sister. I was getting heart flutters and extreme anxiety and then it was finally established that my ferritin was below 5. I got an iron transfusion and, though the results weren’t as miraculous as yours were, it was definitely a major step up! Good old iron. Did you get tested for Coeliac’s? That can sometimes be a cause of low iron. LOVE U IRON

  2. @jamjar says:

    When the kids were little, I was obsessive about my books. Firstly, I would compulsively buy paperbacks – especially if they were in a series – and then read them without bending or creasing the spine of the book. My paperbacks were pristine and I was obsessed with keeping them that way to the point I couldn’t lend them to other people to read because they *would* bend the spines because they were *normal* and needed to open a book to read it.

    After I started getting iron injections, my compulsions to purchase and obsession to keep my books pristine lifted off me. While it was amazing to me, it also indicates how low my iron was that it affected me so.

    Iron is really important for me to keep the madness at bay.

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