So… Anemia Isnt Fun (Oversharing 2: Electric Boogaloo)

Apparently I didn’t learn my lesson after my first post where I talked way too much and probably said way too much about my medical situation.

So now it’s time for part 2.

Previously on Cait’s Life: Depression, anxiety, family stuff, school, & insomnia

This Week: All of the above, + me annoying my doctors with my bad blood.

Okay, let’s take it from the beginning.

First, if you haven’t read my original update post (Updates, Explanations, and Oversharing — Why I Disappeared) I’d highly recommend you check that out first because I’ll be talking about some of the stuff I went over there. If you don’t feel like reading that, I don’t blame you.

Okay, assuming now you’ve read that or don’t care enough (honestly, same), let’s get to the oversharing.

I mentioned before that my mental health was not in a great place, but I was hoping it would be getting better. I actually wrote that post a day before I had a doctors appointment. I had gotten some blood work done to check on my thyroid levels (I have hypothyroidism which can play a part in my depression). Surprisingly, my thyroid levels were pretty good! It was everything else that wasn’t…

Read more for all the not-so-fun details & find out why I’m even talking about this.

[ Related: This is a book blog none of my posts are really related to this. But maybe check out my Top 4 December 2019 Book Releases – Perfect Gifts for Bookworms! ]

okay sorry for the cliffhanger there

Basically, I had iron-deficiency anemia, as well as B12, Vitamin D, and Folate deficiencies.

To be honest, I kinda expected this. I have had a history of these deficiencies, to the point where a doctor once walked up to me and said: “How are you standing?! You have no blood!”. But this was a little different, because my levels, especially iron, were lower than they had ever been, and I was definitely feeling the effects of it.

For people who know medical stuff- my hemoglobin was 8.1g/dL (Normal: 11.7-15.5g/dL), my hemocrit was 30.5% (Ideal: 35-45%), and my total iron was 14 mcg/dL (Normal: 40-190mcg/dL).

Now, if you’ve been lucky enough to never been anemic, iron-deficiency anemia is basically when your blood doesn’t have a sufficient amount of iron, which then leads to an inadequate amount of healthy red blood cells. Without enough of those guys, your blood will struggle to carry oxygen, which is, ya’know, a little important.

I had all the typical signs of anemia – fatigue, weakness, pale, shortness of breath, dizziness, etc. – but I just thought I was lazy and out of shape. Turns out, I was lazy, out of shape, and anemic!

We took an aggressive approach to attacking this. I was taking 17 pills a day, with all of my supplements and medications. Luckily, I was able to get an appointment with a hematologist (a vampire blood specialist) who then told me I needed to get iron infusions (a fun thing called injectafer) and B12 injections.

So that’s exactly what I did. After suffering through my fear of needles, today I got my (hopefully) last infusion and am finally down to only 7 pills a day (plus monthly injections).

Trigger Warning: This slideshow contains images of the infusions (Do not click through the slideshow if you don’t like photos of needles/IVs).
And yes I know it’s weird that I was posting on snapchat while getting an infusion

I don’t think I’m feeling any effects yet? My depression is still bad. Same with my anxiety. And I’m still mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. But I also know I need to give it more time.

Now, how does this relate to absolutely anything on my blog? I mean, this is a book blog, not a medical blog.

I guess it doesn’t. But, I wanted to give you guys an explanation for why I’m still not posting consistently (all of this plus preparing for finals has almost killed me). Also, I feel it’s important to be open about this stuff. I know I’ve talked about how I want to work towards ending the stigma around mental illness, but physical health has a big impact on mental health. As much as I like to joke about being unhealthy and not caring, it’s important to at least try and take care of yourself. Even a little bit.

And finally, I think I really wanted to just talk about it, to someone (even if that someone is the black void of the internet). All of this has been insane, exhausting, and overwhelming. I think I needed to type it all out to remind myself why it’s worth it. Because it is. In the end, I’ll be healthier, and this will hopefully help with my mental health struggles. While it’s definitely not fun now, doing all of this will help me to have fun later on.

Once again, I’m going to ignore the somewhat more serious subject matter and ask you a mostly-unrelated question:

What is the most captivating book you’ve read? I learned its hard to read during an infusion if the book isn’t captivating enough, so I need some recs in case I ever go through this again.

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