The last 6 months have been very testing health wise. On the 24th November last year I received a call from my GP to say my haemoglobin level was very low, down to level 7.1. I was asked to go directly to the surgery for more tests before admitting me to hospital. This blood test came after months and months of feeling fatigued with shortness of breath after the lightest of exercise ( walking the dog ) and a burning sensation across my shoulder blades.
The surgery visit concluded I was safe to go home and take it easy. Amazingly my body had become accustomed to being Anaemic as it had happened so slowly, I had naturally been reducing what I could do. I now felt like an unfit 80yr old!
Unfortunately eating iron rich food doesn’t improve my condition although I still continue to eat lots of iron rich food. Having Crohn’s disease and possible Coeliac disease ( have classic Coeliac history but been gluten free too long to be tested now ) and Leaky gut my body just can’t absorb it. Iron tablets normally prescribed make me very sick.
Plans were finally made for me to have a ferinject an iron intravenous drip in the middle of December. I was offered a late January 2016 NHS appointment but felt that was too long to wait so I went privately and used my health insurance. I’d never needed to use health insurance before . I had to work really hard to push for appointments, plenty of phone calls etc not easy when you are feeling incredibly fatigued, brain fog at the time was at its worst.
I had my IV at Gatwick park hospital which went well, although I hadn’t been warned how tired I would feel for the next week or so. I expected to come out feeling like I had been recharged! Instead I slept for days
I finally did start to feel a little better. A blood test in January found I was now at level 10 for my Haemoglobin . I continued to feel fatigued with continued brain fog.
It was decided I needed another Ferinject IV I was finally booked in for 17th March . In the mean time the fatigue grew worse again and the strange pain across my shoulders increased. I couldn’t get to the hospital quick enough.
After the second IV , I slept again like crazy for a few days.
At the beginning of March feeling dreadful I decided I needed to look more carefully at my diet. I knew that my healthy diet had gradually slipped over these months and gluten free grains were slipping back along with some refined sugar and cows milk. When you feel tired all the time you long for a creamy latte and a gluten free sugar filled brownie! Lots of comfort food like rice , GF dough balls and gluten free cheese scones. My love of baking didn’t help .
But it did me no good at all. It took me to feel This rough to realise this wasn’t a short term healthy diet choice. This grain free, low refined sugar, no cows milk needed to be forever.
So now I can report after the two Ferinject’s and being back on my healthy diet I am feeling so much better. My energy levels are rising. I managed two long (6 mile ) for me Dog walks and feel sharper and keen to get back to blogging etc. I do still over do it. Easy to think I’m super women when I’m most definitely not.
As my GP reminded me, I’m living with a life long chronic disease and I’m very grateful that apart from the Iron IV , I take no medication . Crohn’s effects people in different ways and I know I don’t have some of the very nasty symptoms which I am very grateful for. I was only diagnosed a couple of years ago in my late 40’s as I was always told it was irritable bowel syndrome Rather than IBD.
My haemoglobin level is now 11.7 ( Average level for an adult is 12 )
I still know very little about Crohns disease I guess a part of me would rather not know and using Google isn’t always a good idea.
I now write down lots of healthy menu ideas and bake grain free regularly so I always have something in the freezer, then I’m not tempted to cheat.
I’ve swapped rice for cauliflower rice, I make flaxseed buns which are yeast and grain free, I make a grain free fruit bread and cheese scones. It takes time, but well worth it .
I know I have a long way to go to get back to full health and strength but I’m determined to give it my best shot.
If you have any experiences of being Anaemic I would love you to share them with me. Any grain free ideas are always welcome too.