A diagnosis for my case of the Februaries (girl health stuff)

I’ve been gaining weight and had low energy for months now, and kept meaning to call the doctor but was too busy and too tired to get around to it.  Also in January I’d stopped getting regular exercise, but have felt too tired to start again.  Also I always dread doctor visits since they nearly always involve bad news and some new treatment.   Anyway, I finally talked myself into calling my doctor’s office on Wednesday.  First I was told he couldn’t see me until April 21st (oh the joy of having a popular doctor) but when I said I just needed labs done, they found a way to squeeze in a short appointment for me sooner.  I had my blood drawn yesterday to check three things:  blood sugar/insulin (because I have PCOS) thyroid levels (I used to have a too-fast thyroid but it burned itself out and I take synthetic thyroid now) and iron, because my monthly cycle is . . . I can’t find a nice euphemism, so I’ll just say it’s practically a monthly hemorrhage.  (I couldn’t have spelled hemorrhage without the help of a spell checker, could you?)

This morning I saw my doctor and got the results.  Insulin:  good.  Thyroid levels: good.  Iron levels:  terrible.  The lowest they’ve been since 2008 when I started seeing my doctor, and low enough for an anemia diagnosis.

The good thing is that my doctor will send me for IV iron therapy at a local cancer clinic, and after four shots over the next month I should be feeling much, much better.   I don’t love shots, but it’s a much quicker and easier way to get the iron into my system than by trying to ingest it and dealing with digestion or malabsorption problems.

The less good thing is that to stop the heavy bleeding I’ll need to go on birth control or get a Mirena IUD, which will mean my nursing of Hazel will probably end because my milk will dry up.  I’m mostly okay with weaning her, since I did get to nurse her for a year, and since she’s already down to nursing just a couple of times a day for a few minutes.  But I just looked up Mirena side effects and found many women saying that it made them feel bloated and get acne and gain lots of weight.  OH GREAT JUST WHAT I NEED.  Also in rare instances it can have a negative effect on fertility, and I’m not absolutivamalutely sure I’m ready to be done having babies.  So, part of me wishes I could just get my doctor to send me in for a monthly iron shot–but on the other hand, not having a monthly hemorrhage sounds even better.  But gaining weight does not.

I guess a Tweet version of the above would sound something like this:  “I’m looking for a slim childless nineteen-year-old to trade bodies with me.  I get to keep my five kids. #Delusional”

Those five kids who ruined my health getting them born?  Absolutivamalutely worth it.

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16 Responses to A diagnosis for my case of the Februaries (girl health stuff)

  1. Kristina says:

    I’m sorry you haven’t been feeling well. It sounds like it’s a relatively easy fix. Maybe my hernia and your anemia can start dating.

  2. Megan says:

    Yeah for diagnosis and a cure! Hope you’re feeling better soon!

  3. virginia wood says:

    Women give their bodies up in so many ways to everybody but themselves. It is so hard to find the time, energy, money, and motivation to take time for ourselves and give our bodies a rest. Five kids was the proverbial straw for me. Before Rose-Ellen I seemed to get my body and my energy back, keep a reasonably clean house, cook regular meals, and find time for my own interests and hobbies. After five, I hit the teen AND baby years and chaos ensued. I hope you do a better job figuring it out than I did.

    Love,

    Aunt Ginger

  4. Erin says:

    I got the Mirena put in when my Aidan was 6 weeks old. I LOVED it (can’t be said with enough emphasis). I never felt bloated and my face has never been better. And my milk didn’t dry up…I nursed for a full year. That said, I didn’t have low iron and I wasn’t “almost” finished nursing anyway (meaning your supplies are kind of low right now and I guess it could dry up). And for the first year and a half I didn’t bleed at all (and then after that I lightly spotted for 2-3 days a month). I don’t want this to sound like a Mirena ad; I just wanted to let you know I had a really positive experience.

    And I’m sorry about your low iron and hemorrhaging problems, and I’m glad your kids are worth it! Good luck making your decisions about what you are going to do…

  5. katie says:

    hmmm… iron, I have been experiencing the same things (what mom doesn’t to some degree) and just decided that it might be my issue. I had problems with iron in high school but haven’t thought much about it in the last 15 years or so. Just chalked it up to being a mom… but lately it’s too much dragging, fatigue, etc… more then I feel should be normal. Thanks for sharing and so glad you are on track to feeling better.

  6. I have anemia problems on and off and hate the iron pills. Hopefully you will feel more energetic soon. Much love, Laura Sue

  7. Melanie J says:

    I knew it was anemia before you even said so because the exact same thing happened to me in December. I just do an iron-fortified cereal with an iron tablet and orange juice to wash it down (it helps is absorb faster) and in about two weeks after starting, I felt so much better. It was amazing how good normal felt.

    Mine’s just pregnancy related, but I’m filing it in the back of my mind if I ever start feeling that way again. It’s such an easy fix. Have fun feeling cured! It’s pretty awesome.

  8. Mrs. Organic says:

    I think the Mirena missed with my estrogen levels, but the monthly hemorrhage became a monthly trickle (so worth it). Glad you found a solution.

  9. Amy says:

    Zina- Sorry about your health issues- here’s hoping for a great solution and feeling more peppy soon! Your beautiful kids- definitely worth it! Love the pic. Happy bday to Miss H.- would she like to come to the studio for a gift one year session from Aunt Amy?

    • zstitches says:

      That’s so generous! The more photos of her, the better. Right now she and Rose are sick, so we’ll have to see if she makes a recovery soon.

  10. Jen says:

    Adorable picture. Well worth it. Sorry for the health troubles. That is rough stuff.

  11. jennie w. says:

    Cutest bunch of kids ever!!! I guess we should start calling you Iron (Wo)Man.

  12. Rachel Sue says:

    I know everyone reacts differently to IUD’s but I got a mirena when my son was almost 4 months old and I nursed him until his first birthday. I spotted for a month, but other than that I didn’t have any side effects.

    I hope that helps a little!

  13. Acheté says:

    I’ve heard anecdotal accounts of anemia that disappeared once all the cooking was done using cast iron.

    • zstitches says:

      That sounds pretty commonsense, although it’s hard to imagine that being enough to match the amount of iron they inject into my veins. (You know what’s really weird? When they inject the iron, I can taste it. It tastes metallic, and also vaguely like black licorice.)

      Also, for that approach to work, I would have to cook.

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