I pull over on the side of the road, get out of car in front of some vineyards and stop to take a photo of me doing a yoga pose. As I’m moving out of the yoga pose, I start to see spots, feel dizzy, and woozy, and everything is spinning. I nearly fall over and immediately work to get back to my car. This was episode one of my dizzy spell and I knew something was very wrong. I e-mailed my doctor the next day and told her my symptoms and she immediately ordered up a blood panel. Now this is the first of strange things that have taken place this last week. On Saturday I was capturing a wedding (my day job is wedding photography) and a girl came up to me in the middle of me capturing some detail shots, and asked if I felt okay. She explained she was a nurse and and I told her no, things have felt off lately. I’ve been feeling fatigued, having dizzy spells, shorts of breath, and hypotension. She asked to look inside my lower lips and under my eyelids and said, “Oh no, I think you are at a level 6.” “Huh?” I replied back. “Your hemoglobin, I’m presuming is at a level 6. You need to contact your doctor immediately and have her do a full blood panel on you. I was shocked by her ballsiness and thankful for her wit, because this girl was spot on! The next week of events to transpire are something I never care to go through again.
I went in for blood tests on Monday, got my results back early Tuesday morning. My doctors called me on Tuesday in the afternoon, and sounded very concerned. My white blood cell count and red blood cell count looked normal. Thank god! My hemoglobin levels are at a 6 and my ferritin levels is at a negative 5. Healthy adults should be a level 12 hemoglobin level! What this means is I’m extremely anemic (like we’re talking at the panic level) and my body isn’t absorbing iron. I’ve talked about this before on my blog, but for anyone that’s new here, I have benign fibroids which are benign tumors all over my uterus that cause me to have very heavy periods and cause me to clot a lot. Where most women have a period for 3-5 days, mine typically last 8-days long. Fibroids are awful and I don’t wish them on anyone. I want to have children eventually, so a hysterectomy is out of the question. Going back to this week. My doctor is very worried and is in shock that my OBGYN didn’t catch this in time. I’m sitting here wondering why I’m having all of these weird symptoms and wondering why my normal, high energy self, has been hit with major fatigue for the last few weeks. Being me, though I ignored the symptoms and my body just got use to running on nearly empty. To say I’ve been burning the candle at both ends is a major understand. Let’s put it this way: If a candle had 10-ends, I’ve already burned through all of them, and then went back and burned through them all again, twice. I’m working on my master’s degree in nutrition, I run two businesses, this blog and my wedding photography business, I have wedding every single weekend in May, I’m working with a company all month long on events, I’m shooting and editing food videos, and I never sleep! To say I’ve run my body into the ground is fact and now I’m paying the price. So how did we get here, you may be asking? Well, I don’t eat meat, and I stopped taking iron 3-months after my surgery. This is the lowest my iron levels have ever been and surely the lowest my hemoglobin has ever been. Without iron, you body cannot replenish itself, hemoglobin represents about two-thirds of your bodies iron, if you don’t have enough iron, your body can’t produce enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells, and basically everything goes haywire. Hence, the strange symptoms of dizziness, seeing stars out of my left eye, feeling fatigued and super tired, and run down. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I was having such a hard time running my 5K’s. Welp. It turns out lack of iron and low hemoglobin levels is the culprit. I also chew ice like a mad woman, but lately my ice chewing has taken a dark turn. I go through a bag every two days. I literally chew an entire bag of ice every two days.
Now, being anemic is nothing new to me. I’ve know I’ve had anemia, basically since I started menstruating. What I did not know was that I had fibroids up until about two years ago. The fibroids cause anemia due to heavy blood loss. Now, when you live with fibroids like I do, you are supposed to take iron, especially women like me who very rarely eat meat. So I did this to myself. I started feeling better and I stopped taking the iron. 6-months later, here we are, with me running myself ragged, having to let go of obligations, and get healthy again! Blood is super important and if you don’t take care of you could be in serious trouble. Tomorrow, I go in for my first iron IV drip, which I’ll to do for the next 5-weeks along with taking a iron supplement of 325-mg per day and eat red meat 3x-week. That’s a ton of iron! But my body can’t function without it. Then we will do another blood panel and hopefully I’ll land at an 12 where I should be. I’m so sick of feeling like crap and I’m excited to start feeling better. They talked about me going into the ER and giving me a blood transfusion, but I’d like to avoid that as much as possible. Today, while I was at Costco that horrible dizzy, black out feeling came over me again, and I thought, I need to go to the ER. But then I got driven home, at an iron rich meal, slept, and felt slightly better, but only slightly. I’m telling you all of this, because this all happened because I got busy. So busy that I stopped taking my iron and wrecked havoc on my body.
I’m so tired of seeing all of these Instagram posts where women are glorifying being busy. They’re running around, thriving in it and it’s not okay! Yes ladies, you read that right. It’s not okay to be so busy that you put your health at stake. This is coming from a woman who knows busy like the back of her hand and whose an expert in it. If anyone has nailed down busy, it’s me. I’m begging you all, shouting from the rooftops to look at your life and take a giant step back. Are you feeling so overwhelmed that you can’t sleep at night? Are you starting to forget things? Are you missing out on YOU time because of some other task or obligation? This is what glorying busy is and it’s not okay. We must stop this redderick that to be busy means to be living a fulfilling life, when in reality it’s just the opposite actually. You may think you can handle being so busy you’re missing out on sleep at night, but I can promise you that it all catches up to you one way or the other.
And when it catches up to you and affects your health, please wake up and realize you need to let some things go. Are you saving lives? No, probably not (if you are saving lives, you rock!) but unless you have a divine purpose for being so busy you can’t see straight in the morning, give something up! And if you do have a diving purpose, trust me, it takes days off too. Take days off, not one day but DAYS off to fully relax and recover. Stop spending your precious moments scrolling through Instagram and turn your phone off and take some YOU time.
I hope you can all learn from my experience and stop the glorification of being busy because nothing is worth your health.
Take it from me and remember, health is wealth!