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Anemia

So I’m seeing a specialist and I’ve officially been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia. My hemoglobin keeps dropping down to a 6 when left unchecked for too long.

This happened just this past fall. I actually had to take a couple of incompletes and drop a class completely due to my hemoglobin being too low to function.

I know it’s hard to understand, unless you’ve been there, what a hemoglobin of 6 really means, but the stark truth of it is, is that I have half as much blood in me that I need to survive when it’s that low. Symptoms include shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, and a mental fog unlike anything else.

But I get iron infusions now. We check my labs every 4-8 weeks and when it even starts to get low, I get an iron infusion.

On the right is just a saline solution to ease the entire process. On the left is liquid iron. I know this isn’t the best picture, but I only had use of one hand and well, the situation doesn’t call upon my best photography skills. Sorry.

Anyway, it’s kind of cool. But also painful. Especially the day after, about half the time. But that iron is forcing my bone marrow to make blood and it’s very cool, but it’s hard on the body.

Anyway, I’m chronically ill in yet another way. But the symptoms are well managed and they don’t let me get very low anymore before I get an infusion. So like, as long as I don’t dip below like a 9, it’s more annoying than it is… uh… I guess the word I’m looking for is horrible. Below a 9 is horrible.

Goal for a (biological) woman is a 12-16. I’m currently as of right now an 11-12. So anemic but not outrageously. My personal goal is to get to a 15 or 16. It’s a far stretch, but someday I’ll reach it. For like a week.

Really, now that I’ve come to terms with it and it’s being managed, my biggest disappointment is that I can no longer give blood. Probably never again, really. I’m very pro-blood-donation. I think it is a healthy person’s duty to give when there is a shortage. I myself have received a few units of blood and I’m just so thankful that there is such a thing as blood donation. And I’m very sad to now be a receiver and no longer a giver.

Anyway, it’s been a long 12 months with my anemia just recently coming under control. But I survived and made the best of it. And I’ll thrive despite it.

Despite all the hurdles in life, I am determined to thrive.

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