I’ve long thought of my health like a roller coaster: sometimes I feel like I’m on Cloud 9 and the picture of health and other times I know something is up. That “low” feeling was what prompted me to go see the doctor last week, just to make sure things were alright.
After 3 vials of blood and taking a few minutes to get my medical history (although I felt rushed and like I didn’t have adequate time to share the details of a 1ft thick medical history… I wish I was kidding) he promised to call back with the results.
Enter this morning when I woke up to find a voice mail from my doctor left at 7:10am, just 10 minutes after the office opened. He asked me to come in ASAP to go over abnormal results (repeated 4x) but that it wasn’t life-threatening. I guess that’s a small miracle.
I knew I’d worry all day so as soon as I finished my breakfast I headed for the doctor’s office. I went in right away and got to see my blood work results.
A few points of clarification-
- I have always had anemia trouble because of my food intolerances, allergies, and absorption issues. I can tell you the pros and cons to all of the iron supplements on the market.
- When you have a lot of allergens, your eosinophil count tends to sky rocket. It’s a flag for allergies in undiagnosed folks. And my body loves them too much to let them go away.
- Typically when I feel rushed by a doctor I don’t dive into every disease, allergy, and medical procedure I’ve ever had. It’d take too long and the doctor is already acting like he’s ready to move on.
As we went over my results I kept mentioning things that my doctor looked at my like I should have shared beforehand. See Point #3. I clarified and then we discussed solutions before moving on to the next flag.
There were 3 things that surprised me in reviewing my lab work results this morning:
- I am low in Vitamin B12 and protein, despite increased efforts to eat more protein in the last month or two.
- This new doctor is convinced I do actually have Celiac Disease instead of just a bad intolerance, which I’ve long suspected for a few years now. Apparently B12 deficiency and a few other issues I’ve been having are big flags for Celiac. The B12 thing was news to me but I’m glad to know about it.
- The doctor also questioned if I ate, what I ate, and if it was over 1000 calories a day. Since I’ve been tracking my calories and protein for a couple of months I spouted off my intake averages, the foods I eat, and that I’m a chronic grazer / bottomless pit. Being accused of not eating was a new curve ball but I think we’ve moved on from that.
He took 4 more vials of blood to check for other things, including absorption troubles (which I already know I have) to determine how to proceed in fixing this Vitamin B12 situation. Then I got a Vitamin B12 shot and was sent on my way with a promise of new lab work results sometime this week.
On my walk into work I did a little reflecting. Was I completely surprised by this morning’s results? Not really. For as long as I’ve known about all my health issues (20 years now) there have been big flags that no doctor has been able to successfully solve and treat. I do things to help address those issues but they’ve never gone away. I also thought about the health pendulum – for most of the year I feel great – I exercise, eat well, feel strong and healthy, and don’t think twice about all of my health issues that are just a part of me at this point. Then, every once and a while, I have a flare up that is a nice little reminder that I’m not quite as healthy as I’d like to think. Yes, I eat well 90% of the time, with lots of whole foods, little packaged junk, and lots of water. I work out. I require and usually get 9 hours of sleep. While those in and of itself might be enough for a majority of totally healthy people, these things are some of the treatments for managing my health issues. My digestive system doesn’t fully cooperate, my body hates certain foods, and I have to make an extra effort to take in and keep all the essential nutrients our bodies need to function.
As much as I’d like to think that the way I live my life is purely a lifestyle choice, it’s actually necessary for me to try to feel on top of my game. It’s also great motivation to continue to take care of myself. If I didn’t eat the way I do and incorporate fitness and rest into my day I’d feel worse.
So, I’m kind of in a low at the moment from a medical professional standpoint. But honestly I don’t feel any different than I did yesterday, except for I know I still have all of the conditions, intolerances and allergies, and need for supplements and health insurance that I’ve always had. I’m not really bummed out because I’ve just learned to deal with these same issues for most of my life.
What’s different though is my outlook and approach to managing my life holistically. Healthy living and clean eating are now a huge part of this process and something that I’m convinced help me feel on a high despite the challenges I face with my health. I also find a great deal of comfort in knowing that my doctor might have potentially found the root cause of so many of my issues.