A Cautionary Tale

When you hear the word “malnutrition” what do you think about? Do you think about starving children in Ethiopia? I wonder how many of us think about the fact that you can be fat and suffer from malnutrition. Let me explain.

For many years I existed on a diet of  things like Big Macs, M&Ms and Diet Pepsi. I mean hey the Diet Pepsi cancelled out the other junk, right? When you eat food with no nutritional value, you will become malnourished.

This actually became serious for me. When my son was about 10 months old I had a physical which included getting my blood drawn. I got a call at work the next day from the nurse who said that the doctor wanted me to come in right away to the office. I think I was in so much denial I didn’t even think about getting that type of call from the doctor’s office.

I got in there and the doctor told me that they wanted to run some other tests. She wouldn’t come out directly at first and tell me what they were thinking but I got finally got it out of her. She said my hemoglobin (iron count) was so dangerously low that they wanted to test me for Lymphoma. I basically freaked. I seriously didn’t see it coming.

She got right on the phone and called Iowa Oncology and Hematology and sent me over to them that same night. I’ll never forget it because  it was the night before Thanksgiving at about 5pm and this doctor agreed to meet me. I called a friend who took me over there. My doctor sent him my records.

He told me that I did not have cancer but I had been anemic for so long that what threw them was it messed up some other tests they had done on me. He said they were going to put me through a battery of tests to determine why I was anemic. Normal hemoglobin for a woman is around 12-15 and I was at 5. He was SHOCKED I was still walking around and almost put me in the hospital but he thought my body had just adjusted. He put me on a regimen of iron pills and Vitamin C. Almost immediately I improved.

One big thing that improved is that I had stopped being out of breath all of the time. I would walk just a few feet and I was breathing heavy. That is one major sign of anemia.

What the doctor believed is that my diet was the culprit. Now clearly even after that scare I just took my pills and felt better. But the minute I went off of them I would get anemic over time. The doctors in this clinic said I was one of the most interesting cases they had ever had (wow). It is only now, really focusing on living right and learning more about nutrition that I understand the peril I put myself in. I made my heart work so much harder that it ever needed to. The heart is the only muscle that works all the time and I put that at risk by eating CRAP.

I am a cautionary tale here. If there is a message here for you, please heed it. If you want to know more about Anemia, I suggest going to Webmd.com.


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2 Responses to A Cautionary Tale

  1. PushDumpFatButton says:

    Reblogged this on Push Dump Fat Button.

  2. It’s definitely true that people hear the word “malnutrition” and think it only means some starving child in a third-world country who is eating only rice every day. People don’t understand that just because you’re overweight (or even at a healthy weight!) you are or can be malnourished. I’m so glad that you got everything worked out and understand the cause of your health problems. Good luck on your journey!

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