That dreaded call from the doctor's office came in on Friday. "The doctor would like to see you," said the voice on the other end.
Just a week before, I went in for my yearly checkup, and I mentioned to my doctor that I was feeling exhausted recently, and when I stood up too fast, I would get a head rush.
As it turned out, I discovered that I was very anemic. I sat and took in all the information that my doctor gave me, asking her questions, but still, I felt optimistic, as I smiled and joked with her as I commented, "Well, all this time I thought I was just super lazy!"
As the days and months went by, I felt more and more drained and exhausted. Running my own business, seeing to my family and being a busy mom-preneur, meant I would just have to keep pushing through my fatigue.
I no longer could keep up with my regular high intensity workouts that I loved so much. My skin which is usually a healthy glow, became dried and tight. My hair which normally is full and thick, become weak and looked dull. My nails which usually needed the "extra strength" kind of nail clippers, were now suddenly becoming brittle and would break. I would have constant headaches and occasionally my eyes would feel blurry, but just for a brief second or two.
When I got up too fast, I would have to hold on to something because I would be seeing stars. When I climbed a flight of stairs, I would be breathing heavily, and my heart would be pounding. I thought I was clearly out of shape, because I had never been like that before. I would make up excuses for all my symptoms, because as far as I was concerned, my skin and hair does get drier in winter, and I broke a nail, big deal, it happens to almost everyone, and the headaches? Maybe I slept funny. Lightheadedness? I have low blood pressure.
In the back of my mind, I kept thinking to myself, "Why am I so lazy and unmotivated these days?" I couldn't understand why I lost my drive.
Prior to this, I was a very driven woman. I've travelled around the world, worked on a luxury cruise liner, raised my son as a single mom for six years, while working full-time and teaching at least 4 to 9 yoga classes a week. I absolutely loved working out and even competed in a fitness competition. Fast forward a few years, I quit my full-time job and created 2 Yoga & Fitness brands. I loved going to seminars and was obsessed with bettering myself. I would spend all my spare time learning more about personal development, online marketing and business. I had (and still have) big goals, one of them being getting my pilot's license (just for fun).
So what is Anemia?
There are many different forms of anemia, but to explain it simply, Anemia is a condition when your blood does not have enough healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin. The hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein that helps carry oxygen from the lungs to your entire body. With anemia, your body doesn't get enough oxygen-rich blood and since our organs need oxygen to function properly, we become tired, weak, dizzy, light-headed and sometimes experience shortness of breath and even increased heart rate.
A healthy man's hemoglobin ranges between 13.5 - 17.5 and for women, it is between 12 - 15. Mine currently is 8 grams/100ml.
Ever since I found out I'm anemic, I've been doing my homework. I've been reading other people's blogs, doing research and trying to educate myself on what I can do to get back to my healthy old self. I realize each day will be different.
For example, yesterday was a great day! I've been eating super clean, taking my Floravix, making green smoothies, and I felt amazing. I had enough energy to go grocery shopping, cook lunch and dinner, do some light house cleaning, work from home, pick up the kids from Spring camp and work on my website.
Today, however was a different story. Today I could barely shower myself. Every move I made felt like it drained the life out of me, and I started to cry like a baby. I wanted to do so many things today, how would I be able to do them if I struggled just showering and getting dressed?
And then suddenly, something remarkable happened. In that perfect moment filled with tears, a quote popped in my head out of no where: "As he thinks, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains." -- James Allen, As A Man Thinketh)
I then realized, I can cry and feel pity for myself, which will make me miserable, or I can change my thoughts and work towards feeling better one day at a time. That's when I decided something good can come from this. I'm certain that someone could learn from my story, and if they notice any of my symptoms in themselves, they could take immediate action and visit their doctor, maybe even preventing themselves from becoming anemic.
Half of my day today was spent resting on the couch, in and out of sleep. My body was so tired and drained today. Maybe you know this feeling... have you ever had such a bad flu, where even moving your arm took everything out of you? Or have you ever woken up in the middle of a deep deep sleep, and tried to pull the blankets over you, but were so weak, making the blankets feel like they weigh a 100 lbs? That's how I felt for half my day today. Thankfully, after resting for hours, and being gentle with myself, I feel much better now, and even had the energy to write this message.
As an entrepreneur, busy mom and wife, I understand how easy it is to have these symptoms creep up on us so slowly, that we don't even realize it, and before we know it, we are now faced with a new reality. So I encourage everyone, men and women, if this sounds anything like what you are going through, please take action today and book an appointment with your family doctor.
If you are anemic, or know someone who is, please reach out to me. I certainly don't know everything, and I'm not a doctor, but I would love to hear from you. I'll be posting regular blogs on my website about my progress and hope to support, encourage and educate my readers about anemia and what a typical day looks and feels like. You can visit my website at www.nashcajee.com or join me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/nashcajee/