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Anemia

I have been having trouble with anemia lately. This is my second round of IV iron therapy and I don’t really know what is causing it. So I thought I would post this here…I was just wondering if my anemia problems are all connected to asthma somehow? I never had problems like this before. Since I turned 30, it seems I am getting these problems. Asthma. Eczema. Now severe anemia. I don’t get it. 

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  • K8sMom2002

    Hugs, Dar007 … anemia can be really frustrating. If your primary care physician hasn't pinpointed a cause, and you've already had anemia severe enough to call for IV iron therapy, have you asked to be referred to a hematologist/oncologist? Hem/oncs are specialists in issues with a person's blood.

    Anemia can be caused by so many different things … it takes a good doc who's willing to listen and willing to look under a lot of rocks to figure out some cases.

  • Wheezy Me

    DAR, it isn't easy to have several health issues out of the blue in the same time. As much as it sucks, it happens… Hold on!🌷

    I don't know any connection to asthma. The most common cause of iron deficiency anemia in young women is related to periods. Do you have heavy or long periods? If so I'd start from there and consult a gynecologist.

    Causes that are tested routinely in all people with iron deficiency are celiac serology and TSH. If you have diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss etc then finding their cause is important too.

  • Dar007

    Wheezy Me – They did question me about my periods but they have been the same since I was a teenager and regular. Nothing new or any changes. I have been tested for Celiac and I am ok with that. I have really bad Hypothyroidism though but it is well managed with Synthoid. I am also on the verge of being diagnosed with arthritis. The tests are starting to point to Lupus. My kidneys are going through something too (also just found in routine tests.). I don’t have time for this. I work three jobs ( the ER department, neonatal ICU, and children’s hospital for nephrology and ortho. I live by myself and am the only one bringing in the money for my mortgage and student loans. Just hoping this is all just a mistake or something not so long term. 

  • Melissa G

    Oh my Dar! That is certainly a lot to be going through, especially at once. I hope the dr's can get things figured out. 

  • Dar007
    Melissa G posted:

    Oh my Dar! That is certainly a lot to be going through, especially at once. I hope the dr's can get things figured out. 

    Yeah. I am so tired. But I think that is the anemia. Lol 

  • K8sMom2002

    Anemia will do that for you, Dar007.  

    One other thing … DD has a rare bleeding disorder, and one thing that I've learned from her doctor is that some women aren't diagnosed with bleeding disorders because they don't realize how heavy their periods really are. Many times because the disorder is inherited, moms have undiagnosed bleeding disorders, too, and they tell their daughters, "Well, sure, my period is just like that. That's how periods are."

    They have never known any different … same as my DD, who has to use overnight pads during the day. 

    Our hem/onc and our ob/gyn have had DD use the Higham Pictorial Blood Loss Assessment Chart to track the amount of her flow. Could you talk to your docs and see if tracking your flow would be something that might be helpful? 

  • Wheezy Me
    Dar007 posted:

    Wheezy Me – They did question me about my periods but they have been the same since I was a teenager and regular. Nothing new or any changes. I have been tested for Celiac and I am ok with that. I have really bad Hypothyroidism though but it is well managed with Synthoid. I am also on the verge of being diagnosed with arthritis. The tests are starting to point to Lupus. My kidneys are going through something too (also just found in routine tests.). I don’t have time for this. I work three jobs ( the ER department, neonatal ICU, and children’s hospital for nephrology and ortho. I live by myself and am the only one bringing in the money for my mortgage and student loans. Just hoping this is all just a mistake or something not so long term. 

    It sure sounds hard, especially with all those responsibilities and jobs. I hope that it's nothing serious, too!

    But why do they think you developed lupus and asthma around the same time? It could be a coincidence, or that they're related (did they test for chronic eosinophilic pneumonia? Churg Strauss?)

    I hope the iron helps you feel better. Keep us updated! 

  • Dar007

    Well I have some sort of arthritis going on (have had problems since I was younger), and the tests I had recently sort of point towards lupus. I honestly don’t think I have lupus at all. We will see. As for the asthma, I also went through the usual tests, and it is asthma caused by allergies. I guess I have had it for a long time but milder, and then it got worse as my allergies started affecting me a lot more. Thinking back to when I was younger and the allergies I had it makes sense. The medications I am on for asthma are really helping a lot. I feel so much better most of the time. Winter and Spring are the worst for me. 

    It is hard juggling all the work I am doing, but it won’t be for much longer. Soon I will only have the one job, but a busy one…I like to keep busy, but the three is not something I can keep up. Like this weekend. I am finally off. And I got asked to go in for a 12 hr overnight yesterday. I have to learn to say no. I did yesterday,  and I had the best day just relaxing! I missed it. I need it. Today I am going to read a book! I haven’t had time to do that since last May. lol My gp has told me that I need to take care of myself more and he is right. I am getting run down and it isn’t helping my health at all. 

  • Kathy P

    Good for you saying no and taking a day to relax! Self-care is so important and something we often neglect!

  • Wheezy Me

    DAR, I know what you mean… I have to work on keeping my energy too. Job can be so demanding and we have to set the limits

  • Dar007

    I like the money, but I really really needed to have a break this weekend. Just really run down. It is very important to stop and take care of ourselves. Nobody else will. I got my hair cut today!!! It has been over a year! Felt so good. 

  • K8sMom2002

    So glad you are taking care of yourself and doing self-care things … a haircut and time to read and relax really do make me feel pampered!

    When will you find out about your other tests? I know other members here have had issues with autoimmune disorders as well as asthma.

  • Dar007
    K8sMom2002 posted:

    So glad you are taking care of yourself and doing self-care things … a haircut and time to read and relax really do make me feel pampered!

    When will you find out about your other tests? I know other members here have had issues with autoimmune disorders as well as asthma.

    It was a great two days! I really needed it. I have an appointment to see my doctor about the results of the tests after the holidays. It is the time when I will be free to go see him. Starting tomorrow, I work 14 days in a row. My schedule for the holidays is pretty crazy. 

  • Melissa G
    Dar007 posted:

    It was a great two days! I really needed it. I have an appointment to see my doctor about the results of the tests after the holidays. It is the time when I will be free to go see him. Starting tomorrow, I work 14 days in a row. My schedule for the holidays is pretty crazy. 

    ! Wow, 14 days in a row! That is crazy! How in the world do you handle that schedule? I'm not sure I could do that. 

  • Brenda Silvia-Torma

    @DAR007, wow is right! Are they all 8 hour days or are some 12 hour shifts? 

    So glad you had the last couple of days off to relax and take care of yourself! 

    – Brenda

  • Dar007

    Yeah, it is a long stretch. Some are 8, 12, and one or two only 4. We are so short staffed it isn’t funny. But after this I am scheduled for four days off and I am taking them! Not answering if they ask me to come in. Let someone else do the craziness. Haha

  • Shea

    I have had low iron and been on supplements too. I formerly had digestive issues (intestinal) and was losing blood that way. Not sure what it is yet THIS time, but my doctor wants me to do a stool test– I am waiting for my mentreul cycle to end first. 

    My doctor said low iron will make me even more tired with my asthma and during my period I am just utterly exhausted. Mine are heavy sometimes. 

    At first I tried eating more red meats but my cholesterol got high so now I am trying to eat more dark green leafy– liked cooked spinach and cooked broccoli. It is hard fir ne because I am not a big spinach and broccoli person 😲. I have to add them to other things that usually involve egg or cheese– which again isnt good for cholesterol! So I am looking for recipes currently. 

    Do you try any special things with diet or have any meals high in iron to recommend?

  • Wheezy Me

    Shea, I'm a vegetarian. The main thing which solved my iron deficiency anemia was normalizing my periods (with BCP. I have PCOS). Since they became lighter, my diet is good enough to keep iron levels stable.

    I love spinach! I cook it and use it in muffins (with whole wheat flour instead of regular flour, and there are low fat cheeses that work well like feta), as an addition to an omelette, or just mix it with cottage/ricotta cheese, chopped basil/mint leaves and walnuts.

    Eggs contain iron, and don't raise cholesterol as much as believed in the past. For me, eating less sugars and exercising also helped to sort the cholesterol out.

    I love this broccoli recipe:

    Other sources include:

    *Sesame seeds/paste

    *Almonds (you can snack on, or add to salads)

    *Peas, chickpeas (add to salad, cook with tomato sauce and spice, or make a hummus dip with skices of veggies)

    *Lentils (can be easily added to soups) etc.

     Also, try to pair the iron with foods that contain vitamin C (bell peppers, citrus, strawberries) as it helps iron absorption. Spinach and broccoli actually contain both.

  • K8sMom2002

    Dar, thinking of you! Hoping you can hang tight for the two weeks and get extra long naps in on the days that only call for four hour shifts. Sending good

    Shea, good point about blood loss coming from lots of different places! Hugs on the fatigue and the tiredness! Could you reach out to a registered dietitian (RD) to see if an RD might have some suggestions?

    WheezyMe, such a good point about pairing iron with Vitamin C rich foods — that's the kind of thing that is good to know! And now I'm hungry for spinach and broccoli! I was supposed to have broccoli sometime this week, but it looked a little weary in the grocery … so maybe I can get some at another store.

  • Dar007

    Wheezy Me – it is hard to eat food you don’t like. I love broccoli and spinach so i eat them all the time. My iron gets so low I need to get it through IV. It is a pain because it takes 4 hours to transfuse and I have to go every two weeks for six infusions. It really is a wasted day for me. 

    Have you ever tried putting spinach in your salad? You can’t even taste it! 

  • K8sMom2002

    Ugh on the time you have to spend for infusions … and iron infusions are not something you could do at home, either. How do you spend the time that you are infusing? 

    I prefer raw spinach to cooked — cooked becomes very bitter to me. 

    Shea, a dietitian advised me once that dried fruits and dried beans can be an excellent source of iron. And don't forget fortified cereals and oats … oh, and tofu! 

    Can you guys eat soy? If you can, and you're not sure whether you would like tofu straight-up, you might try this really easy … it tastes EXACTLY like the snack pack chocolate pudding. 

  • LK

    I saw these the other day.  They only have three ingredients so don't know if they would be helpful for anyone who has food allergies.  It says  - 

    "Simply Delicious Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels by NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® are made with only 3 high-quality ingredients and free from the 8 major food allergens. Now there’s a nut-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free option, that is just as tasty as the original, for the whole family to enjoy!"

    Looks like they have it in different flavors and also in cookie dough and snack bar cookie dough.

  • Melissa G

    Lisa, where did you see them?! I have been looking for them everywhere and can't find them! 

  • Dar007

    Cynthia – When Iget the infusions I take a book with me. You can get cold so they bring a warm blanket ( I do say no thanks at first, but then I am so grateful for it later), and sometimes I fall asleep. Lol I am not the only one there so sometimes you talk to the people beside you. The nurses like to chat also since the know me from the Emergency department. 

  • LK

    Melissa,  I happened upon them while on the Toll House website.  Haven't looked for them in any local stores yet.  

    Just found them on Amazon so maybe you could order them?

  • Shea

    Mmm.. I must be hungry because ALL of the things you all mentioned sound good– We cannot eat any nuts or soy, and h ave to be careful with legumes, and dried fruits have given me an anaphlactic reaction in the past I think from the sulfites, so I avoid those now…. but I think I will do a spinach and feta omelette for breakfast, with maybe a grapefruit…  and Tommy doesn't much like eggs but I've got oatmeal– he isn't iron deficient (just me) but I figure it's good to try to get him some extra iron too just in case part of it is dietary.

    I also read dark chocolate and sunbutter are good for iron and Tommy and I made sunbutter version of muddy buddies not long ago and just finished them off. 

    Cynthia, a dietician is a good idea and I have considered one (of my insurance covers it). But since this is a newer thing for me, I am going to try on my own for a bit (with diet and supplement). 

    Luckily I am not low enough to need infusions (in the past when I was 13 and first diagnosed with ulcerative colitis I did have very low iron and actually needed a blood transfusion before having surgery for it– I had such low energy back then I could barely walk). But post-surgery, I was fine with iron for a long time now until a few months ago. It isn't super-low, but it isn't in normal range yet (the supplement is helping). 

  • K8sMom2002

    Dar007, it sounds like you are definitely finding good ways to spend that time! A good book, a nap and a chat can help! But I hope they figure things out so that you can have your nap, book and chat on your own terms. 

    Shea, I knew you managed some food allergies, but I couldn't remember exactly which ones. I love your idea of a spinach and feta omelet!

    I'm not one to sneak veggies into kids' foods … I think kids should know what they are eating and WHY they need to eat healthy foods. I also think they need to know that sometimes a taste for a food has to be acquired. Plus because we manage food allergies, I'm stickler on knowing exactly what is in a food before we eat it.

    BUT that being said, I'm all for making foods healthier if I'm honest and upfront about it … so in that spirit, I was really intrigued by Wheezy Me saying you could use spinach in muffins … 

    I went digging … here's a .

    Wheezy Me, I'd really like a muffin that was more savory — I love blueberry muffins from scratch. We can't have corn … do you know of a spinach muffin recipe that would work like a blueberry muffin? Or do you think I could make a straight up muffin that was more savory (kind of like a corn-free corn muffin?) … I could see that working with flecks of green in it. It would look like herbs …

  • Melissa G

    Lisa, I didn't even think of checking on Amazon for them.  I have looked at every local store, but they haven't had them yet. Thanks! 

  • LK

    Melissa,  It's okay!!  Not like you haven't had anything else going on lately!!  

    Upon further inspection, the ones listed on Amazon seem to be in pack of 15 bags.  Wow!  Also, it looks like they aren't available yet.  Hopefully they will be soon.  

    On the Nestle website I think there was a section where you could type in your ZIP code and it would show stores in your area that had that product.  

    Didn't see any stores yet in my area.

  • LK

    Maybe ask at your local store?  If enough people ask for a new product they may start carrying it.

  • Shea

    I agree Cynthia… I dont really sneak veggues in foods lime put them in and not tell Tommy– no– I just mean I like to make them as tastey as possible by — adding marshmallows on top (lol– i just made a sweet potato umm pie I guess like that), but I am always honest about whats in food-' I think it is important for managing allergies.

  • Wheezy Me
    K8sMom2002 posted:

    Wheezy Me, I'd really like a muffin that was more savory — I love blueberry muffins from scratch. We can't have corn … do you know of a spinach muffin recipe that would work like a blueberry muffin? Or do you think I could make a straight up muffin that was more savory (kind of like a corn-free corn muffin?) … I could see that working with flecks of green in it. It would look like herbs …

    Cynthia, I was actually referring to savory spinach muffins in my post (never thought of spinach in sweet ones… haha). Here's a recipe I like:

    Ingredients (for 12 mini-muffins or 8 regular):

    1 cup flour (I use whole wheat)

    2 teaspoons baking powder

    2 eggs, gently beaten using a fork

    1/2 cup milk

    1/2 cup grated cheese of your choice (feta, mozzarella, parmesan etc)

    2/3 cup sauteed spinach (I use frozen)

    4 minced garlic cloves

    2 tablespoons canola oil

    Pepper, to taste

    3 tablespoons pesto (optional)

    A handful chopped walnuts (optional)

     

    Gently beat the eggs in a bowl using a fork. Add all the other ingredients and mix well- add the flour&baking powder last.

    Grease muffin pans with oil spray. Transfer batter into pan and bake at 350° for 25 mins or so, until they become golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

    Enjoy!

  • Dar007
    Melissa G posted:

    Dar, how are you doing? When is your next infusion?

    Melissa – I am doing ok. Really tired,  but that is because I had to do a double shift today (someone called in sick). This is day 4 of 14 shifts. Just crazy. What was I thinking??? Next transfusion is the second week of January…just after the holidays. 

  • Melissa G

    Oh my goodness! I bet you are exhausted! What are doing to cope/handle with all of these shifts?

  • Dar007
    Melissa G posted:

    Oh my goodness! I bet you are exhausted! What are doing to cope/handle with all of these shifts?

    Well I am used to this. I just take it one day at a time. I am noticing I have to use my rescue more the past two days (everyone coming into the ER has the flu and every shift so many people are coughing on me). I also developed a cold sore this morning, most likely because I am tired. I have a regular day shift today then double shifts the next three days. If I can just hang on. lol 

    Trying to relax before and after the shifts. Reading and bubble baths seems to be working. I think after the holidays though I am not accepting these crazy hours. Let someone else do it for a while. 

  • Wheezy Me

    Dar, last winter I too worked way too many hours and found myself needing my inhaler more frequently. Tiredness and extremely hard work days can worsen any health issue, I guess… That's why it's great you're trying to relax. Sending hugs, those 14 will be over soon! 

  • Melissa G

    I enjoy taking bubble baths too, I also like using plain epsom salt in my bath as well. What books do you like to read?

  • K8sMom2002
    Dar007 posted:

    I think after the holidays though I am not accepting these crazy hours. Let someone else do it for a while. 

    I think that's a wise decision! I hope you will get some rest soon!

  • Dar007

    I am almost done these crazy days and I am planning on resting for sure for a day or two this weekend! 

    I love all kinds of books! I have six on the go right now. They vary in subject. Everything from Donte’s Inferno to a Mystery French novel titled Je Te Voix ( which means: I  See You). I bought myself Sapiens A Brief History of Mankind by Yuval Harari for Christmas! Can’t wait to start it! 

  • K8sMom2002

    Oh, man, Dar007, you sound like you have a reading habit about like mine! I've never read those titles, but one of them reminds me of a book I loved and that made me think:

  • K8sMom2002

    And you've inspired me — I'm going to start us an AAFA Reading Club thread … I'll use your reply above to start it!

  • Dar007
    K8sMom2002 posted:

    And you've inspired me — I'm going to start us an AAFA Reading Club thread … I'll use your reply above to start it!

    Yay! Book lovers like me! 

  • Dar007

    So tomorrow was going to be the last day of my crazy stretch…14 shifts in a row. Today and tomorrow a double. BUT I had to call in sick for tomorrow. We saw 245 cases In the ER today ,95% of them the flu or upper respiratory infections. So many people coughed on me the last few days and I got it.   It is so hard to breathe. People today could hear me wheezing. I know I am over tired because I developed a cold sore on my upper lip two days ago. Should have headed the warning my body was giving me. We give people with coughs masks to wear so they don’t spread the flu to others and to protect those with compromised immune systems or respiratory illnesses…but most yuck the whole mask under their chin! It helps no one. 

  • Dar007
    Melissa G posted:

    Oh no Dar!! That is awful! How are you feeling today? Are you following your 

    I am just sleeping and not going out of the house today. I don’t have an asthma action plan, but I have used my rescue quite a bit today. I woke up last night hearing this high pitched sound. Thought it was my tv, turned it off. Then thought it was my heat pump. Turned it off. Then realized I was wheezing. lol The sad part I was so relieved! Nothing was broken and needed to be fixed. Phew!  Breathing much better now. Cough is bad but  that will work itself out by next week…

  • Melissa G

    Wow! I would call your dr and get an asthma action plan. How are you feeling this morning? Were you able to get any sleep last night?