I start a lot of my posts with this, but it is true. I promised when I started this blog I would share the good, the bad, and the ugly along the way… well, I didn’t expect that I would have to add scary to this journey, but I have, and here it is for you.
Let me jump back to about 2 months ago. Mid Aug I started heavy loading my calendar to make sure that I was caught up, even ahead at work since my anniversary cruise was the second week of Sept. At that point my husband started telling me that I looked tired. Well… YEAH! I was! 2-3 evening meetings a week, doing a little extra work on the weekend. Of course I was tired!
Then the cruise, dated Sept 9 – 16… for those of you who follow the weather, about 3-4 days before we were to port out there was a tropical storm/hurricane on the east coast coming in. We figured we would be fine since we were going to western Caribbean. Well, the first full day at sea was ROUGH! Not just a little, but stupid crazy ridiculous rough. So the second day when we went to port, it hit me hard. Sea sickness, the extreme heat, fatigue… I almost passed out on a wall in Costa Maya. So we went back to the ship, I took some med, and then slept. Then the next day on our excursion, I took a nap on the beach. Don’t get me wrong, I like naps – but I NEEDED the sleep, didn’t just take them for the sake of vacation.
Fast forward to coming home. I had been back less than a week when I really started to feel crummy, so on Tuesday Sept 25, I decided it was time to go to the minute clinic. Head congestion, fatigue, dizziness, all around feeling crappy. She decided I had an ear infection (no shocker there – at least once a year since I was 5), and all of the symptoms of the ugly flu virus that was going around. She told me that I wasn’t to go back to work until I was fever free for 24 hours. OK, fine. For the rest of that week I ran a steady fever and slept pretty much 3-5 hours a day and then at night as well.
The following week, I went back to work. Walking to office winded me, but I chalked it up to the virus. Head felt swimmy, but I chalked that up to the virus as well.
Oct 10… things went BAT SHIT CRAZY.
I went back to the clinic because I was not getting better, but rather, seemingly worse. The more I tried to explain to the nurse what was wrong, the more she told me that I needed to go to the ER. She even refunded my copay for the office visit.
I called my husband and he agreed to leave work to take me. We figured, walking pneumonia or another more powerful virus. WRONG.
We got the ER and they started running tests, drawing arm loads of blood, they had me pee in a cup, attaching me to every machine there and as I am sitting there being asked a million and one questions the PA comes in and says “umm, we need to take more blood. We are concerned that we had a bad test reading and want to confirm.” I asked him what he meant and he said, “We checked your hemoglobin level and it came back at 4 and that concerns us.” I asked what that actually meant and he said, “your test came back as 4.2. Normal is 12. You should not have walked in here.” Then he started asking me about throwing up blood, blood in my stool (sorry for that visual), trauma, a car accident – ANYTHING. All of my answers were NO. Then he said it, “we have to give you a transfusion. You are in desperate need of blood. We also plan to admit you, we are just waiting on a room for you.” I guess I should not have been shocked since my lips were a nice deathly shade of gray and my fingertips were an interesting bright white.
Admitted, 2 units(pints) of blood, 2IVs, a heart monitor, and several phone calls later I was sitting in my room waiting to see what the second unit brought my level to. It went up to 6.5.
The doctors decided I needed and upper and lower GI scan to see if there was bleeding, so Thursday I had the start the “cleansing process” (worst.thing.ever.) More blood work, an ultrasound (just to make sure the bleed wasn’t in my girlie region), and another unit(pint) of blood and I am finally over 7 (7.9 to be exact) **side note, anything under 7 and they automatically give transfusions
Anyway, procedure done Friday morning with the only result of a hiatal hernia. The doctors had to go on deduction that I have been anemic all of my life and that a combo of a lot of things – late work nights, lack of gym time, less than stellar diet during the extra long days, being a girl and having a *cough period cough*, and even possibly having a virus that week after we got back. A lot of unknowns and a lot of speculation… but the bottom line is this:
Several of my nurses said the same thing – they had never seen such low hemo levels, and if it wasn’t for me being so healthy otherwise (being mostly diligent about my diet, going to the gym, being a nonsmoker, nondrinker, nondrug user all of my life) this could have been tragically different. Sure I have to take 650mg of iron a day for the rest of my life, and have to go in to my primary care doc to be checked periodically to make sure I am keeping my iron up, but that is a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things.
I know this was a long winded story, but it needed to be shared because for as hard as I try to continue #becomingabetterme I was leaving out a few key elements… you have to listen to your body and instead of writing off things like fatigue and a swimmy head, I should have known that was not my norm and addressed it immediately.
As a side note: I would like to thank those who came to see me, those who sent me well wishes, and those who cared enough to remind me that I matter and I need to take care of me. That did not go unnoticed. I promise. Because of you, my journey will continue.