Hemoglobin and Ferritin … What?




 

The range for normal hemoglobin levels is; 12-16.

 

The range for normal ferritin levels is; 15-205.

 




 

Hemoglobin and iron are proteins in the body. Hemoglobin is in your red blood cells and carries oxygen to your body’s organs. If your hemoglobin is low this means you are anemic. Ferritin is a protein produced by the body that contains iron. If your ferritin is low you have an iron deficiency.

 

In October of 2015, I was admitted to the hospital directly after a trip to the clinic where my labs were drawn. My ferritin level (ferritin is the protein that carries iron in your body) was at a one. The normal range for a healthy ferritin level is 15-205. I had just gotten home from my appointment when my doctor called me and said, “You go straight to admitting at the hospital, I reserved a bed for you, your ferritin is dangerously low.” I was confused, could low iron be so harmful I’d have to be admitted? She just said, “Go, go now.” I was admitted immediately given a blood transfusion and three vials of iron, I remained in the hospital for three days.

 

The hospital doctor told me I was close to having a massive heart attack. What? No way! My body was not producing enough ferritin. I knew my fibromyalgia symptoms were flaring, I was beyond exhausted! I couldn’t think straight, I couldn’t walk to the bathroom and back to the couch without having to take a nap. I felt like I was always walking through sand with ankle weights on. Was this all due to low iron? Yes. This time the flare I was having was due to low iron.

 

Here is the scariest part of it all, testing my ferritin level was a fluke. I was in for a regular medical check up. My doctor noticed I look really pale, but the giveaway was my gums, she looked at my gums and said to her nurse,  “I want to know what her iron level is.” I balked because I had just had my blood panels done … but I learned your iron levels are not regularly tested, she explained that test had to be ordered separately.

 

I knew I was anemic, my hemoglobin would sometimes reach a ten but usually stayed around an eight. I never knew about ferritin, even what it was or did. I do now! Low ferritin is not usually associated with fibromyalgia. Neither is anemia. But low levels of hemoglobin and/or ferritin for a person who has fibromyalgia can cause a severe flare. You will not get over it until you raise those levels.

 

You must learn to eat foods rich in iron and cook in cast iron pans. I do both. I also give myself B12 injections once a month and use an iron supplement. Sometimes this is still not enough so I go in for an iron infusion. I still struggle with keeping my numbers up. I sometimes suffer severe repercussions from the iron infusion so I need to fully rest for a few days after. I am still learning how to handle this but I want to leave you with a word of caution, please ask specifically to have your ferritin (iron level) tested. It is a simple blood test. It is NEVER part of a blood work up and must be ordered specifically by your doctor.

Ask to have your ferritin level checked!

IMG_2890~Kim

“The Shadow Boxers” – Book Review and Giveaway!

The first book review and giveaway for “The Shadow Boxers!”

Picnic with Ants

shadow boxers cover

My friend Kim Johnson over at I Tripped Over a Stone, got together with Karen Anderson and wrote a book to help others find how they can LIVE with fibromyalgia.  They know that with fibromyalgia every day can feel like you are fighting shadows.

With over 50 years of combined experience with fibromyalgia Kim and Karen understand that it doesn’t just affect you physically, it affects you mentally and emotionally as well.

The Shadow Boxers: Fighting Fibromyalgia, Your Personal Journal, is an interactive book where Kim and Karen help you on your own journey.

In The Shadow Boxers…, you will find Kim and Karen’s personal stories from first symptoms to the present.  They prompt you to make your own plan, write down your own ideas, and figure out how to really live your life with fibromyalgia!

The journal features

  • Definitions, with room for you to write your…

View original post 538 more words

Three Days Without Zoloft.

Yes, I am on Zoloft. (Sertraline in its generic form.) I have been for almost 20 years. In conjunction with years of cognitive behavioral mental health therapy, this antidepressant has kept me sane. I’ve gone off it on my own several times, thinking I feel better and I don’t need to be on an anti-depressant! I always end up back at my doctor’s office in an anxiety ridden state, crying and feeling like I don’t belong on this earth! I am promptly put back on Zoloft.

I ran out on Friday. (I always use one of those pill holders but I had been lazy and hadn’t filled it last week as I should have.) Friday is a bad time to run out of a medication, especially when I know my doctor works Monday thru Thursday. I did a Hail Mary and called her office to request a refill, but we all know there was no chance… what could three days off my Zoloft really do to me? Would it really affect me? I wasn’t very worried. I knew I’d miss my morning doses Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

What is Zoloft? Zoloft is a SSRI, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. This means it increases the amount of serotonin in my brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter important in maintaining a feeling of well-being. So think of a serotonin as a baseball, the pitcher throws the ball (serotonin) and the catcher (Zoloft) catches the ball… Now take the catcher who is Zoloft out of the game. The serotonin is thrown but never caught. The game can’t be played unless the ball is caught. Zoloft is my catcher. This is what allows my brain to play the game. The game is, of course, a life with a feeling of overall well-being.

Saturday, the first day without Zoloft, the day went fine, by 5 o’clock I felt like I was getting a sinus infection and I was very nauseous. Sleep was difficult. Sunday I woke up agitated, I was extremely tired and felt like I had just gotten off a carnival ride that went very wrong. I was so dizzy and nauseous. I took some Dramamine and Tylenol PM praying for sleep to just return. The day was lost, I was achy, agitated, sad, and sleeping on and off… Monday! I had made it to Monday, I called the pharmacy, no the refill was called in, what? I’d never make it another day (…add capitalization and drama here…) I finally asked the pharmacist if I could have an emergency refill as I was completely out. I could, but I would have to show up in person, not my husband, and sign for this. This seemed like an unreasonable request (which it really was not) and I cried for an hour before I got myself together enough to go and get my Zoloft.

At 4 pm on Monday, I took my regular dose of Zoloft. By 8 pm life was as it should be, I did some dishes and cooked a late dinner … now it took only four hours for my Zoloft to work again, but when you start a new antidepressant it can take up to two weeks to fully reach its beneficial properties. My body was used to having the benefits of Zoloft and it was welcomed back quickly.

I want to end with reminding you, as well as myself, once you find what medications work for you, it is your responsibility to take it as directed and on time. The repercussions of not doing what you are supposed to only prolongs the battles we fight for a normal as possible life we live. It was my fault I ran out. There is a reason I started using pill organizers and it was for that very reason so I wouldn’t run out! But I got lazy, I didn’t follow my own rules for wellness, and I paid a high emotional price for three lousy days. It happens. It is over. But I am going to once again be diligent with my medication responsibilities!

IMG_2890~Kim

I Just Want to Walk to the Bathroom.

(This is a topic that might make some of you squeamish but others will thank me and begin buying Cottonelle, the very best brand of toilet paper in my opinion.)

 

 

Magnesium! Many warn against taking magnesium because it may give you diarrhea! Once I heard that I couldn’t order mine fast enough! I am not kidding! The first day I took the recommended dose I was running to the bathroom… the next day I was at a jog… the third-day speed walking and the fourth… a pleasant stroll with a smile on my face.

Many of you know I am not big into recommending products but this has been a 20-year problem solved in a week! I had to share! I have been on every stool softener and OTC constipation reliever that was ever made. But then I found this on a Facebook site. I ordered the above, OmniBlue Ocean Minerals. My expectations were low… but the price was reasonable so why not? I got the tincture and I put 10 drops into a glass of juice every morning. No more because ‘it’ will get messy, no less because then it doesn’t work. You’ll have to find your perfect dose.

If you are still running to the bathroom after the second day, lower your dose. If you haven’t run yet, increase! Ten drops are my perfect dose. Not eleven!!! Not nine. Ten drops.

Then I started reading more about magnesium and was aghast at the benefits this trace mineral has for your overall health and specifically for fibromyalgia.

Concerning fibromyalgia deficient amounts of magnesium plays a role in restless legs, fatigue, fibro fog and an increase in painful trigger points. As for our overall health, there are about 300 enzymes that require magnesium to function, especially many that are crucial to brain function!

This is a no-brainer! (Pardon the pun!) Get yourself on some magnesium.

Important Magnesium Benefits from the website of Dr. Axe, Food Medicine. (http//:www.dr.axe.com/)

  1. Help increase energy.
  2. Calms nerves.
  3. Helps you fall asleep and treat insomnia.
  4. Helps with digestion by relieving constipation.
  5. Relieves muscle spasms.
  6. Regulates the level of calcium and potassium.
  7. Important for heart health.
  8. Prevents migraine headaches.
  9. Helps prevent osteoporosis.

I like the OmniBlue brand, as it is in liquid form. You need to mix it with something though. It tastes like over salted ocean water! (Imagine that?) Cranberry juice and tonic does it for me. (No vodka!) Well … just make good choices! And remember, bathroom breaks can once again be pleasant.

FullSizeRender 56~Kim

Fibro Killed the 80’s.

I grew up in the 80’s… yep, I’m pushing 50 years old. But, before we go there I wonder how many remember the 80’s? Big was everything! Big hair, big shoulder pads, big jackets, the only thing that was supposed to be small was the hem of your jeans. I’d pull my jeans as tight as I could on the bottom, put safety pins in the hem to hold them tight. The 80’s rocked ‘hair bands’ and excess. Madonna and Prince were also coming into fame.

I had big dreams too… I was going to be a doctor of psychology! I planned on being married with three children and going to Wimbledon to watch tennis. I would drive a Jaguar and wear crisp white suits, or black… but I’d have a signature look to go with my distinguished career. And I’d live in a very modern home full of glass windows and eclectic furniture. At 16 I had it all figured out, by 18 I was ready to begin!

IMG_3080
1986

If I only knew then what I know now… I got a degree in social work and criminal justice, I got married later in life and never had children. I don’t watch tennis anymore. I no longer wear suits to work. I’m on disability. I drive a Ford. I live in a stucco home that was built in 1907.

 

Version 4
2016

Why bring any of this up? It sounds sad, really. Now that I actually read it. But it is not sad. I had dreams as a teenager. I was allowed to dream! And I honestly gave it a shot, before I was in a car accident that brought fibromyalgia knocking on my door…

It has taken many years and many tears to be able to say this, but I really do LOVE my life. I love my husband and I love my fur babies! I love writing blogs and being an admin of a support group. I never thought I’d publish a book? I did it! I published a book! The Shadow Boxers, Fighting Fibromyalgia, Your Personal Journal. The road has not been easy, but who has traveled an easy road? No one I know. Life throws you a curve ball once in a while and you need to take a swing at it … never know, it could be a home run!

IMG_3180~Kim

Welcome to Fibro for a Day!

Many people have experienced being tired, exhausted even. But chronic fatigue is more than being tired. It is waking up after a full night of sleep and feeling like you never slept at all. There is no escape, no quick fix, you are in a fatigued state, always. Often you may not be able to sleep a full night through. Sleep disturbances are a big part of Fibromyalgia Syndrome. You get crowned with both, fibro and fatigue.

Then you go for the coffee and have cup after cup until you become fully agitated. Then you probably will go into a full blown panic attack. You will shake, sweat and cry and find it very hard to breathe. You are certain you will die. I will choose to feel the awful fatigue over having a horrific panic attack any day.

img_0613

Then there is the daily pain. It is either through the roof (you’d be having a fibro flare which is an increase in pain and fatigue) or pain gnawing at your very core and just – will – not – stop. What does it feel like to have fibromyalgia pain?

-Ever ran track? It feels like the second day after the first practice of the season.

-Ever played basketball? It feels like the second day after the first practice of the season.

-Ever had the flu and been in bed an entire day, getting up only to throw-up? Your body aches!  It feels like the flu.

That is probably the closest way I can describe what it feels like to have fibromyalgia pain. It feels like the flu after you are bruised and sore from days in bed.

Then we get ready for those fibro fog days, this is when you experience a literal dysfunction in your brain. You cannot connect the dots. We, that have experienced this, have learned our tricks but we still look and sound drunk to others … that can’t be helped. We try to stay isolated and we depend on our lists that tell us what to do, where things go and in what order we complete a task. We use notebooks, journals, post-it notes, and they become our memory on how to make it through one single day or for as many days as the fog lasts. Tasks, like taking a shower and even getting dressed is confusing! Actually knowing how to load a dishwasher and then remembering to turn it on would be just about impossible without our lists.

I will leave you with some good news about fibromyalgia if you don’t have it … this day is over now and you can go back to your life. My days with fibromyalgia will continue until a cure is found. Think of us that are fighting this disease once in awhile and send out some good vibes. We will gladly thank you!

IMG_3180~Kim

You are a Poser, Nellie Olsen!

We are going back in time! Remember Nellie Olsen? Little House on the Prarie? I loved the show, the books, Laura and Mary… Charles and Caroline were the best parents! But I did not like Nellie Olsen. Not one bit. But I got called Nellie Olsen a lot!

I grew up in a farming community and my parents owned the “general store” so to speak. We carried groceries, some clothing, cards, even some fancy plates, and vases. We stocked a little bit of everything. Severson’s Grocery and Variety Store.

In the next town over, a friend of ours owned a hardware store and carried all kinds of sporting goods. He would call my mother whenever he was closing out his winter coats. You see, she had 6 kids to keep clothed. We wore Polaris and Articat, sometimes Honda or Yamaha… and whatever else fit us, it just happened these were name brand items. We certainly could never have afforded them.

One day my mom came in with a purple and black, hooded, fake fur Articat winter coat. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen! I wore it to school the very next day … but I would not wear it for the next week, opting for a much lighter coat that was not near warm enough for our midwest winters. My mom must have mentioned this to my Dad. He sat me down and asked why wasn’t I wearing my new winter coat? I told him they teased me at school and called me Nellie Olsen and worst of all… they said I was RICH! In a small town, being rich is like being a poser, you do not want that title.

My dad laughed and laughed, as I sobbed. He pulled me into his lap and stopped me from crying. He explained everyone in town thought we were rich and he let them! He said people think I got a lot of money I let them think what they want. Really, who knows how rich any man really is? Then with that twinkle in his eye that only my dad has when he is being ‘sly’ he said, the next time someone says you are rich you tell them, “well I must be!” And then you go on and play with you friends.

I did what my dad told me to do the very next day at recess. The teasing immediately stopped and I was never called Nellie Olsen nor rich ever again. It worked like magic!

I finally understand his message after all these years; people don’t know what they have no knowledge of. People assume and you know what that makes them. I grew up very grounded. And now as an adult, I know my story, my hardships, my battles, my truths, but more importantly, my worth – and I’m not talking money.

Love you Dad, my hero!

FullSizeRender 87

By the way, Nellie Olsen grew up to be a very nice lady, and I hope I have too.

IMG_2890~Kim

Charlottesville, A Red Herring?

I do not like writing about politics. I do not like writing about religion. But I’m sick of the wool being pulled over our eyes and I won’t stand by as Americans are led like lambs to the slaughter with false information and ignorant news casters reporting fallacies, not facts.

Do you know what a red herring is? It is a person, place or thing that purposely misleads the public away from relevant or important issues. A red herring is often intentionally used to lead people to a false conclusion like we live in a hate filled the world, this is a fallacy.

Many of us are still heart sick over Charlottesville. But I’d like to put it into perspective. I hope you will find comfort in the facts I have gathered from several sources then make up your own mind… was this a red herring to literally scare the American people?

IMG_2030

It took six months to organize what was being called the “Largest White Supremacist Gathering in Decades.” A mere several hundred people showed up. And they were paid to show up. They were organized and trained to insight hate and they collected their checks for their performance. This whole sick show was a red herring placed in front of the American people to scare us, make us believe our country was falling apart, that people hated other people.

The man who organized this sick ‘rally’ was a fixture in the Clinton and Obama administrations. I won’t do him any favors by mentioning his name. He means nothing to me nor should he mean anything to you. He is nothing more than a man hired to do a job. This man put a red herring in front of the American people to scare us and he did what he was hired to do. I wonder who paid him to organize this sick, disgusting, idiotic, freak show.

The next day was a Sunday, 52 million Americans went to church and ALL were welcomed. All were gathered as a community to share scripture and commune with their fellow congregations. It was a day of worship, for 52 MILLION Americans.

In any given year, 62 MILLION Americans volunteer and 83% of Americans give to charity. Yet we are worried about a few hundred idiots that were paid to create a hate filled stunt. Shame on them but shame on us for giving them this attention!

See things clearly, a red herring is a red herring. America is not the few hundred sick people who got media attention in Charlottesville. It is the 145 million Americans of every race, gender, creed, ethnicity, religious belief, and orientation that go to work every day and get along. That is who our Americans are!

I am a proud American!

IMG_3178 2~Kim

What the Heck Do I Do Now?

So you have purchased The Shadow Boxers, Fighting Fibromyalgia by Kim Johnson and Karen Anderson… or maybe you are still thinking about it? Why buy this book? Will one more journal do anything more for me? Let me tell you why we wrote this journal and share with you what others are doing, then you decide.

64807706_High Resolution Front Cover_7239198

 

This is a very basic journal, we share definitions and stories and then ask you to join in with answering questions and prompt you to write about your own fibromyalgia journey. Looks reasonable …

 

64807706_High Resolution Back Cover_7239198

Then you reach this page…IMG_3052

Sure. Easy enough, right? Maybe not. It is a blank page! What the heck do I do now? You write, draw, color, scribble, yell, cry! This is YOUR journal! You do whatever seems right at the moment. Don’t worry about penmanship, grammar, spelling! Just write. Get what you are feeling off your chest and maybe tomorrow you will add some different things or maybe in a year you will purchase this journal again and your answers will be completely different. However, you fill out this journal is the right way because it is yours!

Here’s a few examples, just food for thought… these are neither correct or incorrect, these are what the writers were feeling at the time. (And this is why the journal was left unlined, so you have choices on how to fill out your pages.)

 

The right way to use this journal is your way.

Purchase from this site.

The Shadow Boxers, Fighting Fibromyalgia, Your Personal Journal.

Change your outlook! This new interactive journal addresses day-to day challenges, showing you how to fight flare-ups, effectively cope with chronic illness, and participate fully in your life again.

$12.95

The Shadow Boxers Link to purchase on Amazon.

IMG_2890~Kim

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑