I Am Iron Man.


This song has been stuck in my head for daaaaaays.

A couple weeks ago I’d shared  here on the blog that I’d been having health some issues. The kind that seem to happen when a woman turns 50 or so. As a result I became severely anemic–like transfusion or infusion bound. But they preferred to try treating it with iron pills first.

I’d had blood work done before I went to Kauai and didn’t get the results until a couple days before we were to come home. At that point I wasn’t ready to start taking iron, knowing that it could cause issues. Last thing I wanted to be was iron-made ill on an airplane coming home.

Strange thing is, while at sea level, I was never out of breath, but walking around was slow-going, especially if a small hill–okay, incline–were involved. I’d get to the top, pause, let my body reset, and then continue on. It’s hard to describe how your body feels as it’s trying to get oxygen around inside over a little exertion. Those of you who have had anemia before know what I’m talking about.

When I came home to this almost mile-high city of mine, it was a completely different story. I would be winded after slowly taking the six steps up to the next floor of my home.

It was very interesting experiencing anemia at two different altitudes.

And other than being Vitamin D deficient (thanks winter), all other blood tests–like thyroid, cholesterol, diabetes, etc., came back normal. Yay me!

Lucky for me, I’m pretty sure my anemia is a temporary situation, for which the cause has been controlled, but I’m still healing with a double-dose of iron every day for two months (seven more weeks, ugh).

You’re probably wondering why I’m sharing all this.

Well, the other day I’d hit a major accomplishment….I’d made it through the day without a nap. I know, right? Considering all last week I was either in bed most the day or taking naps on the other days, this was big for me.

I’d shared the great news on Facebook and it started some conversations that I never expected! Many people shared their experiences on being anemic and it was amazing. I didn’t want to lose them into the abyss of Facebook. So I thought I should house these thoughts here on my blog in a more permanent environment.

Here are some of the things people shared about their anemia issues.

  • Iron infusions occurred for many.
  • Some have to do it for long periods…even years.
  • Iron infusions turned one person’s veins orange.
  • Nettle helps another person (see THIS article). Funny, because we avoid Stinging Nettle like the plague in the mountains here. ;) But it is really fascinating!
  • Beet roots and juice work great as a home remedy. Not a beet fan, so that will never work for me. haha
  • One person had a liver transplant and can now absorb iron. Oh man. Now that’s not a solution anyone would want to have to have.
  • A glass of stout once a week (doctor’s orders) helped another person. (If I only drank. ;) )
  • Someone suggested cooking with cast iron.
  • In her doctor’s quest to find the cause of her anemia, one person found out she had Celiacs’s disease. Once they discovered that and changed her diet, her body was able to absorb the iron. Wow!

That last one I think is incredible. I really wanted to make sure that one was shared. I don’t know why, but it struck me so.

It’s funny. I just associate lack of iron with blood loss. I think my small battle with anemia has really opened my eyes as to how big of a deal it is for many people. While my body does seem to be adapting to the iron–getting stronger every day, I can’t imagine being on it for an extended period of time, much less have infusions of it. You know me and needles. We don’t get along.

One other thing I’d like to point out is the iron pills I’m taking. I know nothing about vitamin brands or anything like that. The only thing I was instructed was to take 325mg of Ferrous Sulfate twice a day. When I went to the pharmacist to pick up my Vitamin D prescription, I asked him about iron pills. Having read a little, I figured I wanted time-release pills so that I wouldn’t get the full force of an iron pill all at once. He told me that you don’t get as much iron that way. That taking the regular pills were better. These particular pills in the photo were not prescription, but he did have them behind the counter. I think all in all, they’ve been pretty decent. After about a week I started feeling much better. But even taking them with food made me nauseous-ish from time to time and I was tired a lot. That seems to be subsiding.

If you’ve had issues with anemia, I’d love for you to share your story here. I think it’s really important for us to hear and learn of ways of dealing with it. You never know, what might work for one person might work for you too.

2017-04-13T06:47:40+00:00 April 13th, 2017|everyday|4 Comments


  1. Danielle April 13, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    I, also, was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease after being anemic for the last couple of years despite iron supplementation. It definitely can be a cause of anemia. Hope you feel better soon!

  2. Julie April 13, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    While in college, I noticed being a little light-headed when running up stairs but thought nothing of it. When home on break, my step-mother was absolutely insistent that I have blood work done as I was chewing ice constantly and driving her batty. Apparently there is a condition called pica where people chew non-nutritive items, such as ice, when deficient in certain minerals.

    Wow! She was right. The nurse asked if I was blacking out, my count was so low. Who knew? Later when I would chew ice like it was my job, I would start another round of iron tablets and the urge to chew ice would go away. I have to say the big ‘M’ has curbed that habit as well; one of the few upsides to menopause.

  3. Robin April 15, 2017 at 10:04 am

    Also try orange juice when you eat iron rich foods. It helps your body absorb the iron better.

  4. Rocio April 15, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    My Mom is a big juicing fan and yes beet juice is very good for anemic conditions. I was never a fan (totally hate borscht!) and protested a lot but really? Totally not bad. You only need a tiny piece along with all your other fruits and vegetables and even though your whole juice looks red, this no-fan (me) had no complaints. The results in your iron are great! Please give it a try.

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