My story starts last Monday but since today is the New Year, I’ll hold to tradition.
Actually, I guess it starts before Monday when I called my doctor’s office and asked for a repeat of last year’s lab work. They were swamped with patients trying to get in before the year was over. Instead of looking up what I’d had done before, an order was faxed for standard tests. I called back and said I’d be faxing what was done last year so it could be ordered again. When they faxed it back, they faxed the very same sheet I’d sent them. After a few more phone calls, I got my order. I was set but I wasn’t fasting. I decided I would take care of getting it drawn on Monday.
Sunday, I fasted from early afternoon on. Monday morning, I weighed in at 113.4, my lowest for since last winter. I always lose in cold weather. I don’t have the quantities of fruit that I have in the summer months.
Monday morning, I got up and fixed my grapefruit juice and green smoothie to take to work for after my blood was drawn.
I couldn’t get to it right away because there were issues that had to be addressed as soon as I walked in the door. It was after 8:30 before I was able to get registered and back to the lab. The tech that drew my blood is a real life professional. She filled three vials and I didn’t feel a thing. There was the barest bruise but I don’t think that was her fault.
Here’s what caused the bruise, in my opinion. I was the bank/post office person and there were three big trays of mail. I don’t know if it hadn’t been picked up since before Christmas or what but there was quite a load. I wasn’t supposed to be lifting with my left arm but I had to. Later, I found that one of the trays belonged to the phone company.
It took forever to get the mail put up and my stomach was letting me know it needed food. Finally, after I got through, I was able to drink my grapefruit juice. By the time I drank my smoothie, it was almost noon. At one point, I felt lightheaded but I blamed that on so much blood being drawn and re-hydration being delayed.
Tuesday came and went and I didn’t get copies of my results. Then, on Wednesday, late morning, my doctor’s office nurse called and said the doctor wanted to talk to me about my lab work. I felt like I’d been socked in the stomach. He wouldn’t have said anything unless something was seriously wrong. I told her I couldn’t come over right then because I was the only one in the office. She said I could come on Friday. No, no, no! I couldn’t be wondering that long! Could they work me in? Well, come at 2:30.
If you want the pages larger, click on them and they will open in another window.
As I scanned the levels (surprised at my cholesterol), I could see my body was out of whack compared to last year. By the time I got to Page 3, there was a definite clue why. My B-12 has almost bottomed out. I started googling the different tests and I was amazed to find that several abnormal levels are interrelated with low B-12.
After I got to the office, I had to wait for half an hour or more before I got in. I hadn’t had much to eat and I wasn’t feeling well. The stress of being there in the first place wasn’t helping.
I kept everything on I’d worn over there—shoes, heavy sweater. I had on long johns underneath and I knew my clothes would add pounds. I didn’t want to be fussed at for my low weight, too. It came in at 120 lubs.
My blood pressure was up. At 120/80, it was the highest reading I’ve had since I’ve been eating raw. I chalked that up to stress, too.
When the doctor came in, he got right to the point. My B-12 level was unacceptable. It could cause multiple problems, not the least being nerve damage. He wanted me to start B-12 injections immediately. I told him I prefer to take the lozenges. That was fine with him. He was ready to call in a prescription to the local pharmacy but I told him I was getting my own. He admonished me to take care of the situation and authorized an order for me to get my level checked again in six weeks. I went back to the office and put it on my calendar. Guess I should put it on my Google calendar, too.
He questioned me about how I was feeling and I told him fine. Was I tired? No. Did I have any tingling or numbness? No. He said, “You’re weirder than I am.” With that, he left.
Later on, I wondered just how honest I’d been with my doctor. As soon as I knew I had a deficiency, my lips had started to feel funny. Was it psychological or an actual symptom? I’ve been having some pain not unlike stress headaches. Not much pain at all but an awareness. My eyes have been being irritated a lot, as well.
What causes low B-12 levels? It is widely known that vegans can suffer from the condition because of not eating animal products. Some take care of that by ingesting their own fecal material (I know—YUCK!). Talk about recycling! Others grow their own food and eat it from the garden, unwashed. I could handle that last one but not the one before that. I don’t grow my own in the winter months, for sure, and not all I’d like to in the summer. As soon as the Veggie Wash, vinegar, or whatever people clean their fruit and veggies with hits them, the B-12 goes down the drain. It’s a sad fact of life. The B-12 lives on the surfaces and nowhere else.
That’s why, when I came home, I got my bottle of expired B-12 and took a dose. I’ve done it again tonight. I have some fresh on the way and will start taking it when it gets here but I didn’t want to sit and do nothing. When I woke this morning, I felt better than I had for a long time. Was that all in my head? I guess I’ve been kidding myself that I was okay.
I have one New Year’s resolution. I will take my B-12 faithfully and not ever get into this pickle again.