Writing and anemia

digitalbrain.png I just read this article Anemia May Affect The Brain. No shit, Sherlock. Of course, if the red blood cells are low due to iron deficiency, medications, or other problems then of course the brain won’t work properly. The brain gets needed oxygen and fat from the blood.

The reason I am researching anemia is because the doctor finally named the reason I am feeling brain fog and fatigue. My hemoglobin seems to be in the low normal range, but my iron levels are deficient. She keeps asking me if I am bleeding internally. It can be extremely embarrassing to talk about the color of urine and fecal matter. It doesn’t point to internal bleeding. It does point to malabsorption.

Another article Linking Thyroid Problems, Anemia, Fatigue, and Loss of Cognitive Ability has convinced me that I need to get checked for iodine and selenium deficiencies as well.

I did feel better for about a week after I started to heal from the thyroid surgery. Then the boom lowered and I was back to fatigue. I know I am meandering a little. So my excuse for not writing this last week is because I am fatigued. The reason I am fatigued is because of anemia. The reason I have problems with thinking is once again caused by anemia.

I started iron pills this week. I’m hoping to see a difference in my cognitive abilities soon.


Grace under pressure

Since I was given my diagnosis of thyroid cancer (papillary thyroid carcinoma) on Tuesday, the stress has been building because I haven’t received any phone calls from the surgeon so that I can get an appointment. It blows my mind that the word “cancer” means something to me, but not to the doctors that should be treating me. Plus with the thyroid out-of-whack, the stress builds quicker and more forcefully.

I was thinking of how I should deal with the doctors when I remembered the few months we dealt with Otto’s diagnosis of cancer. At least in my case, we know where my cancer is located. I became more and more angry and he became more and more polite and kind to the nurses and doctors around him.

It was a scary time. I am now feeling some of the same pressures even though I have been assured by a couple of people including my primary care doctor that this is one of the most survivable cancers. It is also the easiest to treat. Except even with all this going for me, if I am not treated early, I end up like the five percent who don’t survive. What makes me anxious and ultimately angry is that I am seeing no forward momentum in eradicating this problem.

When I go to sleep at night, I feel this huge lump in my throat and I am now sleeping in a reclining position because I can’t swallow well while I am sleeping. Now that I know what is in that lump, I feel it every day. I felt it before, but I thought I could trust the doctors. If I hadn’t pitched a fit about not feeling good– and that I needed to be checked (I went to the ER, I had labs and fecal tests, and I had a sonogram). I would still have this thing in my neck, ready to spew cancer cells to other parts of my body.

It doesn’t help that my thyroid is releasing hormones erratically. It doesn’t help that I feel this lump whenever I swallow. It doesn’t help that I want to scream at someone–

So how did my late-husband stay kind under that kind of pressure. Part of it was that he really cared about my emotional state. He would diminish his pain a little so that I wouldn’t worry as much. Plus he was kind. He really was kind underneath.

I learned a lot of my coping skills from him. He used to tell me that I needed to hold a good memory close so that I could remember it when I was unhappy. Plus I needed to visualize it as clearly as I could. When he was close to dying and needed help to remember his good memory–I recreated the beach for him. I told him about the water washing up onto the sand. About the colorful fishes swimming around his feet. I described the women in bikinis walking hand in hand and splashing water.

I want to borrow his “grace.”

So I haven’t had the energy

intheshadownewI see a rheumatologist every six months for my disease– Wegener’s Granulomatosis. I was first diagnosed with the disease in 2003 after a real fight, where I ended in the hospital for almost five weeks. The next year, while I was on IV Cytoxan and high dosages of prednisone was even worse. Some of my experiences are in this book that I wrote several years ago for other WG patients.

The good news is that C-ANCA is not showing up in my blood, meaning that the disease is quiet. As my rheumatologist said, “It is a very sneaky disease.” One of the things this disease did was damage both of my kidneys.

Recently, I started to have headaches and low energy. It was a gradual slide after the flu I had in February. Yesterday, I saw my nephrologist, who watches my kidney function. The creatinine levels spiked. I know that most of you do not know what that means. The kidneys have two functions: make water (or urine) and clean the blood. The high creatinine levels in my blood show that the kidneys are not filtering my blood well. But, you can survive on one kidney. I am surviving on less than that. When the creatinine levels spike, it can mean that my kidneys are going towards an inevitable decline.

So my inability to concentrate on my writing and the need to cuddle my dog, probably has been caused by the spike in creatinine levels.

The good news is that my levels did slide down in the last two weeks. The bad news is that I am taking more medication than ever as well as I have to be more conscious of my health.

So apologies again. I am one-third through the second draft of Dragon Boy. I hate excuses, but please forgive me.

Flu and changing goals

So my hubby came home with the flu on Monday evening. About half the people at his work were vomiting and also had to go home. If you know that I have a chronic illness, then you know where this is going. Yes, I have it, too.

Last night I would wake up every two to three hours and cough my lungs up. I would wipe the goo from my mouth, tried not to vomit, and fall asleep. Also I have been having some foot problems as well. It feels like someone is repeatedly stabbing the ball of my right foot with a huge knife. Yes, I have to get all my problems at once– I just wouldn’t be me if my problems weren’t spread out throughout the year.

And so it goes.

I do know that I do get these severe problems with illness. If those around me get sick, I am pretty much going to get sick too. That’s what happens when you have a lowered immune system.

So my goals were set in routines and subroutines. When I get my foot and lungs (sounds like a serious disease –foot and mouth) then I start my daily routine and writing routine again. So at this time I am not exercising and I am not writing fiction. Because fiction uses the same part of the brain that gets stomped on when I take cold medicine.

Hopefully I’ll be back in fighting shape again on Monday. Have a great weekend folks.