I don’t normally write to you on the weekend, but I’m here with good reason.
A couple of months ago I realized I had been feeling a bit tired for quite some time. It wasn’t unjustified as I’d been to and from Toronto twice in 2 weeks for corporate wellness events, but being a typical energetic person, I thought it was a bit odd because it wasn’t really going away. I decided to go for a quick checkup at the doctor’s. Plus, I hadn’t been to the doctor in ages and felt it was time to get my usually physical and regular blood tests done. Being Celiac, I test my vitamin and nutrient levels a bit more regularly to make sure I’m absorbing nutrients.
This was the first time I was going to this new doctor since I moved to Vancouver, and I was prepared for a full on battle just to get him or her to do the regular blood tests. They can be very reluctant to test anything unless you have severe symptoms. After an easier battle than I was expecting, the doctor agreed to test a few things, including my ferritin (iron), B12, and a few other things.
This happened back in June. It is now August; actually, almost September. I didn’t hear from my doctor but decided to get a follow up appointment to at least get a copy of my results.
Side Note: Did you know you have the right to request your blood-work from your doc at any point? I’ll explain why you might want that in a bit.
At the appointment, I reminded the doctor we had done some blood-work, so he brought it up on to the screen and looked at it and told me everything was normal. I had expected it to be, so wasn’t surprised. Plus, I had been told that before (when I had Celiac AND a parasite) so I wanted to look for myself.
I got home and was pretty shocked to see my ferritin levels at 16. Now, for context, I will tell you that the range is considered 15-180. So technically, I was “in” the normal range; however, 16 is NOT normal, and is actually incredibly low. Why did the doctor not say anything?
Well, for starters, there’s a good chance he simply missed it and it was a genuine mistake. These things happen. Or, there’s a chance (and I think this is more likely) that because it wasn’t technically “out” of the normal range, it was not worth mentioning.
Luckily, I’m a nutritionist so able to interpret the results. But what happens to almost everyone else who takes their doctor’s word and goes on their merry way, assuming their fatigue is just normal or something they have to deal with?
You know your body best. If you feel like something is off, ask more questions and seek more answers. It took me 2.5 years to figure out what was wrong when I had a parasite, and it was only when I sought alternative help that I finally got answers.
And finally, what am I going to do about low iron? Well, I’m going to supplement with it in the short term, but also increase my red meat intake. I just picked up 6 grass-fed beef burgers from a lovely butcher in Kits. It’s important that if you are going to eat red meat you choose the grass fed kind, but you can read all about that here.