Define me in some glitter if I crash. I have a little more pizzazz in my step after an iron infusion, so why not quote Akintoye?
While I was waiting on multiple rounds of bloodwork—literally, I feel like a vampire’s pet over here—I sent in a question about iron to Fuel for the Sole. Meghann Featherstone shared some excellent nutrition advice. However, when you find out you have an autoimmune blood disorder, trends that need a little more than nutrition tweaks come into focus.
I read the bloodwork results on a Friday and spent the weekend panic googling, as one does even when they know they shouldn’t. After talking with my doctor early the next week, I have a better understanding of where I am now: B12 lozenges because my body doesn’t absorb it through my bloodstream as it should (hence the iron dropping as well), and a GI doctor visit scheduled for the end of July. This isn’t my first chronic illness rodeo. I have the hardest time before I have action items. Once I know what I need to do, I’m generally ready to adjust.
Like I mentioned, before these results, I had another iron infusion. My hematologist was keeping close watch on my iron for the past year. After a significant drop in less than 2 months and the other symptoms I was experiencing, he decided it was time for another infusion (I had two in April 2020, before my latest excision and hysterectomy). It was a long year, but it makes sense that we couldn’t rush a treatment. I also appreciated that he didn’t throw iron pills at me—they can be hard on your GI system (something we were sensitive about for me), and as it turns out, my body has trouble with absorption anyway.
While I’m waiting for my GI specialist appointment, I’ve been thinking about interactions with doctors old and new. Cramped Style Blog was posting in her stories about this recently. It’s bizarre to be going over your medical history, bloodwork, all things pointing to chronic illness—then hearing a doctor say you’re in perfect health. Bitch, I’m not here because I’m bored. Are you not looking at the list of symptoms that I painstakingly documented for you to better diagnose me?
Like many folks in the chronic illness community, variations of but you don’t looks sick send me into a rage. I would prefer not to have a rolodex of specialists. As I’ve gotten older, I do try to understand the possible why after the first wave of anger, so I can explain to the doctor how dismissive the language is. Is it thin privilege? Doctors often react this way if you have a BMI under 25 (which is trash science btw). They can’t fathom how you could be ill if it’s not because of your weight. Or is it because if you’re an active person, they can’t fathom how you can train for half marathons, attempt to enjoy your life, while in significant chronic pain? My philosophy is that if I’m going to be in pain, I might as well be having some fun. Or as John Steinbeck recounts in Travels with Charley, “If it’s rotting you want, you can do it any place.”
Since you made it to here, I’ll do some flash recaps of races over the past few months:
BRRC PrettyBoy Trail Race (May 15)
So fun!!! It was mostly on fire roads, so the course was pretty speedy until the last mile uphill. I booped my toe pretty significantly before the race, but thought nothing of it. I took my shoes off after the race and saw how swollen and purple and angry it was. A trip to urgent care confirmed it wasn’t broken, but my toe does not look normal 2 months later. Oh well! I had the best time out there, wearing my Adidas Terrex Speed Ultra. I picked them up in January after reading the Believe in the Run review, and I love love love them. They are light-weight, yet I do not feel the rocks under my feet. They are pink and teal, though mine are covered in mud and I’m too lazy to clean them. 10/10 from my wide feet.
DC Frontrunners Pride 5k (June 10)
This was a first run back after a week of being quite ill with (not?) covid to kick off Pride Month. I was running it with some of my favorite library gays and my girlfriend, so the only goal was to have fun. I accidentally rubbed against someone at packet pickup and was immediately covered in glitter for the evening. 10/10 will be back every year, and will try and stay awake for the evening dance party next time.
Arbutus Firecracker 10k (July 4)
This is the first race I’ve enjoyed the effects of the late May iron infusion. Now I know that during the horrific B&A Trail Race that the vibes were bad inside my body. So! After a spring/early summer of consistent trail running, and my body adequately carrying oxygen, I ate those hills for breakfast. I felt so strong on the hot and hilly course, and closed the last .2 downhill with pizazz. I was only 20 seconds off my old has heck 10k PR. I’m not sure if that says I am stronger on challenging courses, or if a big breakthrough is finally coming. I’ll keep running up that hill to find out.
Books I’m thinking about / recently read:
- Black Boy Smile by D. Watkins
- Girlhood by Melissa Febos
- The Octopus Museum by Brenda Shaughnessy
In between runs, go support your local abortion fund. The organizations have been preparing for years. To quote the indominatable Sherrilyn Ifill, “Remember that we have never seen the America we’ve been fighting for. So no need to be nostalgic. Right on the other side of this unraveling is opportunity. If we keep fighting no matter what, take care of ourselves & each other, stay strategic & principled, & use all our power.”
Stay sweaty and glittery. Black Lives Matter.