When I first saw the new doctor, I explained to him that I had not been feeling up to par for some time. I believe my words were something along the lines of, "I feel like crap but I have no idea why."
And oh, how true that was. For seemingly no apparent reason, I had become a slow, sad, frustrated version of my former self. I was exhausted. All. The. Time. It felt like no amount of sleep could compensate. I was moody, my memory was shot, and I couldn't concentrate on anything for any length of time.
I knew that something was wrong, but I had no idea what. My symptoms seemed too general somehow. After all, everyone is tired these days, right? All I did know was that after changing my diet to be primarily vegetarian, I had expected to feel clear-headed and energetic, but instead I was foggy and lethargic.
But then the tests came back. And low and behold, the culprit was found. My doctor's suspicions had proved right - I had a severe vitamin B12 deficiency. And suddenly, everything started to make sense. Because, you see, when your body is deprived of B12, it can't form enough red blood cells and your major organs don't get the oxygen they need to function properly. Sooooo... yeah. I'd say that's a pretty good reason for feeling tired and out of sorts.
I have a condition known as pernicious anemia. My body can't absorb enough vitamin B12 from food, because it lacks a protein called intrinsic factor, which is made in the stomach. The term “pernicious” means “deadly,” and the condition is called pernicious anemia because before B12 treatments were available it was life threatening. Without treatment, it can lead to serious, permanent problems with the heart, brain and nervous system.
Luckily the treatment is easy and inexpensive. I went for monthly B12 shots for about eight months (your body can only absorb so much B12 at one time, so more frequent injections are pointless), and now I'm able to keep my levels stable with supplements alone. (And since you can only get B12 from meat, I'm back to being a carnivore to help increase my odds.)
It's quite amazing, really. I have a condition that would have been fatal had I not lived in this day and age, and yet it can be easily controlled by popping one vitamin pill each day. Let's just say I'm thankful I was born when I was.
And you too, my friend. If you've been feeling less than stellar lately and my story sounds familiar, get thee to a doctor toot sweet. B12 may just have sunk your battleship, too.