For Anemic! - Part 1: News click here.
Leaving the cardiologist, rejoicing because I had a super-healthy heart, I came back to Earth and remembered: I still ran out of breath after walking a short distance. Why?
I was still working this around in my mind when I got a call from the China Teachers Program telling me that they had received my medical reports and that I had a problem I needed to fix before I went:
I was anemic.
I was not only a little anemic, I was seriously, desperately anemic. I had a hemoglobin score of 7.2, while they required at least a 12.
And then it hit me: Anemia would account for my heart symptoms! Heart disease would have meant the arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle were blocked so the heart itself was being starved for oxygen. But we knew this wasn't the case.
Alternatively, the heart was being starved for oxygen because there just wasn't enough iron in the blood to carry the oxygen from the lungs to the heart. That would be anemia, in fact was anemia, and suddenly it all made sense.
Aha! I was anemic. Anemia accounted for shortness of breath, strained heart, feeling tired after walking a short distance...
Just having this answer gave me a great deal of relief. Until the program's medical department told me I couldn't go on the program like that.
I retorted that I would just get my blood back to normal.
They said it couldn't be done.
I said I had done it in the past (which, looking back on it, I had).
They said we had time deadlines we had to meet because training for the program was not far distant, and I didn't have time to get my blood built up.
I said I could do it in a few weeks.
Basically at that point, they said, well, go for it - but beware that if you don't make it in time, you won't be able to go.
(I really wanted to go, but it also would have kept John home if I couldn't get rid of the anemia. A lot was at stake.)
I knew I could do it. I had done it before. I turned to Vita-Lea with Iron, a Shaklee product that had kept my anemia at bay when I was pregnant years before.
Doctors know everything about trying to squeeze iron into the blood. The body does not absorb it well, so it takes massive amounts over a long period, and it's harsh on the intestines.
But the Vita-Lea with Iron had acted entirely differently for me previously. The amount of iron according to the bottle was much less, and I got a quick response from it even so, and without irritation.
So I ordered a bottle and started taking double the daily amount.
The day to have my blood tested came just three weeks later. When I talked to the medical people from the program just prior to the testing, they said, well, if it's starting to go up, we'll consider taking you.
Then they added: You CANNOT expect it to make dramatic improvements in this amount of time. Can't be done.
So I got the test, and got the results, and found that - taDA! My hemoglobin was 12.4! I wasn't anemic anymore! It CAN be done. it just takes the right stuff.
The docs at the program were incredulous.
So we got to go on the program. Here's us walking at the Great Wall, about an hour away from where we taught in Beijing. [photo to be added later]
Walking wasn't hard any more. I want farther and faster, and in China we walked everywhere. But that's another story.