I received a scary phone call from my doctor’s office. I was to come in right away, as there were concerns about my blood tests.
I was diagnosed with severe anemia and put on an iron supplement. That was in August.
In October I had an iron infusion. Every cell in my body reacted! I felt amazing! I was so thankful for that iron infusion. I had no idea how depleted my body was. I felt so full of energy and vitality!
We treated the symptoms but we hadn’t found the source of the problem yet.
What was the cause of my anemia?
My Hematologist referred me to a Gastroenterologist for an upper and lower GI test.
It was alarming when he said that we needed to discover if there was any internal bleeding.
That sounded bad.
I let my imagination go but with God’s power I reined it in. I would not think the worst-case scenario. It would do no good. It would only rob me of today’s joy.
The upper and lower GI test happened later in October. The test itself is not a big deal. You lay down and they put you in a twilight sleep. The scopes are done. You waken when it’s all over. The preparation the day before is not a whole lot of fun. If you’ve had test you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, well someday you will understand.
There was good news and bad news!
The doctor found no evidence of internal bleeding!
The bad news is that I was diagnosed with autoimmune atrophic gastritis. That didn’t sound very good.
I knew atrophic sounded a lot like atrophy, which means it’s weakened, or wasting away. Nope, not good at all!
You know me well enough by now to know that I did some research right away to discover what that diagnosis meant.
Here’s the technical description.
“Autoimmune atrophic gastritis is a chronic inflammatory disease in which the immune system mistakenly destroys a special type of cell, the parietal cells in the stomach. Parietal cells make stomach acid and a substance our body needs to help absorb vitamin B12 called intrinsic factor. The progressive loss of parietal cells may lead to iron deficiency and vitamin B12 deficiency.” Rare diseases info.
Simply put my stomach lining does not produce enough acid now to change the chemical structure of iron so that it can be absorbed.
That’s the cause of my anemia.
It also means my stomach doesn’t work right. Low acid production means it’s harder for it to break down my food and absorb nutrients.
The research I’ve done so far doesn’t show much for treating this condition. But even in it’s compromised condition I know there are some things I can do or not do to help my stomach process my food and get the nutrients I need.
I asked for a referral to a dietician. I will see what recommendations she will give me.
As I learn about the digestion process I am amazed at the complexity. Our Great God wonderfully created our bodies.
The Gastroenterologist told me to chew my food really well. That means 20 to 30 chews per mouthful.
Our salvia doesn’t just moisten our food making it easier to swallow. It also contains chemicals called enzymes that help break down our food.
But the food needs to be in our mouths for more than a few seconds before we swallow. It’s the important first step in the digestion process.
Slow down, chew really well and enjoy the taste of every bite.
That’s good advice for everyone!
I think I will make that –
Today’s little step: Slow down, chew really well and enjoy the taste of every bite!
This last 6 months has been an interesting health journey for me.
I have appreciated your prayers and good wishes. Thanks for walking with me on this path of health and well-being. We are in this walk together!
P.S. If you have anemia I encourage you to have a full assessment from your doctor. Advocate for yourself. Ask for a referral to a specialist. You need to find the cause of your anemia too.