First, I visit my regular doctor, have six vials of blood taken, and find I am “severely anemic.” (To clarify, that’s before they removed half my blood from my body to be tested. I am sure if I wasn’t anemic before, I would have been after.)
Next, I find myself at an imaging center, drinking nasty liquids. (Tip: when you go for a CT scan, there’s a REASON all the staff keeps pointing out the restrooms to you. It’s not a very pleasant reason. Take notice. Take notes.)
The chugging of nasty liquid was followed by my very first IV, which pumped iodine dye into my veins so my internal organs would show up better for the scan.
Medical staff told me I would feel a “warming sensation.”
Warming sensation my sassafras. My effin’ veins were on FIRE! It was all I could do not to rip out the IV, jump up from the table, and go running out the door – which I might very well have done, had I been wearing clothes. Or even shoes. Heck, if I was wearing shoes and thought I could’ve grabbed my purse and two sections of strategically placed newspaper …
The scan revealed the cause of my anemia – not my vegan diet, but fibroids.
Being me, I found myself reading everything I could about anemia and fibroids, especially from a holistic angle.
Being vegan, I found it interesting that so many doctors – both holistic and conservative – recommend a mostly vegetarian diet, if not downright vegan, diet. Fibroids are triggered by excess estrogen, and reducing intake of meat and especially dairy – or at least only eating organic meat and dairy, with no added hormones – has been proven to relieve many symptoms of fibroids.
Another key tenet of holistic treatment for fibroids involves strengthening and supporting the liver, which is responsible for processing extra estrogen out of the body.
And finally, I find myself in a OB/GYN’s office – a so-called specialist in fibroids.
“Hi!” A small, cute, and super-Southern nurse comes inside the examination room they’ve stowed me away in. She begins typing on a computer. “So … why are you here?”
Uhhhh…my doctor referred me; did he not tell them why? “Well … I have fibroids. And anemia.”
She types a little, using two fingers to peck-and-hunt. “Oh! Here you are! Gollee Moses … your hemoglobin levels ARE low. I’m surprised you’re even able to walk around!”
I slump in my chair, suddenly exhausted.
“Do you eat much re-yed meat?”
I sighed. I don’t tell everyone I’m vegan, even medical staff. I pick and choose my battles. “No, actually I don’t eat much red meat. I really don’t.”
“I don’t eat much re-yed meat either. But you should if you have ah-nee-mee-ah. I’ve got a paay-purr on iron rich foods I can give to you …”
“Thanks, that would be great.”
She brought me the paaypurr. “There’s lotsa things you can eat besides re-yed meat. Like calf liver, beef liver, and pork liver.”
I glance down at the paaypurr, and under “Foods Which Are Excellent Sources of Iron,” I also see … 1/2 Cup Dried Raisins. 1 Cup English Peas. 1 Cup Lima Beans. 1 Cup Mustard Greens. 1 Cup Spinach. 1/4 Cup Prune Juice.
It occurs to me that, out of the choices listed on the paaypurr, she has made the absolute worst recommendations possible for a woman with fibroids.
“Do your doctor have you on iron tablets?”
“Yes, he do,” I can’t help responding, even though it kills me to use bad grammar.
“Oh, wow, that’s a bee-itch. I bet you are con-stee-pay-ted. You need to stock up on Ex-Lax.”
Again, I glance down at the paaypurr and wonder why she doesn’t recommend one of nature’s laxatives – 1/4 Cup Prune Juice (An Excellent Source of Iron!) or Dried Prunes (a Fair Source of Iron). Or perhaps increase my intake of fiber (1/2 Cup Dried Beans and Peas – a Good Source of Iron!) Instead of recommending – well, a bunch of chemicals, which have to be processed by the liver which is also responsible for processing excess estrogen …
“Well! The doctor will be in to see you soon!” And the little nurse flounces out.
I sit there, waiting. Gollee Moses, I have a bad feeling about this …
To be continued …
Hey Charlotte – Hope you’re getting both issues sorted. I’ve had all the same issues – fibroids, anemia etc. Did you know it’s much easier to get the iron from plant sources like pulses and green veg if you accompany them with a good source of vitamin C ? And also avoid caffeine for a while as it encourages mineral loss, including iron through the kidneys. So follow your greens and beans with some sharp fruit and that should help Lx
And now you see my frustrations!!! Let me know if you find a health care alternative that takes insurance! I’ll be there in a heartbeat! You should here the things they told me not to eat for high blood pressure. I just kept saying I’m vegan, I don’t eat that already!!!
I wish I could find some alternative health care providers that accept insurance, too! It seems all the doctors I see are focused just on a pill or surgery, not the treating the cause.
sorry you had to go through this! I hope your iron levels come back to normal soon.
Thanks. Had more blood drawn today to check the levels.
When will they catch up with the rest of us?? So frustrating!! Best to you!!
I’m glad you have an answer, but so sorry you have to go through all this!
Thanks Laura! It has been quite frustrating!
Thanks for sharing your experience. It always amazes me how little so called health professionals know about food! Definitely eat lots of vitamin C rich foods. And if you don’t eat fermented foods already, I really do recommend it. Great for overall health but I have read a lot about them helping with fibroids. Sauerkraut is an easy and cheap option, and if you don’t already make it, I recently posted instructions on my blog. Its so tasty too!
Thanks, April! I’ll definitely check out your sauerkraut recipe!
I’m hoping the round stain on the pay-purr is wine. Good luck! If I ever had fibroids I would do the surgery where they go in through a vein in your thigh and cut off the blood supply. Then support the heck out of my liver. I am sure you have found a lot of information about estrogen. Having endometriosis I have lots of info about excess estrogen. I am here if you need me.