A Healing Journey pt. 1
Some things just sneak up on you. Little things that you don’t pay attention to because they don’t really interfere with your day or they come and go. You’re a little more tired than usual. Your legs feel a little weak. Take some minerals, get some sleep, work out a little more. Ignore it, because life takes precedence and there are things to do.
I had this habit of drinking diet soda. When I was a kid I discovered Diet Dr. Pepper. Mom was always putting me on a diet, so it made sense. No sugar, no calories, no fat. We know better now, but in the 70s we all wanted to be thin (I wasn’t). My addiction to diet soda lasted a long time, almost 30 years. You never saw me without a bottle or a glass of it. Two liters a day, easily. I didn’t drink, I didn’t smoke, I didn’t do drugs. Diet soda was a vice I could live with. So I thought.
Five years ago I heard about something called “Aspartame poisoning” What??? Poisoning?? Hair falling out-check. Migraines-check. Irritability-check. Stomach issues-check. I went cold turkey, a week from hell while I detoxed. But, the damage was done.
The fall of 2015 I started feeling tired. All the time. No amount of sleep helped, I was always tired. I’ve always been a physical person, I walked everywhere, but now walking was difficult. Sweeping the floor made my legs shake so much I had to sit down. It crept up on me little by little as I tried to put all the pieces together. Maybe it was a magnesium deficiency? Maybe I needed a little more sleep?
By spring of 2016 it was getting worse. In May I had a slight cold with a sore throat. I was eating cough drops all day to ease the pain. So much eucalyptus I couldn’t taste anything else. A couple days in, I had to walk to the store. Four blocks. I walked across the street and almost collapsed. Sitting down on a stoop, I started to shake. What was wrong with me? A walk that usually took 20 minutes took over an hour. I got home and climbed into bed and curled into a ball, rocking back and forth, a full blown anxiety attack. For me, this was unusual. I didn’t have anxiety attacks. The eucalyptus wore off, but I still couldn’t taste my food. At all. I had no appetite anyway, so it really didn’t matter. When I did eat, I got sick to my stomach.
I went shopping with my mother and could barely walk through the store. I had to sit constantly. My mother remarked how pale I was. She had to carry my bags upstairs because I could barely walk up the steps, let alone carry anything. I told my mom if things didn’t get better I would go to the ER. She said if I waited till Tuesday, she could take me. I agreed. On Tuesday I was incredibly dizzy, almost faint. Walking down the stairs I had to hold on to the walls to keep my balance. I sat on the porch and closed my eyes. My head was pounding. I could almost see my blood cells spiraling through my veins. They were shaped like teardrops. Mom took me to the bank to cash my check and as I stood at the teller window I grabbed at the counter to keep from fainting. My mind was made up. I had mom take me to the ER.
Five minutes of triage at the ER and I was put in a bay. Then began the round of tests. Vial after vial of blood. CAT scan. X-rays. Urine samples. Those were the less embarrassing ones. “We’re admitting you” the nurse told me. “We can’t figure out what is wrong.” Eight hours after I went into the ER, I was in a room. I was too tired to care that I was in the hospital, I just wanted to sleep.
The next morning brought more blood tests. Mom brought me my laptop and fed my cat. Nurses came in and out, more blood tests, words of encouragement, cans of ginger ale. They were a bright spot to my day. Mid afternoon the doctor came in and introduced herself. “You were something of a mystery to me” she said. “I spent all day poring over your tests. Finally, I figured out the problem. Basically, your b12 level is non-existent.”
That was it?? A vitamin deficiency caused all this?
“So, I just need to take some vitamins?”
“Well, no” she said. “It’s much more serious than that.”