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Hi. :wave: I have been "lurking" for a few days and decided I wanted to actually participate in this group. I have already read a lot of posts that answered many of my questions. The biggest concerns I have right now are not about treatment but about "coping" until I begin to feel better. I am hoping someone who has "been there, done that" will be able to offer me some encouragement or advise. Here is my story....
I teach Kindergarten but started feeling really tired this summer-even though I had just as much enthusiasm as past years I was having trouble getting organized and geared up for a new school year. Right after school began in August we had a Swine flu "outbreak". I had several children in my class that tested positive for H1N1 as well as several others running high fevers and showing symptoms but who continued to come to school. Then my own daughter who is in middle school got sick and tested positive as well. Her doctor suggested the entire family stay home and take Tamiflu as a precaution (this was a few weeks before CDC advised against this). I don't know if it was flu virus, stress, Tamiflu, or just an on-going condition that had finally reached a critical point, but instead of being ready to go back to work once she was cleared I felt so tired and just blah that I thought maybe I was coming down with it and decided to stay home a few extra days...which turned into another week. I felt achy all over like when you run a fever - except I was never actually running a temp. I [I]was[/I] experiencing a lot of shortness of breath, especially after even mild exertion like talking a lot. My bedroom is upstairs and almost every time I got to top of stairs I had to sit down because my heart was beating so rapidly and I felt like I couldn't breathe - a problem I have never had before. I was also having what I was pretty sure was "chest pains". I had already made an appointment to see my regular doctor and when I finally saw him that Friday he sent me straight to the hospital. He was concerned that my appearance and what I described to him indicated heart problems. He had me admitted for a full work up including enzyme tests, EKG, stress test, etc. They hooked me up to monitors and kept me for two days. Fortunately, they did not find anything that indicated I had already had a heart attack, nor any blockages or heart deformities. The monitor showed that when my heart rate went up, my blood pressure dropped.The blood tests showed that I was "profoundly" anemic, very low Hemoglobin and had "almost no" iron. (I did not think to get the actual numbers from them but will get that next time I go to doc). They said I was also hypovolemic - that I don't have enough blood. The attending doctor told me that while many doctors would reccomend a blood transfusion, she felt that should be a last resort and that an IV iron infusion should be our first step. I received that in the hospital and they gave me a script for ferrous sulfate pills 3X a day.
At first I was relieved - sounded like my heart was okay - false alarm everyone! But when I went back to my regular doctor the following Monday he still seemed concerned about how this is affecting my heart. He even suggested that I stay downstairs and not attempt the stairs or anything else that might cause my heart to race but this has not really been possible.
Then on Tuesday my arm became swollen and extremely painful where I had received the iron and I went back to his office. He gave me celebrex for swelling and and antibiotic. That got better in just a few days but my other symptoms seem to have gotten worse if anything.
I hurt all over, my right eyes twitches, I have terrible headaches that seem to alternate with stomachaches. Although I have days when I do feel better,and I get up and do some housework or cook supper, these days are followed by several days of complete exhaustion. The bad days, I can't concentrate, not even enough to watch TV or read. But the worst is that I am so sleepy all day!
My family does not understand why I sleep so much - they think I am getting depressed (maybe I am?). So when they are home in the evenings, they are constantly trying to get me up! up! do something! walk around! I keep trying to explain to them that it is a physical weariness. I am in pain. I literally cannot walk straight sometimes, feel like I am going to pass out. My ears ring--roar actually sometimes.
I haven't been back to work--luckily my school district offers an extended sick leave option -although it means a 33% cut in pay for every day I am out. I have already been out a total of four weeks and don't see myself returning anytime real soon. I am getting more and more anxious about that - the financial aspect of being out so long and, yes I'll admit it, about what my family and my coworkers think about me. I get the impression they think I am "milking it" so I can stay home in my pj's and be lazy. I am not that kind of person! Only my doctor seems to be concerned and his concern actually makes me even more anxious!! How's that for irony. :dizzy:
Sorry for such a long post...I guess what I am hoping to get feedback on is the emotional issues I am experiencing --what to say to friends and family- and employers - who associate anemia with just needing to "eat better". Does anyone else worry about this?

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