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I have been following this board for several months, for info and support and wanted to share my recent experience. And thanks to all who contribute their experiences too!

I am 42, I have always had heavy, long periods and I stopped eating red meat when I was 16, but mostly through my 20's-mid 30's I felt pretty healthy. I moved to Brazil in 2004 and got pregnant with my son in 2005. Right from the start of my pregnancy I was anemic, but just below normal, but by the 8th month I got so low that my Dr. ordered the iron shots, I had 10 of them over 30 days and YES, it did bring up my iron, but it also left me with an apricot-sized hematoma on my bum which took 6 years to fade! I felt pretty fine after that, until last September (7 years later)...I started feeling weak, dizzy, confused, had a weird taste all of the time. I travelled for a month in October and got really sick, couldn't do anything, lost 10 pounds, no appetite, no color, I really LOOKED sick, I spent whatever energy I had just taking care of my son, but travelling was SUCH a nightmare and just longed to return home to get to the Dr., I was really worried. In November my Dr. ordered a whole series of tests for me as I really felt like something was terribly wrong, because it was the worst I have ever felt in my life. I had a full abdominal ultrasound, echocardiogram, x-rays, vaginal ultrasound, mamograms, urine work and a lot of bloodwork. My bloodwork in December showed that my hemoglobin was at 10.2, my ferratin was 5, my iron was 20, urea was low, so was uric acid, but pretty much everything else tested was normal. I asked my Dr. to give me the shots, but he wouldn't, he referred me to a hematologist. I couldn't get an appoitment until Jan 4th, 2013 (4 months of feeling horrible and being a hermit). Thankfully the hematologist was a very nice man (and spoke English) and he told me that while I could do the shots again, or even an infusion, but he really felt that my body could absorb the iron orally, that I really should give it a go, the less radical road. I told him in the past it didn't work and made me sick to my stomach, but he left it up to me, and said that he would encourage supplements first. So on January 4th I started with 3 per day doses of 300mgs (60 elemental) of Glicinato Ferrico (Iron Glusonate) that with my multivitamin equals 918mgs per day. I took one at night with orange juice right before sleeping, one at 4-5am with orange juice and back to bed, and then the other sometime during the day when I had not eaten within 2 hours each side. I followed this seriously for exactly two months, never took the iron with food, only oj. I had my bloodwork done on March 4th, my iron is up to 80 (from 20) and my ferratin is up to 22.2 (from 5). During these two months I started having a period that would not stop, had to go to the gyno and got on BC pills for the time being. I bled 28 days of 60, but even so, taking this iron, my levels still went up a lot. I go back to the hematologist on March 19th, I imagine he will keep me on iron until menopause but I think the dosing will be less soon, I hope so at least! Here in Brazil Dr.'s give you the paperwork to get the bloodwork done at a clinic so YOU the patient get your results before you go back to your Dr. It is nice because at least I really know what is going on with me and what exactly my Dr.'s have ordered for me. The clinic I have been going to for blood and urine, etc has a computer record which I have access to, of all of my tests and numbers since 2005. It is really impressive and very detailed.

Two months later and I do feel so much better (started feeling better about 5 weeks into it) My heart is calmer, I am sleeping better and I have energy to get out of the house finally and have the courage to push myself to do stuff (like be social), I was afraid to push myself too much as I truly did pass out cold in December. If my period would just calm down I will be perfect soon! I can't wait to get back to exercise, it has been 6 months since I have been on my bike. Hang in there everyone, and good luck! I really thought something was terribly wrong with me, but it was IRON DEFICIENCY ANEMIA...only. It truly IS something and I never want to revisit it ever.

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