For the last few years I've only been writing after major races. Those posts are easy to write: I came, I experienced, I conquered. I am the IronMatron. Hear me roar!
Lately there hasn't been a lot of roaring. Lots of resting. Not so much roaring.
You know how when you think about things like placing in your age group or qualifying for Boston or for Kona or whatever... you think... Man, I am going to just kick ass when I get to the ______ age group. Those times are so slow! I just have to outlast everyone!
But then you get to said age group and you think... Well, hello younger age groups! You think you're so awesome right now? Try to compete with Uterine Alzheimer's (or whatever aging ailment you have started to encounter)! That's right! You try that, you stinking young people!
You might wonder: Uterine Alzheimer's? Never heard of it! That would be because I coined that term. It should be a true medical term, though. Those people who are on that downhill skid into menopause, or those who have already arrived there, will know what I'm talking about. What happened, at least in my case, is that my uterus has begun to suffer from dementia. Or maybe it's my hormones? or both. For the last few months my uterus has woken each day and said, Humph! No baby! Let's shed this lining! and the next day... Humph! No baby! Let's shed this lining. and the next day... Humph! No baby! Let's shed this lining. Like Groundhog Day. My uterus just can't move beyond the no baby thing. I talk to it: Right! There's no baby! and now.... you start the cycle all over again! Remember? Remember little uterus? But no matter how much I try to reason with it, it still just says, Humph! No baby... Let's shed this lining! every.single.day. It befuddles me that there is anymore lining to shed... but apparently, there is a limitless amount. So, in short, I've been bleeding a lot. For many moons. For many, many, many moons. My uterus can't remember how it's supposed to respond after the realization that there is no baby. It's stuck.
This is not uncommon I'm told. My body made three babies and now my uterus is tired and ready for retirement. Unfortunately, it's not going gently into this good night. It's lost its uterine mind.
For you men reading this, you lucky f-ckers.
Excuse my language. I'm sure you have other ailments that befuddle you as you age--like hair loss. or or low T, or a big Joe. Maybe those problems are worse than Uterine Alzheimer's. I don't know.
I went to the doctor about a month ago because I just wasn't feeling myself. I was tired. I couldn't run longer than a few miles without stopping to walk. I thought it might be Lyme Disease, or a thyroid problem. I didn't connect the dots. My blood work came back and drum rolllllll, it was that I was iron deficient. Not just a little bit deficient. Like a lot deficient. I've actually always had Ferritin numbers around 9 or 10--so very low. But low iron itself isn't a true problem until it starts to affect your RBC count. In my case, the low iron become super super low, and my RBC count dropped into the anemic range.
My PC doctor told me to start taking iron tablets.
But, I told her, you told me that like 500 years ago! I already take three a day. THREE.
So she sent me to a hematologist. And to my gynecologist. And now I'm on the road to be all fixed up! Hopefully. (Except I'm still on that road to the BIG M, of course.)
On Monday and Friday next week I'm getting iron infusions. This isn't the same as blood transfusions. I'm receiving no blood. I asked if I could maybe get a transfusion--maybe get some really good, RBC rich blood with a little EPO in it? That would be sweet! But they said no. Jerks. My blood has to make its very own red blood cells, and it will do that, supposedly, if fed Ferumoxytol intravenously.
My next post, I hope, will be on how I am now Super Iron Matron with Super Iron-Filled Blood. I'll keep you posted.
If you have experienced any of this, I'd love to hear from you. It's been an interesting experience. I've learned that one can swim and bike using not so much O2, but that running is very, very hard when you are anemic. It's like running at altitude--or trying to run through a huge bonk.
I'm so privileged. I'm able to be concerned with whether or not I have enough iron in my blood to train for big endurance events that mean nothing and make no difference in this frightening, unstable, confusing time in our country.
I don't want to talk politics. So that's all I will say about that. I'm so blessed in my privilege.
Big Hugs to all of you out there. I just made a group on Strava for those training for the IMWC, so if you are doing so, will you join it? If you are on Strava, but not training for the IMWC, will you join it anyway? :)