Thursday, April 12, 2018

'Operation Low Ferritin' Game Plan/ Whole30 Reset/ Kelp and BC1/ Life Enhanced by Self Growth and Lists/ I can not be Wonder Woman.

*Dedicated to Atlanta Rae :)* Also these are my experiences and not to be used for medical advice but as stories and encouragement. It is important for you to make medical decisions based on what you can manage. Your life, Your body.*

My cousin has a Ferritin of 12. Mine is at a 4. She recently visited and we spent most of our time together laying on couches watching movies, reading or chatting...and then needing to lie down and recover from such 'strenuous' activity. If you have had Mono, then you can imagine what a Ferritin below 20 feels like. Except it's more constant and without the fevers, but it feels similar. When I had both Mono and Low Ferritin I was surprised I was alive, every day upon waking. When I went to bed, I could only congratulate myself on getting through the day.

Because I have struggled so many years with low Ferritin, I know what I will and will not do as far as getting my levels up. I have tried almost every form of iron out there. I have changed diets. I have seen my Naturopath. I have done the Iron needles (BIG MISTAKE), I have been offered the Iron Infusions and Blood transfusions. I said no, after extensive research. I still do not regret saying no. The last time I was semi successful in raising my levels, I was taking organic well sourced Kelp, BC1 absorption salts, and had recently done the Whole 30.

It's time for another overhaul. I will link back in a few months with the results (most likely closer to mid summer after blood work.) But here is the tentative game plan.

'Operation Low Ferritin' Game Plan:

1.) The Whole30 Reset. Our family did the Whole 30 a few years back. The first week was tough but we LOVED the remaining month of eating clean. After the first bit of feeling terrible, we gained energy, lost a bit of weight, cleared up varied issues, and became more aware of food. The results lasted a good year. Months after we slowly re incorporated foods but still felt pretty good and kept losing weight. We did end up gaining weight a couple years later, but some of that was 'grief weight' and medications combined with hormone/chronic conditions.

We will be starting the whole 30 in a few weeks, after we use up the yogourt and cream in our fridge for our coffee. We budget for groceries and do once a month shops, thus we can not afford a reset until we use up our perishables. Health is priority, but so are finances. We feel that this way we have honoured both. I looked into ordering organic veggies and fruits near us. Since we will be eating loads of produce our dairy/other grocery budget will go to this instead. (We actually only have butter, yogourt and cream for dairy, but for a family of five with a couple teens, this adds up to a couple hundred per month. Especially since we ate Greek Yogourt every day for breakfast and used it in smoothies.) The focus will be on iron rich veggies and meat with a bit of fruit. As a family, we feel this reset, discipline and the deeper issues of food with the Whole30 diet, together is immensely bonding and beneficial.

2.) Kelp pills and BC1. I am hoping that the Whole30 will help reset my gut bacteria. It did in the past. This may help me absorb better. I will admit, this is never a permanent fix for me. I still have other issues. But it helps. With the Kelp and BC1 from my naturopath, it should be easier to absorb the iron in my food. (This is also done with daily Vitamin D and C because I am low on both.)

3.) Iron tablet 2x a week. My Haematologist was horrified that this is all I'm planning to take, but I can't do more without suffering. My Naturopath took one look at the expensive brand of 150mg I was taking and exclaimed, "No wonder you felt poisoned." It was full of chemicals and dyes. I have since switched to another brand. It still affects me but I hope with the other 2 points of lifestyle change above, it will go further than expected.

4.) Treadmill for 20 minutes instead of 40. I will continue with Physiotherapy for muscle injury due to low oxygen. My physiotherapist monitors my exercise level. I am not allowed to be aggressive nor work on muscle strengthening yet other than the 20 minutes of walking a day. I also have to go easy on the walks. No cardio. Aggressive cardio at this point could equal muscle injury or heart attack or stroke. (All this information is covered in other posts of mine.)

5.) Sleep and rest as much as possible until the levels go up. I struggle with this point. I actually look pretty normal in my functioning to most people. I can go weeks without talking about exhaustion or low ferritin, until my kids and hubby even forget about the fact that it affects me. Since I have had it for so many years it is "my normal." I don't really want to be that person who says every day "I'm tired." Some days I do, but I bite my tongue a lot. Because otherwise I would be saying it all the time. I am bone weary done. I need to lay down after any activity. I go to appointments and crash at home. I am breathless after climbing my stairs or after shopping trips. But I mask some of this. Not because it's the right thing to do necessarily, but because it's been ten years. I can't make it always about me. But if you are new to low ferritin, TALK ABOUT IT. It's important that your support team know how serious it is. Your family needs to know how low functioning you will be. Back up your information with links and research. Understanding is the key to healing.

6.) Perspective and Grace. Daily I have to remind myself that I need to cut my ability to do stuff in half from what is expected. At the very least. When certain people give me advice I know I can not fulfill, I smile, say thank you and I find another way that I can manage. The body is low on oxygen. It's conserving energy. It's storing fat because the Mitochondria is not functioning properly. Try to reset gut bacteria. It may give you a boost. But don't be too depressed if it does not fully fix your issues. The results of gut bacteria are impressive, but life comes in dips and perks. Remember to balance quality of life with needed results.

Low Ferritin is associated with IBS, Fibromyalgia, Autoimmune Diseases like Lyme, and other conditions. You can not fully help what you have. It is NOT your fault. Despite what doctors may tell you about your diet or your decisions. Do these play a part? Absolutely. But health is a journey. I have tried it all. Yes, gut bacteria is a LARGE part of living healthily, but life still happens. Enjoyability of life is also a factor. It is important to try new disciplines and health res sets. The Whole30 is NOT a diet. It is a RESET. It's akin to a Elimination diet and each list of "okay foods" for your body will and SHOULD differ from another person's results.

Here are some more of my posts on Low Ferritin:
About the 120 Day Cycle of Blood and the Pros and Cons of Iron Pills

Catch 22 In Iron Health

How it feels when a Ferritin of 9 Drops down to 7.

The Happy Difference from a Ferritin of 2 that Ups to a 9

Anemia and Depression. How it feels.

A Brief Explanation of Low Ferritin

You did NOT cause your Condition

Low Ferritin and the MTHFR gene and Exercise

Life Enhancement and Choices:
I love having goals. I can't wait to get started on the Whole30 after I use up what we have. It has also helped me to make goals in finances, schooling, lifestyle ect. With low energy, it is important for me to pace myself but also be clear on what I want my life to look like and where I wish to use the limited energy I have. Recently, I created a calendar of such goals and it has taken a huge weight off my shoulders. I have lists for chores, small renos/maintenance, meal planning and goals, personal growth, kid's growth/ unschooling goals, exercise/movement, beauty goals, emotional growth, future finances, future job goals for the husband, and future time disciplines. Most of these list are focused on baby steps with SLOW growth and low expectations that are built upon as time goes by. Except for food...the Whole30 demands a full overhaul and starts big, but we should all have one aspect of life that requires more from us, right?

Life is enhanced with Self understanding, Self compassion, Self respect and Self discipline. We make better choices by knowing when we can stretch ourselves and when to go easier. The higher the awareness, the easier the choices. The enjoyment of my one beautiful life means discipline for health but also easy going acceptance. It is always a balance of both sides of the coin. Quality of life matters. But preventative measures against disease by food and movement also matter. Each person will have to find a way to manage stress and incorporate inspiration. In the end, I have to constantly remind myself that I am NOT Wonder Woman. As much as would LOVE to be her or I'd settle for Gal Gadot, I need to look realistically at whom I am and what I am capable of.

"... I can show you strong, I can fight for you, I can try to move mountains if you want me to. But baby, I ain't Wonder Woman, I don't know how to lasso the love out of you. Don't you know, I'm only human? And if I let you down, I don't mean to. All I need's a place to land. I don't need a Superman to win my lovin' cuz baby I ain't Wonder Woman..."- Kacey Musgraves.

Bet all that gold gets heavy weighin' on her
I wonder if it's scary, always tryin' not to get hurt

Tonight, Tonight- Smashing Pumpkins

Post Edit: Several months later my ferritin fell. As of February 2019 after this post my dietary lifestyle is now more restricted due to the Whole30. While I like the concepts and initially lost weight and gained ferritin it did NOT fully serve me well in the end. Although for awhile it did and the other implemented changes still matter.  Now both my daughter and I suffer gas issues that we have never had before and only started after the Whole30 and we are trying everything to fix this...months later and it's still bad. If I could go back I would not go on the Whole 30. I would just add meal preps, herbs and spices more into our diet and take an approach of Brittany Nickerson in THIS book instead. My Ferritin journey is up and down. I am functioning as much as I do because of my lifestyle choices- they DO matter but it's never linear. 


Anonymous said...

No alchohol? Aaaaaahhh!
No cream?
I would die.

Kmarie A. said...

Lol the first week is tough...but honestly, in the second week it will not be a problem and you will feel great if you honour the rules...I personally cant wait to start..

Amy said...

I really loved doing the Whole30, K! Love that you are going to do it again as well. This last round affected my stomach in a negative way, so I think I am going to do it again with a Low FODMAP twist to see if that helps my stomach. I REALLY struggled with bloating and gas my first Whole30 - so we shall see how it goes this second time around. I am looking forward to hearing/reading about your Whole30 journey.

Love how you shared about your life choices with raising your Ferritin... woow, gf! I know you have had this for quite some time, and my fingers and toes are crossed for you that you find that right rhythm for you that brings you to the levels you need to be at to function in your busy and full life.

BIG hug,

Kmarie A. said...

Yea I am glad...but I am worried about stomach too as many veggies also do that to me. We are going into it with the FODMAP in mind as well for minimizing. And if it gets too painful we will change it to work for us...but that is only if it's desperate and it would still include healthy foods...but I am hoping to stick to it...
Did you experience any benefit from it? Better sleep? More energy? Loss of weight? Better skin? Also, a tip, if you can manage- do not do coffee with it. I know you can but if you can manage it- only black tea or makes the bloating better and also not many nuts...

Yea, it sucks. But again, I am used to it. I really hope I can find that rhythm too:) Thank you

Amy said...

much love! loving all your comments back!

I was thinking of buying green juices and seeing if drinking my veggies helps my tum versus eating them raw, cooked, etc...

I found this printable Whole30 LowFODMAP food list, if you haven't already stumbled on it!

Yes yes, I did experience clarity, energy, weight loss, inflammation went waaaaaaaay down all over my body inside and out.

S said...

I am doing something very similar to the whole 30. It is really working. More energy,clear skin, no bloating, no stomach pain/inflammation,better hair and weight loss. I am also walking (inside my home )for 30- 40 minutes as it is extremely hot outside and I can't go out. Also it will be raining daily from next month and again, I have to be inside. I am not walking on the treadmill but only on the floor from one room to another room :) I am also eating something every 2-3 hours.
Thank you for sharing the smashing pumpkins song, I forgot all about it for God knows how many years:) I loved it in my youth, specially the video :) so when you posted it, I was surprised and made a re-discovery of sorts !!

S said...

and since you love music, watch this video on youtube:

this is a performance by Anoushka Shnkar and her father the sitar legend, Pandit Ravi Shankar. Anoushka is the half sister of Norah Jones, the famous singer.

S said...

I think one of my comments disappeared, so posting it again :)
I am doing something very similar to whole 30. It is really working. More energy,clear skin, no bloating, no stomach pain/inflammation,better hair and weight loss. I am also walking (inside my home )for 30- 40 minutes as it is extremely hot outside and I can't go out. Also it will be raining daily from next month and again, I have to be inside. I am not walking on the treadmill but only on floor from one room to another room :) I am also eating something every 2-3 hours.
Thank you for sharing the smashing pumpkins song, I forgot all about it for God knows how many years:) I loved it in my youth, specially the video :) so when you posted it, I was surprised and made a re-discovery of sorts !!

Kmarie A. said...

Amy: Yes we are doing the low food map autoimmune protocol. Which is tougher because it is very restricted. Well that is amazing that you experienced that! It gives me hope!

S: Oooooo thanks! I will check that out right now! She is very lovely and talented. And Love norah Jones too. Oh I hate it when comments disappear! I am glad you are getting such benefits! I hope I do too. Yikes heat would do me in. I prefer cold I guess. Walking is great! I love my treadmill so much because I loathe walking out doors unless it is for enjoyment. Lol. Plus elements throw me off. Yes, that is a very old song. I am getting old. Lol. Yikes. It is good! Yay for re discoveries!