For the past few months, I have been downright exhausted. I initially summed it up to being a busy mother with two small, rambunctious children, who works a full-time job.
This exhaustion has been different from any bouts of fatigue I’ve felt before.
I was finding myself frequently feeling drained after doing simple things, regularly needing to sit down and take a breather.
As the days and weeks continued, the worse I was feeling.
I was having a difficult time concentrating on work. My memory was getting bad to the point of not being able to remember simple words and names. I couldn’t finish reading one page of a book without wanting to fall asleep.
Was this just a sign of age?
I thought, “I’m only 32 years old for crying out loud,” and figured that couldn’t be it.
Was this because of my weight?
It’s not exactly a state secret that I’m overweight, but so much to the point of feeling out of breath from standing for a mere 15 minutes?
It was just last year I was running up and down the beach all day with my children, and I have lost some weight since then, so I knew that didn’t seem right either.
But still, the fatigue and utter exhaustion continued and was steadily getting worse.
Last week got pretty rough for me.
Once we were done with work Tuesday, I headed straight home and got into my bed. I didn’t feel like cooking or even watching a TV show with my family. That night, I started having a migraine and the pain medication I had taken wasn’t working. I was cold and my body was shaking.
When I woke up Wednesday morning, I felt so tired I decided to just work from my bed that day. Thank goodness for modern-day technology of laptops and cell phones.
That afternoon, I felt like I had gained a small amount of energy, so I walked to my kitchen and unloaded the dishwasher. By the time I put the last cup away, I felt as though I had run the Mississippi River Marathon.
I was lightheaded, out of breath and my heart was palpitating to the point of feeling as though I might have a heart attack. My mother ushered me straight back to bed, where I slept the rest of the day while she cared for my children.
I figured this would all eventually pass, right?
Thursday morning was the same, if not worse. I could barely get out of bed to even walk to the restroom, which is only a matter of steps from where I sleep.
If it had been up to me, I would have slept the entire day, sure that this feeling of pure exhaustion would be gone soon enough.
My mom, stubborn as mule, persisted until I called the Greenville Clinic to make an appointment.
I felt so silly, I was going to a doctor for feeling tired?
I could just hear the discussion in my head.
“All you need to do is lose some weight and that’ll help you feel more energetic,” was what I was sure a doctor would tell me.
I scheduled my appointment for that afternoon to see Nurse Practitioner Beth Eubank. For those of you who do not know her, Eubank is a blessing to our area. She is not only one of the kindest health care professionals, but she is also one of the most thorough.
I’ve been a patient of hers for several years and she knew something was not right from the moment she saw me.
Without hesitation, she quickly ordered blood work and other examinations.
I later went home and she said she would call me once the lab results were ready.
The next day, she called and said I needed to come back in to go over my lab results. I was terrified of what all this could mean. But what I learned was nothing nearly as bad as I had feared.
To quickly sum it up, I have a Vitamin B-12 deficiency.
“That’s it?” I thought.
While it may seem crazy, that vitamin can cause all of the problems I mentioned having, and more.
For whatever reason, my body doesn’t absorb B-12 like it should. As low as my numbers were, Eubank said it wouldn’t matter how much meat and leafy greens I eat, I still wouldn’t get enough of the vitamin in my system.
Thankfully, there is an easy solution to remedy this problem.
I am now on a regular routine of B-12 injections I have to get every two weeks and eventually start giving myself at home.
Just a couple days after my first shot, I have started feeling more like my normal self. I still get easily tired after a few hours of work, but I am not complaining because I know it’s still early in the process.
If you’re ever feeling uncertain about your health, don’t wait around like I did. Go to your doctor and give them the chance to find the answer.
I would have never guessed all of these problems I was having was a result of just not having enough of a certain vitamin and that there is such a simple solution.
If I had continued ignoring how I was feeling, I would have eventually suffered a stroke or even died.
I can’t thank Eubank enough for quickly finding what was wrong with me and taking the steps to ensuring I am well taken care of. We have some truly wonderful health care providers in Greenville.
Take care of yourself and trust in our doctors to take care of you. That’s what they’re here for.
Catherine Kirk is the managing editor of the Delta Democrat-Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.