Back in 2005, I had two tons of dental work done. Because of the pain and swelling in my mouth, I started chewing ice cubes. Even long after things healed up, I continued with my “ice habit.” During the times we didn’t have a fridge with an ice maker, I’d panic if we got down to a half bag of ice in the freezer (two full bags calmed my anxiety). I even mentioned it briefly in a post from 2011 about a stand-off in the campground we were staying at –
As I was walking towards the playground through the dusky light, I saw someone approaching me, carrying what looked like a bag of ice in one hand. I laughed and thought, “Of all days to remember to pick it up” and I walked even faster towards him. He hugged me for pretty close to forever, and whispered something that made me cry and smile at the same time (I’ll be dipped if I can remember now what it was). I noted the bag of ice in his hand, and he said, “There’s another one in my lunch box.” I laughed through my tears, and said I’d try to fit them both in, if he’d unlock his truck. I busied myself with the welcome distraction, while he filled me in on how the kids were doing while hanging out with our friends in the “safe” part of camp.
In July of this year, I went to the doctor, mainly because for the five or six months prior, my joints hurt to the point that I was positive I’d developed rheumatoid arthritis. My first appointment led to a prescription for anti-depressants. At my follow-up appointment a few weeks later, the doc said I’d tested negative for RA, CCP (pre RA), Fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, and my blood sugar, thyroid, and white blood cell count were all normal. But both my Vitamin D and iron were rock bottom. My iron was 9, and the doc said something to the effect of, “back in the day, we used to transfuse at 8.” Not sure what my Vitamin D level was, but she put me on 5,000mg per day to build it back up.
In researching symptoms of low iron and vitamin D, I found everything that’s been an issue for me – along with depression and joint pain, there’s sleep disruption, brittle nails, cracks at the corners of my lips, extremely pale skin prone to bruising, restless legs, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, and brain fog. Oh, and ta-da – Pagophagia (a form of pica).
Now, after five months of taking supplements and medication (and sleeping a ton!), my levels are finally back to normal, and my ice consumption is almost nil. Funny to think, after all these years, and all the joking about, “Nobody get between Mommy and her ice,” it was actually my body trying to tell me something. Here’s to hoping I’m a better listener from here on out.