My Story: Andy
LIVING WITH IRON DEFICIENCY SINCE THE AGE OF 16
Andy is a chef. Despite living with Crohn’s Disease and iron deficiency, his passion is food. He competes at international cookery competitions with several successes under his belt.
Andy has lived with iron deficiency since the age of 16.
The chronic fatigue experienced, affected him from the moment he woke up to the time he went to sleep. His concentration was so badly affected he took to jotting notes down to remind him to do things. The dizziness he experienced was often unexpected where he often had to prop himself up against the wall to stop from falling.
Andy had no energy to socialise with friends and feared overstretching himself so gradually retreated into his shell. He is frustrated that he was not able to realise his full potential and feels that iron deficiency robbed him of the best years of his life.
The turning point was his realisation that the oral iron tablets he’d been taking for over 6 months did not make any difference to his fatigue and asked his doctor to investigate further. The radical surgery on his colon meant that oral iron was not absorbed sufficiently so he is now prescribed intravenous iron.
The three most important aspects Andy has learnt from living with iron deficiency are:
- Being proactive in speaking with his care team to get his blood levels tested earlier to avoid the blood transfusions he has needed in the past
- Self-awareness – to heed the signs of iron deficiency rather than ignoring them
- Honesty- understand his limitations, listen to his wife when she notices changes in his energy levels and to seek help when needed
Today the management of Andy’s iron deficiency is done jointly with his doctor and with the help of his wife. Through this proactive management of his iron deficiency Andy can enjoy life without restrictions.