Tag Archives: migraines

Vitamin B12 Defeciency. A Scary One This.

I seem to be surrounded by women suffering from a vitamin B12 deficiency. Not kidding – mom, sister, friends, acquaintances, obscure aunts – you name them. It has unsettled me enough to want to get a blood test done of my own (I am certain I will be deficient, just know it!) So will a lot of you, by the way. It’s more common than we think.

The ailment was unknown to me till just about a year ago. I mean I sort of knew about B12 in a vaguesh, distant sort of way, but not more than that.

Then, all of a sudden almost every woman around me seemed to have only one problem – a B12 deficiency. This thing was like an epidemic, like it was airborne or something. I kid you not. Even friends I had not met in ages (and frankly even forgotten the existence of before they sent me chirpy messages on Facebook and I felt pressured to accept) seemed to have only one complaint (ok not only one, there’s always the maid crisis that binds us all, here in India – when I say us I mean people like us – well off, affluent enough to afford help) but apart from that one chronic problem, there was B12. Someone I know now has a neurological disorder because her B12 deficiency went undetected for too long. Another close friend had to recently take B12 injections because she was so low in it that she could not get out of bed without a yelp.Yet another friend was so depressed I had to talk her off the ledge and turned out that she too had a deficiency. She’s MUCH better now after the suppliments.

As about sis, she’s been plagued with migraines, aches, general weakness and of course depression for, well I can’t even remember for how long. Long enough to be worried I guess. I’ve been telling her to get her B12 checked. I freely impart this newly acquired knowledge to anyone who complains of anything and cares to listen (seriously – B12 has also been linked to heart trouble, cancer, Alzheimer’s, stroke – the works)  But sis being sis and working like a zombie from morning to almost morning was not in a mood to be lectured, which by the way I didn’t do, but that’s what my unsolicited advice felt like to her. Also, she usually calls me from the car on her way back home from work when she’s stuck in traffic and her daughter is waiting at home. She’s not at her best, understandably, at this time, so anything anyone says that even remotely resembles a sermon, she rejects outright, usually with sentences like “you don’t know how tired I am. I don’t have the time to go to the doc”.

Anyway, long story short, after a couple of fainting episodes, rapid pulse, rushing to the Emergency at the hospital etc, she sort of got the point about the usefulness of doctors in life. She got diagnosed with high blood pressure and  was being treated for that but her pains just would not go. I gently brought up the point of B12 again, to little avail. Most physicians seem to miss this rather obvious possible cause for body aches and other ailments. So her B12 kept dipping and headaches kept getting worse (there’s also migraine in the family, so that helps!!) and her blood pressure kept rising due to the headaches. The doc kept upping her medicine which gave her palpitations. Agh. I, of course, never let go of my rant, but who listens to siblings who are not doctors? 

So now it’s finally come up. She went for the test (don’t  ask) and guess what? Her B12 is so low that the doctor fell of his chair and wondered how she’s up and about. When she called me I wanted to say soooooo much, but of course I didn’t (i knew that was not the time).

Now my mum has been diagnosed with the same thing and has to take nasal sprays to get the stuff into her blood stream quickly. She has a vitamin d3 deficiency too,which is the other point I want to make. This too is low in a lot of people and somehow never gets discovered. My older daughter has it too and is on supplements.

So if you have a chronic, inexplicable condition and can’t quite understand why you are feeling this way, you need a vitamin B12 and D3 test. If you suggest this to a doc he/she’ll give you the are-you-the-doc-or-I look, but never mind that. Do the test anyway if you feel you should. I am going to do it this week.

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Time to listen to the body, and unfortunately, to the husband too!

My husband has been telling me for a while to calm down, to not get stressed about little things, to learn to take things as they are and not look for perfection in everybody and everything. He’s been warning me of medical repercussions, which, according to him, are just a matter of time.

I, needless to say, have not been too receptive to such candid feedback, which I see as a bit unwarranted. Predictably, I’ve countered his observations by insisting that since he is not in the house, it’s easy for him to tell me to let it be. After all, if I let it be, nothing will happen, nothing. The dinner will not be on time, the daughter will not finish her schoolwork (or eat properly, drink her milk, get her hair combed, etc etc), the laundry will not be done in time, or, worse, if allowed to get done without my fine supervision, it’ll be done all wrong, with the red sock making its way into the machine and turning all his clothes baby pink, the car will not get cleaned in time for him to leave for work, the driver will not show up in time, till I’ve called him a zillion times and he’s claimed to have been five minutes away for the last half hour, and all the rest of it .I have to yell if I need to get anything done, otherwise it will not happen. That’s the truth, really.

Also, I make it a point, at the end of any discussions of this nature, to point out that I wasn’t always this way, that this is something I turned into and I don’t like it any more than he does.

But, the hard fact is, he’s right. (how I hate that – that “I told you so” look!) My head has been reeling with attacks of migraines, of the worst sort. I’ve had them before; it’s something that’s been handed down to me as a legacy from them forefathers. Yup, it’s in the genes. You can escape everything, but you cannot escape your genes – not a chance. I thought I had though, but hitting forty is life changing in more ways than one. Your body starts to tell you things, things you don’t like but have to stomach. And them genes, they decide to come out of their dormancy and say “aha, so you thought we’d spared you? nope, not a chance in hell!” (You know that box that you fill in a health form – “family history of” – that box starts to mean something). You think about the blood pressure your mum has, the stent in your father’s heart, the rheumatoid arthritis in your family, and you take a deep breath. Then you think about combat measures. How long can you delay the inevitable? How long before your genes get the better of you? You get into survival mode (for the sake of your kids, you better) Yoga? That’s got to help you. Isn’t it the magical answer to everything? That and a host of other stuff like: low salt, low fried foods, low alcohol, sleep in time (early to bed..) I can almost feel my genes smirking saying “you want to beat us? Go right ahead dear, live this way if you really want!”

Anyway, I digress. Point is, migraines have officially made their entry into my life. I’ve seen my sister suffer from them and, of course, have lectured her no end about the stress that she creates in her life (it’s always so simple to solve other people’s lives isn’t it? I mean all you need to do sis is blah blah and blah and boom problem solved!) Now I am eating my big fat words and holding the receiver five inches from my ear when I hear such useless advice from my sister and mother. (why, why, why did I tell them????)

So now it’s time for resolutions, again. I think it’s time I listened to my body, or tried to at any rate. Am not going to change overnight (if at all) unless everyone around me does! But I can try, which is something I am willing to do (again, for the kids, though they won’t see that. It’s weird really – I yell because I care about them and now I will stop yelling because I care about them and don’t want to deprive them of a mother and want to be around till they are on their way in life – whenever that is!)

What I will and will not do: Will try and not yell (ok I am going to try because sometimes yelling is therapeutic), won’t get stressed about the little things, will meditate (this I find hard to do), will sleep on time, not do any crazy diets, look at the positive sides of everything (ok, that’s a bit of a tall order – maybe not everything, but most things).

In a rare moment of confession I will admit that the husband is right about the potential risk of harm from all the angst. I have to find a way to lessen the stress – I know. I am going to try. The migraine was an eye opener of sorts. It was nothing serious but the pain put me out for two days and I am not going to let that happen again. I will take his advice, but will I tell him that and give him ammunition for the future? Not a chance.

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