Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"Baby's in Reno with the Vitamin D..."

The funny thing about being exhausted all the time is that it creeps up on you.  Since I'm not a good sleeper, feeling awake and alert and energized seemed to be just over the horizon.  One more night.  One more chance to sleep soundly and wake rested.

Then I started sleeping soundly, because I was purely exhausted.  I still didn't feel better, even after weeks of getting a good night's sleep.

I was completely engrossed in a project, writing like a fiend all day.  Surely, that was mentally exhausting.  That would explain it.  Then I finished a draft and took a break.  Still tired.

Then I tried to cut down on coffee, so of course that would explain why I felt like I was wading upstream through my day.  Everyone said it would get better after a week or so.  It didn't.

It was subtle enough for me to find excuses for the way I was feeling:  I'm being lazy.  I'm just stressed.  My brain is busy.  I have too many tasks I don't want to do, and I'm avoiding them.  I'm just feeling quiet right now.  Maybe this is just what being 34 feels like.

Finally, I mentioned the way I was feeling to my doctor.  She did blood work and discovered that my Vitamin D levels were low.  She put me on prescription Vitamin D, and suggested that I spend some time every day out in the sun, or even just sitting by a window when I'm working.

I'm one of those people who never leaves the house without sunscreen and sunglasses.  I keep the blinds drawn while I'm working so I don't get distracted by whatever might be going on outside.  I sit in the shade when I am outside.  We live in Rochester.  We don't get enough sunlight in the winter, and we've had a dark spring this year.  My doctor said she's been seeing a lot of Vitamin D deficiency this year.

A simple blood test, a simple fix and I feel like my life is in Technicolor again.  It's amazing.  On Sunday, we did yard work in the sun and I remembered what it felt like to have energy, and I felt the joy of being tired at the end of the day because I'd done a hard day's work, not because I'd been dragging myself along.

So, now I'm making an effort to get some sunlight in my day.  What a lovely fix it is!   Sitting outside to soak up the sun in short, responsible intervals is the perfect time to read (I set a timer and put sunscreen & sunglasses on when my recommended sun time is over).

Of course, I can't get this song out of my head.  Yo.  Cut it.


Nicole said...

I was diagnosed with love vitamin D about 2 years ago. Took until just a month ago to get my levels back up to acceptable standards and that was with taking 5,000 IU's twice a day! I am also low in vitamin B12. It sure interesting how much that can affect your day. Glad you are seeing such good results so quickly. Have fun soaking up the sun...I try to do the same although its been pretty darn cloudy here in Boise.

Noelle said...

You get your power from the sun - just like Superman!

Jen said...

It's definitely a huge problem for anyone living in the northern half of the continent. You guys don't get much sun during the fall and winter months, and (people's lifestyles being what they are now vs. then) nobody is outside enough during the brief, sunny summer. Back when everybody used to be a farmer, stuff like this wasn't a problem. Now studies are showing that sunscreen actually does more harm to a person's health than good, and doesn't actually prevent cancer. The body definitely needs sunlight. Vitamin D supplements are ok, but the body can produce so much more of it's own vitamin D (which is actually a hormone and not a vitamin http://www.e-afaa.com/132.e-afaa) with just 10-15minutes of sun on the hands and face each day than a person can get popping pill after pill. In your case (and that of folks living in similar locations) you do need that supplement. It will probably take your body a while to replenish it's stores, but I'm glad you're feeling better and have a knowledgeable doctor who took you seriously!

Jen said...

P.S. Totally one of my favorite songs!

Jen said...

Since the link I posted earlier doesn't seem to be working, here's http://www.womentowomen.com/healthynutrition/vitamind.aspx

Karen Essex said...

Allie, my doc put me on Vitamin D after a blood test. Then my chiropractor asked me to double that dose (to 3000mgs/day taken consistently). After about a week of that, I felt really clear in the head and have continued to do so these many months. I sleep better too. BTW, I laughed when I read "maybe this is what 34 feels like." NO, this is what a WRITER feels like!

courtney said...

I'm glad you pinpointed the problem! I think my Vitamin D levels are probably fine, judging by the massive sunburn I got last weekend.

The Modern Gal said...

It's amazing how a lack of energy can make your whole life so much harder. I've struggled with that at times during my own life. Sun and exercise definitely helped!