Can he walk at all, or if he moves will he fall?

Well I’m just about 95% packed for California. Got the running gear in the carry-on, the rest in my larger rolling luggage, electronics set to go, and sure enough, the lungs send me the 4-1-1 that we’re not getting enough oxygen.

For those of you new to the whole Hokeyboy experience, four years ago I was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia. Since then I have had almost every conceivable test run from soup to nuts, and the conclusion that two hemotologists, a gastroenterologist, and a GP physician have come up with is… they have no freakin’ clue why.


No bleeding, no peptic ulcers, no gastritis-related issues, no microcellular bleeding, not a gosh-darn thing. Colonoscopy, endoscopy, all done, clean as a whistle. I even had to swallow a micro-camera capsule and walk around strapped to a portable hard drive unit all day as it transmitted live pictures and video of my entire digestive tract over the course of 10 hours. Apparently it was submitted for Best Adapted Screenplay of a Comedy or Musical, and got raves at both Toronto AND Karlovy Vary. It conveyed a wonderful sense of mood, character, and mise-en-scène.

But no discernible reason why my hemoglobin and hemocrit levels seem to drop without warning.

Now, it’s certainly treatable and doesn’t seem to threaten my health or life in any adverse ways, except of course with the stipulation that I take at least 65mg of iron pills (ferrous sulfate) a day for, oh let’s say, the rest of my life. Which means that given the inevitable zombie pathogen giant killer freakin’ wave outbreak that will hallmark the end of civilization as we know it, unless I got an unending supply of CVS’s I can raid, you might as well shoot me in the leg and leave me as bait. Poor Dale…

I’m not complaining. As far as afflictions go, this one is a cakewalk; there are multitudes upon multitudes of people dealing with life-threatening or life-debilitating disorders and diseases. If this is the worst health issue I ever have, I’ll consider myself the luckiest guy on the planet since Gary Cooper was a proud Yank. So no, not fishing for any sympathies whatsoever.

Why bring it up then?

Because starting yesterday I started feeling the familiar heaviness of the lungs, the tightness in the ribcage, the more labored breathing, and I knew it was hitting me again. Now. Of all times. Right before I’m leaving for California to run a Half Marathon. I had been a little lax with the daily dosage, but not enough that I thought it might have been an issue. I’ve also put on about 4-5 pounds in the past two weeks, which, given the utterly ridiculous amount of training, exercise and smart eating I do, was absolutely inexplicable — unless, of course, your metabolism has massively crashed into a wall. I’ve been doubling and tripling up since then (when I was first diagnosed, it was almost 200mg a day), not too much but enough to hopefully stabilize without getting adverse reactions. Iron pills tend to wreak havoc on the digestive tract on an empty stomach, and they’re not on the best of terms with fuller ones either.

It doesn’t affect my determination. I’ve done 13.1 miles (and longer) many times in the past, and even if I don’t hit a PR, I’ll still cross that finish line upright. Hopefully. Still, I would hope I had a more efficient long-range warning system to let me know levels were dropping. Other than the slight weight gain and the noticeable breathing issues.

Then again, maybe that WAS the long-range warning system. I’ve come a long way, health wise, since January 2011. Perhaps it made me too complacent in thinking it didn’t matter if I “skipped a day” on my iron supplements. Here’s the wake up call. Now push through it, learn from it, never repeat it, and for the love of God, what are you doing up, your flight leaves in 7.5 hours and you have to be up in four-and-a-half…. later folks!

If you're reading this blog, YOU'RE AWESOME! Let me hear your thoughts.