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Posts Tagged ‘iron’

When I was a kid, I had a book about a tiny woodland family that a little girl finds and brings home. She makes them a little house and uses a little wooden spool for a table for them and all sorts of things. I still have the book. It’s all banged up, a small paperback without acid-free pages, obviously. When I found the book a few years ago and read it to my daughters, the story was not as good as I remembered. I loved that book so much. Probably because of all the cuteness of the tiny objects the girl uses to welcome the tiny family. I think that is the name. The Tiny Family. It is by the same guy who wrote the Clifford books, Norman Birdswell. Okay. I did not look any of that up to check for accuracy. I will though because you know how compulsive I am about accuracy.

I am so glad I looked that up. I’m leaving all of my inaccuracies up there, though. Aren’t you proud of me? I got the last name wrong, as you can see. 50 cents, can you believe it? That is how old I am. Why doesn’t my computer have a cent symbol? You don’t like pennies Steve Jobs (RIP)? Oh, crap. I found it. Here: ¢. You want me to do that again? Here: ¢. I could do this all night. Look: ¢. WordPress, all is forgiven. twinkly forgives you for all of your faults. At least for now.

My point is that I haven’t had a period in 5 or 6 months. Mostly because of my fabulous, life-saving, bleeding-stopping acupuncturist. The ONLY person who had a real solution last winter when I was suffering from anemia and wouldn’t stop bleeding for ever and ever. Not the standard medical approach which just kept me bleeding and bleeding and losing more and more blood by the minute the minute I went off of progesterone (You’ll get a period, only it will probably be lighter and won’t last as long MY ASS!).

Well, yours truly started bleeding 11 days ago and I haven’t stopped yet. I’m starting to get anemic. I can feel it. It’s been a few days coming on now. Headaches, dizziness, sore throat, weakness, breathlessness (not the good kind). Yes, of course I take extra iron. But now I have to start eating red meat and more kale (I eat kale about 2ce a week year ’round anyway). Now I have to cook in a cast iron pan (Wait. I already do that regularly too). Now I have to ? See? I have been without my period for so long, I forgot what to do. Wait! I know something….¢

My tiny visitor is back. She is red. She does not wear a tiny flower for a hat. She does not sit on a thimble when she eats her breakfast. She is the same one who visited last year for 67 days out of 90. She is the one I love but who should only be here for a couple of days and then leave me the fuck alone.

Needless to say, I started taking my Yunnan Baiyao TODAY. 11 days is enough. But I’m not in menopause so there’s always that gift. You should see my boobs. LIKE A TEENAGER, I tell you! I will miss them when all of this stops. I really haven’t had boobs like this since my 20s. I won’t miss my other plumpness, though. Fuck you, you midsection bloat.

Sigh Sigh, Tiny Visitor. Sew and Flow, beautiful red flower in my underpants. I hope not to see you for a while. But thanks for the boobs. It was fun (and somewhat painful fer chrissakes! these babies hurt!) while it lasted. One day I’ll kiss you good-bye for good, I just won’t know it until a whole fucking year goes by. Haven’t gotten there yet.

This chart is bullshit. Fuck this chart. It is totally inaccurate. It’s not even red or bloody.

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What have we got here? We’ve got me, laid out by anemia, due to too rapid and consistent peri-menopausal blood loss.

Peri-menopause, is it a taboo subject? Is it just something men and teenagers don’t want to hear about? What about all of those male OB/GYNs? What makes them so special? Why do they want to know about it, lecture me about it, be experts in the subject of the unpredictable ebbs and torrents of my blood, the blood that comes out of my darkest place?

Is talking about menstrual blood, women’s blood, worse than talking about other blood? Is it tiresome? It’s not the same as blood from injury, soldier’s blood or surgical blood, violent blood, blood from war. Do we talk about any of it or simply leave out female blood?

I remember none of puberty, none of “developing;” just from one school year to the next I went from being teased for being flat-chested to being teased for being large-chested. Even by my girlfriends, so you know it wasn’t sexist or bullying or anything. But things are different now, right? American culture having evolved as it has, we no longer pay much attention to breasts like in the good ol’ days.

I went in to the ER last night (Tuesday), perhaps as an overreaction to the light-headedness, slight vertigo, and nerves-on-edge for 3 days-in-a-row I had been experiencing due to the aforementioned anemia and due to the urging of the MD on call the night before (Monday) to go in that night. I had some odd notion that I could get BLOOD in the ER. I wanted blood like a vampire in a gothic novel wants blood, but not the feeling sexy kind of vampire. How can a condition so purely part of my sex be so unsexy? I know the answer. I know that owning this is part of graduating out of my reproducing sexuality into the rest-of-my-life sexuality, kundalini.

I think it’s completely wrong that this is the kind of thing that is associated with female blood:

I’ve never passed out in my life. I’ve never gotten blood in my life. Neither of these things happened yesterday either.

I can tell you that when the old (65ish, male) OB/GYN had me in the stirrups and told me to relax those muscles (direct quote), I later had a fantasy (and still do) of taking my strong right leg, tensing it as hard as I could and kicking him in the face with it. Sort of twisting his head away from his spine. A suberb peri-menopausal whiplash. It could be a new reason to land in the ER, in fact.

If he hadn’t been the doctor on call and if I hadn’t already been in the care of his practice since Sunday, I would have declined his “services.” However, if I add up the number of pelvic exams I’ve had in my life, one more is a drop in the bucket. Not that I’m resemble a bucket, au contraire, but you get my meaning.

The best OB/GYN I ever had/knew (do what you will with the unfortunate double entendre), was a good friend back in Ohio. I needed an OB/GYN for all sorts of things I experienced before my pregnancies (like not being able to get pregnant for a while and miscarrying twice). I saw both my OB/GYN and my lay midwife throughout both of my pregnancies.

Until 2 years ago, I had never had an OB/GYN in Massachusetts. I simply went to my fabulous (best MD I’ve ever been in the care of) Primary Care Physician for everything OR to my acupuncturist for things less medical. Now, I have an OB/GYN practice at my disposal, but I don’t have a very comfortable relationship with anyone there. I do love the Nurse Practitioner I’ve seen once, but I don’t like the OB/GYN I saw under duress last night. Sigh.

Once in a while Wednesday–what’s it all about?

What if all it took to please me was alliteration? I would LOVE that, my life to be that simple.

Here are some words for you until we meet again:

harrowing    sepulchre    pulchritude

How can pulchritude refer to beauty when the sound of it reminds me so much of paltry, pustule, and that doctor from last night?

Send loving, healing, iron-filled thoughts and images my way, please. Yours, twinkly

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Happy first Thursday of 2012, my pets!!!

Do you know that I love triple exclamation points??? more than triple question marks, which I don’t really care for at all!!!

Do you know I love that the word clam is in exclamation?

Do you know that I love this: http://i.imgur.com/CCNSs.gif

I am not sure, however, if I still love Thankful Thursday.

I need gratitude in my life undoubtedly, but I am not sure of the future of Thankful Thursday. I realize this is not some earth-shattering revelation, but it pertains to my blog. The info belongs here and to you, my readers.

In the last few weeks, I notice I’ve hit some sort of snag, if not an outright wall, in my writing, both in the fun and frivolous and in the more confessional, the type of writing I do for this blog. I’ve also been adrift with my poetry (insert frowny-face emoticon here).

I can’t seem to find anything funny to share. I can’t seem to find anything important, either. I don’t want to alienate you, my readers; I don’t want to try your patience; I don’t want to bore you; I don’t want to pour out my whining heart simply because I have an audience.

SPOILER ALERT: stop right here if you don’t love all things menstrual

I’ve been having something of a rough 3 months. Peri-menopause is not always kind, though I love finding new sources of power within.  I just went through an extended bout of bleeding in which, over the course of 64 days, I bled for 47. The days were not all in a row, but what I have been left with is the second most severe period of anemia in my life. The concurrent repercussions of peri-menopause in my personal relationships are also of a flooding nature–tidal and deep, but not always as rhythmic as the tides. It’s hard. It’s confusing. Going deep and in spirals, rudderless and full at the helm–all of these things. If you have a peri-menopausal woman in your life, be kind, take heed, bow down. Throw rose petals and break flower pots. Do whatever it takes. We are forces of nature. FORCES OF NATURE. Get it?

The 2 major bouts I’ve had with anemia have also SUCKED!!! Rather than making any rash decisions while I’m still building up my iron and my health, I will simply play it by ear with the blog. For now, the equation seems clear: lack of iron=lack of creative forces.

I have LOVE LOVE LOVED the last year of blogging. I don’t want to think that it’s over, but I also don’t want to lose you, my readers. If I take a hiatus, I am afraid you’d never know when to come back.

I do have some ideas and plans. I can mix it up a bit, make things simple. Post a photo. Pose a question, strike a pose. I’m thinking on it.

I’ll leave it at that for now.

Thankful for you

Toujours, twinkly

Aw, shucks!!! I can’t really leave you like this, can I my pets? I think this might cheer you up:

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Kale, how do I love thee?

One, you start with the letter K. Not many vegetables can make that claim (kohlrabi?).

When I was anemic (severely), you called to me, for you are full of iron. Fe on the periodic table, from the Latin, ferrum, meaning, well, iron.

The most common nutritional deficiency in the world? Lack of iron.

The most abundant element on earth? Iron.

Why do you need iron in your body? So your red blood cells can carry oxygen (O). You need 4 Fe molecules per erythrocyte in order to carry one molecule of O2. This is why anemic folks get out of breath (at least I did).

Wait a minute, twinkly, is this the same iron that we see rusting on playground fences and garden tools?

HELL YES! Would I lie to you?

What do you need to absorb iron so your red blood cells can carry oxygen? Something acidic (lemon or orange juice work well). What can interfere with Fe absorption? Among other things, calcium (Ca). The particulars of this get pretty tricky so if you are interested, you should do some of your own research.

What form of iron do humans most successfully absorb? Heme iron, found in red meat, especially liver, also oysters. You can eat a lot of kale and it will help, but it won’t get you out of a severe anemia.

Kale is in the brassica family. It is a cabbage or cruciferous vegetable, named for the shape of the leaves at its base. You can therefore feel virtuous for eating cabbages, getting to the crux of the matter, as it were.

Here’s my basic kale recipe and how I cook my kale almost always, though I do put it in soups and frittatas and egg-and-cheese strata. Me and the mister just love it this way and I think you will, too:

Get yourself a bunch of lacinito kale (aka dinosaur, Tuscan, or black kale)

But twinkly, can’t I use another kind of kale?

NO. This is my blog and you will do as I say and cook as I do.

Here’s why–

the lacinito kale is beautiful and dark, dark green. Its leaves are firmer than the other varieties of kale. It is darker green, so, even though I’m making this up, it stands to reason that it’s higher in vitamin A and all of the B-complex vitamins. It cooks up crunchier than other kale because it’s leaves are so dang firm. No soggy crap!

That tough stem that all kale recipes tell you to remove? You can leave it. You can leave it in all varieties of kale, but especially with the lacinito kale. Yes, you can trim it at the bottom if it is a 1/4 inch or more wide, but leave the rest.

Okay, back to the recipe:

Ingredients:

appx 1 lb fresh lacinito kale, trimmed at the bottom

appx 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil (you already know your fats should be organic)

garlic, at least 3 cloves (I like the hard-necked garlic when it’s available) ready for a garlic press

half a lemon

some toasted sesame oil and don’t use the Trader Joe’s stuff because it doesn’t have a shaker-top and it’s not too flavorful to boot

sea salt

freshly ground pepper

good set of metal cooking-tongs (you won’t be using a non-stick pan, right me maties?)

Method:

Grab your big bunch o’ kale

Rinse the leaves. Usually kale is pretty clean of dirt, but sometimes does have some little bugs

After rinsing, leave the leaves full of those beautiful, silvery dew drops of water

Cut your kale into a chiffonade. Use a really good, sharp knife–not serrated,’kay?

(chiffonade is French, but your knife should probably be German)

You don’t have to cut it super-fancy thin, but about 1/8″ is good. You’ll need to cut narrow across, not length-wise

Heat about a TBSP of evoo in a large pan on medium heat, or if your stove gets really hot (I have electric, sorry purists), turn that down a notch. Don’t use a non-stick pan because a. Teflon will kill you (the fumes can kill a bird) and leach icky endocrine-disruptors and hormone mimicers into everything and into everyone’s gonads, even fish and especially amphibians and b. your kale will not sear properly and have a tiny crunch to it.

If you are anemic (menstruating ladies, take heed), you can use a cast-iron pan for extra iron

When your oil has a bit of a sheen on it, throw in the kale. It will sizzle and pop. Take a step back and let the dew do its magic.

While the kale steams a bit in the pan, take your garlic cloves and crush them in a garlic press (I DO sometimes slice my garlic, but I prefer the crushed in this recipe). Throw the garlic onto the kale.

Grab up a tong-full of kale and turn it in the pan a few times. Do this until all of the kale gets a turn: fair is fair. The garlic needs to be distributed evenly.

Grab your half-a-lemon and squeeze some of that baby into your pan. Sizzle, sizzle. Do your guests like a lot of lemon? Use more juice. Keep grabbing up the kale and turning it in the pan.

Take the toasted sesame oil and shake shake shake it onto the kale. Now you can also shake your booty. Put on some James Brown. Now you’re cookin’! Maybe five shakes should do the trick. It’s really a matter of preference.

You can put a pinch or so of sea salt (appx 1/4 tsp) onto the kale and grind some pepper on there, too. Salt seems to go pretty far on kale, not sure why, so don’t overdo it; you can always add more after a taste-test.

That’s about all. I like the kale to have a lot of crunchiness and some signs of searing, but I don’t like it to lose its bright hue. You can cook it so it has no searing or you can cook the living hell out of it like our parents’ generation seemed to do to all green veggies.

HIT IT AND QUIT IT!

Would I lie to you?

photo: ©kgfarthing2011

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