I Have Anemia (Josh)

Posted on by josh_tikka

I have Anemia. Anemia is a disease. It is an iron deficiency in the blood. I didn’t know I had anemia until a year and a half ago when I almost passed out during a track work out, I got really tired, fell to the ground, and thought I would never get up. Anemia is most common in runners, girls, and vegetarians. I’m a runner and a vegetarian.
If you don’t know what iron does, it is basically responsible for bringing oxygen through your blood to your brain. It’s important, and praise God you have enough… and not too much… like that little girl who stole from those bears.
It’s not that bad being anemic, just headaching some times, and exhausting often. It’s can be really difficult to maintain energy and focus.
Saturday night I was talking to my man K. My man K has hemochromatosis (or a different iron-related blood deficiency that does essentially the same thang). Hemochromatosis is a disease. It is an iron deficiency in the blood. He didn’t know he had hemochromatosis until several decades ago (a few decades after he should have known). Hemochromatosis is a hereditary disease. No one in his family has it (that he is aware of). Too much iron can lead to liver, heart, and pancreas failure. It’s very serious. His condition is a lot worse than mine. Mine will probably never progress to where his is at.
Red meat has a lot of iron. So does blueberries. Some cereals do as well. When I got tested for anemia, I was told that I was about 2-4 points away from being anemic. They didn’t know I was a strict track runner who was taking an iron pill a day. That pill was keeping me from keeling over. It was my iron supply. I jacked up the dosage, piled on the blueberries and got nit-picky with my cereals. It worked out, I didn’t come close to passing out again and I’m doing ok.
My man K, he and his family didn’t know about his blood disease for a long time. His was a hefty meat eating family. Steak and Steak for dinner. Red meat all the way. Eat more and pile on the iron. His family didn’t know, he didn’t know. He got real sick a lot. He still gets sick a lot. It’s largely caught up with him. His stomach hurts, his bones hurt, he has deep circles under his eyes and he is fighting a battle without the weapons he needs to win.
I am blessed to have the luxury of being able to ethically eat as a vegetarian. I am blessed to have the luxury to function normally with anemia. I am blessed to have the luxury of being able to eat what I want with little taste difference with some intolerance to lactose.

My man K is not so lucky. Neither are our friends who desire to be vegetarian (more than you’d think), who are suffering from anemia, low potassium, diabetic (hugely prevalent), hemochromatic… We eat too much and starve ourselves; we’re glutens with the time and money to appease our vanity. My man K has the iron I need, but I have the luxuries my man K needs… If we could give each other part of each others diseases… If I could lay some of my anemia on him, and take up some of his hemochromatosis, we would balance out and be healthy, our luxuries wouldn’t amount to much, because we would have what we needed in bearing each other’s burdens…

My friend Baba told me the other day, “We live like kings.” I try not to forget that. It’s a blessing, but needs to be taken seriously. How do we share in each other’s diseases, and how do we see our own diseases’ cures’ in the hands of each other, and the least likely.
If my man K and I were to exchange part of our disease, we would no longer need temporary fixes, pills, luxuries, and health check-ups etc., because our cure would not be temporary, but permanent. I need our friends who are both on and off the street. I need them. All my friends have my breath, the oxygen for my blood; the iron in my vein is hidden in the blood of my friend. Who will shed their blood for me? Who will give their blood to my man K?
One already has…

grace & peace
-josh


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