I struggle with my iron levels, particularly my ferritin. My GP was the first to notice this months ago, and she prescribed Repliva 21/7 for me. I hadn't known anything was wrong, but about a week after I started taking it it was miraculous: I had more energy, I was getting up earlier in the morning, I was happier...
A few months later, they discontinued it.
No matter, as my GP said that my ferritin was fine again. Until... a few weeks after that, when my hematologist said that it most certainly was not. (Low is considered less than 50; mine was around 15.) She said that she had something she liked better than Repliva and set me up with Niferex 150. By then, I realized how worn down I was. When the pharmacy told me that the Niferex was going to cost me about $80 - WITH insurance - I nearly broke down in tears as I handed over my credit card. I wanted to feel lively and less lethargic. The people at my local Duane Reade are very mean.
Then my levels went up, so my hematologist said not to worry about it. Then they went down, and my GP gave me a new prescription for a different, cheaper medication. That prescription was contraindicated for patients on blood thinners (like yours truly), so I was told to take an OTC iron pill. Again - in the pharmacy near tears.
I'm no doctor, so I don't understand how this is different from garden-variety anemia, but I know now that I'm in an up-down cycle of normal-low-normal-low ferritin levels.
Why is this relevant? Well, it affects my running. I know that. I've read about the links between female runners and low ferritin levels. I'm not a high-enough caliber runner to be too badly affected, but you have to wonder.
And yes, I do eat red meat.
On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"