B12 Deficiency

B12 Deficiency is a rat bastard. This wily mofo has been wreaking havoc on my dear body for years, maybe decades. It’s hard to say sans time machine, made trickier by vitamin B12 deficiency manifesting in a variety of ways, depending on a variety of factors.

These are a few common symptoms:

  • Numbness—tingling
  • Weakness
  • Unsteady or abnormal gait
  • Psychiatric problems
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath

A longer list can be found here. In addition to these things, left long enough––B12 deficiency can paralyze or kill people, and frequently used to. I now know that B12 deficiency runs in my family due to a genetic mutation called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, or––aptly––MTHFR.

My deficiency may have been congenital, explaining how the damage progressed so far despite my oh-so-young age of 34. (33 at diagnosis.) I can no longer walk reliably, probably due to a fun little process called funicular myelosis, yet moooore tests to come! That, combined with a host of other symptoms, have completely stolen my life. Like, I’m homebound, look forward to leaving once a week to the exciting doc/grocery/pharmacy, NO. LIFE.

I still hope to make a full recovery, but at 13 months into recovery, the odds aren’t so friendly. It’s just so ridiculous. A vitamin deficiency!! And it (though probably not to this extent) can happen to anyone. My deficiency was due to my MTHFR of a mutation, but there are many many ways people ––even those with healthy well-rounded diets––can become deficient:

  • Autoimmune pernicious anemia
  • Gastric bypass surgery
  • Malabsorption syndromes
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Bacterial overgrowth
  • Malnutrition—Eating disorders

A longer list can be found here. (Both lists helped in great part by Sally Pacholok, whose book Could it Be B12? is a sensational resource on the subject.)

If you’re at risk, or if the listed symptoms were all too familiar, get your levels tested. Serum tests can be misleading as the bloodstream can contain B12 that isn’t actually absorbed, and so can’t be used. Make sure that you get your MMA (methylmalonic acid) and homocysteine levels checked as well; they generally become elevated when B12 is too low.

Also, please be quick to suggest it to others, especially those searching for a diagnosis, or those with one that doesn’t quite fit. Without treatment I’d be paralyzed by now, possibly permanently; then I would have died, probably within just a few years, potentially by now.

If there’s any chance that you can help someone find a B12 deficiency diagnosis, it’s absolutely worth mentioning.

I’m very upset that the B12 damage in my bod was allowed to progress so stupid far this day in age. This is basic friggin’ stuff, isn’t it? Our vitamin levels?? Yet lack of and misdiagnoses are of epidemic proportions. WTF.

This information could help so many people. I got like 4 or 5 miserable misdiagnoses over the years. It sucks beyond words. I don’t want others to keep going through it. It’s just silly. And not the good kind. I appreciate any help sharing info. (And let me know if I can help you do so!)

Okay, back to fucklessness… ❤

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