IAN'S STORY

MY B12 JOURNEY

The picture on top is of me when I was well, the two below are of when I had became unwell.

In December 2006 my mum passed away. I was close to my mum, used to go clean for her and take her out on a weekend with my family. The following February I started experiencing tingling hands and feet, breathlessness, palpitations, dizziness, anxiety and panic attacks, so I went to my GP who diagnosed depression and anxiety. I was prescribed a health tonic liquid and the antidepressant Citalopram, and took both for six months. I seemed to recover.

Then in 2011, same thing again, only this time I also noticed my hair was turning grey. I went back the GP and was told once again that I was depressed. I didn’t feel that I was depressed though, so tried to explain that I had low mood because of the physical sensations I was feeling but getting no answers for. However this time I came away with the antidepressant Mirtazapine and another tonic. I was on these and still suffering for two years.

Eventually I went back to my doctor in early 2013 feeling unwell. They diagnosed me with diabetes (Type 2) and high blood pressure. I was put on 2 x Metformin (for diabeties and known to deplete B12 stores) twice a day, Methyldopa (for blood pressure), Indepamide (diuretic), atorvastatin (statin) and renatadine (PPI to reduce stomach acid). So I went from taking no medication to taking 8 pills per day.

I continued to feel unwell with pains and numbness, digestive problems and headaches, and was at the doctors a lot with one thing or another, but they simply put all these symptoms down to stress. Then in June 2015 I felt extremely bad. I had random pains, numbness, and tingling in my hands. At the GP practice they took bloods and told me all was normal. So went home with the assumption I was getting anxious again, so I decided to go for private hypnotherapy and counselling.

By September 2015 whilst lying in bed I shot up in fear, as my heart began racing, I was sweating, had really bad pin pricking pains in my legs, arms and head, and my chest was hurting, so I called for an ambulance. They took me to A&E where they tested my heart, gave me a scan and an endoscopy, I was then told everything was fine I’d just had a panic attack and was sent home. From then on things just got worse, my mood changed, my thought processing, everything seemed to alter. I became suspicious and paranoid. I thought everyone was poisoning me, including my wife of 24 years, because I could not explain nor make sense of the physical symptoms I was constantly experiencing. I became afraid and frightened.

I had lots of tests done, including scans (MRI, CT), two endoscopies and colonoscopies, for both of which I was given nitrous oxide (known to deactivate B12).  I was told I had gastritis, diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome, but that they didn’t find anything else that could cause my symptoms. I had countless admissions to hospital and again nothing was found. But then it came, the dreaded words "It's all in your head, you need mental help”.

From that point on, I steadily lost everything I cared about and had worked for. One by one my family went. My wife had had enough. My kids had had enough. They all went. I was admitted to a mental health hospital in late Sept 2015. I was passed from one unit to another, and of course in my mind, they were all out to kill me and dispose of me. I became more and more frightened because of these thoughts. But they just filled me up with pills that made me feel terrible.

Then on the 7th December 2015 I left the unit of my own accord. I managed to escape! I had nowhere to go so I ended up surviving on the streets for eight weeks. I was living in Old sheds and in bushes, drinking rain water and begging for food. The police were looking for me as a missing person. Eventually this was resolved at the end of Jan 2016 when I gained accommodation. Still suffering from delusions of people wanting to hurt me, my mind was a mess. I stopped eating decent food, and lived off bread, chocolate, sweets, bottled water. No vegetables and very little meat. No fruit other than grapes and the odd orange. All the while my physical symptoms were getting worse. I did not understand what was happening to me.

Every time I went to the Dr's they would take blood and check me and say “nothing is wrong it's all in your head”. I was even called a hypochondriac, which simply served to rev up my suspicions that my food was being tampered with in the shop before I bought it. And as crazy as that sounds in hindsight, it felt so real at the time that I withdrew from society even further.

I could not accept that my marriage was over, because she was and still is the love of my life. We’d been together from when she was fifteen. I got into trouble for sending gifts of flowers and cards, and eventually a restraining order was placed on me. I broke it 3 times by sending cards and gifts. I ended up in Hull prison for two months over New year 2018. I was released back to my flat still feeling physical symptoms, and once again not eating right.

I asked to see my blood results from over the years from my GP, and have access to them on line. Whilst checking historically I found the following shocking results that show a clear vitamin B12 deficiency:

June 2014

Vitamin B12:              108                 (Reference Range: 180~1130)

Ferritin:                       33                   (Reference Range: 40~235)

January 2015

Vitamin B12:              116                 (Reference Range: 180~1130)

June 2015

Vitamin B12:              Not Available

Ferritin:                       21                   (Reference Range: 40~235)

January 2017

Vitamin B12:              126                 (Reference Range: 180~1130)

None of these low numbers were acted upon even though my symptoms were:

·         Very dry skin

·         Hair falling out

·         Pains in arms, legs, feet, skull. Nerve pain.

·         Muscle weakness

·         Breathlessness

·         Easy bruising.

·         Very pale skin and nailbeds

·         Palpatations

·         Depression

·         Phycosis and anxiety. Both diagnosed in Mental Health Unit and was given antiphycotic medications

·         Paranoia

·         Dry eyes and mouth

·         Head aches

·         Can't walk heal to toe with eyes closed as I fall over.

·         Fainting

·         Visual disturbances

·         Insomnia

·         Extreme fatigue

·         Forgetfulness

·         Bad taste in mouth

·         Sore tongue

·         Mouth ulcers

·         Tooth loss.

·         Very high blood pressure that fluctuates to normal or low blood pressure.

·         Tachycardia, worse upon movement.

·         Cough

·         Regular urine infections

·         Constipation alternating with

·         Diarrhoea

·         Stomach pains

·         Body fizzing/vibrations

·         Muscle twitching

·         Burning lips

·         Cracks at mouth corners

·         Internal shakes

·         Brittle nails

·         Always cold.

Then we are here today in August 2019. I have done the loading doses, I take all the cofactors, and I now eat protein, vegetables and fruit as part of a balanced diet. I’m still suffering with symptoms, but some of them have gone or have damped down and some new symptoms have started. But I know it takes time and I don’t expect to make a full recovery as it has gone on for a decade or more. I'm at the point where I just want to feel healthy and better.

I just hope no one else has to go through this!

© 2020 by RUORRA in support of The B12 Society
 

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