def. Scurvy is a disease resulting from a deficiency of vitamin C
During the month of January we are focusing on health. So I wanted to share my story with all of you about how I suffered with scurvy, a prehistoric disease that was described in history as affecting sailors, pirates and those partaking on long voyages without access to fresh produce.
So how on earth did I get diagnosed with scurvy? My mind immediately went to the song “Scurvy pirates, make them walk the plank” as my doctor told me the news. Im getting a little bit ahead of myself with this story. Let me back up for a moment and let you know how I came to realize something was wrong.
Soon after I finished nursing my son, my body started to break down. I lost 50 lbs and suddenly weighed only about 100 lbs ( I am 5’6″ ). My eyes began to sink back into my head and my skin became a grayish, pale color. I started getting unexplained sores and infections that would not heal. I no longer had the energy to get out of bed. I suffered from emotional changes and depression started to set in. I, obviously, figured that this was all caused by the stress of having two children. After all, the lack of sleep with the new baby and the work it took to take care of a toddler during the day was not an easy task. This surely must be the reason I felt like crap.
My mother, however, did not believe that all this could be happening from just being a tired mom. She had raised three children of her own and never had it taken such a tole on her. Many people scorned me for being “delicate” and said that I just need to suck it up. I tried. . I really did. I put on my warrior face and suffered through it. That’s what moms do right? We deal with it.
After several months of a downward spiral I finally took the advice of my mother and went to see my doctor. He at first didn’t think there was anything wrong with me. He too said that the tole of having children was tough and that it would get better. I explained to him that I was loosing weight at a rapid rate , however he thought that my weight looked good ( I knew that it was not normal for me to be this thin). He finally decided to do some blood work to see if anything showed up. A few days later I received a call that the doctor would like to see me again in his office. At that appointment he looked at me in amazement and said, “You have scurvy and you are the first case I have ever seen in my entire career”. My vitamin C level was unbelievably low. All I could think about was pirates and was envisioning them walking the planks to their doom. So what did this mean for me? Was I dying? I sure felt like it.
We still do not understand how my vitamin C level could have gotten so low. After all. . I eat tons of fruits and vegetables. Almost all of my diet is home cooked, good foods. I rarely ever eat fast foods. Plus many of the foods these days are enriched with vitamin C. This disease almost never shows up in today’s environment. While we still do not know the cause, we have been able to combat it. I started taking a vitamin C supplement daily and making it a point to eat more vitamin rich foods such as citrus fruits, broccoli, spinach and carrots. Within the first month of treatment my weight increased by 30 pounds. I also started to see an improvement in my emotional health. My energy increased and my skin looked more vibrant. It is amazing that one little vitamin imbalance can affect your entire body in such a strong way.
While I am not a doctor, nor do I support taking unneeded vitamin pills, I do want to encourage someone facing the same symptoms to see their doctor. If my condition had gone undiagnosed much longer, the fate could of been devastating. This is not a common disease, so you may want to nudge your doctor to test for it if you find yourself in the same situation I was in. Scurvy does still exists, and not just for pirates.
I want to leave you all with this little bit of advice: Remember to always eat a healthy, balanced diet. Your body needs it.
<3 Dick and Jane