Personal Story

Anita B. Crisp

Anita CrispMy name is Anita B. Crisp and I live in the mountains of Georgia in the U.S.A. I was diagnosed with pernicious anemia in June 2021 and in the past 16 months my physical and emotional wellbeing has taken a full 180 degree turn for better. In fact, I didn’t know it was possible to feel this well until the past 6 months. I wake up happy and well rested after having slept for 8 hours per night. I no longer have debilitating anxiety attacks or thoughts about death on a daily basis. I can grocery shop without having to sit down halfway through due to extreme pain in my back and legs. I can speak without having to search for words and I can remember a phone number that was just recited to me without having to write it down.

I have struggled since I was a child with anxiety and depression which merged with a litany of physical ailments after having my first child in 1994. These mystery illnesses started off as a nuisance more than life altering barriers and were always written off to be related to the already present anxiety & depression that would wax and wane from year to year. The following symptoms would eventually develop and become debilitating by the year 2021:

  • Brain fog
  • Short term memory loss
  • Anomic aphasia (loss for words)
  • Extreme irritability
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Glossitis (enlarged tongue)
  • Hand weakness and reduction of fine motor skills
  • Adhesive capsulitis in my shoulders (frozen shoulder)
  • Symptomatic myoclonus of trunk muscles (extreme twitching or muscle jerks)
  • Loss of night vision and constantly dry eyes
  • Central & Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Edema
  • Chronic insomnia
  • Muscle weakness in limbs and trunk muscles
  • Carpel tunnel syndrome in both wrists
  • Tingling and numbness in hands and feet
  • Severely reduced mobility
  • Altered depth perception
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Severe lower back pain and sciatica
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Carbohydrate cravings
  • Severe weight gains due to limited mobility
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Decreased white matter volume in brain
  • Loss of relationships with loved ones due to my personality changes
In May of 2021, I was having a rare day of clarity and I realized I had to find out why I was so sick before I lost my job and ended up on long term disability at the young age of 51. I decided to start with the facts I already had before me and gathered the results from the many blood tests performed over the years and started to study each anomaly detected. I discovered that in 2013 I tested with very low B12 and had received genetic testing that revealed I was born with the MTHFR and COMT gene mutation. I did not receive treatment for the low B12 and was not educated about the gene mutations at that time. I started researching B12 deficiency and the MTHFR gene at that time. I joined the Pernicious Anemia and B12 Deficiency Support Group on Facebook which has a substantial learning library and experienced moderators that give sound guidance and support. Joining the support group SAVED MY LIFE. I used the information from the group to prepare myself with information before scheduling to see a new physician in the North Georgia Mountains. I requested my B12 and folate be tested. I also asked for my MMA and homocysteine levels be tested based on recommendations from the support group and the book titled, “Could it be B12?” by Jeffrey J. Stuart and Sally M. Pacholok. I was diagnosed with pernicious anemia and vitamin B12 , folate, and vitamin D3 deficiencies before being ordered to start weekly hydroxocobalamin injections which I was instructed to perform at home.

Based on the information I had learned, I realized I should have received start up doses of B12 and should receive daily or every other day injections with sufficient folate supplementation until I no longer was experiencing neurological symptoms. I then ordered cyanocobalamin online and began injecting with 1 mg daily subcutaneously while taking 5 mgs of folinic acid orally. It was the best choice I have ever made in my life!!

I have continued to heal and improve each week but still have some minor neurological symptoms so I am still injecting daily. My physician was hesitant to allow weekly injections to continue but when he saw the results of my daily injections and supplementation after 6 months, he agreed they could continue. After one year, my physician was amazed at the improvements I have made. My eyesight has even improved 25% and I can see a little at night again. My red blood cells are now regular size instead of the large, insufficient, mutated cells they used to be, and my other labs have improved immensely. I no longer need antidepressants. I take 1200 mgs of the supplement, SAM-e, due to the COMT genetic mutation which has eliminated my anxiety attacks all together. I can move without extreme pain. My shoulder has healed from adhesive capsulitis without any other treatment. I no longer crave carbohydrates which has helped me to lose 23 lbs. I have a lot more healing to do, but the significant improvements have given me a new lease on life. I look forward to each day instead of feeling intense dread.

I started sharing with my family members about PA and needing the B12 injections and learned that I have a maternal aunt and paternal aunt who were diagnosed with PA and required injections “for a while”. My older sister went to get tested after learning about my diagnosis and the positive results from appropriate treatment. She also was diagnosed with this deficiency. I can only hope the younger family members take heed and get tested too. Maybe they can be spared the pain and suffering and avoid the extensive damage PA causes throughout the body by getting appropriate treatment in the early stages.

It is truly amazing how our bodies respond to the receipt of these necessary nutrients when it was starved from them for so long. It saddens me to realize I was not alone in my silent suffering all these years. Many people suffer with this debilitating deficiency due to the lack of education for our treating physicians and the lack of a finely tuned diagnostic protocol. The treatment is low cost and non-toxic. All that is needed to stop this senseless suffering is for the research to be completed, education to be emphasized for our physicians, and the appropriate diagnostic protocols to be developed to screen for these deficiencies before the damage to the nervous and circulatory system becomes advanced. I joined the PAS organization to support the ongoing research projects and to continue on my path toward healing. I share my story to say, there is still hope for us!

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