Oxygen is essential for using your muscles. I don’t know the exact science but the more oxygen you have going to your muscles the more stamina you have.

I played soccer in an organized competitive league until 2004.   After having made a run and being in involved in the action, when I was off the ball I would concentrate on breathing. Deep breathing would recharge me and I would soon be ready to make another run.

We hear about Tour de France bicyclist who use blood doping.  The more oxygen getting to the muscles the greater the stamina and the longer you can exert yourself at a higher level.  Blood doping increases the amount of Red Blood Cells (RBC) which carry oxygen through the blood stream.  By packing more RBC in more oxygen can be transported to the muscles.

A normal range for RBC is 4.3 to 5.9. My most recent blood work had me at 2.95. What this means is I have a lot of things to do in my own garden plus a lot of projects I am involved in pro bono for the temple and while the spirit is willing the flesh is weak.  I can do anything but not for very long and it is common that once I get exhausted, I don’t recover quickly or not at all.

Which is frustrating.  An older self image I had of myself is as a doer, someone who accomplished things, and the reality is that my current state is a pale imitation of that person.

Somehow or another the key thing they measue is hemoglobin.  A normal range, which I have never been in since I started getting blood work done in the late 1990s, is 13.9 to 16.3.  I have been wallowing in the 12.x for the last decade or so but in the last year that has been sliding and most of this year I have been 10.x.  Last month it dropped to 9.7 which is bad but bad enough that it triggered  authorization from my medical insurance to pay for Procrit. Procrit is one of the drugs used by athletes for blood doping.

For me it is about “PROCRIT® is indicated for the treatment of anemia due to chronic kidney disease (CKD), including patients on dialysis and not on dialysis to decrease the need for red blood cell (RBC) transfusion. ”

Below 10 is the benchmark.  It has taken a while to get get all the ducks in a row to get the authorization and actually take possession of the drug, then get to a requisite tutorial at the doctor’s office but I have finally self administered a dose.  A month had gone by so I had my monthly blood work done that day and the hemoglobin was 9.3, a further slip.

My instructions are to wait two weeks then get another blood test and they will instruct me how large a does to take then based on how I have responded to it.

I can say it has been a couple of  days and no dramatic increase in energy yet. Procrit works by supplying erythropoietin, a hormone that regulates RBC production which is normally produced by the kidneys. When it is underproduced, not enough RBC are produced to replace those lost normally to attrition and henoglobin levels fall.

So I wasn’t expecting a sudden boost of energy but I am guardedly optimistic I can eventually get a little more stamina. Who knows, I may even try some dancing at this weekend’s Festival of Inspiration.