The Tale of the Brown Lady and the Missing Vitamin D

It’s a tale as old as time. Brown girl falls in love with pasty white boy. Moves from sunny California to cloudy England. They have lots of holidays. Then they have children and a mortgage. So they have holidays in the UK and the brown lady (no longer a girl) doesn’t get her winter sun. The brown lady becomes tired, and tired, and then more tired.

Holiday in Cuba - before we had children
Holiday in Cuba, catching some winter sun…before we had children. Look how healthy I look.

After a couple of months of blood tests and an x-ray, my doctor has informed me that I have a Vitamin D deficiency and Osteomalacia (soft bones). I had assumed I was tired because I have two children and they keep me busy. And I had assumed that the back and hip aches were just throwbacks from carrying my son, who was a very long baby. Plus I had suffered with Pelvic Girdle Pain during that pregnancy (PPGP or SPD). Add the weight gain, and a few other symptoms, and I just assumed it was my age. Let’s face it, I am no spring chicken.

It seems that I need more sunshine. I have two young children, I don’t have time to sunbathe in the garden on hot summer days. But if I am not having a sunny holiday, then this is what I must do. Because I really don’t have time to be tired and achy. I need time for me. The housework can wait. The sunlight in the UK doesn’t have enough ultraviolet B from November to March, so your body cannot make Vitamin D then. This is why it is important to get plenty of sunshine in the summer months.

The funny thing is, I give my children Vitamin D supplements in the winter. They’re mixed race, so I know about the dangers of their young bones not getting enough Vitamin D. And in the summer, I don’t put sunscreen on them everyday as I know that they need the sunshine. But I guess it is another case of putting our children above ourselves. As mums, we need to remember that it is difficult taking care of our family when we have not properly taken care of ourselves.

Last year I fell down the stairs and broke and sprained a couple of toes on my left foot. They haven’t properly healed yet. The podiatrist gave me exercises to do, but they really hurt. Now it all makes sense. Why it has taken so long to heal. Why my bones are always aching. Apparently my aches will begin to go away after a few months. Once I have a healthy amount of Vitamin D.

This is my plan to get some more Vitamin D and become a healthier me (for me and my family).

1. No sunscreen – I hear your audible gasps. Yes, too much sun isn’t great for ageing skin. But I live in London and I promise the sun here is nothing like it is in The Seychelles. I will be wearing a moisuriser without SPF, unless I am in the summer sun for more than an hour. And I’ll be wearing anti-ageing night cream while I sleep.

2. Supplements – I am on a large dose of Vitamin D3 tablets for the next few months.

3. Diet – I will be doing my best to eat more oily fish, eggs, mushrooms, and fortified cereals (Kellogg’s add Vitamin D to all their cereals) .

Hopefully I should start feeling better in a couple of months. If you have any tips on dealing with a Vitamin D deficiency, I would love to hear from you. And it’s not just brown people who get Vitamin D deficiencies, more and more people are getting it as we are all keeping out of the sun.

 

Mama and More