Hundreds of millions of people worldwide are struggling with diagnoses of debilitating and difficult-to-treat disorders such as arthritis, depression, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain and fatigue. Many of them, however, do not actually have these life-altering conditions. They are suffering from low iron, a highly treatable nutrient deficiency that, if corrected, would entirely eliminate their pain and depressive symptoms. Sadly, most of them will never know it.

It’s the Iron: How My Iron Deficiency Anemia Was Misdiagnosed as Arthritis, and Why Your Depression, Fibromyalgia, Anxiety, and Chronic Pain and Fatigue Might Be Low Iron, Too details the story of my own misdiagnosis and relates how, after five long years of unbelievable physical pain and emotional anguish, I recovered in just a few weeks with the help of iron. Part personal history, and part medical treatise, the book discloses, through patient histories and scientific evidence, how and why the remarkably common but oft-hidden state of iron deficiency is frequently mistaken for other conditions.

It’s the Iron is the first book to uncover this major public health issue that affects many millions. I’m very passionate about this project and can’t wait to release it! Alas, a book of this type requires a copious amount of writing and research, and it will be some months yet before it’s complete. You can keep track of my progress by subscribing to my newsletter or following my blog, both of which I will be updating with snippets from the book as well as interesting bits of research I’ve uncovered in the course of my quest. In the meantime, feel free to check out the outline and useful links I’ve provided below, or send me an email at lorilschafer(at)outlook(dot)com – I’d love to hear your story, too!


Would you like to read a free preview of It’s the Iron? The following sample chapters are available exclusively on Instafreebie:

“Introduction” and “Pain”

“It Begins” and “My Bucket List, or How a Half-Assed Hypothesis Helped Me to Manage My Pain”

Coffee and Tea: The Iron Thieves

The Problem with Osteoarthritis

Iron Deficiency and Depression: The Known Link

Celebrity Profile: Brooke Shields and Postpartum Depression

Iron Deficiency and Fibromyalgia, The Case for Confusion

Finding Iron Deficiency and Finding Cancer

“Happy New Year! January 2016” and “I’ve Recovered! (I Think)”


List of Chapters

What Are Iron Deficiency and Iron Deficiency Anemia?
Patient Profile: Relevant Facts About Me
It Begins
The Blood Tests: Why I Was Iron Deficient for Years Before Anyone Knew It
It Worsens
Coffee and Tea, the Iron Thieves
What Was I Thinking? – Oh, Yes, Cognitive Problems
Iron Deficiency and Depression: The Known Link
Exhaustion Makes Its Home Inside My Bones
The Problem with Osteoarthritis
The Misdiagnosis
What is Fibromyalgia?
American Ginseng, or How the Internet Threw Me a Life Preserver
Saying Goodbye
Menopause, Pre-Menopause and Symptoms of Aging: How Growing Old Overnight Might Mean You’re Sick
Sometimes It Begins with a Busted Shoulder
Depression and Anxiety: The Ugly Hidden Underbelly of My Condition
My “Bucket” List, or How a Half-Assed Hypothesis Helped Me to Manage My Pain
The Effects of Iron Deficiency on Children, Adolescents, and Premature Infants: Mental and Motor Development, Depression, Anxiety, and ADHD
My Heart Is Broken – or at Least a Little Bruised
Happy New Year! January 2016
Iron Deficiency and Fibromyalgia: The Case for Confusion
I’ve Recovered! (I Think)
Celebrity Profile: Brooke Shields and Postpartum Depression
The Relapse, or How I Rebelled against Beef and Lost
Finding Iron Deficiency and Finding Cancer
Tips and Tricks for Overcoming Iron Deficiency: What Your Doctor (and the World Wide Web) Might Not Tell You
Aftermath: From Recovery (Complete) to Getting My Life Back Together (Ongoing)

Find links to useful information, support groups, and blogs on the following pages:

Iron Deficiency Anemia




Curious to see what other patients have to say about your condition? Visit these forums:

Health Unlocked




  1. Lady Quixote

    Wow, interesting. I have a similar misdiagnosed/undiagnosed medical history, only in my case, I didn’t find out until my 50s that I had toxic high levels of iron, due to hereditary hemochromatosis. Now I am in my 60s and 2 months ago my doctor ran some tests and found that I have the antibodies for 2 autoimmune disorders, Hashimotos and Graves Disease. The first one causes low thyroid, the second causes high thyroid. Apparently my thyroid has been fluctuating between the two unhealthy extremes for years! Like you, I have been misdiagnosed with all kinds of things I don’t have.

    I’m looking forward to reading your book.


  2. Pingback: Brooke Shields on Dating George Michael | Lori Schafer's Short Subjects I Feel Like Writing About

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