In 2003, when I began this web site, I wanted to tell people about the connection I had seen between lines or ridges on fingernails and low vitamin B12. But I didn’t want to make the site be about what I thought and what I observed when no one knows me. I was concerned that if I just described what I’d seen, that it would be discounted. I mean, if I read something like this that someone wrote from their experience alone, I’d be sceptical.
Symptoms, research, low B12 level
So, I wrote down the symptoms that I had felt and I supported their connection to vitamin B12 deficiency with excerpts from respected research. I tried not to say, “vitamin B12 deficiency,” because that’s a medical condition with a specific definition. The definition involves an accepted, very low “normal” range for serum B12 blood tests. I have strong feelings about the accepted normal range in the United States: that is, I feel that our “normal” has its bottom boundary way too low. (I feel as I do because of how it has affected my life.)
I know that my doctors relied on the scale used by the laboratories that processed the tests I had. The laboratories said that 180 to 200 was in the normal range. I would have benefited dramatically from a B12 low of 500-550, with nothing lower being considered normal.
I know that when I tried to sue the doctors and hospital for not diagnosing and treating my B12 deficiency after my test result was 141, that they craftily got the case assigned to an Assistant U.S. Attorney because I’d had a pap test that was subsidized by the government. (The U.S. Assist. Attorney was very nice, but not nice enough for me to appreciate the maneuver which put the case into Federal Court: because of the government subsidized pap smear they said I was suing the government.)
At the deposition of my neurologist, the Assistant U.S.Attorney produced a medical book in which an acceptable low for B12 was said to be 100. That is very low. The lowest I’ve seen a laboratory cite, is 180.
My neurologist reacted emphatically, saying that my test result of 141 was Very Low, and that if he had seen it he would have taken it very seriously. (The hospital had not taken it very seriously.) (I once mentioned my fingernails theory to my neurologist, and he pooh-poohed it. I told him about my observations, but he was not convinced.) Luckily, however, my neurologist wanted me to keep a Time-Line of my symptoms, B12 shots, and any test results that I had. It was lucky because of what I learned from my Time-Line.
When I First Noticed Lines/Ridges on my Fingernails
Because I have some brain damage, it’s a bit hard to tell you about things that are complicated. I can no longer weave together descriptions of different things that come together to create one outcome or situation. So, this will be a bit choppy as I tell you one thing and then another in order to give you a full picture.
That said, in 1991 the IRS levied me for 1984 which I had paid in 1985, the way you are supposed to. Only I was $23 short because I’d done one part of it wrong, and that $23 was late being paid.
IRS, however, levied me for about $1,100 which was my total taxes for that year.
The numbers are so small, but I had little money in 1984 so in comparison to all the money I had, $1,100 was a lot of money, especially to be charged double.
The thing is, the IRS didn’t just charge me, and it sure didn’t correct its error when I sent in all the documents showing that I’d paid, instead it began threatening me with taking my home.
By 1994 IRS had levied me three times and not one of the levies was correct. The final levy put me out of business because they took all of my money from a commission I had been waiting several months to receive because it was from the sale of new construction. (I was a Realtor ~ it was the best job I had ever had and I loved it.)
IRS did not leave me any money, not enough to buy an apple or a tortilla. (I later learned that my broker had a duty to calculate a sum that was supposed to have been turned over to me. There is a case… I’ll have to look up the title, but I think it’s Farr v. something, that establishes that these calculations must be done.
I sued my broker, but the judge deferred to his lawyer rather than looking at the true case law. I appealed, and they offered to settle for $5,000. I didn’t have any money at the time, so I settled. This was fairly shortly after I moved back into my condo where there was hydrogen sulfide, but I didn’t know about the hydrogen sulfide at that time.)
Okay, so IRS threatened me and threatened me. IRS went to my tenants and told them they were not to pay me rent, that they were to turn the money over to IRS. It was one of my tenants that told me about the duty to calculate how much I was supposed to get from any amount.
The point here is the unrelenting threats. IRS called me all the time to tell me they were going to take my home. They told me I should get a different job where I would be paid regularly rather than by commission. They just attacked and attacked.
Because of how they destroyed my sense of well being I am very sympathetic to the Iraqis who are being bombed all the time. When I hear our government say that a family or two was killed but it was unavoidable because terrorists were being targeted, I remember how the government felt it was unavoidable to put me out of business because I may not have properly paid my taxes.
Stress, sleep deprivation and pain
The more IRS threatened me, the less I slept. The less I slept the more my bones hurt. The more my bones hurt, the less I could sleep.
The bones in my legs hurt so much that Ibuprofen made little difference. In the end, just before U.S. News & World Report called me in the fall of 1995, I was lucky to get three hours sleep in any twenty-four hours. After U.S. News & World Report called and listened to my account of my experience and said they would use some of it in their story on IRS abuse I was able to start sleeping again.
What this shows is first, that stress can cause sleep deprivation and second that stress can be relieved by understanding.
The relationship between stress and sleep deprivation is important. If you are under a lot of stress it is vital for you to find a way to relax.
Attempted suicide led to B12 test
This is where I wish my mind still worked the way it used to. I want to tell you that it would be over a year till I happened to look at my fingernails and happened to see the lines/ridges on them. The reason, most likely, that U.S. News & World Report called, besides Peter Sepp from the National Taxpayers’ Union giving them my name and number, was that I had been writing a lot of letters calling for the reform of IRS.
I had been writing that if I ran out of money or my property was foreclosed that Iwould kill myself in protest of IRS abuse. I wrote comparing myself to a soldier who gave his life for the welfare of others.
It is precisely because I took the exact position that I took that I was given a B12 test. That is to say that in 1997 after my condo was foreclosed (yes, it was foreclosed then, too) Iwas faced with being true to what I had written… or not.
I felt sure that I would go straight to heaven for giving my life for the welfare of others, but… I mean, it’s a big step and I wanted to be sure. So, I said some prayers and asked that if it was really a good idea for me to kill myself, then please would a coin come up… I forget whether it was heads or tails to which I assigned killing myself… but, in any case, the coin came up that I should kill myself. I was a little surprised. But I was also major relieved because I felt as if death would bring this wonderful peace.
Low B12 affects thoughts
It’s hard to explain how limited my thoughts were at that time. I had "large" thoughts, but they were sort of inflexible. I didn’t have memory of good times. I think that if I had, it might have altered how I saw the situation. I think that I did not have that memory because of the effects of my low B12 (which I didn’tknow about). This shows how important it is to know the symptoms of low vitamin B12.
The first time I noticed ridges on my fingernails
I remember sitting on my bed and looking at my fingernails and noticing that the fingernail on my left ring finger had enormous ridges on it. All of my fingernails had ridges on them, but that fingernail had ridges on top of ridges. I remember wondering if they were related to something physical, if they were a symptom of something. I didn’t remember ever having heard anything like that. But still I wondered if maybe it was related to my nerves.
Although I wondered whether, if my nerves were stronger, I would have found another way to protest IRS abuse, I decided I had to stick with what I had started, especially since the coin had confirmed it.
So I had a bath, got together the 120 “last letters” I hadwritten over the months, complete with picture of me in happier times. I folded each letter in black construction paper so as to bring home the effect of my death, and went and mailed them. I came home and ate my “last meal” of goat cheese and tortillas accompanied by a mug of coffee with Grand Marnier (my favorite) with instant whipped cream on top. It was so good.
Then I got into my car. I had a little bottle of frankincense which smells really good and which I believed would be what I would smell instead of the carbon monoxide.
It was after I was found in my car with the exhaust being funneled in that I was taken to hospital and in the course of saving my life they gave me tests for illegal drugs as well as a vitamin B12 test. I was clean for drugs, except the 60 Dalmane that I’d taken so that I’d sleep through the carbon monoxide killing me. (My first words, according to a nurse who had been there, were, “I didn’t make it.”
Here’s the thing, if not for trying to kill myself there would have been no B12 test that showed something was going wrong with my body.
Attempted suicide showed something was going wrong with my body
It is important to recognize that something was going wrong with my body in contrast to the generally held belief that suicide is exclusively a result of mental problems.
For instance, some people who received my letters about being abused by IRS sent over Community Mental Health Workers. Those workers were from Prysbyterian Medical. I asked them for medical help with my physical condition because I was sure something was wrong, but they said, No.
They said my problem was my thinking and they recommended therapy. Their therapist said I should just forget about the abuse by IRS.
I knew they were wrong, that there was something wrong in my physical body. I wished they would help, but I could not get them to help.
What I experienced was that mental problems, like the lack of memory of the good times, was a result of stress and, significantly, what I learned from the B12 test after I tried to kill myself, was that stress had worn out my reserves of vitamin B12.
Of course, until I kept my Time-Line after I was getting B12 replacement, and until I saw the ridges on my fingernails decrease as I had B12 replacement, which they did in a veryvisible way, I had no idea that B12 was related to our fingernails.
Once I saw these things I knew that when our stores of vitamin B12 run low, our fingernails cease to be smooth.
And, I thought how really lucky that is, how really huge of a Blessing that is, because the mental problems, the cognitive dysfunction, makes it almost impossible to identify when we have onlyour cognition to identify it. That is because when our cognition is faulty the process of identifying the cognitive dysfunction is faulty also.
See? I hope so.
This is how I know that it is true that our fingernails reflect our health, particularly our nerve health.
Watch your fingernails, keep in mind that they reflect yourhealth, that they may be able to show you important things that would otherwise be hidden until after significant damage was done.
Karen Marie Kline ~ 7/4/06