Nikki Hendrix, 24, from Roosendaal, has suffered from a long list of physical and mental complaints since the age of twelve. “Stomach pain, joint stiffness, nerve pain, concentration problems, depression and forgetfulness. I was tired, always tired.” A diagnosis followed just nine years later: vitamin B12 deficiency. “But I’m alive again,” says a relieved Nikki on the radio program Afslag Zuid in Omroep Brabant.
Nikki says on the radio show that the physical complaints were an obstacle to enjoying life as young adults. “Because of the complaints I couldn’t play sports and I loved doing it. My joints bothered me a lot. Many peers went to festivals or just to do fun things. It wasn’t an option for me and it wasn’t always fun.”
“It is an invisible disease.”
In the search for the cause, Niki and her parents visited hospitals in Roosendaal, Utrecht, Leiden, Rotterdam and Barendrecht, among others. Several times the diagnosis was “it’s in your head”. “I’ve seen many specialists and had many tests done. No one could make a correct diagnosis. No idea why this didn’t work. It was very intense to hear that the cause couldn’t be found.”
Nine years later, the solution lay with a physical therapist. “After the exercises I felt pain in my fingers and toes. The doctor again sent me to my doctor to check my values again. I had already done these tests before, but without success. Then the test showed that I had vitamin B12 deficiency. I suffer from Absorption disorder and thus a deficiency in this vitamin. It is an invisible disease. My twin brother has no problems.”
“I have life again.”
Since then, Nikki has been doing quite well. “Every 48 hours I have to give myself an injection of vitamin B12. Directly into my muscles. I’m fine now. I wouldn’t have dared dream about this three years ago. I got my life back.”
Every three months Niki has a medical check-up at the B12 Institute in Rotterdam. “I still have some residual complaints. I still have occasional mood swings and nightmares,” she describes. Niki works at her parents’ flight school in Buchenhofde. There she can withdraw from time to time and give herself a little rest.
Nikki wants her story to be told further. “I have one of my own Instagram page created. Perhaps for people with the same complaints something to stick to. Many people know little about her. General practitioners and specialists are not always on the same page.”
“Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Freelance organizer. Avid analyst. Friendly troublemaker. Bacon junkie.”