The Spoon Theory and Pernicious Anemia: Are you a Spoonie?

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Find your inner Spoonie…What’s the theory behind the “Spoon Theory,” and how can it help you manage pernicious anemia?

The Spoon Theory and Pernicious Anemia: Are you a Spoonie? B12 Patch

Disclaimer: The B12 Patch is in no way affiliated with Christina Miserandino or her blog “But You Don’t Look Sick.”

“Spoonies are people that live with chronic illness; theoretically measuring personal daily abilities much as one would measure the proper amount of spoons needed for an event or occasion… sometimes having an abundance, other times coming up short.”  –Taken from the Urban Dictionary

The Spoon Theory, in a nutshell

The Spoon Theory is the baby of Christine Miserandino, moderator and owner of the popular chronic illness blog, But You Don’t Look  It began when she was having lunch with an ex- college roomie, when her friend turned to her and asked what it’s like living with chronic illness (Christina suffers from Lupus).  

The question astonished her.  What’s not to understand?   Especially after personally witnessing her agony these past years… the constant fatigue, excruciating pain, and disability…symptoms that are common with pernicious anemia and dozens of other disorder…

Pernicious Anemia: Your 13 Most Frequently Asked Questions, Answered!

Health is wealth

She hit upon the idea of comparing her daily energy level to a “spoon” bank.  Healthy people are the billionaires of the spoon theory; with a never-ending supply of spoons in their savings accounts, they have limitless energy. They can get up at the crack of dawn, work overtime, meet friends for dinner later, pop on over to the gym, and still have energy to watch the late night news.


Sorry, that’s too exspoonsive

Chronically ill people, however, are the scrimpers and savers of the spoon bank.  With Lupus, Christina starts each day with 12 spoons, and has to spend them frugally, lest she become fatigued before the day is through.  She cannot have it all, and she accepts that. By slowing down and avoiding energy-draining activities like driving through rush-hour traffic or shopping at the mall, people with pernicious anemia, as well, can learn how to make their spoons last the whole day, or most of it.

What are the symptoms of chronic illness?

The symptoms are specific to the type of illness you have, but many overlap.  Also, people who suffer from autoimmune disorders like pernicious anemia and fibromyalgia may experience comorbid conditions, as well.

Symptoms of chronic illness may include:

  • Daily fatigue, despite sleeping the entire night and avoiding physical exertion
  • Throbbing or dull pain in the muscles and joints
  • Numbness or tingling in hands and feet
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • “Brain fog”
  • Forgetfulness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Movement disorders
  • Vision problems
  • Trouble sleeping

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Spoonies R us

Since its inception, the Spoon Theory has gained massive appeal.  Not only has it enabled many chronically fatigued patients (like pernicious anemia sufferers) to cope with their ailments, but it has also broadened awareness for the many illnesses that fall under the category of “invisible diseases,” including:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Lupus
  • Celiac disease
  • Migraines
  • Crohn’s disease (IBD)
  • Thyroid disorder
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • And yes, pernicious anemia

Are you a Spoonie?

Please tell us how you have applied the Spoon Theory to your daily life…

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

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Read more about pernicious anemia

Pernicious Anemia- Vitamin B12 Deficiency is Nerve Rattling- Peripheral Neuropathy


The Spoon Theory

Urban Dictionary


alex_smith1, AKZOphoto