Friday, September 16, 2011

Accidental insight...

WARNING:  A bit of TMI ahead...  
The first time I had to do a 24-hour urine collection so the doctor could see if I was losing calcium, the lab dumped it, and I had to do it again.  (I told you...Yuck.)  Granted, they had their own price to pay for doing so, but it's a hassle.  When the test came back from the 2nd try, I was put on a diuretic prescription which was supposed to help my bones keep their calcium, and I had to promise to do another in a few months, which was now.   --I know you'll appreciate that there are no pictures to accompany this part of the post!

Progression of Adrenal Fatigue
This time, the nurse misunderstood the notes, wrote the lab slip incorrectly, and my sample was tested for cortisol instead.  So I have to do yet another 24-hour urine collection for the calcium test, but it turns out this mistake may have been providential.  The results proved what I've suspected for years and no one would pay much attention to... That I have very low cortisol, which means I am in adrenal exhaustion.  This doctor took notice.

Image from
Adrenal exhaustion has a collection of symptoms, many of which I've been fighting for a long time: Sleep disturbances, startling easily, hypoglycemia, anxiety, low body temperature with cold feet and hands, neck pain and headaches, feeling like I'm SO TIRED all the time, etc., etc.  I was recently reminded of my history with a few of these when the doctor changed me from bio-identical hormones to birth control pills as an HRT.    Not all of the complaints disappeared with the other prescriptions, but they were greatly reduced.  Now I feel headed back in the wrong direction.

The doctor has recommended some herbs and supplements that are thought to help, and I definitely plan on a serious discussion of returning to the more natural forms of hormones when I see her next week.  According to my internet research, it is nutritional and lifestyle changes that will best allow the recovery.

The number one cause of wearing out one's adrenal system is stress.  Whether it be environmental, circumstantial, or self-induced, it's the culprit.  One of my wise doctors told me years ago (when I was suffering from my first experiences with heart palpitations) that my adrenalin was firing when it shouldn't because my body 'couldn't really tell the difference between being pregnant while taking care of 5 young children 24/7, and someone holding a gun to my head.'  
It sort of made sense, but I just felt it was my life, and I had no choice but to live it and take on its challenges.  It's not like I could run off to a spa or hire a nanny.  

But I admit that I burned the candle at both ends (and sometimes sides) a little more than I had to, and didn't pay attention to my own signals and suspicions to do enough self-care.  So I have stresses that are out of my control, but others over which I could have had some effect.

I've already written quite a bit, so will go on with this another day.  
See?  I'm trying to regulate myself already... ha ha.  Truthfully, I have to make dinner.
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