Friday’s Dr. Follow Up Appt.
I finally got in to see my Dr. (Cedar) Friday for our follow up appt. I love the time this woman spends with me – genuinely interested in teaching me!
For the first time ever, I had actually seen some progress this week in the delayed onset of my daily crashes by up to 2 hours or more! But when I woke Friday morning I woke up crashed. There was never a time during the course of the day that I felt any relief from the fatigue. It’s interesting to think that maybe the 4 hours I spent out – enjoying an hour lunch with my brother, shopping for a dishwasher and visiting my chiropractor – was too much for me. And only learning my “normal base shitty levels” through a simple conversation with Cooth had me seeing this possible day of over doing it. Our conversation went like this. Me: “If I feel like shit all the time how will I know when I’ve overdone it?” She replies, quite simply and in a matter of fact way, “You’ll feel more shitty.” Really quite simple, aye? By taking the last 4 weeks off from the gym and talking with Cooth, I realized I had established my “base shittyness level”.
SO anyway… back to my follow up appt. I think I was hoping she would adjust my hormones or… I hate to even admit it, but… I think I was hoping… sorta kinda… she’d put me on hydrocortisone in order to give me some relief from the shiityness I’m feeling. On days like that day, it’s hard to NOT feel this way. I just wanted to feel GOOD! I’d say “feel good again” but I’m not sure when I last felt good since I’ve proclaimed this to be my “normal” the last couple of years (at least). But, consciously, rationally and logically I knew I’d be MUCH better off in the end if we could avoid these kinds of measures. From what I’ve read here and there, this includes increasing my hormones any further – low is better. From what I understand, the goal is to give the adrenals a break but not to take over completely. When we take over completely the adrenals shut down – there is no reason for them to work. Although it gives them time to heal, it might also prolong their ability to begin functioning optimally again. I can tell you over and over again, I’m learning less is more in most cases. (for real!)
Cedar asked how I was feeling, asking me to describe what I’m feeling. I still feel lethargic most days and some days are much worse than others. Some days I have a higher temperature with the more severe fatigue, which has me suspecting some degree of detox occurring (more later). Occasionally I feel like I’m dragging my arms and legs around. A lot of the time I can hardly keep my eyes open, and I lack any motivation to get out of bed. Other days I may be “okay” but just moderately tired. Sleep sucks most nights, and I’m sure it’s contributing to how I feel during the day. As a matter of fact, this week, after beginning my sleeping regimen, I noticed an improvement in my sleep quality. I couldn’t believe it! This is also the same week I noticed my crashes being prolonged for another 2 hours. One day I even made it all the way to 8pm and avoided an aftermath crash the next day until almost 2pm. All of this was unusual for me. But the day I got out and about Thursday caused me to crash ALL day Friday. I still have some listening and acceptance to work on (more on this later too). So although I saw improvements this week, I’m still vulnerable to overdoing things that seem minimal.
I have noticed some other signs of healing, which I also pointed out to her. I have definitely noticed a return in my libido! No missing that one! J This has left me in complete amazement in how hormones can affect how we think, when all the while we truly believe it’s in our heads – therefore within our control. I think deeply we know… something isn’t quite right, yet there is no other explanation even though it doesn’t make any sense. I think that’s a whole other topic! J I digress. I have also noticed my candida symptoms seem to be under control. No monthly problems thus far and no icky side effects in other areas, if you get my drift. This was something no matter what I tried I couldn’t keep under control or manage in the last year. And here’s something weird I noticed in the middle of the year last year; my eyes began to be goopy. I couldn’t get rid of it. In a recent book I read, From Fatigued to Fantastic, Jacob Teitelbaum suggests sinusitis usually accompanies adrenal fatigue/chronic fatigue syndrome. Well, I noticed the other day as I wiped the goop out of my eyes, I hadn’t had an issue with this for a least a couple of weeks! I would say these are signs healing is taking place. I just assumed the energy would come back first… because I wanted it to? I’m coming to terms with the fact that just because my recovery won’t happen the way I had wanted or expected it to, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. I realize that biologically this is an intricate and dynamic condition that will require many systems within to be stabilized, and this alone will be a slow process… one in which I need to find patience. At this time I’m not even speaking of the changes needed in my emotional and life style habits.
And again… back to the Dr. J As we are updating my symptoms, she says to me, “You know you really are fortunate you didn’t have any other complications from this. There are several things that could have gone wrong – like a time bomb waiting to go off – that could have been a lot worse.” Me: “Yeah, I’ve read about this.” But she goes on further than just what I’ve read, such as heart failure, heart disease, diabetes (from the unmanaged insulin), cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s (the list goes on) and she adds, “blindness and long term mental disabilities”. She calls this the “slow killer” because in the eventually (left untreated) you will die from complications in one way or another. And I commented, “and before you die your life will be of poor quality”. She agreed. (BTW – it has also led to hypothyroidism in me, although she is confident she can correct it in a few months leaving me independent of drugs in the end. I have read and understand the method and I believe her. We shall see.)
For now my treatment remains the same. Other than she has subbed my capsule DHEA supplement with a liquid supplement I hold under my tongue for 30 sec. then swallow. I have to admit it tastes much better than the progesterone I have to suck on at night. They gave me “cran-apple” flavor this time… sounds horrific! Anyway… the idea behind the liquid DHEA is it bypasses the digestion process – moving it directly into my blood stream much more quickly and efficiently. The thing you have to understand about Adrenal Fatigue is it’s a state of depletion. There might also be a condition of malabsorption. Part of this might be due to an overgrowth of candida (commonly seen in adrenal fatigue patients). Candida then interferes with the absorption of nutrients.
I’ll probably get into this later, but KISS for now. BUT… I DO know I have an overgrowth of Candida. I’m currently using Allimax Pre/Pro to address this. Whatever the reason for the malabsorption, the sublingual DHEA should be more effective. She wants me taking the DHEA first thing in the morning. We’re testing the timing of intake with my crashes. She’s hoping that by taking it a couple hours before my crashes it will help push me past or prolong my crashes even further. I’m about to start keeping a supplement/food log for all of this. I may or may not post it.
Today was my first morning with the DHEA and although I woke in an already crashed state (again) 30 minutes after taking the DHEA I felt my fatigue lifting, which I was able to sustain all day, even though I was away from home with little food (Yeah, fearful of that tomorrow). I’m curious and excited to see how this next week goes with this small adjustment.
Back to the malabsorption… Since she does believe, for whatever reason, I do have a problem absorbing nutrients, she was super excited to hear I had purchased the Vitamix! She said this will help give these nutrients a better chance of being used in my system because they are easier for the body to assimilate after they’ve been broken down in the way the Vitamix does.
I couldn’t have made her happier when I told her I gave up coffee. I haven’t posted about this yet, but I fully gave up coffee on February 2, 2011. (yeah, I wrote it down! BIG DEAL, RIGHT!?). The main reason I gave up coffee, despite all the coffee cons, was due to the fact, as I said before, Adrenal Fatigue is a state of depletion, especially in certain vitamins and minerals, including zinc, iodine, magnesium, vitamin C and the B vitamins. Coffee further depletes most of these nutrients. It would stand to reason that I should give it up… entirely! Period. My Dr. was ecstatic – “this is one of the best things you could have done for yourself!”
I informed her of additional supplements I am taking, particularly Vitamin C. (I will get into supplements in my next post) I’m still trying to find my threshold. Does anyone know how you determine this level? Ewwww! For those of you that don’t, you take it until you have soft stools, back off by 500 or 1000 mg and voila! That’s your optimal dosage. Vitamin C is water soluble and has a half life of only 30 minutes! So this has to be taken frequently. I’m taking 14,000 mg. Tomorrow I’m increasing this to 18,000mg. This is an essential vitamin in Adrenal Fatigue patients.
To aid in my healing we have decided to test for food allergies. I have to say that even my “dieting mentality” will be relieved in the end with this one – when I can choose a food with definitive and sound reason and not solely out of fear. I wasn’t sure how she would respond to my next suggestion/question. I asked her if we could test my ACTH (Adrenocorticotropic hormone). Basically, this hormone is produced in response to the hypothalamus and stimulates glucocorticoids, such as cortisol. In some cases of adrenal fatigue it’s been said that there could be a degree of hypothalamus dysfunction. When she didn’t hesitate or shoot me down, I was very surprised. She’s going to find out which tests we should look into.
We did find room to talk about exercise and my diet. With exercise it’s all about starting out slow and testing my response as I make adjustments accordingly. Like I said earlier, it will be helpful here knowing my base shittyness level. Concerning my diet it’s even more simple… I have to eat! Of course it’s important to eat clean foods. She agreed I need to log my food to ensure I’m not under eating, stating that my “high” days of 1800 to 2000 calories is still too low, especially as I am in a healing state. *shutter* It’s always about progress, right?
I’ll draw blood for these tests in the first week of March: hormone panel, the Elisa
food allergy test, and possibly the ACTH test. I’m to see her again in the first part of March to discuss these results.
Cedar was very pleased with the direction I’ve taken concerning my life-style changes and supplement additions, and even though I didn’t feel any better she said she felt very positive about the progress I’m making and will make now. She also told me she was “excited” about looking into the thyroid issue in the following months, as we are getting closer to the adrenals being able to support the “ramping” up of my metabolism. She had noted in my last visit that my thyroid was slightly enlarged, nothing she was too concerned about, but definitely something she wanted to watch. If my thyroid has been under a load, it could be why it is “slightly enlarged”. In addressing the thyroid, she strongly feels this will help in my rapid and uncontrollable weight gain.
But for now, my primary focus is to eat, rest and replenish – opposite of what it would require to lose weight. (Especially with the forces against me!) Yet, all of this is still very hard to swallow at times.