It's no surprise to you (if you've been reading this blog for any given amount of time) that I mention adrenal issues often. And thyroid issues, and gluten issues.
All of them are related to each other...in some way, shape or form. Kind of like a little domino effect.
At the same time, each of them has their own set of affects on me. Each issue has its own set of medicinal support. All the same, all related, but different.
Even over a year after my diagnosis, I still have "off" days. They're coming around less and less, but when they do come a few things happen:
1. I'm eternally grateful that they're happening less and less.
2. I realize how far I've come in recovery.
3. I realize I'm not as prepared to handle the bad days as I was when I was in them all.the.time.
What does an "off" day feel like?
I wake up already tired. Like I haven't slept at all the night before.
Going up the stairs from our room will leave me winded and breathless. And tired.
Hopefully we don't have to jet out the door right away. Having to start a day on a busy note will literally render me useless for the rest of the day. If we can sit around for a bit, I'm semi-useful.
Regular dizzy spells throughout the day.
Feeling like fainting in the shower....feeling too tired to wash my hair- because lifting my arms above my head is just too much effort.
My arms feel like they weigh 80 pounds a piece when it comes to blow drying my hair. A pony tail will have to do.
At any given time during the day, I need a nap. Not want a nap....need.
On a rare day that I get a nap, I will wake up still tired....still needing a nap.
Exercise? Ha! IF I can push through it, it's a hard hard workout full of half-hearted moves, bad form, and breathlessness. And it takes me almost 2 hours to recover.
Brain fog. I will sit at my computer attempting to work and blog, but essentially do a lot of nothing. These are not productive days.
If I have errands to run, it's like walking around with 50 lb. ankle weights strapped to my legs. Each step a struggle, and I'm exhausted by the time I'm finished.
At 3 o'clock (when a normal person has a natural slight dip in cortisol), I will bottom out. Nothing left. This leaves my body in shut-down mode....craving any type of sugar for a quick pick-me-up. Sugar craving like you've never heard of....I'm learning to reach for protein....but sometimes it just doesn't cut it.
By dinnertime, I'm useless. Mumbling, and short tempered. Hopefully this is a crockpot day and the boys are playing nicely outside. If not, we have boiled chicken breasts and some sort of boiled veggie....D. will take the boys outside and I am a spectator while they play....I clean the kitchen at a snail's pace.
After the boys' bedtime, I will sit at my computer and stare at the screens for an hour or two before realizing I've just wasted a bunch of time. Then, I just head to bed praying the next day will offer relief.
D. once asked me if it was "all in my head." Until I showed him that these are measurable hormones in my body...and once measured, were proven to be well-below normal.
What do I do for it?
- I take adrenal support medicine prescribed by my Dr.
- I take Celtic Sea Salt shots first thing in the morning, before I work out, after I work out, and usually at 3pm. And sometimes more often depending on the level of fatigue and the amount of pain in my back.
- I try to avoid anything very early in the morning. This means switching my car pool during the school year so I don't have to drive in the morning, I quit my gym membership because the only time I had to go was at 5:30am...which made it worse. I now work out in the comfort of my home in the late morning/ early afternoon, and only drive the afternoon pick-up at school.
- I try to keep my schedule sparse of commitments. I didn't do such a great job of that last year...and think I prolonged my recovery. I need to do a better job of it this year.
- I'm maintaining a gluten free diet. The level of reaction in my body was leading me to go into "fight or flight: mode...which put my adrenals on overload. By keeping my diet clean, I'm keeping my body's reaction at a minimum.
- I rest when I can. Trying to push through will do no more than tax them more.
- I take 1 tbsp. of extra virgin coconut oil every day. This makes a BIG difference when I work out!
- I take advantage of good days. I get as much as I can done when I can, so I don't fall so far behind on the bad days.
- I say a prayer of thanks for every good day. And then I ask God for another good day...and say "thank you" for that one too.
So, yeah....that's what it feels like. And that's what I do to maintain some sense of normalcy.
This post isn't to gain pity at all. I realize that until someone explains to me what something feels like, its hard for me to understand. So, the next time someone tells you they have adrenal issues....well, now you know.