chronic illness

Adrenal Insufficiency Explains a Lot

elk

I’ll bet no one tells this magnificent elk that he’s lazy! But he has to rest sometimes, too.

When a battery is low, you can recharge it if it is designed to do so. The human body has been designed to recharge frequently. We are recharged through our food, rest, peace, joy, connection, etc. But what happens when you do all the right things, and you’re still tired? (For one thing, you pace yourself; see related post.)  I’ve been that way now for about eleven years. I was diagnosed hypothyroid about 15 years ago (my how time flies), and a small medication dose kept my T4 test results looking good. Whenever I mention my fatigue with my doctors, they tell me to sleep more, or they look at my blood tests and say everything’s fine. Some would just imply I needed to exercise more or was lazy. I was too tired to exercise more, so I didn’t understand that at all. I found supplements which helped support my adrenals and thyroid, but I didn’t know what else to do. I knew there was a problem, but no one else seemed to get it. Eventually, I gave up and figured that this is how my life would be and I just had to get used to it.

tiny water ralls

It’s been a while since I felt swift!

After about 15 years, I fired my doctor a few months ago. Yup, I’m done with her. She was a great defensive physician – did anything her lawyers and the AMA told her to do – but that was it. She didn’t think outside the box and had no time to deal with something as trivial as my fatigue. When I tried to discuss my hormonal health with her, she looked shocked. I had questions, but she was clear I’d have to get answers somewhere else. Desperately trying to find someone who could help me and speak my language about the body, I found an integrative health specialist. She treats the whole body, mind, and spirit.

I am ecstatic with the change. She is a nurse practitioner, not a M.D., but she looks at me as a whole person rather than an isolated disease or diagnosis. She assured me that she’ll refer me to a specialist if I need targeted care for a specific issue. By the end of my first appointment, I was sold. She listened to me for an hour and a half, asking questions about my medical history and my current health. She ordered blood tests that were much more thorough and in-depth than any others before it; she not only tested my T4 levels, but my T3 and cortisol. And that’s where she found the culprit. The ratio of the T4 and T3 were all wrong and cortisol was pretty far below normal.

mountain wildflowers

Do I still have time in my life to blossom? Is it too late?

And now, wonder of wonders, I have a new treatment plan for an adrenal insufficiency and additional thyroid problems. I have a new thyroid medication because the adrenals depend upon thyroid health, and I have a list of stronger supplements to support the adrenals. There is hope! I am excited to think that I don’t have to be this tired forever! If this regimen doesn’t work, she assured me there are other things to try.

I’m so glad that I found a practitioner that sees me as a whole person rather than a specific sub-set of who I am. After all, I’m body, mind, and spirit – I don’t parse myself out according to diagnoses. I can’t tell you how good it felt for my practitioner to listen to me! The MDs I had in the past never conducted the tests I needed; they saw my T4 was okay and never looked any further. According to the basic research I’ve done, the likely source of the adrenal insufficiency is the massive course of steroids I was on to manage my autoimmune symptoms years ago.

So wish me luck! Maybe I’ll be energetic enough to post more often and maybe I’ll take up a gentle form of exercise like tai chi. The future looks promising!

elk family

9 replies »

  1. I so understand where you’ve been and the frustration you’ve felt with your doctor. I went to several doctors who refused to look wholistically at the issue at hand. My bloods were “normal” so they couldn’t come up with any other treatment except antidepressants, which I refused to take. Adrenal and hypothyroidism are now being treated by a or actioned willing to look outside the box. Good luck with your new treatment. I hope everything works out well.

    Liked by 1 person

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