Monday, November 13, 2017

Approaching Your Doctor About Testing for Addison's Disease

A woman wrote me listing how many of the Addison's symptoms she has. This is what she asked, "My question is, how do I approach my doctor to be tested for Addison's without sounding like I self diagnosed via the internet? I need answers... I'm going insane! "

Actually, my doctor approached me, but he was a most unusual doctor. He tested for everything possible and when that didn't work, he gave me a small amount of hydrocortisone. Nothing else had ever helped, and suddenly I perked up.  He then tried the testing for low adrenal function.  After viewing the results of the blood test, he knew that I was not producing enough cortisone and put me on a maintenance dose of hydrocortisone.

I think if I had to approach a doctor, I would keep careful records in a Health Journal (I used a spiral notebook and just made notes.) I would list what I was doing, circumstances (was I exercising, what I was eating, what I was near such as putting gas in my car, emotional stress, etc), the time of day, and what happened to me (how I was feeling, symptoms). After I had done that for at least a couple of weeks I would show my records to my doctor and ask him for suggestions on what he thinks could be done or what tests are needed. I would also highlight any info in my journal that is significant or type a summary for the doctor. Remember that they don't have much time. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

What did I do about Chemical Sensitivities

A man said that he has had problems with chemical sensitivity. He is also very sensitive to strong smells. He asked what advice I could give him. This is my response:

Yes, I have had a lot of trouble with chemical sensitivity. Now that my adrenal glands are healing, I can tolerate a few more chemicals such as polyester chair cushions covered in heavy cotton. I still do not have the ability to go in stores ,or other buildings much, but I can now go to church each Sunday and into homes which have few chemicals. 

When your adrenal glands are not functioning well, they will affect your immune system. If cortisol (produced by the adrenal glands) levels are high they will suppress your immune response. If your adrenal glands are not producing enough cortisol, then your immune systems begins reacting to everything! This is when you develop chemical sensitivities. I also became sensitive to foods, materials, dusts, molds, and pollens. I will never forget the year that all I could eat was beans and squash!

Monday, October 16, 2017

My gray hair is getting more brown hair!

My adrenal glands are healing! They aren't healed, but I am seeing improvements.

I thought it was just my imagination, but it really has happened-- my hair is starting to get more brown hairs in it. When I had Addison's Disease, it was getting pretty white.

I have lost weight! I have lost 34 pound! I am thrilled. I just kept putting on weight when I was on adrenal medication.

I can putter around the house and yard and be recovered the next day!

I can think and write in the evenings instead of just for an hour early in the day.

I can walk two miles without a rest. Before I could barely make it across the living room.

I feel peaceful and not shaky and anxious like I did with Addison's Disease.

I feel happy and look forward to life.

Things are looking up!

What is the difference between Adrenal Fatigue and Addison's Disease?

Two years ago, I had Addison's Disease and now I only have Adrenal Fatigue. Adrenal Fatigue is low adrenal function (production of adrenal hormones) and Addison's Disease is very, very low adrenal function. It is just a matter of degree. The symptoms are the same, but much milder in adrenal fatigue.

Here is the differences I experienced.

Addison's Disease (AD) - extremely nauseous, gagging, no appetite, throw up food, lasts for months
Adrenal Fatigue (AF) - slightly nauseous when over tired and no appetite, lasts for a few hours to a few days

Addison's Disease- exhaustion to the point that I can't move or even blink (really!)
Adrenal Fatigue- tired for a day or so

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Cataract Surgery with Low Adrenal Function

After having Addison's Disease for 15 years and being on a full replacement dose of hydrocortisone, my adrenal glands healed to the point where I no longer needed to take adrenal medication. Doctors advise that you wait at least a year after stopping adrenal medicine before you have surgery. This gives your adrenal glands some time to become stable in producing hormones. Since adrenal glands produce the hormones which help us cope with stress, this sounded like a good idea to me.

After waiting two years after stopping taking hydrocortisone, my eyesight was deteriorating so much that I was having severe eye strain when I tried to focus on things. Not only that, even with glasses it was getting very blurry and everything looked dark. I was afraid to have surgery. Would my adrenal be strong enough to give me the support I would need? I prayed about it-- a lot, and felt peaceful that it all would go well; and it did. I am now enjoying good eyesight. It is wonderful, but it wasn't easy.

Have my Adrenal Glands "Healed"?

After having Addison's Disease for 15 years, two years ago my adrenal glands healed enough that I no longer needed to take replacement hydrocortisone. Does this mean that my adrenal glands are totally healed and I can do whatever I want? No.

It is wonderful not to feel that I am walking a tightrope, always aware that I could fall off into an Addison's Crisis. I don't have to always be worrying if I need to increase my medication to cover additional stress. I do feel much better and recover faster than I did before, but am I far from a point where my adrenal glands function normally.

I inherited weak adrenal glands and stressful lifestyle patterns from my family. I've changed my lifestyle which has helped a lot. We moved to a climate which was milder, has a lower elevation, and little air pollution. This has helped, as has being outside almost everyday and going on daily walks.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Influence of My Lifestyle

Some young women from the Netherlands asked me about the influence my lifestyle has had on me. This is my answer.

I have a very positive lifestyle. I believe that personal growth is possible through the power of Jesus Christ and can continue forever. I believe in sensitive communication, and loving service to others which builds positive relationships that will always continue. I believe in eating healthy foods, adequate rest, and exercise. Of course, this means that I do not think that alcohol, drugs, and smoking are good for anyone and especially those with Addison's Disease who have bodies which are already stressed and in need of nurturing. I believe in marriage and the family. My 45 year marriage has brought me so much joy as has my four children and six grandchildren. I believe in everything that is beautiful and good and try to avoid any entertainment, magazine, talk, and relationships which are negative and draining. I find that evil drains my soul, but light and love fills me hope and peace.

Through the support of my loving husband and friends, and by relying on prayer and inspiration from my Heavenly Father, I have been able to cope with the chemical sensitivities, severe allergies, fatigue, and other problems from Addison's Disease which restricted me to my home for fifteen years. Not only did I cope, but I became a stronger, more compassionate person. My beliefs enabled me to change my life from what I grew up with and become a more assertive person. They also helped me to relax more, delegate, care for my physical injuries, keep perspective, set limits, and discontinue negative relationships. My beliefs helped me continue in hope until I no longer needed cortisone medication.

Also see some of my other blogs - I express a lot of my experiences and emotions here: see adversity and faith see adversity