Angie's Adrenal Adventure-- The Good, Bad, and Ugly
I've been reading and tinkering for a while now, but I need to put it all down in one organized place, so I can see my progress. I intend this to be a daily journal where I record foods, exercise, sleep, supplements, etc. and how I feel. I hope it helps me make sense of it all and feel the best that I possibly can. My doctor isn't tuned in to my symptoms, so I feel as though I'm muddling through on my own. I'm eager to find a health practitioner not too far away who can help me restore my adrenal function and help with my thyroid symptoms.
So, here are my stats:
*I've been primal almost exactly one year (since 5-10)
*I'm 5' 6" and weigh 145
*My belly (biggest part) is 35 inches (!)
*My waist (smallest part under ribs) is 30 inches
*Hips are about 40
*I have read the following:
--"the" book, i.e. Mark's Primal Blueprint (this was my intro to this WOE)
--Paleo Solution (Robb Wolf)
--Primal Blueprint Cookbook
--many blogs - PaNu, etc.
--Are You Tired and Wired, Marcelle Pick
--Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?, Datis Kharrazian
--lots of Mary Shomon's info online (not books)
I was an active and healthy child, an athletic teen, and healthy adult until I hit about 30 or early 30s. At this point, I began to feel extremely fatigued, burned out, had very tingly feet and hands, and experienced very sore joints - mainly in my hands and hips. I ignored it for a while, thinking this was how it felt to get "older," but then began to see a nurse practitioner (no longer practicing) who was extremely caring and hell bent on figuring out what was wrong with me. She tested me for everything from Lyme's disease to Lupus to MS. I did have a false positive test for lupus which was determined when I was sent to a rheumatologist who ruled it out. I was relieved not to have lupus (my sister has it) but was beyond frustrated not knowing what the hell was wrong with me.
My symptoms waxed and waned, but I would generally say I was always tired (yet couldn't sleep well to save my life), had sore muscles and joints (felt like an old person a lot of the time), but I kept pressing on, thinking this was just the way it was going to be, so I had to suck it up. At this time, I had been teaching high school for 6 years or so - it's an extremely demanding, grueling, stressful job anyway, and I tended to be a bit perfectionistic in those years- lesson plans had to be just so, papers had to be graded no matter what, etc. I believe now I was simply burning myself out, but I felt young and invincible.
Then, the summer I was 34 (I think), I was living with my now husband, and I had an extreme bout of symptoms. It was in the summer, we were off work (both teach), and I became so weak I couldn't get off the couch for a few days. My hands ached so bad and were so weak that I remember knocking a pillow off the bed, and when I bent over to pick it up, I couldn't lift it! He was pretty horrified, and so was I. For several weeks - maybe a month - I was pretty useless. I got better gradually, but I couldn't really run or bike or even walk. I realized the doctors weren't going to figure anything out (this is when she tested me for MS), so I tried to take care of myself and slowly got better - not all the way, but better than rock bottom. I don't think I've ever felt fully healthy since that time - so it's been 10+ years ago since I felt really well.
I feel much better since I began eating primal, but I am ready to find solutions to help me feel great, not just ok (which is how I feel on a good day).
That's enough for now... I'll continue my history tomorrow and talk about my plan. Thanks for reading!
Last edited by Angieh; 04-25-2011 at 04:30 PM.
Sleep 6- 6.5 hours. Feel crushingly bone tired. Chest hurts.
Was all set to have solid 8 but husband's pump started beeping before 5 and continued to beep every 2 min until it was time for me to get up. Not happy. I didn't sleep well night before either. Everything is so much harder when tired. Also stressing about work - today I have early bus duty, followed by 4 different preps with NO PLANNING PERIOD, followed by my once a week night school shift which puts me home around 7:45pm. Of course I don't have all my papers graded. 12+ day with no planning period - 20 min lunch. I cannot sustain this schedule much longer.
No wonder I'm burned out.
**hug** good luck on trying to get healed. I hope you get a good nights sleep soon.
Calm the f**k down.
Hey there! Just stopping in to say Hi!
I had adrenal fatigue a couple of years ago, and do have thyroid disorders. Sounds like you've read a lot of the good stuff...
Just wondering, what treatment/supplements, etc are you doing for your adrenals (if any)? Also, a really great book for adrenals I recommend (that I don't see on your list) is Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by James Wilson. I found that one really helpful specifically for adrenals.
I know the joys of not being able to get restful sleep. :-/
"Boy I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals" - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Thank you, and I didn't mean to moan and groan. Today was a long a$$ day for me, and I have already eaten and am imposing a 30 min limit on computer. I'm also going to abstain from tv tonight and get in bed with a book. Ah... come on, sleep!
Originally Posted by Metismomma
Hi there Minxxa,
Originally Posted by Minxxa
I would LOVE to pick your brain a little to find out what worked for you. Funny that you mention Dr. Wilson's book - I went to my library yesterday specifically looking for it, but they didn't have it. I was bummed, but I do plan to buy it now.
The only book I've read that focuses on adrenals is Marcelle Pick's, which I literally just finished 2 days ago. She says that even without testing, it's pretty easy to tell that you have it, and from the questionaires in her book and ones I've seen online I do. One of hers categorized people as mild, moderate, or severe, and I was definitely severe. I also believe I am a "workhorse" (her description -- the other two types she calls racehorse and flatliner), and her recommended supplements are:
*astragalus one 400-470 mg capsule up to 3x daily OR an adaptagenic complex with some of these: ashawaganda, cordyceps, rhodiola.
*Siberian gingseng one 370-420 1-3x daily
for mood, immune, fat burning:
*DHEA - she uses drops, 1mg per drop, start with 1 drop 2x day, build up to 5 drops 2x day
*a phosphorylated serine combo (not sure what that means exactly???) with calcium, mag, phosphorus, l-serine
Dr. K talks about adrenal stress (which he says is ubiquitous in our culture to some degree) leading to hypo directly and indirectly. He explains 7 different stages and says they aren't necessarily consecutive. It seems to me you would need a test (and he says just one ASI is useless; you need to repeat it) because he bases them on your cortisol /dhea levels:
ex. Adrenal exhaustion, non-adapted = cortisol is low, DHEA is normal, etc.
He recommends a liposomal DHEA cream (I have read elsewhere that pills are absorbed fine too). Many of his supplements are the same but they depend on the stage. He also recommends licorice for 5 of the stages for energy.
Currently I take:
At night I take 2 heaping teaspoons of cal-mag (natural calm). I also take an Ashawaganda (500mg) which makes me sleepy. And a few times a week I take a half an ambien. I am currently not on synthroid or anything for hypo - my dr. took me off, saying your ranges are "normal", though she only checked TSH (crept up from 2.7 to 3.3 in last 6 months) though I am so, so symptomatic.
And, it would be key for me to add that so far I haven't added any of the recommended supplements, as I am really new to this and just now realizing the adrenal link to my problems. I'm at the very very beginning of my healing process and eager to get on my way to feeling better. Would love to hear how others have healed from this.
Although I feel empowered knowing what the heck is wrong with me, I feel completely overwhelmed at the same time. Is it too much to ask for to have a doctor who can help me with this?? That is what I really want/need - a doctor within a 2 hour drive who can help me sort through all this.
Ok... today was long and brutal. It's time to get off the computer and wind down (sleep, sleep, sleep....). Food was good. Exercise nil. Work = too much and too long!
Last edited by Angieh; 04-27-2011 at 03:28 AM.
Sleep < 6. Boo.
I definitely recommend Dr. Wilson's book as well. For me, I had low cortisol and my DHEA was fine. I am still not sure if my adrenal issues caused the thyroid ones or not-- my mom had thyroid issues-- then thyroid cancer-- so it may just be hereditary and the added stress exacerbated the symptoms. I will never know and it doesn't really matter.
I still take Ashwaganda daily, as well as holy basil... just for maintenance because you can't really avoid ALL stress!
I will go back through Dr. Wilson's book, because I can't remember all of what I did back in the day, but supplementally I took Adreset (by Metagenics) recommended by my doctor and that helped a lot. It has a blend of ingredients and I definitely felt it helped.
A lot of what I "did" was remove stress from my life. At the time, my job was stressful, as in forced to work sometimes up to 18 hours a day by a verbally abusive boss-- who liked to yell for things like wording an email differently than he would have. Seriously. Quitting that job helped a lot. Second was then finding my sleep again. In the book Wilson talks about the times between 10-midnight and 6-8 am as the two best times to be asleep because that's when your adrenals rebuild. So I made sure to be in bed by 9 reading and tried to be asleep by 9:30 as much as possible. I couldn't always do the 6-8, definitely not when I was working, but tried to always get it on weekends and whenever possible. I also removed ANYTHING and ANYONE stressful from my life. And did things that I felt were soothing, whether it was listening to music that calmed me when I was feeling stressed, slow walks, yoga (there are classes that are specifically de-stressing types that are totally awesome). I added back in Vitamin C and rebuilt my D3.
All of those things helped.
As for the thyroid thing... if you're having adrenal issues most experts in that field recommend treating the adrenals FIRST before the thyroid because treating the thyroid sometimes won't work or will make you feel worse if your adrenals are messed up. Wilson talks about it in more detail than I do, LOL, but the basic strategy is "fix the adrenals and then tackle the thyroid".
Before you decide on supplements I highly recommend reading Wilson's book.
And if you can-- I'd go ahead and get an adrenal saliva test done. You can order those through a few of the online lab testing places pretty easily, depending on what state you're in.
And by the way, what state are you in? I'm asking just because I might be able to recommend a doctor or someone who can work with you long distance...
If you look up Dr. Ken Holtorf on google, he is well known for thyroid/adrenal stuff, and he has a few places and I believe may do some long distance work. I think it's probably worth going the distance with someone who you don't have to convince you're sick.
Feel free to ask me anything that comes up.... While I'm not an expert, I have been there and know how debilitating it really is. I know I don't have to explain to you how horrible, weak, useless and fatiguing it is. But it CAN be fixed. Finding help, good resources and being gentle and good to yourself are really important.
"Boy I got vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals" - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Minxxa - I'm really grateful for your detailed response -- very helpful! I just ordered Dr. Wilson's book and will it asap. I also plan to go buy (or I guess order) supplements this weekend - tomorrow I have another 12 hour work day.
My job is definitely taking a toll on me, and I know it.
Will write more tomorrow.
Getting ready to cook eggs and head to the high school until 3 or so for a track meet. I'll post a journal update this afternoon or tomorrow. I need to order all my supplements this weekend and begin my adrenal healing regimen. I long to feel better...