Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Jiminy Cricket and My Adrenal Glands

You're supposed to trust your doctors. You're also supposed to trust your gut. There's definitely a balance of trusting your gut and having faith in your doctors. So in walks my Jiminy Cricket the other day while talking about my adrenal results with my doctor. Itching from the inside. Chirping loudly that something is wrong, but I couldn't substantiate it with knowledge - just feeling. Normal doesn't include crippling back pain and insomnia out of the middle of nowhere. That voice kept singing louder and louder. Normal doesn't include 18 months of unstable thyroid. CHIRP CHIRP CHIRP.

Here's the thing about your inner Jiminy Cricket - nothing bad ever happens from listening to it. And bad things often happen when you don't listen to it. We're so blessed with having an amplifier built into our soul.....we need to listen to it.

So when my doctor agreed to test my saliva cortisol levels, I was really grateful. But when she said 'tests seem normal, no treatment indicated', I didn't find myself being relieved...but rather being confused. I swore this *had* to be the problem from everything I had read about it. That said, I had no medical degree to back that "feeling"up. But if it's one thing I've learned about hormones - you have to follow the symptoms. You have to treat the symptoms. It doesn't matter what the standard reference range is for the lab if you still feel horrible.

So there I was, outside my comfort zone, challenging the doctor I had trusted the most of any in my life. And that, my friends, is how I found the answer to something. I talked over my symptoms with my doctor a couple weeks after the results came in and she agreed it was best to try and treat the symptoms that pointed to adrenal fatigue, even if the graphed cortisol levels didn't look as bad as expected.

She offered me a prescription of low dose hydrocortisone. I was hesitant to believe that steroids were the best option, but I had done a fair amount of research about adrenal fatigue - think 4 straight weeks of reading everything I could find - and I did know that a lot of people needed hydrocortisone to heal the stronger forms of adrenal fatigue. So I dove in, head first, and got myself the prescription. 5 mg at night right before bed and 15mg immediately upon waking in the morning. A decidedly small dose, so nothing to really worry about. I doubted it would do much, but I couldn't have been more wrong!

And here I sit 5 days later almost a new person. The constant sharp and aching pain I've had in my thyroid for over a year that no one knew what to do about? GONE. The pain in my back in my kidneys that I've had for years? GONE. The cracked and bleeding skin on my forearms that has plagued me for a year and a half? GONE. Debilitating insomnia that I've had since May? GONE. Crazy amounts of anxiety and stress that ovulation brings with it? GONE.

So while I don't think 5 days of treatment and a serious abatement of symptoms mean that this is all solved.........I do know that something really, really, really good is happening up in my B. O. D. Y.  Maybe for the first time in a long time, I don't feel like a medicated zombie. I feel filled with hope. It's like the sun in shining down *just* for me this past week. I swear it is! :)

I'll tell you what I'm most excited about (someone take a few swings of a wiffle bat to me for saying this)... is the end of my cycle. Is this adrenal/thyroid situation resolved enough to make my PMS disappear? If it is, I may actually be singing from the rooftop. If you're in hearing distance, it might sound like chirping at dusk. Appropriate, no? ;)


  1. Trusting our gut vs. trusting our MD is difficult. I'm glad you were assertive and that your MD responded to your assertiveness with a plan. I hope these improvements continue for you! :)

  2. "And here I sit 5 days later almost a new person." <-- Amen to that!!

    Glad Jiminy kept bugging you! And that you finally spoke up to your doc. Isn't it great when treatment make you feel better? Hope the PMS symptoms are gone now too!! :D

  3. Amazing! So glad you trusted your instincts! I know pretty much nothing about adrenals. Is the steroid something you can take long-term?

  4. Wow! I'm so glad that you listened to your gut on this one! It makes it hard when the tests come back "normal" when something's clearly wrong. I've heard that normal ranges for the tests are based on all the people who get tested (who are presumably people having problems). So "normal" is probably not optimal. And in your case, that is clearly going on!

  5. I'm so glad to hear that you're feeling better so quickly. Today is my second day on thyroid meds, and I can't believe how much more energy I have (and during my period to boot!); I'm hoping that continues, since I do expect to be on this long term.