It’s been a while since my last blog entry, I’ve been feeling so many different things lately, and as I started to type I thought I was actually going to talk about empty nest syndrome, or my plans to move to South East Asia in a few years … but as I started – I realized … “I’m really f@cking tired, but can’t sleep, so why don’t you write about your struggles from a health perspective”?
The biggest thing I’ve been struggling with is profound fatigue – as in fatigue that isn’t relieved by rest – and being in a state of constant reduced energy, motivation and concentration.
I’ve been working on replenishing my iron counts (for nearly 2 years now with no success) and my adrenal levels (most recently) which to be honest for the most part, until that happens, leaves me spent by the end of the work day – who am I kidding – I’m spent the minute I open my eyes in the morning.
As a point of reference, I had lab work done 2 months ago, my iron/ferritin count was at 13 —- 13, when the max range is 250 – I was a 13 – and this was taking 2 ferrous gluconate tabs per day – imagine if I didn’t take any at all? I’d need a blood transfusion! No wonder I was dragging my butt around!
I went back to see my new GP, whom I was excited to see – we knew the issue, my iron counts were low (again) – he’d make some wonderful new recommendations and after 2 years of struggling with this – I’d be on the road to recovery …. ahhh not so fast ….. as if it would be that easy … during my 15 minute slotted appointment with him, he seemed to not hear me and how I was telling him I was feeling (I know my body, its been mine for 43 years – and he’s known me 5 whole minutes). His response was that my counts are low (thanks Captain Obvious) and to take iron supplements – I remind him that I am – 2 per day – already – and my counts are still this low – and I’m still struggling – his solution is to tell me to remain on the 2 iron tabs and he referred me to a Gynaecologist and for an ultrasound because I may have additional bleeding causing my iron levels to drop …. that’s it – no immediate recommendations, no take more of this or add this to your diet or take this supplement — as swiftly as he came into the room, he was gone 😦
So, off I went, had the ultrasound … as an aside he has not called me yet to review the results (I need to call their office) and I’m still waiting for this specialist appt – dollars to donuts – his office has forgotten to follow up, they’re not the most organized of offices – sigh. This was all over a month ago, and I have continued to drag my butt around with no relief in sight. In fact, I felt it was getting worse because my sleep was poorer than usual – the feeling of being utterly exhausted and then not being able to sleep is one of the crappiest things I’ve ever experienced – I actually started to feel intoxicated and couldn’t complete sentences. I caught myself making mistakes at work and would come home after work most nights and crawl into bed. It literally felt as if I was wasting my days away because I couldn’t function normally. I don’t know why I am speaking in the past tense here, this is still the case, despite my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts telling you contrarily.
Today for instance – I started actually writing this last night (and by last night I mean Wednesday lol) – I couldn’t finish because I was exhausted and had a headache. Came home from work at 5:10’ish and have been in bed completely spent since.
It wasn’t until about 2 weeks ago that I was at work assessing a claim – so for background purposes I work as a Disability Claims Adjudicator for an insurance company – the claim was for an individual who was experiencing similar signs and symptoms as I was i.e. chronic fatigue, loss of energy, headache, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, leg cramps, insomnia, low blood pressure, intolerance to heat or cold, weight gain (abdominal) and a few more I may be forgetting. I was quite literally at my desk saying to myself “omg, this is me” — I scrolled down to the diagnosis section – she had Addison’s Disease – I wondered – could I have Addison’s?
Since I was getting no immediate help from my family physician (and listen, I get it, they’re crunched for time, don’t have the time to spend with each patient that they really need to in order to best understand their history and active symptomology – I work in disability claims – I see this on the daily), but in this case – it’s ME. I decided to advocate for myself and for my health and decided while my GP was barking up one tree, I was gonna bark up another. I decided to visit a Naturopath last Wednesday – so 1 week ago today (assuming I finish this blog today lol) Update: no I didn’t, it’s now Saturday lol.
She spent an hour with me going over my personal history, my life, what I had/have been going through in my life the last few weeks and months, prior health issues, family history etc … she performed a Postural Blood Pressure test (when we stand up, those of you who are in good health experience an almost immediate rise in blood pressure. In contrast, adrenal fatigue sufferers will see no change in their blood pressure, or even a slight fall. In very general terms, a larger drop in blood pressure signifies a more severe case of adrenal fatigue) – my systolic fell from 110 to 90 in that split second! The thing is when your body isn’t producing enough cortisol, it does’t respond properly.
The first thing I was glad to hear is that she could help me (yes!) and that she felt in addition to severe anemia I was suffering from adrenal fatigue. This was new to me and news to me. Why had my MD (medical doctor) not suggested this as a differential diagnosis? Well … it seems that the vast majority of MDs don’t believe the condition is real. Yet, if you see a naturopath or a complementary (non-mainstream) medicine doctor, they might suggest that you have adrenal fatigue.
So What's The Theory Behind It?
Your body’s immune system responds by slowing down when you’re under stress. Your adrenal glands (which are small organs above your kidney, respond to stress by releasing hormones like cortisol). They regulate your blood pressure and how your heart works.
According to the theory – as per James Wilson, PhD, a naturopath and expert in alternative medicine who coined the syndrome in ’98 – if you have long-term stress your adrenal glands can’t continuously produce the extra cortisol you need to feel good. So adrenal fatigue sets in. There’s no approved test for adrenal fatigue. Blood tests can’t detect a small drop in adrenal production.
More and more, I have been seeking out traditional, natural alternatives to healing my body (massage, acupuncture, cupping, chiropractic and reiki). For thousands of years, we’ve been doing this – the use of herbs, for example, vastly pre-dates modern pharma therapy. The use of body therapies like massage and acupuncture goes back for thousands of years – plus, I want to fix the issues not simply mask the symptoms. So, I was agreeable to taking Adreset® which is designed to support resilience and stamina in individuals who are feeling mild weakness and fatigue due to stress and a tincture called St Francis Femance Excess Flow (Capsella Combo) which is a formula for individuals who experience excessive menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia) or irregularity in their menstrual cycle – so my MD was in the right area thinking this – cause clearly the ND (naturopathic doctor) thought the same thing.
I started taking them the following morning (2 Adreset capsules and 30 drops of Capsella tincture three times per day). We are now at 9 days post-commencement and I can honestly say that I am starting to regain some of my energy, the operative word here being some – but, the way I see it, it’s better than none. She told me to would take about two weeks to start feeling a significant effect. I feel more refreshed upon waking, I don’t feel like I’m in a constant haze/brain fog – I have more clarity, I have enough energy to come home from work and rest but not actually have to take a nap and to get suff done on weekends as supposed to resting for two days straight – today I actually cleaned my whole condo from top to bottom 🙂
“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” ~ Thomas Edison
So, so far so good … I am liking the complimentary medicine approach. In my experience, many don’t understand the positive aspects of choosing natural treatments and alternative medicine over conventional treatment – it’s a shame that Western society has taken this approach. As part of my work, I often see/hear physicians instructing their patients not to use complimentary services. People in Western countries like the United States and Canada mainly consider these treatments outside the mainstream, or “alternative.” Which is truly a shame, they should want the best for their patients regardless of treatment modality – we’re just a part of big business, I suppose.
Do many of you seek alternative treatments? What are your thoughts? Do you suggest any that I haven’t yet tried?