October 2014 Health Update

My appt on October 6th was pretty straightforward. Dr. Kessinger said, once again, that he'd really like me to consider (expensive!) stool testing to determine if I have an intestinal infection. I've been leaning toward pursing anything and everything else because, let's face it, we've dumped a lot of money into me over the past several years. And, plus, gross. I felt like we were sort of spinning our wheels and was giving up hope of making any real headway this appt when he piped up and said that we may also want to look at cortisol testing. I reminded him that I'd done a cortisol test via my previous doctor. He thumbed through my large chart and found the test results and his eyes lit up.

While my previous Dr. didn't think there was anything to pursue regarding my adrenal health, Dr. K felt like it was a definite piece of the puzzle. He showed me how my cortisol levels weren't as high as they should be in the morning and then how they jumped up in the afternoon. It should be the other way around. Cortisol levels should peak around 8am and then gradually fall during the day. He also pointed out that cortisol levels and melatonin levels are equal but opposites. So when cortisol is high, melatonin is low and vice versa. When my cortisol is low in the morning, melatonin is high so it makes it hard to get up and going (boy does it ever) and when my cortisol rises in the evening, my melatonin is low which makes it hard to sleep. He recommended a couple of other supplements that will specifically help support my adrenals and steady my cortisol levels to hopefully even all of this out over the next few months.

(He also had blood drawn to rerun a couple of tests. One was to see whether my blood sugar levels were responding well and the other was to gauge whether or not an intestinal infection was still a possibility. I'm thrilled to say that the results for both came back great!)

The funny thing about this is that adrenal fatigue is the one thing that has resonated with me for years now. I just couldn't find a Dr. to confirm it and so I didn't place enough importance on it. Interestingly enough, when I was at another Dr. appt yesterday for Gabe (more about that in another post) the nurse practitioner and I got started in on the GAPS diet. She did the diet with her family and now helps others though the process. I told her I was excited to know that because I've long thought that if we ever did hardcore GAPS again we would definitely do it under the guidance of a health professional. I said that we'd seen a lot of progress on the diet, and that the boys did really well on it, but that I had some struggles. She nodded her head and said, "Yeah, you probably needed some adrenal support."

Too little too late.

This is something that I've struggled with ever since I started losing my hair 1.5 years ago. We'd just come off of 6 months of GAPS dieting and I read several blogs talking about how GAPS seemed to tank people's adrenal glands. Yet, other sources said that line of thinking was crazy and that GAPS and even just low-carb dieting itself is the optimal diet for healing adrenals. I felt so conflicted. I would bounce back and forth between a strict GAPS diet and feeling crummy and then adding in carbs and having digestion issues and major feelings of guilt. Neither was particularly helpful.

Luckily, since working with Dr. Kessinger on my blood sugar issues, and Dr. Angie on my parasite cleanse, I'm able to digest healthy carbs without issue so I'm going to forget about low carb and focus on getting high-quality carbs every day. Also, since all of this new info/focus on my adrenal health - or lack thereof - I've decided to make healing my adrenals a top priority for the month of November. Healthy carbs, good sleep, no caffeine (even chocolate), using my light box again each morning, and no exercise.

No, that's not a typo. I've seen over the past several years that every time I decide to push myself regarding my exercise routine, I end up having severe problems with fatigue and weight gain. It's happened many times now, and I feel confident enough that my adrenals are crying out for help, so that I can finally say "enough" and step back from exercising. The only caveat is that I wear a step counter and I have a goal of 10,000 steps each day. I'm not turning into a couch potato, but I realize that, as counter-intuitive as it sounds, exercise is not my friend right now. This is really hard for me because it's the opposite of traditional advice. Even when researching adrenal fatigue and exercise. Some sources swear by HIIT. Been there done that. It's just not working for me.

So November is going to be my adrenal month. My parasite cleanse is done, and I'm slowly starting to feel better in many areas. My hair has actually grown back nicely, my digestion is great, and my sleeping has at least improved. If I can just get over this fatigue and stop gaining weight, I'll be set.

Little by little. Step by step.


Popular Posts