Saturday, April 17, 2010

Snapshots of Adrenal Fatigue

Snapshots of Adrenal Fatigue

I have been asked, 'what does adrenal fatigue feel like'. I have a dear friend who always asks what does it look like, how does it feel. She so sweetly wants to understand.

I wanted to share "snapshots" of adrenal fatigue and how it affects me and my family. From what I have read from other people who struggle with a chronic illness, certainly some of these things overlap. Maybe the following will help you understand what somebody in your life might feel.

*I never know just how much energy I will have on any given day. One day I might actually get to do many normal household or parenting things and the next have no energy for anything. I simply cannot plan my days out.

*My heart often aches as I see others, namely my husband, bearing the burdens that I am meant to bear, or having to do all the things I used to be able to do with ease.

*Everywhere I turn, there is a constant reminder of what I am not doing or what I used to do. It can be as simple as a dirty sink or as big as teaching my children school. I will see Brian doing school with the children in the evening, and while I am so thankful he does it, it is one more reminder of what I am not doing.

*Often times I cannot pull the words from the deep recesses of my mind. It is like trying to call one of your children, but calling them the wrong name, only much worse. If you do this, you know how frustrating it can be. I do this several times a day. It takes a tremendous amount of energy just to get the word out of my mouth, only to have it be the wrong word. Thank God my children know me so well, they stop me as they see my frustration and almost always know what I am trying to say.

*All day long I feel like I am barely keeping my head above water emotionally and spiritually. As the day goes on it feels like I am hit wave after wave with emotions. It's like I barely get my feet under me and another wave rolls over me, knocking me down. I'll see my baby, knowing I can't handle training him or playing with him outside . . . or I'll see my grandson, knowing I want to see him more often, but don't have the energy to do so . . . Brian struggling to work, provide, be daddy and mommy . . . seeing the children long to talk to me, but me unable to listen . . .

*I can barely, on a good day, think more than one thing at a time. This, from the queen of multitasking. The frustration of trying to cook a meal, which I used to do without even thinking, now takes great mental focus, and then to have a child walk into the room and want to tell me something! It puts me right over the edge.

*There are days that the exhaustion is so heavy that I almost ache with tiredness. Walking to the bathroom sometimes feels like to far a trip. It feels like I am trying to walk through neck deep mud.

*Most days, it is a constant (non-stop) battle fighting discouragement. The thoughts bombard me one right after the other. This alone can wear me out. I admit, I often just give into the discouragement because I just can't fight it anymore for that moment.

*Self-pity tries to pull me down daily. It is like a vicious attack. It is like I know I am so blessed and have it so much easier or better than someone else, but you still feel miserable. Then, to add insult to injury, I feel such condemnation because I do have it so good, I am not dying of cancer or have lost a husband or . . . 'what is my problem?' I hear in my head.

*I feel so 'lost'. There seems to be no real purpose to my days. I think this one is so hard because so much of who I am is wrapped up in what I do. I am a mama, home school teacher, wife, manager of this home, yet now I can't do all those things. It really shakes me at times as I learn my identity and value is not in what I do.

*No matter how hard I try to plan something out or hope to do something, it usually doesn't happen. So, I give up trying to figure it out, go with the flow, ect., but I just feel so lost. I have no idea what I will be able to handle, or when I might 'crash'. I try to be optimistic, but then I get devastated when I crash.

*One fear I have to battle is that of something really big happening. My body can barely handle the everyday stresses. The thought of something big like, a death, an accident, a major illness, something traumatic happening to someone close to me, strikes fear in me. I see how my body responds to a child screaming, a door slamming, I cannot fathom something big happening. (nor should I, I know ;-)

These are just some of the things that come to my mind as I share little snapshots into my world of adrenal fatigue. I suspect many of you can so totally relate to many of these. For those of you who are healthy and maybe know someone struggling with a physical illness, I pray this gives you some insight that might help you.

One more thing that is so hard. When you see me looking 'normal', make up on and smiling, this does NOT mean everything is all better and I am fine now. It might just be that moment, or I am faking it pretty well, or I will most definitely 'pay' for the energy you are seeing right now, but be assured, everything is not all better.

This is not meant in anyway to come off as complaining. I know we all have sometimes huge struggles we go through. It is just life. God is still beyond good and faithful. I am so richly blessed by being His daughter and I really do have the most amazing life! Hear my heart.

Huge Crash! Update

Whew!!! Has this been a rough go of it! This particular 'crash' was as bad as it was in the beginning. This whole week the children have been at my Mom's or my friend's house. Praise the Lord! Brian was willing to take the week off if need be, but the Lord provided. It only adds to the stress for me if they are not well taken care of and well loved while I am sick.

The exhaustion was extreme! One of the days I could nothing but lie in bed and dose in and out. The other days I played around on the computer or watched some TV. Funny, I have always dreamed of having the house to myself, not quite what I had in mind. Oh, the things I would accomplish! Not so much this week. Brian reminded me that RESTING is indeed doing something! To stop feeling like I am doing nothing. I am giving my body a rest!

My most recent blood work came back today and it was sort of encouraging, I guess. I am still a little confused as to what it all means, but it does verify and validify some things and for that I am thankful. So much went on in the appointment that was in the middle of the afternoon (not my best time ;-) and I was so out of it. Brian tried to keep up, but some of it just goes over his head. I wish we had tape recorded so I could listen over and over.

My progesterone level is still way too low and I am increasing what I am taking.

I do have Epstein Barr. My doctor suspected that I am fighting something that is flying under the radar, as no matter what we do I can't seem to get on top of it. If all we were dealing with here was low functioning adrenals and thyroid and low progesterone levels I should be feeling somewhat better and not be crashing so severely for no apparent reason.

I also had a TPO test which tells you if you thyroid is attacking itself. I was so sure this would be normal (as I was sure I didn't have Epstein Barr, goes to show what I know) but it was 33 and the high end of the normal range is 34. So, we are not sure what this means, but it is interesting and will watch it.

I am also having all kinds of 'gut' issues and when I reminded him that this all started last July with some big tummy troubles a light bulb went off over him! I think, he thinks, I am riding some wave of infection that is putting a huge drain on my already exhausted glandular system. He said it is like trying to fill up the bathtub while the drain is open.

My blood work does NOT indicate any real food sensitivities or parasites, but it does show a compromised immune system. He gave me some really strong probiotics and is going to do things to support my immune system. He did tell me to be prepared for some pretty awful feeling from the possible 'die off' in my gut. I said, "define awful, because I can't imagine feeling much worse." He laughed and said I would know.

When I went haywire last week he told Brian to increase my adrenal supplement from 1 (one) a day to 3 (three) in the morning and 3(three) more at noon. As the week progressed I think that helped. This was a huge jump and goes to show how drained and not functioning they are.

On the spiritual side:
On Monday I was very discouraged and still holding on so tightly to healing. Trying to figure it out! Wrestling with God, Brian and my doctor, mostly in mind! ;-) The Lord so ministered to me that day through His word. I have had lots of time for 'quiet time' with Him, which has been wonderful! I believe He showed me once again how NOT surrendered and NOT trusting Him I was in this situation. He has shown me over and over. I think I get it only to be right back there again. I feel like He gives me some great revelation and I walk in it for awhile, then it is tested and I lose it all over again.

Something seems different this time. It feels like supernatural peace. I told Him that I couldn't release it, that I was afraid that if I didn't at least do my part and try to figure this out I might stay sick forever. I told Him I needed His grace, I couldn't do it anymore, I didn't know how to release it, I would need Him to do it for me. When I confessed that I realized how I was not trusting in Him but myself to make sure everything was taken care, something just released inside. I don't know if I am explaining it well, but it was huge!

I felt such peace at the doctors this Friday, so in God's hands, so not needing to figure everything out, so restful. That is probably why for the first time I don't really remember everything that went on, I was so in my Father's hands. The really cool thing?? The whole 'root' if you will, of all that is wrong with me is 'stress, anxiety and fear' based. Funny, huh?

He is bringing about healing and deliverance, I know He is! It is so much more than just a physical thing. As badly as I want to be healthy, I don't want to be physically healthy but spiritually sick. Do you know what I mean? I don't want all we have been through in the last nine months to be for nothing. I want to receive all He has for me spiritually too.