Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mama is Sick

I find it sort of ironic that I am posting about being very sick in the middle of a rant on nutritious eating, but who am I to question God's timing in all of this. Also, the only reason I have had time to blog on nutritious eating is because I am so sick. Sort of funny, huh?

I have been sick with various symptoms for over six weeks now. We have only found out in the last couple of weeks what is actually going on. It was a relief to finally be diagnosed, but the recovery time is not short, and that brings a sense of anxiety to me.

I have what is called Adrenal Exhaustion, stage 3. You can read about it at the link provided if you like, just page down to stage 3.

I have had 'adrenal fatigue' for several years and have been treated by my doctor for it. It has been mild and somewhat easy to manage. Actually, compared to this, it was a cake walk.

Symptoms that I have been dealing with are:

*Extreme fatigue (unable to do normal everyday activities)
*Dizziness at all times, but especially when standing
*Very 'foggy' headed
*Anxiety attacks and shortness of breath
*Inability to handle ANY stress
*Very emotional
*Hair falling out (not tons)
*Uncontrollable feeling of freezing at times
*Nausea, general upset tummy

There are more, this is the majority of the symptoms. We are unsure if those weeks of feeling sick were actually my decent into stage 3 or if I had food poisoning or a virus that was just too much for my adrenals to handle.

As you can imagine life has come to a screeching halt here. Brian is incredibly understanding and supportive, for which I am so thankful. I feel like I might be going crazy at times, and totally unable to handle the symptoms, and he is always there pulling me through it. He has even had to get a little stern with me at times, as I can be so irrational. He helps calm me through the anxiety attacks. These things really frustrate me because more often than not, I am not even thinking anything and my body just responds to stress with these attacks. I cannot control the breathing and the heaviness in my chest and it makes me crazy!! (Control issues: one of the things God is dealing with me during this time;-)

The children have been incredible, which has been a comfort. My 19 year old son has set a timer on his watch and brings me my supplements every hour. He even called me from Costco to tell me to take them! He has really taken over with meals and the children. My 17 year old son makes sure I am drinking my water and has made me the softest of scrambled eggs everyday this week! All of them have really stepped up to help. We still have issues to deal with and this has brought out some areas that we have really fallen down on the job with training them, but it has been very good. I have a dear friend who just wants to help in any practical way possible, and to be honest, I cannot think of anything that these children and Brian don't have covered.

Apparently, the recovery time for this is about a year!!! You heard that right. Imagine, a passionate, driven homeschooling Mama of nine being told she is going to have to take it incredibly easy for a year! Good one, I thought, but the doctor assured me he was not joking!

These first 2-6 weeks are supposed to be the worst, and I can attest that they seem to be, so far.

Part of the reason I post about this is that I believe adrenal fatigue is more prevalent than most think, especially with mamas. I also believe that the diet that I grew up eating and continued eating into my married life has played a significant role in my health, as I have stated before. Poor diet is a huge stressor to the body.

One thing I have learned is that our adrenal glands do not differentiate where the stress is coming from. It could be poor diet, emotional stress, physical stress, loss of a loved one or even a smashed toe. They just do their job no matter what the stress and they can only be 'driven' for so long!

I'll end with a few of the things that we feel contributed to my adrenal fatigue.

*eating according to the Standard American Diet (SAD) for most of my life.
*several babies and c-sections, while not taking care of myself nutritionally ( I would NEVER blame having babies for the Lord for my sickness! It was how I took care of myself, not having the babies!! tell me you understand this!)
*always 'pushing through' even against medical advice.
*in the year 2000, our family experienced a horrible trauma that continued on for about five or six years, and in all reality, continues on a smaller scale to this day.
The extreme stress of those years took a significant toll on my body. I continued on with life as usual, what else could I do with several children and homeschooling?
*chronic pain for the last 10 years.
*unable to sleep more than 2-3 hours at a time

There is a whole HUGE spiritual side to this that is so overwhelmingly cool, but it is so difficult to put into words. I pray that the Lord allow me to share it somehow, sometime! He is so amazingly faithful and good.

If you have hung in here to the end of this monumental post, I thank you and ask you to lift our family in prayer as the Lord leads.


Deanna said...

Dear One,
God Bless you!
I will go back and read the information you have linked here. Appreciate the heads up on this.
Think alot of people have this and so many doctors place them on antidepressants...I'm not putting anybody down because they are on antidepressants. They have their place in this world, but think so many times the root of the problem isn't discovered.

Adrenal drain is what I think my Mom is suffering with.

God bless you and may you rest/recover from this,

Michelle (She Looketh Well) said...

Yes, Deanna, you are so right. My medical doctor would surely put me on antidepressants and hormone replacements for the symptoms I present with. It would be the WORST thing for me.

I am so thankful that I have a natropath type doctor who is familiar with this. So many people are not fortunate enough to have a doctor like this nor do they even think they can take their health into their own hands. Medical doctors have a way of making us feel that they are in the know and we are not. Can be so intimidating.

I am not against medical doctors, totally, I do have babies in the hospital, some via c-section ;-) I'm just saying, they are not the only way!

I agree, too, that anitdepressants may have their place, but certainly not with adrenal fatigue. My hope is that women will find out about this and get proper treatment long before stage 3! Thanks for your prayers! Love ya!

Emily said...

Hi Michelle, I just read your post and wanted to know I'll be praying for you!! What a challenge to rest for a whole year with a busy, growing family! I can't imagine the challenge, but I'll pray for you as you go through this!

Michele said...

Oh Michelle, I can't imagine what you've been going through. I pray that this time goes quickly and that you would be healed in Jesus Name! Please keep us updated on your blog on how we can be praying for you. And yes, you can post my question. :) Thanks for visiting my blog!

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

That REALLY stinks! I can't imagine. I had a little taste of it just today. My osteitis pubis flared up (I took a walk with my kids on a flat surface, mind you) and I can barely walk today. My son had to help me down the driveway. I was ordered by my husband to rest. He is out of town and said that I may not even go to church tomorrow. I hate laying around. I have stuff to do. Six children to take care of! I guess this is when the Lord had His own plans and wants to teach us or maybe even our children a thing or two if we are willing to learn the lesson of depending on Him.

I'm so sorry you have to go through this. It sounds awful. I will be praying for you. The thought of a year must be overwhelming.

Kim In Texas said...

I have low thyroid function and adrenal fatigue too. I'm doing pretty well now.

I'm praying for you.

Mary at Civilla's Cyber Cafe said...

Oh, I have never heard of adrenal fatigue. Thank goodness they are able to pinpoint these things today. Yes, stress is a bad thing, and we have also been through a lot of it over the past few years, as you know. Hope you get better soon. How nice that your children are stepping up to the plate.

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your illness. Thanks for sharing with us so we know how to pray for you. It was hearing a speaker at a MOPS meeting teaching us about how refined sugar effects the adrenal glands that inspired me to eat healthier. I pray that through this post more awareness of this problem will spread. Thanks for your openess. You will be in my prayers!

Ellen said...

Will be praying for you Michelle...I have never heard of this before and do plan to read up on it.
May the Lord give you strength as you go through this time.
Also..praising Him for your wonderful family!

Connie said...

Those symptoms are staggering. One of them by itself would be enough. My heart goes out to you. Am so glad that God is helping you, that the children are helping, and that you found a doctor to help. I will be praying for you.

Camille said...

What a blessing to be the Lord's! What a blessing you have a supportive family!! Your courage and faith in God shine through your post...thank you for your honesty and "real-ness". May the Lord give you the needed strength and grace for each day. I will pray that you will be able to rest in Him and rely on His daily provision of grace for each moment.

I have written a little post on this very topic...God's grace is never late. Don't think about the length of recovery and worry about what that will look like...look to the Lord ONE DAY AT A TIME and at the end of the year you will be able to look back and see the good things the Lord has done. Praying for you today...

Jill said...

This will be a year of reflection for you. I'm sure God is allowing this for a reason. There's a wonderful Christian woman author who was bed-bound for months. Guess how she completeled her exhaustive work? Yep, so there ya go. Time to write a book, perhaps? You certainly have the skills and lots of life experience :)

Homemaker Ang said...

dear sister, i emailed you. did you get it? i hope it did not go into junk mail!
praying for you!