Tag Archives: tired

When you’re sick of being sick

I’m so sick of being sick.  I have these periods, sometimes as long as a few months, where I start to feel like I can see myself getting better.  But then one minor issue and I’m back at square one again and I find myself feeling like I’ll never climb out from under all this illness.

The nutritionist, E, and I talked about the food allergy panel and we’re trying a few changes, but nothing dramatic.  The big change is that I’ve been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and prescribed a CPAP Machine.

They tell you that it may take some getting used to.  What they don’t say is that you will feel like you’re suffocating, even though you aren’t and your body doesn’t want that thing blowing in your face all night.

After a week, I think I’m getting better sleep, but it’s been quite a struggle.  I wish the doctors had prepared me more for how difficult it could be and that I may have some sleepless nights for a couple weeks.  Why?  Because I’ve got some other health issues that are greatly exacerbated by not getting quality sleep.

Add on top of all this, some family drama and stress with my father’s health and my parents moving across the country in short order and their need to have me come visit them 1000 miles away to help.  Well, that was enough to tip me over and send me back into the adrenal fatigue again.

I’m jittery and have trouble regulating my body temperature.  I can’t sleep when I lay in the bed, but I fall asleep quickly when I sit down on the couch with the laptop.  I can’t think and have absolutely no appetite, even though I recognize that I’m hungry, no food looks or tastes good to me.

My husband and sole support system is leaving town to visit his family for a long weekend and I’ve got my trip to California coming up quickly and I can’t seem to get going on any of the million or so things I need to do between now and then.

My health team has been great at giving me guidance on the best way to take care of myself, but the hard work is all mine.  And frankly, hard work is the last thing I want right now.  All I want to do is sleep.

The last two nights I’ve managed to get good quality sleep, with about 5-6 hours on the CPAP.  I think that’s helping, but I’ve got a deep hole to climb out of here.  All I can do is take it one day at a time and do the best I can to care for myself.

And that’s the frustrating part.  I hate feeling like the “broken girl” or the “sick one”.  I want to be able to exist and live my life like a normal person, but that’s not happening right now.  I know I need to be intentional and patient with myself, but I still hear that inner mean-girl screaming, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!?! GET IT TOGETHER!!”

All my team members are trying to remind me that I’ve already come a long way, but when I feel sick, I just can’t see it.  I feel like I’m back at square one and I have to start all over.  I’m just so sick of being sick.

When Your Body Says ENOUGH

There are times in life when we just aren’t listening to our bodies and they have to start shouting ENOUGH in our ears.  It’s time to slow down, regroup and rethink the situation.

Last December, my dog got very sick.  It was totally unexplained, but one day she just couldn’t stand up.  She would fall over when trying to eat or go potty.  We took her to the vet and she had a seizure. They called to have me rush her to the emergency hospital on the other side of Puget Sound.

She was diagnosed with encephalitis of unknown origin and was put on a round of high-dose steroids and we took her home to hope for the best.  She eventually responded to the treatment, but I was exhausted.  I had been so stressed out and worried about her and then, when things were getting back to normal, my body decided it had enough and started to shut down.

I had no energy.  I couldn’t eat.  I couldn’t sleep, but I was constantly tired.  I had low grade nausea and everything in my body ached. I went to the doctor and she ordered every test under the sun and sent me home with instructions to rest as much as possible.  I just went to bed until test results came back.

When results were back, my MD had found high cortisol levels, some elevated calcium and many other measures were just “off”.  She ordered more blood tests, a CT Scan, an ultrasound, etc.  She told me to rest in between appointments and we’d see what we found.

A week later, my husband took me back to the doctor for results.  He never comes with me to the doctor, so I knew he had been worried by all the tumor talk.   But, as usual, my tests were indicating no serious health issue.

I was given Xanax to reduce my stress levels and sent home to rest.  And rest I did.  Taking the Xanax, I was sleeping 15-16 hours a day and barely conscious for the rest of the hours of the day.

Was this my life? Was this the new “normal”? How is that acceptable?  It’s not!

So I had to go back to the drawing board.  I talked to some of my team members and they encouraged me to call a local naturopath and see what she had to say about my situation.

I’m pretty resistant to adding new medical team members because it always feels like an exercise in futility.  They usually tell me the same thing – Your numbers are pretty much in range. Lose weight. Exercise more.  YAWN.  And despite assurances from people I trust, I was really reluctant to call.

But I did call and the doctor happened to answer the phone.  We had a nice conversation about my situation and set an appointment for later that week.

She had me fill out an extensive intake questionaire and we discussed all the issues.  She ordered a huge number of tests and assured me that we would figure this out together.

Dr H. was also the first doctor who ever took a moment to look me in the eyes and say “This must be so difficult for you.” I thought I was going to cry in front of a stranger.  It is difficult! It’s awful.  I wish I could do things that everyone else seems to be able to do, but the harder I try, the further back I slide. I am not asking to be a superhero, I just want to be able to participate in my life without having to go to bed for a week as a result.

Long story short, Dr H’s tests found a number of systems that were out of balance including my adrenals, my gut-bacteria and my thyroid. I also tested positive for high-levels of candida in my system, so that was a place to start.

Dr H referred me to a book to help me wrap my head around what was going on.  The book was The Stress Remedy: Master Your Body’s Synergy and Optimize Your Health

In it, Dr Doni Wilson breaks down the systems that support your health and how any one of them being out of sync can disrupt the others.

I read the book, although I did sort of tune out once she started talking about a cleanse and her diet regimen because we were doing our own protocol.  I had a clearer picture that self-care had to become a priority and I had to slow way down in my life and just do the things I am able to do.  This meant asking for help, which is not my favorite thing to do.

Sick and Tired of Feeling Sick and Tired!

I’ve been battling some kind of low-grade illness for years  without being able to make any progress forward.  Basically, I’ve just felt sick and tired for month after month after month.

I’ve been to a variety of doctors who all tell me that my test results are all “basically normal”, meaning some are on the high/low end of normal, but pretty much in range.  To me that sounds like something is out of balance and needs attention, but if you fall within the arbitrary range, there’s nothing the doctor can do for you.

Of course, there’s also the familiar fat girl story where the doctor tells you to go home and lose some weight and you’ll start to feel better.  Eventually I got tired of that and decided to do something about it.

I was back on a diet!  I even took a job with a pet-sitter friend so I would be forced (FORCED!) to walk dogs every day and get my exercise.  So there I was, starving, walking 4-5 miles a day with dogs and my weight was mostly staying the same.  HUH?!?!

What did start to happen was that the low grade pain I had in my hips and back started to get much, much worse.  I was pushing myself physically, mentally and leaving very little time for self-care in my day.  I was just getting sicker and sicker.

I had to leave that job after about 2 years, but I was newly focused on figuring out what was wrong with me and how to correct it.  I had my doctor give me all kinds of tests to figure out what was wrong.  We tested for brain tumors and disorders that might cause my symptoms, but everything kept coming back normal.

It is quite an unusual experience to find yourself hoping you have a brain tumor so they can at least have something to work on. 🙂  I didn’t have a tumor, but while we were chasing the high cortisol and calcium levels when we found some nodules on my thyroid.

It was my para-thyroid and 2 of the four nodules were enlarged.  I hit the internet to do my research and read pages and pages of posts from people who had the surgery and awoke to be new people, with all their health problems behind them.

I was given a surgeon in Seattle and I was poked, prodded and scheduled for surgery.  My surgeon told me not to get my hopes up too high, because some people report no change in symptoms after surgery.  Shhh!!  Don’t tell me that!  I’m hanging onto hope here!

Well, 12 weeks later, I was fully recovered from surgery and felt exactly the same, except for the new scar on my neck. Back to the drawing board.

I continued working with my nutritionist, M, and did what I could to get myself physically well.  I was doing yoga, eating whole foods, taking care of myself, getting sleep, not stressing out, etc.  But every day I woke up with dread and somehow managed to eek  my way through every day.

My doctor was thrilled with my blood test results and despite my reports that I don’t feel any different, she said my blood sugars and other measures looked fantastic. Hmmm.

Several of my well-meaning friends would tell me, “You need to go see my ____________.” (Chiropractor, acupuncturist, massage therapist, doctor, naturopath, shaman, faith healer, pastor, fairy godmother, etc.)  But how was that going to be any better than my doctor?  What do they know that she doesn’t?

And then, last December, my body had enough.  It just stopped functioning and I couldn’t do this any more.  It was time to call in more reinforcements.