This week I had a very frightening lesson.
I would like to share it with you, as my story is, sadly, not a rare one.
So. As Diva readers know I am a mum of twins with endometriosis, a journey I document here on the blog. Tiring, right? Oh, and I run my own business. And have just started a very strong treatment of Zoladex for my endo. All very good reasons to be tired.
I have know for some time that my tiredness is somehow more than that. Deeper than that. I feel physically exhausted, wiped out and I struggle each day to function. I have tried a few times to combat this myself, generally unsuccessfully, with detox diets and regimes, all with the very best intentions.
You may remember my story of my breakdown in 2005, just after I had been training for a run while I was doing my MA and living a rather full on life. A similar thing has happened after my half marathon with Team Bangs; although I did so well to mentally overcome endo and my poor health to do the half marathon, I had flu for 2 weeks afterwards and have been wiped out every since. This is partly due to the Zoladex being introduced, of course, but what on earth is going on?
Twitter is a wonderful thin. A throwaway comment led to me seeking help. I simply put “why do I feel so tired after having coffee?!” and a lovely tweeter said “it’s your adrenal glands, you need some rest”. So I hot footed over to Google, and read up on adrenal fatigue. There staring me in the face was a list of symptoms I felt, and had done at several points in my life in the last 7 years – extreme fatigue, nervous disorders, bloated abdomen, fat accumulating around my middle area, struggling to get up in the morning, to stay awake in the afternoon and often having a second burst from 11pm – 1am despite being physically drained. Glands constantly up, mental fog, mood swings…the list goes on. Obviously these can be attributed to other things too, but the penny dropped.
I called a nutritionist locally whose number has been lurking in my files for a while. Why I hadn’t before, I simply do not know.
I explained to Ann my myriad problems with endo, zoladex PCOS, my burnout episode, current exhaustion and so on. I had to take some tests for something alled metabolic profiling, which is designed to determine my particular body type and foods that are energy giving specifically for me and my situation. Basically, I had to wee in a pot and spit in a bowl and she measured my output with a machine full of electrodes. Nice.
The tests also measured a number of bodily functions such as pH, how my dextoxification process is functioning, the level of minerals in my body, and what my overall physical age is.
Want to know?
It’s 57 currently.
22 years older than I am.
And that’s NOT the frightening bit.
My adrenal function, sure enough, showed up as being way, WAY below par, and in extreme exhaustion. I am not surprised, and I am sad it has got to this stage, but I am also pleased to have a physical reason my body has had panic attacks over the years. I am not as crazy as I thought, yaay!
Not only that, but my body is showing as operating at such a toxic level of impaired function that I am in a pre-disease state. That is to say, at 35 my body is so unwell and poorly functioning that I am at extremely high risk of cancer and life threatening diseases.
This has stayed with me as a cold chill in my heart since I got the results. Not only do I want to feel better of course, but I want to stay well for my babies, to be here as long as possible for them. So, what can be done?
Well, Ann put me on a course of enzyme therapy, some high quality prescribed probiotics and supplements to get my poor digestive system moving. At the moment my diet is healthy, but nothing of it is actually being absorbed by my impaired system, so the first part is to get it all moving.
I have an adrenal function support supplement, and, of course some dietary guidelines to follow.
My body type struggles to process sugars without sending me into homronal inbalance, so out go the refined sugars, chocolate, even bananas, carrots, raisins. I dont eat a huge amount of refined stuff normally but as I have been struggling recently I have been seeking it out to boost my energy, if only for a bit. No caffeine or alcohol (except on the odd occasion), none of which is suprising. I then have a list of foods which are energy giving for my type and my situation, of which I need to eat 80% of the time, the other 20% I can eat the foods not on the list, but nothing on the avoid list.
This will not be a hard thing to do. I am simply so excited about having the chance to feel well that the idea of forgoing my mince pies and mulled wine just doesnt register any sadness or loss. I feel ill, really really ill, and my body is unwell. I am going to start loving it, to nurse it back to health with nutrition and professional help, and I cannot wait to feel more human.
I will still run, although I am too shattered to do so right now, but not to excess. Just yet. A few runs of 3-5 miles a week is great, but until my system is rebuilt a little extra exercise stress will still batter my poorly adrenals.
The sad thing is that none of this is picked up by doctors; whenever I have gone in to see my GP and complain how ill my whole system feels, it’s always a viral illness they put it down to. How scary, then, that I could have very easily thought so much of this is in my mind, that everyone is tired and I am no different, that there is nothing wrong.
How easy to live in a weakened state for longer and have possibly a much shortened life, or one s it currently is with missing out on so much. Endometriosis has a lot to answer for. The drugs I take to get through it and the pain it puts my body in are all taking their toll. All I can do right now is provide the best environment for my organs to be functioning in, and give myself as much help as possible.
If you feel like I do, please don’t wait to seek the right help. My life is one worth living, and living a longer one for my chidlren and for me. So is yours. A toxic body is a very tired, stressed and painful one ot be in, let me tell you.
So folks, I am definitely on the turkey but off the booze and sugar. So if you see me over Chistmas mine’s a slice of pineapple and a bag of almonds please. And I raise a glass of mineral water to my health and yours.
edit: since writing this I read Lisa Lynch’s latest post. The amazing, fabulous, Lisa whose life is being shortened by The Bullshit cancer. I totally agree that life is for living and food is to be enjoyed. In my case, it’s for 20% of the time, while I get myself back to a better state of health. It’s not about deprivation, or a crazy whim, but sound medical advice that will help me regain the energy and joie de vivre to be mum to those beautiful girls I can hear playing downstairs while I am in bed. Lisa, your writing is incredible and you always give me a boot up the arse. x