Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Not So Primal Post, but... a hopefull one

So on Tuesday I first went to my chiropractor. She did some sort of muscle relaxing thing with this weird machine she has... didn't seem to help much, but worth a try! I immediately went from there to physical therapy across town. The PT was really great, but I felt like I was going to die by the time I left the office.  THEN I drove an hour to the the naturopath (MD who tries to treat holistically, but will also give "real" meds if needed) Dr. Klug. 

Let me just start by saying that Dr. Klug is my new best friend!  She has one receptionist/secretary, and a small, two or three room office, and is amazingly friendly and warm without being patronizing. 

Her first question was "What can I do for you?"  I had to pause because no doctor has ever asked me that question. Ever. 

So I told her my symptoms (you can refresh your memory by clicking on My Story) and how I seem to have fallen into a senseless depression these last few weeks, and I just can't function or deal with it anymore. 

She looked me right in the eyes the whole time. Didn't check her watch, clickity-clack on a laptop, or review papers while I was speaking.  I felt like crying. Some one was not only listening but also *understood* what I was saying.  I didn't get a speech of "just get over it." "If you stopped eating so much..." "if you would just talk a walk."  or any other of the various idiotic things I've been told. She said "I know. It's so hard. Well, the good news is I know what's wrong with you!"

Wait... what.. you do?  Tell me tell me tell me!  

"Your body is screaming out "hormone deficiency!"   Oh, well, yes, I've thought that for years... but what kind of hormone?  

"You are severely lacking in progesterone. When one lacks progesterone one becomes depressed, lethargic, muscle can't relax, you can't get to sleep, you typically cannot lose weight, and a whole host of other things [most of which I have], but there is good news, I can give you a compounded prescription for progesterone, and you should be able to tell a difference the first time you use it, and a major difference within a few months."

Uh. Wow.  I thought I had estrogen dominance, but I never suspected low progesterone.  She says I do have too much estrogen by the fact that I have little progesterone.  Also, did you know that if you are constantly in a state of stress, your body cannot make enough cortisol to keep you functioning, so your adrenal glands take progesterone to convert into something it can use for stress?   Very cool, but not so cool at the same time.  

She said given that I lived in a chaotic situation as a child, that getting my cycles so early (age 11), and then pregnancies on top of it all has caused adrenal fatigue. Yes! I knew that one too, but the doctors wouldn't listen. 

Annnnnd, I have an enlarged thyroid. "Did any doctor ever let you know about this?"  I laughed. I only asked four different doctors to check out my thyroid. Surprise! Not one doctor ever touched or looked at it. They wouldn't even check my thyroid hormones/levels.  

So she says "I am strongly suspecting that you have a thyroid condition on top of a progesterone issue. And probably a few more issues that we can't see yet...."

I have to start taking progesterone and see what effect that has. Hopefully that gets everything working like it's supposed to and I won't need to do much else. I am also going in for lab work to check a lot of things like hormone levels, Vit D levels, a completely full panel on thyroid levels, and all that jazz. She says most likely I'll have to be on a T3 supplement, but we need to see the blood-work before we can determine how much.

I still can't quite believe it.  I have answers. I have a plan. And I have hope.

Stay tuned for some more food photos from our cooking this week!

...that is, if I can find my camera cord.


  1. Oh, how wonderful! When I finally had a doctor agree that I needed T3, my entire life changed -- and when he gave me multiple approaches and asked which one felt right to me? Amazing. I hope that you get all the answers and treatments that you need to feel great.

  2. I was always very skinny and had no weight issues, ever. Around 2005 or so, I suddenly started to put on weight. And I was tired all the time. I had about enough energy to get me to 10 a.m., and then I sat on the couch for the rest of the day. It was awful. I went to my doctor and she said, "You're eating too much and not exercising enough." I said, no, something else is going on. This continued for four or five more visits over the next two years. Finally, at my insistence, she tested my thyroid. She told me the result was "in range." What she didn't tell me was that it was at the BOTTOM of the range. She never tested my estrogen levels, despite my insistence that I had estrogen dominance.

    After two years of gaining 30 pounds and feeling like crap, I finally ditched her for a naturopath. At the first visit, he asked me what I thought was wrong and I told him. He said, "Let's test for all of that," and he did, and lo and behold!--I had virtually no thyroid function and I was estrogen dominant. He put me on thyroid replacement and progesterone and I felt like a new woman. And finally after going Paleo, I've been able to lose most of that extra weight.

    I was on the compounded progesterone for about four years and have gradually weaned off of it because I just don't need it any more.

    Your naturopath sounds like a keeper. I hope you feel better soon!

  3. Women ... I tell ya.

    Seriously, though. That is some major stuff. Usually, it takes some monitoring of specific biomarkers over a period of time to come to such conclusions. However, they are all stress-related, and can often be diagnosed based upon patient statements. With the recent move and all of the craziness that goes along with that, as well as four young girls, and a husband whose work requires a lot of travel; it isn't all that surprising that she came to the conclusion that she did. You're taking on more than you can handle, but like a trooper, you're still hanging with it.

    Adrenal fatigue is often associated with an overly-ambitious amount of physical stress (usually over-training). However, people often forget that stress comes in many forms. Stress, of all forms, can often cause a hormonal cascade that is not only hard to pin down, but also causes a wide variety of other symptoms. This makes it even more difficult to diagnose. There's a lot to say about the endocrine's management of stressors, and much of this is uncharted territory in the medical literature, but the basic fact is that if you're highly stressed, then this system will be working overtime to keep up.

    It's an evolutionary adaption that makes perfect biological sense, it just doesn't fit too well in our modern, everyday lifestyle. But it's still there.

    Of course, you should refer to your doctor, as well as any tests that she deems necessary; but, the typical symptoms of adrenal fatigue usually are feeling like crap the entire day, stiff muscles, being lethargic all day but energetic at night, missing sleep, etc. Typically, the two tests to be sure if you have AF is either an Adrenal Stress Index (ASI) or DHEA-level test, but there are also other methods of diagnosis that are well beyond my knowledge.

    I do wish to share with you a particular aspect of my own physiology that may be of some assistance to you, and that is the fact that I am highly sensitive to dairy. I have no problems with lactose, the sugar component of dairy foods. Rather, it is the protein component (casein) that gives me problems. Unlike lactose intolerance, casein sensitivity doesn't reveal itself as outwardly (i.e. you don't get the clear signal that if you eat dairy you have to hit the toilet an hour later). Instead, casein sensitivity reveals itself via an auto-immune response, which is a BIG stressor on the endocrine system and can lead to such things as adrenal fatigue. Further, casein is a very similar protein to gluten, so it is no surprise that many people are sensitive to it.

    I love cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, and all of that milk-given wonderfulness, but I've learned that the casein causes a great number of problems for me. I can eat a small square of cheese, and all of the sudden within a day I am feeling lethargic, my muscles ache, and inflammatory problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and back-pain (CBP) re-emerge. I can eat butter without problems (it's almost all fat and no casien), but if I eat casein-containing dairy it is like a college hangover for the next few days.

    You never really know what foods you react to unless you eliminate them for a time and then later reintroduce them, and take note of their effects. For years I thought that I was just going to have to live with this debilitating syndrome (CTS), but I finally cut out casein and everything cleared up.

    Give it a try and see what happens.

    1. While I am sure that most of your stressors are environmental, nightshades may also be another food group to eliminate for a time in order to determine if they are a factor. I personally have no problems with most of them, but some people react to all of them; especially the hotter and the more "ethnic" ones. For instance, while I love eggplant, it will put me out of commission for a day. Yet, I can eat tomatoes and bell/sweet peppers without a problem. But I found this out by eliminating them and then later reintroducing them. Self-experimentation.