Listen to your body!
This is going to be long, but I feel like I should put my two cents in. I have several friends in the author community who have had health issues and they were told the same thing I was … IT’S JUST ANXIETY. You know what, that’s complete and utter bull___. I don’t like how everything gets put out as anxiety, when deep down, there could be something really wrong. It might look like anxiety, but it’s not. I feel for all of my friends who were told this and there ended up being something seriously wrong with them.
I can’t express how much emphasis I’m putting on these words … LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. For those of you who know me, I’m always a happy go lucky kind of gal. At book signings, you never see me without a smile. At the after parties, I’m the one who’s out on the dance floor ripping it up. However, for the past four months, I haven’t felt like myself. I’ve been sick, distant, and at times, wondering how the hell I was going to go on living the way I was feeling. I’d been told it was just anxiety, but again, to those of you who know me, I’m not an anxious person. Never have been.
So back in December, I go to the doctor with my symptoms: heart palpitations, low blood pressure, trouble breathing, fatigued, nausea, weight loss, horrible abdominal pain, rashes all over my arms, stomach, and legs, neck pain, back pain, trouble swallowing and light-headed so bad to the point of almost fainting (driving scared the s&^$ out of me because I thought I’d pass out at the wheel). A part of me wondered if it could’ve been anxiety, but I KNEW my body. It wasn’t. I started having issues after my Christmas book didn’t do so well. Guess you could say, it broke my heart because I really love that story and I wanted it to do well. Then again, I’ve had other books not do well and I’ve never had anxiety issues. In the end, I was given anti-anxiety meds which I was very hesitant to take because I knew deep down that wasn’t the case.
I took one of the anti-anxiety pills and ended up feeling WORSE. I swear, I thought I was going to die. I had never felt so horrible in my life. My heart palpitations worsened and my blood pressure was getting down to 80/50. I felt like there was no life inside of me. Once Christmas was over, I went back to the doctor with the same symptoms I described up above, only now my abdominal pain had gotten worse. My general doctor put in for a bunch of blood tests and they all came back normal. I had two EKG’s because some of my symptoms could’ve meant heart attack. I’m 36 years old! I didn’t want to think that all of it could’ve been that. Thank God, it wasn’t. I ended up going to my gastroenterologist to check out the abdominal pain. It hurt so bad that the doctor couldn’t press on my stomach without me crying in pain.
They performed an endoscopy which came up fine. No ulcers, nothing. Again, my pain had not gone away so I went back to my general doctor, pleading for help. He insisted it was most likely anxiety, but again, I was adamant that it wasn’t. With having abdominal pain under both my right and left rib cage, he put in for an ultrasound of my gallbladder and a HIDA scan to check out its function. Turns out there were no gall stones and my gallbladder functions at 30%. The 30% seems kind of low to me, but I’m not a doctor. They said it’s fine.
More weeks pass by and I’ve already lost 17 pounds because I feel absolutely horrible. The pain is just unbearable and the low blood pressure episodes scare me even more. I call the doctor’s office and ask them if they can get me scheduled for a CT scan of my abdomen. Once that’s all said and done, everything looks fine except I have a kidney stone in my left kidney. Still no solid answers as to why I’m suffering as much as I am.
At this point, I’m getting desperate. My husband doesn’t know what to do and I know it’s stressing him out to see me in the shape I’m in. In public, I would put on a good face, but inside, I’m crying. It’s so hard when your kids want your attention and all you can think about is how horrible you feel, and how much you wish you could be there for them.
It is now February and I’m even worse than what I was in December. I go back to my general doctor and plead with him to get me some thyroid testing. Again, I was desperate. I didn’t care how many tests I had to go through or how much money I had to spend, I wanted it done. The thyroid testing was done and it turns out, I was showing both hyper and hypo tendencies. My T3 was through the roof and my antibodies were really high, even though I had a normal TSH. With that being said, I was referred to an endocrinologist. This is where my life changed.
When I go to the endocrinologist, she tells me that it’s not my thyroid causing my problems. I was discouraged hearing this because I thought there were finally some answers. But then, she told me she wanted to check my Cortisol levels which is produced by your adrenal glands. More blood was drawn and I had come to the conclusion that I was never going to get answers for why I was feeling so bad. But when the results came back that my cortisol was low, I never would’ve thought it could’ve been the root of all my problems. Or at least, one of the things wrong with me. Your adrenal glands help regulate blood pressure, glucose levels, etc. Well, guess what … I’ve been having low blood pressure issues. With low cortisol, you can even have the abdominal pain, nausea, light-headedness, weight loss, and every other symptom I’ve had.
It was like a miracle! I’m finally getting some answers. With the low cortisol levels, I had to get a more in-depth blood test done to check my adrenal glands. I failed it miserably. My adrenals didn’t respond to it at all.
I was officially diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency almost two weeks ago. I have to take steroids twice a day for the rest of my life. Taking medication like that every day for as long as I live scared the ever living crap out of me, but I’ll do what I have to for my body to function. At this point, the doctor needs to find out WHY I have adrenal insufficiency. It could be Addison’s disease which means the problem is with my adrenal glands … or it could be a pituitary problem in my brain. The pituitary gland sends the signals to your body to produce necessary hormones for everyday function.
I went through all the Addison’s disease tests and they all came up normal. I was happy about that, but then, that leaves the pituitary gland. I had an MRI done this past Saturday, and yesterday, I found out there’s a tumor in my pituitary gland. Not what I wanted to hear on a Sunday, but with having the tumor, it could be the reason for ALL of my problems. If my pituitary gland isn’t functioning, that could be reason my body is all out of whack. I’m not producing all of the hormones I need for my body to function properly because my pituitary gland isn’t sending out the signals.
I had more blood tests done today and I’m not sure what all is going to happen from here, but the point I want to make to you all is to please LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s just anxiety or that it’s all in your head. It took four months to get the answers I needed and constant pushing to get to the place I’m in now. If I hadn’t, I doubt I ever would’ve been referred to my endocrinologist. I’m so thankful she put in for me to have all these new tests done. Because if not, I don’t know what kind of shape I’d be in.
Only YOU know your body.