It only matters what works for you.

Archive for the ‘adrenal fatigue’ Category


We are having a cool wet spring. It has been 12 days since the last smidgen of sunlight.

I have lost any vestige of ability to be productive unless every possible light is on and the music is up slightly too loud. It’s a real challenge.

I have a friend in San Francisco. She gets a lot of grey weather too. We’re complaining-buddies. SAD buddies. When it’s grey for too long our will to live slowly drips out the bottoms of our feet, a little with each rain drip. Erm, drop. Possibly that’s a little melodramatic. It’s that sort of day. Drama produces it’s own energy.

Full spectrum lights help. If your vitamin D levels are low, certainly fix that immediately. But some people just don’t do as well.

I found this article. I think it’s hilarious.

People with Sad have an unhelpful way of controlling the “happy” brain signalling compound serotonin during winter months, brain scans reveal.

Unhelpful. Yes, a bit.

Lead researcher, Dr Brenda Mc Mahon, said: “We believe that we have found the dial the brain turns when it has to adjust serotonin to the changing seasons.

“The serotonin transporter (SERT) carries serotonin back into the nerve cells where it is not active – so the higher the SERT activity, the lower the activity of serotonin.

“Sunlight keeps this setting naturally low, but when the nights grow longer during the autumn, the SERT levels increase, resulting in diminishing active serotonin levels.

So not only does my body hoard calories, apparently we’re also socking away seratonin for…obviously not rainy days. What are we storing it for I wonder?

Sunshine is due to resume briefly on Sunday. I hope.



Ironing out a few things.

I always associate canker sores with stress. When my mouth was suddenly covered in them even though nothing really exciting was going on, I turned to Dr. Google. Where I discovered that nutritional deficiencies can cause them. Particularly iron and B12.

Well, B12 should have been fine because I’d recently had a conversation with a friend who mentioned that metformin causes B12 malabsorption. Really? ‘Cause I’ve been on metformin over a year and I don’t recall anyone mentioning it to me. I did my research and have both a liquid and a spray. I think it helped my energy levels some.

Iron though. I’ve never had any trouble giving blood and I’ve always eaten plenty of red meat, so my iron levels were probably fine. Right? Not so much.Iron can also be a cause of peeling flaking nails, which I’d suddenly come down with too. Hmm. My favorite thyroid site has a lot to say about iron. Specifically ferritin vs serum iron. I talked with my usual group of fellow sufferers and got myself an iron supplement.


Talk about flipping a switch. Nothing has made that big a difference since I found selenium. Which, by the way, is also much discussed by my favorite thyroid site.

Before selenium, I just hurt, everywhere, all the time. Life was a lot better once I started supplementing. I’ve leveled off at about once per week. But I was still pretty limp and my default state was something I call ‘couch zombie’. A state where I had things to do, and I’d sort of like to do them, but it just isn’t possible to find forward motion, or even to sustain it once moving. It was fairly horrible. Iron is the key to defeating the couch zombie. Who knew? It isn’t in the apocalyptical literature. But it’s helped me a lot. My canker sores went away almost immediately. My nails have stopped shredding. But moving past couch zombie has been huge.

If nothing else, I’m certainly blogging more regularly!

I’m not where I’d like to be, but I no longer feeling like I’m traveling the road of life on a cart with square wheels. Time to work on picking up some speed!

Positive outlook, positive outcome.

That’s what they say. Attitude is everything. Create your reality. You get what you expect.

Well, here’s my chance to prove that. I recently got a letter saying that the doctor I like and trust and worked so hard to find is leaving practice to spend more time raising her children. I completely respect her choice. But my first reaction to that letter was panic. It took me 5 tries to find her.

I could continue to panic. To rehearse in my mind all the various problems that I’ve had in the past. How much trouble others have had.


Or I can take this as an opportunity to walk my talk. I can trust that I’ll be given what I need. I can believe that this is an opportunity to improve my situation, rather than an irredeemable tragedy.

I’d like to think I deserve better health care than ‘pleasant’ and ‘non-obstructionist’. This could be my opportunity to find someone who will invest in working with me to figure out how to optimize my health, rather than just keep it from deteriorating. Dare I say, someone I can trust to actually know more than I do about what is currently not functioning correctly?

I am definitely up for something better.

What did your mother tell you?


“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

My mom did at least.

I think that’s something that most of us have trouble with. Not when talking to others, but when talking to ourselves.

The hardest part of feeling terrible all the time is the feeling that I’m letting the rest of the world down. All the things I could be doing and accomplishing if I could just buck up, force myself off the couch, move faster, pay attention longer.

But I can’t. I just can’t.

Apparently there are people who are content to sit around and do nothing, even though they are mentally and physically able. You hear about it now and then. But I have to wonder, is that true? Are they really mentally able? Because if they are, it is unfathomable. Who could possibly choose to do that?

I put every effort into trying to maximize what I can accomplish. I eat the best I can, I do research, I force myself to accomplish things. If it takes everything I have to accomplish what must be done and leaves me no energy for what I’d like to do, well, there we are.

But when I look at people who just stop off at the grocery store because it is a nothing little task, I could cry. If I had done this and that differently. If I could just. I want so much to be able to do that again.

And I take all the blame on myself. It’s all my fault. No shifting blame to the doctors who let me go 15 or 20 years with undiagnosed food allergies and a thyroid condition. No blame to the government that gave me all kinds of horrible advice about how I should eat that caused horrible consequences. Only a brief harsh word about genetics.

No, it’s all on me. I should be better. I should be different. I should fight harder.

I promise, if I had anything else to fight with, I would.

Are we there yet?

One of the hard parts about blogging about health is that sometimes, when your health isn’t getting anywhere, you’re just so darn tired of fussing and so frustrated with lack of progress that you can’t stand to think about it. Or blog about it.

The really excellent news is that continued selenium supplementation, along with my other table full of supplements, is making a big difference. I have more energy and desire to accomplish things than I have in ages. Possibly a year.

The down side is, it makes me reflect back on the progress I didn’t make this year, and my conditioned response is to berate myself for not doing better. For not being able to do better. For not figuring the answer out sooner. For not fighting harder.

I’m very disturbed by this reaction.

Why is my first reaction always self-hatred? Ok, I know the answer to that one, I just don’t like it. It’s programming. Somehow we’re always supposed to give %150 of every thing we do all the time, despite the complete impossibility of doing any such thing.

I usually react to this in one of two ways. One is to get depressed all over again and need to withdraw because I can’t deal with it. As my minerals get better balanced this happens less.

The other way is to get angry. Really angry. In part because I am very, very tired of trying to meet an imposed set of standards that don’t matter. And in part because I am so very, very, verrrrrrry tired of having to do this alone.

I have a doctors appointment this week, can you tell? I always get very worked up before them, even though I really like the one I’m working with now.  I like her, but the amount she’s been able to help me is limited. Western medicine has become entirely about boxes, and I don’t, and can’t, fit into one. Why didn’t a selenium deficiency show up on my blood work? For the same reason I wasn’t diagnosed with a thyroid issue until I was in my 30s I assume. They don’t look in the right place. Our medicine is looking for major diversions, single causes, one broken place instead of a thousand tiny cracks.

Oh well, at lease I’ll get refills on the few medications that help hold back the tide.

Return of the spoon

My last post was about Spoon Theory. I am pleased to announce a remarkable improvement in my number of spoons, thanks to my new best friend metformin. Generally metformin is a drug for type 2 diabetes, but as it is increasing insulin sensitivity it is a wonderful solution for those of us who have insulin resistance that won’t come under control with a controlled carb diet. I read this interesting article on the best site on thyroid treatment Stop the Thyroid Madness.

Insulin is very important, but our bodies are just not designed for a life of refined carbohydrates, so insulin can get out of control very easily. Insulin is both pro-weight gain and pro-inflammation. Some of both is necessary for human survival, but too much is a problem.

It’s nice to believe that proper diet and exercise can solve most health problems, and for most people it has a profound effect, but sometimes things are just broken and need some extra support to actually heal.

Let me tell you about my friend A. A was chubby most of her life. Then she found low carb and lost about a person’s worth of weight, and she became an athlete who runs marathons and works out as regularly as I change my socks. And yet despite being draconic with her regimen and never, ever eating things she shouldn’t, her weight would not remain stable, and her hormones were a complete mess that made her miserable. Enter metformin. After only a few months what she refers to as Hormonal Hell has been reduced to the usual amount of annoyance that nearly every woman deals with. Her weight and moods have stabilized, and she is keeping her weight stable easily, rather than by the skin of her teeth.

Her tremendous success led me to ask my doctor for metformin. Which my doctor thought would probably be an excellent idea. She did do the ac-1 blood test which showed me only 1 point over the range into pre-diabetes. But I got my prescription. And despite eating poorly while moving house, and adding an adult beverage to my life many evenings due to that same moving house, I have lost a significant amount of weight. Enough for others to notice, and enough to dramatically increase my spoon count.

Feeling better is AMAZING.

Spoon theory

I haven’t been posting as often as I used to. I’m hoping that will change as I continue to feel better. I have discovered it’s hard to post about health when you feel you’ve been going backwards.

In October the OTC supplement I’d been taking for adrenal support was very suddenly taken off the market. My first attempt at a replacement was a Horrible Mistake and made me much worse and my health crashed. I don’t understand why, and I’m not even sure I understand completely what happened, but I was a mess. My body hurt terribly, I retained water like a camel, and my muscles were terribly weak. I gained on the order of 40 lbs in 3 weeks.

And my western medicine doctor wasn’t much help. So I just had to try to figure it out myself. I’ve slowly, slowly been getting better. But I still didn’t feel like I had anything to say here. Until I found a fantastic article that explained my life. The article is The Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino. Her site is But You Don’t Look Sick and it’s an amazing perspective about living with health problems that don’t show on the outside.

Spoon theory is simple. When you are healthy and strong, you assume you have an unlimited number of spoons. That is, you assume that you are physically capable of any normal activity you choose to do. Get dressed, hang out with friends, go for a walk, what ever you need or want to accomplish on any given day is possible. Unlimited spoons.

When you have a debilitating condition, you have a limited number of spoons. You always have to think about what needs to be done and figure out how much you can accomplish on any given day. Once you’re out of spoons, that’s it, and how many you have depends on what your condition is.

Having been fat all my life I’ve usually had a limit on my spoon count, but I’d lived with it so long I didn’t really give it much thought. I just couldn’t quite manage to do everything that other people could do, but I didn’t expect to, so I didn’t worry about it. Then there were the years when I was working out regularly and not sick a lot because I’d sorted out my food allergies and my spoon count went up dramatically, and I really enjoyed that. I still couldn’t do as much as most people, but I could do more than I ever had before.

Then we moved and I was sedentary and depressed and my spoon count was dropping, but I could still manage what I needed to, so I ignored it.

When I crashed in October, I realized what I’d had, and how incredibly valuable it was. Why do we not value things properly until we lose them?

So I’m not quite back to where I was in October, and I’m still surprised by some things that have changed, but I’m actually finding make the right choices much easier now.

I want my freaking spoons back.