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Friday, April 4th 2008

4:55 PM (3456 days, 13h, 27min ago)

Medical Stuff

  • Mood wiped out
  • Weather storming, tornado watch
  • I'm Thankful For insurance
  • Deep Thoughts .... ow ....

I have been having problems with my back since last August when I fell loading the U-Haul.  I think we are finally getting something done about it and about some other issues.

If you know me, you know I am not crazy about medicines.  I have not always been like this, but the more I learn, the more I believe in the body's ability to heal itself, given the right tools.  God didn't throw us together slipshod.  We are his workmanship.  I have found some like minded medical professionals who use modern diagnostic techniques and believe in my desires to keep drugs to a minimum.

I had an MRI back in February.  They focused about mid back to the end of my tailbone.  Turns out that I have two bulging disks (L-4 to L-5 and L-5 to S-1) and degenerative disk disease (arthritis) in my lower back.  I was told years ago that I had arthritis in my neck.  I am also experiencing arthritic symptoms in my hands.  My blood was tested and, thankfully, I have no sign of the arthritis being Rheumatoid, even though it is in my family.  The arthritis isn't being fully addressed yet, but the back problems are.  I am in physical therapy three times a week.  I am still at the point that I feel great while I am there (getting electrical stimulation, deep tissue ultrasound, massages...) but feel pretty wiped out when I get home and can barely keep my eyes open.  I think that should improve with time.  Seems we are starting out slowly, as there is quite a bit of inflammation in the area.  Once that is under control, we will move to gently stretching the affected muscles and teaching them how to work again (after over seven months of pain, they seem to have forgotten to do anything but try to avoid pain).  After that, we will work on specific exercises to strengthen those muscles and help keep them working correctly.

Now, another issue.  When we still lived in NC, I was experiencing peri-menopausal symptoms.  It looked like my body was preparing to enter menopause, even though I was only in my mid-30s.  They ordered blood tests, but that day, I didn't have to time to sit around and wait to be called to donate my blood!  I never got back in there to get it done.

I mentioned it to my Nurse Practitioner and she said she didn't like to do blood tests for that anyway, since the blood test only tells you what is going on outside of the cells - floating around in the blood - not what is happening inside of the cells, which was where we really needed to look.  She sent me to a compounding pharmacist to have a test done.

Turns out, this test is $150 and not covered by insurance.  The compounds the pharmacist would specifically make for me to address my very specific needs would not be covered either.  Hmmm.  I spoke with the pharmacist (a very nice man).  We are going to wait a few weeks to do the test, until I can afford it.  Meanwhile, we did a lot of talking and he asked a lot of questions.  I even filled out a form on the severity of symptoms.

This is what he believes, from the symptoms, is going on:  he believes my ovaries are shot and no longer produce the estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone my body requires.  When that happens, my body, still needing those hormones, began a few new processes.  My adrenal gland began to put out more adrenaline.  That is to say, it produced more cortisol and DHEA.  The cortisol is converted into progesterone (which is basically like an estrogen booster... it really can't do anything without the estrogen).  The DHEA is converted to testosterone which then is broken down into estrogen by a specific enzymatic process.  What the pharmacist thinks is happening is that the testosterone is not being broken down into estrogen.  So, my "male hormones" are high (hence the beard, uh, stray eyebrows?) and my female hormones are almost non-existant (severe PMS, heavy periods). 

To top that off, because of the adrenal gland being in overdrive for several years, I am experiencing adrenal exhaustion.  My adrenal (fight or flight) gland is about ready to give up the ghost!  I have to wonder if the fibromyalgia is not a result of having so much adrenaline surging through my body for so long that I have become hyper-sensitive to pain?  Also, the lack of energy?  Perhaps, like a drug, my body got so used to having that adrenaline that it can barely function now that the adrenaline is being used for other functions?  Just thinking out loud...

It was also discovered that I am borderline hypo-thyroid.  I have an extremely low thyroid level in my blood, which of course, also affects energy, the ability to lose weight... I have been started on a NON synthetic thyriod supplement.

The pharmacist also recommended a number of nutritional supplements (vitamins and minerals) to help bring my body back into "normal" mode, so to speak.  Once we can do that test, he can make up a cream with specific hormones or whatever I need, I will rub that on my inner wrists each morning to get my medicine (more readily absorbed than ingesting them).

I am so thankful to still be under K's insurance, at least for the next month or two, as I am not sure how I would be able to afford any of this without it.

If you have been wondering where I am... take what I have just written, add in seasonal depression, homeschooling an 8 y/o son, participating in church activities, homeschool group activities, sports... it has been crazy.   

I'll let you know when I learn more

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