Wednesday, August 20, 2008

hormones, stress & mold...oh my!

More pieces of the health puzzle have come to light...still more needed.

While hunting down a fly one morning, I swatted spastically in the air trying to get the bugger when I noticed something equally annoying at the air vent above. MOLD was growing around the ceiling & the vent. I ran to other vents, only to find the same thing. But I didn't have time to really give it much thought...or finish off the fly either.

Luckily that day I had my doctor's appointment. During the appointment, we were talking about my last round of test results, which a nurse had already called me to tell me everything came back normal on the hormone tests. But apprarently everything wasn't normal...the doctor reported that my estrogen levels were VERY low & explained that could easily be contributing to the fatigue, depression, weight and sleep problems. I later read it would also contribute to my digestion & back problems as well. I thought, aha! I have found the final link...but why is my estrogen low? I'm only 37, and while I know "the change" can start at my age, I'm not having any unnormal female changes along those lines. Oh goodie, something new to research.

I also mentioned that my sinuses had been bothering me & as those words came out of my mouth, I remembered the mold, so I brought up it. She stopped and said, well that could be the very thing behind all of your CFS symptoms...depending on what kind of mold & how widespread it is. Perhaps IT is the final link?

So now we're testing for mold & yeasts. I've gotten the mold problem at home *hopefully* tended to (and according to the mold people, the issue was isolated just around the vents & not throughout the entire system, luckily). I've not noticed any difference in that respect since.

The only difference I've noticed with the estrogen replacement is that my digestion has calmed down--I'm not AS sensitive to everything anymore. Trouble is, about a week prior to beginning the estrogen supplments, I started smoking again & since I have had more energy...go figure. I know, I know...not the smartest, healthiest or best move after 6 months quit, but I tell you what, I do feel better than I have in six months since quitting & it's not from the estrogen. I don't feel great or even all that good, but I don't feel as run down as I have been. Obviously whatever's making me feel badly was there all along under the smoking, but I don't think it was because of the smoking & I guess the smoking masked how bad it was up until I quit.

So now I'm waiting on new test results...for the molds/yeasts, thyroid, adrenal, killer cells, and it seems something else. Apparently the adrenal glands, when chronically taxed, can max out the estrogen levels. So we'll see what the test says re: my adrenal glands, but I have a feeling they could be the masterminds behind all my ill feelings. I know I say that about everything every time something new seems to be the answer, but from everything I read, those damn adrenals can really make or break you. And since I seem to allow myself to live in constant states of emotional stress (and really what I've come to understand as dis-stress) by being in relationships that are never quite working or jobs that I can't find ways to be content with or feeling financially strained no matter how much I make or spend, and not feeling comfortable, settled, or grounded since moving to Houston. Seems I don't know how to get my needs met, no matter what portion of my life I'm focused on, and this causes me a great deal of chronic disstress.

This last bit is a BIG part of this process for me because it could be very situational, but I think it would be this way no matter what the situation, relationship, job, etc is...this I need more time to wrap my head around & perhaps will blog on it specifically later.
Blood testing is easier to understand just now.

Monday, August 11, 2008

wicked webs and the missing link: endometriosis

Just realized there's a link between Endometriosis & CFS. Another piece of the puzzle comes together...

Years ago, I had a female GP who was the first person to mention the word endometriosis to me, and she explained that it might be worth checking out; however, it would have to be done with minimally invasive laprascopy, which would only tell us if there was an overgrowth, for which tissue removal was a temporary fix, but not likely a long-standing cure. Basically it would simply confirm or deny suspicions.

I have heavy periods, but they're not painful periods per se. I do have painful & chronic lower back pain & a general congested feeling in my pelvic area, combined with the fatigue and moodiness and irritable bowel/digestive disorders. I'd always associated the lower back flare ups to corresponding bowel flare ups, but never thinking there might be a 3rd flare up to blame for them both. It was only when I started to feel that the general pelvic area was "inflamed" that the thought of endometriosis came back into my mind.

Now with my CFS-minded research, I've tacked on endometrosis in my research criteria. Turns out, CFS is 100 times more likely in endometriosis patients than the general female population. Yeah, 100 times more likely & Fibromyalgia is something like twice as likely for endo sufferers. Apparently endometriosis is thought to cause (or contribute to) immune system dysfunction...and immune system dysfuction is known to instigate the viral infections & general CFS conditions.

My what a wicked little web my body has been weaving for me...but little by little, I am grabbing the threads to unravel it til I get to where I need to be.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

a bit of a bitch

I'm going to bitch today because I'm feeling frustrated...with a capital F.

I had a gloriously free & unexpected day off yesterday (due to "tropical storm Eduardo" which turned out to be just a rainy day) and I did nothing with the day becaues I felt so run down and shitty. I'd slept poorly because my back was killing me all night (which I'm pretty sure was due to some flour/sugar ingesting---when will I learn?!?).

Anyway, this is probably why I'm in a pissy mood too...the offending substances are making me irritable, like they usually do. And then I had some watermelon today & have spent the afternoon since lunch bloated & crampy. Is it candida? Who the hell knows.

I'm feeling sorry for myself too because I feel like it's always 1 step foward, 2 steps back. My mom has a friend who's gotten passed CFS and she put us in touch (I was very hopeful he'd have some great advice to impart), but so far it's just been the usual stuff I've already been trying. Then today I joined a ME/CFS group on Facebook (and it's great to be among people who understand), but it's made me realize there's a potentially long road to travel with this thing.

I need to get a meditation routine going...actually I feel like I just need A routine. I think it might help me feel like I have some control in all of this (there is that ever powerful "control" topic again)...or put another way, some say in getting myself well.

So if I put a daily routine together, what would/should/could I include?!?

hot lemon water (am)
yoga stretches & quiet meditation (30 mins total)
body brushing (pre-shower)
various supplements & digestive enzymes w/ breakfast
cider/honey drink (am)
supps & enzymes w/ lunch
aloe juice drink (pm)
walk after work with some light weights/stretching (ideally daily)
supps & enzymes w/ dinner
Epsom bath
sleep aid supps (melatonin & 5-HTP)
stretching & deep breathing
listen to soothing music & journal or read positive affirmation in bed

I'll need to revisit this & see what I can add, but this seems like a good start...and makes me feel alittle less scattered just for putting it down here.

Monday, August 4, 2008

from wiggle worm to PLMD

As a kid, I used to get kicked out of bed when I'd try to sleep with my parents for being a "wiggle worm." In other words, I moved around alot when sleeping.

Now today, as an adult, I've been diagnosed with "periodic limb movement disorder" which sounds made up, but I guess it's just really a fancy way to say I am still a wiggle worm...and I'm assuming it's now an excuse to try to put me on some sort of medication or contraption to make me sleep more soundly. If they could find a way to charge for prescriptions to counting sheep, I'm sure they would patent it & put it in a pill bottle.

There's a whole host of possibilities why, but I haven't the foggiest which one is my why. There are so many theories why people have trouble sleeping, why people toss & turn, why people fidget instead of sleep soundly. Yet another million dollar question to search for answers!

Ugh, the saga continues...