Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Glass Half Full Day

After what feels like weeks of wet and windy weather, this morning's sky was full of promise. There was a distinct spring-like feeling to the day and over breakfast Mr J and I made a plan of action for the day. This list was more a loose guide of the things we'd like to achieve than a hard and fast must-do list.

I headed outside to continue putting the glass panels into the green house. I've said it before and it still stands, reglazing a second hand greenhouse is like doing a jigsaw puzzle without knowing what the final picture is supposed to be.
I now have enough glass panes in to have a sheltered corner in which to keep a mug of tea and the fixings dry. It definitely feels like I am making good, if somewhat slow, progress. But it's not a race and I know that I can't work as quickly as I could a year ago, so I am enjoying the experience pane by pane.
The chickens came to have some company, they enjoyed being able to find breeze free corners to settle down and enjoy the sunshine. They are such social creatures and chatter away constantly, they then headed off again to find a dust bath behind the piggeries.

The glazing in the greenhouse is now more than half done and it won't be long before it completed and ready to use. I have so many seeds that need to be sown in the next three months to be ready for the garden in spring and early summer, I am looking forward to spending time in their quietly sowing  seeds and then pricking out seedlings.
Just before lunch I felt a familiar feeling that I haven't had for about five weeks, a particular pain in my back and sides. Within minutes I realised that I was having an adrenal problem so folded up the ladder, picked up my telephone and headed indoors as quickly as I could (which wasn't very fast). I went straight to bed and Mr J brought me a long drink with salt added to it. This sounds horrid but is the best thing helping to reduce the adrenal pains. I tried to take comfort in the fact that I haven't felt like this since we moved here, but lying in bed, shivering, hurting and not sure whether I was going to be sick or not, it was quite hard to find a positive. But most of all, I was frustrated that I wasn't going to be able to finish the greenhouse today.

I suspect that this episode has been brought on by a lack of good quality sleep and a change in diet over the Christmas holiday. Most nights I wake up between four and five in the morning, which means that I am losing about three or fours hours sleep per night which is not good for anyone. It's a particular problem for people with adrenal and thyroid issues whose internal systems are slower, fragile and susceptible to dysfunction.

For half of this year I have been almost bed-bound, getting more and more ill until I found ways to support my failing thyroid and adrenal glands and how to address the lack of nutrients in my system. The thyroid and adrenal issues caused me to stop absorbing many of the nutrients that we need to support our bodies, my body thought I was starving and so, no matter how much I ate, I wasn't absorbing them but I was laying down fat as a reserve. A three stone increase in weight in six months sent me to the doctor saying 'I am prepared to hear that I have a severe case of 'cake', but please could you check my thyroid?' My instincts were right, my thyroid had stopped working properly (and a later scan revealed that it is now atrophying) and I was prescribed artificial thyroxin to replace what my body was no longer making.

A few weeks after starting the thyroxin replacement I got even worse, my limbs and torso were twitching, jerking involuntarily and I was in constant pain. Mr J tells me that I looked at least ten years older than I am and that I was an unflattering shade of grey (my skin not my hair!), my skin was very dry and itchy, I had large red, sore patches of skin on my face, my gums were bleeding, my nose was bleeding regularly. I was also losing my hair, it was falling out at an alarming rate!

The NHS only recognises adrenal problems if your adrenal glands fail to the extent that it is life-threatening. Somewhere in the infinite wisdom of the decision makers, it has been decided to treat after the event rather than try to prevent total failure. I have an opinion about this but, not wanting to express political thoughts, I will leave it to your imagination to decide my views on this approach to health care.

So, I read and read, and read some more about how to support adrenal glands and my internal systems and started a strict dietary regime and starting taking supplements. I am now gluten free and caffeine free, I eat protein within an hour of getting up and don't have fruit until the afternoon. I don't eat carbohydrate on its own, every meal is a combination of protein, carbohydrate and vegetables. I drink lots of water, often with salt added. As long as I am careful about what I eat and when, avoid stress (which I had no chance of doing during the house sale, purchase and move) and get lots of fresh air and rest, I can function pretty well, I am still much slower physically than I used to be, but how I feel is so much better than I was six months ago. I am still losing my hair, still hideously overweight but I am happy that for most of the time I feel okay.

I have accepted that whilst this is not an ideal situation, it is what I have and I am going to enjoy every day as much as I can. So this afternoon I slept, deeply and refreshingly and the greenhouse didn't get finished, but that doesn't really matter, it will be done another day and anyway, my glass is more than half full!


  1. Good to see you being so positive - hope the Adrenal issues are only temporary & that you can get back to what you want to be doing soon, or as soon as the storms blow away xxx

  2. Sorry to hear you've had this set-back and I hope it is only temporary. Strangely the last 2 days haven't been too good for me either, but my dose is not optimal yet. I still think you have done remarkably well. Sheila (alias Leabrook)

    1. Hi Sheila, I am still waiting for an increase in dose, docs didn't want to increase it while they were investigating Addison's disease. Since tests show its not Addison's, I will now push again to increase LevoT. Apparently my TSH is within range, shame that doctors seem hellbent on treating the numbers and not the patient! Still, it's a new GP now, so fingers crossed that she asks how I feel rather than stare at the computer screen.

    2. Hope you get on well with your new GP. My blood test is due next week and as ours is a drop in from 7.30 - 11.00 I will be there early. :-) I feel as though I need an increase as I'm getting very tired again. Last blood test doc said no increase was needed, so I changed the subject and later said 'so it's ok for me to try and extra 25mcg', and he agreed. lol Hope it works like that next time. Take care - you're doing a fantastic job with the smallholding.


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