Sunday, 7 February 2016

February 2016 - 3 years have passed

I noticed that it is nearly 3 years since my initial blood test that flagged my low Cortisol. The blood test was on 7th February 2013 and the doctor rang me (actually my wife) on the 8th February causing panic in the Hall household. 3 whole years, what a lot has happened in that time.

I still think back to all the complications that I had and ignored prior to that bloodtest, such as the near passing out, the strange vision issues and the lack of body hair. But 3 years on, the life I now lead is much healthier with the right hormones within me - it is amazing what a difference two daily tiny Hydrocortisone tablets per day can make to a person. For me the main difference being much more being mentally alert and not having panic attacks and nearly fainting due to low blood pressure. Just those two tablets to keep me going, it is a minor miracle of modern science really.....not that long ago - maybe 100 years - I may not have been so lucky. Actually just looked it up on Google, it seems Hydrocortisone was only invented in the 1940's by this man

The biggest difficulty I face, and anyone replacing hormones faces, is trying to mimic the way the body would naturally produce Cortisol. It is still a bit of a mystery to me and to medical science, under exactly what circumstances the body will pump out Cortisol. Yes there are definite instances such as stress and infection that causes a raised Cortisol output, but for me I can still hit a Cortisol low unexpectedly, when the body has decided to burn through a tablet dose quicker than usual. Recently having faced bereavement of a loved one (my father in law) this was of course expected, the brain is going through a lot of hard work and amending my dosing regime is understandable and warranted.

Actually I didn't need to take extra doses, but I needed to amend the times. I normally take a dose on waking which is around 7am weekdays and 8am at the weekends and then around 12:30 to 13:00 and around 18:00 for the final dose. Instead although I still take the first dose at the same time, I take the lunchtime dose at the time I NEED it. That may sound strange to anyone who hasn't got adrenal insufficiency, but essentially I take my next dose when my body says 'enough', which this last week or so has been around 11:30 to 12:00. Then my 'teatime' dose gets taken again when my body asks for it, which for instance today was around 16:15. I have learned that Hydrocortisone stays in the body for around 5 hours. So 8am until 13:00 is 5 hours, but today with the extra work and stress I'm putting my body and mind through I burned through it quicker. I find that in the evenings when I am less physically active I get by without issue - sitting here now at 21:45, five and a half hours after my last dose I feel fine. I seem to have a greater tolerance in the evenings, and I don't wake up dragging my knuckles across the floor either, or else I'd consider slipping in an extra dose. I will have to monitor myself closely on Tuesday though, that is the day of my father in laws funeral.....never been through one of those whilst on Hydrocortisone - it is going to be a long day!

So all in all, the last 3 years has been eventful, but I am in a good place. Let's hope it stays that way.

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