Friday, June 10, 2011

How I Feel Exactly

Sometimes I spend time looking at the search results that bring people to this blog and yesterday I ended up in a forum reading this:

"An addisonian crisis will leave you weak, confused, unsteady on your feet and generally clumsy, it'll cause tremors (hand shakes), you'll pee like a maniac, be less able to speak clearly and articulately, etc. In a lot of ways you'll look like you're drunk to the people around you." (Source.)

It may have been an adrenal crisis for them, but this is how I feel a lot of the time and I would not say I'm in crisis. However, this pretty much sums up how I feel. Suddenly, reading that, I don't feel so alone.

The clumsiness is HUGE and it is something other adrenal patients have mentioned. I drop things a lot, especially with this last taper.

The yogurt at the grocery store? It flew like 10 feet down the aisle, cracked open and left a long white skid mark on the floor. Just from my flubbery fingers. I'm sure the people who saw me thought I was trying to do some kind of weird food bowling. It probably looked like I did it on purpose too.

I've lost count of how many times I go to tip the bottle to shake a vitamin into my hand only to end up throwing them all on the floor. Sometimes I end up dropping the bottle too. I can't pour water or juice without missing the cup. So glad the toddler is not a baby, I would probably drop her too.

Just to show I'm not inherently clumsy, prior to the HPA axis suppression, the toddler when she was 4 months old fell off the ped exam table. Out of three people in the room, I was the only one able to move fast enough and catch her head in my hand just before she hit the floor and set her upright back on the table. I moved supehero fast that day. Total miracle mom-lifts-car-off-child type save. My once nationally ranked (in his country) athlete husband? Hadn't even moved. The ped just gaped and she was closest to the baby!

To do that now? No way. I'm on a time delay.

I also have bruises up and down my legs because I'm always bumping into things. Always. If there's something I can ram my shin into, you can bet I will. It's like there's a gravitational pull.

The clumsiness drives me nuts. Very annoying.

And the drunk thing. YES. Totally. Except I've never been drunk (alcohol tastes like troll ass to me) so I go with loopy when talking about it.

The sounding like a drunk is a huge problem. I have such a hard time communicating at times. I had a real j-o-b phone screen interview this past week and, in practicing what I was going to say, I could not string words together. I couldn't come up with words I was looking for. Sentences were stilted and full of don't-hire-this-nut awkwardness. Thankfully, my pre-interview nerves must've prompted an adrenaline surge and I did fine in the actual interview.

Trying to write when I'm in this state? Is very difficult. Compared to my skills prior to HPAA suppression and now? Very noticeable difference. I have to work twice as hard and edit more than I ever did (note, no editing or hard work on this blog, not that you hadn't already noticed).

The only thing I don't usually get is the peeing a lot. I drink a lot of water so it's hard to not pee a lot just normally.

One interesting data point from that forum, I'm starting to find more people reporting vomiting as a steroid withdrawal symptom. In the past, I had only ever found reports of vomiting associated with adrenal crisis.

Thankfully, as far as I can tell, I don't vomit with steroid withdrawal. Although I do kind of look back on that vomiting episode a few weeks ago and wonder. The GERD/Gallbladder thing is still the most likely suspect though and it finally seems to be improving (maybe).

I don't know. None of this isn't stuff I haven't blogged about before. It's not news, but that one little paragraph just resonated so strongly with me I had to bore you with a post on it.


  1. It's never boring to read your posts, and it is never boring to read what other people go through with this adrenal bullshit. I am clumsy too, but have always been. That drunk walk is so familiar to me, and I hate feeling "loopy". I have all those weird things happen a lot and I am not in crisis all the time. I am having the "adrenal ache" thing today really bad. What a bitch huh?

  2. Thanks for the post. Makes me think of a few of my patients. A couple don't have a diagnosis that explains things yet. The adrenals are a ways down the list of possibilities when seeing sick people, so it takes a few rounds to get a handle on an adrenal problem. The differential diagnosis (I use the S-P-I-T model a lot: Serious, Probable, Interesting, Treatable) of problems that could explain the patient's story and physical findings has to iterate through multiple encounters, tests and a subspecialist or two to arrive at an adrenal diagnosis. The patient's body is speaking the truth, but the physician's brain is trapped in someone else's truths- their array of clinical experience (over 150,000 patient encounters for me- including about 25 involving adrenal diagnoses that were known).
    My Holistic Practitioner friends think of adrenals a lot, on the other hand. Thanks for blogging to remind us. Blog on.

  3. Mo: I don't even know how to say how much I appreciate your kind support. I'm sorry you aren't feeling so hot. Adrenal stuff sucks.

    (For the record today: Knocked over 2 glasses of water, spilled a box of stuff, and flung the juice lid under the fridge, from which it will never return. I was just trying to take it off the jug.)

    Dr. Synonymous: Thank you for taking the time to comment. I hope I offer some insight along with the whining.

    The one thing I wanted to clarify, I would never mention any of this as my complaint to a doctor. It would never occur to me. Now, I know, but I didn't before and it's not the primary concern anyway. My main complaint is always soul-sucking fatigue and flank pain with low bp/weakness as well as my history of low cortisol.

    I think there is something to adrenal burnout. One, because my adrenals were flaming hot at the onset of the current HPAA suppression. I totally think they would've spontaneously combusted if I hadn't started steroids. It was unreal. Burnout is a very apt description.

    Two, I think Medicine is missing suppression. I think millions of people are taking steroids and not tapering correctly. Particularly in the field of pulmonology. There really is a knowledge gap and patients pay for it.

    I've read the medical textbooks and adrenal articles at this point and the disparity between what has been said to me and the medical care I've received vs. what the actual science says is huge. It is really disturbing.



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