This is going to be a long post, but I think it's so important to share some of these things for others in my situation. If it gets long for you, no worries, I'll see you tomorrow for a style or decor post.
|From Garnet Hill|
A typical morning right after diagnosis was brutal. Waking up to an alarm is never fun, but it became very difficult to pull myself out of sleep. Once I was awake, my body was achy, unsteady, weak and I was very nauseous. After being out of the office while in the hospital I was trying so hard to make it to work on-time every morning, but it took twice as long to get ready.
I would walk to the bathroom, sit down to rest for a few minutes. Start the shower and undress, and sit down to catch my breath. Next I would stand in the shower until I couldn't stand up any more. Then get out, sit down and catch my breath and wait until I wasn't dizzy anymore.
Once ready for work, I was golden, but some days it seemed like I would never make it. Some mornings I didn't. The anxiety I dealt with during this time was especially overwhelming in the mornings. Feeling sick and weak made me feel even more anxious, and being anxious made me more nauseous. I felt hopeless at times.
Here I was, several months after being diagnosed with a chronic illness and I wasn't sure if the rest of my life was going to look this way. Well, I'm here to say that it has been 2 years and 7 months since I was diagnosed with Addison's disease, and my mornings do look different (most days).
When I was first diagnosed, I was treated with the steroid Prednisone. Many people with Addison's take it. It's an accepted treatment option, but it just wasn't right for me. Prednisone is a long-lasting steroid that takes up to 2 hours to become active in your body. My dosing schedule was 5mg at 6 am and 2.5 mg in the afternoon. My afternoon dose was wearing off long before 6:30 AM when I got up in the morning, and it was too soon for my 6 AM dose to be working.
In February of 2010 I couldn't take it any longer. With some help from my Mom, I did some research and found out that most people with Addison's take another steroid for cortisol replacement. I read that Hydrocortisone is much more quickly metabolized and is easier on your body. Desperate to feel better, I decided I wanted to switch. Talking to my doctor about this was scary, I wasn't sure if he would agree to it. (My mistrust of doctors is a whole different story.) But I have a great Endocrinologist, who is very willing to discuss any questions I have about my treatment. I was happy to find out that Hydrocortisone was another drug he was willing to prescribe. He prescribed Prednisone first because it offers longer-lasting coverage, and you have to take it less than HC (Hydrocorisone), but he was more than willing to let me try something else if I wanted to.
My new dosing schedule with HC went like this: 10 mg at 6 AM, 5mg at 12 noon, and 5mg at 3
PM. I felt better within days. Mornings were bright and sunny again. I started to feel alert and less nauseous, and overtime I built up more and more stamina. In my opinion, HC is a much better option than Prednisone. It's so much more flexible. It only takes 30 minutes to kick in, it's easy to stress dose with HC because the dose is smaller and if you take too much it doesn't give you ill effects for as long. HC also has mineralcorticoid properties just like Fludrocortisone (the other steroid I take), which means that it help keep my electrolytes in balance.
Today I feel like mornings are the best part of my day energy-wise. I take my thyroid medicine at 5 AM, 10 mg of HC at 5:45 AM, then get up around 6:15 or 6:30. I feel strong and ready to face the day. When I take my medicine on schedule, don't have a rough night, and am feeling healthy-I can now expect to have good mornings. I've even started to take Brody on long walks in the morning. The air feels fresh and new, and I feel so far away from 2 years ago.
I am not a doctor, and all of what I write about Addison's disease is learned from experience or is my own opinion. Please make sure to be under a doctor's care if you believe you might have a chronic health condition.