I’ve been on the Adrenal Pump ever since my last hospital stay in June of 2018. It has been nothing short of a miracle in my life. Several events led up to me wanting a better quality of life. As I sat in my hospital bed, I lost a dear friend of mine, Kristy, to Adrenal Insufficiency. I gave my word to God to that I would not allow that to happen to another friend of mine. However, I KNEW that I had to get myself healthy again. I began my search and discovered the Adrenal Pump. To say that it has given me my life back would be a complete understatement. I’m living my life again!
Is it a “Plug and Go” and “Set it and Forget it” solution? No. It took a major learning curve, and I have to manage it every single day, in order to make it work for me. Is it worth it? Oh yes! Do I still have bad days? Yes, I do. Yesterday is PROOF that I still have Adrenal Insufficiency and it hit me like a TORNADO. I had my FIRST Adrenal Crisis since being on the pump. I learned several lessons yesterday.
The first lesson being that you can’t pour from an empty cup. You have to take care of yourself first before you can possibly take care of anyone else. Let me say that one again. You HAVE to take care of yourself FIRST before you can possibly take care of ANYONE else.
I have a very set routine each morning. I get up, I check my pump, take my supplements, take my vitals, make coffee, and then I get to relax and pray, put on some music and I get to work. And then I get to play and enjoy my day and “live.” Yesterday felt no different, except that I have been so busy lately enjoying life and working that I neglected to take care of the one person who really matters…ME. I completely broke my routine, and the sad thing is…I did not recognize it. I don’t want this to happen again and I certainly do not want it to happen to anyone else I care about. So…are you ready to hear about my day? Ok, let’s go.
First of all, the night before, I was on Facebook and I felt compelled to write an inspirational post to my online support groups. I wanted to get this done before midnight so that others who were struggling could see it right then and there or wake up to it. I accomplished my goal. I then decided to go to bed. I normally wake up everyday between 3am-5am, and average about 4-6 hours a sleep, depending on the night. However, my mind was racing and I just couldn’t go to sleep. I have a good friend in Tennessee, Ruth, who was awake and we were texting. She asked why I was still awake and I told her I just couldn’t sleep. So, she said “Hey, just get up and we’ll talk.” She and I were both friends with my friend who died and it brought us closer than ever. We talked about Kristy, about what had been going on in our lives and how much we missed Kristy. She was having a rough morning and I had had a few ups and downs this week, so we were comforting each other. She is also on the Adrenal Pump and we were talking about how we could help other people with Adrenal Insufficiency to live a better life, with our without the pump. But in the meantime, I completely broke my routine. Here’s how that played out…
- No sleep. Adrenals are a funny thing. They like sleep. It gives them time to heal and reset. I normally take Melatonin to sleep, but I had not taken mine. Mistake number one.
- I checked my pump. Ok, well that’s a check mark for good behavior. Go Jen!
- I did not check my vitals. Had I done that, I would have known that something was wrong before I even started my day. I figured I would “get to it.” I didn’t.
- I did not take my supplements. Again, I figured I would “get to it.” I didn’t.
- I made coffee and I drank a lot of it. I had a lot to do yesterday and I wanted to be refreshed. I didn’t drink my morning Vitamin C like I normally do, which helps give me a boost of energy and also helps protect my immune system. I decided I just needed MORE coffee. I had errands to run before I could work. My website had been down for 2 days and I had to get that figured out so that I could play some more. My “to do list” was long and being a Type A personality, I wanted to get everything done as soon as I could. So, I decided to go get more coffee and run my errands. I’ve been dealing with some lower back pain, which is a sign of low cortisol for me, but I bought a TENS unit to help alleviate pain and I normally wear it when I drive or work or just when I need it to help with pain. So, being the already “cyborg” I am, I hooked it up and left. First stop, Dutch Bros….a large 911 Freeze…which equates to 9 shots of espresso! Yes, not one of my best ideas. However, when Kristy was alive, I would treat myself to one and since I was missing her, I figured I would go buy one to honor her friendship, and continued with my errands.
- I came home and hopped onto my computer. I had to figure out what was wrong with my website and why it had been down. I contacted Go Daddy tech support. I was greeted by a very nice gentleman who explained that it was not a Go Daddy issue after all. It was actually WordPress. I was frustrated but he was so helpful. He e-mailed me the information I needed in order to contact WordPress to get me up and running. I asked him to stay on the line with me until I got the e-mail. He was gracious enough to do that. We started chatting and he told me he was a soldier and was kind of struggling. I thanked him for his service to our country and I also told him about someone that had helped me through my PTSD and told him I would give him her information, as she had helped me tremendously. He was so appreciative. After our call, I became very emotional. That was unlike me. Yet, it’s one of my low cortisol symptoms, and I completely dismissed it. I had so much to do..I had no time for crying, yet I could not stop. I cried a lot throughout the day. In bad and good ways. I should have “bolused” or “updosed” but I didn’t. Another huge mistake. I also should have set the rates on my pump to a higher amount to compensate for the day because I was clearly struggling, but I was having major brain fog (another low cortisol symptom), and instead, I decided to go DOWN in my rates. Huge huge huge mistake! My husband woke up and we were talking about my day so far. We have developed a good system and we have a good plan in place to keep me healthy. Communication is key between us and I had not done a good job and communicating my very poor decisions. We also have a code word for when I’m in crisis. I typically tell him “I feel OFF!” And he helps to get me through it, typically with a shot of 100mg of Solu-Cortef. He was working on our boat in the garage and I was in the house when the “tornado” hit me. My phone had died because I had been on it all day, so I couldn’t call him and I was going into crisis fast!!!!
- WARNING….Crisis approaching…. I thought to myself…”Self care, Jen…THINK! What do I need to do NOW???? You are NOT going to die! You have NOT come this far to DIE!” I realized that I had not taken any sodium that day. The weather was cooler and to be honest, I just had forgotten. I knew that my sodium chloride tablets were outback and I didn’t have the strength to walk out to get them. I was close to the pantry so I took out a jar of bone broth. I have a spoon next to it and I shoveled an entire spoonful of it in my mouth. That helped instantly, but it was not what all I needed. I “bolused” or “updosed” on my pump as much as I possibly could until it wouldn’t allow me to give myself any more. I prayed for guidance. “GOD….please tell me what to do. Please guide me to what I need RIGHT NOW!” I needed my emergency injection!!! I didn’t hesitate. I sat down at the table and I injected myself with 100mg of Solu-Cortef. It works fast and it saved my life. I still felt “Off” and I didn’t have the energy yet to go tell Mike. So I decided to turn on some christian music and lay down for a bit.
- Music and sleep is what I needed at that moment. I fell asleep quickly. Mike apparently had come in to check on me and was surprisingly happy to see me sleeping so he let me sleep.
- I woke up feeling better. Not great. But good enough to go out to the garage and talk to Mike. I told him what had happened. I completely confessed to all of my bad decisions. I cried. He was very supportive. But the day was not over and I continued to make poor choices.
- I had not been hungry, so I did not eat. Still no vitals. Still no supplements on board. Had I taken my vitals, I would have known that my blood pressure was sky high. When I go into crisis, my blood pressure goes high, which is not always typical in Adrenal Insufficiency. Had I taken my supplements, I would have had my electrolytes on board and it probably would have prevented what would come next.
- I started having lower back pain again and just felt “OFF” again. I had been texting my Dad and he asked if I was truly ok because my texts were not making sense. I thought I was. I was clearly not. I decided to go relax in a hot bath. Mike asked if I was ok, and I told him yes. I thought I just needed a “time out.” Another one of my poor choices. Soaking in a hot bath can drain cortisol and it did. I texted my friend, Ruth, and told her I could not think straight. My heart was racing, I had a headache, lower back pain despite the hot water, but as soon as she heard that I could not think for myself, she told me I had two choices…”bolus” or “inject” AGAIN. So, I bolused as I shakingly crawled out of the bathtub and got dressed so that I could go get another emergency injection, which was downstairs. I should have called Mike, but again, I was not thinking clearly.
- I drew up another 100mg of Solu-Cortef and I injected. I sat there for a few minutes and then decided to go get Mike. I was clearly making all the wrong decisions today and I needed his support and guidance, and I just needed him to wrap his arms around me.
- We came in the house and talked and he wrapped his arms around me to see what I needed. I needed food, so he made me some. I needed potassium and magnesium, so he brought me my supplements. I also needed more sodium so he brought my bone broth to me as well. And then just rubbed my back until I felt better.
- I FINALLY felt better. I was able to avoid the hospital. Barely. I went to bed and was able to fall asleep and LIVE to see another day.
- What did I learn? You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of YOURSELF first. We have one life to live and today is a new day! Oh….and in case your’e wondering, I did follow my daily routine when I got up this morning and I feel really well. Today, we are going to take out the boat and I’m going to press “Reset” and enjoy my glorious “New Normal!”
If you’d like more information on what I do to take care of myself, message me. I would be happy to pass on what helps me. Also, here are some things that I use daily that helps me LIVE. Check them out, talk to your doctor before starting any new supplements or treatments. But friends, if you do not have an ample supply of emergency injections on hand at all times, don’t wait. Go get them today!!! It WILL save your life at some point! I’m living proof!!!
For Extra Support:
So, if you’re anything like me, saving money is essential. I do all of my grocery shopping online, and I found a Walmart coupon code good for $30 off of purchases. Just click on the link to get the code.
Also, an App you can download to help save on out of pocket prescription meds is GoodRx. It has saved me quite a bit of money.