May 2011… Birthday Cortisol?

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May 2011… Birthday Cortisol?

Some weeks have passed since I previously thought I had concluded my Cushing’s Disease story. I got quite a nice birthday surprise this month. One year and two months after my brain surgery, I have received my first confirmation of normal cortisol levels (off meds). My results were around a 10. In my elation, I removed my medic alert bracelet for the first time while spending my birthday party with my family. I chose to keep the bracelet as my commemoration of all that I have been through. I took the little paper from inside the bracelet that labeled me as adrenal insufficient, and dropped it in the “joy basket” at our church where our tithes and offerings are placed, after giving a special thanks to God for allowing me to experience a complete recovery. My elation had been somewhat stifled by a virus that I did not realize I was fighting off. Within days of learning that my hormones were normal, I had a nagging headache for nearly a week as I reduced my meds to only 5 milligrams, expecting to be down to zero very soon. I knew the headaches meant I needed more cortisol, but I didn’t want to accept it. How could I need the same amount of meds with normal blood work as I needed when my cortisol was dangerously low? Was I stupid to take off that medic alert bracelet? Should I go buy a new one? Should I take back all of my gleeful announcements of recovery that I had made to the world, to my family, to my co-workers, to my church, and to everyone on facebook? Things made more sense when I woke up with a sore throat after nearly a week of feeling miserable, and I realized that maybe my cortisol was only normal on a good day; that if I was getting sick, perhaps that was taxing my newly recovering adrenal system. It turns out I was correct. I am back up to 20 milligrams of synthetic steroids almost immediately after believing I would soon no longer need them. This is only a stress dose, and I should be able to go back down to 5 milligrams very quickly…again moving toward zero. I know this is a minor set-back and that all of the wheels are in motion for my full recovery. I have decided that I will not replace my medic alert bracelet despite the fact that my adrenal system is vulnerable to illness. I already thanked God for curing my adrenal system, and I will not take it back. Again, I feel kind of like that crazy person with osteoporosis on roller skates…not sure I am doing the right thing, but feeling alive. Anyway, thanks to anyone who was interested enough to read all of this. I know it is long, but it has been a long journey for me. If there is one person searching for an answer, who finds it in my testimony, I will be pleased.

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