In which Vikki comes clean while getting clean

Everything will be OKI often seem to start blog posts with “Sorry, I’ve been MIA for a while” or something similar, and this is one of those posts.

I’m not going to justify my laziness, I’m just going to say that my get-up-and-go got up and went.

I don’t know what happened, but in the last couple of months, I have had NO energy. My body aches from head to toe, I can’t sleep properly, I’m forgetful, I can’t concentrate, my moods swing like a pendulum, and I just hurt. All over.

I got a little self-pitiful and almost had myself diagnosed with either Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or fibromyalgia – all the symptoms are there. But I wanted to see what would happen if I kicked up my self-care a notch. So here I am. Laying it all out on the table – and we’ll see how it goes.

What happened?

Nothing specific happened. There was no one point in time where I can say “this was where it all started going south”. There was not one unique incident. I think it came on gradually – I started getting tired during the day, catching a nap when I came home from work. The work that I do after my “regular” work (some freelance web work) went by the wayside as I would rather take care of sleep than SEO.

Then, the sleepless nights started. There was so much going on in my head – did I pay this bill? Did I remember to answer this email? How was I going to get up early enough to make my lunch the next day? And besides the mind chatter, I couldn’t get in a comfortable position to fall asleep. It seemed that no sooner would my mind shut down than I needed to shift positions to get comfortable. No position was comfortable for longer than a couple of minutes, and I thank goodness that I’m the only one in my bed! Every morning, my fitted bottom sheet was totally off the bed because I’d thrashed around so much.

I started experiencing vertigo-like never before. I was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease last year but hadn’t had vertigo until recently. And when it hit, it hit with a vengeance. I was having episodes daily – one day I had it twice – and they varied from “meh, I’ll just push through it” to debilitating. And maybe the worst thing about vertigo is the extreme exhaustion I felt after each episode. It just wiped me out.

What the hell is going on?

I have no idea.

I had recently visited my doctor to discuss the results of my recent bloodwork. My thyroid was good – keep on the same dosage of levothyroxin. My cholesterol was good – keep on the same dosage of simvastatin. My blood sugar and my heart were both fine.

I told him that I was having problems walking. Not physically putting one foot in front of the other, but the idea of walking any distance. It was as if my thigh muscles didn’t want to move, and there was a different kind of pain in my shins. I don’t know if it was shin splints, just a weird pain that is hard to describe. I had been used to walking 2.5 miles every lunch break, but now when I got out of my car at work in the morning I wondered if I could even make it across the parking lot and into the building, let alone my desk. I couldn’t step up the three steps onto my porch without doing the “put one foot up, let the other foot catch up to the same step” thing. I wouldn’t say I was hurting at that point, just so damn tired. The thought of walking any distance just made me slump in my chair and hold my head in my hands.

And slumping in my chair just made me even more uncomfortable. I had to get up and walk every hour or so because my back ached from sitting. My right arm felt like I’d done 100 repetitions lifting a 20lb dumbbell with that arm. There were a couple of areas on my arm and on my shoulder where it felt like someone had blasted me with frozen air. And weird pains that came and went in my forearms, just below my elbows.

I’ve had lower back pain since my early 20s, but it hadn’t been bothering me for a while. Then it came back, making me wonder if I had adrenal fatigue – and trying to place where those adrenal glands were to see if the position matched up with the pain I was feeling.

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My [new] ENT doctor asked me what my previous ENT had said about managing the Meniere’s, and was surprised to find out that he had only mentioned a low salt diet. He had not advised that I stop drinking coffee, tea, and cocoa, and to not eat chocolate. About 12 months or so prior, I had given up drinking coffee, and had just started drinking a cup a day – we figured that may account for the sudden onset of the episodes of vertigo. He sent me for an MRI to see if there was anything in my brain that was causing it, and thankfully the MRI showed no abnormalities. ENT doc switched the lorazepam to meclizine and said come back in 6 months.

So what am I going to do?

There are a few things I’m changing right away.

  • I’ve given up drinking coffee again (and tea. Which is a shame, because I do love my tea! Though I can still drink herbal tea.)
  • I had stopped taking my doTERRA Lifelong Vitality Pack (vitamins & supplements) a month or so ago when I lost track of how many supplements I was taking (I started a supplement regime for my Meniere’s disease and was just tired of popping pills. I figured that if I could get the vertigo under control, I’d worry about everything else later. I started taking the LLV again.
  • I signed up for Chris Kresser’s 14Four program. As the name would suggest, it’s a 14-day program that addresses four pillars of health – movement, diet, stress, and sleep. The diet portion is essentially a strict paleo eating plan – no worries there. I’ve tried that on a number of occasions on my own. I think that being a part of Chris’s Facebook group will help me stick to the right path.
  • I’m eating clean. I still have my favorite protein shakes once or twice a day – they are a GREAT way to get protein into the diet! And everything else is cooked from scratch using real, fresh ingredients. Nothing from a box or can … well, actually I used tomato paste and canned pineapple last night for a recipe, but other than that the BBQ sauce was cooked from scratch!

If you’re interested to see how I do, follow along. I’ll be posting updates, I promise!

I’m confident that I’m now on the path to a better, healthier, fitter me, who will make it across the parking lot … and beyond!

photo credit: Everything will be OK via photopin (license)