Adrenal Fatigue – A Survivor’s Story, Part 1

Adrenal fatigue is not real. That’s the opinion of the so-called experts at WebMD.

According to the adrenal fatigue theory, if your life is too stressful, your adrenal glands may not pump out enough hormones, leading to a wide variety of symptoms. But there's no evidence to support this theory. - WebMD

I could slap the moron who wrote that. No evidence?


My Adrenal Fatigue Lifestyle

Heartburn was a nuclear-grade cauldron boiling in my gut. Week after week of intestinal agony. Nothing I did helped. Nothing.

I waited till I could wait no longer. I broke down and made an appointment with a doctor.

He was the last M.D. I’d ever see. I’ll tell you why in a moment. First though, a little background.

My marriage had recently ended in a nasty divorce. The ex-wife suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder, and she inflicted her misery on those closest to her.

I lacked the emotional skills to cope with her unique brand of psychological torture.

Professionally, my road warrior lifestyle brutalized me. I’d spent the last 11 years on the road. Four days a week, 40 weeks a year I lived out of a suitcase, slept in hotels and ate restaurant food.

My physical, mental, emotional and psychological stress was mostly self-inflicted. That didn’t matter though; it had broken me down.

Our bodies won’t endure stress forever. At some point, they will get our attention – one way or another. Debilitating heartburn was my body’s way of screaming at me, “stop this madness!”

Dr. Death and the Horrible Medicine Show

Back to my doctor visit.

I’m chilling in the exam room. Faded “health” posters blanket nicotine-yellow walls. Fluorescent lights flicker above stained linoleum-tile floors. The decorator must’ve graduated from The Horror Flick School of Design.

I half expected Freddy Krueger to slither around the corner.

The doctor finally waddled in. He wasn’t exactly a villain, but he was the least healthy-looking human being I’d ever seen.

He was perhaps 60 but looked well north of 80. His apple-shaped body wheezed like a circus calliope. Greasy, thinning hair topped a bloated face. Pimples oozed from his nose and chin. Half a shirttail draped from the front of polyester slacks, which barely contained his expansive middle.

I wish I was exaggerating.

Like most pill-pushers, he asked a couple of questions, listened for perhaps 30 seconds, prescribed some drugs for my symptoms and walked out.

Not once did he ask why an otherwise healthy 44-year-old stomach would start eating itself.

Nope. He just offered me drugs.

(I’m convinced that modern American medicine is simply the retail arm of the pharmaceutical industry.)

A Cancer Patient Points the Way

I took his drugs for a week - without visible improvement - and realized that I was done.

Done with doctors.

Done with drugs.

Done with medicine that didn’t work and doctors who didn’t think.

I threw away his stupid pills and vowed to find a better way.

My best friend is an ICU nurse. She treats the worst of the worst. She had a patient named John come in for lung cancer surgery. Within hours of his surgery, John was up and walking around the halls.

She marveled at his strength. (He’s 10 years my senior.)

John told her that he decided to be in best health possible before his surgery. He asked his naturopath to help him. And whatever that naturopath had recommended, it had worked.

Aside from the cancer – which could not be seen - he was the healthiest patient she’d ever cared for. He had the fastest recovery she’d ever seen.

When she suggested I see John’s naturopath, I jumped at the opportunity.

And that's when I found out just how horribly sick I was.

The Naturopath Who Saved Me

Dr. Thomas Kruzel sat me down in his office and began interviewing me. And not just about my symptoms.

  • What temperature did I prefer my drinks?

  • What air temperature felt best?

  • What foods did I crave?

  • What was my sleep pattern like?

  • What sort of dreams did I have?

  • How was my thirst?

  • How was my appetite?

  • How was my energy in the morning? In the evening? In the afternoon?

For a solid 90 minutes, he quizzed me. Some questions startled me because I couldn’t see any connection to my heartburn. Yet he seemed to know all about my life. How did he know to even ask those questions?

He said, “I need to run some tests, but I think I know what’s going on.”

He ordered a saliva test for my cortisol levels. He also drew blood. He gave me a naturopathic remedy, to help alleviate some of my pain from the heartburn. And he assured me that the heartburn was merely a symptom, not a cause.

What Causes Adrenal Fatigue?

Let’s talk biology for a moment.

You’ve heard stories about 90-pound women ripping the doors off a car to save their child from a burning vehicle?

That’s adrenaline at work. It’s a short-term super energy booster.

  • Our adrenal glands produce cortisol.

  • Cortisol is the precursor to adrenaline.

  • Adrenalin is the “fight or flight” hormone.

When we experience some sort of severe stress, our adrenal glands go into overdrive creating cortisol. We need extra adrenaline to either flee or fight.

Our bodies need to recover from producing extra cortisol. But long-term exposure to high-levels of stress deprive us of the rest we need. Our adrenal glands get worn out.

And that- friends & neighbors – is how we end up with severe adrenal fatigue.

The 24-hour saliva test showed a high correlation between my low cortisol and my severe symptoms. My cortisol levels were in the tank. My adrenal glands were worn out.

Dr. Kruzel began treating me for adrenal fatigue. And guess what happened?

I got better.

I have both my subjective experience and objective proof. My cortisol levels returned to normal.

How’s that for “evidence”, Mr. WebMD writer?

In part 2, read about my symptoms of adrenal fatigue.

In part 3, read about how my naturopath treated adrenal fatigue.

#AdrenalFatigue #heartburn #Naturopath #causesofadrenalfatigue