Author Topic: Pre everything - adrenal fatigue??  (Read 454 times)

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Offline kelly_1979

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Pre everything - adrenal fatigue??
« on: September 20, 2018, 12:02:38 am »
Hello fellow sufferers (heh). I'd like to thank beforehand anybody who has the courage to read through this essay and hopefully reply.

Writing again after some time in the forum, but not for the reasons you might think. I've been battling with the TG beast for a long time. I've tried to continue my PhD but it seems I'm going to be the only one to drop out after 5+ years struggling (stupid I know).Due to stress and bad conditions in the lab I've made numerous mistakes. Every few months I've had this urge to drop everything and say "eff it I quit*. Still, for various reasons I didn't. It's not to say I hate my PhD or my science, rather I hate the situation I've gotten trapped myself in. So now I'm almost 40 and have never worked (outside of academia). To top it of, the PhD I enrolled myself in is unfunded.

Now, let's go to a more serious issue. As I've written before, my aging parents are  unsupportive on the TG matter and their health condition has worsened a lot presumably due to worrying about me.
Due to constant stress (balding, not having any money, unable to transition, the gender psychiatrist I went 2 years ago not really helping me etc) I've unfortunately developed health problems myself (I would never have thought things could go downhill so fast). The past two years I've had skin problems (constant now) breaking and brittle nails and most important of all, rapid muscle loss and fat gain. Also, I'm tired all day and wake up early and tired despite sleeping. I'm literary getting worse every day. I've gone to my regular doctor who found " nothing wrong ", another doctor who still didn't know what to do and to a endocrinologist who said I'm " fine " and just need to rest and eat well. The endo tested morning serum cortisol (not 24h saliva test), t4, tsh, TG & TPO antibodies, fsh, lh, prl, morning atch, testosterone and he found them " normal and within limits ".Ofcouse this made me even more depressed. I asked him if I should do a saliva 24h cortisol test but he denied saying I don't need it. I'm very weak now. I must have lost 8 kg of muscle and replaced some of it with fat. A week ago I had a shin splint on my right leg after trying to walk briskly for 1 km. Right now I can't even walk.
Sorry for painting such a bleak picture but I feel like I'm going to die (I don't want to but I'm afraid of it). I haven't been able to laugh or cry (especially the later) for years despite feeling like it and wanting to.

In hindsight I know I should have quit my PhD long ago but I couldn't bring myself to. Now it seems I will have to after wasting the best years of my life. Half my 20s and all my 30s down the drain.
Today I'm going to a psychiatrist (not gender related ) to see if he can help me. I don't know what to do about my health issues. My parents, who are paying for all this (facepalm) say things (actually my mother does) like since I know more than doctors I don't need them or that if should study medicine.... (Hah ha ha).
I feel I need to go to another endo. Somehow I doubt that just by taking antidepressants (maybe I'll start today after I go to the psychiatrist) will fix my health problems
.
Any suggestions wholeheartedly welcome!!
Trying to emerge to my real self

Offline Sonja

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Re: Pre everything - adrenal fatigue??
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2018, 12:40:48 am »
@kelly_1979
Hi Kelly,  First - your tiredness - A few years ago I found I was getting mega tired to the point I would wake up and feel I hadn't slept at all - went to the doc. got tested including haemochromatosis (iron overload) - fairly common in people of european descent and found - yes I had it - after weeks of getting my iron levels back down to normal I felt much better. Have you been tested for this?
PHD wise - very difficult to say without being able to see all the work -  is it still relevant? I'm going to say something that might sound peculiar but having done it I know it works - a job, a part time job, a temporary job does WONDERS to lift your spirit and your soul, the money helps But actually having an easy clear focus of task and being around other people while you do it is really really good for you! 

It sounds like something has to change for your own well being, only you can decide what, but I suggest you do it very soon.

Take care,

Sonja.



Offline kelly_1979

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Re: Pre everything - adrenal fatigue??
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2018, 12:49:26 am »
No, my iron is actually rather low. Lately I've been eating red meat but it hasn't really helped.
Regarding the PhD, I really don't know. Half the apparatus is broken, my cultures been getting contaminated, my PCRs don't work correctly and I don't know why....
I feel this urge to start banging the wall until I break it (or break my hand) but I've never have done anything like that Also never smoked, no alcohol, no drugs so all this probably is due to constant stress.

Considering the type of work in my PhD, I'll either have to pause or stop it to get a job (I'm practically all day in the lab- plant pathology - molecular biology, forgot to mention).
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Offline Sonja

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Re: Pre everything - adrenal fatigue??
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2018, 01:21:38 am »
No, my iron is actually rather low. Lately I've been eating red meat but it hasn't really helped.
Regarding the PhD, I really don't know. Half the apparatus is broken, my cultures been getting contaminated, my PCRs don't work correctly and I don't know why....
I feel this urge to start banging the wall until I break it (or break my hand) but I've never have done anything like that Also never smoked, no alcohol, no drugs so all this probably is due to constant stress.

Considering the type of work in my PhD, I'll either have to pause or stop it to get a job (I'm practically all day in the lab- plant pathology - molecular biology, forgot to mention).
@kelly_1979 - one particular friend of mine was running a successful restaurant but was very unhappy about his life for various reasons, he sold it and mowed grass for a close to a year simply to clear his head, after that he started a large coffee shop that he really enjoys - and is very busy. There's noting wrong with stepping right out of an environment when you need to,  and it really sounds like the stress has smashed your concentration and your health  - If i were you I would set yourself a period of time - the maximum possible - and leave your lab and go get a simple but enjoyable job - waiter, coffee shop, outdoors, anything thats bright and easy. give your mind a complete rest.  I wouldn't even go to another lab setup - you need a break from it.

Later on decide with a clear head what you want to do.

Just my thoughts,

Sonja.

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Re: Pre everything - adrenal fatigue??
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2018, 01:28:46 am »
Hi Hon,

That all sounds very sad and worrying. Is there anyway to write up what you have? Remember that results don't really matter for a PhD, it is the following of scientific method that examiners look for. I've been an examiner of many a sorry story and I have supervised 9 PhD students.

Your health issues certainly sound a bit more troublesome than the medics are giving credence for. I'm thinking of a few differential diagnoses based on what you have reported and I would push for another opinion both endocrine and I would be sorely tempted to get a MRI. The two things I would be concerned to rule out would be a Cushing's Syndrome type of issue and I would want to rule out a malignancy hence the scans. Have you had a haematology work up? As for the current medics are they aware of your TG status? If they are and if they are dismissive I would be very afraid of TG broken arm syndrome.

Do keep posting and lets us all try and give you support to get through this horrible time.

Cindy

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Re: Pre everything - adrenal fatigue??
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2018, 02:53:13 am »
It has been a long time but welcome back. It's possible that your health problems have a physical cause but don't underestimate what stress might be doing to you. The best way to verify if stress is an issue is to be completely honest with your psychiatrist and discuss your gender dysphoria. There are other ways to deal with stress without using medication so ask about them as well. Good luck with your appointment and let us know how it turns out.
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Offline kelly_1979

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Re: Pre everything - adrenal fatigue??
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2018, 02:59:04 am »
@Cindy: So far the experiments I've done are not enough to write my PhD. I might try a SSRI (the one I took years ago when I had the first major GID breakdown) or SNRI to see if they can help. I'll try to go to another endocrinologist and see what he can find. One issue is that since I don't have a paying job I'm not insured so MRI would cost way too much. That is an issue. I haven't told anything about my TG status to the doctors (only to the psychiatrist and psychologist) so it's not that. It seems that after the endo saw the results he was "Doctor everything's A-OK" that it's only from stress. Um not it's far from "OK". I wouldn't have gone to the endo if it's wasn't so bad.


@Dena: I just came from  a psychiatrist (non - TG specialized (?)), I told him briefly about my issues (TG anxiety, PhD going down the drain, health issues) and he just prescribed me a SNRI (cymbalta) (haven't bought it yet). We talked about my PhD and the conversation was along the lines of:
"P: Why did you start your PhD
Me: At that time it seemed like a good idea, plus I wanted to continue my research on that subject
P: One doesn't start a PhD just because it seems a "good idea" rather than to have better chances to find a job in research etc
M: Well, that too but it was partly because I wanted to continue my research, partly because the Professor convinced me too
etc..."
Point is he didn't offer any other advice on how to deal with this other than taking the SNRI. Forgot to say, I've been going to a psychologist who has tried to give me pieces of advice but it's difficult for me to put them in practice.

Another thing, I have already mentioned it but this "mixture" of GID, not being able to do anything now (or so I think), living with parents makes me so angry and furious. Every now and then I have these "extreme anger" outbursts that I don't know how to control. Maybe when I take the SSRI or SNRI they will get better (?). I really don't know.

Off-topic: in case anybody can make anything out of it, here are my (limited) thyroid results

test                                 Ref values
Thyroxine T4    6.8   ug/dl           4.5-12.5
TSH                  1.12   uiU/ml   0.4-4.5
TG antibodies   <15   U/ml           0-60
TPO antibodies   <28   U/ml           0-80
FSH                    4.4   mIU/ml   0.7-11.1
LH                    1.1   mIU/ml   0.8-7.6
PRL                    5.4   ng/ml           2.1-17.7
Testosterone    318   ng/dl           262-1593
ATCH 08:00      19.3   pg/ml           5-58
Cortisol 08:00   18.6   ug/dl           4.5-24

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Offline kelly_1979

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Re: Pre everything - adrenal fatigue??
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2019, 11:02:41 am »
Writing again...

I've tried eating more protein but still can't sleep well and keep gaining fat and loosing muscle mass despite going to the gym. F f sake I'm 147 lb with a belly and saggy bottom and paper thin nails, rapidly loosing hair.  I had a great body and completely ruined it in two years due to stress of thinking I couldn't transition. I just can't believe what I did to myself.
Few days ago I came out to a relative and my dysphoria / anxiety skyrocketed again.
Does anybody have experience of working their way up from very little muscle, wonky cortisol pre-HRT (I'm talking almost can't walk upstairs) to being fit post-HRT ?

PS. Dena you were right about the psychical effects of continued gender dysphoria but I couldn't believe things could get so bad so fast.
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Online Dena

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Re: Pre everything - adrenal fatigue??
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2019, 03:45:36 pm »
At the low T levels you have, you might want to consider getting to the point where you can take a blocker. It shouldn't take much to block levels that low and it might help with the dysphoria. I don't know what my pre surgical levels were but I suspect they weren't much more than yours from what the doctor said. Even with relatively low T levels, some of us really feel the dysphoria.

I suspect anything you can do to reduce the stress your dealing with would help you physically. Take it one step at a time and for the moment, either just a blocker or a blocker with low dose HRT might be a good place for you to start.
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Offline kelly_1979

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Re: Pre everything - adrenal fatigue??
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2019, 11:34:50 pm »
Hmm but just taking a blocker wouldn't be bad for the bones etc (hello osteoporosis). I also have slightly low bp (95/ 65) so spirolactone or something similar could make it even worse (?).

My father believes I have secondary CAH but I don't believe it. Also that the whole thing is due to adrenal hyperplasia. But if it were, wouldn't I have had symptoms before? (These severe adrenal issues started approx 2 years ago but I suspect stress was "building up" some time before that).

Anyway this week I'm going to 2 new psychologists (one a family friend a came out to last week suggested and also the university psychologist).

Btw, forgot to post my salivary cortisol tests, if you believe they are useful.
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Online Dena

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Re: Pre everything - adrenal fatigue??
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2019, 11:41:08 pm »
Short time a blocker shouldn't be a problem. Over the long term, eat more dairy, take a supplement and make sure you have enough vitamin D to use the calcium your diet. I went without estradiol for about 10 years and didn't suffer bone damage but I was careful with my diet.
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Offline AutumnGlory

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Re: Pre everything - adrenal fatigue??
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2019, 10:59:37 am »
I'm not well-versed on your history, Kelly, but it seems on reading your raw words that you need to get on with life.  What is stopping you transitioning?  What is stopping you you leaving your parents?  Are the things you would claim to be stopping you real enough, important enough, too difficult to break through, to jettison your life for?

I hit transition late, at 38, crying over wasted years, wishing I'd turned the traces over earlier, wishing i'd just bulldozed through the obstacles that seemed too big at the time bu in hindsight were not.  Life 2 is on catch up time and I'm packing a lot of living into it.

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