My mysterious "illness"
Since Owen stopped nursing, I have had a mysterious illness. It doesn' happen everyday so sometimes I can forget about it. When it does strike it feels super unsettling. In the middle of class, sometimes while driving, or when sitting on the floor doing legos it can hit me. Then I worry. What exactly is wrong? Is this seemingly odd and small and not always occurring phenomenon something much more serious? In the first few weeks of post-nursing life back in April, I just shrugged it off and said it must be that "nursing sickness" that mommas talk about. A lot of the signs were there. But, now I am 6 months out and still get shaken by it, so maybe it is something else? What does it look and feel like? Intense dizziness, a feeling like if I don't sit down I will pass out and faint, waves of nausea that are so bad I run into the bathroom to get sick, heart palpitations at times, the inability to focus, and vertigo that has me brace against a wall or sit down as fast I possibly can out of fear.
When it hits, it lasts for a few days. Then it disappears and I forget I ever felt this way.
You might be thinking, why don't you see a doctor? Well, I did and I do. In April, she tested a lot of hormone levels thinking it might be connected to my cycle and my body coming back to "usual" after having kids and nursing. Over the summer, she checked my thyroid and blood sugar, kidney and liver functions, all my metabolic numbers. This fall it has been my blood pressure (which is low! but maybe that is normal for me?), more checks on my glucose for diabetes or hypoglycemia another round of thyroid blood work. I have been checked for lyme disease and lupus and even rheumatoid arthritis (although I don't feel achy in my joints?). There were more tests of my lady hormones and everything came back "normal." Which is great! I am glad that these things are good and healthy but saddened that we still don't know what it could be. The best way to describe it is when you have had TOO much to drink and lay down and the whole room spins out of control but this time around I am not drinking. Now I am waiting to see a Neurologist in December to check for these tiny crystals in my inner ear that might be floating around causing this acute vertigo and/or I am sure they will check for other things.
There is also a chance it might be connected to my diet (as in I may have food allergies which is not uncommon in my family). So I am starting something as a test between now and the new year to see if things change since I have a long wait for my next medical visit. Maybe this is all hocus pocus at this point but at least it feels empowering to be trying something that if nothing else will be benign and might give me some relief from these feelings that make me feel like I am simultaneously pregnant and drunk (and don't worry I have peed on so many pregnancy sticks + the vasectomy that it would be a true act of God to be that). This is the point of the story where you may choose to stop reading if you would rather not roll your eyes at all the "crazy" pseudo-medicine/science I am going to try!
- In the morning I have started to dry-brush before hopping into my shower. What is dry brushing? It is exactly what it sounds like, you take a brush to your dry skin! You start at your feet or hands and slowly make your way up towards your heart. I have actually really enjoyed this process so far. Some mornings when I am particularly bleary-eyed, I struggle to remember this step to my "new routine" so leaving the brush out on the counter has helped jog my tired mind. It is a nice little way to check in on the body and slow down before the morning rush. Supposedly, it can help your lymphatic system, clean your pores, boost your energy, and, if nothing else, it helps to exfoliate.
- To support the gut which might be the cause of all these weird troubles, I am taking a probiotic. This might be the easiest step to include because I just take it along with my vitamin.
- I am going to slow down on the high impact exercises and take some time to revisit a more slow-flow form of yoga. Feeling literally out of sorts doesn't seem to jive with high intensity work that might leave me even more light-headed than I usually am. So instead, I am going to slow things down but increase the consistently on some yoga and some pilates to help me focus, breathe, and stretch.
- And then the diet....So sad to say goodbye to sugar before the holidays but I think to see what is going on I need to start embracing a more limited sugar and limit my gratuitous carb diet. My doctor is flirting with the idea of food allergies and sensitivities so I imagine that needing to eliminate foods will be soon my reality anyway, so I might as well choose to start this work now and see if I notice any changes over time. (And that means limiting my caffeine too...saddest part of all).
Keep your fingers crossed and definitely let me know if you have felt these things too. I am hoping that by the end of December, I will have some good things to report back on.