Okay, so the low-oxalate diet is really paying off--after a week on it and realizing more and more sleep (with meds but only diphenhidramine, no more super strong sleep meds necessary), I slept nearly the whole day and night yesterday and NO sleep meds to accomplish that--woohoo! Talk about catching up! I still have a ways to go to recover from the toll that 6 months of 3-5 hrs sleep per night MAX (with meds!) has taken on me. This is what I have been suffering--severe insomnia and because of that, adrenal fatigue leading to air hunger (dyspnea), depression, brain fog, and memory problems--that has kept me from writing except on rare occasions when the clouds briefly parted.
Over the last week my creativity has been coming back more consistently, but I can only hope that this continues. There have been many setbacks just when I think something is working, so my fingers are crossed that I am FINALLY on the right path. The last 11 months have been the most stressful in my life and only seemed to get worse and worse. I wasn't sure how much more I could take.
This turnaround gives me renewed hope. However, there is still one issue that is ongoing. With the return of refreshing sleep, I will have a better chance of a full recovery, but it won't be as quick as the sleep. The breathing issue (dyspnea) seems to be tied in to adrenal function, which is on the brink of failing (hence the sleeping all day yesterday). While the oxalates kept me wired even while tired so that I couldn't sleep, it drained my adrenals, which is why the breathing grew worse and worse. Right now, I'm trying small doses of pregnenolone on top of high doses of B vitamins and it seems to be working, but I've only done that for two days. I'm breathing easier than on B vitamins alone. I think the reason so many of the herbal adrenal supports didn't work for me is because those herbs are high in oxalates and compounded my root problems.
I had a visit with my FMNP yesterday and we decided to go ahead with this hormone precursor to help the adrenals (which convert cholesterol to pregnenolone, which then is converted to pregesterone, cortisol, and DHEA, the precursor for estrogen and testosterone). By supplementing what the adrenals are supposed to produce themselves, it relieves them of some of the burden and allows them to heal faster. I had been taking a low dose of DHEA for the week before and that seemed to help, but I think the precursor even for that, pregnenolone, is more useful. This way, my body can balance out where it needs it, and I suspect it needs it for everything. I've started low and already noticed improvement. I will increase as I adjust to it.
My immune system has been on high for too long, although it has been nice to go several months without cold sores, colds, and avoiding the flu. Cortisol balances the immune system, helping to switch it on and off. I suspect that my body was using all the pregnenolone it could make for as much cortisol as possible to the detriment of the other hormones (tested low in DHEA), but it wasn't enough to turn off my immune system, which is why I was having issues with anything that boosted it or caused it to go into alarm mode (like those innocent-seeming probiotics that I had to quit taking). I also could not keep weight on no matter what or how much I ate, even when I didn't exercise. Sure, you might think that's awesome, but not when you feel like crap otherwise, especially if you eat the wrong foods (of which there are many), and it's scary. I couldn't do anything or I risked melting away. Also, sitting on the couch is boring. I like to be active and this has been an especially trying time for me in having to be sedentary.
I also learned that I don't have a histamine issue. All that was due to the oxalates; although initially my gut might have been enough of a mess to not break down histamines adequately, that was corrected.
I want to feel like my old creative self and finish NEMESIS and move on to other projects, to get back on track with my life--family activities, horse training, and writing. I'm praying that this is the answer I sought. It's made me realize that we can't take anything in life for granted. Our bodies are much more fragile than we think, although they are also very good at healing when we are good to them.
I've learned through all this to eat well, minimize stress, and really appreciate the good moments while they last. That is a lesson that must be experienced to fully appreciate.