|Top of the Rockies, highway 89 heading north toward Salt Lake City, view is looking northeast, altitude 9000+ feet|
I've learned some interesting information about adrenal fatigue, such as the complexity of diagnosing it. In 2008 and 2009 I was having some health issues which eventually led to a hysterectomy. During that time I had blood work done (and in the years since), which indicated that my adrenal function was on the low side of normal. Adrenal function has a wide range of "normal" and medical doctors only diagnose adrenal issues when a person has gone into adrenal failure and developed Addison's disorder or Cushings syndrome. Prior to the onset of those, adrenal fatigue can set in and bring with it a host of complications which can also be associated with many other life conditions: unexplained weight gain, especially around the belly; sleep disturbances; muscle fatigue; heart palpitations; back pain; foggy-headedness; low blood pressure; a chronic sense of feeling tired and fatigued for no apparent reason (my biggest symptom); the pesky symptoms that led to the hysterectomy; among other symptoms. In addition to feeling constantly tired, I have also noticed a general acheyness in my muscles and an inability to fully relax - it's as if I am always on hyper-alert. This makes sense as adrenal function is part of the flight or fight aspect of our autonomic nervous system.
Last week my chiropractor affirmed that adrenal fatigue is probably at play in the way I feel. In a couple of weeks I'll see my internist who will do blood work and a physical. In the meantime I am doing what I can to allow myself to rest, relax, restore. So, to that end in the last week I have had a facial, manicure, pedicure, massage, chiropractic adjustment, and took the restorative yoga class. I have done everything I can to meditate daily, practice slow deep breathing, consciously work to relax my muscles, eat more veggies and protein, and take my vitamins. I think there is a little bit of improvement. Fewer heart palpitations being the most obvious sign of improvement. Friday night, following the adjustment I had no palpitations, Saturday night a few hours of palpitations, and last night, following the restorative yoga class, only one hour of palpitations just before bed. I also woke up with more energy, more alert. So. We'll see.
Turns out my Lenten discipline this year is slowing down and resting. The landscape of my inner life is clearly calling me to this practice of prayer. Curiously enough I have been working with Robin and two clergy colleagues in Dearborn on an ecumenical women's retreat titled, "Resting in God." That has also become the title for our Lenten season...."From toil and work come away and Rest in God." I'm really excited about the retreat, looking forward to meeting Robin in real life, and having this time to just rest.
Funny how the Spirit works. She knows what we need before that awareness has filtered into full consciousness. Always good when we can take her cues, follow her lead, and live in the Spirit.
In Advent Jan Richardson spoke about living into the rhythm of her life. More than trying to bring balance, which is evasive, living into the rhythm enables one to go with the flow - embracing busyness and rest fully. Now in Lent she is looking at the interior landscape of our lives and examining what that state is like, and what it takes to live within it while seeking greater wholeness and connectedness to God. That, at least is what I am taking away from the Lenten retreat.