Brandy's Braces, SARPE, Jaw Surgery Journal

This is my daily journal to my eventual perfect smile and Apnea free life. It logs my surgeries, and daily progress.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Thank God for Blood Tests and Good Doctors!

Ok, so I had to blog today as things have recently taken a turn for the better. I have been seeing a naturopath the past few months trying to get the issues I have been having with my health, hormones, sleep apnea, etc. taken care of. We started with a bunch of tests, Saliva tests, and blood tests. Then we compared the results to make sure they were pretty much the same. My test showed a high level of DHEA. Now this is unusual as at my age your DHEA usually decreases significantly. So....my doctor had me take an adrenal test to check things out.

A few years back I had a full blood workup done and they also reported that my DHEA was high, however, they said that high levels often exist in individuals that exercise a lot, and since I had lifted pretty heavily the night before my test, and was relatively young and healthy, they blew it off and said it was probably nothing. I really didn't think to much about it either and just let it go.

So...fast forward to now. Over the past three years we discovered that I had sleep apnea, which of course is not conducive to good quality sleep in and of itself. I was always tired, and my head was always fuzzy. I often would awake with a headache, and I swear there were days I could barely remember my name. It has been very frightening at times, thinking that perhaps I was truly losing my mind, or in the early stages of Alzheimers or something, but not knowing what to do to fix it.

The combined tests showed that some of my hormones were a bit low, so we are working on balancing those out. My doctor put me on a good whole food multivitamin 3 times a day, as well as 1,000mg of vitamin C twice a day. Last week when the adrenal test results came back my doctor talked with again as the test showed very high levels of cortisol. Cortisol is a chemical that is secreted by the Adrenal Gland during times of stress. Basically your cortisol levels rise and lower during the day due to stress(ors) in your environment. They peak (at their highest) at about 6-8am in the morning (thus helping us to wake up)and decrease in the evening being at there lowest about 12:00pm, supporting good sleep.

Small increases of cortisol have some positive effects:

* A quick burst of energy for survival reasons
* Heightened memory functions
* A burst of increased immunity
* Lower sensitivity to pain
* Helps maintain homeostasis in the body

Higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream (like those associated with chronic stress) have been shown to have negative effects and actually become toxic to the body. Sustained high cortisol levels (such as what I have been having for the last 3 years)

*Destroy healthy muscle and bone
*Slow down healing and normal cell regeneration.
*Co-opt biochemicals needed to make other vital hormones
*Impair digestion and metabolism
*Impair mental function and cognitive performance
*Interfere with healthy endocrine function
*Weaken your immune system, so you get sick easier and more often.

This was all very perplexing since even though I have a very high stress job, I do not get stressed out. I'm very good at handling my stress, and truthfully a very calm person. Never in a million years would anyone have pegged me as a person of high stress. In fact I'm so mellow I'm almost apathetic! LOL..

My doctor told me (and I also researched it later) that there is a serious connection between sleep apnea and adrenal issues/disfunction and high cortisol is quite common with obstructive sleep apnea. My high cortisol is directly related to my apnea events. The decresed/blocked breathing at night triggers my brain to go into stress mode. A quick shot of adenaline is released, and I'm awakened so that I do not die. This happens a few times a night which keeps my body in a constant state of stress, it keeps my cortisol levels elevated continuously. They are elevated all night, and are very high during the day. Cortisol needs to decline at night for good quality, restorative sleep to be obtained, and mine never goes down!

So.....my doctor put me on a cortisol reducing supplement the other day. I take two pills before bed. I have been on them for 1 week now and what a difference it has made. I swear to God I could notice a difference the first night I used them. I awoke the next morning to a clear head. No mental fogginess, I was remembering things I hadn't thought about for years! I have more energy, I sleep more soundly and have been dreaming for what feels like the first time in years. Most of all I can tell that I'm finally starting to heal like I should be now. My immune system feels like it is back on track. It has been three weeks with no meds and my sinuses are clear. No sinus infections, or indications of any. The three front teeth that were always burning are now feeling normal, and in the past couple of days have started tingling again with the return of feeling. It feels like a freakin miracle! My doctor says that if I take these meds over the next few months, they have been proven through research to actually reset the cortisol levels to their correct amounts. So they are not something I need to take forever. She is convinced that between my surgery to correct my apnea, and these supplements that I could be functioning like my old self in a matter of months. I had my SARPE in March. Full healing has taken a long time, however, now I know why! Mostly I'm excited because now I don't have to worry so much about my ability to adequately heal from my jaw surgery!

I feel like I have gotten a new lease on life! I'm so incredibly shocked to find that one brain chemical could have such a profound effect on my life! It's crazy...but I'm so glad that my doctor didn't just discount it like the others! I'm on my way back BABY!

6 Comments:

  • At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Kristen said…

    Hey Brandy! Isn't it funny how we all become such "experts" on these medical subjects? Amazing how much you can learn where you probably never expected to. Thanks for the tip on the zip-n-squeeze bags. I just order a 10-pack. The syringes are such a drag. I can't wait to get rid of them! Thanks again! :)

     
  • At 5:13 PM, Blogger Graham said…

    So what is the supplement you're taking?

     
  • At 5:59 PM, Blogger Brandyleigh35 said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

     
  • At 12:26 PM, Blogger Mary said…

    Brandy, this is so interesting. Your sleep apnea issue is as well. I have suffered for years from waking up, usually about an hour after going to sleep, feeling like I can't breath. My doctor told me it was not sleep apnea because I was not overweight. I have come to the conclusion that my breathing problems, which feel like a breathing rythem disturbance, is as a result of MVP (mitral valve prolapse) (its actually an automonic system issue and sometimes referred to as MVP syndrome. This also causes a surge of adrenelin, just like you describe. I'm going to ask my doctor about the drug you are time. M

     
  • At 3:26 PM, Blogger Mary said…

    PS--I forgot to mention, its very likely, with the BSSO, that you will not need to eat with a syringe. I never did. I was able to drink water out of a cup, and eat ice chips, hours after the surgery. And I only had two bands on my teeth, which after my follow up to my OS on Day 5, he said I could take off to eat and brush teeth. I drank/ate blended soups and shakes from Day 2 on through a cup or with a spoon and unless you are banded too tightly, you should be able to do too. I think its those who have the upper jaw surgery have a much harder time with the eating and drinking from what I have seen on these blogs. M

     
  • At 8:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi ladies and I think this will go to Brandy. I emailed you Brandy. I would love to contact you, you are so full of wealthy information! I have MMA surgery out in Stanford in 10 days. My email is anabelle_pinto@yahoo.com

     

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