Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How to Overcome Fatigue - Find a Good Doctor

 (I promised to write about my journey out of fatigue - here is my first post!)                                     
For years, I have known something was wrong. I would go for a trip out of town, and be so exhausted I would be in bed for a day or two afterwards. The last time I went on a three mile walk (this May), I slept the rest of that day into the next, and could barely do anything but cook dinner for a week afterward. Little things, like seeing a scary part of a movie, would make me jump out of my seat and wipe me out for the rest of the day. I have seen doctor after doctor about this deep, persistent exhaustion, and they would tell me, “You are just stressed” or “You are depressed”.  When I would try to tell them that maybe I was a little depressed, but it was just because I was really tired, and when I was rested I wasn’t the least bit depressed, they would say, “Depression causes fatigue.” I felt like screaming “You are not listening”, but I would just keep insisting that there was something else wrong. They would run the same standard tests for anemia, thyroid, etc. and come up blank. Their conclusion – another hypochondriac on our hands. My conclusion - like a good man, a good doctor is hard to find.
Then this Spring, after praying with Pete about what to do for my health, we heard about Dr. Adema through a friend.  He is an MD who also incorporates natural solutions into his practice. He is also funny, a good listener, and a Christian. After running some blood tests (which would have cost over 1000$ if our insurance hadn’t paid for them  - praise God for Pete’s Starbucks job!)  told me I had very low cortisol, or “adrenal insufficiency”, as well as a Vitamin D deficiency and  low progesterone. I finally had an answer for why I was tired all the time, and a starting place to figure out how to get better. Dr. Adema has helped me a lot, but unfortunately, not enough medical research has been done on adrenal insufficiency and even Dr. Adema hasn’t had all the answers. So I have also had to do a lot of my own research about how to recover. But that is a subject for another post.
The moral of the story is don’t trust the system. Just kidding. The moral of the story is keep looking until you find a good doctor, because they are out there, even if finding one is like looking for a needle in a haystack!


  1. I've got chronic fatigue also and experience many of your systems, including the pcos. I still haven't got any answers and am learning how to live as is. If you get a "cure" I'd sure love to hear about it. Blessings. xx

  2. I should also mention that I've been to countless doctors and specialists as well as alternative therapy practitioners. So I think your photo of a needle in a haystack is a very appropriate photo :-) I do hope that you are finding more energy. I find mine comes and goes and it is in times of great fatigue and inability to do much that I am especially thankful for my faith. Without my faith it would be much harder to cope. But faith gives me a life of contentedness (most of the time) despite the circumstances.

  3. Finding a doctor willing to listen is difficult. They are in a hurry.
    They have a favorite antidepressant, it seems, for every woman with any complaint. As much
    crazy misinformation as there is on the internet, at least there are places to start figuring out your own diagnosis. I was told I had fibromyalgia. My real problem was that I was not sleeping. Still, doctors wanted me to try every antidepressant out there, and I did.
    I do suggest getting referred to specialists, although my GP sighs like I have hurt her feelings, or am a hypochondriac. When I found the right med to help me sleep (it's not a sleeping med) with no side effects, my GP still wants me to try something else. Took me 30 years to find the right med. Now I have to go to a psychiatrist to have it confirmed that maybe, just maybe, at 62 years old, I actually have some insight into my health condition, and what works for me.

  4. I agree with your first moral! And yes doctors are to busy and just want to put you on drugs. I recently told my doctor that I was tired all the time and she said that my iron levels were normal, so it must just be that I need more sleep that most people. 12 hours a day?? I think I should get some proper tests done now, so thanks for posting this.

  5. Joyful, I doubt that I will find a "miracle cure" - just little ways to build energy over time. They are starting to work some - I'm not bouncing off the walls, but my bouts of serious fatigue are shorter and farther in between.

    I'm sure with you about contentment and faith - if I didn't believe that in heaven I would be completely healed (and be in God's presence for eternity!), I would get a lot more discouraged about being tired now! Plus God's presence helps me through each day!

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  7. Marie, that's crazy! Why wouldn't doctors want to give you something that works! I wish you could see Dr. Adema.

    That is a good idea to go to a specialist, but I am not sure if I want to spend the money when I am finding things that work that cost money like raw milk - will think/ pray about it.

  8. Farmer Liz- I will be praying that you find a doctor who gives you real answers! You are right, 12 hours a day is NOT normal.


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