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Addison’s Disease: The honeymoon is over

By Robin Dearing

“Why can’t I remember to put this bracelet on before I get lotion on my hands?” this is the question I ask myself after every shower when I’m trying to put on my medic-alert bracelet.

I struggle and finally get the stupid thing firmly attached around my wrist. Then I slide it up my arm as far as it will go and try to forget about it.

As I’ve aged, I’ve worn less and less jewelry, even giving up earrings in the last year. Now, I wear the two rings given to me by my husband … and the medic-alert bracelet that my endocrinologist insisted I buy and wear.

It’s a constant reminder that I’m not the person I used to be.

I’m trying to focus on the positive aspects of this disease. The biggest being that I was diagnosed in time and didn’t die (which is so awesome) and that’s it’s treatable.

But being treatable doesn’t mean I get to live my normal life anymore.

Right after I was diagnosed, I felt great. After reading the stories of so many people with Addison’s disease, I figured out this was a honeymoon period. I was right and that period is now over.

Last week, I started not feeling well: more tired than usual, grumpy, weak, fuzzy in the head. At band practice on Wednesday night, I got sweaty and my head started to swim. I tried to push on as I would have in any other situation in my life BAD (Before Addison’s disease).

That was stupid. I cannot push myself or carry on. My body has no way of dealing with stress. Carrying on means making myself sicker which requires exponentially more time to recover.

I’m trying so hard to not hate this disease. But I can assure everyone that I do no like it, not one bit.

I prefer to take care of myself and those around me. I like to be able to do my part, plus more. I want to be able to work until the job is done. I like being helpful.

I’m learning I can’t do that anymore. I have to stop. I have to take more steroids. I have to drink more water. Most importantly, I have to stop.

After taking it really easy Thursday and Friday, I ate a good breakfast and drank a bunch of water before going out to help Bill and our HOA president take down some trees along HOA property. We cut and stacked wood. I happily used the chainsaw (and boy, are my biceps telling me about it today). The longer I worked, the worse I felt.

I was overcome with weakness. Bill made me go home, take more steroid and rest. I spent the rest of the weekend in bed resting, working and trying not to feel to sorry for myself.

This is my life now. There’s nothing I could have done to prevent it and there’s nothing I can do to fix it. Those are the terms of my life, non-negotiable.

So, now as I sit at my desk, staring at my bulletin board, I’m taking stock. Looking at all the goods things I have created for myself. I created a life that I can easily lead with this disease. I’m so lucky, really. Now, I just have to learn to believe that.


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Lots of emotion in this post. You will have to learn to pick and choose your activities, huh? I hope next year you let some other HOA member take down the trees, hard as it may be to not participate and help out as much as you want to.

Yes, Randee, that’s the hard part is not being able to helpful. I come from hearty peasant stock. We are doers.

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