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Diagnosis: Finally!

By Robin Dearing

Hey, you guys, remember when I kept saying I was sick? Turns out I was a little more than just sick.

After three months of many visits to my doctor, specialists and having so many tests the list goes on for three pages, my illness remained an enigma. My blood pressure was super low (it was often 84/50 or lower), I threw up every time I looked at/smelled/even thought too hard about food, I couldn’t walk or even sit up and my knees would ache so badly at night I’d writhe a sad St. Vitus dance.

I had been to the emergency room and to the infusion center four times for fluids in less than two months. My bathroom counter was full of nausea meds. I lost over 20 points, my skin started to hang off my arms.

Not a single doctor had any idea what was wrong with me.

My dear husband, Bill, was losing his patience with the lack of a diagnosis while I was losing hope I’d ever recover.

I was finally admitted to the hospital. Yet again, I told my story of extreme fatigue, weakness, nausea, vomiting, aches, on and on. The admitting doctor listened with narrowed eyes to my vague symptoms. Then my vigilant husband added one weird fact: I was tan.

That one fact helped save my life.

I have Addison’s Disease.

It’s a super rare condition where my adrenal gland no longer makes adrenaline. This is pretty much a huge deal because adrenaline does a whole bunch of important things like regulate blood pressure, sodium levels, potassium levels, it maintains body fat, among other things.

I will never have another adrenaline rush. I’m going to have to really work on my upper body strength, just in case my family is trapped under a car.

The treatment for Addison’s is oral steroids.

And right now, I feel really, super, awesomely good. Better than I have in a long time.

As for the tan, it’s a side effect of the adrenal gland not working. It’s supposed to go away. But when I look at my weird, thin, tan self in the mirror, I see a different version of myself. Bill called me Hospital Barbie.

Now that I’m home, everything looks, feels, tastes, sounds amazing. I get up in the morning and am ready to go … do … stuff, whatever, everything. I’m trying to avoid writing that I have “a new lease on life,” but it really sort of feels like that.
I’m so happy that I can drive my kid to singing lesson and fold laundry. I’m so happy I get to go on summer adventures with my dear friend, Pam. I’m happy I’m able to play guitar again with the girls in my band. I’m so happy I get to ride on the back of my husband’s motorcycle and camp in my mom’s RV. I’m happy to be useful, helpful and self-sufficient.

I’m so happy which is the strangest symptom of Addison’s I have.


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I’m so glad a doctor was finally able to figure out what was wrong Robin!  Sounds like you’re back to your old wonderful self :)

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