“Get lots of rest, reduce stress as much as possible, and avoid activities and situations that will overwork your adrenal glands. Basically, you need to change from being an overactive, hyper person, to laid-back and relaxed.”
“And take time for activities you enjoy. Positive, fun experiences will help your adrenals heal faster.”
Upon hearing the diagnosis of something called Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, these are the instructions I receive from my doctor. She further explains that this is not something I will be doing for the next few days, weeks, or even months. I ‘m told it could take years for my body to make a full recovery and function normally again. Healing of this magnitude requires more than a temporary change.
Lots of rest? No problem. Symptoms from Adrenal Fatigue have me sleeping ten hours a night – plus naps.
Reduce stress? With two teenage boys, is this even remotely possible? After explaining to their dad and me that I get way too stressed-out over nothing (well, duh), both boys agree to do what they can to help in the stress-reduction area.
Keep adrenal glands from working too hard? This may prove to be a little more difficult. Apparently, adrenal glands have a mind of their own; randomly turning themselves on and off, with little or no provocation.
The scope of this problem becomes apparent when I begin selecting extra-curricular activities to enjoy. I love sports. I love to play them; I love to watch them. Because of my condition, participation in sports is limited – which gives me more time to watch other athletes in action. Therein lies the problem.
Settling into the recliner, I begin following my doctor’s orders to rest and have fun by flipping on the t.v. and finding college basketball. I quickly realize this is a bad choice for keeping my adrenal glands calm. With thirty-two games in one day, my remote control finger moves faster than a hummingbird in a field of red honeysuckles. When I spring out of the recliner and yell, “Buzzer beater – triple overtime,” my husband threatens to confiscate the remote control.
I reluctantly leave basketball and stop on soccer. I don’t usually watch soccer, and don’t even really know the rules. (Which significantly reduces the likelihood of me yelling at the referees.) Since there is minimal scoring, I reason, soccer should fit both my desire to watch sports, and the need to stay calm. “GOOOOOOOAL!” Oops. I forget how easy it is to get caught up in the excitement of the screaming announcers – even when they are speaking a different language. Try as I might to stay disconnected, I find myself screaming the one word they yell in English – “GOOOOOOOAL!”
Yes, dear. I’m switching to something else.
Volleyball? Our son plays volleyball. I like volleyball – it’s fun to watch. Yeah, volleyball is a good choice. I don’t know any of the players on the two teams, and I don’t care who wins. “You gotta get up for that block. Are you kiddin’ me? Oh man, what a spike. Hon, come watch this replay.” As I leap up to reenact the incredible play my husband missed, I decide volleyball may not be an adrenal calming option either.
In desperation, I turn to tennis. Don’t get me wrong – tennis is a good game. I play tennis. But watching tennis can be, well, boring. This choice seems to be working. I’m enjoying watching sports and staying calm … until game four. A fifteen-shot rally; nine of them volley shots. I start swinging my arms so violently that when I jump up for the final shot I hit the spinning fan blade and let out a man-holler, “OOOWWW.” Not surprisingly, my husband wrests the tennis racket, aka remote control, from my grip and changes channels.
Golf. Is this even a real sport? I do admire golfers’ skills, but I question the sanity of anyone who actually wants to whack a little white ball until it falls into a teeny-tiny hole. On the other hand, the scenery is beautiful, and spectators have to be very, very quiet … “GET IN THE HOLE.” Too late, I remember you don’t have to be quiet watching from home.
I’m down to my final option on ESPN; the National Spelling Bee. This definitely does not qualify as a sport, but if it’s on ESPN, I’ll watch it. “No, no, no. It’s an ‘i’ not an ‘e’.”
So much for my transformation to a laid-back, relaxed person.
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