My adrenals are toast. It's really not all that surprising when I look back over the last 5 years...here's a brief snapshot...
*Miscarriage - 3/05, followed by a frustrating year of trying to conceive again
*Pregnant - 12/05...it's TWINS!!!
*37 1/2 weeks of hyperemesis, discomfort, meanwhile raising 2 kids and working full time
*7/06 - give birth to twins and proceed to nurse them both (exclusive, no formula supplementation) for 13 months
*Become stay-at-home-mom, financial stress, marital strain
*Begin competition training 7/08 and proceed to do 7 competitions in less than 2 years
*Sleep Deprived since 12/05 - twins did not sleep through the night until 3 years old
*File for divorce 6/09
*Go back to work full time 9/09
*Start own business 4/10
*Did I mention I have a caffeine addiction? Is it surprising?
So, part of my sleep deprivation issue is that I've been suffering severe night sweats since January 2007. I've been tested for everything under the sun and the only thing they can come up with is that I may be low estrogen, but given my sport I choose to suffer through rather than take hormones. Fortunately it has gone from being an every night thing to only at the onset of my cycle for a few nights. My friends like to joke that I do cardio in my sleep. Funny.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, but in case you haven't read it, the adrenal system is responsible for releasing hormones: cortisol, estrogen, testosterone, etc. Clearly, I've had some kind of hormone wackiness going on for a long time. Stress, sleep deprivation and caffeine probably were not helpful. I'm pretty sure that my timing of the diuretics brought on "The Perfect Storm" and just threw my body over the edge, so to speak. My body's way of telling me it's time to listen, time to dial back, figure out my priorities and slow myself down.
I was emailing back and forth with my friend and fellow mom of twins, Kristi in SoCal and she has suffered some very similar problems to what I'm experiencing which is when I had the "Ah-ha moment" that the burden of carrying, birthing and then nursing twins, took a greater toll on my body than I ever realized. I'm not sure if my body was ever fully recovered from that experience before I took the leap from extreme birthing to extreme dieting and training.
It's true, the body is very resilient. I think I've taken that for granted for a long time and constantly pushed myself too far physically. The thing I'm trying to figure out is the "why". It's easy to come up with the obvious answers like: I'm competitive, driven, disciplined, etc. But it's more than that and I don't know exactly what the "why" is yet...I'm pretty sure it's much deeper than I have ever allowed myself to believe. I've decided that until I can clearly articulate the "why" to my need to do the extreme training and dieting, I am not competing.
This "Perfect Storm" happened to me for a reason. I guess you could say it's the Universe's way of telling me to "shut the hell up and listen". Had this not happened to me, I would have thrown myself back into contest prep mode and started training for another competition. Knowing me, I would have set my sights on a summer show. I got really lucky that I did not have more severe consequences than I did as a result of pushing myself too far and then overdosing on diuretics. Not only has it been a much-needed experience for me on a psychological level, but having the physical experience is useful information that, in my line of work, will come in very handy.
Tomorrow is "Decision Day": I set the date about 8 weeks ago to make two decisions. One of them is whether or not I would compete in the fall and the other is, well, too private to blog. I'm not ready to make any decisions about competition right now, so June 28th is going to pass me by and I'm okay with that. I feel really good about giving myself the time I need to find my "why" before I step on stage again...if I decide to step on stage again. I believe that once I figure out the "why", I will also find the balance I desperately need in my life.