Just the facts.

Hold your schadenfreude, people!

It has come to my attention that people are being referred here from a message board as an example of “adrenalectomy that failed.”

Can I just say that it’s a bit premature? Because we don’t know that yet. We *do* know that adrenalectomy gave me almost 3 years of “normal” life, so no matter what is wrong with me right now, I don’t call that “failure” necessarily.

Here are the facts:

  • I have low potassium. When my potassium drops, my blood pressure rises.
  • I am taking potassium supplements. As long as I keep my potassium in “safe” range, I do not have high blood pressure. Last check this evening: 123/76.
  • There are a lot of variables at play here. It was not as if I had no other health issues along with a bad adrenal: I’ve had celiac disease all of my life, half of it undiagnosed; as a result, I’ve had long term malabsorption issues (that could affect how my body processes potassium, I am learning). I have unexplained hyperalphalipoproteinemia. I have a 40 year history of polymenorrhea with no explanation. I have cone-rod dystrophy in my left eye. I have really severe fructose intolerance. I’m allergic to dairy and just about every antibiotic there is except for three. Need I go on?

In other words, I’m not a simple case. I’ve got a lot of weird stuff going on and at this point it’s not known if my other adrenal has gone bad. At first it looked like it, but keep in mind that a month of eplerenone DID NOT raise my potassium and DID NOT lower my blood pressure. Neither, for that matter, did spironolactone the summer before my adrenalectomy.

So. Back to the facts:

  • I had an adrenal tumor.
  • I had it removed.
  • My blood pressure dropped and stayed low-normal for nearly 3 years.
  • Earlier this year, I got really sick with respiratory and sinus infections that kept reappearing. I took a lot of antibiotics, which messed up my stomach even more than it’s already messed up.
  • To counteract this, I started taking a probiotic. I also started taking Vitamin D as labs of the same time showed I was low.
  • At some point after all of this – being really ill, having a really messed up stomach (use your imagination!), ingesting unregulated supplements from the health-food store – my potassium dropped and my blood pressure started creeping up.
  • I went through some testing; the lab botched up the testing. Rather than do it again, I opted to proceed with medical therapy for hyperaldosteronism, as it appeared to be what I was dealing with.
  • That medical therapy, as I noted earlier, DID NOT WORK. In fact, it caused the OPPOSITE effect of what it was expected to do in a case of hyperaldosteronism.

All of that to say, quite simply – nothing is as black or white as it seems. Hyperaldosteronism is a medical condition that is poorly researched; there is no glamour in it, no huge profits to be made by Big Pharma, no great prizes to be handed out for discovering its cure. I’ve met with a half-dozen doctors in as many months and NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THEM knows conclusively what I have; in fact, several of them vehemently insist that my remaining adrenal could not possibly be the problem. And the truth is, although I was skeptical at first, I’m starting to believe them.

So if that’s failure to you, fine – you’re entitled to your opinion. But until someone comes along with conclusive evidence that my remaining adrenal is the culprit, I’m remaining open to any and all possibilities.