Aloha and welcome to the Wayward Bus! Let’s clear something up from the get-go: my name isn’t Jane and I was not born in 1940. You might know me from the Yahoo hyperaldosterone support group (where I go by the alias msmith1928, but that’s another story).
So yes, my presence here means I had hyperaldosteronism. I estimate that I had an undiagnosed tumor in my left adrenal gland for about 13 years. It made me fat and anxious and gave me hypertension and low potassium (which can kill you at worst, but at best will cause fatigue, muscle cramps, muscle weakness, numbness, or temporary paralysis – all of which I had). I had the tumor, as well as the entire gland, removed on October 13, 2011.
And like magic, my illness was cured. Well, until March of 2014, when the symptoms began coming back, suddenly and entirely out of nowhere. First the headaches. Then the vision disturbances. Then the hypertension. And finally, the fatigue, muscle cramps, muscle weakness, and numbness, confirmed by a low serum potassium test. At present my medical team can’t seem to figure out what to make of it – it’s not likely hyperaldosteronism in my other adrenal, since I do not respond to mineralcorticoid blockers (which actually ELEVATE my blood pressure). My potassium shifts are triggered, it seems, mainly by carbohydrate consumption and ingestion of medications and/or vitamins. It’s probably some sort of channelopathy, possibly hypokalemic periodic paralysis. By avoiding most dietary carbs and medications I’m actually managing pretty well right now, despite the fact that having no f*cking clue why this is happening isn’t exactly where I would choose to be… given the choice.
Entirely unrelated – at least as far as I know – to my adrenals, I’ve been dealing with food intolerances and malabsorption syndrome since birth. Born allergic to milk, diagnosed in adulthood with celiac disease and fructose intolerance, eating is tricky business for me. Between the ridiculously contaminated American food supply and the superpower known as Conventional Wisdom, it’s been a tough battle, but with the knowledge gained from having been a human being for over half a century, I am finally beginning to sort things out. More or less.
I eat eggs, coconut products, chicken, fish and shellfish, tofu, avocados, olive oil, nuts, rice in small amounts only, and most veggies. I can’t eat much of anything else. By choice I avoid most red meat, as I believe the hormones used in its production are not doing me any favors. I drink water, coffee (black), and tea (green), with an occasional tipple of something stronger once in a while because come on, life is short. Eating is, frankly, tedious as heck, and if a Magic Food Pill a la The Jetsons ever appeared on the market, I wouldn’t miss food one bit. Well, except for avocados; I like them. A lot.