Saturday, April 13, 2013

Salt Wasting Healed!

Today is a very special day. It marks the 6 week anniversary since I've kicked salt water to the curb. Yup, you heard it right. No salt water for 6 weeks now! I waited to make this post because I didn't want to jump to any conclusions too fast, but today it has been confirmed.

Many who know me can recall that I was diagnosed with Renal Salt Wasting Syndrome and Symptom of Insufficient Anti-Diuretic Hormones over a year ago, after a brush with death in the hospital. Tests showed that my Aldosterone (hormone produced by the adrenal glands that regulates sodium and electrolytes in the body) levels were flatlining and that my kidneys were unable to hold onto salt. Doctors told me that this was an incurable form of Dysautonomia and that I would be stuck with it for the rest of my life, but the good news was that it could be managed with medication. The poison that they prescribed me was called Florinef- an awful concoction that left me with swollen legs, nausea, dizziness, and a constant feeling like my head was underwater. The way that I could best describe it would be like having an anvil as your head and trying to function with it. Aside from that, cankles are just so incredibly unattractive. So after 2 weeks of that nightmare I threw out the pills and got onto the best salt that there is on earth- Hawaiian Bamboo Jade sea salt.

I continued to get my weekly saline IV treatment that the doctor had ordered for a course of 60 days, leaving them under the impression that I was still taking the Florinef. If there's one thing that MDs really hate its to not take their drugs!

The HBBJ sea salt really saved my life. I carried around a jug of water spiked with the stuff and through some experimentation figured out that I needed to drink about 4 oz every 30-45 minutes in order to stay stable. I could out-pee any racehorse on earth but that side effect beat the hell out of what that Florinef did to me.

This went on up until a little more than a month ago when I noticed that the water was tasting more salty than usual. I reduced the amount of salt in the water little by little until I could barely taste it anymore and was doing fine! Then came the ultimate test, an accident really. I filled my water bottle in a haste to leave the house before the rain storm hit. About an hour into my errands I noticed that I had forgotten the salt! I searched my bag to see if I had any stashed and there was none. I was a little ways away from home so I decided to just continue on and get some salt when I got home. Nothing happened! No sick feeling, no dizziness, no drama.

The next day I spent home, so I continued with the accidental experiment and tried going the day without the salt water. I still had some salt on my food like any healthy person would do, but none in the water. Guess what? I was fine!!

So a month later with no salt water, I decided to get my aldosterone and renin levels checked again to see where I was at. I got the results this morning, and by golly wouldn't you know my levels are now within normal range. That's right. Incurable my ass! They surely didn't know who they were dealing with. I can't wait to call my endo and GP and unload this phenomena on them. It will be the most stupefying tap dance anyone's ever done on their brains!

This is truly a turning point for my health, and I could not have done it without perseverance, and most importantly faith. I never once believed that I was incurable. I never believed that I was going to be stuck with any disease for the rest of my life. I believed, and continue to believe, that God will heal all my ailments. I sacrificed everything I had to. I was willing to do whatever it takes, EXCEPT to keep poisoning myself with symptom managing medications. I won't say it was easy. There were so many times that I felt so desperate, like I couldn't deal with life and just wanted to take a pill to make it all go away. But that inner strength inside me, as difficult as it was to draw up sometimes, kept me going and reminded me that band-aids don't heal gunshot wounds.

Miracles are real. I am a walking testament to it. INCURABLE. Do you know what it feels like to be told that by a doctor? It feels like the worst pit of hoplessness and despair that you could ever fall into. It's like being handed a life long prison sentence without the possibility of parole. For a while it became who I was. Shannon the INCURABLE. Shannon the SICK. Shannon the INVALID. I walked around depressed, downtrodden, and helpless. Ugh it was awful! Until the day I said enough is enough, threw out the prescriptions and the snake oils, and got on with it. As time passed I saw myself as Shannon the STRONG. I wasn't going down without a fight, and today, I sit here writing this post as Shannon the MIRACLE.

My advice for today : DON'T GIVE UP HOPE. Doctors are human, not God. Don't let them hand you a death sentence. Believe in yourself and the miracle that is your body. Trust that you've got everything within you to get well and get out of the way! Give yourself the best treatment, both physical and mental. Don't beat yourself up, and most importantly don't believe the hype! Whatever it is, you can overcome it with faith and perseverance.

Best of health and happiness to all, and now I leave you with the most appropriate song for the day :)

PS: Suck eggs Doc!

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