Wishing all of you a Happy New Year! Hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday season. We had such a memorable Christmas with my parents who traveled from Michigan to celebrate with us. It’s difficult not having any family in California, so it’s always a blessing when my parents are able to spend time with the kids. The boys are at such great ages right now, 6 and 8, so it made all the Elf on the Shelf and Santa Claus magic that much more fun! I truly enjoyed our Christmas!
After all the joy (and hard work) of the holiday ends, I always feel like there’s a weird slump that happens. Do you feel that too? It’s hard to know what day it is… there’s no real schedule to follow… and you inevitably start looking back at the past year’s triumphs and the missteps. And in my case, probably overthinking EVERYTHING. I was heavily into my list making and goal setting for 2019 and finding myself feeling depressed and overwhelmed. I know these things can put a person in a funk, but I was really finding the end of December and beginning of January to be downright difficult. Although everyone was saying “Happy New Year,” I wasn’t feeling at all “happy,” and found myself dreading the “new.” I kept asking myself: What in the world is going on? Well it turns out I was in the midst of a little health scare that was making me feel mentally and physically terrible, and I didn’t even know it. I’m sharing this personal post today because I’m hoping some of you might be able to relate, and also to spread awareness. It is so important to listen to our bodies when they are telling us that something is wrong!
As many of you know, I live with two auto-immune diseases. I was diagnosed with lupus in 2003 and Hashimoto’s disease in 2012 and both conditions make me feel like I’m constantly walking a tightrope. Any little thing (and I mean miniscule) that goes wrong in my life, whether it be changes in climate, sleep, medication, diet, fitness, stress levels, or the dreaded cold I catch from my child… it all has a ripple effect for me that can take weeks, months (and in my worst case, years) to recover from. With a lot of hard work, I’ve thankfully been on an upswing with my health for the last year. But at the end of November, I was starting to feel like maybe a flare-up was coming on. I won’t bore you with the details, but after dealing with lupus for the last 15+ years, I can identify red flags quickly. My subsequent bloodwork did indeed show that something was going on, so my rheumatologist and I came up with a plan as we often do.
Part of the plan this time involved taking a prescription-level Vitamin D supplement. Most people don’t know, but if you have an auto-immune disease that involves a lot of inflammation (like I do), your body uses up more Vitamin D than the average person. BUT, and this is big, when you have lupus you’re not supposed to be in the sun which is the main source of Vitamin D. So, what’s a girl in Southern California supposed to do? Well, I’ve always got to have sunscreen and hats on if I’m going to be outside, and I instead have to get my Vitamin D from a bottle.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been on over-the counter Vitamin D in daily doses ranging from 1,000 to 5,000 IUs. I get my bloodwork done every three months, and my doctor is able to tell me exactly the dose I need in order to maintain a healthy level in my body. Well as it turns out, my Vitamin D level in November was in the toilet. I was going to need a weekly dose of 50,000 IUs for 12 weeks in order to correct it. This has happened to me only one other time many years ago, and I don’t remember anything strange about it. I unfortunately am one of those people that has weird reactions to things, so I always ask my pharmacist about side effects when I pick up a new prescription. She said that side effects to the Vitamin D are rare and I didn’t need to worry about anything. Famous last words.
So as Christmas was ending and the normal funk I mentioned earlier was setting in, I also started feeling sick. My son was getting over Croup and I had been taking care of him every night, so I for sure thought I was next. But then my symptoms took a dramatic turn. What I thought was just the “end of the year” blues, turned into intense and crippling anxiety. I was having anxiety nightmares all night long and wandering the house at all hours of the night thinking someone was breaking in. During the day I became so overwhelmed with even the most basic tasks that I felt like crying. I had muscle weakness, headaches and incredible fatigue. Then the final symptom came… anytime I stood up or tried to do any physical task, it felt like my heart was banging in my chest, and I’d lose my breath. It turned out that I was having irregular heartbeat rhythms.
At this point, my husband is telling me to go to the doctor. But it was New Year’s Day and everything was closed so I’d have to go to the ER, which I really didn’t want to do. I can be very stubborn about going to the doctor because I’m there constantly anyway. Then my friend Jamie texted me to say “Happy New Year.” I was telling her about my current situation and she’s the one who reminded me, “Hey, aren’t you taking that Vitamin D prescription? You should look up overdose symptoms.” Ahhhhh LIGHT BULB MOMENT! Thank goodness for her, because that’s totally what was happening! I was in the midst of my fourth weekly dose of the prescription, and for whatever reason, my body wasn’t metabolizing all of it and I was experiencing symptoms of a Vitamin D overdose. Obviously, I stopped taking the medicine. After about three more days of rest and letting the drug clear my system, I finally felt better again. Literally all of my symptoms went away.
Whoa! That was so not the way I wanted to start the year, but I’m so thankful my friend texted me that day and I figured it out before anything worse happened. Please don’t misunderstand anything I’m writing in regards to Vitamin D specifically. I am a HUGE proponent of Vitamin D supplements… without them, I’d be in big trouble. This was just one of those things that happens. Quite frankly, anybody can have a rare reaction to anything. It is so important for all of us to pay attention to the little things our bodies are telling us. If you have a feeling that something is wrong, it probably is. For instance, although I’m used to feeling stressed and anxious (that’s just my nature), the level to which I was experiencing it was not normal. RED FLAG. I’m used to aches and pains and inflammation from my lupus, but this muscle weakness and fatigue felt different to me. RED FLAG. If this blog post can help even one person, then it was all worth sharing. Have you ever felt anything like this? Do you know anybody else who might be in a similar situation? Please share this post with anybody who you think could benefit from it.
In happier news, I can’t wait to share more content with you all this year! I have big plans to grow my blog and share more things about projects around my home, recipes, fashion, parenthood, and travel adventures. Please let me know if there’s anything specific that you’d like to see more of so I can incorporate it in!! Thanks for your continued support and HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Thanks so much for reading and sharing! xoxo, JB