First of all, I want to make it clear that it is my understanding that Dr. Natasha does not endorse hormone replacement therapy. I say this because of an answer to a question in the FAQs:
Is it realistic for me to think that GAPS could help my body naturally increase its progesterone level?
Yes, GAPS programme will re-balance your hormones to normal production. Progesterone has to be balance by other hormones, and only your body knows how to do that and in what proportions. Try not to interfere in this process by taking any hormonal preparations: drugs or natural.
When it was first suggested to me to have my adrenals tested, I did not realize the end result would be bio-identical hormones.
My husband first heard about bio-identical hormones on a news program with Suzanne Somers. He was sold and told me he thought I should try them. This was several years ago, pre-GAPS. I bought the Suzanne Somers books at a second hand store and learned why she feels we should use bio-identical hormones. But it didn't really sit well with my tendency to simply let nature take its course. If I remember correctly, SS still has a menstrual cycle, complete with menses. I don't think it is natural for a 60-something year old woman to be having a period. I think that was one of the main things that caused me to discontinue pursuing this path, and I'm sure the other part of that was the expense, and having to go to the doctor all the time and be reliant on prescription medication.
But then I started getting bent out of shape and distressed about not losing weight, in fact, gaining weight while doing intro. Horror of horrors! And so one of my GAPS friends and I had a pow-wow and she suggested the adrenal saliva test. In fact, I had recently written a blog post which mentioned all the things that I may need to do, should do to further my healing and I was just overwhelmed and not sure what to do next.
The adrenal test seemed like something fairly easy. All it required was spit after all. 😉
So… I ordered the test, chewed the cotton and shipped it to the lab. I got my results back several weeks ago, and I've been on the fence about what I should do. First of all, when I talked to the consulting doctor on the phone I was very excited to get started, but I thought he was only going to formulate a transdermal creme for me to use. When his suggested protocol arrived, there were so many things listed that I immediately jammed my head right into the sand.
In a nutshell, the consulting doctor explained that I'm in a state of adrenal maladaptation.
My cortisol level at peak is highest at 8 o'clock in the morning – that's good – but it is just under the normal range at 3.46 (normal range is 3.5 and 6.3). That's bad. My DHEA sulfate should peak at 8am and have the lowest point at midnight, but mine is inverted with the highest value at midnight and the lowest at 8am. That's not good. He explained that this is a sign of adrenal maladaptation, and this means that my body cannot manage the physical and emotional stress that I am currently having to endure.
He says my adrenal fatigue is fairly recent, and explained the adrenals attempt to adapt by blowing up like a balloon but they can only do this for about thirty months, before they start to shrink or atrophy and he says this is where I am at right now.
I have two questions about this. First, I was feeling a lot better just by doing GAPS and then my husband started working a lot of hours and not eating right and not sleeping enough, which was stressing me out terribly. And I've been on GAPS almost 19 months. So where does thirty months come in? And how do we know I'm at the tail end, not at the homestretch toward healing?
Anyway… I was also freaked out about not following the doctor's orders… even though several of the items listed on the protocol contained definite GAPS illegal ingredients, I still worried about not doing the protocol 100% because at least doing what he recommended 100% I would then know I had done my best.
But then I started getting an idea of what it would all cost and that really freaked me out. For one thing, I only thought I would be using one creme which would be around $70 and purchased once a month. That was hard enough to swallow. That's a lot of money, and we aren't exactly swimming in cash here. But two cremes were recommended. One two be used twice daily, morning and at 6pm and the other only once in the evening, at bedtime.
So $70 one month and $140 the next month. Plus shipping.
I decided to sleep on it for a couple of weeks. Finally I decided to do both cremes. I'd told myself I might want to get started with this on July 1st, since I like to start something new on the 1st of the month. I finally ordered the cremes and they arrived on Friday.
I assume it takes a while for the effects of the creme's ingredients to begin working.
I started on Friday night with the night creme. I put on the Saturday creme. I seem to feel in a better mood. Also, one unusual thing is that I was able to concentrate and get my husband's business tax forms completed. He has until the 20th to submit the various forms to the various cities, counties and the state of Arizona, and I usually try to reconcile his two checking accounts on the first weekend of the month that the statements are available, and then the second weekend I try to get the paperwork done and submitted. But sometimes I am rushing on the 17th, even sometimes I've had to do it on the evenings of the days I work. But yesterday I managed to get it all done.
Now something else I've been doing… I have been trying to eat liver every day. I made a liver pate based on a recipe of a GAPS friend, and I have been trying to have two tablespoons each day… I also have been trying to get ferments in. I've found that eating sauerkraut after liver… not a good idea. The sauerkraut has an awful taste with the liver taste in my mouth. I've been trying to eat the sauerkraut first thing in the morning, then my two tablespoons of liver.
Yesterday was a weird day. I wasn't very hungry for most of the day. I am not sure if that's the liver, or the creme.
The doctor said I should retest in four months. He praised me for being on GAPS, and said he would be counseling me to do a similar diet if I were not already on GAPS. He says I'm 50% of the way there with my healing, but I'm in a tailspin with my adrenals and hormones. He says this creme will pull me out of the hormonal tailspin and get me pointed in the right direction. I sure hope he is right. I have heard a few horror stories about bio-identical hormone replacement therapy… at the end of our conversation I said I can't wait to have the energy of a toddler and he said, “Well, you're going to.” You see why I freaked out about not following his protocol to the T? If he really thinks I can have the energy of a toddler, he's probably assuming I will take every thing he has suggested.
If I have a chance, I will share some of the items he wants me to be taking. I'll keep you posted on how this goes. I'm still a little bit nervous… worried about the results because as Dr. Natasha says, our body knows when to adjust our hormones. I'm applying a creme with man-made ingredients… I hope I'm not making a mistake.
One more thing. My nose suddenly turned into a super smeller on Wednesday last week. Suddenly smells were very intense. And no, I'm not pregnant. :=) And now I need to get in the kitchen and get our picnic dinner started.