Natalina's Journey to Discovery of Adrenal Insufficiency (Addison's Disease) - A True Story That Shows You Should Never Give Up

12 years of ill health and No Clear Direction,  ALWAYS, JUST OUTSIDE THE BOX. It’s been a journey and a half that is for sure. One thing I really want to encourage others to do, which I wish I knew earlier is, if you have a gut feeling something isn’t right, we know our own bodies. Maybe you are not satisfied with what you are being told, get out there and seek further advice, 2nd and 3rd opinions, look in to alternative therapies.  Keep pushing the system til someone listens to you.

I have suffered with ill health since 2009 and as my husband repeated to doctors and specialists over the years, "I'm watching her deteriorate getting worse and worse and nobody can find anything".

I was diagnosed 2009 with Hypothyroidism, put on Thyroxine and barely monitored, then found out I had Hashimoto’s and was heading in and out of hospital with unexplained inflammatory presentations in my chest area, my lower back kidney area, abdomen. All the while having low blood pressure and low heart rate.  I suffered with these periods of time where my body would lose strength and felt so incredibly fatigued but thought suck it up and get on with it.

Tests are done nothing sinister you are told.   But in my mind I knew the pain was real and I am not the type of person to be a sooky la la and definitely not make a fuss over me.

As the Hashimoto’s got worse they found cancer cells in the biopsy and so the thyroid was totally removed 2015.  All the while I'm also in and out of hospital with pancreatitis attacks, in and out of hospital, every 6 months at least, all whilst working full-time. It was taking its toll over the years. In 2012 my gallbladder was removed. I was in and out of hospital with these severe attacks they couldn’t find any gallstones but could see I was not right. Maybe it was sludge so gallbladder was eventually removed. In 2014, I was still in and out of hospital with unexplained abdominal pains severe like my pancreatitis attacks. Dr Frank Wang did MRI concludes it must be auto immune related pancreatitis. No scarring on the pancreas thankfully.

2015 first mild stroke left for a month with left sided weakness, loss of  strength, loss of  bladder control, numbness down the entire left side.  Barely lift my head off the pillow, slurred speech, droopy left side of the face, and hoarse voice the more fatigued I became the more hoarse my voice would become.

A few more years in and out of hospital with unexplained inflammatory presentations Dr Levy Neurologist took the time to say hey hang on you are coming here with these inflammatory presentations what’s is going on?

Dr Levy runs MRI and shows white matter on the brain. Could it be MS? In 2010 I suffered an unexplained episode of numbness down my left side and severe lower back pain in my kidney area.  The doctor ran test I see a Neurologist and sent for a brain MRI,   there multiple areas of white matter in my brain MRI,  tests were done thinking  my numbness stemmed from MS, it was ruled out quickly as the symptoms came and then in time the symptoms eased, they didn’t fully resolve themselves but they were bearable enough for me to continue on. Come on you’re a wife and mum, get on with it, suck it up. It was ruled out Nope not MS.

After several consultations and further hospital stays, Dr Levy tells me my body just doesn’t seem to tolerate stress.  I'm thinking I don't feel stressed everyone has something going on but I don't see myself as stressed.  Didn't think anything of it.  He advised I need to step back stopped working full-time as it took its toll. 2018 another mild stroke.

I decided "Okay, I'm not staying home doing nothing 25 years in administrative roles I need to keep busy." In 2019, I decided "Okay, I will do something that I can work from and work around my health."  I trained in some beauty therapies and started a little home salon.  Never to be a big salon just to keep busy and touch the hearts of others, make another woman feel pampered. Having suffered with ill heath for  soooooo long I hoped I could make a difference in someone else's life.

I would have a client or 2 then be WIPEDDDD out for days. More hospital stays.. let things go didn’t push the salon business because I couldn't service the clients because my health was so fragile.   Feeling so incredibly useless and upset that my plans and all the money spent on training and set up costs and still I can't work mentally and emotionally is a lot to bear as I didn’t want to fail, let my hubby or son down... just keep pushing.

2020 came and yet another hospital stay numbness and unexplained inflammatory presentations.  Dr Levy says I can truly see you are suffering and if you stick with me and are happy to keep doing tests maybe we can pinpoint.  He says I feel you may even be missing something hormonally.  He said the medical industry is stupid and unfortunately there are not enough tests to diagnose all these things as yet. He was very reassuring and I thought "Wow, okay finally someone willing to look more in to things." MRI on the brain ran again more white matter on the brain, still suffering  with these periods of time where my body would lose strength go numb, slurred speech, lose total control of my bladder. In 2020, forced to do nothing due to covid, my body has a little down time physically.

2021, January I end up in hospital severe vomiting, diarrhea, severe abdominal pain can barely breathe heart rate and blood pressure both low, pain that radiates to the flank, clammy just not well.  Tests done not pancreatitis, conclusion some form abdominal inflammation.

2021 March in pure desperation my baby sister says, you are not well. Why not give Dr Sandra Cabot a try she is in Camden, which is 15mins from home.  Dr Cabot was seeing my sisters in laws and their family and they had all raved about her and how she was so very good at the diagnostic side of illnesses and ones that the GPs could not diagnose.

I had heard of Dr Sandra Cabot and seen she had written so many books and I was especially interested on the thyroid side as I felt that there must be more to it all this thyroid thing and Hashimoto’s.

So in desperation and determination to see Dr Cabot I emailed the clinic and requested to see Dr Cabot and I didn't care how long the wait list was I would wait just to see her. I sent along about 50 pages of pathology reports and imaging reports along with an email detailing my journey and desperation for answers to my ill health.

I sent the email and that very same week I was booked in to see Dr Cabot.  It was the beginning of a very life changing moment. Brad my husband and I attended the appointment and from the moment you walk in to the clinic you are welcomed by caring staff.  It's such a warm atmosphere.

Dr Cabot sat with us and literally went through everything with us she told me I had such bad inflammation and was a very very sick girl.  Brad responds "Yes, I have been telling the doctors over and over she is getting worse and worse".

Dr Cabot immediately recommends a change in my diet as I’m not aware that food can cause inflammation and so I'm put on an elimination cleanse and set up with the sweet Louise who has me fill out a symptoms food diary and learn more about my health.  It was great.  I felt a difference after the 3wks. Found out I was hypoglycaemic cut out more from the diet and can DEFINITELY tell the difference on that side of things.

Dr Cabot also has me sent for more blood tests. I did the blood test the Thursday morning and got a call back from Dr Cabot’s office that same day saying get in to the office Dr Cabot needs to see you immediately it’s vital you get here.

We attended the clinic that very next morning and Dr Cabot is there waiting for me with more blood tests to be run and to get back immediately from those so I can start emergency treatment.  At this stage Brad and I are in total shock and still not clear as to what has happened.

Dr Cabot organised for me these blood tests and then already that morning had been speaking with Dr Harry Grunstein Endocrinologist about my case and that Dr Grunstein would take me on immediately.   Dr Cabot then explains that my adrenal glands had failed and I was close to an Adrenal Crisis which can be fatal.   That I would need to be on hydrocortisone for the rest of my life.  I was filled with mixed emotions at this point.

I couldn't understand the adrenal failure side but felt a form of relief that finally someone worked it out.

Dr Cabot literally saved my life with that blood test and all her diagnostic work  has changed my life.  It will take time to improve but with the steroid replacement and the alternative therapies from the Camden Clinic I’m a lot more confident I actually have a  better quality of life on the cards for me now.  Before Dr Cabot I was resigned to the fact nobody would  ever work out what was happening and even to the point where I doubted myself and just kept telling myself SUCK IT UP...

Dr Cabot reassured me and said "You can't just suck it up this is real and it’s not in your head. You are a very sick girl and it will probably take to the end of the year to feel a real difference but you will". I have had a couple IV infusions with Vanessa and they are something else.

I am being monitored now with Dr Grunstein and Dr Cabot and feel I am getting a holistic coverage of my health and feel more confident in improvement to my health. I can't thank Dr. Cabot and her team enough.

-Natalina B.