Saturday, February 13, 2016

One Year Anniversary Cruise- Part Two

This is a continuation of a previous post. You can find part one here.

Sometimes, my body forces me to rest and reset. That first night on the cruise, I slept over fifteen hours. All activities were put on hold. But with that rest, I woke up the next morning feeling much better.

View from the ship. New day. New adventures.
Thankfully, there wasn't much planned for our first day on the boat. It was a day at sea, which meant we could relax and lounge. This was my first cruise while eating gluten free. I was nervous, but I must give a shout out to Carnival. They made it very easy.

That night was fancy dress up dinner, which also happened to fall on our wedding anniversary. I was able to wear the dress that I wore to my prom senior year of high school. It made me chuckle to think that when I first bought that dress I considered myself large because of the steroid weight gain. But that weight gain made me healthy. Our perceptions about our body can be so skewed from reality.

Goofing off before dinner.
For dinner, I unhooked my cortisol pump and covered my steroid needs with oral Cortef. Sometimes, I don't want an external adrenal gland complete with 32" of plastic tubing connected to my body. During those times, I will swap back to oral steroid pills.

We be lookin' mighty fine!
At dinner, we reflected on our crazy adventures during our first year of marriage. We definitely did not take the traditional path. I mean, we got married and then immediately moved to Malaysia. We laughed at how ridiculous our lives are. We hoped to continue living a life full of adventure, unsure of the future but confident that we would travel together.

Waiting to board for our excursion.
The next day we docked at Cozumel. Our shore excursion included a glass bottom canoe and snorkeling. I unhooked my cortisol pump and covered my medicine needs with oral steroids because my particular pump is not waterproof (Dear Medtronics, please fix this. Sincerely, an active pump user).

The excursion advertised "kayak" but this was most definitely a canoe.
This was not my first time snorkeling. While I passionately hate swimming in a pool, I absolutely love snorkeling. There is a freedom with swimming in open water next to coral and colorful fish. I love it.

My husband and I in the water.
After our snorkeling adventures, we finished the day on the beach with a very good margarita. I was proud of myself. I considered this day a success. I believed that I had dosed my hydrocortisone correctly for my activity level.

My husband and I on the shore with our snorkeling gear.
I was wrong.

My body let me know that I under-dosed myself around 1:00 AM. I started suffering from that dreaded low cortisol migraine that was so painful it woke me up from my sleep. My stomach was messed up. I was nervous I was going to vomit. At this point, I realized I was getting into a danger zone with my adrenal insufficiency. I woke my husband up to inform him of my situation.

I was so frustrated in those early morning hours. I did everything right, but I still under-dosed myself for the amount of activity the previous day. In that moment I realized I had two options:
  1. I could moan and complain while allowing myself to get worse or ...
  2. I could stop the slip towards crisis and take action.
I picked option two. I took a Zofran, more oral Cortef, turned up my cortisol pump rates, and told my husband to have the emergency injection ready, just in case.

Once my body absorbed the extra cortisol, I fell back asleep. There is a common misconception that high amounts of steroids in your system will inhibit sleep. This is only true if your body does not need the high amount. However, if your body needs that higher dose, the steroids actually help you sleep better. I have proven this time and time again through personal experience.

The next morning, I woke up feeling ok. We were set to dock at Progresso and explore Mayan ruins. I wasn't sure how my body would react, but I knew I would need to continue to be pro-active with HC dose and fluid intake.

What adventures would this day bring?

Story continued here.

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