Thursday, February 21, 2008


Dear Mom,

When I get anxious, I get this adrenaline rush all over. It's very annoying. I think I know where it comes from. I've never heard of this before, but I can give myself an adrenaline rush on purpose by deliberately thinking of something that worries me. I'd like to stop it, but I have to admit my body likes it. I may give up caffeine someday and see if I can retrain myself. I figured out how it started, almost 10 years ago.

When I was 42 I had a hysterectomy. Immediately I had surgical menopause, and couldn't find a hormone replacement that I could tolerate. For a year I had about 5 hot flashes an hour. Background: two glands in your body produce estrogen, the ovaries and the adrenal glands. When deprived of estrogen your body will do whatever it takes to get it. It quickly finds out that with anger, anxiety or irritation, your adrenal glands will pump a lot of adrenaline and a little shot of estrogen. But you're suddenly in a state of "flight or fight" with no physical outlet, your body is sure that it's in danger. The end result is a hot flash, but your body's been through hell, your adrenal glands are tired and shortly another cycle begins. Exhaustion sets in quickly and you can't get enough rest because-you guessed it-you're having hot flashes.

The upshot of all this is that once you're body's trained itself to do that to you, you can approach it logically to understand what's going on. I think it's possible to retrain your body not to react to emotions like that, but it might be a real effort. It's really not very good for you.

I love you,


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