Thursday, April 01, 2010


I am not twenty anymore.

If I forget this fact, my body is quick to remind me. After much resistance, I have accepted, as I near the end of my fourth decade, that changes have occurred; irrevocable changes. I admire the women I know that seem to simply go with it. I transition easily, readily, with the calendar seasons, but the seasons of life are another story. Still, I had seemed to reach a place of acceptance; summer is ending and autumn leaves are changing rapidly.

I had hoped that when this season arrived, I would be able to embrace the richness of color that came with it. Some of the flock is close to fledging the nest and I had hoped to enjoy the migration process. Reflecting on our own migration back to our respective homes, I wanted to be like Brad’s mother and mine, busy with my own life and dropping everything to embrace the visits and homecomings. More often than not, we would find Brad’s mother in the garden, happily digging and jumping up to greet us when we popped in, full of soil and hugs. She was the age then that I am now.

In January, my visions of enjoying this approaching season faded. I have always had a “bad” knee, damaged from a skiing accident in my twenties. I know that I have arthritis there, and in my lower back and in my right hand. I have had joint pain from time to time in my adult life, usually from overuse and inflammation that could be identified, isolated and rested into healing. I have had on and off experiences with joint pain that had no specific diagnosis; not Lyme disease, not arthritis. I had been to the “shoulder” doctor and to the “hand” doctor. Bursitis, tendinitis, tennis elbow, etc. I had hip pain years ago that brought me to the “hip” doctor who found nothing structurally wrong and as always, was handed anti-inflammatory medication.

This January, my joints enacted full out mutiny. Knee pain was joined by hip pain, only to be later joined by shoulder pain. I found myself in pain while driving, while sitting at my computer and while sleeping. Having joined the gym in January, I made the reasonable deduction that I simply strained muscles and therefore stopped going to the gym, which did not help my problem. I found myself taking anti-inflammatory medication every four hours, which only took the edge off slightly. I became more and more tired, presumably because I did not get a good night sleep and my disposition had become flat. Things that should have brought me joy made me feel nothing. I was easily agitated and gloomy, presumably because I was in constant pain.

I had not reached my 50th birthday and I had somehow become old. When I stepped out of the car, I needed to stand in place for my hips to acclimate; else I would waddle in my first few painful steps. Walking or changing positions was excruciating. Lying on one hip too long intensified the pain, rolling over to relieve it hurt as much. Like any desperate and neurotic person, I googled my symptoms, arriving at a myriad of possible degenerative diseases. I had a physical in September, the first in a long time and everything was normal. My blood work revealed my cholesterol to the high side of normal for the first time and a low vitamin D level for which I was to add 2,000 IUs per day. I had.

I began to lose hope of comingling with the mulch and weeds in my autumn season and dreaded that I would spend it in a chair full of medication. My hip pain by March had reached a level that had me ready for the orthopedic doctor, willing to accept any solution, even surgery.

One Saturday afternoon, my friend Renee came to retrieve her daughter from a sleep over. As always, Renee looked beautiful and I noticed that she was a bit tan. Asking her why, she told me that she had a vitamin D deficiency and was told to sit out in the sun with arms and legs exposed for short 10 minute intervals when possible. I told her that I, too, had low D and was told to take 2,000 IUs per day. She said that hers had gotten to where she was symptomatic and then she went on to describe my last several months, beginning with knee pain to hips to shoulders, fatigue etc.

She told me that they put her on 5,000 IUs for a month and then bumped her down to 2,000, but that her relief was almost immediate. This gave me some hope that perhaps I had just been delivered my solution.

I immediately doubled my dose to 2,000 at bedtime and 2,000 at noon, knowing I was getting 800 more in my multi and calcium. In three days I was pain free. Nothing hurt in my body. Anywhere! Not one bit! For the first time in months, I am able to hop up from a chair and walk. I began to run errands with pleasure, almost skipping to and from the car. I am sleeping soundly and have energy back and found joy the following weekend dragging bags of mulch to my gardens and crawling around to spread it. For me, this is a miracle. Renee was the angel that brought me back to life and I am spreading the word in case someone out there needs it.

There is much information and research and the daily amounts needed are being reevaluated. My advice is to consult a doctor and to be aware that toxicity can occur from too much D. As a culture, we are protecting ourselves from the sun and are tethered to our technology indoors more than we should be. Those of us in the north are far more at risk for deficiency than our southern friends.

I am anxiously awaiting the sunshine and D-lighted to have my life back.