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A balanced day in the life of another beautiful, functional Addisonian

November 1, 2007

I can’t believe she just turned 66. She’s still gorgeous. I always loved her voice, her style, her sense of life. And these days, Helen Reddy is the voice of Addison’s disease in her native Australia.

I am quietly celebrating my first actually balanced day since my Addison’s diagnosis. Exactly one week ago, I began my lifelong regimen of hydrocortisone therapy.

By “balanced,” I mean I didn’t feel the need to go out and find people to smile at, and I didn’t bonk. I accomplished the tasks at hand without stress. Receiving happy tidings from my four main GFs was certainly a boon. And, okay, I emailed Helen Reddy: just a greeting from another beautiful, functional Addisonian. Okay, maybe I’m a little hyper.

The disease is rare: with prevalence estimates between 1 in 40,000 and 1 in 100,000, Addisonians don’t exactly congregate. Why would they–they are unlikely to have anything in common but their diagnosis. Moreover, those who have the disease seldom want others to know. President Kennedy guarded his secret, and legend has it that his father stashed cortisone for him wherever he went. Miss Reddy’s doctor advised her to keep her diagnosis secret as well, for fear of losing insurance coverage. I imagine JFK was afraid of being thought unfit for office because of the profound weakness and fatigue associated with the disease.  But Addison’s doesn’t have to be the “Scarlet A.”  With properly administered hydrocortisone, active life is generally quite manageable.

It is sobering to realize that hydrocortisone became available for treating Addison’s only a decade before I was born. Until then, the disease was almost uniformly fatal. “Adrenal extracts” were administered, but people died. (Source, and a photo of Helen Reddy!)

As I was eating my “lunch for four” today, I looked out my dining room window at our garden and chickens and trees, and thought of how the gods men have worshiped, and, sadly, so many continue to worship, rule their hearts with the threat of destruction, and that only the God of the Bible manifests creation and beneficence. It is just unfathomable to me how anyone could go for the destroyer gods and ignore the bounty and mercy of the true God! But this foolishness, too, is ordained, and it instills me the more to give Him the glory for his mercy to me.

  1. me = liz permalink
    November 4, 2007 12:55 am

    Just thought I’d say Hi! My husband has diabetes, hypoparathyroidism and Addison’s disease! There is an Addison’s email support group… Dont know if you have found it yet :). The other important discovery was the information found at

  2. November 4, 2007 8:46 am

    Hey, Liz, thanks. I have discovered the UK site and it’s a great resource. My husband is healthy, but our cat is diabetic! I get plenty of needle practice….

  3. Jane permalink
    November 5, 2007 7:55 am

    Read your blog plus the article showing a photo of Helen Reddy…so glad to read the info stating that one can live a normal life with Addison’s, once the medication is adjusted properly. A good outlook for the future. You were missed yesterday, btw. We and others….a bad day, we concluded. Hope you are better. With love, J.

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