I hold bragging rights on having the highest cholesterol levels known to mankind! Without medication, my lab results shoot over 300 within weeks. Consequently, I started taking medication about eight years ago—at the same time I started teaching middle school again and by coincidence changed my entire wardrobe to smart suits and cute high heeled shoes. Middle school teachers never sit down. For that age group, control in the classroom comes from a mixture of personality and physicality. Sitting behind a desk dooms the middle school teacher to a classroom dissolving into a lunatic asylum.
For the first few weeks of my new teaching assignment, my feet screamed by the end of each day. I reasoned all the news shoes needed breaking in and soaked in hot water each night. Slowly, the pain crawled up my legs so I reverted to lower heeled shoes or even flats. My feet and legs continued to ache, mainly each morning when I limped out of bed. I attributed the pain to the six hours I spent walking and standing, chalked it up as a hazard for my new teaching slot, and ignored it all as much as possible.
After a few years, the pain upon waking each morning spread from my feet and lower legs to every muscle in my body. I felt like I’d rolled off a platform and splatted upon the floor. Even my hands and fingers hurt. One weekend, my sister critically observed my hobbled gait as I crawled out of bed.
“How long have you been like this in the mornings?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” I shot her a wary look. “Why?”
“That’s your cholesterol medication. You need to call your doctor right away. Stop taking it. I did the same thing.”
And so my leg pain and muscle aches vanished as soon as I stopped my medication. It wasn’t, after all, the endless hours spent on my feet, or my “just getting old” that I’d rationalized to myself. Then began the quest for a medication that I could tolerate. All statins had the same results—immediately dropping my cholesterol levels and a reemergence of pain, sometimes within a couple of doses. Using a non-statin drug lowered my results, but not enough.
During my physical this year, my doctor’s PA asked me if I had fatigue. Once I stopped laughing, I told her I’d been exhausted for years! She decided to run a thyroid test along with the usual junk. Again, I scored high! Another new statin cholesterol medication was prescribed, with more blood work after six weeks. And she ordered another thyroid test. A morning spent on the Internet proved enlightening. Several vague but persistent symptoms suddenly made sense.
So last week, I started taking a little peach pill, and the quality of my life changed immediately. The pain in my hands and arms upon awakening has subsided, and I no longer feel like mush in the mornings. I’m back to bouncing out of bed with eager vigor. I suspect my fatigue levels will continue to drop—and all due to a little pill. I never realized the quality of my life would change from taking one medication.