This isn’t like you, Sonia Frontera, then 39, told herself as she struggled to find energy to crawl out of bed. Typically vivacious and energetic, the trial lawyer, who was used to hours on her feet walking around courthouses and law libraries, now found it nearly impossible to stand long enough to make herself a sandwich.
Barely Getting By
“At first, it was easy to explain away feeling more tired than normal, as I’d tell myself the exhaustion was from a stressful or long day,” says Sonia. “But those ‘bad days’ started running together, forming months of relentless fatigue that turned into a year. I’d push myself to power through work, then on Friday evenings, I’d collapse into bed, often unable to get up for two days. I spent nearly every weekend in bed, hoping I’d find the energy to just take a walk or meet a friend for lunch. On days when my head was clear enough to think straight, I stayed in bed worrying about what was wrong with me.
“Along with exhaustion and trouble concentrating, I developed body aches that felt like a bad case of the flu coupled with occasional migraines. Weeks before my 40th birthday, I became very scared when I didn’t have the strength or energy to open a jar. My doctor was stumped and thought stress was the culprit.
“Recommendations to maintain daily physical activity and a healthy diet didn’t help. Instead, my migraine frequency increased as my energy sunk. Some days, I crawled into bed in tears, unable to cope with the pain and fatigue. In 2006, chronic migraines forced me to retire from a job I loved as a government attorney. I’m too young to feel this old, I thought.
“I was miserable because I was so foggy and tired all the time! I sought relief from a rheumatologist who, over a few years, diagnosed me with various autoimmune conditions and prescribed various treatments, yet my exhaustion still plagued me.
Relief, at last!
“Then one day in 2015, I was listening to an interview on the Hay House Worldwide Summit featuring Kathy C. Maupin, MD. author of The Secret Female Hormone: How Testosterone Replacement Can Change Your Life (Buy from Amazon, $14.56). I was fascinated that the symptoms of low testosterone in women she spoke of, like exhaustion, muscle and joint pain, migraines and even autoimmune disorders, matched what I had been living with for years.
“I checked out her book from the library to learn more. As I read, I learned that testosterone, which is typically thought of as a male hormone, is also produced by a woman’s adrenal glands and ovaries. And that a woman’s testosterone levels change throughout her life, her menstrual cycle and even at different times of the day, but a woman with low testosterone does not have enough to help produce new blood cells, maintain sex drive, or boost levels of other reproductive hormones.
“I immediately went to my primary care physician to request a test to check my testosterone levels. ‘Humor me,’ I pleaded when he looked at me like I had three heads. We were both shocked when the results indicated my levels were off-the-charts low. It was a relief that something I hadn’t heard of until a few weeks earlier was the cause of 12 years of tiredness, brain fog, and migraines that robbed me of so much joy.
“My doctor sent me to an endocrinologist, because they specialize in treating hormone issues, who thought the side effects of hormone replacement therapy — excess facial hair growth, acne, hair loss and a deepening voice — would be worse than my symptoms and discouraged me from hormone treatment. He said that sometimes stress management and a healthy diet might help, but I was already practicing those habits.
“So I searched the internet for natural treatments and found that blue spruce essential oil was beneficial for increasing testosterone production in men with low levels. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I bought a bottle of therapeutic grade blue spruce essential oil, which is perfume-, fragrance- and dye-free, and hoped for the best.
“I rubbed a few drops on both wrists each morning, and within a month, I had more energy than I had in over a decade! Day by day, my energy bounced back, as my migraines and other symptoms were fading.
“Today, my testosterone levels are in the normal range — and have been since I first started using it in 2015. I’m so happy that I’ve reclaimed my life and energy without risking my health or taking meds. I’m no longer battling symptoms of autoimmune conditions, and I’m able to enjoy my law practice and walks with my husband and our dogs. I’ve never felt better!”
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.