Instead of going back and following up on the blood work, I took things into my own hands and changed just a few things. I cut way back on my caffeine intake. I limit myself to just one coffee in the morning. On weekends, Wingnut and I may indulge in a bit more caffeine, but I do try to make that rare. I'm just not 20 years old anymore and my poor old 41 year old body just can't take the caffeine.
I also cut back on my alcohol intake. I had been drinking a glass or two of wine every night, hoping it would help me stay asleep. After reading up on it, I found alcohol can actually exacerbate the problem. To be honest, I wasn't doing much different by drinking a glass of wine than what the doctor offered with a prescription. I still enjoy a glass now and then, but it is no longer a nightly ritual.
Around the time I saw my physician, I also finally weaned Lil' Wingnut. He was three, and I also thought maybe the panic attacks were hormone related. I'd seen evidence in my cycles (i.e. very short luteal phase) that also indicated I was fairly unbalanced hormonally. My cycles have become much more predictable and my luteal phase normalized fairly soon after the Lil' guy was weaned.
Finally, I began to exercise on a much more regular basis. Wingnut and I tackled and completed a first round of P90X. He got fantastic results, loved the workouts and kept on going with it. I didn't get awesome results, I began loathing the workouts, but I discovered I was actually in good enough cardiovascular shape to run a mile or two. Getting out the door and into the fresh air is so much more appealing and I've really begun enjoying running.
This mixed combination of changes have made a huge difference. I have had very, very few panic attacks in the last 8 months and the few I've had, I've been able to link to a specific stressor. If I do happen to wake in the middle of the night and feel my heart begin to race, I pray. I'll offer the stressful situation and then just magnify, worship, thank, and glorify God. It has become an absolute comfort to spend time in silence and just pray in the still of the night.
So, I thank you for your prayers and your words of encouragement. I'm feeling fine.