Monday, January 30, 2012

does anyone remember that old song by roger miller called King of the Road? well i wrote some lyrics which follow, and you can sing along using that tune. or if you are not as old as i am, you can just read them.

zumba shoes for sale or rent,

belly scarves, fifty cents.

health membership for free,

you see, i've got this busted knee.

they say," no pain and you get no gain",

but did they mean you get hit by a train?

i don't want to be a big old slouch,


this blog kept me awake  last night. well, that and my knee pain. i was having a blog attack as my husband likes to call them. what really got me going was some news that i got yesterday. you see, a friend of mine has been dealing with some thyroid issues for a little while now. her regular doctor told her, that despite a TSH of 4 and many symptoms of hypothyroid disease( hair loss, feeling cold, weight gain when she eats like a bird- really, like a little bitty sparrow,  extreme tiredness,etc, ) she was in the " normal" range. i wonder what planet he came from! and i would be willing to bet that if he had a TSH of 4 and the symptoms she has been having that he would get help ASAP. i advised her to buy a couple of good books on hypothyroid disease( to review, by two favorite ones are: The Thyroid Sourcebook, 5th edition by M. Sara Rosenthal, and Mary Shomon's Living Well With Hypothyroidism, revised and updated edition) . and i am also trying to help her locate a doctor near by who will take her problems seriously and will help her..nothing makes my blood boil quite so quickly as someone having hypothyroid symptoms ( i.e., suffering,) and not be able to get their doctor to help them!!ARRG!!!

getting back to her  TSH level.  her doctor said that the " normal range" was up to 5. in Ms. Rosenthal's book, she said that the old standards were values collected from a group ( study) of  men, some of whom were actually hypothyroid themselves. she recommends treating at 2.5. the new standard is 3.0. either way, my friend needs to be treated. i am on a mission, and i will do everything in my power to help her. why am i such a gorilla warfare  fighter in the land of untreated elevated TSH and hypothyroid symptoms? well, i myself went untreated for several years. that is a whole other blog, but i do not want to see it happen to anyone else. i will keep everyone updated on my friend's progress.

in the meantime, i am seeing my rheumatologist on wednesday and will let him review my MRI. i will probably have the dreaded " needle" ( aka, cortisone injection) if he thinks that it will help. at this point i am ready to try just about anything to get better. and i need to get  back to zumba before i really do have to sell my dancing shoes.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"just shoot for the stars if it feels right; ...take me away, make it okay, i swear i'll behave. maybe it's hard when you feel like you're broken and scarred; nothing feels right, but when you are with me, i'll make you believe;... i've got the moves like jagger; i've got the moves like jagger. " Moves like Jagger" by Maroon-5

as some of you might know, i had a little "accident" in zumba the first of this month. i was all into the song, my right foot was  planted on the dance floor, and instead of my shoe pivoting, my body went on with out my foot! i heard a pop and then my endorphins kicked in and of course, although it was the first song of the evening, i stayed until the end of the class! not one of my brighter ideas. i thought that i was o.k. until about 30 minutes after the class. that is how long it takes me to get home from the wellness center. i thought that i was truly not going to be able to walk into  the house! i suffered for a couple of weeks, then went to convenient care and they sent me on to an orthopedic doctor. i had my MRI done this past friday, and today i had my reveal show.

i have a small, thank goodness, tear in the meniscus of my right knee, which will heal eventually without surgery( they told me that i might have to have surgery, and i was of course worried about that). that is the good news. the bad news is that i have really bad arthritis in both of my knees, and have hardly any "cushion" between the bones. the doctor told me that he could shoot some cortisone in there- i told him that i would have to get back to him on that. i am not a big fan of needles- especially when they are inserted into an already painful area.he told me to come back to see him when i was "crying". well, i have already been doing that, and i still am not ready for the "needle".  he also recommended that i take some cosamin ds to help build some cushion, and i plan on doing that. i am taking ibuprofen and using ice packs,too. driving home and trying to bend my knee is the most painful thing.

i asked him when i could go back to zumba. he said that  i could go back anytime that i felt ready- but  i would need to "adjust" my workout so as not to re-injure a knee. i am planning for the first week of february- it will have been a month since the injury. i will just put on my zumba clothes, my belly scarf( of course- color coordinated to match my tee shirt) and a knee brace or two. i decided that whatever moves  i can not do physically, i will do them in my head. or maybe, if we are doing a move that is impossible for my knees i will just shake the coins on my belly scarf. now, i am not saying that i have mick jagger moves ( o.k. maybe in my head, i do) but i think that i can still do pretty well in zumba class. i am so glad that i do not have to give this up. it has truly been my prozac, as well as helping me to regain some of the strength i lost after my surgery/chemo.

i have always wondered why anyone would want to return to an activity that has injured them. not just professional athletes, but i have known some runners and bikers who have had injuries requiring surgery, and returned to their sport just as soon as they were able. i finally get it! that sport or physical activity fulfills a need and once you realize that, you do not want to give it up. good health requires an active mind, body and spirit. i will admit that i have come upon this realization quite late in life, but better late than never, i guess.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

i think that everyone should have their own special day or two

tuesday, january 17th, would have been my mom's 80th birthday. so, i declared that day "wear red for gaby day". red was my mom's favorite color. and not a wimpy red, but a stop sign,red. so yesterday, i wore a red sweater, red necklace and earrings, and red shoes. my husband wore a red tie ( and red underwear, but hopefully no one saw that!). my children wore red as well. i good friend of mine, who happens to have the same birthday as my mom, also wore red.

now i know that we have many important " awareness of this or that day". the different cancers,heart disease,etc. but i also think that we should seize and name certain days of our own. i celebrate may 19th as my cancer free day. it will be two years this may 19th( my surgery day). i consider it my cancer liberation day, but i guess that is not entirely true, since i needed the I-131 in july to kick the rest of the cancer bums out of my house. still, last year on may 19th, my husband sent me a beautiful arrangement of flowers to work. i had made a cake for us for that evening. i am so thankful to have this day to celebrate! my favorite color is green, so i will wear green this year on may 19th. the day is evolving for me, so i will keep editing the "rules" for the day.. i hope that every cancer survivor, thyroid or other, will celebrate their "liberation" day. it is special, and you are special for dealing with things and fighting your best fight.

my good friend( the one who wore red yesterday) sent me a bracelet for Christmas. it is pink( one of our thyroid cancer colors) and says on one side" life is tough". on the other side it says" but i am tougher.". i love this sentiment. i do not know if it is always true, but i hope so. i aspire to always maintaining  a positive attitude about my thyroid cancer and hopefully helping others along the way.

this weekend at work, i talked with a man who had had his thyroid" killed" as he put it, because he was so hyperthyroid. he had had the I-131 and we talked about that for a while. he told me a little about his story, and i told him a little about mine. when he left, he said, thank you for sharing your story with me, i feel blessed.  and last week, i happened to answer the phone at work and on the line was a young woman who had had thyroid cancer several years ago and basically has been without care since then. her TSH was up to 49 and no one knew what to do for her. i told her that she needed to go see an endocrinologist, or at least a doctor who specialized in treating thyroid disorders. i told her about mary shoman's website, she should be able to find a doctor, they have patient reviews there, who will meet her needs.

it makes me happy to know that i can help someone else with thyroid disease, especially cancer, in some small way. i am always amazed at the way that i am pretty much always the person( we have four pharmacists on staff) that ends up meeting these people. it seems to be coincidence, but who knows. of course, i do wear not one, but two, thyroid cancer ribbons on my lab jacket. and i wear the thyroid cancer bracelets, along with the pink bracelet my friend gave me.

so hooray for awareness days, be they national or personal ones. make your own rules, enjoy the day, honor a loved one's memory, or just have cake.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My new years resolutions? i do not believe in them.

i have always hated new years resolutions. to me they scream disappointment. somehow, i always tried to go for impossible to attain goals," world peace", "losing weight",etc.  so of course i would not succeed in my resolutions. finally, after agonizing over new years resolutions for several years, i decided enough was enough! what a relief. one less thing to worry about.

instead of making resolutions, i have decided to spend  the day being  thankful for all my many blessings ( o.k. i know this sounds a little like the thanksgiving holiday). i do take stock of a few things in my life- just to be sure my train is on the right track and not headed for derailment or something. instead of trying something new, i just try to be sure that i am following my life plan, so to speak. i came up with my life plan after i found out that i had cancer. seems funny, but coming close to death made me think about how i wanted to live my life. what was important to me, what i needed to do to get my body healthier. i  often think  of a line in a bob dylan song. to paraphrase, he says " your body is your temple, keep it beautiful and pure". in the song  he was referring to not letting the TV monster into your life so much. he is right on that one. i try my best not to watch any violent programs on TV, and i try ( i do not do as well on this) not to watch too much of the nightly news.

adding regular exercise has been such a huge positive step in my life plan. it is my "prozac"- it really lifts my mood(the endorphins, i guess). and of course, i feel better, can move a little easier, and it has helped me lose weight. best of all, like i have said a couple of million times, it is fun. i can not sing very well since my surgery, but it did not affect my dancing to the music. honestly, i feel like grace kelley in zumba class. i know for sure that i do not dance  like her of course. i have never been able to walk in high heels, much less dance in them, and i am pretty sure that grace did not ever do the belly roll or  the booty shake. bet she  would have liked them,though!

on a side note, i did indeed have the open house for my neighbors. i sort of waited until the last minute,though. i was not sure if i could pull it off. we decided on friday night, to have it on sunday afternoon. we sent out invitations and called people as well. here are the things i was worried would happen:

1) no one would come. o.k. well, we have two dogs and they could help us eat all of the food, so maybe that would not be so bad.

2)everyone would come- would i have enough food? we over-did on this one, but we sent almost everyone home with a little treat bag.

3) my greatest fear: my house would not be clean enough. i have dust bunnies that hide throughout my house. i was afraid that they would mobilize into a small army and attempt a coup just as my guests arrived. luckily, this did not happen.

we had about twenty people over, and we had a very good visit with everyone. the food turned out fine, and my Christmas decorations were still up, so the house looked all cozy. our neighbors had been so curious about our 3 and a half month renovation.  they had seen so many  things being ripped out of  our house : wood,shingles,windows,flooring,etc, and  being stacked up outside. i felt that it would be a good idea to let them see the final reveal, so to speak. we did not add on, we just re-purposed the space( to use a trendy word). our house is more livable for us now. that is a part of my life plan,too, i guess. my husband and i wanted to make our house suit our lifestyle a little more. one example, is that i love to read- and one of the rooms( used to be our bedroom) is now a library. it is my favorite room, i think.

so i hope that everyone had a great new years, and that if you did happen to make resolutions that they are attainable, good ones. as for me, i am just going to keep doing what i have been doing since my diagnosis. and of course, i will keep doing what my doctor told me at the end of my last visit: Zumba on!!