Saturday, July 28, 2012

piano man

this is a great video ( i think!) of my son dylan and his son gabriel playing the piano. i think gabriel will be a music lover like his dad and me. just reminds me of what is important in life, and also to appreciate the little gems in life that make life, well, life. enjoy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

" Get up, stand up. stand up for your rights. get up, stand up. don't give up the fight" get up, stand up by bob marley

through out my blogs, i have been trying to stress how important it is for thyroid patients to stand up for their rights. it is so important that we become self advocates for better health care . who knows our bodies better than we do? it is imperative that we, as patients, find a health care provider who listens- really, really listens to us along with looking at our lab values. and it is also important that there is a two way communication between our doctor and our self, so that we can map out the best course of treatment for us.

i have many examples( unfortunately) of" things gone wrong" between a doctor and patient , but i will use myself. if you have been reading my blog from the beginning, you may know that i, at one time, was seeing a doctor who thought that my symptoms were " just stress". he would see me once or twice a year, ask a few questions, pat me on the back and say good luck and see you next time. he was a nice person, just not a very good doctor. finally, i told my husband that i knew something was horribly wrong, that it was not " just stress" although i was dealing with some ( aren't we all?) at the time. i found a doctor who listened to me, ordered the right tests, and of course the rest is history.

at the end of that rabbit hole, i fell into "thyroid cancer world", and my world has never been the same. not that my life now  is horrible by any means , it is just different. i have a" new normal", to beat that phrase to death. some people have asked me " how did you know something was wrong? what were your symptoms?"    well, it was not just one thing. i felt a change in my body- a new tiredness- one more intense than, say, having a new baby and being up all hours of the night. it was a constant tiredness that sleep did not seem  to fix. that was one thing. and of course my blood work " looked awful" to use my doctor's phrase. of course, no one was willing ( or able?)  to do anything about it until i found the right doctor. another part of it was just the sense that i knew, somewhere deep inside, that i was sick and needed some help. call it intuition, call it your body parts waving a white flag and trying to get your attention, call it what you will, it was just a feeling.

i saw that darn " back patting" doctor for five years until i stopped fooling myself and did something to help myself. i highly recommend that for anyone reading my blog. if you have " this feeling" you are not getting good health care, if you have symptoms that seem strange even though you are getting treated for a thyroid condition( and this  includes all thyroid disorders, not just cancer) do some research and find a good doctor. it may take you a few tries, but you will get there eventually. to quote bob, " don't give up the fight."

i read a quote one time that i carry with me: " trust yourself, you know more than you think". i think that this is good advice for all of us, especially those of us who are dealing with life long health care issues like thyroid disease.

another important aspect of our health care is keeping good records- have a file that you keep copies of all of your tests in. this is so important, and it will be invaluable to you in the years to come. read all of  the information that you can get your hands on, from reputable sources, of course. one new website that has been brought to my attention is : this site contains very good reference articles on thyroid disease and care, and urges us to seek out better health care for thyroid issues. i encourage  everyone to check it out. i have already recommended some books on thyroid disorders, and of course mary shomon's site:

well, in closing, good luck to everyone in treating your thyroid disorders. be pro-active, ( another cliche) and get all of the useful information that you can. and of course, you can contact me at any time, and i will try to help any way that i can!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

"ow, we're having a heat wave, a tropical heat wave.the temperature's rising, it isn't surprising...where else? the deep south. hot and humid nights can be expected....vincent: 95, guadeloupe: 97; santa domingo : 99, pardon me, 105???!!! " heat wave, this one sung by marilyn monroe

last weekend my husband and i went down to raleigh to visit our daughter and son-in-law. we live in the mountainous region of the state. it cools off here at night, and rarely gets above 90 in the hottest part of the summer.( i work in town, which is about 30 minutes away, and i can not say the same for the temperature there. it was over 100 several days the past couple of weeks.)

anyway, so it is 105 on both saturday and sunday of our visit. and it did not cool down at night. they have a wonderful screened-in back porch, but you could not even stand it out there- even early in the morning. their house is  air conditioned, so it was nice inside of course. but my daughter and i went shopping on saturday. i am not used to the heat! i know that i am cold intolerant, but i can not stand excessive heat,either. i am not sure if that is a symptom of thyroid disease or not. i know being cold most of the time is, but intolerance to heat? i can not find that symptom listed anywhere. another thing, and i know better of course, but i did not drink enough water/fluids either day. and guess what? i had heat exhaustion. i thought that i would mention the symptoms of heat exhaustion. let's review:

cool, moist skin with goose bumps in hot temperatures (check)
faintness ( afraid so)
dizziness ( a little)
fatigue ( nothing too new about this one!)
low blood pressure upon standing ( how should i know? i did not have my bp cuff)
nausea( big time. i thought i was going to lose my lunch- not cool when you are with your grown child)
headache( yep, and it felt like a different kind of headache than i usually get)

in case of heat exhaustion, and to keep it from going into something worse, i.e. heat stroke, stop all activity and rest! no matter if they are  having this huge sale at the loft, go home and rest! move to a cooler place( hard to find when it is 105). and lastly, drink cool water or sports drinks. o.k. here comes my disclaimer: contact your doctor if symptoms do not cease in about an hour. if they get worse, make sure to give her/him a call. seek help right away if your temperature is 104 or over. jeez, i get sick if my fever goes over 100. 

thankfully, things have cooled off a bit. but i know summer in the south, and soon it will be saying: I'M BACK!!! so please keep these symptoms in mind. better yet, drink plenty of fluids and limit your exposure during a heat wave. and do not forget to keep your thyroid meds cool! especially those folks who use naturally derived thyroid products, an example being armour thyroid. i would keep these in the refrigerator if i were you. besides, refrigerating them also keeps down, the, er, smell. if they get hot, they might not work as well for you. 

did i mention that i made it a whole class in zumba last week? i did the 10 minutes before and 10 minutes after the class on the recumbent bicycle. and i did not jump- i just shook my booty during those parts. our instructor put on her belly scarf half way through the class. and if i can ring up a few sales with the coins on my belly scarf, she can buy out the entire mall! oh, well, something to aspire to, i guess.

hope everyone is having a great summer, and stay cool!

Monday, July 2, 2012

a few of my favorite things ( and people)

my daughter called me today and told me that she has stress fractures in her foot, and must wear a "boot" for at least six weeks. well, you think i LOVE zumba! i am not even in the same category as my daughter when it comes to loving to do zumba. she also runs several miles a week. her doctor told her that she ,obviously, could not exercise until the boot comes off. she was very upset, and i understand this. my daughter is a little like me in this- when we have challenges in our lives, we take a little time to feel sorry for ourselves, then we move on to our "plan of action" in dealing with these challenges. she is going to do upper body exercises until she can get back to zumba and running. exercise is such a stress reliever for both of us, so i understand how losing that, somewhat, for a time can affect your moods and really even your quality of life.

my daughter posted this on facebook, and one of her college friends- who lives out west, wrote the absolute best comment on her situation. this friend of my daughters is a very special person with a unique outlook on life. when my daughter's friend was little, she had cancer and spent several months in the hospital and had some very serious operations. her friend is extremely bright- she graduated from duke university with honors, and could have chosen a very high paying job when she finished. instead, she moved out west- all by herself, and started a new life. my husband and i had the privilege of an over night visit from her on her way out there. because of her illness, she is very centered and calm. she knows what is important in life, and certainly, what is not. she is gracious, and appreciates the small, good things that make life enjoyable. i wish her the best in her new life, and hope that maybe some day she will be passing through this way and will visit us again.

i think that some things happen for a reason. not as punishment, but perhaps so that we can learn from our challenges and re-design our lives. hopefully, we can also share our knowledge with others and enable them to see life differently. i know that i appreciate my family, friends, and the small happy events in my life more than i would had i not gotten sick. i still have to try really hard, but sometimes i even manage not to get caught in the "road blocks to happiness" as i call them. these are things like conflict with others, every day annoyances, stress over, sometimes little things( this is especially hard for me because i am still a worrier). i have always been a spiritual person, but being sick has strengthened my spiritual beliefs.

so, i would like to wish my daughter the best in dealing with her new challenge. i would also like to thank her friend for her wonderful comment on facebook, and i hope that she has continued good health and happiness. in fact, here is to all of you that read my blog: i wish you joy, good health, the good fortune to recognize what is really important in your life, and lots of love. all you need is love, right? oh, that is another song, for another blog, i guess.