Sunday, December 30, 2012

since you have a ticket for the hypothyroid train.....

ever feel like you have a ticket for the hypothyroid train? and that it is a runaway train, with no stops in sight? there are some inevitable symptoms of hypothyroid disease, and i think these are more pronounced with patients who have had total thyroidectomy ( cancer, graves, goiters,etc). i thought that i would cover some of  the most common, and heck, why not, some uncommon symptoms of hypothyroid disease- with an emphasis on those of us who are missing our butterfly.

i guess that my number one symptom, or complaint, is the persistent tiredness. now, i know that most people, especially this time of the year are tired- all the holiday festivities, and chores, but for those of us with a thyroid problem, it just seems like  too much to deal with  sometimes. of course, the best solution would be " get more sleep". sounds easy enough, but tell that to a mother with young children, or a not so young mother( ahem, me) who is taking care of her beloved grandson for the weekend. i try my best to stay away from caffeine- i have one cup of tea with caffeine in the morning to get my engine running, and the rest of the day i just drink decaffeinated tea. i think that too much caffeine will  cause the inevitable crash at some point. also, for those of us with blood pressure or heart issues, it can increase our blood pressure, or cause some heart palpitations. if i hear one more rave about how great raspberry ketones, or green tea extract is for weight loss or energy, i think that i will scream! these products are useless. raspberry ketones have been around for a long time, and the reason that the public has not heard of them is because one would have to eat about a wheel barrow load to get the desired weight loss effect. also, green tea extract is caffeine- a powerful stimulant, and this can cause the above mentioned side effects.

so, if you can not get more sleep at night, perhaps you can get in a short " power nap" during the day. this is not possible for me unless i am not working, as i am sure is the case for most people. actually, exercise is a great energy booster. i will admit that i sometimes want to back out of zumba class because i feel too tired to be there. luckily, my husband always encourages me to go. i find that once i get started, i get my second wind, so to speak, and i feel more energized for a day or so afterwards. now, if you do not enjoy zumba( or beautiful, sparkly, belly scarves) a brisk walk should do it. find your joy- find out what exercise you can do that is fun and does not seem like a chore. if you dread being there, going to exercise class, or whatever, you are not going to do it, period. that is" all i got" on this issue. if someone has other ideas, please let me know.

another important issue for hypos, is dry skin. and i am not talking about just a little dryness, think the Sahara desert. the best solution is to drink plenty of water- works from the inside out. besides, water is so good for many other reasons. i take two large water canteens( i just love ll bean) with me to work every day. i drink one before lunch, and one after. i think that this has really helped my skin. of course, it is also important to slather on plenty of a good body lotion- i like organic ones- less icky stuff to be exposed to- right after your bath or shower. slightly damp skin will just soak it up. reapply lotion to hands after washing, and to exposed face and skin after being outside in the cold and wind. do not forget your lips! i keep several tubes of lip balm with me- my pocketbook, beside the bed,etc, so that i can apply several times a day.

o.k. these are just two symptoms of hypothyroid disease. i will go over two or three more next time.i sincerely hope that these ideas will be helpful. i know they are simple ideas, and have surely been discussed before, but maybe it is a good idea to review them when one has a one way ticket on the hypothyroid train.

Friday, December 21, 2012

who's got a beard that's long and white? santa's got a beard that's long and white. who comes around on a special night? santa comes around on a special night. special night, beard that's white. must be santa, must be santa, must be santa, santa claus. ....reindeer sleigh, come our way, ho ho ho, cherry nose, cap on head, suit that's red, special night, beard that's white. ....dasher, dancer, prancer, vixen, comet, cupid donner, blitzen, must be santa, santa claus " i like the version that bob dylan does on his Christmas album, Christmas in the heart

i guess  you can tell that i have a little grandson in my family now! i get to sing fun songs( well, play them anyway),visit  the toy section( not that i did not sneak a peek before i had a grandchild) and generally share the christmas magic through the eyes of a child again. with all of the unspeakable tragedy that has come about lately, it is a reminder that life is indeed precious, and we should appreciate each and every day. the most important take away from having had  cancer is that i realize this fact, and have tried my best to incorporate it into my every day living. not that i am perfect by any means. i still let little stuff, usually at work, bother me more than it should. i rush around and do not always take the time to notice the good, little stuff that is all around us. i also worry too much about, well, everything. i think that i am stuck with the worrying thing, but i am making some progress on realizing what is really important, and appreciating the beauty around us.

on several blogs i have noticed that the authors give tips for " avoiding those holiday pounds". well, guess what? you will not read about that here! enjoy the good food- all things in moderation of course. it is a gift to be able to cook something special for your loved ones during the holidays. when i see my family really enjoying a special meal or dish that i have prepared for them, well, it makes my heart sing. the way i see it, we can all go back to healthy eating when we make our new year's resolutions. now, do you not feel better? so the advice here, is have that slice of pecan pie, or whatever, and enjoy it to the fullest! probably best to stop with one piece,though, but do not deny yourself one of life's simple pleasures.

i want to thank everyone who has been reading my blog this year and wish you all merry christmas/happy chanukah or whatever holiday(s) that you celebrate. i wish everyone much happiness during the holidays,  and if i could give everyone one gift, i would give you  the gift of time. that is one thing that we all need more of, isn't it? i will try to write more blogs this year that are interesting and helpful to cancer patients at all stages in our journey. when i was first diagnosed, ideas for  blogs just came pouring out. and i had so much to talk about- diagnosis, treatment, etc. now, i am sort of at a turning point in my journey( i prefer this over the word " disease") i still have the every six months testing to deal with, but in a way i feel like, o..k. what now? the doctors have fixed my boat up, done what they could, and set me back upon the water again. my life has changed in many ways, as i have said. most of them good. i am a two year cancer survivor, but i still think about having cancer every day. i try my best to be motivated and positive, and i am fortunate that i get to counsel patients at work on having hypothyroid disease, and yes, sometimes, thyroid cancer. i feel like i am making a difference- a small one, but a difference none the less.

i received an email from an organization that i think might be helpful to other cancer patients. it offers support through homemade( and beautiful) cards. the website address is: i think that sending  a beautifully hand made card is a nice way to show support for a cancer patient. my daughter's students ( she teaches ninth grade english, bless her!)  all made me  cards before i had my surgery. i just can not say how much those have meant to me. so, check it out and enjoy.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

How is everyone holding up?

this is such a hectic time of year! exciting, fun, reflective,but hectic. i started early on my Christmas " chores" this year, for once. but i still find myself worrying that i am getting behind on my schedule. this is an " every other" year for me. my husband and i have grown children- and one grandchild, of course, and we have to share their presence on holidays. we did not get to see them on thanksgiving this year, but Christmas is at our house! i am getting so excited about having everyone here at our house for the holidays. there is a lot of work- outside and inside that needs to be done before then, but my husband and i really enjoy getting everyone together. our grandson has been the "glue" that has kept our family  together after my dad passed away last year. it was a blessed event after our family tragedy.

depression is a serious result, or symptom of thyroid disease. this is sometimes magnified during the holidays. i miss my mom and dad so much, and i think about all of the happy times that we had together during holiday celebrations. sometimes people are embarrassed to admit that they are depressed. it is a medical condition, and as i mentioned, a symptom of untreated, or under- treated hypothyroidism. there is not any reason to be embarrassed to ask for help with this issue. talk therapy, exercise, a correct dose of thyroid medication can all help. if this fails, then anti-depressants can be helpful. think of it as having high blood pressure, or diabetes. it is a health condition that needs to be addressed and treated. i think that for the most part, people are understanding this and do seek treatment as they would for any other health related issue.

i can not stress enough how important getting enough sleep is! adequate sleep helps our immune system ( very important this time of the year!) and decreases the levels of cortisone in our bodies. increased cortisone can lead to a multitude of problems, ultimately leading to stress on our immune systems and perhaps making us vulnerable to disease. this news is flooding the magazines now, but i think that it is important. if we can do this one simple thing to improve our health, why not?

i started early this year, as i said, and it has made for a less stressful time for me. ( notice i did not say stress free). when i get too wound up, i think about what this time of year really means to me. family time, helping others less fortunate, and yes, taking care of myself so that i can care for my family. if i had one wish for everyone i would wish for more sleep for you, and a less stressful, but joyful holiday season. getting chores done is necessary, and can be fun, but take time for yourself. a bubble bath, reading a book, yes, even taking a zumba class should be on the top of your " to do" list. maybe i will see you there.