Friday, September 24, 2010

I haz skinny!

Okay, this picture didn't look nearly as blurry on my phone this morning.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Next 6

I know, I know. In the last post I said I had lots to tell you about and I've still not told you about it all (or made any progress in that direction either).
What I have been doing is thinking. I mentioned that near the beginning of this month I turned 30. If you'd told me at 20 that I would still not have any children, I would have laughed in your face.

My plan was to be done having babies by 30. It looks like I may be starting to have babies at 30.
No. I'm not pregnant. :-( Not yet at least.
The Italian has been willing to start thinking in that direction recently, especially since he's started working again.
I have it stuck in my head that we'll start trying for babies in March. In order for that to happen, a few things need to happen first:
  1. I need to get be euthyroid. In other words, my thyroid is functioning normally.
  2. I need to shed as much of the excess weight that I'm carrying as I can.
  3. I need to get into better physical shape.
I have an appointment with my favorite endo, Dr. Mini-Giant in November to do bloodwork and see where I am. Right now, I'm feeling good with the level of thyroid replacement hormone that I'm on. I'm feeling like me again. Or closer than I have been in the past couple years. I think, at least for the moment, I'm on the right level of medication. Now it could change tomorrow, it could change next year. I don't know.

2 and 3 sort of go together. I don't simply want to lose the excess weight, but I also want to be as healthy, strong and fit as I possibly can be. When I go back to see Dr. Mini-Giant or even when I go see my gyno, next month, I am seriously considering asking one of them for a referral to a nutritionist or registered dietitian.
I've been playing with my diet and eating methods for quite a while now. I felt my best the short time I was eating paleo, but the eating meat so often was quite overwhelming. I didn't grow up vegetarian, but we didn't eat a whole lot of meat either.
In talking to mom a while back, I came to the conclusion that it was really the absence of grains that made the difference! So while I may end up eating primal/paleo again, I'm taking my time with it this time around.
The first step in that is cutting out gluten. It's only been a week and half, but I'm pretty happy with the way things are going.
Eventually I plan on cutting out all grains, but I think I do want to talk to someone who knows what they're talking about!

3 also stands on its own. I'm working on a work-out plan that will be real lifeable. I already swim twice a week (Wednesdays and Saturdays) but I'd like to incorporate some weight training and maybe even defeat the C25k monster that's been mocking me.

So that's my next 6 months. Maybe this time next year, I'll be discussing how close I am to a little one joining us! (here's hoping)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Starting from Scratch

Don't you hate it when you have TONS to say, but sit down to create a post and *poof* it all disappears? That's been me recently. I've got about 5 unfinished posts sitting in my draft folder. Recapping Army Bro's wedding and Baby Bro's proposal. (Though I'm STILL waiting on pictures of the proposal to pop up on facebook. *sigh* Doesn't he know I have a blog to post them on? Oh wait . . . No, he doesn't. But that's another post for another day.)
I've got a post drafted about our storage room, but I've not got the pictures on my computer yet. (This is why there aren't many pictures . . . Er . . . Umm . . . I just keep forgetting to load them, then forgetting to post them . . . *sigh* One day!)
After the pool this past Saturday, we went to Mama and Papa Italian's for the day. I don't recall how it came about, OH! I think we were talking about dinner plans for the week. My Italian mentioned he was just going to eat Smart Ones when I was going to be home late and it turned out that was going to be almost EVERY night this week. I mentioned that the sodium content in that was ridiculous and that it wasn't a good idea.
To my surprise Mama Italian agreed with me! So . . . this week, pretty much everything we're eating is from scratch! Albeit, I've only made one soup and have 3 others planned (maybe I'll get to them this weekend?). But my Italian is finally on board with making stuff from scratch at home! 

I've only been fighting this battle since we've been married! He's grown up on ready-made food, since his mom doesn't really cook. She warms. (It's a sad, but true joke/fact in there family.) I on the other hand grew up with meals based around real, whole foods. Though when I moved out of the house, I did delve into the pre-processed foods because, honestly?, they're a lot easier for a single person. 
If I'd known that all I had to do was enlist Mama Italian's help with this, I'd have done that a long time ago. But I think his weight gain has brought more concern to his health and eating habits. Not that he gained a lot, 15, maybe 20 pounds. But he did have to go up a pant size and she WAS NOT happy about that. 
It makes sense. When a person tends to put all of their weight on one side when he or she is walking, you don't want to weigh a whole lot. He was healthy at 150 or 155 just very very slender. He's still pretty slender but he's got a little bit of belly now. His baclofen pump used to look like a hockey puck under his skin, but now you can only see one side of it. 
Most of his weight gain is due to being restricted to his chair while he was recovering from surgery. He still spends most of his time in his chair, but is able to work-out everyday. Whether it be in the pool or the treadmill at home. 

We're eating mostly soups this week. 
They're easy to make, easier to store and quick to reheat for dinners. 
I think I may try to prep all of our meals on Saturday, so when their day of reckoning comes, all I have to do is pop it in the oven or throw it together. Cause I don't want to be eating soup all the time. 

This means I need to do my meal planning by Friday afternoon and grocery shopping, either Friday night or Saturday after the pool. Sunday's are out because my Italian has horseback riding 3x a year for 6 week sessions each time. So during those times, my Sundays are booked. Though I could make a meal between church and the time to leave for horseback riding. Especially if his class stays at 4:15. 
So step 1 has been accomplished. Getting my Italian on board with eating whole, healthy foods. Step 2. Learn to appreciate (and do most of our shopping at) farmer's markets! I just need to lure him out to a few. 
He's uber cheap, so I'm wondering  . . . meh . . . I don't know.

Any ideas on how to accomplish step 2?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fighting for my thyroid

September 13 - 19 is Invisible Illness Awareness Week. It's a week dedicated to bringing to light many of the illnesses/diseases that people deal with day-to-day that aren't visible at just a glance. 

Back in August of 2008, a little over a month before I was supposed to marry the Italian, I went to see a brand new doctor to get a check-up. Something I hadn't done in YEARS! I was overweight, but seemed healthy. He did some bloodwork and I got a call a week later telling me that I was hypothyroid. Essentially, my thyroid wasn't producing enough hormone.
As soon as I got off the phone with my doctor, I called my mom in an utter panic! My crazy uncle was hypothyroid right? I'm going to turn into him! A completely incompetent, self-centered crazy person! Mom confirmed that my uncle was hypothyroid too, but I wasn't going to turn into him as he had other issues as well. Mom wasn't terrible surprised at my diagnosis as it explained all the weight I had suddenly gained. (I had written it off to being back working in a call center. Though I was amazed I had held off gaining tons of weight for so long, then *poof* it all appeared. It now makes sense).

I began doing research (while trying to do the last minute planning for my wedding), and everything I read pointed me towards Hashimoto's disease. Not that I could really understand a lot of what I was reading. It all seemed to be written in gibberish. I continued going to see my GP and he would up my doseages in the goal to bring me down to a "normal person's" level. Meanwhile, the symptoms I had read about when I first diagnosed where starting to pop up.
  • Fatigue - though it was never really too bad. I just felt worn out at the end of the day. And I wanted to sleep a lot, but that's the way I've always been. I LOVE my sleep! My husband noticed it more than I did.
  • Crazy Week - I went to go see my GP after I had spent a week feeling like I was losing my mind. I honestly thought I was going crazy! After some questions about my family history with depression and anxiety, he put me on an anti-depressant.
  • Migranes - This was a new one. Headaches lasting for days on end, and I always knew when one was coming on because hours before I would have light spots in front of my eyes. (Like you get when you look at something bright then look away. It took him a while to put me on a migrane medication and then we had to battle the insurance company, but I was put on Topomax.
  • Brain Farts/CRS (Can't Remember Shit) - More often called brain fog, but mine never felt foggy. I just couldn't think or concentrate some days . . . I guess that's brain fog.
  • High Cholesterol - It went up and down as my TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) numbers went up and down. We battled over that one and had the same conversation over and over and over. He would put me on it, we'd get my blood work back and my numbers were fine and I would take myself off of it. 
Earlier this year I finally had enough and broke up with my GP. Not for good, but he's no longer running the thyroid show. I found a fabulous endocrinologist who not only GOT that my thyroid numbers & cholesterol were related, but he was willing to treat my entire endocrine system as a whole, not just rely on my TSH numbers.
At my last appointment we were discussing my week old blood work results (as opposed to 6 months old, like I would with my GP) and my suspicions of Hashimoto's came up. It was confirmed. I have Hashimoto's disease.

What's Hashi . . .Hash . . . Hashi-who?

Hashimoto's Disease is an auto-immune disease. Essentially, the immune system doesn't recognize the thyroid anymore and begins attacking (though my endo said attacking is the wrong word. Sounds right to me from what I've read!) it with anti-bodies. It slowly kills the thyroid until it quits working altogether.
And that pretty much has exhausted my knowledge of Hashimoto's.

Thyroid disease, be it Hashimoto's, Grave's Disease (the anti-immune cousin to Hashimoto's), hyperthyroidism, or hypothyroidism, truly are invisible. It is an under-diagnosed disease and one that disguises itself as a whole spectrum of issues.
Sure, to lose weight you're supposed to eat less and move more. But when you're too tired to get out of bed and really aren't eating much at all anyway, but still gaining weight . . . what do you do?
I've been fortunate in that I think mine was caught near the beginning. I've had a lot of luck with finding a doctor who treats me as a patient and not as numbers.

However, dealing with Hashimoto's is still a daily battle. My medicine was upped and before I could get to fill my new prescription, my thyroid meds ran out. In the past week, I've experienced exhaustion like I have never known. (I know, I should have gotten to the pharmacy and picked them up. But you know that brain fog I was talking about earlier? Yea . . . I don't think about it until I'm
  • home in bed
  • at work w/o the credit card (and my Italian doesn't drive)
  • out somewhere w/o the credit card or prescription (or I have one and not the other)
I did finally get my act together this morning and I have both! Now to remember to GO to the pharmacy. Oy!

Even on medication, my "normal" isn't the average normal. I still struggle with irrational insecurity (lending its way to very mild paranoia at times), fatigue, and the inability to concentrate (I fondly call it my ADD). Overall, I'm lucky though. I am able to function in normal society and appear normal. Most days, I even feel normal and forget that it's a little pill I take first thing in the morning that is helping me keep my sanity.


I'm still learning about this and how best to battle my own immune system in protection of a gland that, essentially, helps keep my body balanced. And while I may be fighting a losing battle, I'm bound and determined to stretch this battle as long as it will go and do whatever it takes to protect the little butterfly in my throat!

A few of my favorite thypeeps who I have leaned heavy on and learned a lot from:

Dear Thyroid : A website that is committed to bringing thyroid disease to the forefront and being a support community to those battling thyroid disease.
Dear Thyroid is committed to being part of the solution. As a community, we invoke change, one letter, one column, one image, one meet-up, one awareness band at a time. We are a collective, unrelenting, unstoppable movement. Join us.
Hypogirl : shhhhh . . . I absolutely love her! I have learned a lot from her podcasts and her website is full of kittehs! (Her meows are adorable!)

Mary Shomon : The Queen of Thyroid patient advocacy. I found her when I was first diagnosed with hypothyroidism and she was able to put what I was reading into English.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bad Karma

I am a horrible, horrible person! I feel really awful too.

You see, the Italian made an appointment for Logan-butt to go to the vet because he's been more and more agressive. Hissing at people and his attacks on Rufus-monster have heightened to the point that Rufus had started spraying. We got Feliway and that seemed to take care of that . . . On the way to the vet I was turning onto a busy road when my Italian pointed out a deer as it disappeared into the woods. As I turned onto the road and began to speed up I heard/felt a THUMP, like I'd hit something. I looked in my rear view mirror and I'd hit a fawn!

MASSIVE EPIC FAIL! (that seems almost glib, but it's not.)

I was/am totally horrified!  The poor thing got up, stumbled a few steps in the wrong direction and collapsed in the middle of one of the lanes.
I honestly didn't know what to do! I drove onto the vet and before we got in there someone pulled in behind us, got in there first and told them. Apparently there was an accident (more bad karma) caused by/involving/related to the deer (I didn't quite catch it) and it had been reported and someone was on there way.
I didn't hit the fawn on purpose! I didn't see it! Ugh . . . I'm still completely guilt-ridden though. :-( Bad bad EM!!! (And I have to go that same route tomorrow to work.)
On the way home, I didn't see a sign of an accident or of the fawn. I'm hoping that it is getting medical attention if it needs it and that the accident wasn't too bad.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Year Ago Today . . .

. . . I heard my phone ring at 8:30 and decided to ignore it because I was comfortable in bed and didn't want to wake up. It rang again 1/2 hour later, so I figured whoever it was, it must be somewhat important. It was Mom. I knew something had to be up, because she doesn't call in that sort of frequency. I was afraid something had happened to my Grandmother Fortney, her mom.
I missed her second call, but called her back.
That's when she told me. Buh, my father's mother, had died in the night. She had fallen in her room and was halfway under the bed. My (worthless) uncle called my Dad to find out what to do. Dad told him to call 911 and that he was on his way down. The ambulance came and they rushed her to the hospital where they worked on her until 1:30 or so in the morning, when they declared her dead. Sometime during the time she was on the floor or in the ambulance she suffered a heart attack.
That's what they said she died of.

It came as a total shock to all of us. I figured Buh was going to live to be at least 100. She was the oldest of 5, by far the most healthy and the most spunky. This is the woman who, while I was in high school, broke her ankle and was still up and around trying to move on it. I went down for a weekend to take care of her and repeatedly threatened to sit on her if she didn't sit still!
That was the type of relationship we had. I was her granddaughter, but we were both very blunt with each other. She was blunt with me in a way that she wasn't with anyone else. She was MY grandma. I was also the only granddaughter and, in the month or so before she died, filled the roll that a daughter would have filled. My mom was busy taking care of her parents, as her Mom is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's Disease.

After I got off the phone with Mom (I argued with her about Buh dying. I couldn't believe it!) I knew I had a couple phone calls to make. One was to Buh's hairdresser. I had called to make an appointment to get her hair done. She had let it get out of control recently and it was in desperate shape. I also had to call a friend of mine who I was supposed to go out with that day and tell her I was goinng to be running late.
Mom pushed me to keep my "date" with her as there really wasn't anything I could have done. I sat on the  edge of my bed and cried. My Italian sat next to me, just holding me and letting me cry.

I barely pulled myself together to cancel her hair appointment and called Julie to let her know what was going on and that I would be late.

The rest of that weekend is a slight blurr. Going back to work on Monday was a nightmare. I couldn't focus, and all I really wanted to do was hide under my desk and cry. I arranged to have that Thursday and Friday off since Buh's funeral was on Thursday. (That was probably the fastest time-off approval I'd ever gotten.)

Buh's memorial service was beautiful. She would have LOVED the reception afterwards. It was strange to be having a party without her there.  The women of her church set up the reception and served all of the food.

Her memorial service was just the first of many parties and get togethers we had that her presence was acutely missed. Thanksgiving came and it felt so very very different. I tried to make and bring the foods she usually brought, but it just wasn't the same. Her comments and conversation left a giant hole (I felt) in the atmosphere.

Christmas came and while the pain had eased some, she was still sorely missed. As time has gone on, the pain of her not being with us anymore has eased, but her missing presence is still felt at all of the family gatherings.

ArmySIS-IL's bridal shower is where it was very acute. Her grandmother reminded me of a toned down Buh and they would have gotten along fantastically! At ArmyBro's wedding, I missed her too. I would have loved to have heard her commentary on the goings on. She always had something to say.

It's been a year. I thank God for the time I had with her and that she got to see me get married and see her family the way it will be.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

TOM, TMI, & Baby-sitting

Disclaimer: If you're eating and have a sensitive stomach or are easily grossed out, finish eating, digest and come back and read this later. 

Sometimes being female sucks!
I'm sitting on the couch with my netbook on my lap hoping the heat it generates will relax my cramps away so I can get up and childproof our apartment before 5 kids (and a Mother's Helper) come over to play for the afternoon/early evening!

A dear friend of mine has 6 (so far) kids and is going to a wedding down here in Richmond. She's taking the baby (dang it!) with her, so we get to play with the older ones. Thankfully it's a nice day out. The plan is to take them to a park that's near by and wear them out on the playground there. Then we'll go play in the pool here at the apartment complex (hopefully it won't be too cold).

Papa Italian picked up my Italian to take him to the pool so I could be home when they got here. Sometime between 12 and 1 today. Mama or Papa Italian is going to pick him up, probably get him lunch then bring him home to the chaos that awaits him.

Bwwwwaaaaaahhhh aaaaahh!

I'm just hoping these cramps go away before they get here. I think my body is trying to push my ovaries out of my ass! Seriously! I know that was TMI . . . sorry.

I was sitting on the pot this morning and thinking (because, yes, I do quite a bit of thinking on the pot, provided I can keep the monsters out of the bathroom). Maybe TOM is not only the shedding of the uterine wall (hey, I warned you it was going to be TMI!!) but for my body it's also a way to detox its system too.
What brought this thought on?
I poop . . . A LOT during that TOM. Sort of like my body trying to get rid of all the waste that is in my system. So maybe I need to let my body do that, and assist it along. Stay hydrated, eat foods that I know make me happy (chocolate and coke (aka soda) are massive no-no's today if I want to stay vertical and not end up in bed in the fetal position wanting to either die or throw up) and maybe yoga it out some.

Friday, September 10, 2010

What do I eat from here?

These past couple weeks have been absolutely craziness!

The Highlights

  • last Tuesday (August 31) I went to my endo appointment and he confirmed my suspicions that my strain of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto's.
  • Army Bro got married in Manteo, NC (just outside Nags Head) over Labor Day weekend, so future sis-in-law is now Sis-in-law!
  • I turned 30
  • Baby Bro proposed to his girlfriend today. I now have a new future Sis-in-Law! 
  • I spent a majority of my day off at DMV getting my license renewed (to the tune of $617!)
I guess it's really been the past week, week and half. Still. I'm glad it's the weekend, not that I'm stopping any.

It's been a busy one! With it all I've been mulling over the fate of this here blog. I enjoy doing this, it's kinda like therapy for me, but it feels sorta directionless. Sure, I'm trying to lose weight, but there's so much more going on!

I am still trying to figure out what sort of food objects my body is happiest on. I know what my mouth likes . . .

  • chocolate
  • coke (translastion: soda)
  • chocolate milkshakes
  • fast food french-fries
  • Lays potato chip
But that's not what's best for me (or my waistline). And I will freely admit to having indulged multiple times in the past month. Especially coke.
The coke fiasco has been bad enough that I had a migrane (started out as a stress headache) from Saturday afternoon through Tuesday evening. How did I finally get ride of it? While I was grocery shopping I picked up a 20oz Dr. Pepper and slammed it down my throat on my way to pick up my Italian from the pool.
Unfortunately, I've not really cut back on my soda intake this week while at work.
But the headache through the ArmyBro's wedding weekend (maybe it was more alcohol than I'm used to drinking contributed slightly? But an almost permanent hangover, that sleep won't knock out? Naaaah) has cleared one thing up in my head quite clearly. Coke . . . soda . . . pop . . . whatever you want to call it has GOT to go.
I thought I had kicked the habit earlier this year. I guess it's one that I need to stay away from a little bit longer.
The other strange thing about the headache was that I normally am soda-free on the weekends. The reason I indulge during the week is that it's sitting in the fridge at work calling. "Em, Em. Come drink us. You know you want one. Come on. Just one won't hurt. You can pour us into a smaller cup and pretend like you're not drinking as much. Just one, come on Em."
Then two or three of them end: up from my hand into the recycling bin by the end of the day. Some days more. It's a rare day, recently, that it's less. (Ugh . . . the craving for a soda has kicked in now! Fortunately we don't have any in the house.)

To be honest with you, I'm tired of writing these types of posts. I'm tired of trying to figure out what my eating pattern looks . . . what my healthy eating pattern looks like.
Though if I were truly honest with myself, my search has truly been half-hearted. I go full speed ahead into something and it lasts 2 . . . 2 1/2 weeks, then I get bored, overwhelmed or just simply lazy and move onto the next thing. Or revert back to my old habits.

HOWEVER, my dabbling in various forms of eating has led me to this knowledge of myself (and that's what life is right? A journey of figuring one's self out?) :
My body likes fats. It operates better on a fattier diet. It's not big on grains though.
Reading that, going primal or paleo sounds like the best way to go. For me the pure amount of meat I ate was overwhelming. And I missed legumes. I grew up more flexitarian than anything, if I had to put a label on it. Mom traded meat out for beans and that sort of thing. She went through a mercifully short tofu phase. None of us really liked it. I just remember it tasting like huge chunks of peanut butter. I think Mom made a stir fry or something with it. 

So I'm thinking, based on what I know about myself and the way my body works.
  • fat is good
  • soy is out
  • gluten is out
  • grains may be phased out or at least minimized
  • too much meat is overwhelming
  • no meat is not an option as I don't do soy. (Is there another option to meat besides soy?)
  • soda needs to go
  • sugar needs to say bye-bye-bye.
The Italian and I have joined back on Weight Watchers. We're doing the online version, but it still really helps. I don't know when he decided, but on the way home from Manteo, NC, my Italian informed me that he was not eating sweets anymore.
He tells me this, on my birthday, while I'm talking about the cake that I'm going to make for myself for my birthday the next day (which didn't happen as I was at DMV for half the day). That is definitely going to make it sorta easier. But then it's not because I'll just eat it when I'm not home or out with him. However, not having an allowance anymore will make it easier because I won't have the money to buy the junk food, but when I do get money is that where it will go?

What about the Hashi's diagnosis? What can I eat to help my thyroid defend itself from my immune system? Or distract my immune system from attacking my thyroid?

What do I eat from here?