While I write mostly about congenital hypothyroidism, I also write about MY journey with thyroid disease. I think being open about our entire family’s struggles with thyroid problems is one of the ways I can be most helpful to you. Some of you may recall my January “resolution” post about 2014 being the year that I’m undefeated as a thyroid warrior. Read the full post here, as well as my summary report on the 1st Quarter here. Can you tell my husband is in sales? He encouraged me to update you all on my progress during the 2nd Quarter.
So, here goes:
1) Climb. My first goal was to rock climb more. Well, I was doing that until my back decided not to cooperate. I have spent much of this last few months in fairly severe pain because of a herniated disc. I was not able to exercise at my normal level. I have since learned that I may also have arthritis in my sacroiliac joints. I decided to postpone surgery on my herniated disc for a variety of reasons. In the meantime, I tried physical therapy and have had a series of trigger point shots and epidural steroid shots. I have been doing exercises to strengthen my back and have been cleared to walk and swim, but no running or climbing for now. So, I am not sure how to score myself on this goal. I have to be honest with you and admit that I feel betrayed by my body. Every time I try to make a positive change, something happens to hold me back. Mentally and physically, this has been a trying few months for me. I know that there are people in my own family even who are struggling with things much worse than this, but I still sometimes can’t help feeling like it’s not fair to be 38 and having so many issues. A few months of not exercising, and I’ve gained weight and don’t feel great about how I look. I recently watched a video with Venus Williams where she opens up about her struggles with Sjogrens. She made quite a few jokes about it, and listening to her talk about how some days are just crappy and how she was able to keep her head up was very inspiring to me. I’ve never been one to wallow in pity for long. So for now, it’s just one day at a time. I hope that I can return to climbing over the next few months, but am happy that I’ve been able to go on a few hikes and bike rides with my boys and slide down a few waterfalls. I am proud of myself for taking full advantage of the days that I felt good and pushing myself to keep up with my boys. My score on climbing itself is low, but with a goal adjustment for circumstances beyond my control. I’m going back to the Dr this week to talk about surgery. I have no clue what the next few months will hold, but I know that I’ll get through it either way.
2) Meet with a nutritionist and slowly move to a more plant based diet. So, if you read my last post, you know that we met with a nutritionist and were sampling various non-dairy alternatives. I have to be 100% honest on this one. We totally failed at this, at least from the standpoint of finding alternatives for milk. We are eating better and with summer in NC yielding so many delicious fruits and vegetables, we have no trouble incorporating lots of fresh vegetables and fruit into our diets. We did not find a milk or cheese substitute that our children will eat. We have perfected various vegan recipes and include them into our weekly menus, but we have not been able to eliminate dairy. Where my husband and I have settled on this one is that we will keep trying new vegan recipes but acknowledge that we are just not ready to go dairy free in our house. How would you score me on this one? As far as meeting with a nutritionist and incorporating new recipes, I think we met that goal, but we certainly didn’t exceed the goal.
3) Learn more. As I reflect on this goal, I realize perhaps while some were a bit narrow, some of my goals (like this one) is perhaps a bit broad. I have focused on finding news articles and other items of interest to you all. I think I have done a good job on this goal. However, this coming quarter I want to refine this goal by providing more helpful information to you and enable you to learn along with me. So, I will be providing reviews of thyroid related material, including books, apps and other materials over the coming months.
4) Parent better. Okay, finally one goal that I feel like I have met. I have been working on my patience and my temper, particularly on the days when I don’t feel well. One of the key pieces to this is knowing when I need help and asking for help, like calling my mom to watch the kids, hiring a babysitter, etc. This is particularly important during the summer when the kids and I are together 24/7. Another key piece is making more time for myself. It’s so cliche, right? We all know that the best way to be healthy and happy enough to take care of others is to take care of ourselves first. But, knowing and doing are entirely different things. I have made a conscious effort to add some events to my schedule that are just for me, like joining a girls poker group and going to the pool by myself. Giving my self a break and some time to just be me has definitely helped me be a better mom.
That is my update on my 4 main goals for 2014. The 2nd Quarter is over, and so is half of the year. Overall, I think I’m doing fairly well on my effort to be UNDEFEATED in 2014! My back problems have definitely slowed me down and admittedly took a chunk out of my self-confidence. In the end, though, I sort of feel like this will just be one more notch in my belt. One more thing I can say I defeated and overcame. My advice to you if you are struggling is to find something—something that brings you hope and brings you peace. Cling to it. Let it carry you through. Before you know it, you’ll be back on your feet. Promise.
By Blythe Clifford aka ThyroidMom