Sunday, March 6, 2011

Healing Thyroid disease! Healing my life!

Hi there,

It's been a long while since I have been here. Sadly, my cat who was in the title photo has passed on. This has been a really tough year for me due to extreme thyroid issues. I decided to change this up and make it about the healing journey I am on. I started one month ago with the shift I am undertaking. I still take thyroid medication (Brand name Synthroid 137 mcg. which was just reduced to 125 mcg two days ago) but just some dietary changes I have made have changed my entire life for the better already! It's quite amazing. I never would have guessed that changing what I eat would change so severely how I feel and so quickly.

I am in the process of doing a lot of lab work so that Dr. Stone can begin to figure out where my body is failing me. There is just so much to say about the past year, but I will take it slowly as to not overwhelm my readers. OR perhaps, it's just me that gets overwhelmed so easily.

Feel free to comment a bit about your personal struggle with thyroid disease. People don't understand how seriously this affects our lives. Most get told "take this pill and it will make your blood tests look good." My newest truth is "Don't fix my lab work, fix ME!"

I have spent the entire year seeing various doctors here in Asheville, NC saying simply "Fix Me." And they didn't. I spent 6 months seeing a well known endocrinologist in town, she promised she would and could fix me - and well, never did. After wasting 6 months of my life, barely leaving my apartment, and her finally telling me I had "cancer" when I asked her for a diagnosis in month 6... (what?) I decided to move on!

She not only didn't fix me, she was rude, she was weight obsessed and she and her staff lied to me consistently. I never waited less than 2 hours in her waiting room. I moved on to a another Endocrinologist in town at Mountain Endocrinology and Diabetes. I now see Dr. Rappaport there, who is a nice man - but sadly, he only offers the same as all the others. "Take synthoid. I will keep guessing at how much until we get it right. It will take months." But he is kind and he is doing what he was taught to do.

It's already been over a year; more like 7 years if I go back to when things got way off track but in general, my life has been hell for the last year.

I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis when I was about 17 years old. I am now 56! I began with bulging eyes and other symptoms of hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). I was thin as a rail; never weighed more than 100 pounds in my adolescence. Eventually, I passed through the "normal" TSH range(thyroid stimulating hormone; "normal western medicine" lab results range differs lab to lab but in general, normal is somewhere between .5 and 4.5) and landed in the hypothyroid range. My diagnosis changed from Hyperthyroid to Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. My body was producing Anti-Thyroid Antibodies and gobbling up my gland in my neck. I was told eventually I would develop a "goiter" and have to have my thyroid removed (a thyroidectomy). It was a done deal. It was my fate. Period.

My grandmother had already had her thyroid removed (Maternal GM) and my dad had a thyroid disorder as well. I was told it can run in families and my fate was sealed. "Take these pills until you get a lump and have to have it removed. It's just a matter of time." Every six months or so I would go for lab work, a TSH level and my meds would be adjusted, or not.

Things went that way until approximately 10 years ago. I have come to understand that a thyroid that "gets out of whack" can be really difficult to get "back on track". To protect myself legally, I will name names of those who have helped me, and not of the people who either hurt me or just didn't care enough to help. I will respond to private requests for more information.

And for now, I will stop here. It's a long long story. But for now, I am just beginning with my journey with Dr. Todd Stone of Asheville, NC. He is the first doctor who 1. didn't weight me and shame me about my weight. (Being fat is a symptom of hypothyroidism. Why do some doctor's shame you when you are exhibiting symptoms?) I will share some very personal information on this blog as you all must know my truth and I must tell my truth. I am done feeling shame and shamed for having a medical illness. DONE.

I began this new healing journey January 19, 2011. At that time I weighed about 215 pounds and I am 5'3". I wear a size 18 jean. I am overweight. Not horribly considering the norms these days - but uncomfortably overweight. I live in constant pain for reasons I have never understood except for the diagnosis fibromyalgia that was placed on me so that my doctor didn't have to figure out why and I could just be told to "go home and live with it". Another "untreatable" illness. I have suffered from what has been called "irritable bowel syndrome" with diarrhea that has helped keep me nearly housebound for most of 2009 and 2010.

Since January, all that has already begun to change. At the one month mark, I weighed 199 pounds. I no longer have diarrhea. I leave my house every day. My brain fog is gone. I have energy. I have been paying for a storage unit for over a year simply because I did not have the energy to get it emptied. It is now empty. In just over ONE MONTH, my life has hugely shifted.

And yet, all I have done, at this point, is alter my diet. As I said, I have had a lot of blood work done and I am working to figure it out with Dr. Todd Stone. My lab results are still off. I am still hyperthyroid. (TSH 0.22 is what I was told by Dr. Rappaport's office last week.)

So, to wrap up, I will tell you about my new food regime. I am choosing to call it my "pure food plan" rather than thinking of it as a "diet". It's a change in my life - and NOT for weight loss.

NO flour or gluten.
NO sugar.
NO caffeine..
NO sugar substitute esp NO aspartame
NO soda - diet or not.
NO corn or corn products.
NO High Fructose Corn Syrup which is most everything else! :) (unlike they say in the commercials, it's NOT the same as sugar!).
NO Dairy or dairy products including cheese. (this is the hardest for me!)
I am drinking lots of water.
I am eating meat and vegetables and fruit. (natural sugar - fructose - as found in nature is ok.)
I am eating almonds and other bits of protein between meals at least every two hours.
For snacks, I eat Sweet potato chips for the crunch. As much as a bag a day sometimes if I need to in order NOT to cheat. The longer I go without sugar, the sweeter ordinary foods begin to taste. Carrots seem very sweet to me these days.
I enjoy beer now and then so I am investigating gluten-free beer. I have found some really good gluten-free bread but since I am OK without it, and am rather enjoying some weight loss, I am still staying away from it.

So, I know this seems like it would be hard. I don't find it hard at all. I am rarely hungry. My body seems to love eating this way which kind of makes it easier to stay on.

As a good friend who was recently diagnosed with diabetes says when asked if her diet is hard for her "It's easy to change what you eat when what you eat is killing you." yup.

and the payoffs I have already seen are huge! Just huge.

So, again, I will say goodbye for now. I have been wanting to start this blog for a month now and now I have. I will be adding Google ads to help make a little extra money to help pay for treatment. I live on disablity and medicare only pays for the treatment that had not been working - sadly. I was told in December 2010 that I needed to have a thyroidectomy (have my thyroid surgically removed!) Medicare would PAY for that! My second opinion said it would not help. I decided I was tired of being treated like I was made up of spare parts. I have had a lot of surgery in my life and if we can't control a gland that IS in my body, how can we ever control a gland that NO LONGER even exists? I am glad I decided to keep my thyroid at this point. Life is better already thanks to this dietary shift suggested on Dr. Stone's website - Asheville Thyroid Clinic with Dr. Todd Stone Be sure to watch the video on his front page. It is truly eye-opening!

Things will keep getting better and better now. I know they will.
This is JUST THE BEGINNING! I feel hopeful for the first time in many years.

Warmly, Be.

Monday, April 26, 2010

New look...

So, I worked on my blog tonight. Anything not to go to bed. Have I mentioned that I don't really like to sleep? No?

Well, 'don't like' is not the right way to say it. I actually ♥ sleep! I really heart sleep. I just don't do it the way others seem to. I seem to sleep much better in the light rather than in the dark. Then why did I spend all that money on room darkening curtains? Cause the light outside my new apartment is dayglow! I moved here from a dark, damp basement apartment in October. It was really really dark there. At night, that was nice. In the summer, it was great cause I was always cool - cold even. The mold that grew wasn't so great. My cat who is now prominent on my blog wasn't very happy. She almost died a few times, but I couldn't really get it together to move. Well, more than that...I am underreporting...I had a total knee replacement and for about two years I was pretty much struggling just to get around.

See, I live alone.  Surgery was such...well, the surgery was not good. I can talk more about that later.

I really just wanted to say that I spent some time playing with an image for my blog. I am a graphic designer by trade. My second career. My first was Nursing. I can talk more about that later too. I have had a complex life. More complex than most and not as complex as some I guess. It's interesting to think about what I would change if I could. Once I say more about my life, you would guess that I might want to change it all. But...

You never know where you need to be willing to go in order to end up where you need to be.

That's my own saying. I made that one up. You can use it if you want. It's true you know. We are not in charge and although we can wish that we could have taken a different path and ended up where we are today, I don't think that is true. I think we are where we are precisely because of the path we took. Now, if you don't like where you can sit and lament your choices. That won't get you anywhere but depressed cause well, we can't change the past. We went the way we go, you took the path you took - like it or not - precisely so we COULD end up where we are today. Maybe you had lessons you needed to learn? Maybe a different path could have put you worse off than you are today. Even when things are at their worst, they could always be worse. Just ask me. I'll tell ya cuz you never know where you need to go in order to end up where you need to be. And here is where you need to be - like it or not.

Once you hear my story you may be quite surprised I can say that. You might be surprised to find out that although my life is not anything like what I thought it would be or even how I would like it to be, it is what it is. I know many folks hate that expression but I like it. What does it mean to you? To me, it means that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. Like it or not. I don't know what is next but I know that if I were not exactly where I am doing exactly what I am doing, the next thing would be entirely different. And whatever is next is perfect.

See, I am a believer. I don't follow any dogmatic religion. I have my own beliefs and they can change day to day if someone can give me a good enough reason or argument to sway me. Mostly I just believe. I believe that most people are inherently good. I believe that my life has been exactly what it's supposed to have been. I believe the best is yet to come.

and that last one, requires true believing many days. The glass is only half full if you look at it from the wrong direction. If you look at it directly from the top, it will always look full. I have not had an easy life, not by a long shot—and sometimes it feels like I have a life that has been only "half lived"—but well, the glass is still full.

Now if I could only make myself sleep...

Oh, this is Asha. She is 10 May 5th. My other cat Pepsi died last year the week after I was supposed to go put Asha down. That would have been a tough week huh? Glad my vet suggested "one more thing" to try to save Asha's life. It worked and she is alive and he is gone. It's weird.

More to come. Remember to breathe!

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Hi all,

I have decided to start a public blog here at blogger. As a wanna be writer, I will be posting things here that I am working on and random thoughts that I frequently write about then put away into my hard drive. Some are fiction, some creative non-fiction and some just musings on real events in my life.

I will write about who I am, what makes me tick, what makes me mad and what it means to Be Bold and why I continually strive to live a life out loud and what that means to me. Mostly, what it means to "be well"! Being well is important. it's crucial really. I don't just mean on the physical level - in fact I rarely speak on just a physical level. So, I have created it -and as they say: If you build it they will come.

So, there will be more to come. Thanks for letting me blah on you for a while. I hope to keep BeComing...the person my cat thinks I am! :)