Handling Thyroid Disease

Handling thyroid disease is the title I settled on after ruminating on coping and dealing. Both coping and dealing felt too passive to me, so I opted for handling. What does handling thyroid disease even mean? It means learning to thrive in spite of the misfiring or non-existence of that bitch is a gland.

When I was first diagnosed with Graves, I did what most people do and consulted Dr. Google. The medical part didn’t bother me too much. No, what bothered me is how those coping with the disease were failing to thrive or continue a productive existence. I was resolute that I would not follow that path.

Of course, in the beginning it was easy to think that way. It became hard as my heart rate soared and the RAI (radioactive iodine) was slow to work. Nevertheless, the fun and my weight were doubled when my thyroid failed. It literally happened over night. For the next several months and even still, I would migrate between hyper and hypo from day to day. It was beyond frustrating.

Thankfully, I have a wonderful Endo and have high confidence in her. Slowly, she has returned me to my normal life. I’ve run three 5ks since diagnosis, restarted my yoga practice and started the BBG workout. Nevertheless, it has taken a lot of work to get back to this place. I’ve read a lot about auto immune disease, worked with my endo and her in house R.D. and changed my workouts. I even feel back to my old gregarious self.

Now that my thyroid levels have stabilized, it will take 1-3 years for the symptoms of Graves to abate. My antibodies still show positive for both Graves disease and Hashimotos. My next task is get rid of those. In the meantime, I continue to research ways to reduce inflammation and improve my health. Each Thursday, I’ll be sharing my autoimmune experience with you. Next week, I’ll be sharing a list of the top 10 items that have helped me through my personal journey.

P.S. the title photo is from my first post diagnosis/treatment 5k.

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WOT 3 is Underway

WOT 3 is underway at JBSA Lackland! This week Jake will take his second official PT test of basic training. While he’s already at the prescribed standard, he and his flight are working towards Warhawk status. This means they have to exceed the PT standards substantially. In his letter we received today, he mentioned that he’s closing in on the number of pushups needed for Warhawk status.

WOT 6, or week of training six, will bring the official PT test. This is the one that will determine whether or not they graduate and if they graduate with Thunderbolt or Warhawk status. For recruits starting after January 1, 20202, their final PT will be in week three. The Air Force made the change because too many recruits were coming into BMT ill prepared. To go from no physical activity to the level of fitness required at BMT is a massive leap. Jacob spent months working out in the gym and running in preparation for his departure.

WOT 3 also brings some changes to the uniform. Excitingly, this week brings the issuance of the dress blues. During WOT 5, they’ll be taking their graduation photos in their new dress uniforms. Additionally, this week they’ll get their names on their ABUs/OCPs. I can’t wait to see my airman in his uniform!

In the classroom, they’re continuing to learn about the Air Force and it’s culture. They’re also continuing to practice disassembling and reassembling their M-4s. Additionally, they discuss cyber awareness, basic leadership and character, and warrior role. And of course, the trainees are continuing to drill. Lastly, the best part of WOT 3 is that he should be able to call us this week! We cannot wait!
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Meanwhile at the homestead, I knocked out my BBG workout this morning before heading to yoga. Can I tell you how much I needed yoga after sitting in a stadium and a car for hours yesterday? Maria’s class was the perfect anecdote. Sadly, I’ll be missing yoga tomorrow due to the hockey schedule.

Post yoga, I headed to Boca to meet Mel’s mom T for lunch. We met at First Watch, which is an awesome breakfast and lunch place here in South Florida. I had a deconstructed breakfast burritos and home fried potatoes with coffee. It was yummy and super filling. We had the best time chatting and sharing in our mutual love of J and M. Jake is lucky that his girlfriend’s family is amazing and loves him dearly. Finally, Jake is loving the letters and asks that we spam him with them. Please consider dropping him a note! His address is below.

Previous Training Weeks:
Week 0
Week 1
Week 2

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Adjusting

It’s day one without Jake and we’re all adjusting. Some of us, aka me and the hubby, are having a harder time adjusting to our new normal. I still expect Jake to come in and give me a good night kiss every night. This morning I had to stop myself from ordering his bagel from Dunkin’.

So how are we coping? Well, if you consider steam mops, dog accessories, yoga and brownies as coping, then I’d say I’m coping pretty well. Except I’m not at least not yet. By the time he finishes BMT, I’ll have accepted our lives as they now exist. Hopefully, it won’t take daily brownies to get there since I’m gluten intolerant.

For the puppies’ sake, they’ll be quite happy when I’ve complete the adjustment process. This will mean I’m no longer putting them in multiple cute holiday collars in a day or shopping for their Christmas outfits.

As I prepared to go to sleep last night, Jake called to let us know he had made it safely to San Antonio. For this phone call, he was allotted a generous forty seconds! Nevertheless, it was forty of the best seconds of my life. The kid sounded great! Hopefully, he’s able to carry that attitude through the rest of BMT.

This week, he’ll be getting a haircut, his uniform and a bunch of paperwork completed. We’re anxiously awaiting his call home with his address. As soon as I have it, I will share it. Mail is what gets airmen through BMT!! Finally, thanks again for all the love and support as we continue adjusting to this major change in our lives.

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He’s Off

He’s off!! After a morning at MEPS (military entrants processing station) my boy is on his way to San Antonio. It is seems so surreal. I still expect him to come home from Mel’s and watch The Office with me. Yep, the river denial is where I’m currently at.

Let me tell you about our experience at MEPS. Think a combination of the DMV and ER waiting rooms. Now imagine driving over and hour to get there and having to wait in a small, hot crowded lobby with no A/C and I bathrooms. Fortunately, they opened the doors to us just after 8:30.

Once into MEPs we went to the holding room with the rest of the shippers’ families. It was an interesting to observe the future servicemen and women work their way through the process. The holding room where we were at was also used to house the shippers and soldiers waiting to test.

There were three vending machines, a big flatscreen tv with two bins of snacks underneath and a sign for applicants only. It is no wonder we can’t have nice things here since nobody could either read the sign or just didn’t care. Perhaps our favorite part was the screaming baby whose parents didn’t realize you can get up and move with the baby or even take the baby outside. No, they just let her wail. Thankfully, we were called back for the oath ceremony before we completely lost our marbles.

One of the best parts of being at MEPS was seeing my confident and ready to go. His confidence was my reassurance. The ceremony room was small, but I was still able to get some good photos and videos of the event.

While he was taking the oath, I did my best not to cry since I was standing in front of him. Needless to say it was near impossible. The moment they took the oath was beautiful and exciting. Watching it live I was caught up in the emotions of him leaving. In contrast, I think future viewings will bring tears of pride and joy. At this point, I can’t rewatch it. It’s too raw even though I’m rowing my boat on the river denial. Watching it again will only make it more real.

After the ceremony, we were given five minutes to spend with our airmen. I never imagined five minutes could pass so quickly. We took some great photos in the ceremony room and chatted. Jake was excited to start the air hockey tournament he had organized in the shippers lounge. My boy was ready to go!

As the five minutes came to an end, I didn’t want to let him out of my embrace. Ultimately, I had to let him go since the military frowns on tardiness. With that we walked to the door and we went out the door and he went into a doorway to the right. This was a holding room where they would stay until being moved to the shippers lounge.  I still can’t believe he’s off.

We left MEPS proud military parents with temporarily broken hearts. We are beyond proud of our boy and the future he is building for himself. I haven’t ventured upstairs to his now vacant room, but I’m sure by the time I do Goalielocks will have already moved in. As we speak, he should be nearing his final approach into San Antonio. Now the real fun can begin! Lastly, we are so thankful for all the texts, calls and social media love. Your support means everything! We love you Jake!  Aim High!

countdown clock: he’s off!

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One Day More

One day more until Jake ships out to basic. I can’t believe the day has finally arrived. Today itself has been quite unreal as he said goodbye to the house, our beloved puppies, his brothers and his beloved Mel.

We dropped him off at the recruiter’s office where we waited an hour and half for the shuttle to take off. From there he went to MEPS to complete paperwork and get ready to ship out. Tomorrow he’ll have another physical before taking the oath of enlistment.

I did pretty good for most of the day. Until I took my dog for walk this afternoon. I have a gratitude/relaxation playlist that I like to listen to when I walk. When Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole I lost my ish. There I was walking my dog, enjoying the scent of th Hong Kong orchids and ugly crying. I don’t know why it hit me at that exact moment, but it lasted for a good mile and a half.

I was a complete mess. I finally started to get my shit together and then John Lennon’s Imagine triggered me again. As I walked and cried, I thought about how all the moments of his life prepared us all for this moment. From his first day of preschool to his last day of high school everything was getting us ready for him to fly the coop. Here were are on that day and he is ready to soar and I’m struggling to let go.

Tonight the boys, Mel and I headed to Miami to join Jake for dinner. He was finished at MEPS around 6, so we got there around 6:30 after missing the exit the first time around. Dinner at the hotel was quick and convenient. My salad was great, but everyone else’s burgers looked like hockey pucks. We did indulge in some dessert since it seemed like the perfect occasion to eat our feelings.

Jake, the hubby and I were the original trio. It was us three for almost five years before Colin came along. As Jake grew up, so did we. Tonight as we drive back from seeing him in Miami, I am in awe of the many he has become. Love you Jake!

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Three

Three events today. Two at the rink and a dinner afterwards. It was a busy day to say the least. It also happens to be the number of days until Jake leaves for basic, which is crazy talk. Three was also the number of jackets I thought I’d need for the normally frosty rink. However, my Graves was raging today, so I was quite comfortable in just a hoodie.

We left our house bright and early for Goalielocks’ game in Kendall this morning. Since we had to be there by 7:45, we left the house at 6:30 am with a car full of crankiness. It’s been a minute since we’ve had all the kids in one car, but old habits die hard. We hadn’t even left the driveway yet and they were already arguing about space.

Goalielocks first game was quite exciting. Sadly, due to timing and a suspension we were down a couple of players., which put pressure on a shorter bench. Thankfully, Goalielocks played really well. He saw a lot of shots, which is good for him, but bad for goalie mom. Fortunately, his offense was able to find the back of the net and put my nerves at ease. His team went up 2-1 in the third, which helped me relax a bit.

Unfortunately, one of his teammates was knocked out on a play late in the third. I was working the penalty box when the play unfolded in front of me. He grabbed his head suddenly and then lost consciousness as he fell to the ice. In the end, he was out for a couple of minutes. It was absolutely scary; we were all relieved when he regained consciousness. Thankfully, they didn’t need to transport him via ambulance.  He left the ice and play continued.  Our boys put in a quick goal after his injury making the final score 3-1. Fortunately, he was able to come back through the handshake line after the game was over.

The second game was closer and Goalielocks was busy! In the second game., we had our two players that missed the morning back , but lost one to a concussion in the earlier game. Thankfully, he was released from the ER in time to support the team. The game’s pace kept my heart elevated throughout. It wasn’t a good game for my goalie mom nerves. They out shot is 2:1, but the game ended in a tie. Our boys worked hard to find the back of the net. All in all, Goalielocks had a great day at the rink.

After hockey, we headed to a farewell dinner for Jake at a hibachi restaurant with his Florida aunts and uncles. As always, the food didn’t disappoint. Goalielocks killed his plate after not eating enough throughout the day. I’m proud to say that I was not a member of the clean plate club. I left three pieces of filet and fried rice for the hubby to eat tomorrow.

We had a great night and an exhausting day. It was great to have the whole family together at the rink for one last weekend. It certainly felt like the beginning days of our hockey lives as we always travelled as a pack of five in those days. Jake got to see a lot of hockey families we’ve known for awhile and meet some new ones. It was great to see everyone excited for his future. Moreover, it was great having all the support for our family. Tomorrow brings another early day with lots of hockey, so this hockey mom is off to bed.

Countdown clock: three days

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Time is Ticking

Time is ticking away. We’re less than four days away from Jake leaving for Basic training. We’re so excited for Jake and all that he will achieve in the Air Force. After all this is the natural order of things. You raise kids, hope they turn out ok and send them out into the world. Only it hurts. It’s hurts to let go and acknowledge that this phase of his life and ours will soon be over.

Inside a myriad of emotions swirl about at a million miles an hour (thank you Graves) that it’s hard to make sense of it all sometimes. At its core is the immense pride and joy in seeing our eldest son leave the nest with a great plan for success. In that core is also sadness and regret that it’s time for us to let go and let him fly.

Needless to say, if you see me and Luke in a rink this weekend (because that’s where we’ll be,) we’ll definitely be in need of all the love, hugs, encouragement, prayers and coffee one can find because time keeps ticking away.

 

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Six Days

Six days until my boy is wheels up and on his way to basic. Our impending new reality is drawing closer and closer and I’m full on Charlie Kelly freaking out. If you don’t watch It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, you probably should.  The lump in my throat that arose when he gave me his BMT has come and gone over the past couple of months. Not anymore that anxiety laden lump in the throat tears in the eyes are here to stay.

We couldn’t be happier for Jake and his future. It’s just that he’s our little boy in the Buzz Lightyear costume leaving voicemails for his grandpa. Now he’s joining the greatest military in the world. If he had been assigned a different job he had applied for he, like Buzz Lightyear, would have been assigned to the space force. It’s just tough to admit that this chapter of our life is over and a new one is beginning in a mere six days. Damn those six days!

I’ve been blessed to spend these last several months with Jake after leaving corporate America. Thankfully, the timing has been amazing. I’ll always be grateful for the time Jake and I have gotten to spend together this fall. Nevertheless, the anxiety and nerves are in full freak out mode. I’m trying my best to avoid gluten, which increases my Graves’ symptoms, but it’s hard when you’re eating everything you see.

In other news, I started Kayla Itsines BBG on the Sweat app. At first, it’s the beginner course which covers eight weeks. Ordinarily, I would have skipped the beginner part and jumped to the regular workout. However, I’ve been out of commission for awhile and need to start out slow. Stayed tuned for reviews and updates.

Sadly, I missed my yoga class today but it was for good reason. Since Jake turned in his lease, we’re down to two cars. He really wanted to spend time with M today, so I let him take my care tonight. Consequently, the Piggie and I found serenity and gratitude on our walk instead of our mats. I did, however, help Jake with inversions on the yoga swing. These will be a great way for him to build strength and decompress the spine before he leaves.

Tonight has been spent trying to manage our schedule through Tuesday. It’s the middle of hockey and holiday season, so our schedule couldn’t possibly get crazier. Naturally, It’s Always Sunny will he playing the background.

The Last of the Travelers

The last of the travelers, my parents, headed back to Minnesota after almost two week in paradise. It was paradise for them on account of perfect weather and having their whole family present. Likewise it was paradise, completely uplifting, for us having them here. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.

We started their last day in paradise with a nice hot cup of Dunkin. This morning our temperatures dipped into the refreshing 40s, so most were hundred up. It is mornings like this that my heat intolerance comes in handy.

With our Dunkin’ in hand, we headed upstairs to work in Jake’s room. He’s started to pack up his room, so it will be ready when he’s off to his first duty station. Meanwhile, Goalielocks is delighted and counting down the days until he can move into the much larger room. On the other hand, it was emotional for me. It’s hard to believe this time next week, he’ll be on a flight to Basic Training.  In between the organizing and coffee, my mom and I took Athena for a nice 1.5 mile walk. Today’s highs were in the 60s and there were few clouds in the skies. Our Florida weather was sublime. I love those days when we can open up our windows.

My parents were a bit anxious, rightfully so, about the check in and security lines. Consequently, we headed to the airport early. Traffic was light and uneventful other than the snowbird driving 45 mph on the turnpike. It’s one December 2nd and I’m already over them.

We got home and my mom texted that they had made it to their gate and that there were cookies stashed in the freezer. I guess the gluten free diet will start once those are gone! Fortunately, they got to their gate pretty quickly, but the travelers were delayed by mechanical issues. Thankfully, they were able to get out this evening. Nonetheless, the house feels empty now that they’re gone and it’s about to get worse.

For the next week, I’m pretty sure I’ll be vacillating between abject sadness, complete pride, excitement, denial and a whole myriad of emotions I haven’t even thought of yet. You might want to say a prayer for the hubby as he deals with me coping with all of that plus his own emotions.

 

Thanksgiving Is Almost Here

Can you believe Thanksgiving is almost here? It seems like just yesterday we were ringing in 2019. Yet here we are ready to end the year with the fabulous holiday season. I’m especially blessed to spend it with my entire immediate family. This holiday will be poignant for us all as it marks the last holiday for which Jake will be a civilian. Who knows where he’ll be stationed this time next year. We will certainly enjoy the moment.

I started my day by sleeping through my alarm, which left me feel like I was behind all day. Graves’ disease sucks it often leaves me tried and jacks with my sleep for no good reason. Not to mention it makes me cranky, which my family can certainly attest to today.

Fortunately, my day started looking up the moment I got my coffee. We left Dunkin’ to get our groceries for baking, so we could get an early start. At which point, we got a text inviting us to the beach. How could we say no to that? Spoiler alert: we procrastinated on the baking and headed to the beach.

This, of course, did nothing for my constant feeling of being behind all day. However, the beach was again marvelous with beautiful skies and calm seas. You simply can’t ask for a better way to spend the day before Thanksgiving. It was a bit hot, so we didn’t stay too long.
Fortunately, Goalielocks’ BFF was there and he was having a blast. Unfortunately, that made the extraction from the beach quite difficult. We ended our beach day by me starting to back out of my spot before noticing the boys neglected to close the tailgate. Consequently, I needed to make a Dunkin pit stop on the way home to try and collect my sanity.

Before heading home, we headed to Publix in search of the perfect pickles for pickle. If there’s anywhere you so don’t want to be on Thanksgiving Eve in Florida, it’s Publix. I avoided this dumpster fire by dropping my mom off at the door and parking. To be honest, I was more concerned with getting home so I could eat before heading to yoga.

Wednesday’s are my tight muscle mobility class at Open Heart Yoga studio. My teach is amazing. The class has been incredibly effective in opening up my body post Graves’ disease. In today’s class, I’m pretty sure I fell asleep 3-4 times while massaging my back with therapy balls. These balls are miracle works for tight muscles and soft tissue. You must try them.

I left my mat completely serene and ready to tackle my evening. Tonight’s beautiful sunset added to my serenity.  During class my mom has text me to let me know the Publix pickles were sub par and couldn’t be used to pickle roll ups. I got home and we headed to Earth Fare to see if they had any quality pickles, but that trip was unsuccessful. Thus, we headed back to Target where we found the perfect pickles. Plus if you haven’t gone to Target twice in a day, are you even living?

We made our way home to start are baking. I started working on my cheesecake while my mom began to prepare the pickle roll ups. My mom made quick work of the pickle roll ups while I plodded my way through baking the cheesecake. Fortunately, my mom helped me start the vegan pumpkin coconut soup that I made for my brother and I. I’m not currently vegan, but I know my body won’t tolerate too much of the traditional Thanksgiving food.

Our evening of baking, will finally be over in about an hour when the cheesecake can go in the oven. I’ll start my Thanksgiving where I start everyday: Dunkin’. We’ll then head to my brothers’ house to drop off the goodies before heading to the Mayor’s 11:00 am game.

It was just over a year ago I went through radiation to kill my thyroid. A year later, my thyroid levels are stable. I’m hopeful that the symptoms of Graves will abate in the next year (although it could be 1-3 years.) Unfortunately, my health is not where it was before I got sick, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. As I end my evening enjoying Agatha Christie’s Poirot, I am filled with gratitude for my family, my friends, healing and my life’s transitions.