What a stinking month! I mean really…living with half a thyroid isn’t for the faint of heart.
Did you know that the thyroid controls…EVERYTHING?! I sure didn’t.
The good news first…always.
The scar is fantastic! Dr. Amelia Grover did such an incredible job. She has to be the best thyroid surgeon in VA. I am convinced. Granted my super model days are clearly over (bahahahahaha!)
Add to her surgery skills, people skills (something very lacking within health care as a basic whole these days) and kindness and you have a fantastic doctor there.
Seriously. They just don’t make them like her anymore…or at least you have to really hunt them down! Which I did
I have also come to the conclusion that having a scar across your neck leads to worse stares than guys and boobs. Yep I went there.
But honestly I can totally understand the stares while holding a conversation with someone with a slit on their throat…of course it is human nature to want to know what the story is behind such a scar. I have no problem sharing my story but I do find that I wear a scarf on the days I am just not in the mood to answer the questions or deal with the stares.
I really don’t hold it against folks…it’s just some days you don’t feel like gabbing about it….again.
About 10 days after surgery we went in for the follow up visit, thinking the pathology report must be a “no news is good news” scenario, well we were way off on that one. We had the wind knocked right out of our sails when we heard the news that MCV’s pathology department couldn’t come to a solid conclusion on whether the nodule was Benign, Papillary or Folicular cancer so they sent my cells/removed thyroid onto Massachusetts General for a second opinion from a thyroid pathology specialist. Our journey may not be over.
THAT. WAS. A. LONG. WEEK.
I don’t think I have ever felt more joy as when Dr. Grover called back on Good Friday to tell me that it came back as “Benign with abnormal cells”…I heard “benign” and then “abnormal cells” and instantly thought “Thank the good Lord we ripped that thing out ASAP!!!”
I lost both parents in their mid-50′s…I will be fighting heredity tooth and nail and I shall put up one heck of a fight to keep healthy from here on out. Trying to eeck out at least another 20-30 years over here!
It came just a tad bit to close to the “C” word for my comfort zone.
So now comes the maintenance part of the show…and the healing.
It truly hasn’t been too bad. Granted I have to give credit to my amazing friends.
Can I just say how they spoiled us with meals, scarves and even a scarf hanger. These woman amaze me.
If I have learned nothing else that will stick with me forever it is the gift of a simple meal, an “I am praying for you!”, a “Hugs and positive thoughts!”, a silly animal video posted on my wall (do those EVER get old?) etc….
They seem like little things but when you are deep in the midst of a health crisis there are no such things as “little things” or kindnesses. Every kindness lifts the family up and gives the person a second wind and positive attitude to heal and get better.
Feeling loved is huge. Knowing my family and kids would be taken care of by my nurturing friends meant the world to me. Isn’t that what every mother worries about? Will my kids be ok while I am down? What will they eat? How will the house run without me?
What if something goes wrong? Daryl will be a mess who will catch my kids? Who will take care of Daryl?
Being a mother with young children during a health crisis is HARD! HARD I tell you…it’s hard when they are older too but extra with a little in the house.
I now know for sure that my family will be just fine without me or if and when something goes array. I have surrounded myself with some pretty incredible friends and acquaintances and I am in total and complete wonder at the love everyone shared.
So much so it has taken me a month to write this.
How does one “thank” someone for such things? The answer is….it’s hard to come up with a response that equals the love and joy they shared and really convey your gratitude.
A “thank you” card just won’t cut it. It’s a wonderful starting place but since I am not good at thank you cards all my peeps who shared food went home with a little reminder of how much it means to someone to take a meal and go the extra mile. If we missed any of you there are a few more over here I need to give out to the folks who brought meals in the beginning because I made these a few days after surgery. (free printable can be found here)
So now my new normal…
I seem to live at the doctors office. Vampires all of them I tell you.
If I relay nothing else from this whole experience it is to be your own doctor! Be proactive. Read. Read. and then read some more. Know exactly what you are walking into and an idea of what can “fix” it.
I have found fantastic doctors that are willing to work with me and we have wonderful conversations. I have even been told how wonderful it is to work with a patient who knows what may help and is willing to do it (such as change my entire diet…most would not).
The “finding fantastic doctors” part is tough. I won’t lie. I have had to “fire” several along the way.
I don’t hesitate. If you aren’t on board with nutrition as important and just want me to take a pill you shall be gone. Not that I don’t like them as people but we would never mesh on a medical standpoint. Also not that I won’t take a pill…you just have to give me real information on “why” I must and I want to know what the side effects are and the impact of taking this pill long term. I also want to know alternatives.
Listen folks, there are ALWAYS alternatives.
Popping pills should be your LAST option. Not the first. It may “fix” your immediate issue but it typically leads to a side effect that will require another pill of some sort. Slippery slope those pills are.
All that being said…I am well on my way to being put on Armour Thyroid hormone. My T4 is not converting to T3 and boy can I feel it. It was crappy before the thyroid lobectomy so I really didn’t have much hope that it would be better minus half.
I am exhausted by mid-day and my hair is still falling out in heaps. I am well on my way to needing hair extensions or a wig if it keeps up at this rate. If I don’t take a magnesium supplement at night there will be no sleeping. God bless Magnesium (and yes…I figured that one out on my own. Reading is my friend.) My hands are always cold.
Weight…because that is the FIRST thing every gal who has her thyroid messed with worries about (remember your thyroid controls everything…seriously.) Haven’t gained a pound. Still down the 25 I lost prior to surgery from the diet change.
I gave up Wheat, Gluten, dairy, sugar (except fruit and some honey), coffee, cut meat down to 2-3 times a week. I know it sounds extreme BUT I have never gone hungry a day. I simply eat a TON of veggies and fruit.
The weight FELL off. I have continued to eat this way for the most part.
I have added back a bit of sugar, an occasional bit of cheese once or twice a week, coffee (with coconut milk) a few times a week and have added in limiting my nightshade foods (think tomatoes, peppers etc.) since they are a major contributor to arthritis like pain.
We cheated for our birthday weekend last week. When I say “cheated” I mean we ate out. I tried to stay on it as much as possible but that is hard when traveling. Within two days my carpal tunnel, shoulder pain, planters fasciitis and tennis elbow had ALL returned.
It was a big eye opener to just how extreme what we eat can effect how we feel. My body was ANGRY. I didn’t even fall that far off the wagon! Inflammation from food is clearly an issue for me.
So here is the thing. When you KNOW that a food you put into your mouth is going to cause you to be in pain you really don’t mind NOT eating it. You may miss it but you think twice before eating it.
Add in the size 6 pants and it’s even easier
I will NEVER be able to thank Kelly over at Guerrilla Wellness enough for those simple words years ago when talking about my pains “Have you tried food?” . Wise woman and I can’t recommend highly enough ANY class she teaches. She was my life changer.
I get asked this one alot as well.
I am back up and running with the photography. Granted exhausted by noon but better each day.
Tumbled into real estate/architecture and farm images…loving this genre! Who knew?
I guess it was just a natural progression to fall into architecture and design work after blogging all these years. My crafty side LOVES getting to see all these lovely homes decorated beautifully!
I will be sharing more soon but for now the fan page, Instagram, Twitter will be reflecting more and more of this work over the Summer for sure!
Home and garden…my loves. Who wouldn’t love getting lost behind a camera at sunset on a farm? WHO!?
Oh and I purchased my first “mirrorless” camera. I need to post on that soon!
My own garden…
Hot mess. Poor neglected garden. Dear garden, I am sorry. I promise to tend to you soon. For realz. Until then I am living at the farmers markets and my friends farms (thanks farming friends!).
It’s endless. Miss a month of your life (ok really three with the illness before hand and millions of doctors visits) and I promise you it will take you three additional just to catch up.
I have let balls drop and it’s like playing dodgeball. You run as fast as you can to pick up the balls you have dropped, picking them up and throwing them back as fast as you can.
It’s exhausting but I am NOT complaining. I am just thankful I am here to try and clean up what I let drop. It could have been different and I know this.
Boy do I know this.
Thankful. That is all.
I think this whole life event has changed me in some pretty huge ways.
Huge. Actually I don’t “think it has”, I know it has.
Health crisis can bring out the best or worst in a person. Me?
I am definitely more humble…thankful…not taking a THING for granted….kinder…gentler…more forgiving (was that even possible?)…did I mention thankful?…even more of a “hugger” than I was before! Hugs for all!…goofier (because laughter truly is the best medicine and life is truly too short to take too much seriously)…
I am just better. All around.
Don’t sweat the small stuff folks. If you are still kicking you are still winning.
This may indeed come back again at any point. The first sign of ANYTHING suspicious and they will be ripping out the remaining half of my thyroid but here is what I know…illness is just part of life and living.
I will be fine. Just fine
Now back to life…with a big old smile and thankful heart.