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My thyroid went “rogue”…

Well I should have known it was going to smoothly around here….

It had been a dreary sort of Winter.  I had been feeling exhausted everyday, all day.
No real reason.  I had a hunch something was “off” but just wasn’t sure what.
Then I went to get my hair highlighted and the wonderful hairdresser says “You need to get your butt to a doc ASAP!”
And I am all “Why?!”
And she simply says “You have thyroid hair….normal people don’t lose hair in this amount.   Only my thyroid folks.  GO!”
That was all it took.  I immediately set an appointment for the next day with my general practitioner.
The doctors visit started off normal enough…
“What’s your concern?”
“I am exhausted ALL the time…I wake up and I could go right back to bed.  My hair is falling out in heaps and I still have that neck pain I saw you for back in June.  Now I feel like a I have a lump in my throat when I swallow.”
“I am sure it’s nothing.”  Until she gets to feeling my throat…then it jumped to… ”Oh yes you have a lump right there.”
How had I NOT noticed this huge lump on the side of my neck?  How?!

The end of Jan. was the beginning of some not so fun months.
Countless vials of blood and many ultrasounds on my throat, and one (not so fun) biopsy (it came back benign) later and here is the list of what “I know”:
~I was low on Vitamin D…which is apparently a pretty big deal.  Who knew?
~I was a bit low on Iron and Vitamin B
~I have a lovely case of reactivated Epstein Barr (mono) which a few days after that first visit in January sent me straight into full on mono with huge glands and just plain miserable to boot.
~I had a 4.8 CM complex single nodule (that’s huge by the way…your thyroid on each side is only 3-4cm to begin with)
~I am neither Hypo or hyperthyroid at this time.  But now that I am minus a half a thyroid I will possibly fall into Hypo.


I am that annoying patient who READS everything.  I learned a very long time ago that doctors make mistakes…alot.
I also found right off the bat that my food allergies could all be related to my stupid thyroid.  My thyroid could be related to the stupid food allergies….
So I immediately stopped eating high allergen foods.  Especially gluten and dairy.
Within a day the lump started to go down a bit.  Within another day of adding in the Vitamin D it’s went down a bit more.
I think the mono was what really brought the lump to the light and am thankful for that.

Any way around it this battle was not how I was expecting to be spending my Spring.  I have a garden to get in….and children to watch grow up.  They need their mother.
I will do anything to be here.  I know what it is like to have a mother pass well before you stop “needing” her…do you ever stop needing your mother?
I don’t think so.  Hence why the “get it out NOW!” route seemed best.
We met with a surgeon last Wed. and by Friday morning I was in the hospital having my right thyroid lobe removed.
It was FAST and took us off our feet…..but our friends quickly stepped in and took over.
God bless them!  They quickly circled the wagons and called in the troops.
Meals have shown up on our door every single night.  THIS is such a God send.  With such a quick toss into surgery we were soooo unprepared.
But it needed done and done fast.
Now we are waiting on the cancer pathology report to come back.  The hardest part of this whole surgery is this wait.
If the pathology comes back with even a single cancer cell they will call us back to the hospital to put me under immediately and remove the remaining thyroid lobe.
Nerve wracking.
If I HAVE to do it again…I will.
Right now I am just telling myself it’s all clear and we are done with the biggest chunk of this.

Right now I swear I could also sleep 23 hours a day….for real.
But I am getting stronger and back to my old self a bit more each day.

So you know you want to see what it looks like….you know you do.  Nothing like having a slice across the throat as a conversation starter…lol!:-)
This is it on day 5.  I am planning on making a little timeline post eventually with the whole story for those who are going through this right now.  Sadly just about ALL the online stories are unhappy endings and well…folks need to hear some happy endings to these stories.
The thyroid (lobectomy) removal surgery, while not fun, was not that bad.  The scar will be there forever but what’s one more scar?
No biggie and nothing a scarf won’t hide;-)


Sorry it took so long to post about it…
Sometimes when you are in the middle of the storm you fall into the “I don’t have a clue what to say?” even when it is happening to you.  I kept thinking “I will write about it when I know something…”
But the “knowing something” just doesn’t always happen when you are talking about health.
I do know that I am thankful we did share our story in the end and opened up to friends and said “this is what’s going on and well…help!”
Sometime God likes to keep you humble and this was definitely a very humbling experience.
Thanks again for all the love, support and even funny pet videos;-)
Lesson learned is that a supported and loved patient heals much faster.  True story.


57 days…

In case you are wondering….


This is the part where I would add the little dancing woman emoticon but I am on a computer…and well why are there emoticons on my keypad?
I have been dreaming about my Spring garden…
And finding beauty in my Winter garden…
That’s all a girl can do after all;-)


57 days…long days…but I can do anything for 57 days…right?
Actually there is a bunch of this going on.  Dual purpose.
Warmth and busy hands.
Win. Win.
This blanket is what we called “The Cleveland Afghan” because it was super long and super warm for my sweet, very tall, niece up in Cleveland…stay warm sweet girl!:-)

And everyone else…
“Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.”



Did I happen to mention….

Well this happened a month ago!



The long dreamt of, drooled over and longed for medium format camera.
My very own!
My friend David Abel has been kind enough, over the years to let me borrow one of his medium format cameras from time to time.


I always wanted my very own but it has just never been in the budget.  Especially since I have been on break from the studio for a year now.
I have been feeling like I have been out of the industry for two years….and then I looked back and no…it has only been 1 year or so.
It has felt like 6 years.  How has it only been that long?
I feel like I have spent that time totally, completely, 3000%…. lost.
I have felt like a ship lost at sea not really sure what direction I was going….
I have felt this loss of identity and “Who am I?”
Maybe it is life in the early 40′s?  That looking back at your life and going “Now what?”
I would love to start a little farm but that just isn’t in the cards…at least right now.
I have tried to find interests and a career that fits with the kids, homeschooling and preschool years…but have found nothing that “fits”.
I have gone to bed at night feeling like I had lost one of my best friends and missed them terribly.
Photography is simply part of who I AM.  No way around it.
How I see the world and share it are just part of what brings me happiness…sharing the love of it is what makes me tick…brings me joy.
It is part of who I am.
There will be no changing that.

But I was soooo burnt out.
Burnt out of the loss of the art of it.  The industry has shifted so far away from where it was when I began this journey.  When I started all this over a decade ago, and in honesty over 2 decades ago, photography (especially running it as a business) was an art.
There was a love of the art of making a beautiful portrait.
Enter the digital age and well…it has been all about price and who is the cheapest photographer is versus who is creating a beautiful, timeless portrait.  Clients began wanting, expecting, cheap images in the hundreds.
The editing requests often bordering on plastic surgeon levels….Pinterest making everyone feel like they needed to look like a super model in order to have a “perfect family portrait” when in reality they were perfect just the way they were.
Because that is what has become “the norm”.  This was soooo hard for me.  I needed this break.
A sanity break.  A revaluation of how can I, will I, be able to make a living as a photographer again?  Can I make this work?  If so… how?  What does it need to look like?
Can I bring the “art” back into my work?

The truth of the matter is I really have no idea but I do know something for sure after my sabbatical.
I can’t be anything, at least well and happily, except a photographer…wife, mother and gardener/nature fanatic.  These are the things God gave me to enjoy and love.  My God given “skill set” to figure out how to use it to the best of my ability.
This camera.  I picked it up and it was like the winds blew back into my sails.
Fresh.  New…old but new.
Shooting film was exactly what I needed.  At the exact right time.
I have since added several to the bag.  Complete addiction.

Half, ok more than half, of my stress with running the studio over the last few years has been the workflow.
Homeschooling and a baby/toddler at home are NOT conducive to hours spent behind a computer monitor editing photos, or spending hours online working social media or going to networking opportunities.
The time factor that plays into running a studio is a HUGE factor for me.  I just want to go off on a session, have a blast doing what I love…shooting and enjoying time with my clients.
I may never have the 60-80 hours a week I would need to run the busy studio I once had…and that’s ok.
I actually don’t want those hours ever again…
And film…well it gives me back my time.
It gives me back…no forces me…to take my time and value each and every click of the shutter.  To make a true and honest portrait.  Film brings back the “art” of photography that I have missed so badly.
It’s simply what I needed when I needed it.
It gave me back the joy of photography.
It gave me back the “want” to revamp the studio and come back from the sabbatical.  To start fresh.
Be new…learn new things.  Fresh start.
Still working on the fine details.
But I will be back full force in the Spring.  I honestly know that “coming back” isn’t a choice.
I am simply lost at sea without my studio, clients and photography projects.
I just need to totally and completely revamp.
2015…well it’s going to be fun.
And different.
But beautiful.

Thank you David for sharing your love of film…I don’t think you will ever really know how thankful I am for your kindness and how you showed me what I needed to start find my photography groove again.
I never forget a kindness.  It’s always the little things you do for others that you might think aren’t really a big deal…but they are.

Now to share my love of film photography with the world.  Be sure to check out the new studio blog.
Going by a new name because who can say, let alone spell “Mccuiston”?  It’s a good strong name but “Tisha Lyn” is just much easier;-)
It is definitely a work in progress…I am taking this thing at my own pace and just enjoying the ride.
Right now I am booking up on film Portfolio building sessions and it has been a blast getting to see so many of my past and new clients.
Wonderful to be getting back into the swing of things.
And projects…well I am starting a new film farm project come Spring.  Mixing my love of farms and photography.
Perhaps that was the way it was meant to be all along?
I am a believer that everything happens for a reason….
It just does.

Jacqueline SearsJanuary 12, 2015 - 4:24 pm

I love this. I’ve felt the same about my transition from work, and have recently realized that it is my writing that inspires me and makes me feel whole.

Welcome back! The new site is beautiful!

David AbelJanuary 12, 2015 - 7:25 pm

I’m so glad you’ve fallen in love with film too, I need a photo buddy on this side of town like BAD we’ll have to set up a shoot together soon!

TishaJanuary 22, 2015 - 1:03 pm

David~ Most definitely! You need to borrow my new Pentax 645 at some point! Just got my first rolls back from it and they are glorious! :-)

Jacqueline~ I adore your writing!!! You inspire me! :-) I have big plans for a portfolio site in the next month as I find the “what” I want to focus on photographing the most (which I already know but have to see if there is a market…or if I just want to be a starving artist which could be fun too!). It should be fun to follow along and watch my little mid-life photographer self unfold…lol :-)

Sharing Halloween 2014…better late than never

At least that is what I am telling myself;-)
Finally without further ado…before I once again forget to post….

What adorable costume did the little fella wear?
The Astronaut, monster or pumpkin costumes he asked for and insisted he WOULD wear?



This kid!!  The force is strong with this one…
Dancing to the beat of his own drum for sure.
But cute so he got away with it.  He was just hitting up the neighbors that are on our block for the most part and well…it was dark so maybe they didn’t all notice the stubborn toddler dressed as “a fox”.


I can’t get over how small the gang is getting each year…the big kids are dropping off each year but lucky for Lucas we have a few stragglers and a few younger friends that still love to come and hang out with us every Halloween.
It’s a tradition around here!


Haley and Afton went with “forest creatures” theme and they were VERY impressed by my headband making and Daryl’s makeup skills:-)



So serious…ok not really….


And Maddie has now been officially initiated into the family.  She was thrilled!


Now I suppose you are thinking that the next post will be Thanksgiving but since we all came down with the plague this year…aka “Plagues-giving” you really wouldn’t care to see any pics from that family event.  Fortunately I didn’t take any;-)
We are supposed to hit Colonial Williamsburg this week to catch the holiday decorations (our favorite time of the year there!).
Can’t wait!
Kids off for Winter break?  Oh yes!!
Holiday shopping finished?  Yeah not so much……
Our own Holiday card created, printed and sent?  Not thinking this will be happening at this point.   I always have high hopes and it just never pans out.  Perhaps there is still hope…but not placing bets.
Countdown until Aunt Jill leaves for Ohio and Daryl gets off for the holidays?  Just days away!  Sad about Jill going excited about Daryl coming home for a break!
Let the holidays begin:-)
Hoping you all are way ahead of me in preparing!

It’s wonderful to have talented friends!

Well it was about that time…
I was sick of my old logo.  I had bought it years ago off of an Etsy store.  The mama birdie…I loved.  But it just wasn’t unique to my little space here.  Anyone could purchase the same logo.
When my talented friend Russhe from Clementine Designs said she could design something for me that was original to this little corner of the internet world I said “OH YES PLEASE!!!! SIGN ME UP!”
Have to say….I love my new little mama bird and her three little babes to be.
I think Russhe is pretty much the bees needs at design!


I just wanted something simple…not too fancy.
Kindof like me;-)
Since I can’t draw a stick figure….in my eyes she is Picasso of the logo world for sure<3
Thanks Russhe!!!  Love it!!!

P.S.  She is a girl of many talents…actually one of my “soul friends” (those friends that totally understand your fermented counter top and crafts everywhere)…she has a wonderful Etsy shop full of her artisan products!  Be sure to check her out!


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Karen TateNovember 18, 2014 - 7:05 pm

I love it – but now I need to try to remember your previous logo! Sorry, guess I have not been following closely enough!

Also, you are just too young to know the expression you want is “bee’s knees” – Slang that originates from America in the 1920′s. Similar to today’s “cool”. It expresses a state of excellence in an item or action, but generally not a person. When bees flit from flower to flower the nectar sticks to their legs. The phrase “bee’s knees” means sweet and good, because the knees of the bee are where all the sweet, good stuff is collected. (These comments were borrowed from Urban Dictionary.)

You are absolutely right – she IS the bee’s knees in her design talents!