Hypothyroid: One Year(ish) After Starting Treatment

Well, this malady definitely has its ups and downs. It’s lovely that there is such a quick fix for it in the form of a little pill, unlike many other maladies that could befall me, but man do I wish my body would pick a lane.

I’m still feeling significantly better than before, but my symptoms are slowly escalating again. My thoughts are creeping back into the sticky and sluggish.

Unfortunately, living with hypothyroidism means trying to hit an ever-moving target — produce/take too little T4, you’ll suddenly find yourself too tired to move. Take too much, and suddenly you’re facing heart-palpitations and other unpleasant side-effects. Fortunately, I have yet to experience the latter, but the former fatigue has been steadily creeping back up on me.

It’s been a slow march back toward my old symptoms, so small at first I was pretty sure I was imagining it. Dry skin on my face and feet, my hair has stopped growing as quickly (though oh WOW is it long now, and thick!), my nails are back to breaking easily, my weight loss has slowed considerably, and the ever-present Exhaustion, my frequent companion, has returned to gum up my brain.

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Puffy faced, for sure. I miss my old heart-shaped face, and also having a consistent single chin.

I’ve been here before. SIGH.

So, off we go with a new, higher dose again!

My dose has recently been adjusted by my new endocrinologist, based on my symptoms. I’m *so* glad he was willing to listen and try a higher dose, unlike my last doctor (lord knows I’m nowhere near hyperthyroid). I’ve been boosted to 88 MCG from 75, and already I can feel a spike of energy. Placebo? Maybe, but I’ll take the clearer thinking any day of the week, mind over matter or not. They’ll retest me in six weeks to see what it does to my TSH, T3 and T4.

I also asked my new doctor about diet, and he told me that, in his opinion, the diet side of my specific condition is unrelated–it shouldn’t impact anything, provided I’m eating healthfully and in a balanced way. Considering I don’t have the gastro-intestinal issues that many hypothyroid folks experience, I’ll continue to eat my broccoli and whole grains in all their various and healthy forms.

I’m going to utilize this spike of energy to start working out consistently again. My husband and I were doing great (weight training 3-4 times a week) until his gall bladder gave up the ghost, we moved across states onto an island (in the summer in the 95 degree humidity heat, lol), said some really hard but expected goodbyes, and then spent the last month or so settling in and replacing appliances that were literally making us sick (garbage disposals are gross–that’s all I’m going to say about that).

It’s been a whirlwind, but life is slowly settling back down to normal, which means it’s time to prioritize a healthy lifestyle.

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Unfortunately, T4 won’t help me become less of a messy person, though I’ll have more energy to pick up, if not the will!

I’ll check back with you in a few weeks (probably six from now when I get my levels tested again) with an update on the combination of working out consistently 3-5x a week and the new dosage. 🙂

Joie De Vivre

I have never known such joy.

It feels… suspicious… to be this consistently, blazingly happy. I have done nothing to earn it. I certainly don’t deserve it.

It feels as if I caught happiness like an illness, that it should only be mine for a little while, a jubilant delirium as transient as a butterfly. I keep expecting its flight, a return to normalcy, and yet… I seem to have found my new normal in joy.

Happiness, to me, was a mild season, occasionally sharing a gentle warmth for a stretch, often appearing in spite of the shadows of illness and death, loneliness in crowds or in myself (for what young woman truly knows herself?), or my rather pronounced teenaged angst.

Stretching from the conclusion of my melodramatic teen years to my mid-twenties was a series of funerals: my uncle, my remaining grandparents (one after the other), a few others close to the one I then loved, and finally my mother. Grief was my constant companion, and happiness found in the temporary forgetting, in distraction, in sleep.

I learned early to dance in the rain, shivering with cold and exhaustion (undiagnosed hypothyroidism is an absolute bitch), because the alternative was no alternative at all. I was strong because I had no other acceptable choice, enjoyed the mild sunshine when it peeked through the heavy clouds, and contented myself with flashes of brief fun.

I’d never known this fiery, tenacious iteration of joie de vivre, let alone expected its endurance.

And yet, it remains.

It’s not found in our constant travel or grand sweeping gestures, though I am grateful for and cherish those coveted moments as well.

No, I find this blazing joy in the smallest spaces.

It’s in jolting awake at four in the morning, unable or unwilling to fall back to sleep because your toes and legs are literally abuzz with love; I didn’t realize how it could seize you from a sound sleep, your ribs so bruised with vibrant emotion that breathing nearly hurts.

It’s in the sharp elbows of the sweet old dog who sprawls across me every morning, determined to cuddle with me, her chosen mother. It’s in the unexpected rasp of whiskers against my cheek and a quick, stolen kiss between work calls. It’s in the open claws of my screechy parrot, fully trusting in me at long last through one extended talon. It’s in pictures traded daily from across great distances, lives shared in snapshots until we meet again. It’s in the sunshine filtering through macrame twists in my kitchen window.

Maybe this is just what happens when you spend your youth dancing through storms: you surprise yourself and learn to fly in the blazing sun, hoping to goodness you don’t fly too high lest your good fortune run out, sending you plunging back into the icy sea.

May these memories break our fall.

Cheers to 2018: Year of the Dog and Love

Oh, 2018: Words can do you no justice, and yet still I try!

What started as an astoundingly dismal, uncertain year quickly blossomed into the greatest love story (so beautiful that I frequently blink back the pinprick of happy tears) that I have ever known.

And I’ve read a lot of trashy romance novels.

I started 2018 freshly divorced and endeavoring to find my own space in this wide world, but content with myself, alone, peaceful in my own skin.

This January first, one year later, my life is unrecognizable in the best possible way.

January, 2018: Nesting in a little space all my own, Denver travels, and holding fast to my beliefs. The hard way and the right way were the same.

 

 

I began 2018 more certain than ever of who I was and what I believed in. I set standards for myself, how I would and would not allow myself to be treated. I reminded myself that what I wanted and what I deserved weren’t necessarily aligned, and held firm in the belief that the easy way and the right way rarely coincided. And so I picked what I deserved (and what was right), no matter how it hurt or how hazy the future seemed.

February: A New Hope – My dear friend and former colleague, Ash, recruited me to form a training program for an up-and-coming startup, ReCharge. I spent this month designing paper airplanes, conquering seven (7!?) phone interviews, traveling to Arizona, and landing the gig, combining my love of teaching with my love of support.

 

 

March: I bid a bittersweet farewell to my Automattic colleagues and began recharging ReCharge’s training.

 

 

Change is terrifying, but lovely in its promise. Progress only comes when chances are taken, when carpes are diemed, and you let go of all that you can lose in favor of joy you can gain.

April: Taking chances to begin my twenty-ninth year. How anyone can pick their ‘top nine’ pictures from 2018 is beyond me this year; when I tried to narrow down the joy that last year brought, I wound up with over one hundred photos.

 

 

May and Beyond – Trials and Tribulations: Every year has challenges, and yet mine this year barely made a dent in my joy.

In Sickness: A week after we adopted Nia, Jason left for a business trip just in time for me to come down with a nasty case of the flu. So, there I was; eight week old puppy so young she couldn’t possibly brave the stairs, waking several times a night to take her on midnight walks in the pouring rain (because of course it would rain the entire. time) while also juggling four birds, the big dog, and my full-time job. That was less than ideal.

Our puppy also learned a hard lesson with our older dog (and learned to mind her manners), but because of her delicate skin and various wrinkles, she swelled up like a balloon. That was a fun vet trip.

We also lost two parakeets, little Beau to a liver infection he’d had (unbeknownst to us) all his life, and later Winston to old age. These were the losses near and dear to our hearts. But the love our two littles shared and the joy they brought us are our ever-present companions, and I am so grateful they were ours for their brief sojourn to this world.

 

 

Perhaps the hardest trial of 2018 was our car accident at the end of May. We were three blocks from home, headed back from the Renaissance Festival, when another driver ran their red-light and T-boned Jason’s tiny Honda Fit at thirty miles an hour, then they fled the scene.

I distinctly remember time slowing down.

They’re not stopping, I thought as they came barreling down the steep hill to our right; Jason cranked the wheel to switch lanes, but it was too late. As they careened off the rain-slicked hill toward us, never even tapping their breaks, I thought, This is how I’ll die, just like my grandparents. In a single flash, I worried for my father, what this would do to him, about our babies at home, and who would love them if I were gone.

My hand held tight to Jason’s as I braced for impact, and in that moment I found the greatest beauty of the year: in that single, crystallized moment, I realized that there was nothing I would change about my life, that I had been living to the absolute fullest. There I was, deliriously in love, convinced that I was about to either pass away (or become grievously injured), and I had no regrets.

 

 

The car slammed into the rear passenger door (missing mine by seconds thanks to Jason’s quick maneuvering). My face met airbag instead of glass (for which I am eternally grateful), the Honda spun all the way around, then screeched to a stop. Dimly, I saw the headlights of oncoming traffic.

Please, please stop. Don’t be looking at your phones. Notice us, I prayed. And they did. Had anyone been texting, they would have hit us head-on, going between 40 and 50 miles an hour.

Ya’ll, don’t text and drive. They didn’t, and they saved our lives.

We managed to move the car to the tattoo parlor parking lot across the remaining lane of traffic while the other car rumbled to the gas station across the street. Jason crawled out first and pulled me to safety after him, as my door wouldn’t open.

This is who they saw crawl out of the car:

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William Wallace face-paint, a kilt, and a chick in a corset. No wonder they ran off.

As we crawled out of our mangled vehicle, the other drivers took the hell off – they hit and run.

But we were ALIVE!

Bystanders were staring, wide-eyed with horror and hands clamped over gaping mouths. All told, we escaped with bumps and bruises, but no worse for the wear. We hold no anger, no resentment, only gratitude.

We have so, so much to be grateful for.

Around August, I found the answer to my endless fatigue, for which I am infinitely grateful. Jason has been healthy and hale in the best possible way (a change from the last several years of his life), and we are embarking on a lifetime of fitness together. Our home is filled with love, laughter, sweet creatures, and treasures from our frequent travels. We have the means to indulge in our wanderlust, but have a cozy home to return to. We are living our authentic lives, being exactly who we are, and loving each other fiercely all the while.

I cannot believe my luck, and yet I am thankful for it with every breath. Captions on each photo tell more of the story:

 

 

Cheers to 2018, the happiest of my life (*so far.) May 2019 bring even more love, joy, adventures, cuddles, and family. Carpe diem, carpe noctem; I resolve to continue living every day with the fullest love and appreciation I discovered last year.

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How Jason started off my 2019 today. It’s happy to see me!

Sweet Potato Waffles (Or Sandwich, Whatever you Prefer)

Sort of tastes like a waffle. 8/10, would make again, but also add goat cheese to make it extra savory!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large eggs, divided
  • 1 small/medium sweet potato, grated
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp oil, plus more for waffle iron and frying pan
  • 1 cup kale, chopped
  • 1/2 medium avocado, sliced
  • Goat cheese
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Heat waffle iron and grease well. Set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl whisk 1 egg (or egg whites). Add in grated sweet potato (don’t forget to wipe it down–the extra water can be tricky, so grate it and then squeeze the water out)– it should be around a heaping cup–plus seasonings and 1 tsp oil. Mix well until thoroughly combined. Once waffle iron has fully heated, pack in sweet potato hash mixture into iron, covering all of the quadrants. Press waffle iron down gently and allow sweet potato to cook about 4-5 minutes, until lightly golden.
  3. While the waffle is cooking saute kale in pan with oil on medium heat until slightly crispy, about 3-4 minutes. Fry or scramble egg in same pan (remove kale or keep in, your choice) to personal preference.
  4. Once sweet potato waffle is ready gently remove with butter knife and transfer to plate. Layer on kale, fried egg, goat cheese, and avocado slices. Finish with salt and pepper if you wish and enjoy!

My birds couldn’t tell the difference between it and a traditional one, so they went to town eating all the vitamin-A rich things. #crazybirdlady

“Breadless French Toast” – Sweet Omelet

It actually does taste like french toast, minus all the bread.

So, we get our recipe out of the amazing book, How to Cook Everything. If you want an online version, you can find one here.

Posting for posterity (yay 2018 cookbook!)

We topped ours with plain greek yoghurt (probiotics!) and blackberry jam, though to cut down on sugar, I may make a berry compote minus the added sugar next time. 😀

Egg Drop Soup: Homemade!

I don’t understand why every recipe I find online starts with a super long anecdote about the time someone made this or how much they love this. Probably has something to do with ads and making money or some nonsense. So, not exactly personal blogs like this one.

Whatever.

Just give me the recipe, damn it. Ingredients. Ingredients, NOW! I’m in the middle of a grocery store, quit loading pages and pages of description! 

…Maybe I’m just impatient.

Better-Than-Restaurant-Quality Eggdrop Soup with Beef Broth

Serving for Two

Ingredients

2-3ish cups of Beef Broth, more if you’re hungry.

Red Pepper Flakes (If you like it spicy)

Garlic Salt

A Dash of Soy Sauce (think 1-2 teaspoons)

A Dash of Sesame Oil (think 1-2 teaspoons)

Two-three tablespoons of corn starch

Three-four tablespoons of water

2-3 Eggs, Beaten

Directions

1. Mix broth and soy sauce and sesame oil and red pepper flakes and garlic salt (edited)
2. Heat it ’til it steams
3. Mix cornstarch and water in a separate container, add to soup, stir.
4. Beat eggs. Drop into soup, slowly.
5. Optional: Add green onions to top. Serve!

Feels like a hearty soup on a cold day without a ton of calories.

Turkey Tikka Masala (Instant Pot)

This recipe takes like spicy chicken. It is… incredible. SO full of flavor!

Note: The heat of this builds; the first few bites should be fine, but if you don’t like around a medium heat, you won’t enjoy this dish. Probably check out the less spicy chicken version below if you don’t want it to burn so good. 😀

Instant Pot Tikka Tikka Masala (Pressure Cooker)

Prep Time 20 minutes
Marinading Time 1 hour (or more)
Cook Time 20 minutes
If you want calories and servings, better check out the less spicy chicken version here because I’m not calculating that. xD

Ingredients

For marinating the turkey:

  • 1 pound boneless skinless turkey breasts OR thighs (remove from bones and chop) about 2, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup plain 2% fat greek yogurt 7 ounces
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon ghost pepper curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

For the sauce:

  • 15 ounces canned tomato sauce or puree
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ghost pepper curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream added last
  • 1/2 cup milk mixed with 1-2 tbsp. corn starch

Instructions

  1. Marinating the turkey: Combine all marinade ingredients (minus the turkey) in a bowl and mix well. Add turkey chunks and coat with the marinade. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  2. Pressure cooker saute mode: Select the saute mode on the pressure cooker for medium heat. When it has reached temperature, add turkey chunks (along with any marinade sticking to them) to the pressure cooker. Saute until the turkey  is cooked on all sides, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the saute mode.
  3. Pressure cooker high pressure mode: Add all of the sauce ingredients except the cream to the pressure cooker, over the turkey, and stir. Secure and seal the lid. Select the manual mode to cook for 10 minutes at high pressure. Use the quick steam release handle to release pressure.
  4. Pressure cooker saute mode: Select the saute mode on the pressure cooker for low heat. When it has reached temperature, add cream to the pot and milk and corn starch (or just use one cup of cream if you don’t want to try and make this healthier), stirring with the other ingredients. Simmer until the sauce is thickened to your liking, a few minutes.
  5. Serving: Serve with basmati rice or naan. Garnish with cilantro.

Adapted from the chicken version here – this has some ideas about calories too, if you need that. Head to their blog!