Happy 2015 plus 13 days

My New Year’s goal for 2015 was to sit down and write consistently. Here it is January 13 and I’m finally get around to it…lol

So I’ve decided that this blog is going to be changed a bit. The main focus in my life right now is getting healthy. Auto – immune disease, adrenal fatigue, and hypothyroidism have been the focus of my attention and research.

I’m going to share research, what is working, what is not, recipes.

It is also time to get my spiritual life on track. I’ve been so focused on the temporal that I’ve been neglecting the eternal.

Along those lines, I’m also going to share things that God shares with me and scriptures that are inspiring me.

Another of my goals was to exercise more…you know, move the body and burn some calories. I’d Iike to run a 5k this spring and perhaps the Philly half in November.

I’m going to start a Facebook page too…I know a lot of my friends don’t appreciate verbosity, so I’ll share my journey in 140 characters or less…oh wait, that’s Twitter…lol

So, here you have it. I hope that you join me on the bumpy journey that is holistic health in 2015.

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Temporal vs eternal

I’m realizing just how much of my focus has been on the temporal versus the eternal. I’ve been in survival mode. I’m trying to keep afloat physically. My health hasn’t been great and the exhaustion has been overwhelming. I’m trying to keep at least my nose above water financially. Those two situations have taken a toll on my emotions. With all of the doggy paddling I’ve been doing, I’ve all but ignored spiritual things.

Last night as I was attempting to sleep, I had a glimpse of how spiritually barren my life has been. We’re talking desert with no oasis in sight, here.

I’m taking a break from worrying. I’m taking a break from the useless things in my life that add no value. I’m taking time to evaluate and rediscover the dream that used to keep me up at night.

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Hello I’m Hashimotos

A friend sent this to me…and I’ve seen in on multiple Hypothyroid/Hashimotos groups. I thought I’d share it here…
Hi. My name is Hashimoto’s. I’m an invisible autoimmune disease that attacks your thyroid gland causing you to become hypothyroid. I am now velcroed to you for life. If you have hypothyroidism, you probably have me. I am the number one cause of it in the U.S. and many other places around the world. I’m so sneaky–I don’t always show up in your blood work. Others around you can’t see me or hear me, but YOUR body feels me. I can attack you anywhere and any way I please. I can cause severe pain or, if I’m in a good mood, I can just cause you to ache all over. Remember when you and energy ran around together and had fun? I took energy from you, and gave you exhaustion. Try to have fun now. I can take good sleep from you and in its place, give you brain fog and lack of concentration. I can make you want to sleep 24/7, and I can also cause insomnia. I can make you tremble internally or make you feel cold or hot when everyone else feels normal. I can also give you swollen hands and feet, swollen face and eyelids, swollen everything. I can make you feel very anxious with panic attacks or very depressed. I can also cause other mental health problems. You know crazy mood swings? That’s me. Crying for no reason? Angry for no reason? That’s probably me too. I can make your hair fall out, become dry and brittle, cause acne, cause dry skin, the sky is the limit with me. I can make you gain weight and no matter what you eat or how much you exercise, I can keep that weight on you. I can also make you lose weight. I don’t discriminate. Some of my other autoimmune disease friends often join me, giving you even more to deal with. If you have something planned, or are looking forward to a great day, I can take that away from you. You didn’t ask for me. I chose you for various reasons: That virus or viruses you had that you never really recovered from, or that car accident, or maybe it was the years of abuse and trauma (I thrive on stress.) You may have a family history of me. Whatever the cause, I’m here to stay. I hear you’re going to see a doctor to try and get rid of me. That makes me laugh. Just try. You will have to go to many, many doctors until you find one who can help you effectively. You will be put on the wrong medication for you, pain pills, sleeping pills, energy pills, told you are suffering from anxiety or depression, given anti-anxiety pills and antidepressants. There are so many other ways I can make you sick and miserable, the list is endless – that high cholesterol, gall bladder issue, blood pressure issue, blood sugar issue, heart issue among others? That’s probably me. Can’t get pregnant, or have had a miscarriage? That’s probably me too. Shortness of breath or “air hunger?” Yep, probably me. Liver enzymes elevated? Yep, probably me. Teeth and gum problems? TMJ? Hives? Yep, probably me. I told you the list was endless. You may be given a TENs unit, get massaged, told if you just sleep and exercise properly I will go away. You’ll be told to think positively, you’ll be poked, prodded, and MOST OF ALL, not taken seriously when you try to explain to the endless number of doctors you’ve seen, just how debilitating I am and how ill and exhausted you really feel. In all probability you will get a referral from these ‘understanding’ (clueless) doctors, to see a psychiatrist. Your family, friends and co-workers will all listen to you until they just get tired of hearing about how I make you feel, and just how debilitating I can be. Some of them will say things like “Oh, you are just having a bad day” or “Well, remember, you can’t do the things you use to do 20 YEARS ago”, not hearing that you said 20 DAYS ago. They’ll also say things like, “if you just get up and move, get outside and do things, you’ll feel better.” They won’t understand that I take away the ‘gas’ that powers your body and mind to ENABLE you to do those things. Some will start talking behind your back, they’ll call you a hypochondriac, while you slowly feel that you are losing your dignity trying to make them understand, especially if you are in the middle of a conversation with a “normal” person, and can’t remember what you were going to say next. You’ll be told things like, “Oh, my grandmother had that, and she’s fine on her medication” when you desperately want to explain that I don’t impose myself upon everyone in the exact same way, and just because that grandmother is fine on the medication SHE’S taking, doesn’t mean it will work for you. They will not understand that having this disease impacts your body from the top of your head to the tip of your toes, and that every cell and every body system and organ requires the proper amount and the right kind of of thyroid hormone medication for YOU. Not what works for someone else. The only place you will get the kind of support and understanding in dealing with me is with other people that have me. They are really the only ones who can truly understand. I am Hashimoto’s Disease.
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There is a person trapped within me. She is full of joy. She is funny. She is intelligent. She is full of life, ready to hop the next plane to help save the world. She is well-spoken. The whole world is her stage, her story waiting to be written. She is confident, borderline arrogant because she KNOWS that she can do whatever she sets her sights on.

This person is being held prisoner by an immune system that has decided to attack her body, by a disease that is killing her thyroid daily. She is trapped by constant pain that would put most people out of commission. She is trapped by exhaustion so deep and thorough that many would have to quit their jobs to endure. She is trapped by a brain that struggles to do the most basic of functions. She is trapped by a loss of memory that many times causes her to stutter, literally incapable of language skills.

Many times, I find myself angry, tired, frustrated and scared. You see, in my mind’s eye I will always be the person trapped inside. I know who I am. When I look in the mirror, I see myself behind the bloated, exhausted,  bleary eyed person who is staring back.

I am fighting this hashimotos thing with everything I have, but there are days that I lose the battle and I have no choice but to wave the white flag of surrender.

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So recently I decided to dip my toes in the dating pool. Being nearly 40, it seems like it is time to meet someone. I’m not lonely. I’m an introvert and actually need to recharge my batteries alone. That being said, I would like someone with whom I can share the good and bad things in life.

I met a really great guy. We chatted for 3 months because he lives in MD. He finally came to visit. I was so nervous that I was a sweaty mess…literally had sweat dripping down my face. A few days later, he texted me that he was reconciling with his wife. UM, WHAT? Yeah…didn’t know he wasn’t divorced. Awesome, right?

I could amuse you with stories of another charmer who sent me a picture of his little buddy…use your imagination…or the guy who came to visit with a cooler of refreshments for HIMSELF. Yeah.

The problem that I’m having is that a long time ago, I prayed that God would bring the right man into my life, and that He would crush any other relationships that were not of Him. Be careful what you pray for. The aforementioned married guy seemed perfect for me. He claims to be a Christian. He knows the scripture better than I do. He’s an entrepreneur. But…not the man God has for ME.

I sit here, alone on a Friday night,  thankful that God answers my prayers. This morning, He said clearly to me, “Deneen, do you not remember praying? Why do you not trust me? Have I ever let you down before? Can you trust me with your heart?”

It is not good for man to be alone, but it is horrible to be in a relationship that does not have God at its center. I’d rather die alone than be in a relationship with someone only to be lonely. 

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Heavy heart

I can’t seem to fall asleep tonight. My heart is heavy…so much loss over the past two weeks. So much seems to be on its way to being lost.

I want so badly to be inspiring, to give words of encouragement, of wisdom, but all I feel inside of me is the vast emptiness of broken promises, dead dreams and a sadness that absorbs the little glimmers of hope I’ve had.

I was asked tonight if I am lonely. The answer to that is a resounding no. I am, however, acutely aware that I am alone. If I truly wanted just someone, I could easily have him snoring happily in bed beside me as I wrestle with the thoughts in my head. However, I have chosen to be alone. I’d rather have no one than just someone.

Yesterday at work, I told a patient flippantly, “Ask and you shall receive.” She smiled, grabbed a card and wrote it down. She thanked me heartily. Tonight, I am asking God to lift this heaviness off of my heart, to allow oxygen to flood my lungs, and to turn my mourning into dancing. We walk by faith and not by sight. What I see in ever direction is a bloody train wreck. God sees the end result, not the destruction. Tonight, I ask God to let me see beyond the wreckage…to give me a glimpse of what He sees.

One day I’ll be writing about puppies and rainbows…but tonight is a dark night of the soul. If you read this, please pray. God knows I need and covet the prayers.

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38 has been rough

First, I find out my small little thyroid gland is being attacked by my immune system causing all kinds of exhaustion and other symptoms.

Then, 5 days ago, I woke up in excruciating pain. Three days ago, I was in the ER because of pain. Two days ago, I found myself in a surgeon’s office scheduling a date to have my gall bladder removed.

It was inevitable. I’m one of the few women in my family who has one. But it’s confusing. Up until 5 days ago, I could eat just about anything. I’ve been avoiding gluten due to the thyroid…but everything else was fair game. And now, here I sit, in pain because of mashed potatoes and scallops? Really?

38 has been a health doozey. I can’t wait to be rid of my dysfunctional organ, but I truly can’t wait until my birthday, to say adios to 38.

It could always be worse. My family is healthy. I don’t have a terminal illness. I am a blessed woman over all…just at midnight, on a Friday, I’d much prefer to be sleeping instead of killing time until my gall bladder chills out and we can sleep.

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The hem of Your garment

One of the stories of the Bible that never ceases to amaze me is the woman with the issue of blood. She goes to see Jesus with the faith that if she can touch the fringe of his garment that she will be healed (Mark 5).

How many of us possess such faith? I had a terrible sinus infection last week. I had faith in Augmentin and albuterol, but not to reach out and touch the hem of my Savior’s garment for healing.

Lord, forgive my unbelief. 

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YOU are my Rock

Today I got news that was a one-two punch to the gut. It literally brought me to my knees, knocked the wind out of my lungs and made my eyes explode with water. To be completely honest, my knee jerk reaction was to reach for a wine glass.

Instead of numbing the pain, I turned on some worship music and got on my knees and wept. I allowed God to touch me, and suddenly, angst was replaced by peace.

I felt like Peter sitting by the fire after he had denied Jesus three times.  Jesus walked up to Peter, and I imagine Peter being ashamed, bereft, not feeling worthy of Jesus paying him any mind. Jesus, however, asked Peter three times if he loved him. Do you agape me, Peter? Do you agape me, Peter? Do you phileo me, Peter? Jesus met Peter where he was, and that is what Jesus did to me today. My life feels like a complete train wreck. I feel like a complete failure. Yet Jesus met me in my blubbering mess, wiped my tears, and asked me to stand up.

Please keep my family in your prayers. Please keep me in your prayers. Be encouraged. Jesus will meet you by the fire, wherever you are, if you will just look up. He truly is your Rock…or can be if you choose to put your trust in Him.

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Hypo-what? Hashi-who?

Last year, about this time, I spent an entire day and a half in bed, crying and feeling completely miserable.I was having a horrible time sleeping though I was exhausted all of the time. I went to the doctor, had a battery of blood tests, and found out that I had hypothyroidism. I was also diagnosed as being depressed. I walked out with prescriptions for Celexa (anti-depressant,) Synthroid (hypothyroid medicine,) Ambien and Xanax. I thought that my life was going to be all better.

Funny thing. I was taking all of the medicines and still felt anxiety, exhausted and was having a horrible time sleeping. I started eating better and exercising, knowing that I needed to add those things to my regimen, but it didn’t help.

I went back to the doctor, found out that I was severely Vitamin D deficient and my thyroid still wasn’t working. I got a high dose of Vitamin D to take for two months and my thyroid med was increased. Two months later, no change.

I marched myself back to the doctor, told her my issues, donated more blood to the lab, and found out that my thyroid medicine had to be increased. AGAIN. At this point, I was getting pissed. And concerned. More pissed than concerned. I felt like a guinea pig more than a human being. My doctor listened to what I was saying, but I still felt like crap.

I started reading books on hypothyroidism. I started following Hypothyroid Mom on facebook. I stalked thyroid.about.com. I learned about natural thyroid replacement. I started to think that perhaps it was more than hypothyroidism. I started to suspect Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Last week I went to my doctor, and I was a different patient. I wasn’t a passive participant in my health. I was informed. And a funny thing happened. My nurse practitioner was impressed. She thanked me. She complimented me. I got the usual battery of tests–T3, Vitamin D. I also got tested for Hashimoto’s disease. My doctor agreed immediately to transition me from Synthroid to Nature-throid when she got my test results back.

I got my results back this past week. I have Hashimoto’s disease. It is an autoimmune disease wherein my immune system is attacking my thyroid. Not only am I harder on myself than others are, my immune system is killing one of the most important glands in my body. I got the answer I was looking for, but it shook me to my core. I cried myself to sleep with both relief and fear.

Now, I’m staring a new journey. One of the hallmarks of Hashimotos disease is gluten sensitivity, so I’m on a gluten free diet. Gluten is one of my food groups. I love, LOVE beer, bread and pasta. Have you tried gluten free beer? I’d rather drink gasoline and be set on fire! I’m starting a new medicine on Tuesday because (SHOCKING, I know) pharmacies don’t regularly stock Nature-throid because it is not made by a big pharmaceutical company.

The most difficult part of this journey is having confirmation that I truly cannot maintain the pace that I want to and that is expected of me. I can’t work 50 hours a week without being down for a few days. I can’t always have a social life, because there are times that I literally do not have the energy/stamina that it takes. I have to learn a word that is unfamiliar to me–NO.

I am not hopeless, though at the moment I am completely overwhelmed. I know that this is not God’s first choice for me, but I also know that He WILL use it for HIS good. My body may be broken but I am FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY made.

Statistically speaking, I know that there are at least a few of you who are reading this who are in the same boat as I am. Welcome to my new journey. I hope that you’ll continue along with me. I am going to use this blog to document my navigation through Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism. I was made for this…I just didn’t see this coming.



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