“Because I Can’t Even Afford a Knock-Off Eames” watercolor, Nicole Chilton 2014
The other night at dinner, I lay my head on the table and said I just couldn’t get up anymore. My blood felt like it was replaced with chocolate pudding, and the thought of even the simplest task (clearing the table) was so daunting it made me want to cry.
Uh oh, I realized. My thryoid must be off. Again.
Like a large group of women, my thyroid is underactive, which means my metabolism is slow, my hair falls out in clumps, I’m sluggish and fatigued constantly, my skin is dry, my hormones are crazy, I can’t handle caffeine, I get cold easily, etc.
I can usually pinpoint my symptoms fairly quickly if my levels are crazy, but over the past year, they have gone up and down, up and down. A normal thyroid range is .3 – 3 (I don’t know what this means, I just know the numbers). My numbers will go from 11 on one checkup (hypothyroid) to .009 (hyperthyroid) in a matter of months. I change medicine dosage, I reach a “normal” value for a bit, then a few months later I’m up to a 7. It’s like my body is on a rollercoaster, except replace exhilarating thrills with crushing panic attacks.
Going on the Internet to research this leads to one conclusion: Hashimoto’s. It’s an autoimmune disorder where the immune system thinks the thyroid gland is an enemy and is constantly chipping away at it, until there’s nothing left. But the Internet also has a bunch of crazies out there, so trying to get a rational response is ridiculous. One thing remains clear, regardless of what is causing my fluctuating levels: that diet and exercise are the biggest factors in keeping the thyroid stable.
Diet and exercise? Imagine that. So doctors have been telling me the truth this whole time?
So even though I would rather spend every waking minute in bed napping, or sitting in my easy chair watching the kids watch TV, I’m making an effort to start feeling better without the aid of relying strictly on my Synthroid (a thyroid medicine I’ve been taking since I was 19). But it’s so hard! Why is eating healthy so difficult? And exercising?
This morning I was attempting to do some yoga, and I had a little 2 year old holding on to my standing leg as I was trying to balance in the dancer’s pose. Then I bent down in downward dog, and my sister’s dog licked my face. After 30 minutes, it was time to tend to the family, and instead of feeling like crashing, I actually started seeing the fog clear. So I drank some coffee…with sugar. I have a lot of adjustments to make…
This afternoon, I ran a few errands and then had the energy spurt to paint (above). It’s such a good feeling to have the drive to DO SOMETHING, instead of just want to go back to bed. It takes weeks of daily exercise before I consistently feel better. I know this, because it’s happened before. After my February yoga challenge, I woke one day and didn’t even recognize myself. I hadn’t felt so clear-headed and good since I was 18. Not even joking. I can pinpoint the last time I felt that healthy. And it was over 15 years ago. Kind of sad, isn’t it?
The next step…I have got to limit my sugar intake. But that’s a whole other blog post. Shoot. That’s a whole different blog altogether! One step at a time.
Now if you’ll excuse me…I’m going to day dream about sitting in an Eames rocking chair…