Managing Hypothyroidism

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I wrote part one of this post ages ago here. And then life got busy, and kids are kids, and I was still learning and trying different things, so I didn’t feel ready to write this part yet. But now here it is. This is the practical stuff, the things that are are the difference between me being bedridden and being able to get things done and take care of my kids and pursue other interests.

Natural Desiccated Thyroid:
The website Stop The Thyroid Madness taught me so much about my condition and functioning. Through full thyroid panels we figured out that a large part of the reason I was getting sicker and sicker was because despite having enough T4 (which is what Synthroid contains) my thyroid was unable to convert it into adequate T3 – which is what your cells actually use. Once I got a prescription for NDT (Thyroid by Erfa in Canada) and got past the adjustment period I felt like a new person, I was able to make it through the day, my nerve pain was gone, many other symptoms vanished or greatly diminished! And the weight! It was incredible how fast all that baby weight that refused to fall off no matter how I ate or how much I pushed my body fell off. In a month of being on NDT I was below my pre-pregnancy weight without even trying!

Supplements:
After doing very well on NDT for some time, some symptoms started to become more predominant or had never really gone away. Because my thyroid levels were good, (or at least good enough that the Dr.was worried that increasing my prescription would tip me to hyper); I started looking into other things. I was taking probably at least 8 different supplements a day and not feeling much better for it. After switching to a high quality whole food supplements I was able to cut down on the amount of supplements I was taking with great results! I no longer needed a nap, my hair that had been falling out finally  started to grow back and not fall out by the handful every shower.

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Adrenal Fatigue:
The first 2 years of having my children was surrounded with a lot of stress, financial, legal, learning how to parent my oldest in a way that best met his needs, not to mention I don’t think I had ever really recovered after pregnancy and childbirth left me with adrenal fatigue. I have had to cut way back, I limit even walking as too many steps a day seems to set me back a day or two of difficulty functioning, I unscheduled our lives to reduce as much stress as possible, and I take products containing adaptogens to boost my cortisol.

Diet:
I did an experiment one summer and went completely gluten and dairy free and the results were great, I had more energy, less brain fog, was less moody! I am a strong believer now that inflammation is definitely an enemy of a thyroid disease sufferer. I will admit that at this point in life financially and time and energy wise, I am not completely gluten and dairy free, but I am probably 90% gluten free and 100% lactose free and function far better when intentional about keeping these things out of my diet.

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Essential Oils:
I am so blessed to have been introduced to essential oils when I was. Between using them to reduce the toxic/chemical load I and my family are exposed to (which I do believe also had a large impact on my not being able to function well), they have worked wonders for my personal mood and well being. One of the things that I have struggled with that as never quite gone away was depression and anxiety, both hypothyroid symptoms, both I have tried to address with diet and supplements, with varying degrees of success. But oils for grounding and mood and that support adrenal functioning have been vital to my healing and well being. Frankincense, Arborvitae, Rosemary, Peppermint and Wild Orange and the Grounding blend and Encouraging blend and the Cellular Repair blend have been my “life support” especially during this extraordinarily long winter, that emotionally ground me and pick me up to be able to handle the day with enough energy and patience to deal with the stressors that come with it.

All in all, I am greatful for all these tools that help me manage my symptoms. I would be lying if I said it was all great and I never suffer, in fact, I have been made acutely aware these past two years what chronic means. It will never go away, I will never be healed and have the life that I had before back;  but I am grateful for the knowledge out there that helps me manage and gives me hope that even in spite of my illness I CAN accomplish things in my life, I may never be as as active as I once was, but I CAN be the mother I want to be, I may never be able to handle high stress work environments, but I CAN be used by God to bless others – even in the midst of having to take care of myself very intentionally every day. If you are interested in what brands I use please contact me with your email address, I am happy to share with those who want more details. 

 

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Christmas 2016

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Dear Friends and Family,

This year has been one full of growing and learning, at times terrific and at times challenging. So I best begin with the updates.

Raine: Raine is smack dab in the middle of terrible twos, I know what you are all thinking… Raine, the sweet quiet one? terrible? You have it easy…  yeah that one. She has discovered that she can do things to get her way. And that she has the ability to not only “fight back” but to instigate the toddler fights with her brother and friend group. We are definitely seeing her stubborn streak showing up full force (which I am told I am to blame according to my mother)  She loves church and playgroup, anytime she can be around other kids  is exciting. She LOVES to dance and we are hoping to find somewhere that she can try it out in a group setting in the new year.

Darcy: The year started with assessments and challenges, but with the information we have now to help us be the parents he needs and knowing what resources to look for he is really coming into his own. We are so proud of the growth he has shown in the past year. He is very excited that he learned to ride his bike this summer without training wheels, and now wants to ride it everywhere and anywhere! Kindergarten started this fall, it started out a bit rocky but with a great resource team he is doing much better and LOVING school. He is very social and making friends with all the older boys, and tells us he has married one of the girls in his class who lives near us. In October we became permanent parental guardians… in his words “Mom, now I’m a son!”

Paul is still at the same cabinet installation job, and enjoys his work, which has been very busy this year, making us at home miss seeing him as much. His next adventure is to “reclaim” the basement that has been rented out up until now but is much needed space as our kids are getting older.

I am involved in various activities, running the church playgroup and volunteering in the nursery, I am still involved with the cloth diaper lending library – although have pulled back since the summer to take care of my own health and other ventures. This spring I signed up as a Wellness Advocate with dōTERRA essential oils, I love how these precious gifts, straight from God’s creation, have potential to empower not only myself but my family, and those around me to live life fully with more choice and healthier options for physical and emotional well being. And of course ever busy with the kids especially as Darcy has been adjusting to school these last few months.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Christmas and time with friends and family!

– Katie, Paul, D and R.

Together We Make a Family

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God sets the lonely in families. – Psalm 68:5a 

My every prayer for the last two years have been leading up to this day. My every fear was that this day would never come. Or that it would come, but it would be the wrong timing, or things handled the wrong way, or it would get put off again and again. But today the judge called it heartwarming, and approved the plan that makes us a family. The family that the Ultimate Judge in heaven has created us to be since we first heard of this little person, long before we knew he would ever come to live with us.

There have been struggles along the way, and I sure this is not the end of struggle as to struggle is to grow and live, but it is end of an season, of a chapter, in the story that I am glad to move forward from and on to the next; but for now, I will praise God for his goodness and impeccable timing, and celebrate that this child is home to stay.

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Boo is turning Two!

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Dear Daughter,

It feels like yesterday we were bringing you home in your infant carrier, propped up with blankets because you seemed so small in the seat, that you had your first smiles, foods, laughs…as we have have transitioned through first steps and first words, at some point you have also crossed the line between baby and toddler.

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There is no doubt you are a toddler now. You have definite preferences; You LOVE Owls and call them Hoo’s, Dora and Boots, Daniel Tiger and Baby Jake, and reading your “Bibow” Bible. You love to colour and I am always impressed at how you no longer randomly scribble but you choose what to colour, although sometimes that is still the walls. You love to be outside, whether it be walks, going to the part or building and playing in the backyard.  but you also are developing distinct dislikes as well,  you do NOT like to be woken up, or to wear certain shoes, or going to bed – well maybe that one isn’t new or surprising – but now you have the words to make sure we know just how much you dislike it.  “No” is a very prevalent word in your dictionary these days. You might still look more like Daddy, but you are definitely mommy’s girl when it comes to personality, you know what you want and how to to get it every time.

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You are so social! Everything I have heard about your father and myself as small children, I wasn’t expecting you to be our little social butterfly! You may not have hundreds of words but you have many friends, but you are always wanting to be around others. You know exactly where your friends live and never want to go past without waving or saying hi, you love to share and to make others happy, to smile at babies, and to give hugs to everyone you meet. I hope that this side of you never dulls and you are always as caring and friendly as you grow up.

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I love this stage that we are entering, of constant curiosity and learning. You seem to just absorb knowledge these days! You know several words in Spanish (Leche, Cuna, Agua, Gato, Perro, beso, cabeza, pelo, ojo, mano, nariz, boca to name a few) , you can pick out several letters on a page (the important ones….O for owl, R for Raine, A, and I) and most of your body parts. You identify most of the animals by the sound they make. You have surprised us by learning how to get your clothes off, and your favorite day of the week is the day you go to My Gym, where you have really found a new confidence in both your physical abilities and in helping you to really “come out of your shell” and develop your personality.  Of course we were not expecting that would mean you would use the whole house as a gym!

My birthday wish and prayer for you is that you would know how loved you are, that you would never stop learning and growing, that your love for the Bible and Church would become the foundation for a love for God. That this coming year would full of even more exploring and joy.  Mommy and Daddy (Papa as you call him these days) love you so much.

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Mister D turns 5

The day this kid has been waiting for…. Since he was three he has been talking about it…the ultimate age for a preschooler to hit….signifying the start of a new era….

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F-I-V-E! Thats right… 5. the Big one, the one that signifies that hes not little boy any more, but a big kid, who is going to “big kid school” this coming September.

This year was a hard one for us all, but it has been extraordinary to see the changes it has brought. There were times that I honestly was at my wits end with what to do to calm the storm and if we were strong enough to be the parents he needs. With help from some professionals, and lots of studying and connecting to others, we have come to accept that he may likely always have some extra struggles, but he is so much more then his struggles or labels and he is proving it every day, we are so thankful to those who have given us encouragement and tools, and continue to do so, to help support him as he grows.

. He has learned to let us help him through the hard things, that food isn’t all that bad (and he’s grown to prove it!), to count to 10 (most of the time), to write his name, and  That it’s ok do things on his own, and its ok to be need parents sometimes too.

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The kids had a blast decorating his cake!

 

This year has been full of dinosaurs, playing outside – the muddier the better, lego, drawing, playing with Little (sis), summer at the lake (s), finding snakes, and all those other sorts of little boy things (that hopefully will stick around for this BIG KID).

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These kids love each other so much! 

So to finish up, Mister D, We love you to the moon and back, and to the lakehouse and back and even Mexico and back! I can’t believe your 5!

1 Timothy 6:20

I have often found that the letters to Timothy have a way of feeling like they are written right to me. This passage is no exception. 

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My New years goals this year are to do less…to de clutter.  Not only my space but my mind…to compare less and to focus on what’s important for me and my family…even if it means letting go of my own ideals of what I want family life to be…even if it means saying no to things…even if other people don’t get it.

http://bible.com/111/1ti.6.20.NIV

Home For Christmas 2015

2015 12 24_4022‘Twas the day before Christmas and all through the house we were celebrating Christmas in the calm before the storm. We decided early in the morning (when we happened to wake up a couple hours before the kids) that it might just make things go smoother and less overwhelming for the kids to have Christmas  a day early in order to space it out from seeing the relatives and travel. It was definitely far more relaxed then Christmas other years or even this whole week leading up to Christmas to spend the morning with just the 4 of us, and to have a less overwhelming pile of presents to choose from!

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Of course there were still plenty of presents, and Santa came through with full stockings and the Dinosaur SuperD asked him for last week!

Baby R had to try out all her presents as she opened them

Mom and Dad guessed right when picking out presents this year and R was enthralled with her new doll stuff!

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And How CUTE is this! Our neighbor and dear friend MADE this doll carrier that we gave R!!! Its perfect and now she can carry her babies, just like mommy!

D got some pretty great things too! A LeapPad and a REAL (kids) Camera were among his faves, and of course he never tires of new books!

2015 12 24_4104 Then it was time to clean up…and R was delighted to help with her new brooms (one from each grandma!)

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All finished off with a yummy breakfast! All in all it was fantastic to be able to take breaks as the kids needed, avoiding sensory overload meltdowns and having less new stuff all at once made this Christmas “day” a lot less crazy then I had anticipated, we have already played with toys and calming down back into routine…We are still looking forward to having a big Christmas with all the relatives later this week, but I think we may be onto something having a small family Christmas and then visiting with the rest of the relatives on another day! A Very Merry Christmas to all of our Friends and Family!

Merry Christmas from us to you

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For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  – Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV.

As we approach the holidays it is time to write a bit of an update. This year has been very full. Full of joy and full of stress, full of family, full of learning, full of new friends and new directions, and full of God stretching us in every area possible! These verses represent both what we have seen in the past year and what we pray for the coming year. So with no further ado, a glimpse at 2015!

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4.5 Years

Super D: This kid keeps us on our toes! He still loves SuperHeros, especially Batman this year! Batman costumes, Batman Lego, Batman pictures is the name of the game! Recently his interest has also turned to Lego, building and destroying is an activity he enjoys to do and it seems to be almost calming for him. He also likes to be creative with coloring and crafts and proudly shows his latest artwork to hang up in the kitchen! He is very curious and interested in “why” lately…why are things the way they are? how are things made? Why did they make them that way? Why do we have separate garbage cans for the organic garbage and recycles and trash? We are definitely in a why stage these days!

He also loves hanging out with the kids on our street, there is a boy a few houses up who he has really connected with a few months older who he likes to play with on a regular basis, they ride bikes and like to color together and of course make up superhero or hide and seek games. He is never shy to try and make a new friend.  He is turning into a great big brother! He adores his little sister and always has to stick up for her if he feels she isn’t being cared for to his standards. Of course not without the expected “sibling revelry” that also comes with the territory!
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Batman and a neighborhood buddy

We have had some fairly significant challenges with him this year that have required extra work and a lot of prayer and energy to try and help him feel secure in our family, and that is going to be an ongoing challenge for some time, however we have seen encouraging signs over the last six months  that gives us hope. We do not yet know what life looks like long term regarding some of these behaviors and diagnoses, but we do believe that God is and will continue to work in his life and in our family.
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1.5 years

Baby R: R has changed so much in the last year! Of course going from a 9 month old baby last January to a 20 month old toddler is crazy amount of changing and growing in just a year! She is a little person now! With opinions and a stubborn streak!
She still is not very 2015 12 11_3966_edited-1verbal and only has a handful of words that she uses regularly, but communicates very well. (Apparently I stole this line right out of my own babybook…). She points and nods and shakes her head, knows some signs and learns the important words like what an owl says “Hoo hoo” and what you need to go outside…”boots”. She loves to go outside, to go see her friends at church, coloring (not always on the paper), LOVES OWLS and points them out on everything she can find. Has a new favorite food every day, but don’t you dare give her leftovers! Those will go on the floor, even if they were her favorite the day before!
She is quite sensitive and is the one you often find crying BEFORE the other kid touched her or BEFORE brother took a toy away,  but also with that she LOVES hugs and cuddles and on a bad day the Lenny Lamb (baby carrier) is still the easiest way to help her calm down.
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First Birthday Cake Smash

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Mom and Dad (Alternately known as Paul and Katie)
As stated above, we have been stretched a lot this year, I (Katie) have had health issues show up that have had a big impact on the way I live and how much I am able to take on. It is further compounded by stress, which has been difficult to avoid this year. On top of being new parents (to 2 kids!) and also new to being parents to a child with some extra needs; We have lost an income as I gave up my position at work and stayed on as causal after my maternity leave ended.It was a hard decision to make but my health was suffering and I really felt that one of us needed to be home with the kids due to their individual needs right now. Luckily Paul’s work has been more steady this year then any years previously, and it is a job that he continues to enjoy.
But as God stretches he also provides. Paul volunteered to take the Santa Pictures for our church’s breakfast with Santa event last Christmas (By the way, awesome event….if you didn’t get tickets this year, ask me about it for next year!) and from Saturday to Sunday we went from feeling like we didn’t really know anyone to having people knowing us by name the next day! We were invited to join a homegroup shortly after and found real encouragement and love and learning and real community in this group. It has helped that it is full of couples with children close to our children’s age as well as some with teenagers and grown children – to give us a glimpse of whats ahead!
Paul is also on the setup team and I am back in the nursery loving the babies. Another mom and I also started up a play group at the new church community Hub, that I am looking forward to see how God continues to use that to bless us and the community.
 Prayers for a peace filled holiday and 2016 for your family and ours. We couldn’t have made it without our family and friends support!
  – Katie and Paul.
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Hypothyroidism – My Journey thus far

3858108794b9892f451936c680e4c824With the promise of a future. I am finally able to talk about it… I have alluded to it, wondered about it, cried over it, not understood it, questioned God, questioned myself, questioned our medical system…and finally, feel like yes, it sucks, but no, it doesn’t have to be what defines me from here on out. Doesn’t have to be my stealer of joy and hope (although some days it still has a pretty hard push). I have learned so much over the past 8 months, about my illness, treatment and about how God still works.

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A little background
1990’s – Sometime before the year 2000 I was diagnosed hypothyroid as a child. Took a pill every day, never thought anything of it.

2000’s – I knew I was a moody teenage, but I was a teenager, I was suppose to be moody… As a young adult I started being able to recognize the lack of energy or the connection to depression or weight gain and sure enough every time I felt like something was off, my bloodwork would show a need for a dose increase. It was pretty easy to manage and I would hear here and there about how its a chronic illness and kind of thought, “hey its really not that bad, just take a pill and your fine, I don’t know what the big deal is about…people just want an excuse maybe”.

2013-2015 – Pregnancy was hard on my body. I had 0 energy, was sick for almost the whole time and my thyroid med doses kept going up and up, but I was assured this was normal and they would go back down after pregnancy. After the birth of my daughter, nothing seemed off, I was tired, but I was also not getting any sleep…and could excuse it. I was surprised when my post-partum bloodwork showed I needed another increase, but didn’t think too much of it. We began to care for another child, with some emotional needs that greatly effect daily life. I was exhausted, but had so much to deal with that I didn’t give it much attention.

It wasn’t until the baby was 12 months old that I began to think, “oh I feel like I need a dose increase” – was feeling extremely tired even though the kids were sleeping better at night and I was no longer nursing, I couldn’t blame those on how I was feeling. Depression was setting in, extreme moodswings, LESS energy then when my kids were not sleeping, and my hair was falling out. (TMI ALERT: My period had also returned and was terrible…unpredictable and extremely heavy).

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I at one point in the spring could count over 50!!! I stopped counting there because it was very depressing and the last thing I needed was to fuel that fire.

I went to get my bloodwork, and was SHOCKED when it came back normal. I had recently started setting intentional time aside to spend in prayer and bible reading, had gotten back involved in church, was trying to eat better…doing everything I could to take care of my spiritual and physically life and was feeling like I was barely existing, definitely not living! I felt like Job. I was having daily conversation with God about how hard it was to trust him when I feel like everything I care about is being affected. I couldn’t be the wife or mom I wanted to be, or even the person I knew God was calling me to be, but I knew that my only option was to seek out God, to seek prayer. I couldn’t get through whatever was going on by myself. And if its not my thyroid, then what? Was my new normal going to be merely laying on a couch forever? What kind of childhood would that leave my children with? would I ever be able to work again? What if it was something far more serious?

Coincidence or prayer. I have no doubt that the next steps had God’s hand all over them. When I went into the Dr to tell her that despite the results, despite another dose increase, I was feeling much worse then I had ever felt in my life, she suggested to test for everything else that might make a person feel like I did. Iron, Glucose and 20 other markers….and unknown to me she had included a full thyroid panel. Everything came back “in range”. The days between getting the results and seeing the Dr to formally go over them were some of the hardest most depressing days I can remember.

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But God had a plan. He had me at a Dr who, unlike many dr’s who do not look beyond TSH, would have, still suspected a thyroid problem. She told me that looking at the test results even though they were both in range my T4 (thyroid storage hormone) was at the high end of the range…thanks to my synthetic medication, but my T3 (the thyroid hormone that actually gets to your cells) was at the very bottom of the range…which would explain everything! If my body wasn’t able to actually use the medication then I was falling more and more hypothyroid. Switching meds seemed to be the next step…I will post about it in an upcoming post!

Guilt: The Worst Symptom

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I cried today. I cried because I found a blog post that talked about everything I have felt for the past months. I want to blog about my experience, about how I was soooo mistaken when I thought that people who called hypothyroid a chronic illness were overreacting having lived with it for 15 years…it’s an easy fix with a pill once a day right? Until it’s not. Until the day you realize you can hardly make it through the day and something is utterly wrong. That symptoms that used to be easily fixed by a medication are not going away. Maybe tonight I will elaborate. Maybe this week…maybe next week. But in this moment the guilt and the emotions are winning. So I will just leave this here until I have the energy to come back to it.

Guilt: The Worst Symptom.

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