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Showing posts from February, 2014

Another day.

I'm feeling a little better.  Finding my health and temper is improving.  Still would like to explore the possibility of Natural Thyroid Extract.


Looking at research by the late Dr John Lowe.  Very interesting that he makes the connection between thyroid disease and thyroid resistance and fibromyalgia.  Obviously a complicated condition and can be caused by other things.


If there's one thing I have learnt, and keep being reminded, it's to be willing to explore all possibilities and to thoroughly research things before making up your mind about them.


Anyway, the better I get, the better I can think, the better I can understand therapies, and the better I can articulate my point of view.


Never forget, that patients ultimately hire doctors.  We need to listen to them, work with them and ask them to explain things so we understand.  This way, we make the best use of our money and their time.


I better stop eating so much sugar.


I am grateful that today I managed to go for a wander an…

Baby steps

Much to my amazement the T3 was delivered to my door this morning.  The order was only faxed yesterday afternoon.  So I have taken my first dose of T3 and seen some improvement.  Definitely found things a bit easier to do physically and depression has lifted.  Still struggling along.  Will take a while to get dose right and fix any lingering CFS symptoms.


Life at the moment for me is hopeful and scary.  Because when you have been through hell and there is genuine hope it's hard to accept the hellish past, the really black moments. 


I am struggling a lot.  I am feeling a bit better.  I hope I improve as quickly as the doctor hopes.  There are no guarantees.  This is about one step at a time.  One baby step, at a time.



A life lived in reverse

As I expected my results for T3 were sky high.  Apparently, they would be normal if I was a very sick 80 year old.   I feel like a truck run over me several times. Mind you, it's probably in part due to the chronic fatigue and other stuff I have going on too.


I was fairly composed at doctors office, went into shock, came home, burst into tears.
It was expected but a bit much to take in.  Spent upwards of $600 on health expenses today alone.  Very expensive to be very sick.


Getting T3 sent to me and will have to add testosterone in the coming months, going to add Vit C IV to help with CFS which is really bad.  All costing a lot, but I keep telling myself that it's cheaper than wheelchairs and anti-depressants which is where the conventional medical treatment would have me headed.


Had a truly bad week health-wise but I know I have much to be grateful for.  I'm glad I did the testing, at least I know why I feel so ill and I can hopefully find solutions to fix it.  That's wher…

Forgiveness and one pan chocolate cake

I was exasperated the other day with a member of the household.  But I'm not generally one for keeping grudges.  So there has been chocolate cake eaten since, and my car was cleaned (not by me).  Peace has been restored, at least until we miscommunicate again.  Then I guess there will be sulking and eventually chocolate biscuits or something.


One pan, chocolate cake that is flat, and really is more brownies than cake:
if you like true and tested recipes, this will annoy you, I prefer playful recipes, that I make up as I go along,


throw into small pan: -
about 1 cup flour S/R preferably (I use gluten free)
about 3/4 cup milk (I use lactose free, can use coconut milk)
about two tablespoons of cocoa (does not have to be premium, can be store brand)
about 1/2 cup of sugar (any type you feel like/have in your pantry)
one, or two eggs, if you are feeling decadent


mix until smooth


put in preheated oven, 180 degrees for about 25 minutes,until cooked.


Let cool, until not molten lava and eat.


Add melte…

Misery is catching

I was perfectly happy today, pottering about doing a few things once I fell out of bed.  I did what I could, which today was little.


How easily that feeling of peace can be shattered by other people who think only of their happiness, and how they are feeling.  Misery, it seems to me, is guaranteed if you focus on your happiness.  That's the irony, the people I know who are most miserable, spend most of their energy on themselves, and their happiness.


The people I know that are most happy focus on other people, on the world at large, on doing something useful to make the world a better place.  On being grateful for the little blessings they get everyday.


It seems to me that the people who are most miserable have usually had such easy lives.  When I am struggling to walk 50 metres my sympathy level for other people who can easily go for a 30 minute walk, work part or full time if they wanted, are healthier even though they need to be constantly reminded, is low. 


And if I am working re…

Persist and perspire

Have had a bad week pain wise.  Able to get a bit of a reprieve this evening and able to get out of the house for a little while which was nice.


Not about to give up just yet.  Tempting sometimes.  Am in too much pain, to be willing to not try other things.  A future of pain is not one that I am ready or able to stomach until I am sure, beyond reasonable doubt that I have tried EVERYTHING.  Sometimes you just have to make the best of things, and that's what I am trying to do.  But I'm not going to give up searching.


I still allow myself time to take a break, and find something to take my mind off it for a while.  Before I get up and read, and research, and ask more questions.


Find liquorice tea is helping with some of the pain I have been experiencing.


Trying to reduce caffeine and sugar, proving to be a bit difficult.


I am grateful for being brought up to believe in a God that's there for me when things are bad, for the intelligence to ask questions and for parents that always…

Having a bad day

I woke up today feeling like I'd been hit all over during the night, went to sleep feeling the same.  Is it any wonder I struggle to sleep some nights?


After a few hours of drinking herbal tea and feeling lousy I was about to pop some pain killers to take the edge off and delayed it by doing a few errands.




I made the mistake of thinking that I could change a doctors appointment.  Given the stupid, incompetent, dare I say rude, reception I was given, you would think this was a genuinely difficult thing for someone to ask for.  All I wanted was my details to be jotted down correctly and for me to be contacted by email or preferably phone to confirm the new appointment date.  This was all too much for the receptionist, who had to be prompted to take my phone number and hung up when I requested her name.


She stupidly thought that the omission of her name would ensure that I would not complain.  Ironically, all it did was ensure that the next call I made was to the health centre's com…

Pain and God

The problem with pain and suffering is that it hurts so much.  And I am left asking sometimes, why me? why them?  why anyone?


I believe that we live in an imperfect world, and that there is a God in control.  My suffering does not make me believe in God any less.  It does trouble me, it does make life difficult at times. I don't believe God wants to see me suffer.  I don't believe that He won't let me either.


I don't believe that my pain and suffering makes me less of a person that believes in a God that came to save the soul.  He never promised that life would be easy.  Life, well lived, is rarely easy.  He promises an uneasy life.  That the road will be narrow, that we will suffer.  God promises suffering will be a part of our life.


He promised that he would be there in my despair, in my pain, in whatever life may throw my way.  He said He would be there.  I believe it when I am well, I believe it when I am sick.  It has nothing to do with how I feel.


God does not promis…

Yoga for cats

So, stretching, for chronic-fatiguists (yes, not a real word) who wake up most mornings feeling like you have been part of a convict chain gang breaking rocks all night?
Well, if you can do a few, even for a minute or two it can help you feel a bit better.  Find exercises that are gentle and stretch you out, like a content, happy cat.


Stretching tips:
Find exercises that work for you.  I suggest contacting a local physiotherapist to help you figure out what works best for your individual health and well being.  Buy or borrow gentle exercise DVDs for when you want that at home gym experience.Acceptance of your situation - some days getting out of bed will feel like an impossible task, and a DVD and chocolate will be the better option for you and your sanity.  If you can only do one minute or two, it's a step in the right direction.  Any step in the right direction is something to be happy about.Find the best time of day and conditions for you, I find afternoons and in a warm room tend…

Bach flower remedy

There have been a few times in my life when I have spoken to doctors, and a therapist about the possibility of going on anti-depressants.  In fact, I knew I was particularly struggling when my therapist brought up the possibility.  I was sick, several friends had died within a short time, and I was overwhelmed with grief.  Perfectly understandable. 


We discussed it, and I remembered what I'd always turned to when life had fallen too hard on my shoulders.  When my sense of humour had completely escaped.  Bach flower remedy. 


All I can say is that Bach Flower Rescue Remedy works particularly well and fast for me.  It does not take away my problems, nor does it stop me from having to work through them.  The feeling it gives me is the strength to face what life has thrown at my feet and the ability to keep going.


That's another tool in my survival kit I thought I might share with you before I try and sleep.


Right now, I'm grateful for rain, warm socks and special people in my li…

Homeopathy and hope!.

While musing and researching last night I was struck by reports on PubMed (medical research website) that homeopathy has more evidence, however minimal, for showing improvement for people with chronic fatigue than CBT does.  Quite amused in fact.  I have tried homeopathy in the past and really came away feeling sceptical but I'm willing to believe that it sometimes helps, and I may yet give it another chance. 


The CBT's only shown benefit was to help people deal with the inevitable depression that comes to anyone struggling with a chronic illness, but the medical researcher's conclusion seemed to be that the benefit was marginal at best.  There was no shown benefit to quality of life.  Hmmm...interesting and just as I suspected.


I suspect that one of the reasons that I have not ended up in a hospital bed or in a wheel chair, tempting though with dizzy spells I am still experiencing, is because I have in some ways filled some gaps. 


If, as some theorise, chronic fatigue is d…

Sweet, sweet, laughter!

If laughter was really the best medicine I never would have ever tasted the bitterness of ill health.  I'd probably be a marathon runner, or an Olympic athlete by now!


Still, it does help keep me sane when things are tricky. 


I am currently rereading Wil Anderson's book Friendly Fire, which never fails to make me laugh.  I love to watch and read Dara O'Briain's work, Michael McIntyre's stand up routines make me laugh,...thankfully the world is full of talented comedians and amazing authors that give me a slight reprieve, a bit of breathing room.  Admittedly, sometimes I am too sick to read, so that's when I watch videos.  At the moment, I can read for a little while at a time, and it's so nice, so very nice. 


So, who is your favourite comedian, go to book/ resource, when you are in need of a laugh?


Today, I am very grateful for comedians, talented writers and family.







Survive and thrive

I am in survival mode and hoping one of these days to switching to more of a thriving mode.  Went into the city today and braved what must be some of the world's most stupid drivers. 
Spent the whole time praying I would not faint as I felt I would and relieved to be home.  Had a dizzy fit and fever from hell and the library and wondered why I'd got out of bed!  Some days are just horrible.  Feverish, in pain, feel like I've been bashed by a baseball all over and had my throat lightly sandpapered...so..not...fun :( 


Anyway, my point was going to be, how to survive, not fun days...


Rest - your body will make you, so in a way this is an unnecessary tipHerbal teasIcy poles of any description - help with my sore throat and particularly feverish daysCold packHot water bottle for body aches, or an electric heat pad/throwDVDs/ Favourite TV show Cold weather - does not feel quite so bad to be in, when the weather is a bit miserableHot chocolateThey are little things, but it's t…

Dizzy Lizzie

Ugh, been having dizzy moments throughout the day.  I sit down and feel all motivated to do something, get up and feel weak and dizzy very frustrating!


My doctor has attributed the dizziness to the recurrent glandular fever virus and says it will hopefully pass sooner rather than later, with treatment.


Standard medical treatment for this chronic fatigue seems to Graded Exercise Therapy and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.  So, I'm lazy and I'm not thinking right and this is causing my glands to be inflamed, me to feel dizzy and you are going to solve this with exercise and suggesting I am depressed? 


Seriously?


I don't see how either approach fixes the fevers I get, the dizzy spells I've had, the genuine weakness.  Particularly do not think it's a fix when I've had CBT and I was incredibly fit, always exercise when I can, still have reasonable muscle tone.


No doubt these approaches have their place if the virus has gone away, but it seems illogical to me if the virus i…

Happy feet!

As much as I love to have pretty painted feet and all manicured I do not get to them as often as I would like.  They are ready for another coat of cherry red paint to give me happy feet.
One of those little things that when I am up to it, fills me with happiness for quite a while afterwards.


This, is about detox foot patches.  I buy mine from overseas suppliers via ebay and they seem to help.  Some people say that they are a load of nonsense, some seem to love them.   My experience is that they are no cure for aches, pains and fatigue, but they do seem to help when I am particularly feeling run over.  I will leave it to you to make up your own mind.


So tonight, I am grateful for vanilla scented candles, foot patches, and herbal tea in a pretty pink mug.


Disclaimer: this writing is only the opinion of the writer.  For medical/ personal advice please seek the opinion of qualified professionals.

Hope and strength

In pain, all day, in bed most of the day, bored and tired.  Too tired and in pain to do much, too intelligent, and just awake enough, to find myself a bit bored.


If I was feeling well, then I'd be out and about.  Still, hoping to be well enough to run a couple of errands tomorrow.  If there is one thing being chronically ill teaches you it's to be grateful for the little things. 


I'm not going to lie though, I get jealous occasionally because I'd like the other things, but still.  Dreaming of a sun filled beach house today, I'd rather dream and never achieve it, than never dream!  I can always hope and dream.


Anyway, been madly googling chronic fatigue and reading about other people's experiences, was feeling a little alone with this pain and fatigue.  Certainly, sounds like others have had some success with the Vitamin C loading treatment. 


So, not giving up, not today.  I hope you find a spark of hope today! 

Stormy indulgence!

In the middle of lightning storm.  I'm not quite at hiding under the doona stage, but I am getting close.  I love the sound of gentle rain on the roof, and that it means that I do not need to worry about watering the vegetables outside, but I hate storms.  I am always relieved when they are over!


There was a severe weather warning issued this afternoon in SE Tasmania, and I am hoping that everyone will be safe and well.


Under the insistence, of the world's best mother, have had a bath to help my body heal.  Just run a bath, add Epsom salts to help with body aches, add essential oil of your choice, I added Rose Geranium, and wash some of your trouble away in a bath.


If I'd been feeling a bit more on the boil I would have had candles and a herbal tea, but I'm enjoying them now.  Tomorrow I will add a face mask, to give myself that spa at home feeling!


I hope you find a simple way to indulge yourself this week.



Chocolate coated frustration

I forgot to add,


cry when it all gets too much


&


eat chocolate or other sweet treat indulgence,




to my pain management tips.  




In severe pain, so much it interferes with sleep, and invariably, sometimes the only thing left to do is find a quiet place and have a good cry, mutter about people not understanding, apologise for yelling a bit, get out of house, walk for 100m along beach front, cheer yourself up and start again. 


Yep, not the best day.


I am however, grateful for the world's best mother, coffee and sweet treats :D

Frugal warmth

As a general rule, I struggle with the cold.  In winter I walk around with just my nose poking out from layers, and I eat more food to stay warm.  Some of this has to do with having suffered from an underactive thyroid. 


Hilariously, I've been known to go to bed with a hot water bottle in the height of summer.  To say I got cold when my thyroid was at its worst is a massive understatement!


Tips for staying warm (that normal people can use too!):


hot drinks - cup of cocoa, coffee, tea, herbal teas - keep you warm and keep fluids uppolar fleece is your friend - invest in a decent polar fleece or two, quality polar fleeces really are worth it, can often pick them up second hand save up and insulate your house - a well insulated house makes a bit difference if you can afford to do soheater - figure out what is most affordable and suitable for your home, often councils offer services to come and advise people on their best options.  I personally love a wood fire if I am at home all day, b…

Pain and persistence

I've experienced low level to high pain most days for the last two years, and on and off from when I was a teenager.  In a weird kind of way, it could be said that I am an expert at dealing with pain.  Some days like today are not so bad and I can find ways to deal with the pain relatively easily, other times the pain hits like a sledge hammer and my response has to be bigger and better.  Some days, we must persist and focus on something else to stay sane. 


My pain management strategies vary and depend on the degree of pain and the type of pain, these include:
pain management medication, take as necessary and follow the instructions on the medicine box.  If pain persists seek urgent medical advice.  There are nurse lines that are available 24/7 (in Australia) that can help with advice on how to proceed.distraction, sometimes the best thing that I can do is find a way to distract myself from persistent low level pain.  For example, find a good television program to curl up in front o…

Get me out of here!!!

Every few days, if I have not left the house because I have not been well enough I get a bit of cabin fever.  Today, I am feeling a bit stuck in the four walls even with my brief sojourn outside to pick a salad for dinner. 


My mum has the most awesome garden from which to pick things.  Admittedly I find her garden totally overwhelming because it is so big, and I do not tend to garden for pleasure.  I think a few pots with salad greens are an achievable thing to aim for.  Arugula and rocket seem to be the most versatile and hardy salad greens at the moment.  The Arugula is growing almost like a weed, it grows as fast as we can pick it and has not suffered the wilting as much as other plants did in the heat wave we had.


Anyway, I get cabin fever bad, and when I am as unwell as I am at the moment, going for a walk down the hill and along the beach, a good solid 45 minute stroll, just is not an option for cheaply fixing my cabin fever.  Obviously, if you are chronically ill it affects your…

Happiness is...

Happiness is...

...a hot cup of caramel flavoured coffee in a cheerful pink mug.
...flowers fresh from the garden in a vase on my desk.
...drizzly weather after days of summer heat, autumn is flirting with us today in Tasmania, and I am loving it.

When life gets overwhelming I try and remember to write down at least three things that I am grateful for, that make my heart sing.  I saw it on a documentary as a way to stay centred and happy and it does help.  I hate being forced to do it, it's something I do, when I take some time to be quiet and still.  

Today I am feeling particularly grateful to be given hope.





Guilt and innocence

One of the challenges of having chronic health issues, that have impacted my ability to live my life as I would like, is guilt.  Many a night has been spent struggling with feeling bad because I felt that I caused a burden to my family and people I knew for being sick.  Sure, I knew it has never been my fault and yet this emotion proved difficult to deal with.

So how do you deal with the feeling of guilt?  Well, first you accept that a feeling is all it is, and that it will pass.  Second, you look at the facts, the fact that it's not your fault that things have happened that you did nothing to help along.  People sometimes get sick, and it's often not their fault.  You understand that being young and sick is difficult and that a lot of people will not understand.

You also understand that the people that blame you are ignorant and sometimes lazy thinkers.  It is easier to blame someone for being sick than to get up and help.  Do not misunderstand me, some illnesses benefit dramat…

Getting my geek on

I was the teenager that used to quietly sit down in the college library and read the British Medical Journal and medical reference books while my contemporaries read Dolly and thought they had blokes all figured out.  The delusion of understanding for five seconds after discovering they are from Mars is, I must admit, a lovely feeling.

And yet, I ended up focussing on what I like to call the 'good girl' subjects, English, Sociology, Creative Writing.  It will come as no surprise to you that I was sick for much of my college education, and though I would have loved to do more academically, I did well half the time just attending classes. 

Life conspired against my good girl aspirations and I've had to learn to be a strong woman instead, and pick my battles.  Conserve my energy for what matters.  The older I get, the better I get at it, but it's never easy.

So, a few posts ago, I mentioned Reverse T3.  Now, if you've read the research and the blogs coming out of the US…

Chief Confusion Officer

I spent a significant amount of time today trying to get my mind around the policies and procedures governing some of the online work that I, and other members of my family are looking at doing in the future. 

The writing that I had to try and wade through gave me a headache and the response from the so called customer service personnel made me conclude that these global organisations are hiring far too many Chief Confusion Officers who are far too good at their jobs.

As someone who was once compared to Humphrey in the BBC TV series Yes Minister, and can speak geek with the best of them, I found the whole experience quite alarming.

You know you are in trouble when an explanation by a global communication company starts out with phrases anything like, "it's a simple three step process".  Yes, a simple three step process to a minor mental breakdown! 

Have you had any experiences with Chief Confusion Officers recently?

You look good

Some people say to me, with the best heart in the world, and coming from a very loving place, "well, you look good". 

That's the difficulty, if you do the basics, most of the time, eat well and exercise when you can, you will be healthy.  Your skin will glow if you eat plenty of carrots, go for walks in the sunshine and eat fruit.  But you still might be sick.  The difficulty for the person fighting everyday is that we stay inside when we feel and look our worst usually, we have learnt ways and means of looking our best, and we can be as sick as a dog and appear to be well.

So, today's lesson is simply this, do not judge a person's illness by their looks, looks can be incredibly deceiving!

Hormones, viruses and other distractions.

So, not only do I have Hashimoto's but I am still suffering the affects of post viral syndrome.  For the first time ever, I am confident that we will be able to fix that and dampen down the autoimmune attack on my thyroid.  It's a really big ask, and after and hour and a half of listening to the scientific approach taken by my new doctor I am confident that he is a specialist in fixing these problems.  I had a type of glandular fever (not the proper medical term) of the non-kissing variety, when I was 19 and apparently, this, combined with my thyroid disease is not making my life as pleasurable as I would like.

The doctor also thinks that my cortisol is far too low, and I am doing a saliva test, as this is far more accurate than the blood test, a previous GP conducted.  10/10 for being in the ball park though.  The World Health Organisation advocates the use of saliva cortisol testing.  When you realise that your cortisol changes naturally throughout the day, this approach, to …

Fog ahead!

To say I feel lousy today really does not do what my body is putting me through justice.  And, as much as this is a pain, literally, it was a good day to see the doctor.

When asked by the new doctor to rate my energy out of 10, I rated it at 2, that gives you an idea of how well I feel.  Personally, 2 was being optimistic and overstating how I feel.

I have found a doctor that knows more than me about this condition and is happy to run tests not covered by Medicare.  I pay for the tests out of my pocket, and am happy to do so if it means that I feel better sooner rather than later.  It does make me angry that the lack of knowledge from most general practitioners, and health bureaucrats is going to lead to some serious dents in my savings. 

Am in too much pain and too foggy to write more.   Hopeful that I will make a recovery within weeks and feel better in days.  Appreciated the doctor's focus on medical science rather than diet and exercise, both of which are incredibly difficult w…

Insomnia and other challenges.

Insomnia...another symptom of your thyroid having a mind of its own.
When things in my body are running like clock-work then I can have a cup, or two, of espresso strength coffee with a dash of milk and I am off to the land of nod. 

But, other times, I can drink industrial strength camomile tea, press all the reflexology points for relaxation with a foot massage, write a journal entry, feel as calm as a monk on sabbatical, and I still won't sleep.  Like right now.  Oh well, cue the rain forest music, and I might put the heater on, and some socks and try the sleeping thing again.

Another symptom is feeling the cold, even when it's hot.  And being hot, when it is cold.  Yep, what a way to drive the people you live with crazy and be driven crazy by their insistence that it is in fact, hot in summer.  Who would have thought?! 

Alright, back to try the sleeping thing...

In defence of coffee and other legal joys!

If you seek out the advice of a naturopath, the first thing they will do, while mentally planning their vacation to Vanuatu on the fees you pay, is tell you to give up alcohol, coffee and tea and usually red meat as well.  To ensure that you are thoroughly lacking fun food options they will quite happily rule out sugar too and suggest that you keep the carbs to a minimum.

I've done it, given it all up, and I told everyone from the local shop assistant to the post man, that I felt  better.  I didn't, I just felt virtuous.  I've never found that my life has been enhanced by taking away the coffee, or the occasional glass of red, or block of chocolate. 

Hilariously, I've felt worse on almost all health kicks I've been on.  Probably because they never treated the core problem.  Thyroid disease can not be treated by taking away the sugar, coffee or the occasional wine.  I usually feel better when I eat sugar, hell, I crave sugar, it's part of this horrible disease, I…

Hashimotos

I am living with, and trying to manage, a condition called Hashimotos Thyroiditis, a type of autoimmune thyroid disease.  It means that my body is attacking my thyroid and eventually it will no longer work (as the disease progresses).  There have been cases where the autoimmune attack has stopped for up to 8 years, but it seems that it eventually does progress to zero function.  The thyroid is necessary to life, so for the rest of my life I am looking at taking a thyroid hormone on a daily basis to replace the thyroid hormone that is produced normally in healthy people (if that's you, lucky you!).

The research to date, that I have read, suggests that this disease switches on when major hormonal changes occur e.g. puberty, pregnancy, menopause.  Like all autoimmune diseases, it affects far more women (around 80%), than men.  For me it switched on at puberty (based on my symptoms) and as a result my time of month was pure hell.  So much so, that I went to hospital because I was scare…