Hello, is it me you’re looking for?

 

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So… it’s been awhile.  Oops.  Sorry- I really had to focus on me for a bit- but I’m baaaack!

2018 is gone.  It had it’s very very high points: kicked it off with Julia’s 2nd birthday, took a trip to Kauai Hawaii, took Julia to Disney World and stayed in the Four Seasons Resort, went to Vail, Colorado  (thanks S&P Global for the opportunities), and we had a few amazing parties at our home with friends!  LET’S NOT FORGET- I started MAD MADAM MOM!

But, the end was a doozy y’all.

While I really cannot complain too much, because there are people who experienced far worse than I did- it was a rough landing to say the least.  I’m not going to harp on the details but let’s just say I was hit with medical issues (more on this for sure, but for now see blog about thyroid), had some struggles with toxic people, and had my fair share of family issues.

The medical issues are ongoing.  I’m definitely struggling to get a handle on them.  In one month I lost 17lbs and had a resting heart rate of 115-163.  While I loved the weight loss, the fatigue, lack of ability to focus, and the feeling of the flu- was miserable.  To add to it- the anxiety that weighed me down was exhausting.  The mood swings have been, for lack of a better word, insane.  I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and Grave’s disease in August.  I have been on methimazole to quell the over activity of my thyroid, and atenolol, a beta blocker, to save my heart from over doing it.  In November, I began to notice that I was gaining weight and fast.  My endo informed me, after the gazillionth blood test (I have to do those regularly now), that I was now hypo and needed to tone my meds down.  Hypo means that my thyroid wasn’t overactive, but instead now under active.  When you’re hypo, you are more prone to depression, and that has certainly reared its ugly head lately.  It’s difficult to explain.  It’s as if you’re hollow.  You go through the motions.  Top that sucker off with anxiety and it’s just a monster of a beast that you are battling on the inside. When you’re hyper, there is more anxiety.   My endocrinologist is trying to get me right in the middle- so we got flip it up and reverse it. So now, my heart rate is going back up, and I’m noticing fluctuations in weight. I’ve been on a rollercoaster and I want to get off… now.

I’ve decided to document more about Grave’s in this blog as not much is known about it and people just don’t talk about it.  While I look like I’m ok on the outside, the inside is a hot mess.  Maybe through this journey and recording it, I can help someone else.  I have scoured the internet for blogs, Facebook groups, and medical journals.  There isn’t much.  Many don’t seem to understand what it is that we, Gravies, go through.  From some of the groups I’m in, I have had this pretty good.  Here’s a “letter” that I found on one of the blogs/groups I have been following that sums it up quite well.

“A letter to you from Graves’ Disease”

Hi. My name is Graves, and I’m an invisible autoimmune chronic disease that attacks your thyroid gland.
I am now velcroed to you for life.

Others around you can’t see me or hear me, but YOUR body feels me.
I can attack you anywhere and anyhow 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!

Oh, yeah, I can make you feel very anxious or very depressed, too. I can also cause other mental health problems.

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.) Maybe you 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 to 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 thyroid meds 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.

Teeth and gum problems? TMJ? 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 doctor how debilitating I am and how sick you really feel. In all probability you will get a referral from the ‘understanding’ (clueless) doctor, 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.

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 when 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 thyroid pill” 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.

I’ve been trying to keep this next part quiet, but since you’re reading this you already know.

The only place you will get the kind of support and understanding in dealing with me, is with other people who have me. They are really the only ones who can truly understand.

I am Graves Disease.

I would be remiss not to say thank you to those of you reading this that have stepped in to help.  I cannot thank you enough for your time, generosity, and patience.  I am so thankful for my WONDERFUL endocrinologist at UVa.  My friends that work for UVa that stepped in to help when it was needed.  Neighbors and family,  I am so incredibly thankful to those of you that gave Julia some of the best memories of 2018- memories mean more to me than you can possibly imagine, and for her- they are absolutely priceless.

This year is going to be great.  Sure, there’s going to be obstacles, but I have this gut feeling that I am strong enough to take them on.  I’m learning to just cut out the toxic people in my life and spend more time with those that deserve it.  I’m learning to say no.  I’m learning to focus on what’s important to ME.  I’m learning that I’m not alone.  I’m learning to ask for help.  I’m learning how to communicate better.  I’m learning that life is what YOU make it.

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So here we are.  2019.  New blog post.  New attitude.  New directions.  New yummy foods to share!  Yaaaasss queeeen!

If you just want to follow this blog for the food stuff, they will all be listed under Recipes- I will take no offense! 🙂

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Starting off 2019
– I have taken on a new role as Administrative Director for the Greene County Chamber of Commerce.  Fun!  It’s a position that I can manage on my own time and from home- I am super grateful for the opportunity and excited for it!
-My toddler is turning 3!  It feels like only yesterday I was in the hospital (36 hours of labor later) cuddling with my newborn.
-I began a FB page called The Charged Elephant to share political posts (Republican) along with two wonderful friends.  Follow if you’re interested!
-I joined the Greene County Republican Committee in 2018 and look forward to being active in that group.  Don’t worry- I won’t put too many of my political views on here.  Just a dash or a sprinkle here and there.  ;o)
-We are finishing a few projects around our home this year.  We have purchased a few rugs from Ruggable- and our casa seems to really be coming together.  While, yes, we’ve decorated- we also have had plans for a few rooms so we couldn’t really put anything permanent.  Example- our current TV room will be an office when we get the basement finished- WHICH is happening this year!  Woohoo!  Right now our basement is serving as our theater area- it ain’t fancy.  We have our outdoor chaise lounge chairs (they’ve got to be inside off the patio anyway), our portable outdoor screen, and a projector. Ha!  Oh and let’s not forget our portable party PA system speaker- it’s ghetto fabulous y’all but it’s fun!
-We are also fixing up the backyard some more!  Moving the fence back to our actually property line and cleaning up the woods to be more park like.  More room for Julia to play!
-We have a few trips in mind, but we are going back to Hawaii in March.  Yes, I know, I said I’d never go back- but why not!  Steve has a conference there, so Julia and I will tag along!  This time I will be smarter on food spending LOL.  We clearly are on a budget.  Last time it was $17 for a grilled cheese sammich.  Maybe I’ll bring my Instant Pot HAHAHA.  I didn’t realize though you can request microwaves in your rooms- sooooo definitely doing that if I can! I’m excited that Julia is a tad older and will be able to enjoy it even more this time around.

So there you have it.  I complained a little bit, I bragged a little bit, and I posted a little bit.  All the things a blog should have!  But wait there’s more!  Right after this post, I’ll be posting a recipe I’ve promised for a while now- COLD NIGHT SOUP!  Perfect for the winter weather coming ahead!  Freeze this baby and you can have a few dinners set for those days you just don’t wanna.

Stay tuned for:
-Mashed Potatoes (Instant Pot)
-Cold Night Soup (Instant Pot)
-Sugar free all natural Strawberry Jam (Instant Pot)
-Shephards Pie (Instant Pot)
-Creamed Corn Pudding (Instant Pot)
-Sausage & Bacon Stuffing (Instant Pot)
-Twice Baked Loaded Mashed Potato Bites (Instant Pot/Oven)
-White Chicken Chili (Instant Pot)
-Chicken and Dumplings (Instant Pot)
-Brats (Instant Pot)
-Yogurt Parfaits (Instant Pot)
-Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake (Instant Pot)
-Orange Chicken and Rice (Instant Pot)
-Homemade Apple Cider (Instant Pot)
-Making your own BACON!
-Making your own Chicharones/Cracklins/Pork Rinds
-How to Deep Fry a Turkey
-Pizza on the Big Green Egg
-Coconunt & Pinapple Chipotle Shrimp Kabobs (Big Green Egg)
-Honey Cilantro Lime Salmon (Big Green Egg)
-Montreal Flank Steak (Big Green Egg)
-and much much much more!!!!

And if you subscribe to Sun Basket- I have cooked all of my meals in the Instant Pot!  So look for those too!

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