Monthly Archives: September 2012
Weekly Grace, #39.
- Tears of joy for a change.
- Fashion boot weather.
- The convenience of online clothes shopping.
- Snow capped mountains in the distance, serving as a reminder of why I do love where I live.
- Not having to report for jury duty (and not having to figure out snacks and lunch as a result).
Wordless Wednesday: Autumn Thunderstorm.
Diabetes Art Day: Connections.
Inspired by this weekend’s activities in Des Moines where several members of the DOC gathered for TCOYD…and just hanging out.
(Please see more 2012 submissions at the Diabetes Art Day website.)
Weekly Grace, #38
1. Celebrating birthdays.
2. Knowing symptoms are real with blood test confirmations.
3. A couple of yummy meals out of town, inspiring me to get back to real meals at home.
4. Wandering a lighted sculpture park at night with friends, old and new.
5. Helping with the You Can Do This booth at TCOYD.
A good friend asked the Twitterverse today, “do you give yourself permission to slow down?”
It got me thinking.
I used to feel invincible, back in the day. Staying up until the wee hours, then waking up four hours later and functioning normally at school or at work. (This was before coffee and I were friends, mind you.)
Then my thyroid tanked and suddenly even ten hours did not seem enough. Once treated at a stable level, I said hello to the days of needing at least six, but usually eight hours of sleep in order to function day to day.
For over a year following the separation, I had a taste of that invincibility again. Insomnia was now to blame for staying up until the wee hours, but I could once again wake up four hours later and function normally at work (thanks to that friend named “coffee”).
Something changed recently, though. I started sleeping longer and better but I also found myself more depressed. So an adjustment was made in my happy pills.
Then last weekend happened. More familiar symptoms came rushing back – not just falling asleep at 7:30 pm Friday night and sleeping soundly until 6am the next morning, but walking around in sweats on a warm day to keep from shivering and realizing how much hair I was cleaning out of my shower and bathroom sink.
At yesterday’s endocrinologist appointment, fears were confirmed. While TSH levels would still be considered subclinical, they were higher than they had been since the last medication adjustment not long after the hypothyroidism diagnosis in 2005.
While I wait for a new dosage to arrive and start working, I need to do what my thyroid did – slow down. Give myself permission to slow down.
Stop worrying so much about what is out of my control. Stop procrastinating on the things that do need to get done. Stop taking on too many side projects.
Start being kind to my body. Start asking for help. Start focusing on the things that matter most.
Struggling. Lost. Scared.
A1C is just a number. It is just a number that may well be influenced by a thyroid suddenly gone astray after years of stability. It is not horrible, it just happens to be a tenth of a point lower than it was at diagnosis.
A change in scenery is long overdue. Shorter commute, closer to friends, closer to everything. But currently limited by a lingering legal constraint, causing more and more stress every day that passes without a move forward.
At least there is a good job with good health insurance. But changing insurance always brings billing confusion and phone calls and more stress.
I just need to know that the struggle is almost over, that I don’t have to feel lost and scared forever, that life will get better. That the all the nightmares of the past three years are almost over, and I can start feeling alive again.
Weekly Grace, #37.
- The love and the support I find online and off.
- Sundays (and other days) occupied with football.
- Lunch with old co-worker A, even if she was wearing a Packers t-shirt.
- Chocolate gelato.
- Not ashamed of going to bed at 7:30pm on a Friday night.
Look at me.
Take a really good look at me.
Can you see the diabetes? Can you see the hypothyroidism? Can you see the generalized anxiety disorder and its accompanying depression?
More than likely, you cannot.
You may have seen me test my blood sugar or take daily medications or ward off a panic attack…but just from looking at me, would a stranger see what diagnoses are written on my medical records?
The truth is, I live with these chronic conditions, and yet you cannot see them.
Talk with me.
Have a really good talk with me.
Do you know the diabetes? Do you know the hypothyroidism? Do you know the generalized anxiety disorder and its friend depression?
More than likely, you cannot.
You may hear what I have to say as I rattle off my health story, you may even live with one or more of the same conditions and can nod and agree. But do you know the daily experience of life with the diagnoses written on my medical records?
The truth is, I live with these chronic conditions, and yet you cannot know them like I know them.
(This post is in honor of Invisible Illness Week and its virtual conference, taking place today through September 16.)
Weekly Grace, #36.
- “I tried being a vegetarian, but bacon kept happening”. (Seen somewhere or other in downtown Boulder.)
- The gorgeous mountain views that greeted me upon landing back in Colorado on Monday.
- Hints of autumn.
- Gentle felines when their human is under the weather.
- That feeling of anything is possible for your favorite sports team the night before their season begins.
Crowds are not kind to the person with generalized anxiety disorder.
They are especially not kind to such a person who has been experiencing a flare-up of anxiety, enough of one that depressing feelings of hopelessness have appeared*.
Airport security lines are one thing – they are a means to an end. I cannot visit with family and friends without the hassle of the TSA.
Willingly heading into a crowd like the one at Taste of Madison is another story. I decided it would not so be so bad, not when it would allow me to spend more time with my parents on such a short weekend trip. And so, I chose not to take any anti-anxiety medication.
It turned out that I actually enjoyed myself (and the food). The only explanation is keeping track of the three-year-old nieces kept anxiety far from my mind. Even though there were three other adults doing the same, not all of us could be watching at every moment.
This is not the outcome to be expected with each experience involving crowds. It is good to know, however, that with the right attitude and distractions, anxiety in such situations can be managed without incident.
*Please know I am in good hands with the spectacular mental health professional. Overwhelmed has been an understatement the past few weeks, and that kind of feeling does tend to spiral into depression. Just trying to take everything one day at a time, and accepting that there are some things out of my control.