Pregnant Over 40

You know, our society has a greater amount of women having children over 40.  On purpose.  I have to say that I find that completely nuts.  Wait, wait! Hold up!  I’m not being judgemental, I’m being bloody honest.

I’m 42 and 15 weeks pregnant.

ONLY 15 weeks.  The first 13 were awful.  My boobs were so sore and sensitive that crossing my own arms became impossible let alone sleeping on them.  Forget that!  I’d weep just thinking about it.  Please keep in mind that I’m only just entering my second trimester and I’ve already gone up TWO cup sizes.  Dear lord, help me!  Then there was the constant nausea and occasional bouts of “kill me now” vomiting sessions.  All the time.  Forget this morning sickness shit.  It was 24/7 sickness.  I’d crave something, eat it and then that same thing would make me sick as a dog.  Evil, evil little parasite.

I wouldn’t change a damn thing.  Except maybe the age I am doing this.  Again.

My first child, a brilliant, caring, gorgeous daughter, was also a little surprise bundle of joy when I was just 20 years old.  The apple of my eye.  The one thing I did right in life.  My one and only child…or so I’ve thought for 23 years.  Yep.  There are 23 years between my two children.

I’ve done the pregnancy both ends of the spectrum.  Neither were planned.  Neither are regretted.

 

Edited:

January 31, 2016:  this blog had not been published at the time due to my simply forgetting to finish it.  Things have changed since this was written.  At 19 weeks I had no choice but to terminate my pregnancy due to serious health issues.  Let me just say it was the hardest decision I have ever had to make.  One that a part of me will always be very upset about.  I cried throughout the procedure as well as afterwards and on some level will always regret things not progressing as they should.  Yes, I know things worked out for “the best” but it still sucks big fat sweaty monkey balls.

On a side note, I am pro-choice and always will be.  But I have to say that the whole procedure was something that I’d never want to go through but once.  It wasn’t pleasant and affected me quite deeply.  I’m glad of course, of being able to have a choice, but it still wasn’t easy physically nor mentally.

 

Our little boy whom we named Colton George William.  Never really made it here, but will never be forgotten.

 

 

 

Copyright © 2012-2016 Sandy Monk/Unleashthehounds blog. All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ~ UNLEASHTHEHOUNDS ~ ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Sandy Monk, and may not be used, copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2012-2016

January 2015 Journal

I’ve decided to keep a journal of sorts. Not a rendition of my day but more a record of my ups and downs and aches and pains. Not a lot of fun for you all I’m sure but I’ll be updating each month with as many days as I remember to do. Some just won’t qualify an entry as it’ll just be a regular day.

Today is January 18, 2015 and it’s actually day two of being down and slightly depressed. Insomnia has kicked in due to the constant pain in the right elbow which has been unbearable of late. Some days it’s not so bad but last couple the pain has radiated up to my shoulder and down to my fingers. I can’t lie on my right side as the pressure makes it worse. I can’t lie of my left side cause my elbow screams unless crooked a certain way. Laying on my back or front are my only choices and I hate sleeping in those two positions. Life can be cruel at times I’ve noticed.
So no sleep which obviously makes me tired which automatically makes me cold, cold makes my arm hurt more and the cycle continues. Just shoot me. 😛
The depression I’ve noticed seems to hit harder this time of year which I think has much to do with the fact that we should up our thyroid meds during the winter to compensate for the cold weather (new fact I was not aware of until recently) and a lack of sun. This winter has been cold and grey. I miss the sunny winter days. I want those back.
I’ve noticed today that I am getting an ache in my left knee. I’m hoping it’s just because of the damp cold that has settled in lately.
Damn, I cannot wait to get my meds sorted out. I want my energy back so I can get stuff done, shed some weight and help rid myself of some of these aches and pains.
Oh, and spring, pleeeaaaasse get here soon. 🙂

Copyright © 2012-2015 Sandy Monk/Unleashthehounds blog. All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ~ UNLEASHTHEHOUNDS ~ ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Sandy Monk and may not be used, copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2012-2015

Tired doesn’t really begin to cover it

I’ve forgotten what it’s like to not be tired. And who knew there could be so many levels of tired!
There’s the pulled an all nighter tired. Partied all night tired (and hung over). There’s the new mum tired (which lasts from pregnancy to late teens, early twenties lol).
Then there is hypothyroid tired. This tired I had never experienced before my early twenties. This tired seeps right into your bones. It saps every ounce of energy, motivation and lust for life you’ve ever had right out of you.
You are so tired, you actually don’t care that you have to get up and go to work, or you’ve agreed to go out but you’ve now changed your mind as you simply don’t have the energy to be around people. The effort in getting ready to go out when every cell in your body is telling you not to, is astounding. I’m not sure I could honestly describe it to anyone that hasn’t had the displeasure of experiencing it.
For me, the tired began when I became pregnant. As to exactly at what point normal pregnancy tired grew into hypothyroid tired, I’m not really sure. They seem to have merged and become one as one lead to the other. So I had the first trimester tired which is pretty normal. You find yourself falling asleep earlier in the evening, or for an involuntary nap. It happens quite often during those three months and is all very normal. The second trimester I found my energy came back and it was relatively normal. The third trimester, everything is off. I found this was when my emotions really started to scatter, however this was also the time where sleep wasn’t coming as easy as it did previous months. Finding a position that was comfortable became increasingly difficult as the term neared its completion. Combine lack of sleep, being poked and prodded from the inside out by the baby (and damn doctors), having to pee all the time (and only a drop or two despite it feeling like you’re going to pee like a race horse) and other general malaise that accompanies the wonders of creating a child.
The baby arrived and I had the usual tired that you would expect from sleeping with one ear and eye open in case she should make any sound or movement during the night. Plus we must not forget the broken sleep because of the nighttime feedings. Now I was lucky in the fact that she started sleeping through the night fairly young and you heard no complaints from me let me tell you. I still wasn’t sleeping properly and although constantly tired, I didn’t think much of it. It was expected so not unusual in the least. My mood swings were still around and were not showing signs of improving any and even I found that highly annoying.
It was a few years ago now, but I believe my daughter was nearing her second birthday when I developed heart palpitations. They weren’t all the time at first but they quickly became a part of my every day life. My heart is not something I really want to chance messing around with, especially now with a young toddler.
So off I went to my family doctor. He ordered an echocardiogram (ECG) and various blood tests. I honestly have no idea what tests he ordered as he said he was simply covering all the bases. He did speak of my possibly having a prolapsed valve but he was quick to assure me that my life wouldn’t really change if that were to end up being the outcome. Freaked me out a little but figured I’d wait to find out the results before truly worrying.
Tests came back and my heart was normal (many would beg to differ but hey, who am I to argue with medical facts 😛 ). The test for diabetes was negative, my blood sugar levels were well within the norm. Hmmmm it seems my thyroid was the culprit and was completely out of whack. He proceeded to tell me that I’d have to be on pills for the rest of my life and that I’d need to come in for regular blood tests to monitor my levels. For the first year, he wanted to see me every three months so that we could adjust my levels accordingly.
And so started my journey. But it hasn’t ended there. In fact, it has only truly begun. The above is ALL the information he told me about my condition. That was it. He said the Synthroid would help me feel better. He never said feeling better means all my symptoms go away. I took feeling better to be exactly that, I would feel better than I have in quite some time but may not be back to where I was before I was hypothyroid.
Here’s the bitter truth. Although I felt better, I never truly lost any of my symptoms. My heart palpitations would come back if my levels were off, I was always tired but not to the point where I could happily stay in bed and watch the world go by like I was before. My moodiness was really the only thing that went and stayed gone.

Until about 4 years ago. They all came back plus some. I was ending a bad marriage and to say the break up was rough is an extreme understatement. During that time, there was the house renovation and I lost my job (I was the main breadwinner in the house). Stress was my breakfast, lunch and dinner. I felt like I was being pushed and kept at the edge of the cliff and just one more thing added to my plate would be enough to send me over into that deep black abyss.
Yes, with the over the top emotions and the bone deep tiredness came depression…all on top of the stress I was already experiencing. I thought I was losing my mind some days. I didn’t know which way to turn as I was being pulled everywhere. I was the one people came to for help, direction, or just to listen to their problems. I didn’t have anyone to do the same. Trudging on and pushing through it was my only option. Oh, did I mention looking for employment in a dying city wasn’t the most joyful experience either. That really helped with the depression of course.
I was gaining weight hand over fist. I wasn’t making the best choices food wise at that point as I was passed the point of actually caring. Unfortunately, my separation from my husband grew darker and more turbulent which added to my depression and stress. I also started having bouts of insomnia. Those bouts have turned into a regular thing where I have to be absolutely bone dead exhausted to actually sleep. Other than that, every night I fight to sleep and I always wake up somewhere between 3-4 o’clock in the morning. I fight again to get back to sleep and usually do…right before my alarm goes off.
I’m still fighting the weight, roller coaster ride of emotions, black abyss of depression etc., but I have gained some life altering insight: it’s all fixable.

Thanks to a couple of Facebook pages, it gave me enough hope to start digging and doing my own research to find out that many, if not all, of the symptoms or issues I am experiencing is due to my thyroid and/or wrong dosage/medication. I have an appointment next week and I’m armed with the tests I want done and why and also that I want my meds to be changed to NDT. I’m done with Synthroid. I’m done dealing with “Air Hunger” because of my medication. I’m done having to put up with my symptoms every day for the rest of my life. I’m done with being short changed by my family doctor.

I’m starting my journey forward to a better life and more importantly, a better, healthier me.

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I have 40 of these symptoms.

Copyright © 2012-2015 Sandy Monk/Unleashthehounds blog. All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ~ UNLEASHTHEHOUNDS ~ ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Sandy Monk and may not be used, copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2012-2015

Tattoos: Still Taboo

First off, I want to state that I have tattoos. I love my ink and have many more planned. My SO also has ink and coincidently he has more planned.

Yes folks, tattoos are like chips, you simply can’t stop at just one.

However, not everyone appreciates them. Those that don’t can include family, friends and employers. Some occupations seems more lax than others regarding visible ink.

In my case, my mother absolutely HATES tattoos in general, but especially on women. And especially on her daughters or granddaughters.

My first tattoo was a large portrait of my heart dog, Zeus. He died at the age of 13 and I’ve yet to have a connection with any dog like I did with him. We had been through everything together. So naturally when he grew sick, I wanted a permanent memorial.

I’ve always wanted a tattoo but could never decide on what I wanted. But this, this was it. It took me 6 months to research an artist I felt was going to do a good job. I think I worried more about him getting it right than the pain. Lol! Yes, the pain was on my mind too. But I needn’t have worried, Bob of Studio 123 in St. Catharines, Ontario, did a fabulous job.

I’m proud of all my tattoos. They are not for anyone one but me. Each of them mean something special and I do not regret any of them.

All my mother said when she saw Zeus’ portrait was it had better be temporary. When she saw my second piece, she forbade me from having another. Keep in mind I was 36 when I got my first one lol. With each additional piece of artwork, I heard disdain, disappointment and zero understanding.

I’ve yet to have negative feedback from any employer. However, being in an office setting I do understand that there are times I do need to cover up and I respect that.

Ink work, like everything else in our lives, is a personal choice. Whatever side of that coin you are on should be respected. My tattoos don’t make me any less good at my job or any less human. Being ink free also doesn’t make you any better than me or anyone else either.

I don’t care if you don’t have ink. My tattoos are not for you. I do hope you’d see the skill behind them though, if nothing else.

Oh, and ask before you touch someone’s tattoos. You’d be surprised how much friendlier the reception would be. 😉

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His name and his paw print are new here. Bob also did those as well as touch up his face some (which is why his eyes stand out so much) as it had faded just a little. You can also see a little of my triquetra tattoo. The wording along the three sides are Faithful Loving Guardians.

And since my Zeus portrait is the oldest, figured I’d also post the newest. This one is less than a week old at the time of this post and it was only two days old at the time of the picture.
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Copyright © 2012-2015 Sandy Monk/Unleashthehounds blog. All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ~ UNLEASHTHEHOUNDS ~ ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Sandy Monk and may not be used, copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2012-2015

Grandad

Today was his memorial. The service was fabulous. And it was fitting that it was snowing. My Grandad “hated” snow so we’d always call him and joyously give him a weather report.

We miss you.

The above was written just after we left the chapel for the service. It wasn’t snowing when we went in and didn’t stick around very long but it was lovely to see.

As kids, and adults if the truth be known, we’d call up Grandad the moment it started snowing and give him a weather update. Us kids loved to tell him the “good” news and he just loved being the winter scrooge. Of course this fueled our desire to tell him again the next time.

So yes, it was fitting that it was snowing yesterday. Whether that was the gods way of telling us that he was at peace, I have no idea. I’d like to think so.

My grandfather was not a religious man in any sense of the word. He’d never attend Sunday service with my grandmother on the odd time she’d go. He did attend Christmas Eve service but I think it was more because he liked the Christmas carols personally.

I must say I was extremely disappointed that my cousin opted to make this a very religious service. It was clearly more for her than a service that portrayed who he was and what he stood for. Plus I hear she’s doing a full catholic memorial at her church for him too. I say nothing because what’s the point?

I am also aware that his loss is still raw for all of us and we all cope in our own way. Being Pagan, I find making it religious when he wasn’t, ruffles my feathers. I can’t say I’ve ever heard him speak out loud of his religious beliefs if he ever had them. When he found out that I was following Pagan paths, he didn’t offer an opinion but did ask questions about it. It was a quiet acceptance.

But this isn’t about religion, mainstream or otherwise. This is about a man who was highly intelligent, had common sense in spades and kept his opinions to himself. I’d say those separate qualities are rare in this day and age, let alone all three in the same person.

I personally think I still have much to learn from him. I’m hoping I can live my life as he did his, to the beat of his own drum, and to be as equally successful in life. Rich in family and friends.

Grandad on his 90th birthday

My Grandad on his 90th birthday.

Copyright © 2012-2015 Sandy Monk/Unleashthehounds blog. All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ~ UNLEASHTHEHOUNDS ~ ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Sandy Monk and may not be used, copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2012-2015

Before my Journey was a Journey

As my first post on my thyroid journey attests to, I simply was ignorant to what being hypothyroid meant.  I knew my grandmother had it on my father’s side.  I also knew that meant I’d be on medication for life.  Outside of that I really knew nothing.

But my story goes further back than that.  After my daughter was born, and even during the pregnancy, I gained a lot of weight.  Looking back that should have been a trigger since the first 5 months of pregnancy I couldn’t keep anything down but chocolate milk and oranges.  That was all I ate.  I took my materna vitamins of course, but food in general made me want to hurl just thinking about it.  Between the lack of appetite and the baby depleting my own body’s nutrients, you’d think I’d be losing weight hand over fist.  But no, I was gaining at an extraordinary rate.  So much so, my doctor became quite anxious about it.

Now here’s the thing.  Just about every woman that gets pregnant has thyroid issues during and approximately 12 months after.  Once the hormones regulate, the thyroid included, all is good.  Except for 20% of us.  Nope.  For us, the thyroid stays f*%@d up.

Now couple that with the knowledge that one of the significant signs of being hypothyroid is significant weight gain over a relatively short amount of time and the inability to lose it.

So why is it no one thought to check my thyroid?  They checked me for Diabetes and various other things, but not once did TSH come up in conversation nor on the blood tests to be done.  Yes I’m aware it’s easier to look back but still, I expect doctors to know more than I do.  That’s literally why they get paid the big bucks and I’m left waiting for my appointment for 3 hours.   Their time is precious, ours is not.

Dry skin.  OMG, dry skin.  For me it is especially along the hair line and scalp.  Speaking of hair, mine turned dry and dull and no amount of moisturizing did the job.  It was awful.  And being blonde, it looked and felt like straw.

I have spoken of the mood swings.  Ah yes.  Insomnia.  Welcome to never sleeping well again.  And seeing as you are already tired as hell all the damn time, no sleep helps with that soooo much.
Wait for it!  If you thought that was bad, wait until you get brain fog.  That’s when you couldn’t hold a coherent thought in your head for more than just a few seconds without losing it in that mental abyss forever.  I have become the post it queen!  I write things down everywhere.  I find them later and have no idea what the significance of it is, but I have it written down.  Lol!  Memory, or lack of rather.  I used to have a mind like a steel trap.  I could remember details for my job that had my bosses astounded at times.  Now I’m lucky if I remember to put on underwear.  Ok.  That’s a slight exaggeration, but you get where I’m coming from.  Again.  Queen of the post it notes.  They become your savior and nemesis all rolled into one little sticky package.  I hate them but I know I need them.

My nails grew brittle and hard.  They’d break just looking at opening a pop can or the like.

I grew restless.  Truly relaxing was a fantasy.

I developed joint aches.

I started to snore and heavily.

Oh, and gallbladder pain.  I developed gallstones and although I am still doing research on that, what I’ve read points to this too stemming from my out of whack thyroid.

Heart palpitations.  That was a little freaky.  I think most of us will tolerate a little unusual something going on in different areas, but the heart isn’t one of them.

I’m not sure these are all the symptoms I had, but they are the ones that stood out in my mind the most.  Seeing as this was 20 years ago too.  Mind you, some I’ve simply never lost, they just improved substantially.  I’ve also gained some or they’ve significantly worsened over the last couple of years.

Again, my symptoms worsening or new and improved ones, from my research so far at this point tells me that this is because of the Synthroid.  And I know for sure the “Air Hunger” or dyspnea is CAUSED by my medication.  Now that was just wonderful news.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Synthroid is NOT the only medication available.  In fact, NDT or natural desiccated thyroid is out there.  It is regulated and has been around for much longer than Synthroid.  PLUS, it isn’t just T4.  Since it is a natural substance, it has all the hormones present.

Again, my recommendation is research, research, research.  Find out what is best for YOU.  Your body, and mind, will thank you for it.

 

 

Copyright © 2012-2015 Sandy Monk/Unleashthehounds blog. All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ~ UNLEASHTHEHOUNDS ~ ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Sandy Monk and may not be used, copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2012-2015

A Memorial for my Grandad

My Grandad was a pretty amazing man. Like most things when growing up, you don’t tend to appreciate or even acknowledge such things. It’s not until years later when you truly understand what life was like for them that the feeling and acknowledgement of awe germinates and grows.
My Grandad was like that. Always a quiet man. Small in stature, quick to joke around and always, and I mean always “projecting”. A highly intelligent man, he worked for IBM for many years and had a home computer many years before most. The time when DOS was the only form of computer language. There wasn’t Windows or Apple back then. He’d write his own video games and was always tinkering with televisions and radios.
He was adventurous and had a strong case of wanderlust. He was always travelling. Whether it was driving through southern Europe on family vacations, sailing along the South of France, jetting back and forth between Canada and England…he was always going and doing.
Being born in England in 1920, he was raised in a country that was still in recovery from WWI. The war had only just ended in 1918 so there was plenty of evidence of a war-torn country.
I honestly don’t know much of his childhood as he never really spoke of it much to anyone. It wasn’t that we never asked, he just brushed us off. For reasons that are his own, he simply wished to not speak of it.
What I do know is that during WWII, he was just a young man, still in his teens when he signed up and joined the Navy. I’m not sure of the timeline, but I do know he had a guardian angel with him for which I am forever grateful for. More than one ship he was supposed to be on and wasn’t for various reasons had gone down with no survivors. The ship that ended in naval career was hit hard and shrapnel tore through the compartment he and his friend were in. It wasn’t until he leaned down to help his friend that had been badly injured did my Grandad realize he’d been injured himself.
I say injured. If you’d ever seen my Grandad’s abdomen you’d realize that “injured” really doesn’t cover what he was. He had a huge zigzagged scar across his abdomen that for years he told us kids he was knifed. The war simply wasn’t something he spoke about. In this case I knew why and really couldn’t blame him. His whole life changed during that war. He lost his entire family with the death of his mother.
My great-grandmother used to work as a part of communications. The building she worked in was constructed so that should they be bombed close by, it would survive and they’d still be able to communicate with incoming planes, ships and the like. It was a concrete building with a flat roof. The entire structure was concrete from my understanding. The theory was it was strong enough to withstand the initial blast during a raid. What they hadn’t counted on was a direct hit. The building collapsed in on itself and there were no survivors. My Grandad had only been out of the hospital a short time after his injury when this particular raid hit.
He had been to see his Mum just minutes before the bomb hit. Just minutes. He said he heard the plane coming. It was flying low and he couldn’t understand why the siren hadn’t gone off yet. The moment the bomb hit, he said he knew it was his Mum. He cycled as fast as he could to her. It was too late. People started moving the rubble to get to possible survivors. I’m sure many really aren’t going to truly understand this, but there wasn’t much left of those that were in the building to recognize. He was only about 19 and had to wade through what was left of people he knew in hopes that he’d be able (all the while hoping not at the same time) to find his Mum. He said he walked passed her several times. It wasn’t until he recognized either the shoes or some other piece of clothing that he realized it was her. There was nothing else to identify her with. I can’t imagine having to do that at any age, let alone while still so young.
But he continued on saying that they knew something was up as Southampton (largest port in England) was absolutely stuffed full of battleships etc. one day and overnight, completely empty. The preempt to D-Day.
My grandparents were married June 5, 1944. The day before D-Day. On a side note, my daughter was born on D-Day exactly 50 years later.
And on that note we have sped up 50+ years. As I said, we had always, until my lovely outspoken daughter came along, stayed away from asking Grandad about the war. The moment she asked about it, he seemed to open up. He spoke with her often about it. Then he started speaking to all of us about it. It was fascinating to hear about the war from one that was there and had lived it. There was even a retired battleship that came into port here a few years ago. Granny and Grandad took my daughter with them to go and see it. While on the tour, she started asking him about what this or that was for and it turned out he knew more about the ship than the young man that was the tour guide. Grandad taught everyone a thing or two that day.
Hell, growing up I was the figure skater in the family. I did it for years and even taught lessons for a while. My
Grandad loved the couples dance. So he too took lessons. He was in his sixties and he did very well I must say. We spent every
Sunday at the local public rink and practiced the various dances. Just me and him. It was the only thing that he and I every had just between us two. The rink rats grew to know us by name and as he got better with the steps, we could fly across that ice at quite the speed. I thoroughly enjoyed our time together, gliding across that ice moving in sync, as smooth as glass.
His brain as well as his body was always on the go. He was the patriarch of the family. He was never one to give his opinion on much. You knew if he gave it to you, you’d best listen. He wasn’t perfect by a long shot but he was a great Grandad to all of us and an even better great-Grandad to our children. The calm voice of reason in a storm.

Grandad, I hope your skates are forever sharp, your ice never-ending and your skating partners flow seamlessly.

I love you and miss you. Rest in Peace.

Grandad
September 19, 1920 ~ December 24, 2014

Copyright © 2012-2015 Sandy Monk/Unleashthehounds blog. All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ~ UNLEASHTHEHOUNDS ~ ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Sandy Monk and may not be used, copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2012-2015