Hypothyroid and Life’s Little Challenges

Life has changed for me a lot over the last couple of years.  Shortly after losing the baby I lost my job…exactly 30 days after actually.  Now the job opportunities in southern Ontario are not exactly lucrative.  One of the only guaranteed jobs available is in a call center and yeah, not exactly appealing but always there as a last resort if need be.

Unemployment is no joy and being on unemployment insurance is no picnic either but at least the bills are getting paid, right?  Six months goes by with me applying for anything and everything locally for my skill set and they are either not paying a lot or it’s too far away to make the travel worth what they are offering.  At this point, desperation is starting to set in because I’ve been unemployed for far too long and if I wish to stay living with the man I love, I need to be working so I don’t drive him nuts.

When you are on unemployment insurance for x amount of weeks, they send you to a mandatory information session regarding resumes, successful interviews etc.  They also discuss retraining.  I had been thinking about that but wasn’t sure it was something I could do given I’m (at the time) 43 years old and been out of the school system for a long time (I don’t want to crunch those kind of numbers personally lol).  Well one of the options was a program called Second Career.  There were quite a few requirements needed in order to qualify for applying to this, and I mentally checked them all off and decided I might as well find out more.  Long story short (this was in July) I applied, got accepted and then, with the government being what it is, I wasn’t inform of my acceptance or denial until after the school year had already begun in September.  Luckily I was instructed to go ahead and get my books etc and attend.  Three days in I had to go and fill out all the paperwork to make it official.

Now going back to school amidst 18-23 year old students was a little intimidating to say the least.  I will admit that I didn’t have the best study habits when I was younger, but then I was blissfully unaware that all of my grades in high school really would have a major impact on my life.  And yes I was told that, but really, what do parents truly know of life?  Oh to do certain things different if one could.  *sigh*

But my biggest fear was brain fog.  Would it keep me from absorbing the information that I needed to retain not only for that class but for the tests?  I was terrified that brain fog would add to the disadvantages I already faced as a mature student.  My first semester was interesting and quite the adjustment to say the least.  It took a while to get used to school life once again, but I was thoroughly enjoying myself and had met a good group of people.  Although, when one of the professors told us there is a 65% drop out rate, I was freaking out just a little on the inside wondering what the hell I’ve just got myself into.

My first term came and went and ended with a 86% GPA.  Not too shabby having been out of school for so long.  I knew that it was only going to get harder from here as we’d been warned over and over that it is one of the toughest programs the school has.  As a side note: seriously? Who says that to students, especially mature ones?  The ones that still aren’t sure they’ve made the right decision but are trying their damnedest to succeed anyway.  Grrrr.

Anyway, second semester was much harder as I got sick on three separate occasions which ultimately meant I missed far too many classes.  Due to that, although I had a great classmate and friend that gave me a copy of her notes, I still struggled to catch up and continued to struggle right up until the end of the first year.  *phew!*  I made it, but my GPA dropped drastically.  My struggling to catch up for some reason hindered my learning current information as I was worried about what I didn’t know so much.  I really was an evil circle.  But I passed all the classes but at what price?  The stress of not being able to catch up caused me to feel like I was constantly treading water which added more stress.  The insomnia didn’t help either.  I was exhausted.  Trying to keep the brain fog at bay, study, work and life….all trying to take priority of my time.  Some days I didn’t know which way to turn.

This first year has been a lot of fun, a lot of stress and a lot of trial and error.  I now know I need to organise my life more.  I need to allot studying into designated time slots and stick with it.  I’ve made myself a goal for this year.  I want to end my second year with a 90% GPA.  I know I can do it.  I just need to get my shit in order.  Organisation means less stress which should mean more sleep, which in turn should help with keeping the brain fog at bay.

Oh and by the way, I’ve tried most electronic organisers and was left disappointed which I found to be the same even most paper organisers.  However, I found Passion Planner right before school and they have free downloads and a YouTube channel to demonstrate the many different ways you can use it.  And I’ve found it to be better than anything out there.  It is still a young company but their customer service is outstanding, they have new cover designs regularly and they have a great kickstart program as well.

http://www.passionplanner.com

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqHQiQpT0UkmF73-y9JHbCw

https://www.facebook.com/thepassionplanner/

 

I don’t normally endorse anyone, but I honestly love this system and I’m just starting my second year using the Passion Planner and won’t switch to using anything else as they just don’t compare.  🙂

#passionplanner #life #brainfog #thyroiddisease #hypothyroid #synthroid #hypothyroidism #backtoschoolafter40 #maturestudent #whatinthehellamIdoing #gluttonforpunishment

 

 

 

Copyright © 2012-2017 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 2012-2017
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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