Is It Your Thyroid? Thyroid Awareness Month.

Is It Your Thyroid? Thyroid Awareness Month.

January is thyroid awareness month. Despite the fact that I’ve been taking daily thyroid supplements for almost thirty years, I was not aware of awareness month.  Even worse, like 60% of people who suffer from thyroid issues, I spent years not even being aware that I had an untreated thyroid condition.

So, although I’m writing this on the very last day of thyroid awareness month, I encourage you to be aware of thyroid symptoms all year-long because although thyroid conditions are so common (12% of the US population will develop one) that we often talk about having them like having a cold or a bad knee, the health implications of having being hyperthyroid (overactive) or hypothyroid (under active) can impact every part of your body and every part of your life.

According to the American Thyroid Association:

The thyroid’s job is to make thyroid hormones, which are secreted into the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body. Thyroid hormone helps the body use energy, stay warm and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs working as they should.

Every tissue in the body.  That sounds pretty important, huh? Yet many people suffer from vague, misdiagnosed symptoms for years before getting the proper treatment. For me, that meant spending over a year during college confined to the space between my couch and my bed.

Here are some of the symptoms to look out for

https://www.providr.com/tag/thyroid-treatments/
Source: https://www.providr.com/tag/thyroid-treatments/

 

Fatigue? Brain fog? Weight gain? Mood swings?  That sounds like just about every mom I know, so you can see how easy it is to carry on daily life while attributing symptoms to getting older or being busy.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been taking a thyroid supplement called Levothyroxine for almost thirty years. I go in every six months to get a blood test to make sure my levels are good and although I wouldn’t describe myself as a bundle of energy, I’m far from the days in college when I couldn’t walk more than ten feet without having to lie down.  Problem solved, right?

That was until a couple of years ago when I started suffering from horrible anxiety symptoms, (I wrote about it here.)

I started anti-anxiety meds and have been virtually symptom free for the past two years.  Hooray!  But then in the past year I started gaining weight and last month finally went to my doctor about it.  It went a little like this:

Doctor: What are you here for today?

Me: Well, I’ve gained ten pounds in the past several months and I wanted to see if there’s a medical reason.

Doctor: Actually, you’ve gained FIFTEEN pounds in the past year.

Me: You’re a mean doctor.

She went on to try to tell me that, “I’m getting older” and “I’m not technically OVERweight yet” and since my recent thyroid labs looked normal, I should probably just lay off the queso and margaritas for a while.  But then while she was giving me a quick look-over, she noticed some lumpiness around the right side of my neck and suggested that I go get a thyroid ultrasound and meet with an endocrinologist.

Aside from having a lab tech squirt KY lube all over the neck, the thyroid ultrasound was pretty uneventful and in the end just showed what I’ve known all along, that I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (a fancy way of saying that once upon a time, my body’s immune system decided to attack my thyroid, and now it doesn’t work any more.)

The real exciting part was meeting with an endocrinologist – and even learning that there’s such a thing as an endocrinologist.  In addition to confirming my doctor’s discovery that I have a “very easy to feel” thyroid gland (thank you?) she informed me that studies are now showing that some people’s bodies are not good at turning T4 into T3.  To which I responded, “I don’t understand the words coming out of your mouth.”

In the most simple (and potentially inaccurate) terms: The medication I’ve been taking for thirty years gives my body T4. Most people’s bodies take that T4 and turn it into T3, and T3 is the stuff that all your organs actually want and need to work properly. Well, some of us semi-defective humans’ bodies don’t do a good job of turning T4 into T3, so although thirty years of lab tests have shown that I have the right amount of T4 in my body, NO ONE HAS EVER THOUGHT TO CHECK MY F*ING T3 LEVELS, which, as you can probably tell by the all caps, are not optimal.

If you want to learn more about this in official medical terms, I recommend reading this report by Dr. Gary Pepper (there are other similar reports available, but I chose this one because how often do you get to refer to someone named Dr. Pepper?)

Now, in addition to my T4 supplement, I’m on a new T3 supplement, which may or may not make a difference in my weight gain and overall health. But at the very least, I finally have information about a condition that has impacted me for more than half of my life.

So, in honor of this final day of Thyroid Awareness Month, I encourage you to be aware. Be aware of the symptoms of thyroid disorders and just be aware in general when you don’t feel “quite right.”  And if your doctor waves you off or just says “it’s what happens when you’re in your 40s,” get a new doctor, or at the very least, stand up for yourself and your body and get a second opinion and more information.

Be aware. Be informed. You’re the only YOU that you’ve got.

For more tips on taking care of your mind and body, visit my Dusting Off My Parachute Facebook Group.

For updates on my son’s latest fart jokes and pictures of what my dog ate today, visit my Facebook Page.

Sign up for my newsletter here:

SusanneKerns.com

Take 2 Tuesday – 2 Minute Stretch for Your 10 Pound Head

Take 2 Tuesday – 2 Minute Stretch for Your 10 Pound Head

Before you jump into “Taking 2,” take 1 second and notice how you’re standing or sitting.

My guess is that you’re not sitting in a perfectly aligned, yoga like position and instead your head is jutting forward over a phone or keyboard, putting 10 pounds (YES 10 POUNDS) of pressure on your poor neck. We shouldn’t be surprised when our backs and necks hurt, we should be surprised when they don’t!

SusanneKerns.com

Now that I’ve posture-shamed you, it’s time to get into our “Take 2.”

Here’s a great little video demonstrating a series of stretches you can easily do at your desk in TWO MINUTES (and if you have 6 more minutes to spare, the guys go into a bunch of reasons you should be stretching after the exercises.)

If you don’t have 6 more minutes to spare, here’s a quick list of reasons it’s worth “Taking 2” to stretch today (and every day.)

  • Reduces muscle tension
  • Increases circulation
  • Increases energy levels due to all that great circulation
  • A great mid-day pick me up
  • Improves flexibility
  • Improves your posture

You only have one you – take care of it.

For more daily micro-resolutions, visit my Dusting Off My Parachute Facebook Group.

 

MEsearch Monday – It’s all about ME!

MEsearch Monday – It’s all about ME!

What is MEsearch?

It’s taking the time to explore and investigate, (aka research,) about “ME”! (Not, ME-me – that would be weird, I mean YOU-me.)

The point is to take at least 1-2 hours a week to do something BY YOURSELF in an effort to learn more about yourself = MEsearch!

Think of at as a date with yourself. Have fun planning it & anticipating it.

Rules: (I’m type A, sorry, there are rules.)

  • It has to be BY YOURSELF (not like alone in a forest, ‘yourself’ – you can go to a restaurant or something, but you can’t go WITH anyone else.)
  • Don’t use it to check something off your to-do list. This isn’t about being practical, it’s about making special time for yourself.
  • Choose something that is outside the norm or your comfort zone.
  • Don’t think you have to spend a lot of money. There are tons of free options.

Use Mondays to brainstorm and research our MEsearch date for the week.

Ideas to get you started:

  • Take a walk through a park you’ve never visited before
  • Have lunch at a restaurant that serves a type of food you’ve never tried before.
  • Try something you’ve had a million times a different way. Always have eggs scrambled? Try one poached this week!
  • Go to one of those ‘drink wine while you paint’ classes.
  • Attend a book reading at a local library
  • Attend a craft event at a local community center.
  • Play miniature golf.
  • Go bowling.
  • Try a trapeze class.
  • Try a hot yoga class.
  • Try a zip line.
  • Go to a film with subtitles.

What are some things you’ve been wanting to try but have been hesitant to do? Get it on your calendar and leave your ideas here in case anyone else needs ideas.

Get more daily micro-resolutions over at my Dusting Off My Parachute Group.

F-It Friday: Transform Your Life in 5 Minutes By Saying F-It

F-It Friday: Transform Your Life in 5 Minutes By Saying F-It

For those who are new to the Dusting Off My Parachute Facebook Group, F-It Friday can have a wide range of goals.

Some are of the more foul-mouthed, F-It variety, like when you finally decide that you are NEVER going to get around to super gluing the broken Christmas ornament that has been on your kitchen counter for three years. On F-It Friday, your mission is to say, “F-It”, toss it in the trash and make peace with the universe now that you don’t have to have a little porcelain tree staring at you as a reminder of every failure in your life every time you go to the kitchen to steal from your kids’ snack cabinet.

There is also an F-It with an F as in Fix It. This is when you finally do the one stupid little thing that you KNOW will only take about 30 seconds to do, and nags you every time you see it, but for some reason you have let snowball into this mentally monumental task. (Aka – the tiny unpainted part of the wall from where the baby gate mount was removed that took me 4 years and 2 minutes to fix (4 years of glaring at it, 2 minutes to actually take a Melissa & Doug paintbrush and dip it in the can of paint in the garage and dab it on the 2″ spot on the wall.)

Today, my F-It Friday felt SOOOOO GOOOOOD! Every morning, I make a bowl of oatmeal because Oprah told me to once, and because my cholesterol is the level of an 85 year old man. Every morning I dig through my measuring cup cabinet and spend 10x as long as necessary sorting through all of the cups to find my 1/2 cup. Sure, it only really wastes about 10 seconds of my life, but it wastes about 50% of my patience for the day.

The other day, while doing my favorite thing in the world, (wandering aimlessly through the Costco office supply aisle,) I came across a jumbo pack of these 3M hook-y things that usually cost more than I’m willing to splurge on a measuring cup hanging project, for a total bargain.

In under 5 minutes, I not only transformed my measuring cup cabinet, but I have transformed my daily breakfast ritual. Ahhhhhhh.

What little task can you say F-It to today?

 

Get more daily micro-resolutions at my Dusting Off My Parachute Facebook Group.

Thank You for Saying Thank You!

Thank You for Saying Thank You!

How many times a day do we remind our kids to say thank you to other parents, camp leaders, etc?

Now, how many times a day do YOU properly say thank you to people? Not a quick, “thanks” as you’re walking off, looking in the other direction, but a look-in-their-eyes, “thank you” that makes the other person feel like they are truly appreciated.

One of my best friends is amazing at this. She should come take your kids to the zoo for the day, clean your house and make you dinner and somehow thank YOU in a way that made you feel like you really did her a huge favor letting her do all those things for you. She makes saying “Thank you” an art form.

So today, say “Thank you” (and “you’re welcome” for that matter) like you really mean it whenever the opportunity presents itself.

At the grocery check out: “Thank you for not putting the ground beef on top of the strawberries, I really appreciate it!”

To your kids: “Thank you for remembering to not take your pants and underwear off at the same time so they’re wearing each other in the laundry.”

Saying Thank You makes other people feel valued and makes you realize how many kind and helpful people there are in our lives every day.

Win-Win.

Thank you for helping make the world a more thankful place today.

 

Get more daily Micro-Resolutions over at my “Dusting Off My Parachute” Facebook Group.

 

Micro-Resolution of the Day: Questionably-Sick Kid Guilt

Micro-Resolution of the Day: Questionably-Sick Kid Guilt

This is an excerpt from my Dusting Off My Parachute Facebook Group – Learn more here.

This Wish ‘n Well Wednesday is brought to you by bed.

Bed: the place my son is since the headache he went to bed with last night was still there this morning.

I think my biggest luxury in life is that I have a schedule that permits me the flexibility to stay home with a sick, or even just potentially sick kid, when needed. It is not lost on me that probably the majority of moms don’t have the option to take the day off from work to tend to a sick kid or pay for childcare to have them stay home when they have sick-ish symptoms that may or may not be the real deal.

So, although my WELL reminder today is to take that time to rest, and let your kids rest, when their bodies need it, my WISH for you is that for those days when you’re not sure if your kid has a tummyache or a TUMMYACHE, don’t be tough on yourself when you get it wrong. (Coming from the woman who had her daughter ice a broken foot she thought was just sprained for two days.)

And I wouldn’t mind a few “wishes” that his headache is the flu in disguise.

 

Join my Facebook Group, Dusting Off My Parachute for daily prompts for totally doable mini-resolutions.