Wednesday, August 2, 2017

"Dear Jeffrey, I love wine..."

When you and your BFF who lives in another state start drinking wine together via Facetime, and it morphs into texting Snapchat videos to each other all night, lol.  Vine it all together and you've got some funny shit right there!  Wonder what his end came out like, LOL.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Lettuce pray for rejuvenation!!!

Have wilty lettuce?  Don't toss it!  Give it a bath!!  

Fill a bucket, large bowl, or side sink with a nice refreshing ice bath,
cut the leaves off at the base (or tear them off... whatevs), and let them soak for an hour or three!!  

They'll come out crisp and happy, ready for a salad!  

Peas Love Green, baby!!

Friday, February 12, 2016

The things I shouldn't eat and why I cannot stop...

Why can't I respect my body's limitations and treat it as my temple?  My one and only, irreplaceable, vehicle of life... which it IS... my ONE and ONLY... can't get another one, ya know?  So why do I, at 45 years of age, continue to eat and drink like I'm in my 20's?  All it does is make me miserable in the wee hours of the morning and then again the next day when I step on the scale.  WTF is wrong with us for doing this??  Seriously, I know my body.  I can tell when I'm getting a cold (I mean from a mile away), I can tell when I'm low on certain nutrients, I can tell when my thyroid meds are off by even a smidgen.  So why do I continue to punish it, and my precious sleep, by eating whatever the hell suits me 'in the moment'?

Here's why I'm bitching... tonight I had a buddy date with my friend Andy and we went to a most excellent British pub restaurant which has turned out to be our 'regular place'.  Being traditional, they have all the Brit staples, including curry.  I'm talking authentic, mouthwatering, delicious Indian curry with all the fixings (if you so please) and three levels of hotness... with a twist.  They offer a 'Curry Enhancer'.  What is that, you ask?  It's about a 1/2 teaspoon of hot Indian goodness that packs the kick of hot magma in T minus 4 hours.  And of course that's what I ordered.  I LOVE the heat.  I'm a drinker of Sriracha, connoisseur of hot sauces, and overall lover of the burn... but the 'Curry Enhancer' at this place is a whole other beast entirely for me.  And I KNOW this.  There's something about it that just curdles the intestines and everything that has entered them causing some undesirable outcomes.  AND I KNOW THIS.  We have history, Mr. Enhancer and I.  I won't give you details, but let's just say it involved driving much too fast through a sleepy town white knuckling the steering wheel while freaking out that there was no public bathroom in sight.

So back to tonight.  I had it set in my mind that I would make healthy choices and order some sort of blackened fish and fresh veggies.  I'm in the middle of a 'Biggest Loser' challenge with a gang of friends (a conversation for another blog, lol) and 'failing to plan = planning to fail', so I had it mapped out - glass of white wine, fish, veggies, no bread, maybe a glass of red wine after dinner with good convo - CHECK!!  And what do I order? A glass of white wine (and red after dinner), the Indian veggie & tofu curry with rice, and that goddamn Curry Enhancer.  Are you effing kidding me???  The kind waiter nicely asks "You know a little goes a long way, right?"  Sure sure... bring it on... I love the heat.

And I did.  OMG, I LOVE the heat.  I always order my curry (at any restaurant) at medium heat, because I'm a control freak and like to be able to adjust as I go.  By that I mean adding, and adding, and adding until there's basically nothing left in the teeny side dish that was given to me with it's unheeded warning.  And there's never any problem gobbling it down - no whining about burning lips or tongue, it's not that kind of heat.  It's the kind that radiates from within, like a mini nuclear reactor just waiting for your drive home.  And drive home I did.  After much needed and enjoyed hang time, I bid adieu to my friend and hopped in the car.  No problem, happy belly.  Chit chatty with the Hubs on the drive home and enjoying some music (car dancing like a fool and being entertainment for others waiting beside me at the light, no doubt), I get about a mile from the house and giggle to myself about how I should just say f**k it and stop for some chocolate chip cookies.  And then it hits me.  Mother of all that's holy, GET TO WINN-DIXIE.  And I did, thank goodness my neighborhood one, so I know right where the potty is... and the cookies.  Again, no details are needed after that last line, but WTF is wrong with me?

Fast forward to 2:17am and I'm awake, indigestion and potty issues from the Curry Enhancer, from the cookies (of COURSE I bought them), and from the wine.  All of which I knew would effect me like this.  Me, the one who already has insomnia and sleep issues, who is now the proud owner of a 45 year old body that's starting to say "Hey, stop that shit, I can't take it" to things that in past years had never bothered me.  Don't get me wrong, I'm a young & healthy 45 year old dame, but there's just some stuff that exercise and healthy living can't stop, and that's the aging of your insides and how it reacts to stuff in the process.  Examples of said stuff that never EVER used to bother me, but now ruins my day: Dairy - too much gives me sinus congestion to the point of thinking I have the flu. Wine - two is my new limit, regardless of the span of time I ingest them, otherwise I am up all night long with a pounding heart which leads to a dumb headache.  Red wine - not all but most cause serious allergic-like reaction with full-blown sneezing fits and stuffy nose (lovely).  Alcoholic beverages - overindulgence for celebratory purposes renders me useless the following day (so sad).  Overeating - the worse indigestion and heartburn known to mankind (NEVER experienced THIS in my life, UG). Curry Enhancer - not hot sauce or Sriracha, or your regular run of the mill heat sources, but the exotic fiery thermogenesis of the devil himself.  These are what I need to avoid... and these are the things I "treat" myself to on occasion (wha...??????)

As part of my ongoing aging process I know that shit has got to change, even if it's only on those treat night occasions.  And besides, what is there in all of this that can be called a treat other than that tiny window of time that I'm stuffing the deliciousness into my mouth? Sure it's AH-MAZE-BALLS and I relish every second of every bite, but is it truly worth feeling like crap, a sleepless night, or even an adult hangover (which is so much worse than... oh wait, I never used to get hangovers)?


Peace, Love and Curry Burps

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Sweet little Pereimenopause Guidebook! Shit-ton of info in here, ladies!!

Well lookie-lookie what I found buried deep in the belly of my over-worked laptop!!  Psyched to have found this so I can share it with you all.  Just a short little guidebook of what to look forward to as you progress through your goddamned 40's as a chick.

You're welcome :)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Natural v synthetic thyroid horrmone replacement: How I started getting my shit together!

These past five months have been tough on me.  I've been depressed, sad, and unbalanced.  I tried to hide it because... well, just because.  It's my journey, ya know?   Grief, medicine disproportion, and insomnia has wreaked havoc on my well being and I'm just now starting to feel better. FIVE MONTHS LATER... sheesh!

It's amazing what your thyroid controls.  If you don't know, look it up HERE! It's ah-MAZ-ing and frankly quite shocking at just how much that little W shaped gland can fuck up when it's out of whack or worse, non-existent.

I had been on Armour (a natural option to synthetic replacement) for about 1 1/2 year pre-surgery and I felt great.  I could have lived like that for ever, but that pesky nodule just wouldn't quit making the doctors nervous, so out came the thyroid and all hell broke loose with my meds.  After the surgery, I was left on my original dosage, but was changed to Synthroid instead of Armour because 'they preferred it'.  I was told that they preferred it due to it's accuracy of dosage and consistency of shelf life.  That with synthetic you can rest assured that you're getting the dosage that you are taking, but with a natural supplement there's dosing issues and it can lose it's potency due to not knowing how long it's been on the shelf and you can't be sure you're getting exactly what you're taking, and blah blah blah.  Stupid me figured yeah sure they're the specialists and that's fine - I had taken it before, no biggie.  Or so I thought.

I have been miserable.  Exhausted to the point that my eyes were burning by 11:00am as if I hadn't slept a wink the night before, insomnia regardless that I was utterly exhausted, depression, brain fog, memory issues (big time), weight gain, loss of motivation, chills, and an outpouring of tears at the slightest thing.  Out of creamer... crying.  Late for an appointment... crying.  Misplaced my glasses that were JUST IN MY FUCKING HAND... crying.  OMG, it was a nightmare.  And to let you in on a little info - that's not me.  I'm annoyingly positive and overly energetic, kinda like a sarcastic bunny on crack.  And I'm not shy about calling and asking or complaining, so I did just that.  It was explained to me that I needed to 'bottom out' before they could do a blood test and up my dosage from the 100mcg of Synthroid (generic Levothyroxide actually) that I was on.  Fine.  So the wait began.  I pitied my husband.

Two long ass emotional months later (April), my labs were drawn and I'm bumped from 100mcg to 125mcg... YES!!  I was a little concerned with such a big jump, since I'm hypersensitive to medicine (how lovely), but was told that it was the way to go and I would be fine.  Tick tock tick tock... I feel... nothing.  Okay, maybe a smidgen better, but still exhausted, emotional, depressed, and all the other crap.  I call again about 2 weeks into the new dose and explain what I'm going through.  'Sorry, you have to wait another 2 months before we can draw your blood again to really see how your body is processing the medicine'.  SERIOUSLY?!  And what's worse is that I bought it and didn't question them.  My state of mind at that point had me so frazzled, boo-hoo-ey, and full of self-doubt that I was more sad over the info I had just received than mad.  By now the hubs had to be numb to my crying and zombie-like state, lol.

Two more long ass emotional and exhausted months later (June), my labs are drawn again and BAM, I need a new dosage... but they're lowering it.  Excuse me, but WTF did you just say?  Yup, seems my numbers show that I was teetering on hyperthyroid and they have to balance that out.  Umm, how about you balance out the symptoms and not just the numbers?  What do you think of that???  By this time I am fuming and ask that the doctor call me personally.  The conversation with him is about as pointless as the one with his nurse.  They need to wait until I've been on it for at least a few weeks before they can make a new decision about the dosage... insomnia is a symptom of hyperthyroid, maybe your body is reacting to too much hormone?... you have to trust us.  More blah blah... Fuck you.

Let's just skip forward from that call to my appointment with my Primary Care Physician (9 July).  Her name is Dr. Bacon... she's a vegan.  I love that.  Anyway, I went in to bounce some questions off of her, because, well my thyroid was already removed and all I needed now was to have my meds balanced out... maybe she knew a local doc that I could switch to.  And then the million dollar question... 'Have you ever tried Armour?'.  Why yes I had, and geez I remember feeling pretty damn great on it. 'You may have an issue converting T4 to T3'... man, I forgot I had been told that before!   Her suggestion is that I lower off of the synthetic and simultaneously reintroduce Armour into my system, but do it slowly as not to shock my system.  Funny, my current endo wasn't concerned with shocking my system even after having a fricking small organ removed... but I digress.  Furthermore, she offered to take over managing my thyroid meds, as she has experience with it and multiple other patients with thyroid issues.  HELLS YES.  Good bye Moffitt doc, hello earthy-crunchy PCP Dr. Bacon.

She immediately prescribed 30mg of Armour and left my existing 112mcg of Levo... four days later I was already feeling better.  Crying is minimal, depression is practically gone, insomnia is taking it's sweet time, and everything else is slowly falling into it's comfortable place.  She plans on raising the Armour & lowering the Levo equally until I'm completely off the synthetic and 100% back on natural.  Six week wait until my labs and next appointment with her... I can't wait.  I can't wait to tell her how much better I'm feeling and how optimistic I am.  I'm certainly not 100%, but this is the first and only positive change since my thyroid was removed on 26 Feb.  I'm so looking forward to my progress as I increase my Armour :)

I'm certainly not a doctor.  I know that everyone is different, and not all of our bodies & minds react the same to medicines, BUT if you're suffering from ongoing hypothyroid issues and have not had any relief, talk to your doctor about going natural.  And if they don't want to talk about it or refuse to prescribe it, find another doctor.  It's YOUR BODY and YOUR CHOICE.  If there's a medicine available to you that can make you feel so much better and keep your hormone levels on track, then why would you not look into it?
I'm sure there is truth and science behind main stream endocrinologists preferring Synthroid over Armour (one doc's opinion) (and hopefully it's not mainly due to kick-backs from pharmaceutical companies), but there is also truth and science to how great natural is for your condition and symptoms.  I know on a personal level... I truly feel better on the natural hormone replacement.  It is not a placebo.  That's coming from a strict non-mammal eating or wearing human, that took a lot of convincing to initially use this animal derived product.  And there is a LOT of material on why natural is way better than synthetic.  Check out this awesome write up by the Deranged Housewife so spot on.  And this great article and explanation by Dr. Jeffrey Dach ...such great detail!!  And be sure to check out the book Stop The Thyroid Madness by Janie Bowthorpe and visit her website STTM Here!  It will open your eyes to changing the way your condition is treated and how you can take control!!

So, ROCK ON with your bad hypothyroid selves and get your shit together!!  I'm still trying to get my shit together and I promise to keep you posted along the way... even if takes me a while due to feeling like a crazy person, lol.  And please keep me posted on how you're doing!  I would love to read what meds you take, how you react to them, and if there are any new 'all natural' changes coming your way :)

Peas, Love and T3
MaryAnn ~

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Thyroidectomy & a Chicken Shit - part 2

Well, it's done.  I am no longer the proud owner of an underactive, nodule dwelling thyroid.  I am now the proud owner of a smiling throat scar, lol.

I have to start by saying that the facility that handles my surgery (Moffitt Cancer Center @ Tampa, FL) was AH-MAZING.  I only needed to stay one night and I would have been more than happy to stay an extra, lol.

The short version: This has been one of the most sad & emotionally trying times of my life. Between the stress of upcoming surgery, my 12 yr old catman soulmate dying 3 days post-surgery, and the complete hormonal imbalance of going from slow-thyroid to no-thyroid, I was (and still slightly am) a basket case.  But the surgery in itself was a breeze... Chicken Shit relieved :)

The long version: You should get a cocktail for this.  I'm much better at long versions.  I'll get one too, lol.  Ready?  Great...

2/26: Pre-surgery fun in an air-filled gown!
I was on their ticket for 07:00 and needed to arrive by 05:00... and we live an hour away, DOH!  I was nervous as hell (helloooo, Chicken Shit here) and wanted to get some solid sleep the night before, so I got the okay for a sleeping pill (Lunesta.... love that butterfly).  Worst case, I figured I'd sleep the whole following day away... or so you'd thnk (more about THAT later!). After the normal check-in and a short wait, we got called in for pre-surgery.  The nurses/staff were all AWESOME and so nice, but not so overly nice that you'd want to punch them or anything.  Gown on and IV in, I reminded them that I would like some happy juice before I got wheeled in and they smiled and said "of course!"... YAY!  As I was wheeled away to surgery and waving bye to the Hubs, I was happy as a clam and as high as Tommy Chong. The one thing I remember as I rolled into the surgical room was seeing a few faces and saying, in a very sloppy stoner manner "In case I forget to tell you, you guys all fucking ROCK".  Annnnnd lights out, lol.  Yep, I made an impression.  ("Hey, MaryAnn!  Hi there!  You did great!!" said Ariana Grande, wearing her leopard print and eared hat)  What the...

I'm fuzzy on the time, but 10:00 seems pretty close to when I woke in Recovery, and damn I MADE IT!!!  My super sweet nurse Terry was by my side "How are you feeling?" Me "Not bad"... (OMG, did I just SPEAK?) After they scooped out a chunk of my throat guts??  HOORAY!!!  I didn't even sound scratchy!!  Talk about a weight off my shoulders!  I napped on & off, and when I hurt, my sweet Terry gave me morphine (HOLY SHIT) and I peacefully napped some more.  Ahhhhh....

Around 11:00 they wheeled me to my new, floor room.  DON'T MOVE ME!  I want to stay with my dealer best friend Terry!!!  Off for a ride I go; down a hall, in the elevator, and into a nice & comfy private corner room.  They used a freaking inflatable hoover mattress to move me... HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!  I felt like an air hockey puck!  My nurse Kelly was AWE-SOME; super funny, down-to-earth kinda chick you want to grab a beer with. Turns out the super nice guy that drove me to my new room was her husband, lol.  My Hubs came in around noon, and was not very pleased.  It turns out that they (not sure if recovery or floor) didn't tell him that I had been moved and he'd been waiting over an hour; poor sweet guy.  Upon checking out my neck in the mirror, it was pretty swollen and the incision was covered with Steri-strips and glue... yes, glue.  But it wasn't bad and certainly nothing out of a horror movie, lol.

As for the Ariana Grande reference earlier, when the Hubs got to my room he let me know that my awesome rockin' surgeon (Dr. Kristen Otto) had stopped by to see him in the waiting area to let him know everything went great.  He said she was wearing this cool leopard print surgical cap that had little cat ears on top.  And that's when the fuzzy memory became clear... My surgeon waking me after all was done with a hearty "Hey, MaryAnn!  Hi there!  You did great!!  And my response "ARIANA GRANDE!!  AWESOME!!!!".  Oh christ, seriously? LMFAO.

2/26: Post-op stoner pics, lol
During the first few hours after surgery, the incision site had a minor burning sensation, but my throat was fine.  I had meds to 'stay ahead of the pain'.  BTW, if anyone says this to you, LISTEN TO THEM.  Once you start hurting, it's hard to make it go away. Be a good doobie, take your damned meds, and let your body chill out and heal.  I was on Percocet, which helped keep the pain to a minimum.  By evening, I was exhausted and not sleeping at all... UG.  Turns out that one of the major side effects of anesthesia is insomnia (and constipation, but I digress...).  So, know that going into ANY surgery, you may not sleep afterward regardless of what drugs they give you or how exhausted you are.  By that point I missed my morphine, but I'm not one for unnecessary meds or pills, so... sigh, lol.  One thing I didn't lose was my appetite.  I was HUNGRY when I woke up! Since I had no throat pain, I wasn't deterred from eating and enjoyed a lunch of scrambled eggs, and other soft stuff that I can't remember because I was a little high, lol.  I had dinner too... mashed potatoes & carrots (just like cafeteria lunch in grade school!) are all I remember, and they were the best goddammed mashed potatoes I had ever tasted, LOL.  As for walking/moving, I didn't do much right away and certainly none on my own.  I needed assistance getting to and from the bathroom, as I was very dizzy and a fall risk, but that passed within 24 hours.  

By about midnight, I was completely exhausted, but entertaining myself with in-house movies.  The pain in my throat started, so they added Tylenol and gave me some Cepacol lozenges & popsicles.  Take my advice - just because you have a voice after having a thyroidectomy, doesn't mean you should use it.  Shut up and let your throat heal.  I'm a dummy.  Two other things that effected me from the anesthesia was shivering and constipation (THERE it is).  The shivering ended about 24 - 36 hours after surgery (such a strange feeling), but the constipation decided to hang and visit with me for about 4 days (not a great feeling either, lol).  I know we all react differently to medicine, but I can't stress just how fricking tired I was.  Sometime during the early morning (04:00ish?), I remember ringing my buzzer for the nurse for a popsicle and unexpectedly started hardcore sobbing out of pure exhaustion (I shocked myself with that).  It seems this is the key to getting addition bumps of morphine, lol.  I ended up sleeping for about 1 and 1/2  hours and it felt glorious.

By breakfast time my throat was okay, but the incision site was still burning and sensitive.  This didn't last too long - about two days for me.  Discharge was around 13:00 and went fine (long wait), but the ride home sucked.  I felt every single little bump and it HURT.  My poor Hubs felt awful, but it is what it is and we needed to get home.  I took a filled ice pack with me for the ride and it was the best thing I've ever done, lol.  When meds don't work, numb it with cold!  Actually, for the first couple of nights, I couldn't sleep without an ice pack... very soothing on a fiery neck.  My neck was super stiff, and due to the strips & tape I couldn't tilt my head back.  Not a big deal until until you're a few days in and it starts bugging you.  I was told I could shower, which felt AH-MAZING, but not to soak the boo-boo.  Not a problem.  Washing my long hair was a bit of a task, since I couldn't tilt me head back.  A few other issues I had were numbness & tingling in my face (which is a symptom of low calcium) and I started having a bit of an allergic reaction to the pain medicine.  I was told by the weekend doc to eat a shit ton of Tums (I won't be exact because I don't want to be quoted, but it was more than 10 per day) and take Benadryl (which I'm hyper sensitive to).  My tingling seemed under control after a couple of days, and the Benadryl knocked me on my ass, so me and my ice pack got a couple good nights of sleep, lol.

3/1: Look how swollen my neck was... ugly, weird turkey neck!
From here it all goes straight to hell in a handbasket.  My wonderful amazing handsome catman soulmate of 11 years tragically died in my arms 3 days post-surgery.  After that I was an emotional wreck.  With constant sobbing and that god awful 'knot in your throat' syndrome, my physical experiences and issues, I'm certain, are isolated to just me.  I have healed fine overall, but it took a lot longer for my throat to feel better.  It never got the time that it needed to relax - just a constant battle of hitching and that grief knot in my throat.  That fucking knot.

3/9, 10-day Post-Op: On my way to remove bandaging... YAY
At my 10 day post-op visit, they removed the strips and glue (YAY), and it felt like a noose had been removed from my neck.  Everything looked great and my calcium level was good... parathyroids had been saved and working well!  I was sent home with neck exercises/stretches, and instructions about applying Vitamin E oil and avoiding the sun for up to 12 months.  Um, yeaahhhh, I live at the beach, so this was going to be a pain in the... neck, HA HA HA.  Oh geez....

So here we are, 2 months post-surgery and my scar is still pretty noticeable, but it looks good and is bump free & smooth to the touch.  I'm told that it will be invisible or close to that in 6 - 12 months.  I'm being extremely diligent about caring for it.  I'm constant with Vitamin E and coconut oil, and anytime I leave the house I use Neutrogena SPF 100 and wear a scarf  - rain or shine (that sun is still shining behind the clouds!).  I also have to take into consideration my heritage.  I'm 1/4 Portuguese and inherited a great ability to cook, a spicy temper, and olive undertones in my light skin which causes me to retain scars a bit longer (or forever).  As a precaution, I just recently added Mederma to my daily regimen (I was also told that Vaseline works well, too).  The key is keeping it moist and prevent it from scabbing.  I also have full range of motion in my neck.  I didn't drive for about 1 1/2 weeks, but we all heal differently and I took a little longer.  I had issues, lol.

2 weeks, 4 weeks, 5 weeks, 6 weeks! SO glad that swelling is gone!
Honestly, overall none of it was unbearable.  My surgery & hospital experience was surprisingly awesome.  They took such good care of me - I was all bundled up in my comfy bed with freshly warmed blankie deliveries and an overwhelming outpouring of "You poor baby".  How can you not feel comforted by that?! 

* It's a routine surgery, try not to stress... but let yourself worry and panic if you need to.  You can't control your feelings & emotions and it's worse keeping them in.
* If your hospital staff doesn't make you feel 100% comforted and comfortable, press that button and tell them.  You are only there for one night and you need to feel at ease and as pain-free as they can (legally) make you.
* Everyone heals differently.  I had short-term pain & minor issues, but my friend Michele who had the same exact surgery one week after mine had minimal pain, took zero pain meds, and was driving just a few days later.  She's a rock star.
* Plan on being out of commission for 2 weeks, but you might be up and at'em much sooner (like Michele, the super healer).  Just make sure you allow your body (and mind) time to heal and catch up.  You just had major surgery and an important body part removed for pete's sake - don't rush yourself.
* Once any bandaging is off, lube that puppy up and don't be afraid to massage it.  Gently at first of course (get your head out of the gutter), but you've got to help that scar tissue lay flat and go away.  Only YOU can do this.
* Be diligent about using your Vitamin E oil, Mederma, or whatever you're using!  Use it multiple times per day and be religious about it!  Leave it in the bathroom by the since and rub some on every time you potty!!  Make it a no-excuse, must-do part of your day.
* Come up with a good story for your scar.  Mine?  Well, when I was a cabbie in Boston this guy tried to chock me with a piano wire.  He jumped out of the cab and ran for it... but don't worry, I found him and he got his... lol.
* My pains and resolutions:
   > Scared shitless pre-surgery: ask for 'the happy juice' before you get wheeled in
   > Burning/fiery feeling at incision site: an ice pack will become your best friend :) 
   > Sore throat: Cepacol and popsicles rock
   > Insomnia: Netflix for your all-nighter, and then Benadryl if you can't take it anymore, lol
   > Death of your cat: Love of family & friends, lots of crying, time, and Ben & Jerry's.  Wine doesn't hurt either.
* If you're concerned about ANYTHING (i.e. my tingling face), call the doctor.  CALL THEM!!  That's what they're there for and why your insurance company is paying them booko-bucks!
 * Smile!  They wanted it out for a good reason and now it's out.  No more biopsies or "what if's" for you in the future!  HOORAY!!!  YOU DID IT AND YOU ROCK!!!!!
6 weeks, 8 weeks and today at almost 9 weeks! YAY!

I hope I didn't bore you too much... who am I kidding.  If you were bored you would have closed this page by now, lol.  My true hope is that I didn't forget anything.  If I did, you'll be hearing from me. And I'm an open book, so you're welcome to contact me or comment any questions you might have :)  I also added some some before and after photos for your viewing pleasure... some not so flattering.  I must really love you guys

Now to get my thyroid meds balanced out again... UG.  THAT is a story for another post, lol. 

Peas, Love, and Synthroid adjustments :)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Thyroid Biopsy Tips from a Seasoned Pro...

I've had six FNA (fine needle aspiration) biopsies. Three of them were horrible and the other three were just uncomfortable & stressful. The first three, I was numbed using lidocaine... which turns out hurts more than the actual biopsy needles, lol. On all six of them, they did 4 - 6 passes of the needle during each biopsy, so I got off easier than some people I've talked to. Bottom line - biopsies suck, but we all handle them (and pain) differently. Here are my tips for getting through it:

*BREATHE. You'll be stressed out because, well someone's about to repeatedly jam a needle into your neck... that's some unnerving shit. 

*ASK QUESTIONS. Ask everything you want. And definitely ask how many passes of the needle they will be making before they start. I count down out loud after each pass. It gives you some small sense of relief knowing you're that much closer to being DONE.

*When they say DON'T MOVE, don't fricking move. Don't swallow, cough, or clear your throat. The more still and well positioned you are, the faster it will all be over. Take a second before each pass to clear your throat and swallow, and ask a question or make a joke to lighten the mood. They're going to do the procedure regardless, so be comfortable while you're there.

*Don't be embarrassed about CRYING. I am a waterworks factory when they mess with my neck. It's your NECK, it's scary and stressful, and its makes you feel very vulnerable. Cry away.

*KEEP BREATHING, because it doesn't tickle. It's not awful like a broken bone, child birth, or a punch in the face (lol), but it will range from mild discomfort to white knuckling the table-side that you're laying on from the pressure being so bad. Just remember, it's over fairly quickly (depending on how many passes of the needle you need) and the counting down of each pass makes the time seem to go by a little faster. And keep in mind, if you hold your breath it causes your body to tense up, causing your muscles to be tense, causing you to stress even more than you already are. So breathe... juuuuust breathe (I know you're singing along... you're welcome).

*CHILL OUT for the remainder of the day. You may not have much physical pain after an FNA (minor sore throat, tenderness, and/or swelling & bruising), but you will be exhausted from having stressed over the upcoming appointment, the wait before the procedure, and then during the procedure. The TV or a good book, paired with the couch and a cup of tea is a nice way to celebrate your making it through the procedure without punching the person who performed it, lol.

This is just one person's opinions and experience, but after six of them, I think my tips are valid, lol. Biopsies suck, with a capitol UCK, but you've got this :)

Peas out... and BREATHE!!

Thyroidectomy & a Chicken Shit - part 1

For those of you that don't know, I've been dealing with Hypothyroidism since 2004... bleck!  And since about 2006, they've been keeping an eye on a nodule that has taken up residence on the backside of the left lobe of my thyroid... bothersome little shit.  So, after six (yep, I said SIX) biopsies over the years, it's been decided to have it removed.... ALL of it removed.  Here's the low down...

In mid-December, I had my follow up appointment to my final biopsy and molecular marker results at Moffitt Cancer Center, in Tampa FL. First and foremost, I do not have cancer. Whew! Now comes what they called the "grey area" part.

It seems that the nodule they've been following is positive for a certain mutation, meaning there's a 50/50 chance that IT'S cancerous. So, to be prudent, they'll be removing my thyroid (both lobes/sides). The left side (with the nodule) will be sent to the lab to determine if it's indeed cancerous or not. Better safe than sorry... I'm okay with that. And this will bring some long awaited closure regarding the "is it or isn't it" about my thyroid issues. I'm am soooo okay with that :)

Well, surgery is a short 5 days away and I have to admit, I'm scared. Not of having my thyroid removed, not of anything in particular... just that it's surgery and surgery is scary. And it's surgery on/in my neck... UG - gross, invasive, scary. I have my awesome hubs & friends that are reassuring and reminding me that everything will be fine, and I know that. But it doesn't change the fact that IT'S SCARY and I'm scared. Yuck. I wish it was tomorrow because I just want it over and done with... let the recovery process begin already, lol. Anyway, just thought I'd check in and say I'm still out here, just keeping busy and trying not to think about my hot date on February 26th. I'm meeting with the anesthesiologist on Tues (24th), so I'll be in touch. 

Rock on, my thyroid peeps :)

Peas (and thyroid) out!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Easy Oven Roasted Squash... YUMMY!!

So, it's that time of year again... fricking COLD!!  But we can now get our wanting hands back on some of the most perfect vegetables known to mankind... squash!  Yes, pumpkins & squash are utterly delish and so comforting on a cold day.  And did you know how easy they are to cook??

It's SUPER easy.  Here's the fast and awesomeness of it!

Cut whatever squash you're craving in half and scoop out the seeds & 'guts'.   Place halves face up in a (lightly) oiled baking dish.  I tend to use a cookie sheet covered in foil, for easier clean up.  Oil the 'meat' of the veggie by pouring some olive oil directly on it and use your hands to coat it.  Or use a pastry brush if you're wimpy to getting your hands dirty ;)  Don't worry about the outside, since you won't be eating it (but if it's an eggplant, sweet potato, or anything you will eat the skin of, coat that too!).   Salt & pepper it, and bake in a preheated oven at 400 for about 30 - 40 min.  And then... 

VOILA!!!  Easy to prepare and basically zero cooking for you, while it bakes in the oven and makes your house smell AWESOME!!!

FYI, the filling in the picture? Not really an actual filling. On the same pan, I roasted a cut up sweet potato and a sweet onion. I just dumped some of that into the middles, and sprinkled it all with some cinnamon. I read a LOT about adding cinnamon & brown sugar or maple syrup, but I don't like my food sweet. Unless it's cake. Definitely when it's cake, lol.

Another idea that my friend Faith told me about is to cube butternut squash and toss in olive oil, salt, pepper and then roast in the oven - almost like little hash browns... Delicious!  Thanks Faith!!

Have an eggplant you're dying to roast?  Check out my recipe for Baked Stuffed Eggplant here ---> Garam Masala Baked Stuffed Eggplant!!  And don't worry if you don't have Garam Masala (or don't like it, you silly silly person)... you can sub any herb or seasoning you prefer and just as super tasty, warm and filling.

So ROCK ON with your bad self and get roasting!!

ps. Always be mindful of what oil you're using!  Olive, coconut & palm oils, butter, and ghee - all healthy in moderation.  Canola, vegetable, corn, or soybean oil - all nasty shit that's bad for your heart and body. 

pss. Organic is worth the extra couple of bucks.  You get one body.  Take care of it :)

psss. I should have used a different color plate.  Too much orange, lol.

Peas out, my peeps

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Perimenopause and hypothyroidism...... are you shitting me with this???

Oh joy.  The questions and confusions of being a woman in her early 40's.  Some days I wish I was a dude; they seem to have it pretty easy in the hormone department, lol.

I recently had issues with headaches, bad insomnia, and forgetfulness that I felt bordered on Alzheimer's, and decided it had interrupted my life enough that it was time to visit my doctor.  Dr. Kasia is cool.  She's pretty earthy-crunchy and will quickly prescribe a massage or exercise over medicine.  I love her :)  She's also heavy into understanding and "knowing" your hormones, and believes that a huge factor in most of a 40-something woman's health issues are that her hormones are 'off' and unaddressed during Perimenopause.

I'm sorry... Peri-what???  That's right ladies.  It seems the lucky owners of vaginas don't just get the fun of hitting menopause, but we also get the grey, and just as annoying, time frame of PERImenopause.  This is the 5 - 10 years BEFORE menopause when our hormones actually begin their imbalance issues, and start either plummeting or sky rocketing, causing us to act like crazy-ass bitches.  It's fun & exciting with symptoms like (are you sitting down?)... mood changes, anxiety attacks, forgetfulness, irritability, sugar cravings, allergy symptoms, depression, brain fog, menstrual problems, anemia, hot flashes, night sweats, headaches and migraines, weight gain, belly fat, insomnia, fatigue, low energy, dry skin, arthritis, cold hands & feet, brittle nails, cracked heels, acne, slow metabolism... and that's just a few.  And a few have been kicking my arse!

Now wait, I've already been suffering from a bunch of these issues... how's that possible?  (are you ready for this???)   It seems the symptoms of Peribitemyass are (almost) all the same symptoms of hypothyroidism; that nasty little condition I've been struggling with since 2004.  Well smack my ass and call me pissed off.  That doesn't seem fair!!  How the hell am I supposed to figure out what symptom is being caused by which condition... and how do I feel better?  This can't be normal.
Oh, but it is:

As my doc explained this infuriating information to me, I was less than thrilled and all of the stereotypical age old thoughts that every chick ends up chanting in her head started swirling around in mine... hormones suck, vaginas suck, ovaries suck, aging bodies suck, blah blah suck, lol. 

She sent me for blood tests to check my estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels (yes, chicks have & make testosterone, so don't let any doctor tell you it's okay for yours to be at zero!), and it seems that my estrogen is "through the roof" (how lovely), my progesterone was rock bottom low (UG), and my testosterone could use a boost.  Her research and studies show that ALL women going through Perimenopause should consider low-dose hormone supplement(s) to ease into The Change (seriously, who started calling it this?), and suggested I try it out.

Now if you know me at all, you know I don't agree with prescription meds unless they are absolutely necessary.  I don't even like popping Advil.  It makes me sad and fearful that so many physicians are walking script pads, wearing a white coat and getting a fat check from the pharmaceutical companies.  Ten years ago if my doctor said "Here, take this", I would have, no questions asked... but now I know better... and I have a new doctor.  Sorry, soapbox!  Anyway,  after lots of online research and knowing that my Doc is not a fan of handing out pills, I agreed to give hormone replacement a try, in the hopes of not feeling constantly exhausted and like I'm losing my mind, and also knowing that I wouldn't have to take them forever.

I'm currently taking micronized progesterone and using a testosterone cream in the evenings.  Coupled with my morning thyroid medicine I have to admit that I feel soooo much better.  It's not perfect... I still feel tired when I know I got a good night's sleep, crave sugar like it's oxygen, and sometimes can't find my sunglasses ANYWHERE when they're actually sitting on top of my head... but I'm noticeably better over all.   And I have the power of being in the know.  I had never heard of PERImenopause before Dr. Kasia made me aware.  I still think it sucks and is bullshit, BUT it's not and it's real... and most of us chicks are going to go through it.  Dammit.  So, time to pull up the big girl panties and deal with it!

Your takeaway?  If you feel like crap and/or have any of the symptoms above, or that you read in the link I offered (which I know you're going to read, right? :) ), be sure to see your Primary Care Doc or an Endocrinologist.  Ask her to run some blood work to check your hormones and your thyroid levels, never just assume.  They are very similar and they are very frustrating... and if it's your thyroid, it's urgent that you get it under control.

So DO IT!  Get the blood work!!  It's important to know and it's important to feel good in life.   :)

Peas out,
MaryAnn ~

Friday, June 6, 2014

Tips & stories from a first time marathoner

I ran my first full marathon on March 1st and it was awesome.  Yeah... awesome.  That's what I'm supposed to say, right?  That it was awe inspiring, was the highlight of my life's accomplishments, and made my heart swell with pride... umm, no.  Well, not until about a week or three later, lol.

As of today, three months after the run (race for some, it was a run for me), I AM absolutely proud of myself, am awed that I accomplished such a huge feat on my personal Honey-Do list, and am in utter shock that I want to run another one, lol.  My crazy, runner friends warned me that this would happen; that once I finish one, I'd want more.  Kinda like chips or tattoos, lol.  And I fear they are right.  But before I do that, I wanted to get some stuff off my chest.

During my 16 week training program, I learned a lot.  Some good, some misleading, and some detrimental to my stride and mental focus.  If only I had had known some of this stuff earlier than later, I would have had my "Ah-ha" moment sooner than 3 weeks before the race!  So I want to share with all you rookie marathoners out there getting ready to take the leap and make the commitment...

Here are some tips for a first time marathoner to help cross that first finish line.

Tip #1: Get some running friends!  Already have some?  Great!  Now, fill them in on your plan to run your first full.  They will fuel you with positive energy, support, and the camaraderie & knowledge only runner friends can.  Whether you run with them or not, doesn't matter.  Just be sure to be in contact with them and ask lots of questions.  I am very lucky to have surrounded myself with a wonderful circle of friends that are extremely positive, fit, and running fools.  It helps!!

Tip #2:  Be mindful of what you're reading online.  There's a lot of great information out there to help you train and be all that you can be, but be sure it's right for YOU!  I made a huge mistake by getting "Google Burnout", lol.  I researched so many websites and kept notes on how to train, what to eat, form & stride.  I was overwhelmed.  You name it, I read it.  I wanted to be prepared!!  What I didn't take into consideration is that these articles are usually written by marathoners.  Not newbies like you and me, but seasoned runners.  Their info is great, but not for us! (not yet anyway!)  So, be sure that when you Google, Bing, and read your Runner's World (which I know you will), you try to look for articles from first time or novice marathon runners.  The info from them is super important!

Tip #3:  This was most important to me - watch your calories & DO NOT CARBO LOAD.  Here's a little story for you... I was about 3 weeks out from race day, and I sat down in my friend Whitney's office and told her I felt defeated.  I had been trying so hard and doing everything right, yet I felt so slow & 'heavy', not enjoying my long runs as I had earlier in my training.  She's a fitness director at a military base and has quite a few full & half marathons under her belt, so she knows her shit and her word is gold to me.  She had me go over everything I was doing - training days & distances, what I was eating, what I was wearing, etc.  Turns out I was eating all wrong.  I was taking in too many calories and was eating a shit ton of (healthy) carbs the day before my long runs (insert loud annoying 'wrong' buzzer sound here).  Unless you're a super-fit, low body fat, running machine, you do not need to up your calories as much as you'd think, nor do you need to "load" on carbohydrates.  A typical body doesn't react or process carbs the same as a seasoned distance runner's body.  At 43 with a thyroid condition, and 5'0" & 152lb,  I was gaining weight and unknowingly sabotaging myself.  I immediately adjusted my caloric intake, started eating less & lighter, and started feeling better & running strong again.  It should have been common sense, but I had brainwashed myself after all of my online research.  Google, my frenemy!  BTW, a good (generic) rule of thumb for nutritional break down during endurance training is 50% carbs/25% fat/25% protein.  

Tip #4: Have your gait checked by a Physical Therapist and buy the right shoes!  During that conversation with my Whitney, I told her about some pain under my right foot and a growing concern of tendinitis.  She asked about my shoes and if I'd ever had my gait checked.  Why yes, I have!  By a local running store.  Turns out he knows his product, but knows nothing about testing someones gait.  You need to be barefoot when you're checked.  It's the only way to see your true gait & foot placement.  I was wearing a neutral strike shoe... so naturally he said my gait was neutral.  The following day I visited my ortho doc, and yes, I was showing signs of tendinitis and got a hearty "Boy, you're overpronated".  Oh crap.  Yep, I'd been running in the wrong shoes for a while.  You see, the pronation of your foot shows how your foot land and 'rolls' with each strike, and is the key to finding the right running shoe and preventing injury.  After replacing the 'wrong' pair of shoes (and keeping my second pair, that were fine), I was running pain free even on my 20 mile training day.  YIPPEE!!!!

Tip #5: Wear the correct bra for your size ( . Y . )!  Unless you're a dude.  You guys can skip this tip :)  I'm a short, medium build chick, with huge boobs.  I wear a 34H/36G bra.  Really??  Sheesh!  I want to be a runner, not a stripper!!  Anyway, I cannot tell you how difficult it was to find a bra that works for breasts this big.  When I run, I want as close to zero bounce as I can get and it took a long time to find.  I seriously can't remember how many sports bras I have tried and sent back; poor support, no support, wrong size verses what the tag said, poor coverage - you name it, I tried it.  I even double bagged them for a while, wearing two sports bras over each other... UG.  The only brand I've found that works is made by Enell.  It's more like a vest torture chamber, but it works.  It has a front closure of about 20 clasps, and works by compression with a teensy bit of encapsulation... but not much.  The first couple of times you wear it you'll swear to the moon & sky that you're in the grips of a boa constrictor, but it 'softens' up.  I don't want to use the word loosens, because it doesn't loosen or lose shape, but it does 'change' once you've worn & washed it a few times, so I promise that it does get easier, lol.  I won't go into any more detail other than - if you've got gianormous boobs and enjoy high-intensity sports, this is the bra for you -->  FYI, it's cheaper on Amazon :)

Tip #6: Cross-train Cross-train CROSS-TRAIN.  I am an idiot.  I hardly cross-trained at all.  I was religious abut weight training 3 days a week prior to my race training, but stopped because I was afraid I would waste too much energy on something that wasn't running.  Idiot.  I'm lucky I ran at the pace I did without cross-training.  Don't be an idiot like me.  Period.

Tip #7: Body Glide and moleskin are your friends.  Use them.  I have scars on my ribcage from distance runs in the wrong bra... even some while wearing the right bra.  Chaffing happens and you can't skip your training runs because of it, and strapping that evil bra back on over red welts is not a pleasant feeling.  Have I told you how much I love moleskin?  Stick the adhesive side to your bra, wherever it's rubbing, and you're good to go :)

Tip #8: Be proud of yourself as soon as you start that damn race, during it, and most of all when you cross the finish line.  Because you fricking did it!!!!  Who cares how long it took you or what your pace was!  I learned the hard way that your first marathon is for knowledge and fun, and that first shiny necklace at the finish line, lol.  You can worry about your time after that one's under your belt.

I could go on and on, but I only wanted to share the biggies with you that helped save my ass... and skin, and feet, and mind.  I'm happy and proud to say I finished in 5:45:43.  It took me a while to be proud of my time... but it's MY time.  I ran that race and got the bling.  I learned and now understand what I need to do to keep me running healthy, happy and strong.  And I finished a fricking marathon.  And for that I'm super duper proud :)

Peas and pavement love!

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