Hello–it’s a somewhat mild December Sunday in Chicago, and this is the first recap post I’ve written in months. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been having a lot of health issues that seemingly happened overnight. Within the past month, I’ve found out that I have a 3 cm nodule growing on my thyroid and some abnormally high thyroid levels. When the thyroid produces too much hormone, it can send the body into overdrive. I’ve been having severe physical anxiety, constant headaches, a general feeling of unwellness, and weird symptoms, like tingling in my hands and feet. I am still trying to figure out what’s going on, but I’m scheduled for a biopsy of the nodule tomorrow and will perhaps learn more then.
In the meantime, I’ve been feeling slightly better since October, which was probably when everything was the worst. I got off birth control pills in the beginning of October, about a week after I started experiencing symptoms and I have to wonder if my body was in some kind of havoc from all the hormonal issues. So, while I am by no means feeling like myself, I am trying to be grateful for each day as it comes and do as much as what I used to, including blogging.
This will be less of a “weekly recap” and more like a “what I’ve been up to” post, since things have been kind of all over the place. I was so sad to feel so poorly in October, which is my favorite month, but I did manage to go to Hell’s Gate Haunted House on Halloween and then went to the Tool concert a few days later. Mid-November is when I started to feel a bit of the old me trying to crawl out of whatever has been happening! My days have consisted of trying to balance immune support, do exercise, get rest, and try out self-care. I’ve recently started seeing a therapist and downloaded the Calm app to try and ease the anxiety that I believe the thyroid is producing. I also continue to do Yoga with Adriene and go on daily walks. While it’s certainly not an instant fix, I am hoping that they help little-by-little.
Immune support means eating healthy meals, and I also take supplements. Right now, I take probiotics, Vitamin C, cod liver oil, magnesium, Vitamin D, a B complex, L-Lysine, Cat’s Claw, Lemon Balm, and CBD oil. I also continue to have daily smoothies with superfoods, turmeric, ginger, and collagen peptides.
I’ve really been focusing on getting as many fruits and vegetables as possible in. I am avoiding caffeine and alcohol and also am trying to avoid gluten, added sugars, and any fast or fried food. I have been making things like the meal above, which is flounder seasoned with aminos, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. I am going for lean proteins and not eating much dairy or egg.
I also have a lot of plant-based meals. Above is a veggie burger with butternut squash spirals and mashed cauliflower and then a veggie burger with Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi and organic mixed veggies. My favorite thing to do lately is make homemade soup because it’s so easy to throw veggies in. Usually, I will start by browning chicken thighs in a pot, removing them and adding onion and garlic, which I saute until they are tender. Then, I add bone broth, carrots, celery, and kale. I’ll bring that to a boil, add the thighs back in, and simmer for about thirty minutes. It’s a pretty hearty meal packed with nutrients.
I’ve always had a crazy sweet tooth. The first month I was sick, I didn’t have much of an appetite. As it slowly came back, I wanted to be sure what I was eating was nourishing, so for sweets, I have been sticking to homemade treats using things like coconut flour and Stevia and honey and vegan chocolate. I also tried the new Perfect Bar peanut butter cups, which are really good, and I like dairy-free yogurt and juices. I stay hydrated throughout the day and have been enjoying the Traditional Medicine teas, particularly Detox and Throat Coat. I also like to wind down with some CBD oil in peppermint tea.
One of the great things about work is that staff get a free membership to the university gym. My workouts have changed a bit since I’ve been sick, but I know it’s important to move my body, so I try to do gentle ones. Lately, I’ve been mixing up cardio (ten minutes on each machine) at a low impact and then use lighter weights. I stretch a ton and also use a foam roller, and at home, I have CBD pain cream and a heating pad.
Work has been going well. I have to say, it’s insanely hard to keep up each day when you feel like your body is fighting some kind of crazy war, but somehow I have managed to do well in the media job and adjunct teaching. My favorite part is getting to write articles and edit every day. I’ve always dreamed of having a job where I got to write every single day, and now I do. The university I work for has a “First Friday Tea” every month where faculty and staff gather together to enjoy tea and refreshments. This one was Christmas-themed and had decor and carolers. I had a chamomile tea and a cranberry-apple tea.
All my co-workers decorated the entire office. It’s filled with Christmas cheer everywhere. I decorated my cork board a little.
Julian and I also put our tree up last night. This is the third tree we’ve had since we’ve been married. There is something so cozy about being in on a cold night with the soft glow of the tree lights in the background.
Last night, my father-in-law had a birthday party at a bar that was a few blocks from our house. If you’d have asked me in early November, I would never think I’d have made it. My anxiety and illness felt crippling then. Now, it still bothers me, but I have to wonder if all the things I do (immune support, healthy eating, supplementation, yoga, therapy, etc.) are helping a bit, because I managed to go without feeling completely terrible. I didn’t drink, but I had fun people-watching and it felt kind of good to put makeup on and get dressed up.
I’ve also continued to go to the woods as frequently as possible. For me, nature seems to be the place I feel calmest, and I know there are plenty of health benefits of being outdoors, from the natural Vitamin D to the cleaner air and therapeutic elements of the plants.
Julian got me a bottle of wine from my favorite musician’s vineyard. Maynard James Keenan (Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer) makes wine in Arizona, and I’ve always been interested in trying it. The first week or so that I started feeling “ill,” my body had a crazy-weird reaction to alcohol (both times I tried it, I’d also had caffeine that day, which makes me wonder…) and I’ve been scared to try it since (while also knowing I can promote better healing by not having it at all), but this managed to go okay for me.
Now, I’m going to make some healthy “cookie dough” bites and then take a walk in the woods since it’s 45 degrees. I know that sounds cold to some, but for Chicago winter, it’s nice!
I have missed recapping my weeks here. I miss all the components of my “old life,” and I try not to be too negative or dwell on it. I think the worst part for me is not knowing 100% what is causing my symptoms. It’s always a circular conversation in my head. Does the thyroid cause the anxiety? Does the anxiety cause the headaches? What’s up with the tingling? I’ve seen my regular doctor, an ENT, an endocrinologist, and even a chiropractor. Hopefully, I continue to get more answers after my biopsy tomorrow, but I will continue to fight for my health every day. I hope you all have a great week!