Grace and my Thyroid

This is my second post on an update of my health. To read the first part of this blog see: Patience and my Thyroid.

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Around mid-November I finally went to see an endocronologist. I had been as patient as possible while counting down the days. Finally, I went to a Rochester hospital to see a specialist. After filling out all the new-patient information I talked to the nurse who inputed the medical history information, then an NP came in and talked with me and looked at my chart, she felt my neck and glands then left to talk to the doctor. I was relieved and impressed that I was seen by three medical professionals all who shared with the next person what they saw in my charts.

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The doctor came in and share with me his plan: to put me on a low dose of levothroxine, a hormone pill to help balance people with a hypothyroid (under-active/producing thyroid) and then check my blood work again in two months to see if they need to adjust my dosage. He said that my TSH was a little on the high end even if it was in normal range. My guess based on my symptoms is that number has gone up since the blood work he was looking at was  done in August.

I asked him what could have caused the nodules on my thyroid and he said it is common for those with hashimotos (a specific type of hypothyroidism) to have nodules. He did not say I had hashimotos; he did not make a clear diagnosis, at least not yet, but knows my family history. He plans on doing another ultrasound in 6 months to see if the nodules are smaller with the medication.

I was relieved and grateful to have progress forward after my meeting with the endocronologist.

I was able to pick up the medication over the weekend and have been on it now for almost three weeks. I have had to change my routine a little so I can take it on an empty stomach and hour before eating but it has been worth it. Although they say it takes more than 2 weeks to notice a change I saw changes right away in my energy levels and focus. I have already dropped two pounds and for the first time in a long time I can tell when I am hungry; so I know that this is helping my metabolism along.

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During this whole situation I have had to show myself a large amount of grace. I expect a lot of myself as a teacher, as a wife, etc.  With the exhaustion and lack of focus it was hard to keep up with my normal activities of cleaning, cooking, laundry, lesson planning etc let alone helping with packing up the old house and moving into the new one.

Things definitely at times fell through the cracks which I never allow.  But I had to recognize this was not the “normal” Amanda this was the sick Amanda. I needed more sleep, more sitting, I needed more time to do an activity, and I needed to not be hard on myself when I did not accomplished what I wanted to. My husband also showed me grace, helping me out when the routine chores and activities began to pile up or were to difficult for me. And of course I’m grateful for the encouragement, prayers,  and understanding of those who knew what was going on; that makes all the difference.

 

August update

I know you probably all feel neglected. I have been more than little absent this July and August; this whole lack of a normal routine-thing is really messing with my attempts to consistently write. But enough excuses.

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Here’a brief update: We are doing well with the house process. The mortgage application paperwork is in, the insurance taken care of; now we are waiting as all the parties involved in making this happen for us to do the necessary paperwork. We scan in pieces of paperwork asked for by the bank, or insurance company, or realtor and then we wait. We also have been procrastinating actually put our lives in boxes as we hope to hear a set close date for the house soon.

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As for the cars: well they are still being worked on. The new-to-us car (300M) has been in for an initial check up and we are glad we brought it in because it needed new struts and for a filter to be replaced; still waiting on the filter piece because it has to be special ordered. As for the CRV? Almost there but not quite done; sadly it’s still being brought back and forth to the transmission place throughout the last month.

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In the mean time I have been busy finishing up my summer course with Keuka’s ASAP program and preparing for classes in the fall. One interesting note: after having almost a full unit prepped for the high-advanced reading and writing course I was asked to switch courses. So as of last week I am now teaching low-advanced reading and writing which is a nine hour a week course (MWF) with two hours of class and one hour of lab. It is a large course to prepare for but I am excited to teach summarizing, reading comprehension and analyzing, and research writing.

Overall, it has been a full summer requiring patience and flexibility. I am definitely being stretched in taking things as they come and one thing at a time; my control-freak perfectionistic nature has really been tested. At the same time this season has helped us  be grateful for what has gone smoothly and taught us to handle what hasn’t with grace.

How has your summer been going?

A transition of Grace

As I mentioned in my Transition Update life has gone from 0-60mph very quickly. Since I started teaching on March 11 today is the first day I feel life is leveling out and beginning to settle.

Monday night the 10th I attended our second week of Choir practice for the Easter production. Then Luke the next morning left for a VA ethics conference, on his birthday, in Minneapolis MN.

That day (March 11) I re-read and looked over my lesson plan for my first night of teaching a new course. I was obviously nervous. It was my first time teaching a four hour night class and I was feeling a little out of practice. This had made it difficult for me sleep . So tired and an odd combination of anxious and excited I ate dinner alone and headed up the hill to the community college to teach.

The first hour was a little rocky adjusting to student interactions, managing time, and bouncing between activities and my notes. But after that first hour I remember what it was like to teach again and it all came back to me. I came home beyond exhausted but still shared everything with Luke on the phone.

The next day I totally crashed. My mind couldn’t focus and I was all muddled. We had freezing rain and snow and I decided I just wasn’t up to going to the Y for my bi-weekly Zumba class. The next day I began to regroup and had a girls outing to attend which helped distract me from the empty house. When I came home I caught up with Luke as we looked forward to seeing each other the next day.

Since then it has been difficult to make it to the Y. I am still keeping our dinners healthy but getting even a half hour to work out at home everyday let alone doing more has been hard.

In this crazy time of transition I have to remember and re-learn to show myself a lot of grace.  I am a person who thrived on routines; they help me keep the everyday problems and anxieties at bay. So when that routine gets shaken-up it always takes me awhile to adjust.

This is especially true when the new changes require more responsibilities and/or more socializing. In that time of adjusting I often expect myself to keep up with the normal routine items such as :cleaning, cooking, dieting/eating right, and exercise. But keeping up these routines while the whole of the schedule/pattern is shifting is sometimes just not feasible. Still my control-freak mindset likes to have temper tantrums about this.

I have to remind myself that when new stressful situations occur it’s ok to take a nap instead of exercise, or cuddle up with a good book instead of brave the snow to go to the Y, or to eat a little extra because my brain is working overtime and trying to adjust to new/old patterns of thinking.

These reminders require showing myself grace. Because in the end, after the adjustment period has ended, I will come out of survival mode and be able to take on the new responsibilities and stressors and still maintain those important routines. I’ve done it before and I will do it again. It helps to look back and recognize I am still more balanced and overall my life is healthier than it was before even last year.

The hardest part is convincing myself that one or two weeks without the normal diet, exercise, sleep, or cleaning patterns will not be the end of me or the end of the world-just apart of a necessary adjustment while in transition.

How about you? In what areas of your life or times do you struggle to show yourself Grace?

“Happily Ever After” is only the Beginning

All the movies make it seem as though that walk or drive off into the sunset with the love of your life is the end no more conflict, no more challenges, no more changes.

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But Happily ever after is only the beginning

You relationship is not complete when you get married. You don’t stop working on it after marriage you are only really beginning. With all the awkward superficial barriers worked through during dating, you begin to hit at deeper bigger issues. These issues can come on with the smallest of topics. But if you take the opportunity to openly and honestly talk about them you will find yourself work through things that are much deeper. When you work out issues in an frank yet loving way you learn a lot about yourself, a lot of about your spouse, a lot about what “you” as a couple looks like.

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The first two months of marriage included a lot of talking. . . and I mean a lot. These talks came up at the most unlikely and most annoying of times too. Every time we didn’t agree or were confused by what each other meant or expected we took the time to work it out. It wasn’t easy but we wanted resolution, we wanted to understand each other. There was a lot of questions for clarification: What did you think I meant? What do you want me to do ? What do you think I expect you to do?  I found that you may finish each others sentence when you’re dating but it doesn’t mean once you’re married you will be able to read each other’s minds.

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Another title for this could also be: new is new is new is new .  . .

This is just the beginning to married life. Any new element is exactly that a new element. So any new topic or area of life not present before marriage is not magically resolved out of your love. Whether it is deciding on when/where it is ok to flirt with each other (or let it lead to more), what to eat for the week, who does what chores around the house, the budget, outings, etc.. If it is a new decision it requires talking it out-it requires work.

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Remember back when you felt unsure how the person you were dating was going to take your opinion on an issue? Or you were unsure how to bring a new difficult topic up? But in time you develop trust and with it comes honesty, patience for each other, and grace to see eye-to-eye on things. Well that doesn’t change. You will still have those awkward and difficult conversations for anything that is a new element to your relationship.

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New elements to your relationship require effort and compromise to make new decisions. It doesn’t happen through osmosis when you put rings on each other’s fingers. It comes through loving each other enough to want to work it through.  Don’t out of fear of being vulnerable keep your mouth shut when things bother you. But don’t go overboard either. You do not have always instigate a debate-the talks and challenges will come up on their own.

It doesn’t happen over night.  Six (almost seven) months married life is a lot easier than one month. The more we invest in each other the more we see growth,stability and we find ourselves deeper in love . Trust me it’s true! Marriage does not grow like weeds. It grows like trees-change sometimes is subtle but time and consistent investment can make it grow stronger. And if you think you’ve been through a lot as a couple before you get married just wait until  you watch the other person step-up to the responsibilities as husband or wife. You will love and respect them even more.

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I do not claim to have this figured out-we are still working through a lot of topics and issues. But I know that going into the first few months being willing to ask the hard questions knowing you are safe to be vulnerable (that the commitment you made to each other is enough) makes all the difference. You have to know that the other person loves you and will show you forgiveness. That they (and you) will be willing to say your sorry, mean it, and move on. There is a lot of adjusting to do and it requires compromise, patience, and grace.

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Living with one car; the tire story revisited

As promised, I will share the saga of our recent car drama. If you have been reading my blog for awhile then you know that Luke and I are currently sharing my little red Honda CRV. A few months ago, on a very chilly day in January the front tire went flat. To read the whole story click here:  A lesson in Independence .

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Jump ahead to St. Patrick’s Day

Luke and I decide to take a Sunday drive into the hilly neighborhoods of Corning. As we worked are way up  the hills  we noticed the car fighting to change gears. When we drove home we noticed a burning smell. I decided this was a sign to finally have the transmission looked at.

Wednesday March 13th:

I took the car into a transmission place. While testing they noticed (as Luke and I had) the car struggled initially getting into drive and shifting between 3/4 gear. They asked if the check engine light had come on and I said no. So we set up an appointment for the next week for them to replace the fuel filter and engine mounts. As they were finishing up, one of the mechanics commented on the tires.

He said that the front tires were an inch bigger than the back ones which were almost bare! This is a big problem because my car is all wheel drive. I had been putting strain on the engine and transmission for 6 weeks, dragging around small worn out back tires! I always get upset at myself for such mistakes, but everyone put blame on the un-named tire company. So I showed myself a little grace-I know it may seem a small step but it’s a big deal for me! (see my self-judgement transcend topic).

That night as we pull into the parking lot or our budget class the check engine light turned on!

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My car this winter in the snow

Thursday March 20th:

I call a different tire store and set up an appointment to have the back tires replaced.

Friday March 21rst:

The tire store replaces the tires and tell me surprise, surprise, that the check engine light was a transmission issue. So I call back the transmission place and they tell me the car should be fine ,but no guarantees, until our appointment next Tuesday.

Tuesday March 26th:

After only an hour at the transmission shop one of the mechanics drives me home.  A few hours later I get a call that they are going to need more time to figure out the problem. So Luke calls Enterprise to pick me up from home. I go to their office, sign paper work and drive to the grocery store in a little rented grey KIA.

Wednesday March 27th:

We hear back from the transmission place. They needed to take out the transmission, figure out what the problem is, fix it, and put it back together. They estimated it would take five business days and they would have it fixed by Monday.

Monday: April 1st

I call the transmission place. They tell me they are putting the transmission back together and it will be another day. I call Enterprise and tell them we need the KIA another day.

Tuesday: April 2nd

I call the transmission place, they tell me they are test-running the car and need another day. I call Enterprise.

Wednesday April 3rd

The transmission place calls me, they tell me they discovered it was the solenoids causing problems with the 4th gear burning. They need another day . I call  .  . .  you get the idea.

Thursday April 4th:

Three days later than I thought I finally get the good news call: the car is ready! I go to pick it up, pay them a good chunk of change and leave in my own car!! When Luke gets off work we take the rental KIA back to Enterprise.

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Thus endeth the saga of the car drama ( I hope).

I write all of this not to complain or to make my reader’s feel discouraged. Instead I am honestly sharing because this car saga challenged me to learn patience, independence, to show myself grace, and how to deal with what is out of my control. In the end stayed safe, the car was fixed, and the only set back was financial. But don’t worry we’ll recover. 😉

How has life challenged you recently? What are you learning from it?

Judgement-Free Living: An Introduction

My subtitle for the category: Transcend, is: learning what it’s like to live nut-free, barley-free, and judgment free.

To transcend as my Transcend page states is:

a : to rise above or go beyond the limits of

b : to triumph over the negative or restrictive aspects of overcome

So far I have provided some yummy examples of how I choose to transcend my barley allergy. In the future I will do the same with my tree nut allergy. But I thought it was time that I explain what I meant by learning to transcend judgment, or how I plan to become judgment-free.

This is a very honest and at times vulnerable portion of my blogging, which I hope, may be encouraging to others.

I over the years have learned (for the most part) to not judge others. I humbly recognize that is not my place or role. By doing so I have opened myself up to the freedom to love, forgive, and show patience and grace to others. What I have yet to explore is how to attain the same freedom for myself.

It is true what they say that we are our own worst enemy and our harshest critic. (To be clear I’m not sure who they is. The reason I mention this is because a good friend and ex-roommate of mine always asked that question: who is they?)

Displaying patience or any of those other qualities to other people is one thing; showing them to yourself: well .  . . that is another.

This is just an introduction I will in the future delve deeper into what this portion of the transcend journey looks like. I plan to do this (as you may have guessed) through addressing ways I am learning to find freedom to attain the qualities of love, forgiveness, patience, and grace for myself.

Whether you are a self-critic or have “been there done that” I hope you find my stories, experiences, and journey to be compelling and encouraging.

Any initial thoughts on my launch of this portion of the blog?

Any words of encouragement from those whom have “been there done that”?

Overall, I would encourage you to be honest and vulnerable, like I will be-it will always be appreciated!