Forgiven & Set Free Five Years Later ~

Life with Jesus in it is amazing.  I often look at the little oak tree that I planted five years ago after finishing Forgiven & Set Free ministry through my church.  That little red oak has grown a lot!  It’s not only grown a lot in height, but in meaning.  It still stands for the son I’ll know someday, but also it stands for me… for my strength to get through this,  the resilience it takes to go on and the love I can finally feel for myself after all of these years.  I’ve come a long way, through lots of challenges.  I have a ways yet to go.  I won’t reach the end until I go home to God and can meet my baby again.

Red Oak 2017

Thanks for stopping by.  God bless.  ~ Tamara

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July 31, 2017; Journal Entry 3: De-Carbonated

Well, it’s been 6 days without any carbonated drinks.  I’m pretty proud of myself for that.  I’m pretty well addicted to Pepsi, or any other soda.  I’ve known for a long time, and I didn’t need Dr. M to tell me, that carbonated drinks are SO bad for you.  I just hadn’t gotten to the point where I really cared enough about my own health to stop drinking it.  And, indeed, it’s been a very difficult week.  I wish I was  one of those people who could just chug water and be happy and healthy.  I’m a flavor addict.  If it doesn’t taste good, I want nothing to do with it.  I’ve tried some of those little bottled flavorings that you add to water, but they give me heartburn.  So, I don’t know what the future holds in store for me to drink… I might just have to bite the bullet and drink the flavorless water anyway.  I’m in this for the long run.

I’d like to say I’ve been doing exceptionally well with my food intake.  But I’m not feeling guilty about it, as Dr. M (the endocrinologist) said he doesn’t want me to change my eating habits until I get my blood workup done next month.  Even so, I’m consciously holding back and eating better.  Mostly.  Dr. M said he would be “teaching me” how to eat/avoid carbs etc. after the blood workup comes back.  I’m hoping when I go see  him again that I’ve lost some weight.

Even so, I have this scary symptom(s) that does not seem to abide by my rules.  It rears its ugly head whenever/wherever.  Usually when I have to stand for any length of time.  First I’ll break into a profuse sweat (soaking anything/anyone around me), then my hands will begin to shake, then my arms and, if I don’t find a place to sit fast enough, my entire body will tremble.  My breathing will come much faster and uncontrollable, and to the point where I will pass out.  The only resource to stop it is to sit down for around 15 minutes at least.  It can be terrifying.

I will be contacting my primary care doc about this one!

So, that’s about it for tonight.  Not so much.  I’m distracted and need to go quilt.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look.  Blessings ~ Tamara

 

July 27, 2017; Journal Entry 2: Eat Clean ~

I guess the term “eat clean” is the mantra for those (of us) who are trying to get healthier, lose weight, and live (not a “better life”) up to our potential. I haven’t researched all that is involved in this journey yet, it’s going to take awhile to take it all in. Besides, Al reminded me that Dr. M doesn’t want me to change my eating habits just yet. He wants me to be “raw” (in my natural state of gut health) for when I get all of this blood work done that he has requested. That’s next month. He said after he sees the results, THEN “we’ll talk”! He said he is going to teach me how to read carbs (and avoid them), sugars, fructose ~ I sure hope he teaches me how to replace them with stuff that tastes good! Regardless, there is plenty of information out here on the web just for the asking. And I already have several/many friends who are supportive and willing to help. One particularly special lady in one of my quilt groups has requested to be my partner in my endeavor! I almost cried! We’ve exchanged phone numbers and will keep in touch with each other throughout the journey. One of my goals is to lose enough weight to be able to fly down to see her next year (she’s in Florida). No, I won’t fly like “this”. Massively obese and unhealthy. I filled the dishwasher yesterday and had to take a shower afterwards as I’d broken out into a soaking sweat. Then, drying myself from the shower made me all sweaty again. No, I want to go to Florida and not be ashamed to wear shorts, or even a bathing suit, or sleeveless shirt or tank top.

Anyway, the research begins. Mostly, I need to find good, clean alternatives to the crap I’ve been eating ~ and it’s gotta taste good. Flavor is my downfall. Can’t they make a nice, dark lettuce that tastes like a potato chip? Is that asking too much? I’m not kidding myself, this is going to be tough. I’ve been craving carbonation all day so far. Soda will be the hardest thing for me to give up… but I am determined. I want so hard to make this work this time. No tricks, no special pills ~ just healthy eating and bring in some exercise and I’ll get there. I HAVE to.

Input is very welcome in the comments. Know of a good, healthy recipe? I have an awesome Ninja blender that could make rocks into a smoothy. What’s yummy?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Blessings ~ Tamara

July 26, 2017; Journal Entry 1 ~

Well, this is the first day of the rest of my life, yesterday is behind me and I have many more years ahead of me.

For the past several years, and even moreso the past 5-6 months, I thought I had hypothyroid. I seriously had what seemed to be all the symptoms. My primary care doctor diagnosed it and was treating me for it, and I’ve trusted her and her predecessor for 19 years now. But, with the onset of such awful symptoms as fatigue, confusion, memory loss and all the others, I felt I needed more help, so I sought out a endocrinologist and met with him for the first time yesterday.

Admittedly, I was not too impressed at first, but Al (who agreed to come with me) and I gave Dr. M the benefit of the doubt and listened to him. The first thing he said was that I do NOT have hypothyroid. I was rather taken aback. It was a long discussion, over 1 1/2 hours. Dr. M decided that I am “pre-diabetic”, and explained exactly why in a language that we could understand. This man was NOT condescending like many physicians. He explained that it is all of the medications I am currently on that were causing the symptoms I was having. Well, I’m still not so sure about that, but he came forward with a “plan” to help me feel better, and get into better health. He also wants to wean me off of most of my meds and replace them with vitamins, a supplement of super-probiotics to help my gut health, and get me to eating the RIGHT foods that will make me feel better and lose weight. Well, THAT sounds logical! And it’s the closest any physician has come to being absolutely real with me. Even my own PCP. We went and got the super-probiotics last night, but still need Vitamin B12 and CoQ10, I’m already taking Vitamin D.

So Al and I talked about this new “regimen” at length last evening, and we both feel Dr. M has my best interests and my best health at heart, and I’m going to go ahead and see where this leads. First thing Dr. M said was “NO SODA”! So I had Al take the 4 Pepsi’s I had in the fridge and get them out of here. I’ve been drinking flavored water since last night. Not particularly satisfying, but better for me. Al and I had hefty salads last night for dinner, with a hint of cooked chicken chopped up into it. A drizzle of salad dressing. And NO ice cream before bed! Off to a good start, I’d say.

Today, Wednesday, 7-26-17, has been the beginning of the real test. I’m alone at home all this week on vacation. Temptation is pretty much everywhere, but I’ve done good. I ate a bowl of Special K w/strawberries with a banana cut up on it for breakfast. I ate a pint of blueberries for lunch. Yes, I pint! I adore blueberries and I just kept nibbling on them while I was on Facebook and then they were gone! That’s not a bad thing… blueberries have antioxidants and are good for you. So I’m happy for today so far. I’ve been “exercising” by doing laundry, dishes, vacuuming etc., but at some point down the road, when I get my energy back, Dr. M is going to discuss exercise… ones that I can actually do. For now, he doesn’t want me to change much until I get a blood workup next month.

So begins my newest adventure towards weight loss and better health. I think the difference is, this time I have professional help, and he believes I can accomplish my goals. One of those goals being quality of life, not just more years. I consider myself a beautiful woman “as is”. But the potential to be even more beautiful (with weight loss) via lifestyle change is within my grasp, finally. I WANT IT!

This is my story and I’m sticking to it! I can do this. I will be using my blog to journal the journey, and I hope you’ll join in and encourage me, hold me to task, and don’t let me use excuses for any temporary failures I might encounter. I’m sure there will be some. But I will not be discouraged or swayed. I will not let it be “too late”!

Thanks for stopping by! Blessings, Tamara ~

Hypo “what”? Hashi “who”?

** This post is for my own benefit. I doubt anyone else will read this, which is fine. I don’t want sympathy. I will just need to remember this down the road.**

Try to imagine. Just try.

I’ve lived the past 30+ years in pretty much constant pain. I have (5) herniated discs in my back (C1, T5-6-7 and L5), as well as knees and feet “riddled with arthritis”, according to my orthopedist. Add to that, just for fun, that I’m about 200 lbs overweight. Yep, about that. I’ve had my health issues and gotten through them with a healthy heart (per my cardiologist), healthy lungs (per my pulmonologist), healthy urinary tract (per my urologist), healthy reproductive area (per my OB/GYN specialist). But, some time back, I don’t remember exactly when, I was diagnosed by my primary care physician, as having hypothyroid.

Hypothyroid is having an underactive or inactive thyroid gland. I was prescribed medication to help “activate” my thyroid. So what? That’s what I thought. I didn’t really even know what a thyroid was, not to mention where it’s located. So it can’t be too important or vital to things. But I took my meds, off and on, and not in earnest, not really caring about the diagnosis. I continued to visit my PCP twice yearly for checkups, and my thyroid always read low ~ duh! Of course, I wasn’t taking my meds appropriately!

Well, this year, things have changed for me. I don’t know why, and I may never know why. Back in May, I decided I WOULD begin taking these thyroids meds like I’m supposed to… in the morning on an empty stomach, then wait for an hour before you eat breakfast. Okay, doing good. One month later I’m starting to have some not-so-good symptoms. Out of curiosity, I found a decent hypothyroid women’s group on Facebook and I joined. The stuff I’m finding out is still making my head spin! The administrators of this group seem to be very well-educated on the subject, but I’m not one to believe information just on a say-so. I weigh facts from several different sources before making decisions about things.

But what was real are these symptoms: hair falling out, no tolerance for heat above 65 degrees, profuse sweating, sinus drainage causing constant clearing of throat, leading to laryngitis a couple times a month, extreme fatigue, debilitating brain fog, short term memory loss, the “shakes”, inability to concentrate, lack of appetite, light-headedness, confusion, easily bruised, depression, on and off fever, inability to get to sleep, inability to get out of bed in the morning, pain in all of my joints and muscles, constipation, inability to make decisions, lack of any real interest in anything. And I’m sure I’m forgetting at least two or three. All of this while still having to deal with unresolved chronic pain. I’m really just about at the end of my rope.

I have, however, researched, found, and made an appointment with an endocrinologist in Auburn, NY. My appointment is one week from today. I’m optimistic. Dr. Shirwan Mirza seems to have a good reputation according to his reviews. I pray to God that he’ll be able to help me.

Oh! I almost forgot the “Hashi-“ part! Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is often the CAUSE of hypothyroid. It is an autoimmune disorder in which antibodies directed against the thyroid gland lead to chronic inflammation. It is not known why some people make antibodies, although this condition tends to run in families. Over time, however, this results in impaired ability of the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones, leading to gradual decline in function and eventually an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). Hashimoto’s thyroiditis occurs most commonly in middle aged women, but can be seen at any age, and can also affect men, and children. Hey! How about “no cure”? It can only be treated with medications, diet and/or surgical removal – which will require medications. I’ll be tested for all of this when I see Dr. Mirza.

For now, it’s “wait and see”. But, if anyone does read this, thank you for taking the time. And maybe something here can help you.

Blessings ~ Tamara Continue reading