I’m not ignoring you. I’m stuck in a holding pattern. Temporarily derailed.
Nearly every writer has experienced the endless supply of ordinary everyday distractions, like social media and family activities. Those types of things I have learned to work around most of the time, squeezing in writing time whenever I can.
Brutal honesty? I’ve been betrayed by my body again, and I am vacillating between extreme exhaustion, frustration and sadness. Not conducive to my novel-writing.
When I say betrayed by my body, I mean exactly that. I have struggled for a decade with a multitude of mystery symptoms, which were finally given proper diagnosis 3 1/2 years ago. The longest I have felt “close to back to normal” was from May 2012 to March 2013. I had not only finally arrived at the right dose of thyroid medication, but in November I tested positive for multiple food intolerances so I was eating a modified Paleo diet. My symptoms were 98% gone and I had hope for the first time in years that I would be able to function and feel fantastic. My bad cholesterol was significantly down, heart disease risks lowered, lost over 34 lbs. But starting about February I was feeling like I needed to drink at least a cup of coffee in the morning again so I knew something wasn’t quiet right.
My thyroid antibodies were through the roof again, and my doctor found a lump. A thyroid ultrasound confirmed more than one.
I was scheduled for a test involving radioactive iodine, which meant I needed to stop eating fish, as well as discontinue my thyroid medication and the handfuls of vitamins I consume daily for 6 weeks. I was terrified that every symptom would return. After 5 days of this, I was taking like 12 naps a day, even after multiple cups of coffee. I felt like I had the flu. I spent Mother’s Day semi-conscious and feeling awful for not having fun with my kids.
The next morning I called the doctor and begged for a different way to get to the answer. It turns out, I could skip the test. I was referred for a biopsy of the lumps in a couple of weeks–I would’ve likely had a biopsy after the radioactive test anyway–and I could go back to taking my medication and vitamins and eating fish. After another week of readjusting to being back on the medication and vitamins, I am back to only needing 1-2 cups of coffee.
I am sharing this really personal information in case you struggle or know someone with an autoimmune illness such as Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s, or any of the other numerous “mystery” illnesses. For me, it has often cast a huge shadow over my life. My brain says “I can do that. I can take a nature hike with my kids. I can mow the lawn. I can go get groceries in a huge store.” However, my body has often said, “Sure, go ahead and do that but you will be exhausted and in pain later.” Another relative fought her way back from 4th stage ovarian cancer during the same time, so I didn’t feel like I could legitimately complain to extended family. I wasn’t dying, I just felt like it half the time.
The worst part has been feeling like people don’t believe me or think I’m lazy or think I am an attention seeking hypochondriac or think I am just on a fad diet. I was part of a civic group with a majority of members who were mostly over 70, and they even grew frustrated with my inability to participate consistently. (I finally learned to say no and let my membership expire.) Thankfully my amazing husband, children and close friends have been very supportive and non-judgmental about my limitations. If you’ve known me any length of time, you know this is a nightmare for me because it combines not being able to be active with having to ask for help. I am normally an “I’ll do it myself” person.
For a few weeks, I couldn’t keep my eyes open long enough to be coherent, and when I could, it literally hurt to type. I have no idea what is in store for me, but I’m not super worried. I’ve been told that if you’re going to get cancer, this is the one because thyroid has like a 99% survival rate and is very treatable. I honestly don’t even think it is that serious. It’s probably a goiter being reabsorbed as a result of my iodine rich diet.
If there’s one thing I am confident about, it’s that along the way something funny will happen during this goofy journey, thanks to my klutz gene. It’s the one thing I can count on, and I promise, when it does, I will share with it you. I could do an entire standup comedy routine on all the weird things I have tried in the name of health and healing.
So, dear reader, please be patient with me. I have not forgotten my blog. I’ll be back to writing soon.