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Turning a Corner

July 29, 2014
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Mentally, I’ve been making a list of things to do when Jack starts school next week, which includes blogging. I miss it. I kept telling myself I wouldn’t blog again unless I actually wanted to because what’s the point. And really, what’s the point of blogging? Regardless, here I am!

In April, I shared some of my health issues. Since then, I’ve found a specialist who didn’t take four months to get an appointment with and was eager to find the root cause of all my problems. Turns out there are lots of roots.

I’ve since found out that I’m allergic to dairy, chicken, eggs, and a few other small things. I have no B6 in my body, which could be the reason for so much inflammation. I’m deficient in several vitamins linked to brain fog, depression, and exhaustion and showed signs of chronic fatigue syndrome. I tested positive for the MTHFR gene (C677T). Oh, and I have Candida in my gut.

*I feel the need to include that I’ve passed the denial and pity party stage. At this point, I’m so happy to actually know what’s wrong with me! I’ve been very fortunate!

As for my thyroid, I do have Hashimoto’s Disease, but at this time, my thyroid levels are within the normal range, but even if it’s a normal range, it doesn’t mean it’s that it’s my optimal range.

In the meantime, I visited my rheumatologist to figure out what was happening to my swollen toe so we could get that taken care of, too. After x-rays and ultrasounds on my toe, it was clear that psoriasis was causing all the swelling.

The ultrasound technician was basically Javier from Felicity. Interacting with him was the best part of the appointment. Just by looking at the ultrasound, he correctly guessed things about me that made my eyes widen. He asked if I had children, then asked if I had problems with preeclampsia when I was pregnant. Bingo! Just by looking at my TOE!

After we chatted some more, he did an ultrasound on my thyroid and assured me there was nothing to worry about there. I was worried about this in the beginning of my diagnosis of Hashimotos, so this was so great to hear.

This appointment took an emotional turn when discussing treatment options since the medications I need to help my body heal can have an extreme effect if I were to get pregnant, not that we’re trying, but you never know. So, having the conversation about whether or not we’re going to have more children was not what I expected when going in for my toe.

So, what now?

I stopped the thyroid medicine (Levothyroxine/T4) I was prescribed back in April and started on a cycle T3 two times a day. It was tedious at first because I was increasing my dosage every day, along with taking my temperature 3-4 times a day, but I’m finally at a point that I can start the process of coming off of it.

Along with that, I’m taking a plethora of vitamins and supplements to get my levels where they need to be. I’m not taking any medications for my toe yet because the first prescription made me sick to my stomach, so I’m waiting to try something else.

And I’m following a strict diet that’s some sort of Paleo. My doctor told me I needed to follow a Paleo diet at my first appointment and I said no. Even after seeing my lab results, I said no. But, after more reading, especially on Candida, I’ve cut most foods out, even slowly cutting out all fruit.

And, now, I have pictures to prove it’s all working. By June, I had extreme inflammation. My ankles looked like they did when I was pregnant! The two left pictures were in June and the far right is from last week. At that point, it was only a 3 lb difference, so not a weight loss issue, but water! My doctor measured my water and body fat today, telling me the 5 pounds I’ve lost were all water.

I still have A LOT more weight (actual fat, not just water!) to lose, but I’m starting to look and feel like myself again. I’m hoping by my 30th birthday in December that I’ll be in a much healthier place.

the end.

Preschool Complete

May 16, 2014
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Jack’s last day of preschool was Wednesday! We did it! He only went for a semester, and even then, was sick a lot and missed days due to weather, but still, he’s moving on the kindergarten in the Fall!

First day and last day. Not sure if there’s much difference, although his face is starting to thin out. :(

Wednesday was his end of the year party, complete with snow cones, water games, and pizza.

I just realized this picture looks like he wet his pants while eating a snow cone. And I’m still going to post it.

Jack was having a great time.

A great time, until he got hit in the face by accident with a water thing. And it was all downhill from there. He cried off and on about various things. Let’s just say he had a rough time. And he was up at 5:45 that morning singing, so I’m thinking losing that sleep had something to do with it.

Since yesterday was his official first day of Summer vacation, we started a new tradition by going to the movies.

Jack isn’t a huge movie theater person, so we waited until the Lego Movie was at the dollar theater.

And no trip to the dollar theater is complete without a bag full of goodies from The Dollar Tree.

Our total was $7 for the movie, which I gasped because I was expecting to pay $3, but it turns out they have 3D now, so that was really a good price, ha!

We both loved the movie. I may have even liked it more than he did! He wore my hoodie over his head the whole time to cut down the volume. He still hates loud noises.

Last night was Jack’s school program. It was mainly graduation for the kindergarten program, but each class got to sing.

The highlight of the night may have been the playing of Butterfly Kisses during the kindergarten slide show. Oh lawd.

Jack actually sang during his songs!

There was a bit of drama during the last song; Jack fell back and hit his head on a step in the beginning of the song and was crying, so his teacher hugged him and pulled him off-stage until Reid could get to him.

Jack starts school the very beginning of August, so it seems like such a short Summer. I feel like we’re making the best decision by sending him to school in the Fall, but I still get butterflies thinking about what all it means with him starting school full-time, adjusting to a school schedule, school rules, carpool, etc.

But, until then, it’s Summer!

Weekend Update // Muffins with Mom

May 7, 2014
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Last weekend we took a short road trip with Casey and Sheena to Casey’s parents’ house in Rogersville to visit with Billy and Rita and buy a motorcycle from them.

Reid has wanted a motorcycle for a while now, but the fever got even more intense after watching the motorcycle documentaries from Ewan McGreggor and Charley Boorman. He’s watched both series twice and read the book recently, so it was inevitable.

We took turns sitting by Jack since he wanted someone to talk and play with in the car.

We met Billy and Rita for lunch at a cute café in their little town. Afterwards, the boys went to try out the motorcycle while the girls stayed behind and shopped at the local boutiques.

Reid had no trouble picking up the bike and taking off.

Reid is very happy about his new bike, but still needs to get his license and a new tag before going on any real rides.

And he already has his next bike picked out for after this one.

Jack loves the Patton’s piano and made us all play so he could dance for us.

He, also, came up with the nickname Captain Underpants for Billy. Jack has said all week in the most serious tone that he wants to go back to Captain Underpants’ house.

Jack’s enjoying the bike, too.

Jack had an art show at school on Monday night. He got a 1st place ribbon for one of his projects!

Today was Muffins with Mom at his school. Jack had already told me in advance that he was going to sing a song and I would eat a muffin. And that’s basically what happened.

Seeing his face light up in excitement to see me when he walked in to sing was so sweet! He really does like me!

The kids sang this awkward version of Jesus Loves Me, but the words were changed to Mommy Loves Me. Let that sink in for a moment. Jack sang a couple of the lines, but he was too busy looking at me and shrugging.

He made some art for me.

Apparently, I’m special because sometimes I let Jack get up before it’s 7am.

Jack didn’t make this, but I love it.

We got to bring home all his crafts. It’s quite a bit and I’m not sure what to do with all of it.

Jack and I went to lunch at Moe’s before we went home for the afternoon.

Reid came home a little early so we could go to the motorcycle shop to look at gear.

In an attempt to get Jack to stop running around the store, I put him in the tires.

And there you have it. A tiny glimpse into some parts of our lives right now.

the end.

A Personal Update

April 15, 2014
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If you go back through the archives of this blog, you’ll find actual paragraphs and stories from our lives, not just photos of Jack and a small blurb here and there of updates. The truth is, I’m not in a storytelling mood. At least, not here. And I’m not feeling the desire to be vulnerable on the internets.

But, maybe for today, I feel open to giving a personal update.

I’ve been very honest over the past 7ish years about my journey with weight loss and the struggles and triumphs I’ve had along the way. I lost a lot of weight very quickly in 2012 following a low fat/high carb vegan diet for about nine months. It was the strictest and smallest I’d ever been, including high school.

After nine months of eating brown rice, potatoes, veggies and fruit, we went to Disney World and I ate whatever I wanted and then some, I couldn’t go back to eating the vegan way after coming home. My taste buds were not having it after a week of delicious food.

And then, came a terrible cycle and lots of bad habits were formed.

I’ll do paleo. No wait, vegan made me skinny, so let’s do that again. Hey, let’s try carb-cycling. Macro-counting. South Beach. Nope, back to vegan. All in the middle of each 2-3 day attempt was a full on binge fest of unhealthy foods because I failed trying to eat well for 3 or 4 days.

I leveled out to about 140ish pounds for about a year or so. Then, December of last year came and I gained 20 pounds in one month.

Now, I ate like a crazy person that month; I’m fully aware of that and will own it, but 20 pounds in one month seems steep.

Then, the new year came and I got a stress fracture in my foot that is still healing, so no running or cardio. And I have a swollen toe on the other foot due to psoriatic arthritis.

And I’ve gained another 30 pounds since January. Right now, I’m gaining about 2-3 pounds a week, regardless of how I eat.

I’ve prided myself on “at least I’m not as heavy as I was when we got married” for a few years, but that’s no longer the case. I actually weigh more than I did in college and am inching closer and closer to what I weighed right before giving birth to Jack.

A month ago, I made an appointment with a doctor to have my thyroid tested. They called me a week later to tell me there was a problem with my thyroid and they put me on medication.

I didn’t look into it too much at the time because I was so relieved to have an answer, but since then, I’ve called to get my actual numbers so I could research exactly what was going on. I realized the my thyroid numbers showed in the “normal” range, but I had tested positive for thyroid antibodies, which after some digging online, I realized that meant I have Hashimoto’s Disease.

I’d only spoken with the lab about these things, so not much information came from them; today was the first time I’ve spoken with the doctor in person about my results and what they really mean. I knew it meant I had Hashimoto’s Disease, but to hear her audibly confirm it today and go over what it meant felt crushing.

Hashimoto’s Disease is an auto-immune disease that causes the immune system to actually launch an attack on the thyroid, one of the glands in the endocrine system responsible for metabolism. A common result of Hashimoto’s is hypothyroidism, or an under functioning thyroid. This explains symptoms I’ve had since having Jack that were always blamed on being a new mom– always exhausted, losing hair, gaining weight, brain fog, among other things.

Basically, I have two autoimmune diseases already (psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis), so it’s easy for your body to attach another one onto it. Like the other two, I’ll have this the rest of my life and will find ways to control it, not cure it, and the amount of time it will take is unknown and out of my control.

I’m on a very low dosage of synthroid right now and am waiting to see a specialist in August (the earliest I could get in!) in hopes of getting on a different medication that my current doctor will not prescribe for me. I’m also toying with a gluten free diet, especially since this makes 3 autoimmune diseases. I’ve been told that it’s uncertain when I’ll get better and it could be a long time before I lose any weight, not matter what I do or change.

So, this is what’s been going on for me for a few months. Lots of doctor visits and lab work and investigating and trying not to lose my mind over the results and my ever-growing body. It’s been a huge blow mentally, but I’m getting help with that, so I’m hopeful.

the end.

Around Here Lately

April 10, 2014
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Last weekend Jack and I went to my parent’s house. Sometimes I wonder how many times I’ve traveled to Mobile from Birmingham since 2003, but I think the number would be depressing.

The night before we left, Jack was sad about leaving Reid and leaving his “friends” behind, so I made sure to have his friends road trip ready when I picked him up from school.

Jack is the best road trip partner, which makes sense considering how many times we’ve traveled just the two of us in his 5 years.

Our first night there, we ate Mexican and went for a walk on the pier.

We went for a trail walk and my dad had Jack convinced that bears were going to attack us at any moment. Sounds a lot like my childhood.

I will always be amazed at the amount of fabric my mom has in their house. This is just a small portion.

My mom is working on a rather large and double sided quilt, so I was there to help cut triangles for the hexagons.

Jack developed a Minecraft addiction.

We’re home now, but here are some pictures from the past two weeks.

A Lego 5th Birthday

March 31, 2014
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This is the first year Jack has really gotten to decide what he’d like to do for his birthday. He decided weeks ago that he’d like to go to the trampoline place with Noah, so that’s what we did. Samantha was away at a work conference, so she couldn’t join us. The week of, Jack said he wanted Deena to come, too, and it worked out that she could join us.

Can you tell that they were excited?

I was a little nervous because it was spring break and when I bought the tickets online the night before, all the times after 9:30 were already sold out! We went from 9-10, which is blocked out for children 6 and under, so it’s less crazy.

The boys chose McDonalds for our early lunch after we left.

By the time Jack and I got home, Reid was home from work for the day, so Jack got to open presents.

Since Reid’s mom was making a cake for the next day, we bought a small ice cream cake so he’d have cake on his actual birthday.

He wished that he could go to the beach condo all day.

Jack spent all afternoon playing his “new” Star Wars ship, then we ate at Chick-fil-a for dinner and went bowling with Deena and Lori.

It was boys versus girls.

The boys won.

And the girls lost.

The next day, the boys played a 3 hour game of Monopoly while we waited for our families to get here for round 2.

My parents and sister got there late in the afternoon and Jack got to go ahead and open presents.

He has been wishing and wishing and talking non-stop about this Lego City Police Station since Christmas!

Reid’s parents came after that and more presents were opened.

And, then Jack was surprised to find a bike outside!

Jack decided about a month ago that he wanted shrimp and a volcano for his birthday dinner, so we all went to Sumo. It was so, so good!

I caught my parents taking selfies.

After dinner, we went back home for cake and ice cream. Sally, Reid’s mom, made this cake for Jack! Isn’t it incredible? It was perfect!

Jack ate his cake and quickly left to start building Legos. He got to stay up later than usual that night so he could get some work done.

My family spent the night with us, so Jack was up around 6:30 ready to play with everyone the next day.

Reid stayed home to paint and we all left for lunch and shopping.

We spent some time at the Lego store since Jack had birthday money and had his eye on a coast guard set, but I found it cheaper at Wal-Mart while we were in the store, so we went to Wal-Mart.

My family left that afternoon and the rest of the weekend was spent building Legos and working on Jack’s room.

the end.

Star Wars Wall

March 30, 2014
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Jack’s bed came in last week!

Can you tell that he was excited?

He said it looks like a pirate ship and that he’s the captain.

After celebrating Jack’s birthday last Thursday and Friday, Reid worked on Jack’s room all day yesterday and today and will do more tomorrow night.

We knew we wanted stripes, but we couldn’t decide how to do them or what colors we wanted on the gray walls. Last week, I came across a picture of a room with darker gray stripes on a light gray wall and we knew that’s exactly what we wanted.

After most of the painting was done, Reid painted this mural.

Just kidding, it’s a wallpaper from RoomMates Décor. Reid did most of the work getting it up and it was nothing like the quick and clean video we watched on YouTube. It easily could have gone majorly wrong, but Reid took his time and made it work.

It doesn’t seem to look as big in the pictures, so here’s one with Jack to show the size.

This is the before:

And after:

These were all before the curtains were hung back up and everything got moved back to his room.

There’s still more painting to be done, pictures to be framed, and a dresser to be bought, but it’s come a long way in just two days! I’m surprised at how much I love it; I thought the mural would look cheesy, but I think it works.

the end.

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