Struggles, Triumphs, and Nostalgia

All day today I couldn’t stop thinking about what to write about next.  I’m glad to be back on here, but am reaching a bit of an awkward time with my adjustment.  I’m hoping that today, I can blog with a purpose and that these upcoming months will be a learning experience. I sincerely thank anyone who is reading and while my questions are very limited this week, I hope to reach someone in some way!

Questions for Readers…

  1. For all my Hypo-Thyroid friends, what has your journey been like thus far?  Now that I’ve made the transition to being Hypo-Thyroid, I feel as though I’m starting over and feel a little lost.  I’ve been following people online, researching, reading, listening to friends, etc, and I’m hoping to link, learn, and share.

These last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind and as I begin this post, I hope that soon, I can get fully back into blogging purposefully and to set goals for myself.  For anyone who has not read my blog before, I am currently almost a month past my Total Thyroidectomy.  Today, I’ll share a little bit with my current struggles and triumphs without a thyroid.  Anyone who knows me also knows that I am a teacher.  Coincidentally, these last few weeks have been my busiest yet this school year.  I feel that I haven’t shared much about my career, so I would love to write about it this week.

So, here I am without a Thyroid.  When everything started in 2014, the thought terrified me.  As time went on and I met the right doctors and had discussions about the alternatives with my particular case, it felt like the right choice.  I’m still confident that I made the right choice…but it still is something that I am trying to adjust to.  The first few weeks after surgery all I wanted to do was get past the initial recovery…to have a successful procedure, finish pain medication, feel comfortable, rest, etc.  I knew what was ahead after that:  to begin taking Synthroid to replace my Thyroid, and to regulate my hormone levels.  I didn’t know how it would happen, when it would happen, etc.  It has definitely been a little crazy and there are times that I feel amazing, but there are times I feel really out of whack.  I’m always going too many steps ahead of myself and I know that I need to give myself a lot more time, but I can’t help but feel a little anxious and impatient.

Here’s a little glimpse into the ups and downs that I’m hoping my Hypo-Thyroid readers can relate to because I feel like a lot of this will sound bizarre.  I had about a week of not being on any kind of medication to replace my Thyroid, but was told that my Thryroid was so overactive that even without it, I would probably still be Hyper-Thyroid for a few days.  This was the case and I actually still had to take my Beta-Blocker for palpitations.  Finally, I stopped it and began taking 75mg of Synthroid.  I returned to work 10 days post-surgery, luckily after we all had time off from school.  I had only missed the day of my procedure.  My neck/throat pain was pretty much gone and although I wasn’t allowed to do anything strenuous, I felt more energetic and very eager to be off the couch and back into a routine.  I was so happy to be back with my Kindergartners and started feeling myself.  A day later, I was walking down the stairs at my school when I started to feel these really intense pains in my calves.  It felt like I had just done the hardest leg workout of my life and I wondered how it was even possible to be sore after days of staying inside.  I drove home and went about my evening routines, wondering why I still felt uncomfortable.  After watching some TV with Matt, I got up to go to bed and felt like my legs were locking.  I could barely walk down the hallway and I looked like a wooden soldier.  It was absolutely ridiculous and embarrassing!  I think now that it probably was hilarious to watch, but Matt was really freaked out and upset and when I told him this he told me it wasn’t.  I still think I must have looked insane, but it was very painful.  I woke up throughout the night with this pain anytime I moved my legs and around 5 am, we called the surgeon’s office.  He asked me which calf since that can be a sign of a blood clot, but as soon as he heard it was both, he said that it couldn’t be.  He told me to call my endocrinologist’s office so that I could be seen.  I made the appointment and stayed in bed all day, dreading going down the hallway to the bathroom.  It honestly hurt the most when I had to walk downstairs to the car.  The endo took a look and checked on my healing scar and decided on some tests.  Something was off with my levels and it was best if I rested until we figured out what was going on. I did begin to feel other changes happen such as the excruciating calf pains, and lack of energy.  The lab results came in and I could not believe what a fast jump my body made.  I am not a doctor and I hope that I am even explaining this all right, but I’m going to try.  From what I have heard from my doctor, normal TSH (Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone) levels range between 2.5-4.0.  When I was Hyper, my levels were extremely low and at a .001 meaning my Thyroid was extremely overactive.  What happened?  Results came in that my TSH was a 10.73.  That was definitely scary to hear.  The good news?  The endo was able to give my pathology results from my surgery and after the full thyroid was biopsied, it came back benign!  This means no radiation!  The high TSH levels explained the changes I was feeling.  My endo upped my dosage to 88mg, decreased my calcium and now I have to wait 5 weeks to go back for more blood work to see how I am adjusting.  Since then, I definitely am having highs and lows.  I was very fortunate that when I returned back to work again this past Monday, I had a smooth week and felt well at school all week.  However, I have been feeling extremely tired and also just feel a little foggy/forgetful.  I also have been getting really bad headaches since Thursday.  I’m just wanting this process to go smoothly and I’m having some fears that I am trying to push away.  Everyone is different, but I’ve heard that it’s normal for your body to be off for a few months without a Thyroid.  Now that my metabolism is slowing, I feel like my body could be changing and I’m just wanting to get myself into a fitness routine again.  I have not yet been cleared to workout and I’m hoping that tomorrow, after my post-op appointment with my surgeon, I can start planning it out.  I also feel a bit lost in how to begin dieting without a thyroid.  I knew there were a lot of resources online for Hypo-Thyroidism, but I’m having a hard time finding the right information.  What I’ve been noticing is that there are diet plans and many foods that people with Hypo-Thyroidism should eat, but those are people who have their thyroid and it is underactive.  I haven’t been able to find much information about what to eat if you are Hypo-Thyroid due to not having a Thyroid.  This is what I really want to figure out.  I’m hoping that I can find some really smart, awesome people who have some resources.

I haven’t talked about my vocal cord dilemma much, but that’s because I’m also not really sure what will be next.  My voice therapist told me to take a break from sessions until a few weeks past my recovery and while I am supposed to go back to her on Tuesday, I’m thinking that I will be cancelling due to the blizzard coming our way!  I haven’t been too good about doing my vocal-trill exercises because it’s been a little uncomfortable doing them since surgery.  I am not sure if the cyst has gone down, if the callouses are healing, etc.  I will have to see what the next steps are.  For now, I’m just trying to focus on my thyroid recovery.

To end on a more positive, happy note, I figured it would be a great opportunity to briefly talk about something that brings a lot of joy to my life: teaching.  It’s been a strange year dealing with all of this, but I feel like if I didn’t have this job, I wouldn’t feel as strong as I do to get through all of this.   This is my sixth year of teaching.  I started off as a Pre- K teacher at a private program which I absolutely adored.  The four years I spent there were honestly magical.  I could have stayed there forever, but I wanted to broaden my horizons and fulfill a school aged teaching position in a school district and grow professionally.  I began teaching kindergarten last year in a charter school and this year, I finally landed a public school teaching position in New York City.  This happened at exactly the right time: after completing my Master’s Degree in Special Education.  I jumped right into a great opportunity: a Kindergarten Special Ed Teaching Position.  This is my first Special Ed teaching experience and I have been extremely blessed.  I teach in an ICT (Integrated Co-Teaching) classroom in which there is one general education teacher (she’s amazing) and I am the special education teacher.  Some of our students have special needs while other students do not.  Currently, eight of our students have special needs and it is my job to write their IEP’s (Individualized Education Plans) and to ensure that they are meeting their goals.  This month, I had my first experience writing IEP’s since four of my students IEP’s were up for their annual review.  I was terrified going into this, but after having my first two last week, I am getting the hang of it.  I love teaching and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else that doesn’t involve teaching little ones.  I am still early into my career, and I don’t know what/where the future will bring me, but I definitely do not picture myself working with any other age group.  Early Childhood is my passion and I hope that this can also eventually be incorporated into my blog.  I actually did have a blog a few years ago when I was teaching Pre-K which I will share with you all.  I used it during my second year of teaching, before beginning my Master’s.  It’s something that I loved to do and maybe one day I’ll get back into educational blogging.  I just got extremely nostalgic looking back on it.  Feel free to check out my link!  These were very early teaching experiences for me and now that I am teaching Kindergarten, I don’t get to do everything I did in Pre-K.  I would love to be able to bring some of these activities back.

Here is the link and a picture of one of my favorite Pre-K memories: sensory fun!  This particular picture was taken in February 2013 and includes pictures of our Valentine themed sensory table, heart painting from recycled toilet paper/paper towel tubes, as well as chocolate play-doh that we made together as a class!  This was so much fun.
http://missdixonsupk.blogspot.com

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A very warm hug and giant thank you to anyone who took the time to read this very long and scattered post this week.  Right now, things are a little crazy and up in the air, but I hope that once I am more adjusted to how my body is working and I figure out new fitness/nutrition regimens, that everything will start falling into place.  I’ll end with one simple quote that I feel sums up everything I talked about today:

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2 thoughts on “Struggles, Triumphs, and Nostalgia

  1. Jeanne you continue to amaze me with your writing! As a fellow hypo-thyroid buddy, I’m learning from you! We will keep plugging along together and find those healing foods for the two of us thyroid-free people!!
    Keep on blogging, you are wonderful!
    Mom

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  2. Beautifully written as always. I look forward to your posts Jeanne. I am also hypo but for a different reason. . I follow my doctor but do other things as well-whenever I want to heal from anything. While you are healing, it is always good to ground yourself and center yourself. Your yoga teacher probably knows a lot of this and can teach you breathing exercises as well. There are also a lot on YouTube. I like the 4,7,8 breathing by Andrew Weil. I also like lighting candles to get peaceful and I love using essential oils. If you are open to it, there are a lot of healers out there that can help you along. Love and take care of your body. The body is amazing at healing itself. Feeling supported is so important. Maybe over spring break you can come over and visit with your mom and I’ll show you some of the things I do. 💚💚💚

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