Friday, November 6, 2015

My origin story?

Guys. I can't wait to eat tofu again. Tofu, soy creamer, olives, chips, guacamole... and Liz Lovely cookies.  This low iodine diet has killed my soul.  (It's possible that I'm being dramatic due to lack of iodine)

Preparation for the radioactive iodine therapy began a little over two weeks ago. My endocrinologist gave me a ton of instructions. I asked her if I would get any superpowers. It was very clear that I was her first patient to ask this...

Anyhow, it all starts with the aforementioned low iodine diet.  Remember when I said I'm not a doctor? I'm still not, so don't take my any medical advice from this blog. This link is just to get some sympathy. No, not really. Maybe.

This is what sadness tastes like

So, as a vegan, no soy blows. As someone with low blood pressure who passes out sometimes, no iodized salt blows. As a human being, this just sucks in general. It could be worse, but it also could be better. Anyhow- 2 weeks and 2 days down... 3-4 days to go.

Wednesday, we started the real exciting treatment. A pregnancy test (complete with a nosy phlebotomist "Is this a good thing?"), two days of thyrogen injections, and a non-radioactive iodine pill followed by a scan this morning to test the uptake.

Side note: this is my favorite note from a doctor ever. I knew the results of the pregnancy test since the nurse was able to start my thyrogen and that Dr. Piech was just tying up loose ends, but I do like to imagine her delivering all kinds of her news to patients in this casual way:

BTW, scurvy

This morning after the scan, I began my radioactive adventure. I was able to ask a few more questions (I had to fast for 2 hours before so my main question was when I could have more coffee- 1 hour). I was told that if I threw up after taking the pill, I'd have to call the hospital so they could decontaminate my car or house or where ever it happened (exciting). The doctor arrived, I signed a bunch of paperwork, and I was given my pill.

It arrived in this lead lined container
"Don't touch it with your hands". That's always something you want to hear about the pill you're going to take. Pretty uneventful, really. Took the pill, drank a bunch of water, got my "explanation for setting off the radioactive meter thing" letter that I need to carry around for a while, and then everyone quickly got eff away from me (which is how I was able to get this picture).

I did ask them if it was cool for me to be others as I left the hospital and they said it was totally fine because it would't be for long (again, though... they did run right the hell out of that room). You are never more aware of how close people get to you on an elevator of a hospital or the stairs of a parking garage until you are not supposed to be around people.

I made it home and we've already discovered some things we didn't think through. Nothing we can't fix. A lot of  "don't come in the kitchen yet!!!" yelling. A lot of water, peeing, cleaning the toilet a million times, and eating lemon candy.

They're good now...  I will want to set them on fire next week

Oh, and I bought this because, unicorn.

"We're going to candy mountain!!!"
Stay tuned for more adventures... 

That's Kevin in the distance. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Me and my stupid thyroid

Ok- first let me say something that you probably already know- I am not a doctor and nothing here should be taken as medical advice.

A lot has happened since my last post. I had a total thyroidectomy two months ago and I'm about to start radioactive iodine therapy tomorrow. Let's step back.

A little over two years ago, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis which caused hypothyroidism. It was discovered mostly by accident. I had a goiter that I mistook for an allergy. When the allergist wouldn't run tests (because my throat felt closed while I was in the office) I went to my primary care doctor who ran a bunch of blood tests. She called and left a message the next day that said "Call me back so we can come up with a plan". Naturally, it was a few hours before we were able to connect and I spent that morning worrying about what it could be. She told me that my TSH levels (take a look at that link up there) were off. The normal range is 0.30-4.50 and mine was 70.0. (that's higher...) I was put on levothyroxine and referred to an endocrinologist.

She asked if I had been feeling tired, if I had trouble maintaining my weight, if my skin was dryer, my hair was thinner (it also wouldn't curl!), and if I had been cold all of the time.  Yes to everything. Then she said "Why didn't you come in for that?!"  I didn't really have a good reason... a lot of the symptoms mimicked over training so I thought they had been marathon related. I thought maybe the rest were just going to happen as I got older. Also, I had no idea that all of these things were connected.

Fast forward through some ultrasounds, biopsies, and genetic testing that came back all clear for a while. This past June, I had a routine ultrasound that showed a new nodule that had signs of calcification. Another biopsy. A week later, I was told that the cells were suspicious for cancer and the next step was a total thyroidectomy.

I had my surgery with Dr. Gregory Randolph of Mass Eye and Ear on September 8th. I chose Dr. Randolph because he monitors the laryngeal nerve during surgery to minimize/eliminate vocal damage during surgery. Surgery went really well. Anesthesia and I are not super friendly, so the day of was pretty rough, but after that, recovery wasn't too bad. I was back to teaching Zumba 11 days after my surgery! Physically, I felt great! Vocal recovery took a little longer, but I was able to perform on October 19th.

At my post op appointments, it was confirmed that we had been dealing with stage one papillary thyroid carcinoma. My endocrinologist recommended radioactive iodine therapy to help combat recurrence (because it can happen even though the damn thyroid is gone) and now we're pretty much caught up.

I think I'll stop here so this post doesn't get too long. Stay tuned for my exciting adventures in the low iodine diet, nosy people and their inappropriate questions, and what's bound to be an odd few days of isolation while I'm radioactive.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Back to running, blogging, and Weight Watchers

It's hard to feel like you're starting over.  I've been back at Weight Watchers for 4 weeks and back to running for about 6 weeks.  I've been struggling thinking about running ability that I've lost and weight that I've gained back.

When I weighed in today, I tried to be positive (in my head) about the weight I lost and not think about straying so far from goal. Jean (our fabulous leader) said "Did you know you're down 39lbs?!"  I didn't know that. I never looked at the total weight lost from my initial weigh in. It really put everything in perspective.

This week (and beyond) I'm hoping to focus on my progress. I find that when I'm running, I'm thinking about what I was able to do last year or the year before.  I worry about not being able to run as long or as fast as I used to. I should really focus on how far I've come in the last 6 weeks.  I'm able to run longer, faster, and farther.

I'm down 39.2lbs from my highest and I can run twice as far as I could 6 weeks ago.

I have no justification for this picture. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I am just the worst

I still intend to write about the marathon this year... yes, the marathon that was 4 months ago.  Let me just say, it was rough. Like, really rough in so many ways.

Let me get to a little bit of a spoiler and say that I haven't been able to run since Memorial Day weekend due to a whole bunch of bad things happening with my foot. Here's the deal with running long distances- things are going to hurt. They're going to hurt a lot. Often, they get better as you get stronger. So, I assumed some foot/toe pain was just my feet needing to be stronger (and, that is possibly what it was). I ran through it. Actually, I sought out advice on how to mentally deal with the pain and run through.  Training this year was tough for a lot of reasons (a fall early on resulting in PT, snow and ice, food poisoning...) and I'm guessing that I just didn't train as much as I should of and caused some bad foot trauma.

Right now, I'm dealing with plantar fasciitis, a heel spur, a torn tendon, a pulled muscle, a bone bruise, and a little arthritis.  I've not been able to teach or do any kind of activity with impact since the beginning of July.  Before that, we tried anti-inflammatories and a cortisone shot before finally getting an MRI and getting the full picture.  I'm missing teaching classes and running pretty badly.

My last run was the Run to Remember in May. I had just started going to the doctor and was told that I could still run, but I should avoid hills.  It was a flat enough course and I switched from the half marathon to the 5 mile course. It was not great. Lots of pain. But, running just the five miles gave me the chance to watch some friends finish their first half marathons!

So happy to be at the end! 
Bish killing it!

Andrew kicking ass!

But, I've been swimming and I love it!  My first few tries were pretty bad.  I was never a great swimmer. I could tread water and move pretty slowly, but I've never really used swimming as an exercise. I had to force myself to get through 15 minutes of "laps" and then 15 more of aqua jogging. My generous and wonderful friend, Lynne, offered a free lesson and it gave me things to work on!  She showed me how to breath correctly during freestyle and taught me proper technique for both freestyle and breast stroke.  I'm still not great, but I'm good enough to actually get a work out!  She also taught me how to pick out goggles and for the first time, I have some that fit.

I also bought this swimming cap. It keeps the hair out of my face and the added bonus is, given the choice, most swimmers would rather share a lane with someone not wearing this.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Ok, fine.

One week left! AH!!!!

Alright- Here we go.

I've been kind of stubborn about this.  I made it to lifetime with Weight Watchers a couple of years ago.  Buuuuuut, I'm up. I kept thinking that I would just do it on my own because I didn't want to have to pay.  It was less the money and more feeling a bit like a failure.  I just got to relaxed with tracking and choices, plus had a little wrench thrown in called hypothyroidism.  Now that that's under control, I need to get back to good habits.  I know I can do it.  I've done it before!  I'm putting this out there because blogging helped me get to lifetime and I know it can help me get back to goal.  There's no shame in needing a little help!  Unfortunately, there were no meetings close by today, but I'm tracking and I can go back to Jean, my favorite leader, Thursday or Friday morning.  Let's do this!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A week and two days!

First- it's been a while.  20 miles- not so much.  I had a scary couple of days where I couldn't bend my knee or straighten it all the way.  It's not a fun place to be.  It's better!  But it was not fun.  I think it was the rain... which makes me feel old...

Next- we're getting down to the wire.  Today, I drove on Storrow Drive and in Kenmore Square and saw people running (in this beautiful weather) in their race day singlets!  It seems like a good idea for tomorrow since I haven't worn mine in about a year.  I'm pretty sure I'm wearing last year's team Stoneham shirt since it never got to cross the finish line.

Also- got this cool write up in Panorama thanks to Tiffany!

Photo by Samantha Murray

The photo shoot brought me to Copley Square for the first time in a while.  It was exciting and a little scary to think about running through the square in just a few weeks.

Don't get me wrong, I'm very excited!  But it'll be a tough 26.2 miles and an emotional day.  There's not much to do this week but take care of myself and eat some pasta.  Let's do this!

See YOU in a week!