Learning Self-Acceptance

Levi and I pose for the Feb 7 cleanup.
Levi and I pose for the Feb 7 cleanup.

22 pounds, as of three weeks ago (3rd week of March). This is significant for a number of a reasons. I made some changes that I hadn’t previously considered in my diet. I added essential oils to my daily healthcare regimen. And, I am learning, with more awareness, to accept me for who I am.

My whole life, I have disliked my body image. I was never a size 2, and that’s mostly who I compared myself to. I come with baggage that puts me in a statistical category where body image is harder to deal with. A statistical category that says being overweight is more common. I come from central European genes where sturdy people seem to be the norm – with my Polish and Slovenian heritage – read, not a size 2.

Finally, at the age of 27-28, I was learning to love my body and appreciate its curves. I was okay with my D cup and, then, size 12-16 pant size. This change of heart is relevant because growing up, I hated that size. I only viewed it as fat, and I only compared it to the relatives, whom I loved, that also struggled with their weight.

Struggling with weight! What a concept. There is so much in our world, and that we judge each other on this outward appearance is disgusting and shallow. It’s horrifying to consider that we judge health based on someone’s size, and despite the “skinny” backlash when curvy women display themselves unabashadely, skinny isn’t always healthy and curvy isn’t always unhealthy.

Growing up with this stigma, though, that a size 2 is health, and anything over is not, and knowing I could never get back to a size 6, which I only saw during a growth-spurt at age 13 and 14, hung heavily for years, for decades.

I grew up and learned to accept myself in ways my teenage self never could, during my twenties. I started to care less what others thought of me, and I tried to pay attention more to how I showed up. I started to appreciate those hips and arms and other curves.

And, just as I was on the cusp of self-acceptance, I got pregnant. I got pregnant when I was in a new relationship, in a new house, with a new job, trying to finish school. Then, I never gave myself credit for the stress that induced.

Levi was born on time, but with learning to take care of a new family, I was not able to finish that school term. I gained 50 pounds while pregnant, and by my 6 week check-up, I had lost 40. What I didn’t consider was how awful I felt. I was shaking all the time. I couldn’t sleep. My eating was erratic. I was stressed trying to learn to manage everything within this new life: the new home, new husband, and new baby. I am slow, often, to identify what was wrong, and I had no idea an auto-immune disease was wreaking havoc on my body.

In September of 2007, I learned I my thyroid was hyper active, and I self-diagnosed with the help of a 60s nursing textbook that I have Grave’s Disease.

Shortening the timeline, I went from being on the cusp of self-acceptance to completely crashing with struggling to take care of my new son, my new husband, finishing my bachelor’s degree, and maintain a job. The job went away, with the argument the contract ran out. I never asked for help, so I never admitted to my boss how much I was struggling to balance it all.

After the hyper-thyroid diagnosis, more doctor visits, and the addition of medication, my squishy frame that had gotten closer to my pre-pregnancy weight but never as toned or fit as I was in the fall of 2005, the weight gain began. I gained anywhere between 10 and 20 pounds every time my medication changed – slowing down my thyroid, controlling symptoms, and otherwise mucking with body in the name of health. 3 years later, I finally got a paying job. And, again, the weight gain continued. Every time my job got more sedentary, I gained another 10-20 pounds.

Pre-pregnancy, I was 185 pounds. I was a size 14, most of the time, and I felt good even if I hated the weight.

August 2014, I clocked in, again, at 262 pounds, a size 24-26, a size I never wanted to be, hating my body every time I look in the mirror. Hating my body every time it’s uncomfortable to sit down. Hating my body every time it hurt to walk. Hating my body every time I felt passed over for some recognition. Every day, despite the cheery attitude I might have showcased, I was full of hate for myself.

I knew what the lesson was. But, I wasn’t learning it. The lesson is self-acceptance. The lesson is while not being a glutton, while trying to maintain health in the ways I can, that I need to learn to love these unsightly curves.

I have not learned this lesson. This is an ongoing lesson. This could be a lifetime lesson for me.

So, how can I do self-acceptance in a body I am conditioned to hate and have grown to hate with ebbs and flows of growing up to an adult woman dealing with the effects of an auto-immune disease?

First, I recognize, or try to remind myself that my husband doesn’t hate my body. Second, I try to appreciate or accept the things this body can and still does for me. Even though it was hard to walk, I could. Even though it was uncomfortable siting down, I managed. Even though… Mostly, I might find myself intervening if someone else says something about how they hate their own body. Usually it’s a woman, but sometimes it’s a man. No one is satisfied with how they look. We don’t often talk about how our minds work, it’s more about how our bums look in a pair of pants.

And, I really think we need to accept how our bums look, no matter what our conditioning has told us. Lesson: learning self-acceptance.

It’s Sunday

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 16:  A communist ala...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Sometimes, when my mind is restless, I like falling asleep to the classical music station. It is the same station I use to wake up… So, this poses a difficulty: what volume should the clock-radio be set at so that I can both hear it when waking up but won’t be annoyed by it when falling asleep? The result this morning was not loud enough, as today became a truly lazy Sunday.

Slept through the alarm would be an understatement. The alarm was set for 6:50am. The clock read 8:38am when my eyes finally opened. Levi wasn’t even up. He’s had a rough few days, for sure. ER Thursday night, scraping his knees Friday, sniffly cold Saturday, so it’s reasonable that we all sleep in. Our summer church attendance has historically been sporadic, so why should today, this glorious summer day be any different?

The problem is that I feel as if I squandored the day. We had such beautiful weather it was perfect for line drying, a walk, eating outside, anything. Not too hot, not too cold. In fact, I even wore a thin, long sleeved shirt — all day. Perfect weather. My accomplishment for the day, though, has been to tidy the kitchen counters. That’s it.

I walk through the house making note of all the things I should be doing. But, the notes pile up, which lends to a certain paralysis of desire. I don’t desire doing any of these things. I want to read a book, write, take a nap. Duty calls on some things, but on this Sunday, as in a handful before, I protest. So, the minimum is accomplished, like providing food and nurturing for the small fry.

My justification comes when I consider this religion I choose. It’s supposed to be a day or rest. What does that mean? Should I be working all Saturday and the rest of the week so I can be lazy bones on Sunday? I don’t really know. I often like Sunday to be a bake and prep for the week day, but it doesn’t always work out to be that either, for varying reasons. Today though, was simply a lazy bones day. Lack of desire with this conflicting paralysis enforced nothing. So, mostly nothing is what I did.

I am hoping that this nothing will lend itself to a refreshed feeling for the week. I am hoping this nothing will allow me to have a fresh mind come Monday. I am hoping this nothing will allow for a rejuvenated spirit to get stuff done. So, here is ten minutes dedicated to writing on these hopes. Now, I have written my daily post. And it is even more than 400 words. I shall close, and I shall go to bed to help foster that hope into refreshing reality.

(In other news, I got my labs back from yesterday’s blood work. Thyroid normal. Next test September.)

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Grave’s Disease

I met someone, a nurse, yesterday who has (had) Grave’s Disease! She’s been dealing with it for 11 years. Her experience, in the brief time we chatted was very different from me. It made me realize. There is no known Portland Area Grave’s Disease Support group.

There should be.

(I don’t have time.) Maybe I’ll think up an awesome idea whilst asleep!

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Grave’s Update

Thus far:

  • Diagnosed hyperthyroidism Sep 2007
  • Began beta blocker
  • Confirmed Grave’s Disease Oct 2007
    • Imaging confirms Grave’s
    • Uptake is 98%
  • Continued beta blocker & added methimazole
  • ER trip for tachycardia Nov 2007
  • Endocrinologist Jan 2008
  • Drug therapy treatment plan
  • New endocrinologist Aug 2009
  • Completed drug therapy
  • Retested, uptake now 48%
  • Radioactive iodine therapy Nov 2009
  • No methimazole Spring 2010
  • Added levithyroxine Summer 2010
  • Retested labs, Grave’s coming back Summer 2010
  • Resume drug therapy, Methimazole
  • Adjusted drug levels according to labs Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011
  • Hormone levels back to normal: today
  • Will stop taking methimazole
  • Retest Aug/Sep 2011

I have gotten used to being a human lab rat. I no longer are if there are natural remedies. I want this figured out so weight control can feel more manageable.

  • Aging (michellelasley.net)
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If You’re Not in the Queue

Millenium Walkway
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

“If you’re not in the queue, you won’t get served!” chirped the brunette with horn-rimmed glasses behind the counter. She said this to a perky blond in her 40s, who I assumed was from Texas. I was in England. I had just navigated my way through Heathrow down to the Underground. I was properly in the queue, waiting my turn to ask my questions and buy my tickets.

I was reminded of that philosophy today while in line at the doctor’s office. I had to set up my June appointment. When I got out of my appointment, there was a lengthy line. So, I walked, patiently, to the end of the line. I obediently stayed my distance behind folks in front of me, and I obediently waited behind the sign instructing me to “WAIT HERE.”

See, doctor offices have gotten much pickier since HIPPA rolled out in 2003. It was explained to me that the law was only adding a bureaucratic layer to what doctor offices were already doing. But, privacy certainly became much more important and at the forefront of doctor-patient-staff interactions. Forms had to be signed acknowledging privacy given and received, signs were placed instructing large personal space protections. We like our English heritage and the use of the queue.

But, some people still protest the queue. Like the woman with her son, in a wheel chair. I visit an endocrinologist for my Grave’s Disease. My endocrinologist is housed in the Arlene Schnitzer Diabetes Clinic at OHSU. We kindly refer to him as the “Bus Doctor” because there is this fabulous “bus” toy for all ages under 6. I assumed, with the lethargic, slooped stated of the boy that he was in some sort of diabetic coma.When she wheeled her son out of the office area, she neglected to get back in line opting for hovering in front of the desk – in front of the “STAND BEHIND ME” sign.

Then, the person in front of me moved away from the front desk, and I heard the gal behind the front desk politely scolded, nodding towards me, “She was waiting before you.”

When I got to the counter, the front desk gal explained that she couldn’t be rude. You don’t have to only yell at someone, though, to get a point across. I think she did okay by reminding the distracted mom that I was waiting, in the correct spot, long before her. I told the front desk gal about my London experience. She was very amused, but didn’t think she could do that.

I guess that’s why I’m fascinated with NVC now. A tool, a compassionate tool to allow us to tell people what we think. A tool that presumes reactions, room for reactions, and redressing of those reactions to clarify our original positions. A compassionate tool that allows for error assuming good intentions.

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My Understanding of Benefits

Getting ready for bed
Levi wearing luxuries we appreciate: pajamas, robe, hat. Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

July 21, 2010 – Contemplating Benefits

Growing up, my parents were either in a family business or working retail/food service. The benefits we had were minuscule, as in vacation time, bonuses for work, medical. We never had prescription benefits, for example. This was a little trouble as I got strep A a lot in 6th & 7th grade. Being that I’m not a creator by nature (I have to work really hard to produce and get over many mental blocks to earn money on production), getting a job with benefits has always been a milestone. It was a very important milestone when my husband and I brought our little son into the world.

When Levi was two months old, my husband lost his job as a bike mechanic. The benefits had barely kicked in. We could only afford the “benefits” for him as the family plan would have taken $700/month of his salary of $1400. I brought in about $900/month and we struggled to make sure our living expenses were under $2500.

January 15, 2011 – What Benefits Mean Today

I began this post almost 6 months ago, when TriMet‘s talks of changing employee benefits was a little more than rumor. The day Peter got the job offer for TriMet (July 19, 2007) we were overjoyed. We found out that a month after his start date, the benefits would kick in. What did that mean for us?

  • I would be able to visit a chiropractor. The last visit I had was in 2005. Since then I had been pregnant, had a child, and then of course every-day-running arounds that make an adjustment helpful.
  • We would be able to find a new doctor for Levi. His pediatrician (Family Doctor) at the time, didn’t seem to think that Levi being born in the 90th percentile with a then current weight in the 3rd percentile was cause for concern.
  • We would have enough money and wouldn’t need to rely on food stamps.
  • WIC wouldn’t go away.

So, the benefits and salary where what really helped.

January 18, 2011 – Entitlements

Lots of people argue about benefits in a way that suggests they are entitlements. FDR proposed an extended “Bill of Rights” during his tenure that described health care as one of our inalienable rights, as humans. I think, though, we get caught up in want vs. need vs. what we can do as a society.

Benefits are not something we are entitled.

Benefits help defray health costs.

Benefits in such a rich society, as a concept, are laughable that they are argued so much and divided between the haves and have nots.

Needs. What are needs? What do we need as humans? We need air to breath and some nourishment to sustain the 1500 kilo-Calories our body needs for basic functions. Beyond that, everything is a luxury. Seasoned meat, beans, rice, food diet varieties, shelter, clothing, family to ease our pain and share our enjoyment: all luxuries. Going to the doctor, enabling our children to go to the doctor, fixing wounds with band-aids, getting our Grave’s Disease properly diagnosed. All luxuries.

These are all luxuries I’ve grown quite dependent. Luxuries I don’t want to see disappear. Luxuries that are common sense luxuries when we have collective means. Luxuries that should be no-brainers when considering the least amongst us.

Who gets the work done? The idealogical person on top with the ideas or the man on the bottom pushing the broom? Answer: both. Without both, it’d be hard to get anything done. The bum on the plush cannot exist without the bum on the log. It’s time we started paying more attention to the bum on the log.

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Tension & Pretense

Play napping on the living room floor.
A picture of Levi being SILLY. There was no tension here! Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

Ever been in a situation where there is rampant speculation, many unknowns, and lack of trust with each other? You know what I hate about those situations? The TENSION. The kind of tension you can cut with a butter knife it’s so thick and soft.

After I got married, our lives threw us into some of the realities of marriage: IT’S HARD. It’s damn hard. It’s hard letting go of the butterflies and giddiness and getting down to real life. It’s hard learning to trust. It’s hard not speculating, and it’s hard realizing boundaries. So, with my sister’s death, Grave’s Disease, being a new mom, and a new bride, I found myself in (gasp) … counseling. This is a concept I have previously abhorred because I believe we should be able to turn to our close friends (think many generations, inter and intra) for guidance, listening, and hope. But, I realized that my friends (and family) either didn’t have the time, the wherewithal, or the capacity to do that – so we had one session of marriage counseling, and I continued on, solo, for a year. I’m sure I could use more counseling, but I got sick and tired of talking about myself the whole time. It seemed no matter what progress we made and how my views changed, I was still talking about the same things. So, to me, it meant I needed to really figure out how to talk about those same things to the people that mattered: namely my husband.

I got some good tidbits, though, from this psychologist.

  • First, I have permission to have boundaries.
  • Second, I am responsible for my own feelings and no other person’s.
  • Third, not everything is my fault.

There were more tidbits, but those are good highlights.

See, I’m the type who has been known to over-analyze and take things too personally. That wore me down. Always. Wondering what people think, what they consider, what they want – constantly anticipating needs while letting my own go. And, this psychologist, she gave me permission to stop. It was so obvious, so beautiful. She encouraged me to read a book I’ve promoted before, Safe People by Cloud & Townsend, two Christian Psychologists who talk a lot about boundaries. She and this book ask simply why we just don’t take things at face value? So, I started doing that.

I still see things lying behind the surface. I can still tell when someone is holding something back. I can still feel tension because people have interpreted things maybe in a way that shouldn’t have, or they are sensing something coming down the pipe that they are fearful of, but I have learned to ask questions and not worry about it.

I am learning to be more frank. I am learning to not care as much and have faith that I will be taken care of because I have a will, and where there is a will there is a way.

So, what I wish for is that I had more trust, so when I find myself in another group setting where there is so much tension, I could just say something to encourage others to say what’s on their minds.

Maybe Acupuncture

Basic Acupuncture.
Image via Wikipedia

I have this recurring neck issue. It happened before, but now more often with being employed. It happens while I sleep, during the day, or when I’m carrying my laptop bag and a purse (most recently). Something gets hitched up, and suddenly, I cannot turn my neck to the left.

This really puts me in a pickle, say when driving! and having to check those pesky blind spots. And, of course, my dear job is 20 miles one way, so that’s 30-45 minutes of needing to check those blind spots! Bah humbug!

So, my original chiropractor’s office had a brochure on acupuncture. I have never explored alternative medicine for any of my ails simply because our insurance doesn’t cover it, and we need to stay within the confines of covered insurance. This nifty little brochure has a large list of what acupuncture can help with. The top two on my list? Stiff neck and thyroids.

So, yea, now I want to visit an acupuncturist because this neck thing keeps coming back no matter how many times I visit a chiropractor and I am leery about getting my thyroid nuked for a second time.

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My Grieving Process

Cristi Christmas.jpg
Cristi, aged 9, likely our first Christmas as a family in 1987. Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

My cousin, and for sake of simplicity, we’ll include my cousin-in-law, who this directly affects, in that part, “My Cousin.” She lost her sister. Just 13 days ago. I’m able to keep light tabs on them through facebook. From what I can see, there is no reason for her sister’s death. A young 30-something female, wife and mother, who just up and died. No reason.

There was a reason Cristi died. My sister. She was shot. The reasons why she was shot to death are less clear to me.

My cousin, she posted a statement tonight on facebook, pleading to know that this grief gets better. Her sister’s death comes three and a half years after my sister’s death. About three years after I started writing about my sister’s death. My cousin’s post tonight makes me think about my grief process and how I’ve tried to make sense of the senseless.

My grief pattern has went something like this:

  1. Shock
  2. Anger
  3. A little fear
  4. Guilt
  5. Sadness
  6. Impromptu crying
  7. Inability to listen to music directly associated with my sister and/or her death
  8. Questioning
  9. Quiet
  10. Acceptance
  11. Moving on

Initially I was just in shock. The first day, the first week, the first few weeks. The first day was this overabundance of emotion and shock – flip flopping between, “What!? I can’t believe this is happening! How can this happen to our family?” to “I can’t believe she’s gone, how can she be gone?” So many tears were shed, I’m tearing up thinking about it.

We were at the airport, buying our bereavement-tickets directly from the United counter. We were able to get them for $400 a piece to fly out the next day. I was shaking so bad (later finding out I have Grave’s Disease, where one of the triggers is stress). Back and forth from borderline hyperventilation to sobs to quiet shock.

Suddenly, less than 24 hours later, we were with family. We flew into Lansing, where the in-laws picked us up and lent us a car. We had a dinner at Subway, and I could barely eat. Again, I was shaking. All I wanted was to be with my family.

And, then, we were at my brother’s house. Sadness, disbelief. Glad to see everyone, but under these circumstances? How cruel that domestic violence stole our sister/daughter/friend from this world and we have come together because of it?

We stayed in Michigan for 3 and a half weeks. We went to all the wakes, the funerals, the dinners together. We celebrated my brother’s upcoming wedding with bachelorette parties and beer by bonfires. We already had plans to head back in a little over a month. This trip was such an emotional roller-coaster, I still can’t wrap my head around it. Intense joy for seeing people, new people, new babies, old people, the same people. Celebrating new joys with upcoming weddings, new home purchases, just the joy of seeing each other. All of this under the banner of death. We were brought together prematurely because our sister was killed by someone we thought was an okay guy.

So, I think I felt a little fear. Ever hear that saying, “You never can really know anyone.” So, I started, again, looking at people with distrust and fear. Could they turn on me like Joe turned on Cristi by stealing her life away?

Wedding - 1
The last set of photos of my sister, Cristi. Taken at my wedding in December 2006. Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

Guilt – what could I have done? What could we have done to prevent this? Could I have made a better effort to talk to her? With time zones and business, likely not. I had just spoken to Cristi a month earlier, in June of 2007. We were just catching up. It’d been six months since we talked, the last time being my wedding. She told me she was going to be head coach of volleyball at Aquinas. She’d start in a month. I was excited for her, and especially for her to meet Levi.

She never did.

Always sadness, still, then, from the beginning intertwined. Sometimes it was a deeper darker sadness than others, but that overwhelming grief that leads to random, impromptu crying. When something reminded me or reminds me of her, and the tears come. I cannot listen to the Kenny Chesney song they overlayed on the video played at her funeral. I cannot listen to Rascall Flatts without feeling anger because that was the concert attended preceding her death. The concert attended where Joe got drunk, something he rarely did. The concert that somewhere lead to an argument that lead to him pulling out his mini gun collection, toying with it, teasing her, and drawing her into the bedroom where he shot her and himself.

Always questioning why such a bright, young, screwed up woman had to leave this world before she got to really work on herself. She did for others so much, when was her chance for others to do for her? Not at her funeral. Not a eulogy, but life. Living. 10 months before her 30th birthday. We are the oldest together of our five siblings, and now it’s me. The oldest, the only one born in 1978 left alive. I still don’t know how to answer the question of how many siblings I have. I settle with, I grew up with 5.

The grief is quieter now. Less prevalent in day-to-day life, but she’s always in the background. I’ve stopped dreaming about her, or rather she visits my dreams less and less. So, it’s a little easier to accept that she’s gone and make peace with the whole thing. Joe was screwed up, just like Cristi, and he in a poor manner enacted on his rage and control. They both could have used a lot more compassion, and individual responsibility. So, I move on with these lessons to teach Levi better boundaries and hope he can learn these lessons before something completely tragic happens.

My grief process is marked by the incident not just the loss. It has brought awareness to Domestic Violence issues. I don’t think I’d ever be able to volunteer at a shelter, but awareness of the importance of donating has because a new priority.

So, to my cousin, I have this to say: Yes, it gets better, but it never gets easy. We learn to live with the sadness life gives us, and hopefully to appreciate the joys more.

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Action without Thought

Mayo Clinic
Image via Wikipedia

This, action without thought, highlights the basic problem of our society. Doing something without taking even a second to think about the consequences.

What, you ask, got you so riled about this on this chilly Thursday-Garbage morning? A little article about Thyroid Cancer has me so riled up this morning.

Apparently, some thyroid-cancer patients, immediately post treatment, have been setting off radiation alarms. There is a concern about exposing people without their knowing it to the harmful affects of radiation. A Massachusetts Representative, Edward Markey (Dem), has got the bull by his horns to make this illegal, calling for a ban on even letting radioactive patients from taking public transportation.

You may recall that I have Grave’s Disease. My awareness of the thyroid exploded three years ago. My ears perk up in new ways when I hear thyroid. It’s an amazing little organ that basically controls the speed of every function of your body. If it works too fast, too hard, your body creates so much heat and energy you could die because your heart is working too fast. If it works too slow, you gain weight, sleep a lot, and suffer from other ill-health throughout your body. If you have cancer in the thyroid… the symptoms and causes differ. It’s such an important gland, though, regulating your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight (Mayo Clinic Thyroid Cancer & Definition). When things go awry, when it’s figured out, action is necessary.

Generally, there are three ways to treat overactive thyroids. Thyroid cancer expands on two of these options with chemotherapy. For overactive thyroids (hyperthyroidism or Grave’s Disease) the typical treatments are:

  • Anti-thyroid medicine – in my experience doctors in the U.S. don’t think to try this option first, they consider the radioactive iodine approach. This option has a much smaller success rate, and prolonged use of the medication can cause further immune or white blood cell damage, to your body. This option, however, is the preferred option for many European doctors.
  • Radioactive Iodine Treatment (also used for cancer patients, but a different isotope) – this is the most preferred method for U.S. doctors. Generally, it is quick, with a very high success rate and few prolonged complications. All options require life-long monitoring of thyroid hormone levels to ensure the body is operating in a healthful manner. This option has risks with exposing others to the small amounts of radiation secreted through sweat, urine, and saliva.

    The recommendations for safe exposure include sleeping away from your partner for 2-4 nights. Cooking and consuming foods separately from those with whom you live. Washing clothes separately. Flushing multiple times after using the bathroom. If you have small children, infants, babies, you cannot hold them for more than 2 hours a day up to two weeks. If you have toddlers, you must not play with them or have close contact for more than a few hours a day up to 2-4 days.

    Extended hospital stays, a logical conclusion for such strict recommendations, is not covered by insurance. Hospitals don’t want fairly healthy patients taking bed space. And, if they did, the insurance, again, still does not cover it and would cost several thousand dollars for an evening’s stay.

  • Surgery (also used for cancer patients) – is an immediate removal of the entire thyroid gland. This is used in cases where the person must have the thyroid removed immediately because of other health risk factors. For overactive thyroids, I’ve been told both as a swallowing function – that is the person can no longer swallow because of the goiter, and simply risk of thyroid storm. I’m not sure what all reasoning is associated with thyroid cancer, although the aforementioned Mayo Clinic article explains some things.

So, what has got me so riled up about this Massachusetts Representative? He’s suggesting this policy for outlawing staying in hotel rooms and riding public transit when radiation risks are actually quite low. I was very concerned about the idea of radioactive iodine therapy. Something about nuking my thyroid to make me better didn’t (doesn’t) settle well with me. But, in many respects, we live in a primitive society, and that’s how we take care of problems – we kill them.

Imagine you’re the thyroid patient, getting the news that you have to treat your thyroid in some way. The doctor, naturally, suggests the RAI therapy, and you agree. You are told to stay away from your small child and husband for up to a week. What do you do when the hospital won’t cover your stay? You get a hotel room. You ask the doctors if you should explain this to the hotel staff (while you fear risking your stay in light of other’s misunderstandings) and the doctors explain that radiation is everywhere. The recommendations operate on the overly cautious. If you stay in the same room for two days, a simply washing of the sheets will flush away your radiation, which was small to begin with. Make sure, though, they add, to flush twice after you urinate.

Markey’s suggestions are action without solutions. All he is doing is undeserving a rising segment of our population when they are delivered bad news. This, to me, highlights the problems in our society.

  • We’re spending too much money! Cut the budget! Okay, what’s the first to go? Children and seniors! Who needs ’em anyway!
  • That person overseas is bad! What should we do? Kill ’em dead! Eliminate the problem!
  • Our production costs are too high! What should we do? Let’s get rid of these union jobs and have folks make ’em who only need a few cents a day!

Action without solutions – thoughtless, heartless, a disservice to our society. He’s a representative from Massachusetts. Likely, up for reelection (every two years, you know). I wonder if this call is to show he can be stern in the middle of election season. If so, that makes the idea even more thoughtless.

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