It’s Sunday

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 16:  A communist ala...
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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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Sleep v. Balance & Exercise

Oooh, look, it's a remote-controlled "monster truck"!
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

I rarely get “enough” sleep. Since high school, I’ve averaged 4-6 hours of sleep at night. Every few days, I will either take a nap, or catch up on the rest of the sleep by going to bed early. Last night was one of those nights when I went to bed early.

You may recall that our FOUR  year old (omigodicantbelieveit) had a birthday and party yesterday. The two friends he named to attend couldn’t do the weekend before or after, so we settled on my choice which was Thursday, the day of his Birthday. Two of the invited four kiddos attended. All boys. All good fun. Lots of energy, and I think the kiddos got along well enough.

Levi had an agenda for his party. He wanted to:

  1. Fight,
  2. Blow bubbles, and
  3. Play with his Christmas Monster Trucks (luckily we have three!).

Why he wanted to fight is beyond me. Blow bubbles was easy: what kid doesn’t like to blow bubbles? And, the monster trucks – well, duh, remote controlled cars? Of course!

The fighting, again, why that was an agenda item is weird to me, was accomplished with his patterned arguments with one friend. The other was left out of the fighting, and he seemed undisturbed by it. Good. No blood, no tears. Good again.

The monster trucks were integrated throughout. We discovered that one monster-truck remote was on the same or similar frequency to the $10 Walgreen’s truck my husband purchased on a whim in the fall – so the one remote could control both!

We forgot about the bubbles during, but this was accomplished in the post-party bath.

Yea, all three agenda items met.

What did it take, though, to accomplish the party? Well, my husband and I should seriously consider the many good tips Mary Jo, a local-professional-organizer, gives in her blog (reSPACEd). But, so far, we don’t and haven’t. That means before an event we have clutter to de-clutter, toys to pick up, and dust bunnies to sweep. All that on top of cleaning the bathroom, finishing the dishes (yes, a daily task I do keep up on, but gets a workout when making lots of cakes), and the ever-present laundry. I did better planning ahead this time, but still lots to do at crunch time, including picking up Levi’s toys while a friend woke up outside the house, still buckled in the  car! Too last minute, thank you. So, 4 days of work, while suffering from a very annoying sinus-cold, means Momma was exhausted.

After the party, clean up barely happened. Put the kid to bed, and I followed soon-after. I went to bed at 9:30pm last night. A record for me. That means, I got a solid 7 hours of sleep last night. SEVEN! Maybe even seven and a half! Wow, I felt SO refreshed in the morning. (The cold tossed the re-freshed-ness out after I got to work, but alas, it was something).

My morning thought process dangled on the idea of sleep exhaustion to decent night sleep every week or two. Well, that’s not a very good idea. So, then, my brain thought, what could I possibly do to get that good of a night’s sleep, every night?

*Eureka!*

Oh, right.

Exercise.

The thing I’ve been avoiding, knowing it’s the one key element missing from life. The one thing I feel like I should make time for but don’t because there are all these other things that have to get done or the world will crumble and fall apart.

Remember, says brain, you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. Remember, says brain, your paternal grandmother died of diabetes complications. Remember, says brain, you are proven mortal because 1) you are and 2) you have an auto-immune disease (which diabetes is as well), and 3) you have allergies (re-enter auto-immune issues).

You have to take care of yourself.

I learned something in the last two weeks. I learned I can bring Levi to daycare EARLY and not get charged extra. That means the daycare-to-gym problem is more or less solved. The big brain hitch isn’t a hitch anymore. The number of excuses I have are, well, running out.

Progress. This is progress.

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Girls & Alllergies

Allergies, asthma, and immunicology – a fascinating thing, which strikes me more as I deal with my own allergy autoimmune issues. And, now there is are a series of gender studies that suggest girls are more prone to these issues later in life. NPR reported yesterday on our socialization and how it affects sanitization.

Disease prevention increased with the simple introduction of hand washing. But, now, we are faced with considering that our world is too clean. Cities used to be too dirty, and now they might be too clean (save for vehicle and industrial pollution). It’s an interesting conundrum we face, as a society.

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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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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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The Radius of Rights

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I had a Facebook conversation a few months ago where I posted, in a frustrated manner, that I believe fighting over politicians is crap and that we all really have similar values anyway, so why do we participate in the distraction?  A former co-worker came at the discussion from a different point of view, and I don’t think either of us were able to explain our sides, clearly.  So, I thought I’d use this space to try to be clearer.

I’ve written about rights before, and as political theory is and always will be a passion of mine, rights are often on my mind.  Questions like, “Who is entitled to what and why?” are questions societies often have to ask and they often take longer to answer.  Rights and entitlements lend to our beliefs, and more what we value. Rights and entitlements showcase our values. And likewise, what we don’t view as a right also describes our values.  If, someone, for example believes in the right to bear arms – that doesn’t necessarily mean they want the right to kill others but rather they want the right to defend themselves.

Continue reading “The Radius of Rights”