Let’s Catch Up!

knick knacks

Good afternoon, everyone! Another month has slinked away, hasn’t it? Hard to believe August is here. I have not forgotten about my little corner of the Internet, but believe me, the last month has been filled with activity (and a little stress… I’ll get to that). I have had time to do quite a bit of reflection, and I really want to get back into posting her regularly, so hold me to it, okay?

All right, first let’s just get to what the stressful situation was. As some may remember, I have a thyroid nodule. Four years ago, my journey with thyroid disease began. Things have been stable. I take my levothyroixine, I feel great, and I get an annual sonogram to check on my thyroid nodule(s) (one came and went!). Last December one of my lymph nodes was enlarged, so my doctor had me repeat the test in June. In June, it was still inflamed and the radiologist recommended an MRI.

Well, I kind of freaked out a little bit. It could be nothing — it could be just regular inflammation associated with my Hashimoto’s, it could be because I had a sore throat, or… obviously it could be something a lot more scary. My insurance wouldn’t agree to an MRI, and after a month of my doctor’s office going back and forth, the insurance agreed to a CT scan. I had no idea what to expect, I had to go to a facility I’d never been to before, Drew was going to be out of town… but somehow I kept it all together. I had my appoinment last Thursday and I have to say it was not at all scary. The tech and the nurse were great. The IV contrast was kind of freaky (as soon as it goes into your veins you feel as hot as if you were standing in the desert — so weird!). The entire appointment took last than an hour (including waiting).

In Saturday’s mail came my results from the imaging center. Thankfully, Drew was back from Kansas by that point. Shaking, I opened the envelope and was so relieved as I read line after line of “Unremarkable.” Never have I been so thrilled to be “unremarkable!” The last line said it all:

good news for me!

What a huge relief, and a heavy weight off my shoulders. A scare like that really makes you put things into perspective, though, trust me. I spent so much time thinking about what’s really important in my life… things I could let go of, as well as things I want to hold on to. I didn’t feel comfortable talking about it to many people, and certainly not blogging about it until I knew the outcome. So that happened. And it’s over!

Aside from that, July was a busy month with camps for the kids. Drew spent a week in Kansas City for work. And I kept on plugging away at my Stitchcation Afghan. I’m a little jealous of the ladies who are done. I am just about half-way there, but I’m just taking my time and enjoying it. (Though honestly there are a couple stitches that I will be happy to never do again.)

stitchation squares

Oh! I also got about 6 inches of hair cut off on Friday! With everyone out of the house for one reason or another, I took the opportunity to head to the salon and get a long over-due hair cut. I love it!

justme

 

Ever since I attended the Country Living Fair in June I’ve been thinking a lot about style. There were some women there who had the cutest outfits and one of the things I decided among all this summer soul-searching is that it is high time for me to break out of the jeans-and-tee-shirt “uniform.” In high school in college I always loved clothes, makeup, and doing my hair. That really hasn’t changed but with little ones I didn’t have much time to put forth a great effort. But with all three a little bit older, and certainly come September when they’ll all be in school, I can eek out a little more time everyday to put myself together.

Are you still with me, or have I bored you away? LOL! Anyway. That’s the story from here! What have you all been up to this summer? Are your kids going back to school yet? Fill me in on what’s new with you!

Another Songrogram! But Not the Exciting Kind

So I debated whether or not to blog about this and figured… why not. I’d tell you in person, and who knows, maybe it will make someone feel better. Remember when ultrasounds were exciting? I remember that very first sonogram when I was pregnant with Jake. This tiny little blip, a pulsing heartbeat. Oh, it was just the best! Three kids’ worth of ultrasounds and I loved each one of them.

Then I had my thyroid issues. And let me tell you: a ‘roid ultrasound is nowhere near as fun or exciting as a prenatal ultrasound. And now I get to have them annually, to check my nodules and ensure nothing suspicious is going on. 

Well, now I have another body part requiring follow-up sonographic proof of healthiness. A little over a month ago, I noticed pain in one of my breasts. It didn’t go away after a week and the area where I had the pain felt… different. Not quite so soft as the other side. So I made a doctor’s appointment. I swear to you, my boobs have never seen so much action as the week in between that phone call and my appointment. I was constantly comparing, constantly trying to figure out if it was “anything.” 

Naturally, even if it was (long story short: it wasn’t), how on earth would I know? Anyone who took Anatomy with me in high school would attest to the fact that while I was strong in many subjects, the sciences were not topping the list.

So, the day of my appointment came. My doctor (actually a midwife, who is so incredibly great that I will cry if she ever leaves this practice) performed her examination, asked me a bunch of questions, and told me that she was relatively certain it was just a cyst but that we should do the sonogram just to be sure.

Fast-forward two weeks, and there I was, back in Imaging. Yay! A third body part gets to be checked out! I will tell you this, though: there’s one great thing about having a sono on your boob. Remember how cold that gel was when they squirted it on your belly (or throat as well, in my case)? Yeah, well when you have a sonogram on your breast, the gel is warm! Kind of weird, because that’s not what I was expecting, but definitely not a bad thing.

The tech didn’t immediately see anything so I had to do a little show & tell. The whole thing took maybe 10 minutes. I waited while the radiologist read the results and while at that point I didn’t get a ton of information, I was told that it was “nothing to be concerned about.”

Good! Yes! Thank you! That’s what I wanted to hear!

My doctor’s office called this week with a little more info, and basically it’s a small cyst and probably not a concern. I was urged to have a follow-up in 6 months, though. And of course I will. 

But the moral of the story is: if you’re worried about something — just get it checked out! The waiting will be tough, but it’s going to be better than the potential months of worry. Or worse.  So just do it, okay? Okay.

This entry was posted in Health.

Poked & Prodded

Some people don’t like getting up early for doctor’s appointment. Me? I prefer it. I just want to get it over with. So when I was able to score a 7:30 sonogram, I was psyched. Yes, it’s that time of year: time for my annual ‘roid scan.

annual 'roid scan

Let me assure you that while it’s not exactly horrible, a thyroid ultrasound is nowhere near as fun as a pre-natal scan. Lucky for me, I had an amazing tech and she didn’t bear down on my throat (for once). I’ll be curious what the results are this year. Last year I found out that I had a brand new baby nodule. Yay! </sarcasm>. My fingers are crossed that there are no surprises.

After I left the hospital I figured… hey, why not make it a day and head to the lab? OK, I didn’t really think that. But I did have to have bloodwork done (TSH, free T3, free T4) because I have an endo appointment in a couple weeks and we need to make sure that my meds are still at the right dosage. (With Hashimoto’s, the amount of hormone in your body can fluctuate — it likes to keep you on your toes.) I got lucky at the lab and didn’t have to wait at all, so that was great! Then I ran a few errands. My last errand was to gas up the car and as I stood there pumping, I stared at a sign for Green Mountain Coffee.

Mmm. Coffee. I realized that it was now around 10 and I hadn’t had breakfast and darn tootin’ did a hot cup of joe sound good. I almost ran into the gas station for a cup when I thought…

Yes! After getting my neck all gelled up, and my veins stuck, I totally deserved to treat myself (especially since I had a Panera coupon). So I did.

treat yo self

A dark roast and a cranberry orange muffin to go.

Hopefully I won’t have to do all that for another year. Well, except for the coffee and muffin. I could go for that any time ūüėČ

Healthy Eyes, Smart Kids


 

When I was a sophomore in high school, I noticed that my vision started to get a little fuzzy. My mom brought me to the¬†optometrist¬†and sure enough… I needed glasses. The prescription wasn’t particularly strong, but wearing them made a huge difference.

Flash forward several years… now I’m married to a wonderful guy who unfortunately has very poor eye sight and can’t see much without his glasses. Because of this, we are very¬†sensitive to our children’s eye health. We make sure they have an annual eye exam with an eye doctor because even though, yes, schools do vision screenings, they¬†do not provide the same level of detection as comprehensive eye exams.¬†Annual eye exams ‚Äď such as the¬†VSP¬†Vision Care WellVision Exam¬ģ allow¬†VSP¬†eye doctors to detect early signs of health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, among others.

This year we thought Noah might need glasses because he’d been complaining of headaches and rubbing his eyes (two signs that there might be a problem). We were surprised (pleasantly so) to learn that his vision is totally fine. But I can’t imagine not following up on what could be tell-tale signs that your child needs glasses.

What else should parents look for? Here are a few things:

  • squinting
  • head tilting
  • avoiding ‚Äúclose work”
  • trouble focusing

One  in four children have an undetected vision condition that can negatively impact learning.

Jake’s vision is almost super-hero good. In fact, the doctor remarked that she was impressed how quickly his focus adjusts and this is probably one of the reasons he’s such a good reader — his eyes can glide along the page from word to word with very little effort.

My exam went well too and my prescription did change slightly so I got a pair of new glasses (which I probably would have gotten even if my prescription remained the same). My new specs have a funky tiger strip on the inside, which I love!

mosaic

Chances are, all of our kids will need glasses at some point though, so we will continue to “watch” how well they see. And now that most children have been in school for a while, it’s important to make sure they can see the board without trouble and they’re not having trouble with their schoolwork.

Good eyesight is integral to successful learning —¬†80 percent of what we learn is through our eyes! Goodness, I just can’t imagine going through life without the gift of sight. Do you take your kids for annual eye exams?


Visit SeeMuchMore for more information about VSP and vision care benefits.  I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

boo for allergies

Oh my, the warm weather last week really got my allergies going! Poor Noah is suffering as well. We should buy stock in Benedryl or Claritin or something. (I wonder if the people who work for those companies get Employee Pricing? Maybe I should go into pharmaceuticals!)

Anyway, I have been sneezing up a storm and I hate it. The cooler temperatures this week¬†have helped a little, but I know another round of itchy, watering eyes is just around the corner. Meanwhile, the rest of our family seems spared from this malady, thank goodness. My littlest is a little sniffly, but that might be a cold. It’s hard to tell. I love

Spring, but man I could do without the pollen!

This entry was posted in Health.

freschetta proud to support pink giveaway

Photobucket October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Freschetta is doing their part to support research through thier “Proud to Support Pink” program. From Sept. 25 – Oct. 31 when you purchase specially marked packages of FRESCHETTA pizza and Artisan Pizza Crusts, you will help them reach their goal of a $50,000 donation to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Specially marked packages are printed with codes that you can enter at: www.ProudToSupportPink.com.

Each code entry equals a $1 donation to the center to support breast cancer research, up to $50,000.

You can also share your own story or a loved one’s breast cancer journey, where they will be displayed on the site and on the FRESCHETTA Facebook page for inspiration.

PhotobucketWhen you  enter the code found on the back of packages you will be automatically entered into an online sweepstakes for the chance to win an iPod Shuffle. Fifty will be awarded each week. In addition, Freschetta will match the iPod prizes by donating an additional 200 to four selected cancer centers across the U.S. for patients to use during treatment. The cancer centers to receive the iPod Shuffle devices include:

  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York
  • Jane Brattain Breast Center (Park Nicollet Health Services) in Minneapolis
  • Avon Foundation Breast Center (John Hopkins Medicine) in Baltimore
  • Seattle Breast Center (Northwest Hospital and Medical Center) in Seattle

Freschetta Proud To Support Pink Prize Pack Giveaway!

To help spread the word about the Freschetta Proud to Support Pink program, I’m hosting a giveaway for a great prize pack. The winner will recieve:

  • One full-value coupon for a free Freschetta pizza (up to $8.39)
  • Two pairs of¬†Freschetta Proud to Support Pink earbuds – one for you and one to share with a friend (estimated value $25)

photo (1)

The prize will be mailed directly from Freschetta. To enter the giveaway, please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!




Disclosure: I am a member of the Freschetta Fresh Connection Blog Team and received promotional material and a coupon as part of my participation in a campaign by Freschetta.  I did not receive any financial compensation for this post. The opinions expressed are my own.  This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

so far, so good

Well, it’s been four days and I’ve been good about sticking to my workout¬†regimen. I’ve been doing yoga each night as intended, and D. is interested in trying it out, too (!) I wasn’t sure if it would appeal to his masculine sensabilities, but Unfortunately, I will miss tonight because we ate dinner late and I don’t think it would be a great idea to do all that stretching while I’m stuffed. (Eeek.) I already feel better (perhaps it’s mind over matter), and I actually am kind of sad I’m missing it tonight. I’ve also been keeping up as best as I can with cardio in the morning. The first day was rough and I was pretty sore after (OK, really sore), but I pushed through and after my workout this morning, I could feel my muscles, but in a good way. It’s definitely a motivator!

lyme disease awareness month


For those who may not know, May is Lyme Disease Awareness month. If you live in the Northeast, I’m sure you know someone whose life has been affected by the disease. It’s becoming prevalent across the country, but many people suffer for years because doctors don’t believe they’re actually sick.

My Personal Story

I had Lyme Disease in July 2008. It started with flu-like symptoms and progressed into pain that I can’t even describe. I had a headache that made me cry. My body ached like it never had before. I could barely walk down the stairs. I had a fever that sent me into both chills that made me cover up with dozens of blankets (in July) and sweats that soaked through my pillow. I was tired constantly. I had no idea what was going on until I stepped into the shower on July 3 and saw an enormous bulls-eye rash high on my left thigh. I consider myself extremely lucky for having that rash because it doesn’t alway materialize. (It’s not true that it appears in all cases — it doesn’t). I was able to get into the doctor’s office and my NP didn’t even bother with a blood test. She called my case “classic” and the rash was large enough to warrant a prescription immediately. I was on a 21-day course of doxycycline. It worked, but it was a while until I felt normal.

And lest you think Lyme Disease only happens during the warm weather… in January 2010, my then-4-year-old was diagnosed with it. His only symptom was a swollen knee that was causing him to have difficulty walking. He never complained of pain, nor was he lethargic. Originally we though he injured his knee by falling on the tile, but when we took him to the pediatrician, she immediately suspected Lyme Disease, especially when we told her we remembered pulling a tick off of him a month earlier on an¬†unusually¬†warm December day. She urged us to take him to the lab for the blood test (though we didn’t need convincing), and two days later I got a call that he tested positive for Lyme. He was on a lengthy course of amoxycillin, and that seemed to clear it up. We’ve had no problems since then.

Awareness

Deer ticks (also called blacklegged ticks) carry the bacteria that cause Lyme Disease. The nymphs are as small as a poppy seed and can be tricky to spot, which is why it is important to know what to look for. Here is a chart for comparison.

Image source: CDC

It’s both a blessing and a curse to live in an area where Lyme Disease is common. At least our doctors believe us when we tell them our suspicions. That’s not the case in other parts of the country. Believe it or not, there are doctors that deny Lyme Disease’s existence, insisting that the excruciating pain and other symptoms are all psychosomatic. To learn more, I’d highly recommend watching the documentary “Under Our Skin.” You can view the trailer here. I believe that many PBS stations will be airing the film this month, and I know it is also available on Netflix (including streaming).

Prevention

There is so much misinformation about this disease, and for some reason the medical establishment does not seem to want to find a cure. (That is not to say all doctors fall into this category — there are many wonderful doctors, including our own, who are vigilant and many who dedicate their lives to this disease). I wish the pharmaceutical companies would put a fraction of the effort into finding a vaccine or cure for Lyme Disease as they do for finding ways to make an old man’s erection last. But I’m not confident that will happen.

The best we can do for now is work on prevention. Here are some tips:

  • Use insect repellent with 20% – 30% DEET on exposed skin and clothing to prevent tick bites. For most things I prefer natural options, but in this house you don’t go outside without a healthy dose of bug spray. I’ll take my chances with the DEET.
  • Wear long pants, long sleeves, and long socks to keep ticks off your skin. Light-colored clothing will help you spot ticks more easily. Tucking pant legs into socks or boots and tucking shirts into pants help keep ticks on the outside of clothing.
  • Check for ticks every single night. “Tick checks” are a part of summer in our home. Be sure to look under the arms, scalp, and groin.

Unfortunately, I think I will always live in fear of this disease. Last summer I noticed a dot on my leg while I was in the shower. I convinced myself it was a tick and picked away at it until it started bleeding. Turns out, it was a mole.

To learn more, start by visiting LymeInfo.net. There are plenty of other sites, as well. Lyme Disease is not a joke, it is not something to take lightly, and it is most definitely real.

getting it together

Friday night I had a revelation when the dress I bought about a month ago for my husband’s high school reunion didn’t fit the same way as when I purchased it. It hugged in all the wrong places. I was horrified — how did that happen?

Well, clearly it’s because I need to get off my butt. Oh, and my nightly dish of ice cream doesn’t help. I’d seen this quote (“A year from now you’ll wish you started today”) posted several times over on Pinterest, and I took it to heart. Sure, I could research products like colonix or go on a crash diet, but really I need to do something that I can continue on a long-term basis. Starting Monday, I was going to make myself get moving.

I planned on digging out my 30 Day Shred DVD, but of course… I can’t seem to find it. Normally, I’d allow myself to wait while I get another copy, but this time I didn’t. Yesterday I put several workout videos in my Netflix instant queue, determined to start doing them until that DVD actually comes in the mail. And I completed one of them this morning, so yay for me!¬†I found Crunch – Boot Camp Training a perfect start for me. Some of the reviews claim that the workout is not intense enough, and if you are fit and work out regularly, I can definitely see that. But for someone like me, I thought it was enough to get my heart rate up, break a sweat, and not get bored. I also didn’t mind the instructor. Seriously, this probably seems ridiculous to some of you, but it’s a big deal to me. I’ve never been much for working out, so I have to force myself to do it. But I did it. And despite the difficulty, I actually enjoyed it.

It also, however, made me realize how out of shape I am. So, as difficult as it is, I am making myself get it together. My plan is to work out 6 days a week, preferably in the morning. I also plan to ease back into yoga and do that after the kids are in bed (instead of having my hot fudge sundae). I’ll be keeping a log of my progress and I plan to share my results at the end of the month. My weight isn’t horrid (though I do have a few to lose again), but my focus is fitness and toning, not necessarily weight loss.

Wish me luck! I’m going to need the support!

smile :-)

So today I broke down and bought a Sonicare toothbrush. As you get older you expect certain things: tired bones… crow’s feet… the need for deep wrinkle cream. Never did it occur to me that “dental pockets” and tartar would be on that list. It seems as though since I had Laura, every time I go to the dentist there’s something else. I admit: I’m not the best teeth brusher in the world. I brush at least twice a day, but I’m kind of lazy about it. My hygienist has recommended Sonicare on the last two visits, and it happened to be on sale at Target this week, so now it’s charging. I really hope this makes a difference. I never had dental problems when I was younger. But now that I’m getting old, well… I guess it’s just one more thing that’s falling apart, LOL!

This entry was posted in Health.