HONEY ROCK DAWN

Wild Sunflowers

wild sunflowers

So. I’m continuing to feel better daily, which is great, but man, this is a long recuperation. I feel about 85% back to normal, but 85% is pretty weak when you’re used to running at 125%. I just do not yet have the stamina I’m used to, and feel permanently behind on all fronts. I’ve had to prune so much from my life, for the time being, just to keep from going crazy because I can’t keep up. Like taking my shop offline for a while. Like neglecting this space.

And so, it may stay quiet here on the blog for a few more weeks. Please come visit me on Instagram – I’m posting pictures there regularly. I’ve also added an email notification option to the sidebar (look up and to the right) – just enter your email address and you’ll automatically be notified when I post again here. Thanks for your patience with me!

A Quick Howdy….

Hi All ~ As of this past weekend, I am *finally* feeling like myself again and capable of more than just napping…. hallelujah! Blooming with the spring and so glad of it. For those wondering, I’m taking NP Thyroid by Acella. It’s a dessicated thyroid prescription and I’m feeling great with it. I’m on a course of steroids at the moment because my voice is still MIA and I have a speech coming up. My doctor believes the issue is residual inflammation and perfectly natural considering my thyroid was the biggest and funkiest he’s seen in the U.S. over the course of his career. I can talk, just not very loudly. Hopefully, that part of me will be a bit stronger by the end of the week.

Items of note – I’m loving Instagram…. I joined in a fit of frustration at feeling trapped in/by my body and am SO glad I did. I look at the pictures of everyone who’s joined me there and it’s just awesome to get a glimpse into your lives and eyes! You can find my pictures here.

Shop update later this week, hopefully tomorrow…. feathers, stone, and sterling, along with some super vintage finds and a few more incredible treasures from my jewelry box.

I have a long post half-written and I hope to get back into the blogging groove again soon……

Charlie is eight years old!

Marching On

March was tough. I cannot lie, working my way through the aftermath of a thyroidectomy has been hard. Yet I would not trade everything I’ve gone through, and what I still have ahead, if it meant going back to being the person I was January 1. The growth and shifts this has inspired and required have made it worthwhile… I’ve said similar before: about being stalked; about living through my oldest, greatest fear of having my home burn down; about the terrifying downward spiral of my health due to undiagnosed celiac disease nearly fifteen years ago.

So much of this traverse reminds me of that time – celiac and gluten intolerance were virtually unheard of back then, and I dove into researching, recovering, getting healthier than I’d ever been before, and writing my first book. That foundation, that history is serving me now. Back then, pre-packaged gluten-free food did not exist. If I told someone I was gluten intolerant, I’d get the response, ‘You’re allergic to sugar?’ Glucose was a more familiar term. So I’d say, ‘I’m allergic to wheat,’ and the reply to that was always, ‘Don’t worry, this is made with white flour!’  Such exchanges are hilarious now, and it’s thrilling how far things have come. I can go out for gluten-free pizza in the miniscule towns of Wyoming, “gluten-free” is an ubiquitous marketing catch-phrase, and while people may still roll their eyes or think it trendy nonsense, it is so freaking easy for people to make the transition now, and to get healthy without feeling like their entire life is being dismantled while they are floating in a sea of question marks.

Ten years ago, when Eating Gluten Free was published, I dreamed of things looking like this – of such awareness, understanding, and convenience for those dealing with gluten intolerance and those suffering undiagnosed (when I went to a gastroenterologist at UCSF and told him my symptoms, he offered me Xanax, and when I declined it, the door). And it’s here! It’s reality! And it happened so much faster than I expected back then. Ten years is a long time, but not when you consider the transformation that has occurred in the lexicon, in marketing, and in medical care. It is so awesome. And this probably seems like one very large tangent – I started this post on the topic of thyroids – but I needed to write this all down for me because once again, I have dove into research, and the state of affairs regarding thyroid issues and the number of people suffering and the dated (dare I say dangerous) “conventional wisdom” is very reminiscent of how it once went with gluten. What I have read and what I have been told makes my blood boil, but the shifts I have seen (and been privileged to be part of) with celiac and gluten intolerance give me hope.

All this to say, despite a bumpy month, I cannot call this a Bad Thing, even though I haven’t yet found the sweet spot with my meds and it’s been scary and expensive and there have been a few days where I just plain haven’t gotten out of bed. I had an epiphany in the shower a couple weeks after surgery; I was sobbing – like hysterically crying – about all the things I wasn’t getting done and POOF!  Epiphany. I suddenly realized just how much of my self worth was wrapped up in what I accomplished (and, of course, the inverse – how much self loathing appeared when I wasn’t accomplishing All The Things). And I have spent much of this month letting that go. Practicing patience and practicing grace – two traits that do not come naturally to me – with myself and with others. Patience is another form of will. And grace is a gift.

One of the big themes of this year has been cooperation, and, for a loner like me, it has been new and scary and enlightening and uplifting. Surgery itself was cooperation, and a massive trust exercise. As was posting the donate button here – that was so difficult for me to do, not because I felt it was wrong but because it was new. And vulnerable. And the first day it was up, I felt very uncomfortable. Remember growing pains, in your ankles and knees? It was like that, in my psyche. When leaving a donation, there is a place to leave a message, but I didn’t see these notes until the next day (I saw the donations, but not the messages), and the blog post itself received very few comments that first day. So I had to spend that day determining my feelings about what I’d done and what I was being given, in a vacuum, without being comforted or influenced by the opinions of others. This was such a blessing. I had to reconcile it within myself, and after the period of uncomfortable newness, my overwhelming sense was of holding hands. The connection of holding hands with people out there, of holding hands with you. And then when I finally discovered and read the notes, that feeling intensified exponentially.

It was so intimate. Regardless of dollar amount, with each donation I saw this: ‘Here is a part of me that I am giving to you because I can and because I want to. You don’t have to do anything to deserve it; by being, you deserve it.’ I think getting that message from outside, from you, opened me enough to be able to get the message from within, from the shower epiphany. I don’t think too many of us are where we want to be – by which I mean, we have goals. But to have that kind of acceptance – of ourselves and of those around us – before we reach our goals, is profound. It takes patience and grace. And we all deserve it.

.  .  .

PS: I finally joined instagram. I take so many photos that never end up here, on the blog and now, they will have a home. If you don’t have instagram and don’t want to join, you can still see all the photos by clicking HERE and bookmarking the page.

Mutant Thyroid Thwarted

So, I had surgery! And it was so much better than I expected. I was terrified of anaesthesia – in the week leading up to surgery, that thought alone put me into tears, to the point where I actually made a will (it needed to be done anyway, so…. now it’s done). Control issues, ya think? But the day of was shockingly great. The hospital was staffed exclusively by angels, saints, and geniuses. My surgeon took a phone pic of my removed thyroid for me. And the right lobe alone was 7 cm square and reached all the way up to my jaw, below my ear. Whut??? That thing was going to take over my body if left to its own devices, and, as challenging as it’s been, I’m so glad this all was set in motion NOW.

I spent the night in the hospital and a few days on a diet of homemade jello (juice + gelatin = the best). My voice is still too weak to really talk on the phone or for any length of time, but it is improving daily. Luckily, I’m not a teacher or an auctioneer, and can work without having to talk too much. And now I’m in the process of sorting out the proper dosage for thyroid replacement. I’ve been feeling mostly good, but with afternoon slumps, and today I am switching, with excitement and high hopes, from levothyroxine to dessicated thyroid. Though, lying in the sun, reading books has been a pretty awesome side effect of not feeling like I’m running at 9000%.
I don’t think I’ve had lazy, bookish afternoons like this since I spent the summer living on the mountain. I have been organizing the offline writing I’ve done over the past year (gasp!) and making necklaces with some stunner stones – they’ll be finding their way to the Shop throughout the week. Farmily stories and more coming soon!

The Health Baloney

I’m having a lot of trouble writing everything I want to write here because I’m a mess at the moment – I’m distracted and stressed and feeling overwhelmed – so, I’ve decided to just do it in segments. Small, manageable bits that will hopefully become a cohesive story at the end. Here is the beginning.

Way back when I lived in San Francisco (2003), I noticed a bump/lump in my throat/thyroid area.  I was in the backseat of my aunt’s car and caught my reflection in her rearview mirror and saw this lump on my neck that seemed to have shown up literally overnight. I had it biopsied at UCSF and they said it was benign and to have a nice life and I’ve spent the last decade ignoring it. This past fall, I happened to feel another lump near it, which freaked me out, but I waited till the new year to investigate it because of my giant deductible – why do anything at the tail end of the year? Long (annoying, full of expletives) story short, I was finally able to see a thyroid specialist and surgeon at the beginning of February.

The appointment was supposed to be just a preliminary chat – prelude to a biopsy – but he took sixteen samples from my thyroid right then and there because he didn’t want to wait even a week till my next appointment for a biopsy. He said that UCSF should have had me back every six months for new biopsies and that the lump itself really should have been removed at the time because thyroid lumps like mine can become cancerous any time, even if a biopsy comes back benign. So I’ve been living with a time bomb in my body and didn’t even know it.

The results from the biopsy came back benign, hallelujah. I will have surgery to remove my entire thyroid next week (his ultrasound showed lumps and cysts and calcium deposits all over, it was a mess). The surgeon is awesome. Not local but near-ish, and he has a ton of experience with this procedure so I trust him with a knife to my throat. Then my whole thyroid will be tested in it’s entirety for the C-word.

I cannot end this post without acknowledging the emails and comments and support I’ve received over the past weeks from you Out There. Thank you. I have more to say on the matter, but in the meantime: you have opened me more than the surgeon will next week. I bow to you.

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