Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Spontaneous Trip to Mount Rushmore Memorial

Saturday January 25th, 2014

Our small town, North Dakota.
This place is really growing on me.

Heading out early in the morning.

Beautiful sunrise.

I love these frozen lakes!

Still in North Dakota.

Welcome to South Dakota!

Felt like there should've been cowboys and indians riding around on horses!

At a restroom stop.

Yay, we made it!

I love this walk leading up to the overlook.


Zeke pointed out the Georgia flag. 

Rock candy mustaches (beard for Macie)!

Right side mountains, left side flat land.

Love the view of the monument and with the flags.

Love this!

My boys!

They're still down there!

Heading back home.

South Dakota sunset.

We had such a wonderful time at Mount Rushmore! (Overall, the car ride was smooth which makes me think our long car ride up here wasn't a fluke and that they may be able to handle another long ride to Georgia to visit family and friends.) In the car, we read facts about South Dakota, and about Mt. Rushmore and it's history. The boys really enjoyed it there! Macie is still a bit young to understand, but after viewing a 10 minute movie about the history of Mt. Rushmore including the dynamite going off - Macie became nervous when we went back outside and was saying, "It's going to fall! The head is going to fall on us!" Everyone got a small souvenir, including rock candy. I tried teaching the boys "Home on The Range" song that I remember singing with my brother growing up, but they didn't seem too interested. ;) We discovered there is a lot to do in Rapid City, but just a lot of it is closed for winter. :( BUT, I think we are going to plan a long weekend down there some time this summer with the entire family! 

This trip was such a good one for our family. Time together and time exploring a new state and historical place. So thankful for this experience! I left there feeling refreshed and full of happiness, as did my kiddos. =)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

One Year

Today marks one year since my surgery. I don't know why I can't say "cancer free". Maybe because I am such a "technical" or "exact" kind of person, since we technically don't know for sure, I would hate to say, "Woohoo, free!" and then not be. (Does that sound ridiculous?) 

Anyways, with it being the one year mark, I figured it would be appropriate to give an update. In December, I went to a doctor for the first time in months. It is more of a naturopath office. The doctor I saw, specializes or usually handles all the thyroid-related patients. (I'd also like to note that the requirements, or laws are more strict up here for naturopathic drs than they were in Ga.) I took a picture of all the current supplements I've been taking. This lady looked overwhelmed and shocked. Dr. R (my Ga naturopath) took me off Nature-Throid over the summer, and put me on other stuff. This new dr had no idea what that stuff even is, let alone what purpose it serves. My appointment lasted a good 1 1/2-2 hours. We went over my entire medical history, and my families. We went over every issue and symptom. She even checked my mouth/throat and touched my neck (also noting how swollen my tonsils were) which is something Dr. R never did. She told me to STOP taking most of those supplements (I'm only taking cortisol management and the ones for my deficiencies now). She had me come in the following week for fasting lab work, once the results came in, she had me get off what Dr. R had me on for "thyroid" and she put me back on Nature-Throid. Want to know what my lab results were? Well, first let me start off by saying if your TSH is high, that means your thyroid is actually low (hypo). My TSH was so incredibly high, it was off the chart; the lab couldn't even get a number. My other numbers (T3, T4) were extremely low as well. So, what Dr. R in Ga was giving me, actually was hurting me. If there is any residual cancer left, this is the kind of environment it would grow in. Thyroid cancer grows in a thyroid hungry body...and mine has been starving. This explains so much...

Some things you guys didn't know. I will be honest. There were times I thought Dr. R didn't know what she was doing. She would say we would do something, then never did, or say take this, then two minutes later say no, do this. Or when she took me off Nature-Throid for something "all natural". Seriously? Ya don't get more natural than that. And as you can tell by my labs, what she put me on, was starving my body of the thyroid hormone (remember, I don't have a thyroid anymore - I need that hormone). She never touched me (like my neck which I'm so used to be done by other doctors) or checked me in any way. And remember how she made a huge deal of me no longer having an autoimmune disease? Well, the dr up here kindly explained to me, well no duh because my thyroid which was causing the disease had been removed therefore the autoimmune disease would go away. That was not of Dr. R's doing. I feel like I was in such a anti-modern doctor mode that those little feelings I had about Dr. R I just ignored. I was so angry with my endocrinologist and surgeon, and really just Western medicine in general, that I didn't care, and I continued care with Dr. R. I do feel like I've calmed down some, and am a bit more open minded. Of course I prefer natural, but I don't feel like I'm so narrow-minded or angry anymore with "traditional" doctors, or however you want to say it.

Also, over the last few months (really, since getting off of Nature-Throid) my health has declined. In August, out of nowhere, my back started to kill me. Literally, I couldn't walk for very long, my back would start having spasms. I was getting shotting pain down to my calves. My calves would tighten so bad. It was random and odd. Up until moving, I was seeing my chiropractor 3 times a week and was not improving. Then my joints/muscles/nerves were stiffening up, hurting, going numb. I was getting swollen looking, I gained weight. I contributed all this to the move. To the stress of Perry being gone, both boys in school, Macie getting her lil' attitude going on. I just blamed life. But even after the move, it continued. I was always tired. I woke up tired. I was falling asleep so early. I felt bad about the way I looked and felt. Of course me, trying to self-diagnose, came up with all these horrifying diagnosis. It was just bad. I think that has contributed to my lack of going out and mingling up here. Anyhow...a lot of this makes sense now. Gaining weight, tired, even some of the other symptoms the doctor said are thyroid related. Turns out some of the supplements Dr. R had me on, are actually quite dangerous for your health. Well, in the last month of being off the those supplements, that nerve/muscle/joint (whatever it was) pain has gone away. MY BACK (if you can believe it) has drastically improved. I know it sounds silly, but I was able to walk my kids to the play ground two blocks down the road just the other day. Just a few months ago, I couldn't walk at the zoo; I had to stop at every bench, Perry had to massage my calves to help loosen them up, I was in tears when we left because I started to have back spasms. But today I can walk! I can go up and down the stairs without tears! Like, it was bad. I have been praying that God would miraculously heal my back, and yeah well, its better! (It has hurt a little here and there, but its such great improvement - again, I can walk now!!!) 

I didn't share any of this before because I was embarrassed. But honestly, even my soul, even in my heart, my attitude, my perspective has improved. I feel happy! And I know it will take some time to find the right dosage on Nature-Throid, but I'm so thankful we're taking steps in the right direction to get there! Like my doctor said, we're going to first focus on getting my thyroid levels good and under control, then we can tackle the next thing. I just can't explain how horrible I felt on the inside and out the past several months and how good I feel today. My hope has been restored.

Update on my sister...she met with a surgeon yesterday and her surgery is scheduled for March 24th. My sister and I were wondering how her doctor could say for sure she had thyroid cancer when my endo and other people's experience as well, has been you don't know for sure until the surgery and final path reports. This dr explained to my sister there is a 5 level rating system, and most people only have the first couple positive, but she had all 5 positive. And like her endo had said she would definitely be receiving radiation, he said they don't talk radiation until after surgery because if the cancerous nodules are under a certain size, they just check again at the one year mark. She felt really good about him and the plan, so I am happy for her. This was not the original surgeon her doctor referred her to; my sister went out and did research and this is a well-known dr who specializes in thyroid surgery and he is also a professor, I believe. Though it makes me so sad this is happening to my sister, I am so thankful she is receiving good care. 

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Take great joy in the Eternal! His gifts are coming, 
and they are all your heart desires! 
Psalm 37:4

New Years Eve

December 31st, 2013

Macie fell asleep so it was just the boys and I (Perry was working). I hardly made it to midnight. The boys took a nap earlier in the day to help give 'em the energy to stay up later. We watched TV and then switched to some news channel to watch the ball drop at midnight.