...I just get back up again.
I have had a couple of occasions in recent months where I have felt a bit misunderstood. Or perhaps it is more that I have spotted, despite my best efforts to prevent it, that a conversation is spiralling out of control in a negative direction.
The first time it happened was during the Winter Olympics - I was pulled over by local law enforcement after leaving Iona Beach (the public park where I was taking my landscape photographs). Nothing disastrous happened and I did not get a ticket. However, when I spoke to the officer who pulled me over - I just felt like I was trying to communicate with someone in a foreign language. Even though we were both native English speakers. It was a really peculiar experience that left me feeling really uncomfortable. As a result, I am not in any special hurry to encounter another officer from that particular organisation again.
The second time that it happened was during a hospital appointment just over a week ago. I knew in advance that the hospital was going to confirm that I have thyroiditis because I'd been given the tip off by my family doctor. Naturally enough, I had poked around on the internet, spoke to one of my sisters to compare notes (she is being treated for the same thing) and felt quite relieved as thyroiditis would help to explain a number of different symptoms that I have been experiencing over the past year or so.
As my hospital appointment was with a surgeon (long, boring, unnecessary story), I assumed that they would tell me that I was no longer a surgical case, confirm my diagnosis and refer me onto an Endocrinologist for advice and monitoring or treatment.
Not so - it seems that while I do have thyroiditis and I will need treatment in the future, I do not need treatment yet. Apparently, it could be another 6-8 months before I will need treatment. Now, please don't get me wrong, this is excellent news - after all, who wants to be on medication?
However, if I am not to receive treatment yet and I believe that I have been experiencing symptoms consistent with thyroiditis for some time, what do I do to manage them? Will my symptoms stay as they are or will they get worse as my thyroid packs up? How do I go about being monitored, so that I receive treatment when I need it?
When I asked these questions, my consultation started to come off the rails a bit.
I was told to monitor via my family doctor - ok. I received some advice to diet and exercise - Atkins or Weight Watchers and Curves as 'group activities tend to increase the chances of success'.
Although obvious, the advice presumes that I have not been trying to manage my weight. While the lack of exercise is a fair cop, I started to take steps to curb my weight gain before last summer (under strict instructions from my husband not to crash diet or starve myself). There is the occasional slip but we have cut right back on carbs, fats, sugars, dairy and reduced portion sizes. We even banished alcohol to the weekends (only) after Christmas.
To my chagrin (and creating no small amount of panic in my head), my weight has simply continued to increase. In fact, I have gained about 48lbs since I came to Canada. I tried to explain this but it was as though an invisible, inpenetrable 'fat barrier' had sprung up between me and the surgeon in the consultation room - I got that look that suggested that if I had been trying for so hard and for so long? Then why was I sitting there bulging out of my oversized jeans?
After that, things took a further, strange turn for the worse. Contrary to what I had read and heard, the surgeon asserted that some of my symptoms were not indicative of a thyroid problem but instead, were indicative of depression and tried to give me a prescription for anti-depressants.
Frankly, I was a bit gob smacked - I rejected their assertion that I am depressed and I refused the prescription. I pointed out that there is absolutely no history of depression in my medical history.
Yes, I might be fed up about being so tired and forgetful. I might be concerned about my weight gain. I might be missing the UK (friends and family). I might not find life particularly fufilling without a job. I might not enjoy the endless grey and rain (Autumn - Spring). I might not be enjoying the experience of living in Canada 100% but to the point where I am actually, truly depressed about it?
No, I do not think so. There are lots of things here that buoy me up when these other things start to get me down. Amongst them - the Fella, my stepson, photography, the sporadic textile things that I do and the friends that I am starting to make here.
So, things here have been interesting. I sort of felt that I got knocked over by my hospital appointment and I have spent the last week starting to dust myself off and get back up again.
I went to see my family doctor yesterday to find out what monitoring might involve. I outlined what happened at the hospital and I have been referred to an Endocrinologist. At the very least, I hope to understand more about what is happening to me and obtain some answers to my questions. The extremely good news is that there was no mention of depression in the report that my family doctor received back from the hospital. So, if nothing else, the surgeon listened to me on that point.
I am not going to hang my hat entirely on the referral though.
The lack of exercise is a fair point. So I am now walking 2-4km per day and I am waiting for a call back from a fitness trainer to confirm when they can fit me into their schedule at the local community centre (now confirmed for next Monday). As I have a medical condition that is very likely to be slowing down my metabolic rate, then I guess that exercise has to be an important part of trying to keep it going. I am hoping that the discipline of having a trainer for a while will help me get back into the exercise habit. I am also hoping that it will help me slow the scales down.
I am in the process of reviewing meal plans with the Fella to see if we can manage to go completely gluten and dairy free on top of the changes that we have already made. From what I have read and heard, this can help combat fatigue and tiredness. So, if anyone has any good information resources on this topic and/or any gluten-dairy free recipes that won't make the Fella feel that his culinary life has ended, then please let me know!