Category Archives: Just my life

If you know me, you probably know that remembering to take daily supplements or medications is next to impossible. I am so bad at it, it’s funny. As a life long allergy sufferer, I have suffered more than not because I simply can’t remember to take the medicine that actually makes me feel human. When I was required to take prenatal supplements I forgot unless David reminded me.

I am so bad at pill taking.

But now… Now it has to change. Now it isn’t just a funny quirk of mine that’s really not that big of a deal.

Now I have Graves’ Disease. Now I have to take anti thyroid medicine, or undergo treatment that will destroy or remove my thyroid all together. Now everything is different.

This is just the first step in trying to manage my disease. If it doesn’t work, then I may have to be open to the other, more drastic, treatments. But we’re still on step one, so I’m not thinking about steps 15 or 40 or whatever, I’m focusing on remembering to take my medicine everyday at 5’o’clock.

So I have Graves’ disease. What does that mean? Essentially, it means that my body is attacking my thyroid (which means this is an autoimmune disorder) and causing it to make too much thyroid hormone (which means I am hyperthyroid). If you want the whys and hows you’ll have to look it up, but that is the gist.

Hyperthyroidism=bad. It can lead to weakened heart muscles, loss of bone density, infertility, and…other stuff that I can’t remember but that aren’t good.
Graves’ disease=bad. Aside from the ways in which hyperthyroidism can affect you, GD can also lead to severe eye issues.
And none of that includes the foul symptoms that can accompany both. Fatigue, joint pain, weight loss, brittle nails, hair loss, tremors, heightened heart race or palpitations….just to name a few.

So the goal is to cause my thyroid to make less of the hormone that is making me sick. There are three ways this can be done: medication, radioactive iodine therapy, removal of the thyroid.

Medication should cause my thyroid to make less of the hormone. This is the path we’ve decided on first. The goal is to find a dosage that causes my thyroid to produce only normal amounts of hormone. Once we do that, we hope that my Graves’ will go into remission (either long or short term, one never knows) and I can be slowly weaned from the drug. It’s a balancing act of dosages and blood tests and praying. There is no true measure of how long this can take as every person responds differently.

Radioactive Iodine therapy is the next possible step, if medication doesn’t work for me. It is a much quicker and more final solution than medication, but it also destroys your thyroid…and I would prefer not to do that unless I absolutely have to.
Thyroidectomy is the removal of your thyroid…again, I don’t want to do that if I don’t have to. Both of these typically lead to hypOthyroidism…and that’s not really better than hypERthyroidism (though can be managed through hormone replacement therapy). The goal is normalthyroidism.

So this is why I itch. And that is why I visited an allergist. And that is how I was eventually diagnosed with Graves’ disease.

In a month we will check my thyroid levels to see how the medication is working. Then we’ll take the next step, whatever it is.

Whatever is going on with me, it doesn’t really concern me or scare me… While autoimmune disorders are a drag, I’m no stranger to them. And aside from the Type 1 diabetes of my brother and various autoimmune issues with my mom…I grew up with a mother who actually has no thyroid. I trust my doctors.

And above all, I trust my God. I’m even grateful that He caused me to itch and seek help before the more debilitating symptoms could show up. (Though, now that I’m diagnosed, I wouldn’t mind if He could just take the itching away…) Now we will work on getting me healthy, praying that my disease goes into remission, knowing that God already has this all figured out for me and I only have to concern myself with today.

Today His plan is for me to be diagnosed with Graves’ Disease.
Today His plan is for me to begin taking 10mg of methimazole a day.
Today I will still be itchy, and fatigued, and yucky feeling.
Today I will be thankful that Graves’ Disease isn’t what is in control: God is.

I’m not concerned about tomorrow when today still has so much joy to discover.

…also, my doctor is Dr. Georgitis. Win.


And so begins my search for more naturally based beauty products that fit within the budget of the not-quite-middle-class.  I knew it was going to be more expensive than I’m used to paying.  (When you loath paying more than $2 for a bottle of shampoo what isn’t?) I was braced for it.  Almost.

Actually, it wasn’t that bad.  It just meant I had to search a little harder for what I wanted and be willing to drop $15 for 1.5oz of face lotion.  (Thank God that I didn’t have to do that in the end.  But I was willing.)

And I did all of my searching at Walgreens.  I am sure there are better, more natural products out there.  I’m positive of it.  However, we are a young, single income family and I am careful to stay within our means.  (Translation: There aren’t a lot of moolahs to spare.)

In my searching I discovered that Burt’s Bees has a new line of natural products.  Their original formula stuff is still a lot better than some of the cheap garbage that I used to buy that is on the market, but they’ve taken it a step further.

The product is called güd from Burt’s Bees.  The Walgreens I was at carried only two of the scents, but upon visiting the güd website I discovered a third (and a fourth for Target shoppers)!  I’m only going to talk about the scent I bought, since I didn’t smell the others.

Originally I was going to purchase the shampoo and conditioner of another brand, but güd was on sale and had prettier scents (though is generally more expensive per ounce than the other brand, so you may see me review it in the future).  Another cool thing?  When you purchase a bottle of their hair products you can text in for an email coupon.  AND if you “like” them on Facebook you can also get one.  So, next time I need some güd products (güd…good…haha.) I have three coupons to use.  Fancy schmancy!  Thanks güd!

SO!  I purchased the Nourishing Shampoo, Softening Conditioner, and Hand Cream.

On with the reviews!

güd Nourishing Shampoo in Orange Petalooza
Paraben, phthalate, SLS, and petrochemical free.  Blood Orange Flower scented (Orange Petalooza).12oz. $6.99-$8.99.
In-Store Impression:
The bottles are super cute and happy!  It smells pretty and crisp, like citrusy things should.
First Use Impression:
Smells pretty and makes me happy in the shower.  Because it is SLS free it doesn’t foam the same so it may take me a couple of uses to figure out just how much I need for my thick hair.  Rinsed out easily and left my hair feeling soft and clean, even before conditioner.

güd Softening Conditioner in Orange Petalooza
Paraben, phthalate, SLS, and petrochemical free.  Blood Orange Flower scented (Orange Petalooza). 12oz. $6.99-$8.99.
In-Store Impression:  The same as the Shampoo.  I really like that the conditioner bottle is upside down.  Super easy to tell apart in the shower.
First Use Impression:
My hair still smells slightly orangy-sweet after being blown dry, which is always a plus!  I’ll have to ask people to smell my hair throughout the day to see how long it lasts.  (No that’s not creepy.)  The product was really silky and light feeling going on, and my hair still feels soft and moisturized, which is nice for my thick and sometimes frizzled hair.

güd Hand Cream in Orange Petalooza
Paraben, phthalate, SLS, and petrochemical free.  Blood Orange Flower scented (Orange Petalooza). 3oz. $7.99-$8.99.
In-Store Impression: Same as above.  Good size to keep in my purse.
First Use Impression: Feels super silky as you’re rubbing it in and not at all greasy.  My hands feel super soft, even an hour after I first applied it.  And I can still smell a hint of Petalooza!

I’m going to go ahead and use the product for 1-2 weeks and I’ll be back with an update on how I like the product.  If you’re looking for something, right away, however, based on my early impressions…I’d pick this up!  Don’t forget to get some coupons, too!

I was not paid or reimbursed for this review.  As far as I know, güd, doesn’t have a clue who I am or that I exist.  I bought the product because I needed it and wrote a review in the hopes of helping others currently seeking good, reasonably priced products with less chemical yuckiness in them.  Please no one sue me.


Som the laundry detergent change is official. I have been using it for a few weeks now and all of my clothes have been washed at least once, and rinsed with vinegar. Still I itch.

So I did what I’ve needed to do since I was 16. …I went to an allergist. I’ve always had horrible seasonal allergies and, more recently dogs and cats seem to bother me as well. So I went. In and they tested me for all of the most common allergies.

And guess what? My seasonal allergies are gooooooone! Hip hip hooray! Major hormone changes can affect your allergies and it seems that pregnancy had completely rid me of my sensitivity to grasses and weeds. I am, however, allergic to dogs, cats, cockroaches, and dust mites. Thankfully, the latter two don’t favor Were I live and so their numbers are limited. I do have a dog, and I avoid cats. But, because of some other stuff, the doctor doesn’t believe my itching is an allergic reaction to any external substances.

He had me go down to the lab to test things like my liver and thyroid, since problems with them can lead to itching, and to test for a gluten sensitivity. Hopefully I’ll hear from him by the end of the week. So….today. Most likely, however, I just have chronic hives. And we’ll deal with that once we know what is not causing it. Yay.

Soooo, the itching continues and I am taking ridiculous amounts of antihistamine on my doctor’s orders. In the meantime, however, I am switching to paraben and sulfate free beauty products. At least…mostly. And organic foods…mostly. Slowly.

Yay.


I haven’t posted in awhile.  Oh well, it’s not like I have a large audience pining away after me, so I don’t feel too guilty.

I’m itchy.  So itchy.  I have been for almost a year, but it was always manageable.  I figured it was my body soap or maybe my deodorant, based on the location of the itchiness.  But over the past two or three months it has doubled in intensity.  Now there are very few square inches of my body that are not constantly itchy.  Over the past two weeks I have noticed a slightly raised rash, and that there is bruising and scarring localized in some of the more intense places, like my legs.

After a lot of reading and thinking, I’ve come to the conclusion that I am allergic to HE (High efficiency) laundry detergent.

I’ve always used free and clear detergents, because that is what I grew up with, so it never occurred to me that even the free and clear HE detergents would bother me…but they do.  Some more so than others, it seems, but they all leave me itchy.

So I’m going to make my own!

I’ve found several recipes on the interwebz and I’m going to kind of mix and match to suit my needs.

I’m really hoping this works, otherwise I’m really at a loss.  We’ve eliminated some other factors.  Like bedbugs.  Anytime I itch I’m instantly terrified that I’ve been infested with bedbugs.  Uuuuuuughghaosidalfdkjanajnfkanskmdf.  But David is not itchy and he has no rashes or bug bites.  So unless they’re only biting me, we don’t have them and THANK GOD.  Also, my itchiness is symmetrical.  (How thoughtful of it!) If I’m itchy on the outside of my left thigh you can guarantee I’m also itchy on the outside of my right thigh.

Another huge bonus is that it’s really rather inexpensive to make your own detergent…


"Bike

Photo: rsgreen89

I hate round-a-bouts.

Actually.  I love round-a-bouts.

I love how circular they are.  I love that you don’t have to wait for a light to turn green.  It is ballet on wheels.

I hate the phenomenon that surrounds the round-a-bout.

I don’t know what it is but smart people get stupid; good drivers forget how to drive; nice, wonderful people I would meet on the street with a grin and tip of my hat become my foulest enemy.

And no one is immune. Not even myself, and I like to think I am a decent driver of average intelligence. In the [almost] words of Gloria Estefan: the round-a-bout is gonna get you. One way or another, it’ll get you get you get you. If not today…it could be tomorrow.

Round-a-bout, I don’t know how you make me love you and hate  you all at once, you master of emotion, but you do.


Bucket lists are huge right now.  Hugely huge.  There’s even a movie about having them!  I’ve never actually taken the time to write them down, but I have them.  My husband (before we were married or even dating) even gave me a 1,001 things to do before you die kind of book.  So I’ve definitely thought about it.  (And even accomplished some of the things in the book!)

So, here are 15 things I would love to do before I die.

  1. See my great-grand children.  How cool must that be?!
  2. Go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida.  Don’t judge.
  3. Ride a horse on the beach.  Bareback.
  4. Stay a month in Spain.
  5. Roast a turkey to perfection for a giant family Thanksgiving. (It won’t be this year, but maybe next!)
  6. See a show on Broadway.  Preferably The Lion King, The Fiddler on the Roof, or Les Mis.
  7. Take ballroom dancing lessons.
  8. Swim with dolphins.  Nice dolphins.
  9. Perform in a stage musical.  The Fiddler on the Roof would be great.
  10. Be a first adopter of some really cool piece of technology.  I’m always about 3 generations too late.
  11. Master Blackbird on the guitar.
  12. Take my children to the Holocaust Museum in D.C. so they can understand why we can never forget.
  13. Visit New Zealand!
  14. Find the perfect pudding.  OH yuuuum!
  15. Get the spa treatment for a day.  Like a real spa.  Not a mani-pedi.  I’m talking the whole sha-bang.  Done by professionals!  A weekend long spa treatment maybe!  With my bestie! Yessssssss.

What do you want to do before you die?

**This is my entry in the Just Ask Bucket List Getaway Giveaway. Just Ask offers a breast and ovarian cancer screening and is encouraging people to share 15 things that I want to enjoy in my lifetime as a reminder to be aware of my health. Want to enter? Head over to TodaysMama.com to get the details. **


For two weeks when Selah was 3 months old she slept through the night.  The extra sleep I was getting was glorious.  Though any nursing mama will tell you it’s uncomfortable to go cold turkey like that.

Since those blissful two weeks ended, however, she has been a once/twice a night waker.  This week she has begun to wake anywhere from 2-6 times a night.  After several nights of a very exhausted me, and a baby who nurses just enough to fall asleep…we’re putting a stop to this.

Selah is ten months old on the 18th, and I believe–in broad daylight, that is–that she is ready to begin moving toward a full night’s sleep. (At 2 in the morning I just want her to go to sleep easily, so I stop believing anything rational.)  I also believe that she is not waking because she is hungry but because she hasn’t figured out how to put herself back to sleep if something wakes her.

Two things you need to know: One, we don’t comfort nurse.  (Except at night, apparently.) Two, we employed a cry-it-out method.

I don’t adhere to any one parenting practice; I do what works for my daughter, what works for my family.  In return, we have a very happy, very confident baby. (Who is also going through her clingy stage; they tell me this could last until she’s 18 months?!)

Last night was really the turning point for me.  The night before I’d gotten little sleep, so I took an afternoon nap, which made me restless at bedtime, which meant I was just falling asleep when Selah woke for the second time in 6 hours.  I knew she wasn’t hungry.  I knew it in my mom-gut.  And I was tired.  I went in to check on her, and to settle her back to sleep without the minute long nursing she wanted.  And all hell broke loose.

When we started doing cry-it-out it was because Selah was 4 months old and I couldn’t rock her until she was asleep and then put her in her bed without her waking in a torrent of rage.  She wanted her pacifier, she wanted me.  Whatever the case was, it was ugly.  So we initiated cry-it-out to avoid the hours I was spending running into her room every 10 minutes to re-pacify her.

I thought I had learned this lesson with her the first time around, but now as we’re moving past the learning to fall asleep on her own and on to learning to go back to sleep on her own, I’m having to relearn.

I make it worse.

It’s true.  For whatever reason, if I step foot into her room when she’s crying and don’t whisk her away into another room she will turn into a banshee.  So, the first time around I started with the CIO method of checking every 10-15 minutes.  That was bad news bears.  I then decided I would let her cry if she was safe after an initial check and only go to her her if she kept crying for 30 minutes.  That second night (after the failed attempt)  she cried, with long pauses, for an hour and then slept.   I only let her go that long because of the pauses, so I knew she wasn’t that upset because the stormy tears ended after about 15 minutes.  The next night she was asleep in 40 minutes.  The night after that 5 minutes.  Now she’s a regular pro.

I know some of you may think it sounds mean, but it really was the best for her in the long run.  She was still a happy baby.  She wasn’t crying out of pain or fear; they were very distinct angry cries.  I would never use this method until after a child hits the 3 month mark and I am well acquainted with the differing cries of my baby.  I fully believe that you cannot spoil a newborn.  (Newborn defined as a baby up to 3 mos old.)

So back to last night.

In the end, David was able to rock her to sleep. (First time she’s ever let him do that which makes me so happy.)  That told me that she wasn’t hungry; David would never have been able to get her to calm down had that been the case.  And after that she slept until morning, without waking for her usual 3/5:00 feeding. And she woke up and played happily in her crib for about 15 minutes which meannt she wasn’t hungry.

Tonight I don’t know what will happen.  Maybe she’ll be back to her once-a-night feeding.  Maybe David will have to help her back to sleep.  Maybe she’ll figure it out on her own.  The only thing I feel confident about is that she no longer needs her nighttime feeding like she used to; she’s a big girl now who eats 3 square meals a day, has two snacks, and nurses 5 times a day.  Now it’s time for us to help her get ready for the big kid world of sleeping through the night.  It could take weeks.  Maybe months.  Or last night could have been all she needed. We’ll get there eventually.  I won’t deprive my child of food if she needs it, but a night feeding no longer needs to be the go-to.

This could mean a lot of trial and error. It could mean sleeplessness for me.  It could mean very angry screams from a suddenly willful child.  (More on the willfulness later, I’m sure.) It could mean a whole slew of things.  But it won’t last forever.  The newborn cluster feeding ended.  The pacifier runs ended.  Someday this will just be another one of those things that came to an end.

(Update!  Apparently, David didn’t put Selah to sleep and she was wide awake and content when he put her back to bed.  That’s even better!  Huzzah for wonderful daddies!)