Thursday, May 29, 2014


I've heard life is about seasons. Chapters in a book. We cannot live in all the seasons and all the chapters at once. We cannot skip a seasons or a chapters. Nor can we choose what qualities come with each. For example I cannot experience the beauty, quiet, and stillness of newly falling snow and simultaneously bathe in warm summer sun. We must live through and in all as given. Frustration is the fruit of accepting only part of what is. The joy of arriving at a destination does not come from simply arriving- but the story in between. The Lord of the Rings isn't an epic tale because Frodo dropped the ring in the molten mountain. It is an epic tale because of what it took to get there. Confusion, doubt, fear, danger, pain, suffering, evil paired with courage, faith, friendship, sacrifice, hope, and reaching true potential.
It is the pairing that is powerful and true. Pretending there is only positive or negative during any season is damaging. Accepting that there is nearly always a varied mixed of the two is powerful. Because then you have a choice. I want to actively choose my focus to be on the positive and allow the negative to be as it must with neutrality and acceptance.

Friday, March 21, 2014

I Heart Adrenals

It is now 9 days since I left the Twilight Zone. Everyday I find I am further away than the day before. And it is all because of the adrenal support supplements my physician started me on. It is like someone flipped the switch to reestablish main power and turned off the inconsistent noisy stream of dim light produced by a generator. I am hoping to put the generator back into storage and not have to use it again to get through any more of my life. Main line power versus the power of a generator- big difference. On the second or third day of adrenal support I was talking to my husband on the phone and I asked- I'm I talking faster? Because I feel like I am talking faster. I know I am thinking faster. I was amazed at how easy it was to form words and spit them out in rapid fire. Also of major note-I have stopped leaning heavily into the bannister anytime I walk up and down the stairs. I am not overwhelmed by a task that is across the room. I have now had 3 days (not in a row) that I have not had to lie down in the middle for pure survival sake. Dinner has been cooked and ready for my husband when he got home from work 2 whole times. When I wake up in the morning I wonder, what new discovery I will have about how I feel today? I do not yet posses the energy to take out my running shoes but I am planning an easy flow yoga class tomorrow.

Also contained in this excitement is an element of fear. I suppose it is the natural reaction to change- even when it is good change. I am afraid it won't last. I am afraid I don't know where the line is between enough energy and doing too much. There are moments I am afraid to feel good. Perhaps a little like the caged animal arriving at the wild life preservation. Sometimes it takes some coaching for the animal to leave the cage and explore freely the landscape in front of them. 

 On Tuesday I had my weekly visit with my physician. Yes- weekly. In this visit I was excited to share the improvements over the week. And he confirmed the fact that yes, I am talking much faster. He cautioned me that in order to stay feeling better I have to treat my adrenals with love. Those might not be his exact words- but that was the take home message. And he said, if I don't, then I can wind up right back in the Twilight Zone on generator power (again, not his exact words). Not that he wanted to put fear into my heart, but it was an effective heavy handed dose of caution.

Adrenals are taxed when stress is placed upon them.  Stress can some from external sources. We know all about those- life change, difficult job, family crisis. But- however there is a large part of the stress that is internal. How well the body functions on the inside can be the biggest source of stress of all. It is the internal stress an individual has the greatest amount of control over. Helping the body work together in harmony and addressing any breakdowns immediately is key. This takes listening to your body. Interestingly enough, the biggest control I can have over my disease involves food. I am discovering how seriously reactive my hypoglycemia is and how I need to be forever vigilant in maintaining my blood glucose. This means a snack every 2 hours in between meals. Practically a full time job. And of of course what you put in your mouth is the most important of all.

It was in the last appointment that the full gravity of my future full time life of change hit me. There were a couple of key elements of food I was sure I was going to be able to reincorporate into my diet giving me a small degree of flexibility. Unfortunately, I was informed to not hold my breath on those foods. The odds are against it. All I have to say is vegans, gluten freeans, vegetarians, all of you got nothing on this. I am one upping you all and taking all the glory possible. I need some form of strength. Most likely I will have a gluten free, cow and goat dairy free, egg free, soy free, iodized salt free, almond free, tomato free, pineapple free, and only occasional sugar. This is the preliminary list. I am in the long process of testing each individual food. I still don't know about corn, potato, coca, coconut, honey, etc, etc, etc. Perhaps you say this list is so very short. But these are the building blocks to most everything. Nothing like a little motivation to do your own cooking and keep it all real foods. Tasting the beginning of health and life this week is reinforcing to stay true to the path but it is going to take some work before it doesn't smart any more. 

It is so amazing how attached to food we humans are. Sure I could go on trying live an "easier life" and eat what ever I want. But I know too well from experience that is NOT in fact the easier life. I can either sacrifice my health or sacrifice my food. Yet the pull and temptations of the food is surprising strong. Especially as I sit and watch everyone eat cake and ice cream at birthday parties. Or sit at the round table in the church gym watching everyone eat the croissant chicken salad sandwiches for the Relief Society Meeting. 

In this way I think it is like the gospel of Jesus Christ. Becoming a disciple and living the life of Christ as a Latter-Day Saint requires sacrifice. Many people see these things such as living a chaste life, not drinking coffee or alcohol to be too hard. But the beautiful full life that comes from this path of righteousness and commitment to God is full of peace, joy, love and greater health. It may not be "easy" but to me it is more of the life I want to live. 

If I could be a 34 year old virgin before I married and still not ever had a cup of coffee, alcohol, tried illicit drugs or any thing else-  Then I've got this in the bag, right?

In summary- Love your Adrenals. They may be small little organs but the best things come in small packages. I choose to live a healthy happy life. May I lose the desire for all things that do not serve me and may all my approved food become sweet to me. I love finally feeling like I am on the road to recovery rather than hoping.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


1358. The number of antibodies in a quantified portion of blood hurling themselves at my thyroid. Heavy weight when contrasted to the normal range of 0-3.9. I still remember the sound of the medical assistance's voice over the phone when she read me the lab results. Incredulous- that is how I would describe it. Followed by- this confirms the doctor's theory after your ultrasound. You definitely have Hashimoto's. December 2013.
Good news- its not cancer. You are not your mother. Bad news- as far as the endocrinologist is concerned there is nothing "really" wrong with you. Just increase your thyroid dose a little to make up the loss of function and you are spic and span good as new.
But he is wrong. So very, very wrong.
Holding on for a few weeks till the new dose kicks in- just hold on and things will turn around like magic.
I am wrong. So very, very wrong.

January 2014
I broke down in the middle of January when I realized the new dose of medication was not magic and patience not my friend. When I looked at myself I found my life lost to shadows. Fatigue, pain, poor memory, little concentration, and a whirl of things I stopped being able to comprehend as the brain slowed to a horrible near motionless state. Even with less work to accomplish and fewer responsibilities I found the few balls I juggled falling down all around me. I no longer recognized myself. Guilt overwhelming as I failed to accomplish the tasks of everyday living.

Red River Health and Wellness Clinic
Functional Medicine. Endocrinology Specialists. Chiropractors. Chiropractors? One must understand that as a physical therapist we are taught a healthy dose of apprehension and distaste toward chiropractors. Now I am turning to one for the answers and help I can't find anywhere else. Hard to swallow.  If I was to make a list of miracles along this journey of health loss and "recovery" it would be long. But I must say finding someone that had answers and a course of treatment to help rebuild my life is one of those miracles- chiropractor and all.
Blood tests, saliva test = Poor liver function, hypoglycemia, extreme adrenal fatigue, food intolerances. All adding up to increased inflammation fueling the autoimmune disease and each selectively stealing it's own piece of my life. 6 months he says. 6 months and a lot of changes. End of January 2014

March 10, 2014
In the Middle.
Activity restriction 30min of walking 3x a week until the adrenals are recovered. I haven't had any form of sugar other than fruit in 5 weeks. I may never be able to eat any form of dairy, eggs (in any form including baking), iodized salt, almonds, or pineapple again. My greatest achievement is adding back in brown rice to my diet after a month with no carbohydrates.
And the journey is slow and long.
A personal roller coaster of rise and falls. Hormone changes= tears. I ended up crying in my car in the parking lot of Costco today for really no reason at all. Just a flood of sadness and emotion overwhelming me. My husband is unreachable. Fortunately my brother answers and talks me home. Perhaps this is a prequel to the hope of pregnancy once I am recovered. Failed food adding attempts leaving me flat on the couch for 2 days. Now insomnia. 2am currently and I am quite alert. But I am alert and clear minded. How I have missed my beautiful brain! Headaches are mostly gone, menstrual cycle normalized, heart palpitations stopped, no more brain fog. Obviously improvements. Curtis saw the vacuum out when he came home from work last week and got really excited. Look- you're feeling better. I was sorry to inform him I got the vacuum out but then lost the energy and never actually used it. Yet his optimism was not to be deterred. The very fact I felt like attempting housework was a great sign to him. One day I asked him how he can be so positive all the time. Isn't he tired of my complaints. Then he said the most magical words ever. "I guess someone just made my glass half full when I met you."
I never know what a day will bring. Every once in awhile I get a glimmer and taste of being Heather again. It is encouraging and discouraging all at the same time. I think when I feel a bit better I am capable of understanding how bad things have been and are.
One thing is for sure. My life will never be the same.
Another thing for sure. Being in the Middle is a rough place to be.
Last thing for sure. Being in the Middle is much better than still being lost and hopeless.

I don't know how I would survive this without my husband's support and unconditional love. Without a single word of complaint he has picked up a large portion of the cooking, laundry, dishes, and any additional needs while I watch. He has held me through tears, frustration, anxiety, and pain. Perhaps not quite the woman he married almost a year ago- but I'm fighting to become better and more healthy than her. Most likely I've had this autoimmune disease for 20 years undiagnosed until I finally crashed into pieces this year. It explains so many difficult parts of my life. The goal- learn what I need, control the disease and feel better than I can ever remember. And fall asleep tonight!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Tokyo Japan

Good morning! 6:48am Sunday morning and I feel like I had a luxurious morning sleeping in- the only benefit to jet lag.  I am sitting on the couch in the "cozy" apt we rented for the week in the heart of Shibuya.  With the mass of humanity that crowds the intersections and shopping centers just under our feet it is surprising how complete this tiny oasis is.  My husband is sitting on the bed reading the latest tech news on his phone and the blinds are attempting to control the otherwise blinding sun from streaming in.   Thank goodness for the air conditioner with special dehumidifier option. 

This is our third day in the country.  The first two have been wonderful, filled with Japanese temples, gardens, an attempt into the ground of the Imperial Palace (apparently there aren't tours on Fridays), incredible food, the crazy fish market, a boat ride into Tokyo, shopping, people watching, sore feet, blisters, and feeling the effects of sun and water.  Curtis makes good use of the washcloth he carries with him and I am reminded that I can sweat without exercise.

I often find myself staring in amazement at the man I married.  First that I'm married and that I married so well.  I love how easily we seem to work together in all the scenerios we have encountered so far.  I enjoy watching him in "his city".   Then there is the veiled surprise I note when he speaks to people in excellent Japanese- being 6'3 and all white man it isn't expected. 

I grew up being taught that Sundays are special days.  Today is a most special Sunday.  I am in Japan to meet my step-son and watch my husband in his few precious days a year be a dad.  This starts today.  Anticipation, excitement, and of course nervousness.  I am grateful for the exhaustion of jet lag that brought sleep last night.  Of all the wonders of Japan there is only one that truly matters. Naoki.

Praying for a joyful reunion.

Saturday, June 30, 2012


Funny how simple and easy the words seemed to appear in my head as I lay staring sleeplessly into the blackness of my room.  I've been awake since 3:45am.  Not quite sure why I awoke with no return into the blissful state of sleep- or at least not sure I am willing to confess or face the potential reasons.  The following is not the primary source of awakefulness but at least a part I am willing to look at.  But now faced with delivering some of my thoughts into a concrete form on the computer, the flow becomes a dam and I wonder just what it was I thought was so important to write.  Honestly- it isn't about the importance of the words- it is about an outlet for my thoughts and a hope for an hour more of sleep when I'm done by freeing a few of them.  Not as if anyone else but I has paid attention ,but my last post was in Feb.  In case you're not interested in doing the math that is -give or take -4 months.  Long time for me.  As I found myself pondering the need to record my trip to Turkey and the disconnect between that thought and any action about it I realized perhaps there is something more I am not willing to face.  I simply have not had the heart to return to my computer and write.  Yes, I am busy- but I am always busy.  One of the questions I faced this early morning was a why- why don't I have the heart to write.  And it isn't just my blog I'm not writing in- I'm not writing in any of my obscure notebooks I have hidden away.  I simply stopped writing. 
(One of the questions I ask myself as I write on a blog- free to the entire world to hear some thoughts in my head is- just how vulnerable and open do I want to be?  What is appropriate?  Will any words I write come back to harm myself or others with unforseeable consequences?  Argueable the debate on either side- I still worry- as I am currently about my thoughts.  What I write is a small snapshot of myself, not a large sampling and I hope it isn't perceived as such.)
My last blog I wrote- coincedentially, seems to be a large piece of the puzzle- why I'm not writing.  Grief and copeing mainifest themselves in different ways.  The particular exit of my good friend was a painful loss this year.  Many assumptions are easily made about the nature of this friendship and loss especially due to my absent details and veiled language- and I submit most assumptions are likely wrong.  (I do not want to dishonor him or the past.)  But tonight I realized that perhaps my avoidance of my writing is an avoidance of completing my healing process.  I have had a few prominent supporters of my writing- but his was of  particular importance to me- and to him I shared more of my words than anyone else.  His encouragement and positive feedback throughout the years I knew him pushed me past the barriers of prior self-opinions and enabled me to see/believe in myself and in my words in ways I never had before.  I will always honor him for this and other reasons.  Now it is 5:30am and the Wasatch mountains are tinged with light and the birds are beginning to inform the world that a new day is beginning.  Any hope of more sleep is fading by the steady march of the sun's path.  Time to get to the point.  I was not conscientiously avoiding writing because of my loss- All I knew is I did not have the heart- did not have the desire to formulate my words.  I am writing now to accept the source of my heartlessness-  largely to avoid rememberance, pain and loss.  By looking at it squarely in the eyes, understanding it, and letting it go a new freedom is just on the other side.  Looking back at these words today- there is no pain with them.  But there is joy.  Perhaps with the dawn this morning, I gained back a part of me.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Quest

The older I become the more fascinated I become by the ebbs and flows of our lives.  The choreography of entrances and exits are particularly poignant and surprising.  Sometimes there is great forshadowing leaving the observers, the dancers, the actors, or any involved with great understanding- when other times, a key character seemes to simply vanish or, becomes violently ripped from the masterpiece.  No one likes their favorite characters taken away.  As I watch the stage in hopeful anticipation for the return of a loved character I realize that perhaps their last exit was just that- the last.

I heard once that it is a mercy of God that we do not know the future.  As much as I try to divinate the future at times, I truly honor this saying.  There are a great many moments of my life where I know I could not have handled the anticipation for the experience.  The simple fear of that event would have caused a change in course.  There are many moments I was able to endure simply because I did not know how many pages that scene would last.  Hoping the end must be around the next corner.  And if I knew the future and avoided the cruxes of life where would I be?  How much joy would I sacrifice to avoid the pain?  How much strength and character would I lose? 
Human fraility is a particular source of challenge and suffering which has been a frequent source of my thoughts of late. Most poignantly my own and then secondly others. I realize no one is perfect and we are all learning.  I am left thinking how much compassion and forgiveness we need to have for each other as humans. Even at our best we are still so full of flaws that love for our fellowmen is essential to fill in the gaps- otherwise there is no hope for anyone. Where my human frailites and anothers collide can be a disaster- and perhaps some disasters are beyond the repair of love- but at least forgiveness and understanding, that we are all subject to our imperfections, can soften the heart. And most importantly-applying these thoughts to myself not just toward others. 

But knowing that does not make it any less excrutiating to watch my faults and weakness unfold with consequential results.  And to allow those mistakes to remain in the past and not dig them up and relive them seems a monumental task.  An extreme paraphrase from a Joe Goode concert- "I wish I had no memory. Then I would be free to experience each moment new- each meal, each place, each person.  But instead these moments are mixed with memories so I am no longer in the present but caught somewhere in between the past and present."  How eye opening for me to hear this.  How guilty am I of attaching my past onto my present!  A great weakness of mine is not being able to let go.  Why do I hold on- only to impede the present by attempting to hold to the past- past people, past mistakes, past joys, past pains...  Maybe if I let go I think it will be as if it never existed and I want the validity of its existance. Or I am afraid I will forget the lessons of the past-or I have yet to atone enough for the mistakes.  Or- I'm not sure...  But I do know- I love the idea of coming to a moment without the attachment of the past and just being able to experience it.  This must be part of the joy of being a child.  Accomplishing this will require accepting my weaknesses and forgiving myself enough to let the past live in the moment of its creation and not try to carry it with me.  And accepting carrying the joys of the past into the future does not protect them- it actually taints them.   Respecting the past in its rightful place and not being afraid of living and experiencing the present-This is a quest.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What About My Story?

Radio West was playing in my car on the way home tonight.  My secret crush Doug Fabrizio was interviewing the author Elna Baker- title of her book "The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance".  It was a conversation I felt conflicted listening to.  Do I really want to hear the story of an ex-Mormon and her soul searching journey that lead her away from the faith I embrace as truth?  I honor her honesty and her respect for the faith which to this point she still has reverence for.  I believe her journey was difficult and the telling of it also difficult and poignant.  But I was left frustrated and at moments indignant.  Call me narcissistic- but I couldn't help wondering, What about my story? Would anyone care to hear the story of a 33yr old virgin who continues choosing to live the life of sacrifice for her faith?  Or would I be immediately labeled as a passionless, repressed, brainwashed, or a "special" soul that has never opened my mind to other possibilities or just isn't insightful or smart or brave enough to step out of her sheltered world?  Or immediately assumed to be unattractive, backwards, or socially awkward? If I were to write my story of my choice to be an educated, well rounded, traveled, open minded, successful, intelligent, and attractive single Mormon who has never had a drink, coffee, sex, worn a bikini or any of the other unattractive commitments of an active LDS member would the world care to read it? Would Doug Fabrizio want to interview me on the radio?  And truthfully it isn't about "me"- it is about a world that celebrates people who brake free the chains that bind them and stereotype and even belittle the difficult choice to remain true to a faith of discipline.  It is not easy to be chaste at 33.  It is not easy to be chaste at any age.  But does anyone care?