Monday, February 28, 2011

"So, When Are You Due?"

While I was paying for my oil change today, I got the dreaded question, again.  The slightly older saleslady smiled at me and said "So, when are you due?"

It stings.  It always stings, but this time I knew it was because I wasn't looking forward to how it was going to feel the rest of the day.  I knew in my mind that it would haunt me the rest of the day.  It would eat away at my self esteem, until I was in sweatpants on the couch watching "Pretty Little Liars" feeling incredibly sorry for myself.

"The cars are ready" I texted my husband, who was inside the store; "forget about the ice cream on the list."

Monday, February 21, 2011

Don't Rain on My Parade

When I announced to friends and family that I had a thyroid condition, most expressed their relief that I was on my way to recovery.  A couple of good friends knew my struggle to lose weight, some even saw it firsthand.  But, there were a couple of people that were quick to be negative.  They said my problems wouldn't all solve themselves with this news, and that it might even be other problems on top of the thyroid and I still wouldn't lose weight.

I thought, "Really, the only thing I am is fat.  If I can lose weight, the rest of my problems will take care of themselves, because they're a complication of being fat.  Then I happened to look into the specific thyroid condition that I had, and more things became clear.

I had thought that the depression of not having a job had made me extra lazy, until some family came in this weekend and we went out.  After a couple of hours I really wanted to go and die.  The thought of the walk back to the car made me want to cry.  We played Apples to Apples the next night, and I had a hard time enunciating words during the game, long before the drinking even started.  After just one drink I just stopped talking unless the words were less than two syllables so I wouldn't slur.

First symptom of hypothyroidism: Fatigue and Sluggishness.

They wanted Hot Dogs this weekend, so we went to a famous hot dog "stand" that turned out to be just that.  We had to eat outside, and even though the temperature was a windy 65 F, by the end of the meal I couldn't feel my ears, nose, or hands.

Second symptom of hypothyroidism: Increased sensitivity to cold.

After a game of Apples to Apples, we moved on to Drunken Uno.  After awhile I realized I was holding my cards with one hand, and stretching my arm with the other, then alternating.  My legs hurt because of all the walking we had done that morning, but I hadn't worked out my arms at all.  Why did they hurt so much?

Third symptom of hypothyroidism: muscle aches, tenderness, and stiffness/Pain, stiffness, and swelling in your joints.

"What kind of shampoo do you use?"  I asked my family member.  Her hair is long, and healthy looking, and amazing.  I've never had amazing hair, but it has always been very thick and easy to manage.  Lately I've been wondering why the old standby shampoos haven't been doing much for me.  I've changed shampoos so often lately that it just became part of my regime when shopping: I never buy the same shampoo twice.  I just thought they were making shampoos more and more crappy.  I'd also been using my cortisone cream more and more often, but never thinking anything of it because I live in the middle of the desert where it's always 0% humidity.

Fourth symptom of hypothyroidism: Dry, brittle skin and hair.

I think this thyroid thing is going to solve more problems than I even knew I had.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I sat in the doctors office, my heart pounding.  My mind kept going back to all those reality shows with the obese people sweating through a workout.  I was going to have to go on one of those shows.  Obviously all the working out and eating right were not going to be enough.  The doctor was going to tell me nothing was wrong, that I was just a lazy fat person.  I was only going to get bigger, and soon even Lane Bryant wouldn't be able to get me into clothes.

It was over.

He walked in the door and sat down.  I braced myself for the bad news.  Almost all I could hear was my heart in my ears.

"Well, you've got a thyroid condition, for sure.  Actually about 1 in 8 women have this; basically your thyroid just checked out.  You're tired all the time because your metabolism has been in the toilet for a long time.  Now, sadly, this is for the long term.  You'll be on this medication the rest of your life."

I looked up at him, relieved.  "I can live with that."

I think I can finally start to live again because of it.  I'm on my way back up.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Hand Holding, Fist Clenching

That little virus I had turned into a week-long sickness that made me glad I didn't have to call into work.  Since Job A doesn't start until April, I have a long time to basically do all the things I wanted to do but never had time for.

I had decided if offered Job B, I wouldn't accept it.  I would be leading them on, and then leaving them in a ditch within a few weeks, as Job B wasn't going to start until March.  I knew that wasn't the whole reason I didn't want to accept the job.  Though the job was perfect for me, the interviewer sort of rubbed me the wrong way.

When asked to describe the job, she answered with "Well, I don't do a lot of hand-holding here."  With that term, I flashed back to my old job where I had asked someone to show me how to do something I'd never done before, and the response was "Look, I can't sit here and hold your hand through this."  I think people who use this term are of a certain kind of people.  The kind that want you to read their mind and get everything right the first time, so you are screwed no matter what you do.

In the interview I was asked if I required a lot of "hand holding."  After inwardly wincing, I answered honestly, and said that training needed to happen or all was lost no matter what job it was. 

"Look," I said, "Starting any new job is like someone slapping a fish down in front of you and telling you to fillet it.  They don't give you a knife, they don't 'hold your hand,' they just tell you to fillet the fish and walk away.  What would you do?  I always ask for guidance on things, examples, places to look so I can figure it out on my own.  But I don't know about you, but I have no idea how to fillet a fish, and I'm not about to waste anyone's time hacking one up just to see if I can happen upon the right way to do it.  I'm the sort of person who likes to get it right the first time."

I really think the rest of the interview went very well, she even seemed to respect and admire my fish analogy.  I asked her how the office ran, as it was between only a few people in a small office.  She said they talked rather than emailed and kept a very close relationship.  I told her I also would rather talk than use an email to communicate important things.

A few days afterward I sent her a thank you note, and indicated I hoped to hear from her in the coming weeks.  When I decided I wouldn't take the job I forgot all about it, until yesterday I got....yeah, an email from her telling her they were going with someone else.  I felt relief, because I didn't have to turn anything down, and a little sad, because I wasn't wanted.  But, after remembering her speech about communication and "hand holding," I knew I was better off.  I was ready to move on.

And I went to get blood work done today to find out if I have a thyroid issue.  And despite my intense fear of needles, I didn't ask for a butterfly needle this time, took all 6 vials like a champ, and didn't even whimper.

I wasn't able to unclench my fist or relax when told to, but at least they didn't have to hold me down.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


Monday I had to wake up early to go to the doctor.  I told him about all my symptoms, he agreed it might be a thyroid condition, and set me up for blood work to be done next week.  While I was there I asked him to take a look at my tonsil, which had a white spot on it.  I just wanted to make sure it was nothing serious.  He told me it was the beginning of an infection, just gargle with salt water and it should come out.  He said he didn't feel it warranted antibiotics, and I agreed.  It really just felt like I had a bit of food stuck in my throat, otherwise I felt fine.

Later in the afternoon I went to the interview with Job A.  The interviewer was a very nice guy, but seemed to be holding back, as if peaking at me through a set of drapes.  He dissed my resume, saying I should have dates and my entire job history on it.  I mentioned I used to work at a video store, he asked if I had seen a particular obscure movie.  I didn't know it, that seemed to be a point against me.  I found myself floundering on questions I normally would've answered with conviction.  Then a team leader came in, and apparently she was on the "good cop" side, because I had no problems connecting to her and showing my stuff. 

I was returned to the first guy to take a test, which, once we got to the testing area, was being used.  He turned to me, saying "I assume you know how to cut and paste?" He asked.  "I'm a master cut and paste-er." I said, and he laughed.  He told me to send him a complete resume and he'd get in touch with me.

I felt like he didn't like me.  I really wasn't sure, he really did seem to hide behind a veil, as if he didn't want someone to see how he actually was.  It shook me, and I was sure I had screwed it up.

The anxiety grew more and more as the day wore on, and I couldn't stop my mind from freaking out about my whole life.  I started to wonder why I hadn't asked the doctor that morning for some anti-depressants.  Obviously this wasn't getting any better...what was I going to do? 

At 2AM I finally laid down to try and sleep, and felt something come from the back of my throat onto my tongue.  I went to the bathroom and spit it out, and it was the spot on my tonsil.  It was the size of a peppercorn, and I was grossly intrigued by it.  I went and got a flashlight and looked at my tonsil, and saw a huge hole in it.

Suddenly, seeing that crazy hole, I felt better.  It was the same feeling that cutters describe, the release of concentrating on a physical pain instead of the emotional pain.  I suddenly knew everything was going to be okay.  My throat started to hurt, but I took some medication and went to bed.

By the next morning, Job A called to say I got the position.