Hello, hello, HELLO my friends! How have you been? It seems like forever and a dream ago that I’ve written here on the Snoots bloggy. I miss it, miss you guys, miss so much. Ahh. Good to be here and I’m excited to put some words out tonight for you.
So, April huh? What a whack month. Seriously, have any of us lived through anything even remotely similar to April? What a trip.
To be honest with you and honest with myself, I don’t have much to say about work at the moment. Everything is put on hold besides sending out customer orders. We have been more than blessed with the amount of small-business support from you and new members and family and friends and I am truly so grateful. I know I always say that but I am. We joined an online market on Facebook with the always lovely Merchants and Makers group so I will link that here! Please please please join the group (everyone is invited and welcomed!) and shop tons of local mom and pop shops from all around Michigan, all in one place. I think it’s GENIUS. Thank you to our friends at Merchants and Makers for creating a community for us to come together and embrace these strange times with some good ole market sales. It’s been fun.
This blog entry is going to be a little different and maybe I do this too much but I haven’t been in close contact with the outside world in a while so I’m just gonna go with what my heart is saying and ignore any negative reinforcements: tonight I am going off the beaten path to address the ever-complicated topic of chronic illness. This is part of my story.
I don’t know how many of you know but I have had a chronic illness since the age of eight. I lost pigment on my right leg around seven and a half which led us to specialists and through many tests and doctors, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and hypothyroidism. The Mayo clinic page on Hashimoto’s describes it as “a condition in which your immune system attacks your thyroid, a small gland at the base of your neck below your Adam’s apple. The thyroid gland is part of your endocrine system, which produces hormones that coordinate many of your body’s functions. Inflammation from Hashimoto’s disease, also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, often leads to an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. It primarily affects middle-aged women but can also occur in men and women of any age and in children.”.
Interestingly enough, I’ve always been incredibly small even with hypothyroidism. Typically people are overweight but that’s not the case with my body, leaving me even more susceptible to getting sick since I’m essentially a frail little alien with no vitamin D (real talk, last year I was almost diagnosed with Rickets.. at 20 YEARS OLD. Look it up if you don’t know what it is. Check me out for bendy bones.) Many thyroid diseases are classified as autoimmune, meaning the immune system mistakenly attacks the body and can’t differentiate between foreign cells and familiar cells, leaving the body in constant disarray. On top of that, the thyroid regulates hormone production so when it’s not functioning properly, neither are your hormones. One autoimmune disease is likely to lead to another after prolonged inflammation. It’s a cocktail of disaster for your poor insides just trying to do their job.
I understand and recognize the importance of talking about mental health due to childhood trauma and trauma in general, but chronic disease mental/emotional health is different. It’s walking around with constant pain, anxiety, depression, brain fog, fatigue, indigestion, and Lord knows what else. It’s living like a “normal” person because who wants to hear you complain that you’re tired after sleeping for nine hours the night before? It’s keeping problems to yourself because after a while it’s annoying to even hear yourself list the numerous things that are wrong with you daily.
I did not understand I had all of these symptoms until a few years ago. I didn’t realize that my emotions on overdrive 24/7 were not just a “part of my personality”, but rather my body trying so desperately to get rid of excess hormones and produce the right, healthy ones. I didn’t recognize that being upset about something for months or years at a time was depression, I just thought it took me longer to get over bad experiences. I didn’t know the pit in my stomach during any occasion was called anxiety, and not just part of getting older. I didn’t know my hair falling out in handfuls wasn’t okay.
If you know me well, you know that I am very serious about what I ingest and what I put on my body. Toxins are everywhere and in everything and with a compromised immune system, you can’t be too careful. For three of the last four years, my health has dramatically changed in the way I view it, address it, and maintain it. I go to alternative medicine doctors. I don’t take synthetic medication for my thyroid anymore. And I have a strict list of what I do and do not eat (yes I know I should *celebrate* what I do get to eat but MAN I miss pan mac and cheese that you put in the oven). Since turning 21, it’s become increasingly difficult to stay in “remission”, if you will. Fast-forward to 2020.
It’s been some of the most difficult three months of my life. My liver, small intestine, thyroid, and overall gut health have tanked. My skin broke out like never before. I voluntarily put myself on even more food restrictions in a desperate attempt to save my body from any excess inflammation. Now in quarantine, I started going to bed on a schedule in hopes of getting my body used to not going to work and being on a routine. And I’ve laid in bed for days on end, box breathing to lower my heart rate and attempt to kick my anxiety out the door. There was a two week period that I researched non-stop every day and wrote lists upon lists of herbal remedies and supplements and products that could maybe help. My doctor’s office was finally able to re-open a couple of weeks ago and I was so, so relieved to see my doctor.
I don’t think I will ever forget what my doctor told me. She described our bodies as having muscle and cell memory, just like how our brain is addicted to familiar emotions that we pick up from experiences, childhood, trauma, etc. (this is something I spent a lot of time researching in those two weeks, and I learned certain inflammation in the body is where certain emotions are “stored”. Think of “nervousness” or “fear” stored in the gut because that’s where you feel it during fight or flight mode.) My body is trained to attack my thyroid in times of stress. It’s how it’s been programmed, and through lack of correct care for years on end, it’s where my body hurts the most because it’s “comfortable” to be in pain there, if you will. Stress has made it’s home in me in my thyroid and tries to find a spot at the Thyroid Table whenever it gets a chance. This can be different for everyone, depending on your special, unique design. Even negative emotions can be comfortable because that’s what is familiar to your unique body. It’s all so interesting to me. Probably because I want to understand.
It’s defeating, I won’t lie. To work really hard for something just to take one step forward and two steps back. It’s exhausting.
What I’m getting at, is this: I needed a break. My body needed to slow down and reconfigure itself. It needs healing and it’s screaming at me trying to get the message across. What I’ve probably needed to do since taking my health into my own hands is take a month or two off of work just to focus on my thyroid. I’m talking like this should’ve happened three, maybe four years ago. I’ve never done it for many reasons, one being I didn’t even consider taking a health-related leave and two, I was afraid to be labeled as incapable, lazy, or weird. (Low key I’m already all of those things as it is lol. I also self-deprecate if you didn’t know !!)
As annoying as this stay-at-home order has become, I would be ignorant to believe that God’s only caring about a specific group of people. I believe this is a time He has laid out for me to allow my body to begin healing in the right way. I mean, the opportunities and the ways certain things have worked out in 2020 only proves my point. Snoots has been moved to my house, meaning I only have to drive to the post office to run business. I’m only needed one day (if that) a week at my other job, just to stay on top of paperwork. No one is counting on me anywhere. Nothing is considered top-priority right now. I am allowed to just BE.
I’m sorry if this time has been a struggle for you. I get it. I don’t mean to celebrate as a way to make light of any situation, but rather to see the light in the darkness. Families are coming together, eating meals together, spending time with each other when they would be all doing their own thing, running 100 mph every day of the week. My mom and I have gotten closer than we’ve been in a while. She’s been helping me through crazy mood swings and researching right alongside me. She’s been accommodating to my food restrictions. She has also been reminding me to “take it ea-cee” (it’s Cinco de Mayo, I had to add in a Nacho Libre reference.). I’ve had time to cook and clean and create a space for my mental and emotional health to be safe so my body can relax in every way. I’ve been working out and not going too intense. It’s been really good for me. It’s been good for my body.
That being said, I don’t have my head in the clouds and expect to be in remission in a week. It’s a long, uphill battle. But being able to take a break from everyday responsibilities is a gift. A silver-lining. A reminder that everything’s gonna be alright. I physically feel and see myself getting better each day, slowly but surely. And it’s springtime, the season of growth. I’m such a believer in timing and that everything comes full circle.
I did this in my last blog too so I’m really into quotes, I guess? Here is one from an anonymous poem, and I’ll end with this:
Said the wildflower to the sparrow:
“I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so.”
Said the sparrow to the wildflower:
“Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no heavenly Father,
Such as cares for you and me.”
We know this is not true, but the lesson is simple: He does care so deeply for us, that we should respect His timing like all of nature seems to do. It’s all made beautiful in its own time. I wish you the best right now and always. If you have a chronic illness or autoimmune disease or sickness of anything, I empathize. Don’t feel guilty for taking care of yourself when your body is telling you to. We will get better and although I’m not into self-mantras, speaking life into silence does help. Perspective is everything. Sending love and prayers to every heart that reads this. I’ve enjoyed engaging in activities that spark my creativity, even in aspects like my breakfast (see photo hehe). Anything to make you feel cozy instead of isolated. I might add, SNOOTS IS STILL OPEN and we are still offering sales during quarantine if you’re looking for somewhere to cash in that stimulus check. 😉 Retail therapy babyyyyy. Until next month. God bless.
PS- This turned out WAAAY longer than I expected so major props if you make it all the way through. Thanks for joining me!!