Monday, 23 November 2015

Deeply lacking

If learning about how my body works wasn’t prompted by its failure to function properly, I wouldn’t be nearly as interested and keen to learn as I am. It’s very much a case of necessity breeding eagerness, but then, I guess that’s true of so many things in life.
This week I have been learning about the role of vitamin C in supporting adrenal (dys)function and occasionally I think about how proud Mrs Austen would be that I am taking such an interest in the nutritional value of foods. Mrs Austen was my Home Economics teacher at school and although I may not have always behaved impeccably in her classes, the lessons I learnt there have stood me in good stead for most of my life.

Between Mrs Austen (who in my juvenile mind was really elderly - I bet she was at least 50!) and my mother I learned a love of cooking. My mother said that the difference between an average meal and a really good one was not the ingredients or the order you prepared them but the love that you put into it. And that’s the basis upon which I cook, I’ve stirred in a little bit of love to every single meal.

If love was a vitamin or mineral, there would certainly be no deficiency in this household!
But sadly it’s not, and I am still struggling with the daily grind of absorbing those pesky little essential ingredients that make our bodies function at a pretty basic level. I’ve been lucky to find plenty of good quality advice through an online forum at ThyroidUK from people who are going through the same trials and tribulations and through vast amounts of reading (the internet makes it relatively easy to access original research papers).

Having decided that I don’t want to just pop a pill of synthetic hormone and allow my internal organs to stop producing any of their own or worse still, for them to wither away altogether, I am choosing to take a longer and gentler route and support my thyroid and adrenal glands to give them time to heal in the hope that they will eventually return to better function. In the meantime, I will take the synthetic thyroid medication as the priority is (I am advised by my doctors) to address the adrenal issue first.

In addition to the synthetic thyroid medication, I have a daily routine of vitamin and mineral supplements in the hope that my body can process some of them, it seems to be working to some extent as many of the (rather unpleasant) symptoms I was experiencing have started to lessen. It’s a faff, ensuring that I take one tablet or capsule at least 4 hours away from the last or that I’ve taken X,Y or Z with a particular vitamin to enhance the chances of it being absorbed or that one thing is taken on an empty stomach while another needs to be taken with food.
To further support my struggling adrenals and thyroid, I have stopped eating a variety of things that up to now I’ve enjoyed without thinking about them. So caffeine is out (except for the little bit in an occasional chocolate) and gluten has almost gone, margarines and spreads replaced with butter and cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil, sugar reduced, salt increased… and so it goes on!

For me, the key to feeling better is to celebrate every single success, no matter how small or insignificant it seems at the time, because this allows me to feel like I am making progress and then when I take a setback, I have some positive memories to draw upon to lighten the disappointment.

Photo taken in December 2012 during a very sad time in my life
Even when everything seems gloomy, there is always something to smile about if I look hard enough. This oak tree was grown by my father from an acorn he picked up on the day that my son was born, it looks beautiful against the clear winter sky.
Mr J has just returned home clutching the next bottle of tablets for me (vitamin C with bioflavonoids in a ratio of 2 to 1, which, I read, is the most beneficial for adrenal support) and he’s brought me a fresh cup of decaf tea so now I’m feeling very pampered.

Having had lots of sleep last night, I’ve had a blissfully gentle start to the day and we will shortly get ready to head back to the smallholding. I’ve over done it for the last few days and I am feeling very worn out, so today is going to be a ‘pottering day’ which I suspect will include quite a lot of snoozing on the sofa.

Apparently it’s very cold outside today (I haven’t ventured much outside my duvet, let alone outside the door!) and this seems to me to be the perfect reason to light the wood burner in the kitchen, get out the sewing machine and make a start on some curtains. It won’t be too long before the new house starts to truly feel like our home.

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