The butterfly effect

In college, a friend from a small southern Ohio town often played a country song I can’t get out of my head to this day: “There’s a Tear in My Beer.” And that song has been on my mind this week, as I cry all over the darn house.

It’s all good, though, friends. Happy tears. You see, my mojo has decided to come back after a long hiatus.

I haven’t talked much in my blog about the health issues I’ve had over the past couple of years. Mainly thyroid related. If you’re a woman of a certain age, your thyroid may also have gone haywire. The tricky bit is—you never know if it’s temporary or lasting. And for most women I know, it’s lasting. Which can cause complications with blood pressure, heart function and a host of other critical bodily functions. This tiny, butterfly-shaped gland—less than a centimeter thick–regulates so much of our health–metabolic rate, heart and digestive function, muscle control, brain development, mood and bone maintenance.

Without getting maudlin (I’m no ninny), it’s been hellish. I gained 30 pounds while eating like a rabbit. I was so exhausted most days that I needed to nap—and was still in bed by 7:30 p.m. many nights. And when I did try to exercise, my body ached and hurt like I’d been punched. For days on end. The kicker to all of this? My normally sunny, energetic persona became depressed at times. The brain fog that descended—my absolute lack of ability to concentrate—was intense. The longer this scenario went on, the worse I felt physically and emotionally. I thought surely I had cancer or some other deadly disease because I could not imagine feeling as bad as I did.

There were good days and bad days. But “good” was redefined as just not being exhausted.

My doctors were of no help. They just wanted to push pills at me—one to make certain levels go up, another to make them come down. I was told everything from “just eat less” (oh, you guessed it—that doc I wanted to slap) to “this is just a normal part of aging.”

I call bullshit all over that kind of modern medicine, friends. (Now my doctor friends are going to email me indignantly, but so be it.) I’m heading to a very reputable functional medicine practice soon that combines Eastern and Western medicine. I’m done with the pill pushers. I want someone who will help me promote health to prevent illness, not just try to deal with illness as it crops up.

I turned to clean eating, cutting out chemicals, preservatives, gluten and more. I eliminated personal care and beauty products that contained anything but natural ingredients. I put nothing in or on my body that wasn’t clean and whole. Does that sound extreme? You’ll try anything when you feel as awful as I did. All of these measures helped to a point—but I was still far from who I used to be, health-wise.

If you’re nodding and saying, “Yes, this is me too, Kay” then listen up. I found something that has made me feel like myself again. I’m praying the feeling sticks. And I have Gwyneth Paltrow, of all people, to thank for it.

A while back, I wrote a blog on Gwyneth’s site, goop. Yes, they’ve posted some crazy things. They’ve also posted some very wise, helpful things. You can’t innovate and experiment without both, I guess. Anyway, this article on mitochondrial health caught my eye. So, I ordered the supplement mentioned in it, expecting it really wouldn’t help me much. But I was not willing to give up on the search to get back to my former self—and the science made sense to me.

It’s only been one week, folks. That’s my caveat. But this week, I have been to aerobics four times. I have run errands. Not one nap. I go to bed at 10 p.m. when I’m tired, instead of 7:30 p.m. in exhaustion. I’m still taking my doctor-prescribed synthetic thyroid hormone—but the supplement has taken me from just functioning to feeling healthy again.

I’m not here to sell you supplements. I just write this to say—man, does it feel good to be back. I know plenty of people who are struggling with what I have been over the past couple of years. Don’t give up. If you have your health, don’t be stupid with it like I was. I sat at my desk for hours and hours on end, too busy to work out. I ate on the fly. I swallowed stress like nobody’s business.

To sum it up, I was so busy “saving” my kids (financially and otherwise) from the painful events that transpired in our lives that I did not take care of myself. Stupid move on my part.

If you ask most people who know me, they have no idea of the depths of the pain I was in. It’s not in my genes to kvetch about my health. I bet you know someone going through the same thing.

I work in global business. I am all for innovation and speed. But we are only human, folks. Until we all start to pay more attention to our own health–and become more HUMAN in business and our day-to-day interactions with each other–results will be less than what we can achieve. Slowing down and treating each other as humans with lives outside of work–rather than just cogs in a wheel–is a necessary part of a happy, successful society.

If thyroids are our own tiny internal butterfly, I’m going to treat mine with TLC from here on in. As I will my own health and well-being. I don’t know if this feeling will last a week, a month, or years—but I am so grateful for it. I truly thought I’d never feel it again. I cried tears of joy in my kitchen a few days ago because of the sheer joy I felt in my body after aerobics. That feeling was pure goodness. Health. Power.

Butterflies are a sign of rebirth, right? I think I hear the flutter of tiny wings . . .

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46 Comments Add yours

  1. KM Huber says:

    Good for you for keeping your options open. Equanimity always serves us, no matter how roundabout. I know my exploration of disease in terms of diet and lifestyle turned my life around, and when needed, I have used medicine to support my organic approach. Although I did that late in life, it still serves me well with two chronic and progressive diseases. It allows me to even out the highs and lows. Hooray for your mojo being back!

    1. candidkay says:

      I’ve long read your blog and while sympathetic, don’t think I knew enough to be truly empathetic. It’s not until we lose our energy, etc. that I think we realize how very precious it is . . .

  2. Oh Kristine, I hear you. I’ve been taking Synthroid for about ten years and although my symptoms weren’t as bad yours, I also have blood pressure and other issues that have come up I’ll try that supplement on GOOP. Thanks for the tip!

    1. candidkay says:

      Me too! And I wonder if the BP has to do with the synthroid. Ugh. Doctors have to stop just throwing pills at symptoms and get to the root cause . . . Wishing you luck with whatever you try. Keep me posted!

  3. I am so glad that you are feeling better now!! I am sure that it will stay that way. 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      From your lips to God’s ears:).

  4. Flap your wings beautiful butterfly. ❤

    1. candidkay says:

      They’re in working order again, friend:). Thank you!

  5. Amy says:

    I’m grateful you are on the upswing now, Kristine. Really saddened to hear how difficult this journey has been for you. Wishing you good health, happiness, and every good thing, always. And a happy Mother’s Day weekend, too ~ xx

    1. candidkay says:

      Happy Mother’s Day, Amy! Wishing you some of the beauty you so freely share with others every day :-).

  6. Roy McCarthy says:

    Nice to hear – your positive attitude has hopefully pulled you through Kristine. It’s also a cautionary tale not to put all your faith in conventional medicine. I have a work colleague whose son was slowly slipping away from some mysterious ailment despite visiting the best people available on our little island, but also specialists over the water in England. Eventually she took him to a wellness practitioner who listened, did one or two simple tests, asked what medicine, pills etc. he was being prescribed. The guy shook his head in despair, told his mum to stop his medication and observe a certain diet. Within days he’d turned the corner. 18 months on he’s back to his chirpy, normal, sporty self.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, Roy. If I could only tell you how many stories like this one I’ve heard. Each doc wants only to look at the system he/she specializes in and refuses to look at all from a holistic/systemic perspective. So glad this boy got good advice. I think it will take a lot of us taking our business elsewhere for docs/med schools to take note.

  7. I had a similar experience but with endometriosis! An article in Goop changed my life. I agree with you in that there is a lot we can do to spur healing in ourselves. This past Monday I had a check up and everything was clear. Doctors had insisted on surgeries and things that aren’t solutions. Self education and advocacy is so important. Thank you for sharing!

    1. candidkay says:

      I’m so glad everything is clear! Isn’t is amazing that we don’t yet have a better approach to healthcare? I’m glad you advocated for yourself.

  8. cristi says:

    Alright…Get out of my head! We really do have so-o-o much in common. Thank you for this advice. Thank you for your stories. Thank you for being you. I am blessed by you feeling better. Cheers to a great weekend and continued energy!

    1. candidkay says:

      Man, I’m in your head AGAIN? Go figure:). Someday, coffee and chat about all those things in common. Even if it’s virtual. Thank you for the kind comments!

  9. marlene frankel says:

    Glad to hear life is on the upswing.

    1. candidkay says:

      Right? So much easier when you have energy–everything (even the not so great stuff) becomes a molehill instead of a mountain.

  10. Congratulations! I’m thrilled to hear you’ve got energy and feel good again. Yes, the thyroid controls a lot of things in our bodies. It doesn’t get enough respect. I’m going to check out the link to Goop for my husband. I’ve been trying to get him to work with my hypnotherapist to heal things because he’s so chronically tired and has some health issues progressing to the point he needs medicine for them. So far, no go. Kudos to you for finding what works!

    1. candidkay says:

      I am sure the supplement I found is just helping with one tiny piece of my puzzle. But if it makes me feel human again, I’ll take it! I hope the same or better is true for your husband.

  11. Wow, did I ever need to read this! I am so happy to hear that you are feeling better and went to aerobics 4 times!! HOORAY! I​ have been dealing with extreme fatigue and inflammation, so I totally understand the lack of energy and early bedtimes. I am going to look into this further because I am excited to hear that it worked for you. Enjoy your new-found energy, I hope it is lasting for you because you deserve a reprieve from all the shit! xo

    1. candidkay says:

      I’ve heard from so many people that fatigue and inflammation or an issue. And yet, it astounds me that the medical community again seems not to take notes. Our bodies are systems and what we put in the matters. I truly hope you were able to resolve your issues. Just as I hope my resolution sticks :-).

  12. markbialczak says:

    I really really hope the mojo sticks, Kay. Fingers crossed here!

    1. candidkay says:

      Me too! Thanks for the support:).

  13. Cindy Dadik says:

    Hmm… I may have to try this. I’m on synthetic thyroid meds as well – but am still exhausted. Will check it out. Thanks for the insight and glad you are feeling better!!

    1. candidkay says:

      Let me know if it helps, friend! I have found most of the things that help me or ideas that have come from other women who are experiencing the same symptoms I am. Smart women who do their own research. Like you :-).

  14. Wow. I wish I could chat with you. Not sure this would help or my crazy cancer drugs which have wrecked me along with steroids but I feel like giving it a go. I ache like that, my thyroid was wrecked but I waited and it improved. Thank you for sharing. 💗🌷🌺🌸

    1. candidkay says:

      Isn’t it amazing how much we don’t know in medicine? I am so sorry that they don’t have something that addresses your cancer better. I had always had the luxury of good health before this and I now realize what a blessing it really is. This experience has made me much more empathetic to those who are struggling with health issues. Changes your life in ways you can never imagine. Sending you a big hug.

  15. Dale says:

    Is there an epidemic going on? You are far from the first I hear re: thyroid problems. It is a scary situation and I am ever so happy you are finding relief (and continue doing so – for that I send good vibes). Wonderful of you to share this Kristine. Who knows how many you may have helped to not despair and to keep trying to find that thing that works for them.
    Hugs!

    1. candidkay says:

      Right?! Thyroid problems now seem to be running rampant. I have to believe that a big part of it is our diet and the chemicals put into the products that we put on our bodies. Also, stress. Who knows? But, you would think that with so many people experiencing the symptoms, doctors would have figured out a solution other than just pushing pills. Thank you for the kind words, Dale! I hope all is well.

      1. Dale says:

        Jeezus! Like Gluten intolerance/celiac… I’m truly starting to believe that all these health problems are related to the crap they feed our food. The hormones. The poison. Not good.
        I can assure you that once I find my new house, there will be room for a garden and I will work that baby…
        All is ok. Am sick with a major cold and still have issues with stuff but I am not going to complain. Nothing compared to what you are going through.
        Lotsa love!

      2. candidkay says:

        Oh, I love that you will have a garden :-). And yes-I have become a very picky and cynical consumer. Most of what you find in the grocery store really is not good fuel for our bodies. I spend a lot of time in the produce section and very little time in the package food aisles.

      3. Dale says:

        Absolutely! It’s a royal pain in the patootie… reading labels, trying to find out just where the food comes from!

  16. Love your post Kay! It’s exactly what I believe too and I’m so glad you were patient and searched for the right healing for your body. Sickness in any form is here to teach us about something we are ignoring in ourselves! Welcome back butterfly girl 🍀🌸🍀

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! I am sure that I still have some issues to take care of, but feeling normal again is such a blessing.

  17. suemclaren24 says:

    Congratulations. Well done all around. A maxim: if you don’t care for yourself, you cannot care for others. But you know that.

    1. candidkay says:

      Right! Well, now I know it :-). I think I always did but it’s different knowing it experientially.

  18. I have been dealing with the same issues for almost 9 years. It began shortly after I had a stroke. My health has worsened over the years and I have had many tests done. My thyroid is fine. I now have about 9 chronic diagnoses but nothing that can truly be cured of pain and fatigue that is off the charts. Several years ago, like you, I removed all chemicals from my home and body…still, my health has worsened.

    1. candidkay says:

      I am so sorry to hear that. It’s frustrating when you’re doing all you can, but you don’t have a partner (read: doctor) on the other end who can help sort through the symptoms and is curious/passionate/intuitive enough to get to the bottom of things. Wishing you returning health at some point–hopefully sooner than later.

  19. There is nothing worse than being in a fog that keeps you from being ‘alive’ Kristine. A constant drag on you to such a degree that doing basic things becomes a torture and reality some vague notion off in the distance. And scary to boot.
    The second thing is my ex rang me last night to say her thyroid has been causing her much angst like you and they found it had a couple of growths on it so they are operating next week. Now the synchronicity of this is amazing so I had better pass this on to her so that at least her ‘getting over’ this situation may be helped rather than hindered by the 20th century’s attitude to bury everyone in pills for their symptoms instead of finding the cause.
    And welcome home young lady, literally. And thank you for your message 😀 ❤

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, my heart goes out to her. It’s not fun and amazes me they haven’t nailed this one yet–so many women affected by it. This supplement doesn’t claim to help thyroid, but it does help mitochondria in cells–hence, energy. It’s been enough to give me a bit of my life back and I hope it does the same for her–and supports her thyroid. I hope the synchronicity means something!

      1. Me too Kristine. Like you she has been struggling with it for years, not realising what it was because of so many symptoms. Hopefully it will help with recovery. Thank you ❤

  20. fritzdenis says:

    My wife developed an enlarged thyroid gland that had to be removed. (It had gotten to the point where she had difficulty swallowing.) The surgeon intended to shave it back, but took the whole thing when he saw cysts all over. Judy’s been on thyroxin ever since, but it took two years before they got the dose right. She suffered from depression during that period even though her numbers read in the normal range. She eventually researched her symptoms and convinced her endocrinologist to up her dose slightly. She soon regained her normally sunny disposition. But she also discovered that stress, and monthly hormonal changes still could affect how her body interacted with her medicine. Some folks are hypersensitive to slight variations in dosage, environmental factors and the effects of stress.

    1. candidkay says:

      I am so glad she has gotten the dosage right–at least for now. And I’m glad her doctor listened. My doc just kept being imperious via her nurse (email), telling me raise or lower my dose based on labs only. It wasn’t until I emailed back a message telling her I felt she was ignoring one of the largest indicators of my health–HOW I FEEL IN MY OWN BODY–that she then wanted me to come back to see her in office. I’m not sure if I will . . .

  21. I’m glad you’re mojo’s back. Having our health is a precious gift.

    1. candidkay says:

      It truly is. And now I see that as more than trite saying.

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