Thursday, 30 December 2010

2010, a year to forget?

I finished work on 23rd December. What a joy. It’s weird to think I won’t be going back there but mainly just a huge relief not to have to deal with the pressure of it anymore. My adorable husband has been on holiday too so we’ve been relaxing together.  Lots of telly and eating and sleeping and little gentle walks most days.  
I realised that I half expected to stop feeling unwell when I didn’t have to go to work anymore.  Well  that hasn’t happened,  I’ve been pretty tired most of the time, to be fair I’ve had the traditional Christmas chest infection which won’t have been helping. I’ve also become more aware of some weird instances of brain fog.
Brain fog is a recognised symptom of hypothyroidism, it can also be a symptom of fatigue, stress, depression, dementia, all sorts of things. I have a dear friend who’s mother got Alzheimers when she was only in her 30s but that’s extremely rare. I’m thinking my fog is a combination of my thyroid issues and the Adrenal Fatigue my new doctor says I also have.  It is a little scary though, it’s hard to judge how bad it is and I have no way of knowing whether it will get worse or better. I choose to work on the assumption it will improve, meanwhile it’s just something else to deal with.
We went out for tea and cakes with some friends and when we left I picked up my coat from the back of the chair I’d been sitting on and asked who it belonged to, like I’d never seen it before in my life! I totally didn’t recognise it at all! That was embarrassing.
Then we went to visit some cousins on Boxing Day, they’d invited us and I’d forgotten the invitation, then I half remembered it and called them to find out what we’d agreed and they reminded me, so we went. Then when we arrived they were surprised we weren’t staying overnight, because that’s what we’d discussed, only I had no recollection of the conversation! That was embarrassing too.
My cousins were clearly a bit shocked at my addled brains and made a point of saying how it wasn’t like me - to not be on the ball. So then of course I got upset, I felt a bit shocked to think my brain is functioning so much more poorly than I’d realised and that other people can really tell, more embarrassment! They’re lovely so it didn’t matter. If you can’t have a little boo with family at Christmas, when can you.  My cousin said when we left that it was good that it had happened because if it hadn’t they wouldn’t have known how much this illness is affecting me and he was all hugs and loveliness.
It made me wonder how much of a nightmare I might have been being at work.  The thing is it was such a stressful environment there that everyone was always forgetting things or getting them slightly mixed up, so when I forgot stuff I just put it down to general blur of having too much to do and too much to think about and I didn’t take it that seriously.  Maybe I was much worse there than I appreciated. No way of knowing. Well now I’m out of there, time will tell how much of the whole thing might be simply stress related.  
I don’t like to think of myself as affected by stress because my whole life I’ve had lots of stress to deal with and I’ve always been very good at handling it. I am known to be good in a crisis. I’m also very loath to let myself be labelled as someone unable to handle stress, it doesn’t ring true and I much prefer to think of myself as powerful and in control.
I like to think that my strength of will is all I need to achieve whatever I want to achieve - and up until now in life that approach has served me pretty well. This whole thyroid business is thoroughly weird and can be hard to come to terms with.
I won’t forget 2010 in a hurry though. Lots has happened, it’s all been fascinating, I’ve learned a lot and 2011 beckons just around the corner, brimful of possibilities.
I’d love to hear your experiences of being forgetful and what impact forgetfulness might have had on your life.....or what key memories or lessons from 2010 you will be carrying forward into to the new year....
Thanks so much for reading, it means the world.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

The group gets started and I am leaving my job...

Such a lot has happened since my last post. Where to begin...
We (yes, I now have a little team!) held the first planning meeting for the new group yesterday. It was exciting!
Our first full meeting is scheduled for 26th March[Update: This date has now been chanaged to 9th April as the room turned out to be double booked] and we have a suitable space provisionally secured. I’m told that we might get as many as 200 people wanting to attend so we need to be organised and have somewhere that can accommodate that many people.  I feel that it is all coming together and that together we can make it happen.
But between then and now we have quite a bit to do and need to get more people involved to help, our team needs to grow, please get in touch if you’d like to get involved!
Another BTF group, based north of London in Milton Keynes are already helping us and have said they’ll come down to London on the day, which is wonderful. I’ve been up to see them twice and they have been great, providing lots of guidance and advice. They meet at the OU and it was so good to see what a difference their group is making for thyroid patients in their area, and from farther afield - I wasn’t the only person who had travelled to be there.  They have been going for more than nine years.
So, quite a lot of progress has been made and I will share more about our plans and intentions on subsequent posts.
Another major development, I have handed in my notice at work. I saw a new specialist doctor. She says that on top of my autoimmune hypothyroid I also have adrenal exhaustion. So my whole body is now conspiring against me. She talked me through this diagram (which annoyingly I don’t have a copy of so can’t share) showing the connections between the brain, the central nervous system, the immune system and the endocrine system which are all interlinked and in my case, not working very well at the moment.  
She gave me a real Paddington Bear Hard Stare and said “are you sure you don’t need a complete break?” And I said “oh no, I’m fine working three days a week at the moment and I want to get back to doing full time as soon as possible.” Then I thought about it afterwards and a few things happened at work and I decided that actually I’m fed up struggling to do a good job there and not getting a great deal of appreciation for my efforts or recognition for the good results I’m delivering. And I had a big chat with my most adorable husband and he said he’d support me if I left. So after a lot of soul searching, I resigned!
I can’t tell you how pleased I am with the decision. And my husband says I seem much perkier as a result. I finish next week, even though I was on a three month notice period my boss agreed to let me go early. I’m just tying up loose ends there so other people can pick up my work next year.
So 2011 will be a big adventure. Hopefully my health will improve and I will have more time to focus on setting up a support group for thyroid patients in London as well as some other pet projects and just relaxing. Hurrah! I can’t wait.
I’d love to hear from you if you’d like to get involved with helping set the group up, or if you might like to attend the meeting in March, or if you have any experience of running a group elsewhere and can offer any advice or insights that might help us as we get started.  
Thanks so much for reading, it means the world.
Peace and light