Beautiful Reminder

I was asked tonight as we took a short hop from Austin to Dallas if I was ready to get off the plane. I calmly glanced at the woman in the row behind me and replied that I was ok, after all I flew every week. That thought was apparently repulsive to her. She shifted uneasily from foot to foot waiting impatiently to get out of “the small tube”.

As I made a rare appearance in first class an hour later, cause every frequent flyer on the planet out ranks me, I was enthralled by the planes that sat waiting to take off at the end of the long strand of green lights that my pilot followed.

Three huge sleek white tubes sat patiently waiting their turn to chase the yellow lights that guide them skyward. It was the beauty of blue lights framing the steady yellows and greens as the engines throttled, it was the mysterious flashing white lights that seemed to float in mid-air up into the darkness that caught my attention.

It was this thrill of color, of sound, of flight, of beauty the woman on the first flight did not see.

As I watched the few planes in front of us roar to life, it struck me that only a hundred years or so ago, people laughed at the notion of flying like birds, seeing the earth through clouds, city lights, sun rays blinking off the snow covered mountains.

For me it is a weekly occurrence. It is the frequency of my travel that this beauty of sound, color, and imagination become lost in the drudgery of work.

Tonight, I was handed a wonderful gift from a woman that wanted nothing more than to rush off and be on her way. She made me pause for a moment to enjoy the beauty of flight, to remind me of the magnificence of lifting weightlessly off the ground, the symmetry of it all. I am grateful that I have a job that allows me to travel to enjoy all aspects of flying.

I am grateful to the unknown woman who reminded me of the beauty of flying.

Little Things in Life

I wonder if anyone can be happy all the time. Lately, I wonder if people can be happy most of the time. I think I may have lost that somewhere along the way.

I am happy — for this brief spit of time.

It’s not the big things, work or relationships. Today it was all about the small things.

Leaving work a little early: traffic was almost non-existent, even around the crowded LAX airport.

Checking into a nice hotel: front desk upgraded me to the concierge floor with access to the lounge.

West Side room: over looks the runway to the airport where I could watch planes landing and taking off.

A beautiful pink and gray sunset: my mother would have loved it, she never missed a sunset.

The lights on the runways come to life as the sun hides behind the gray fluffy clouds.

Planes large and small drop into view sporadically mere moments before touching down. Smoke billows behind the plane as rubber meets tarmac and air brakes are applied.

On the other side of the field, white lights guide the metallic colorful planes toward me. One then two start the queue. Slowly joined by more and then they turn facing away. The pilot throttles forward, the engines come to life and mere seconds later the plane roars down the runway before it separates itself from earth.

As I watch the dark field changes. Red lights, green lights, white lights twinkle on the ground. I find that for one perfect peaceful moment I am happy.

It is the little things from checking in, to watching planes in my own space, to a memory of sunset sent from mom that make me happy.

It is a rare thing I feel lately and one I would love to welcome back into my life on a more permanent long term basis. I enjoy the little things that bring me peace and a smile to my face.

I know tomorrow will bring me a few more moments of happiness because I will get to sleep in slightly before heading to the airport I now watch and board a plane which will return me to my home.

I will be greeted by a calico who will curl up in my lap as I sit on the couch to read. If the weather turns nice I will even find time to fly along a road in the country on my bike.

Yes, it is the little things that make me happy.

 

Hypothyrodism: Glandzilla Attacks from Inner Space

It’s not often that I read a book, a magazine article, or a post and immediately stop everything I’m doing to write about it. Truth be told, I can’t often focus long enough to finish anything I’m reading. Last night on my feed a random you may be interested box showed up: Hypothyroidism Ruined My Relationship. I clicked on it, but didn’t have the energy to read past the title.

This morning as I’m floating through my open tabs (which I usually have a lot of as that is the only way I can remember what to read later), I decided with a cup of coffee, it was time to skim what I thought would be a fluff piece about Hypothyroidism.

It was a difficult read once I got past the opening paragraph. I fought back tears — a lot. I fought to concentrate on the post to the end. It took a refill of coffee, a break to give my cat eye drops, add a load to the washing machine, and starting the dishwasher, but I made it through to the end. This may not seem like a lot to you, but for me it is a HUGE accomplishment.

Since I have been diagnosed with this condition, no one has understood me, to include me. When I do talk about it (which is not often) the listener will give pat answers like,”Yeah my mom has it,” “My best friend has it.” A wall comes up and we press on to other topics. Isolating me in a “woe-is-me” cocoon once again. No one wants to talk about it and so this stays bottled up inside.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, I have been struggling for years, but doctors kept treating the symptoms. Gain weight, try the low carb diet, not working? How about the vegan diet. Oh, you have headaches, try lowering your stress. Can’t focus? That must be because your B level is low. Can’t remember? That’s just low vitamin D in your system (I was biking 5 to 6 times a week (outside in summer) at the time) — low D?

Finally, in April of 2012 everything hit a wall. It was brought about through a very scary (to me anyway) incident when I was told by Tanya to tell Kara something. I remember talking to Tanya, I remember saying I will tell Kara. I remember hanging up the phone.  I remember dialing Kara’s number. I remember saying HI and then nothing. I could not remember what it was I was supposed to tell her. It had been less than 5 minutes between ending one call and starting the other. But the memory of that last piece of information was gone — and to this day I still don’t remember what it is that I was supposed to tell Kara.

I know some will say, “That happens to all of us from time to time.” For me, it was a wake up call. It was something that should not have occurred in a 5 minute span, but it was also the last straw in a string of things that had been occurring over the last year with increasing frequency.

I was angry at nothing. I don’t mean a little angry, I mean, off the wall full blown want to punch somebody angry because the coffee took to long to brew that morning.  I couldn’t remember conversations that took place on the same day. I was obsessive about work — working almost 24/7 because I couldn’t sleep and I was fearful with forgetting to do a task. I felt like I was going to explode from the inside out. I hurt so much I just wanted to end everything. I just wanted someone to tell me I was OK. I wanted someone to listen and HEAR me.

No one was listening. They couldn’t relate and the pain got worse because I was alone and trapped and confused and angry and hurting.

I don’t care much for doctors, but not because I don’t like them, I just am not that unhealthy. Mom raised us to push through the pain and not waste a doctor’s time with meaningless things like a sprained ankle.

My irrational mood swings and weight gain were very similar to what I experienced at puberty. So, I thought — incorrectly — maybe I was in early menopause. There was no other logical explanation.

On May 5, 2012, two days after my PA ran some tests, the results were back. My thyroid was non-existent, to the extent that I might as well not have had one at all. The range of a “normal” thyroid is debated by doctors to this day and unless, as in my case, it is so off the chart high or low, your doctor is liable to say it’s low or high, but in normal range. If you get that answer get more tests or find a doctor who will listen to you.

I have always had low, but normal thyroid readings, which means I should have been on thyroid medication years before I was. It wasn’t until my thyroid numbers were off the chart low —  that I was finally able to take steps in the right direction.

I love my PA, she was wonderful in treating the cause and not the individual symptoms. She listened to me and ran the correct tests (a complete metabolic panel) and put me on medication that acts like my thyroid in an attempt to get my body, mind, and emotions back to what they should be.

I saw results within 2 days of starting thyroid medication. I became less obsessive, I became calmer, I even think I laughed a couple times. It was not an immediate fix, but I was so extreme in my emotions, that I noticed a difference in my body.

It’s been 3 years since that diagnosis, and I don’t know if it is a disease or a condition or whatever label you want to give it, but I am better than I used to be. I recognize the symptoms when they occur and get into the doctors office as quickly as I can so we can adjust dosage. This is not uncommon and will be a life long thing, but when I become depressed and angry and obsessive, it’s time to look it again.

The problem is the last couple of times my levels were great, yet some of the more erratic symptoms are coming back and it frustrates me.

After reading Robyn Guidon’s post, I have more questions, and maybe more tests, for my new doctor to run, to see why I am not back to my complete self. I am moving in the right direction and while I feel better than before the medication, it is still a work in progress.

So for all my friends and family who cannot relate to me today, for my distance in the past, for my lack of trying to explain or keep carrying on about “my condition”, take a few moments (I know you won’t need as many breaks as I did), to read the post by Robyn Guidon. It is well written and explains, better than I ever have, the way I felt and still do and still struggle with.

              Hypothyroid Mom:

The Two Big Problems with “Typical” Thyroid Hormone Treatment – Part 1

                  Hypothyroid Mom:

    The Two Big Problems with “Typical” Thyroid Hormone Treatment – Part 2

    The Catalyst Merry Go-Round

    A catalyst is a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change.

    Friends, they are a funny thing. I have moved more times in the last twenty five years than most people do in a life time. I enjoy it, the changes.

    Someone asked me once what I am running from, but i think the question is, what am I looking for?
    Everywhere I go, I make a few friends. My family would not call me the social butterfly, but I make a few core friends — for the time I am there.

    I’ve bumped into a couple of “friends” from my past and they tell me that I was that one that lost contact with them. I beg to differ, not to be stubborn, but it takes two to tango. I have managed to find a core group of friends that I have never lost contact with, no matter the time or the place or the distance. I can count on one hand how many people that includes.

    One thing I have noticed over the years, is that my idea of friendship is very different than others. While I’m in the same physical space as they are, we hang from time to time — never enough for me. Unlike most people I thrive when I’m in the company of others. My mom once told a friend of hers who commented on all my toys I wasn’t playing with, that if she gave me a human I would be happier. I rarely like being alone, not that I mind it, but my preference would be to be around people more often than not.

    I have recently moved — again — and currently working on the long distance friendships. As I get setup in my new life, I hear from them how much I am missed, they reminisce on the times we spent together, they wish I was still there. While I am flattered and I feel loved and missed, my perception is quite different than that. It’s not that I don’t miss them, the game nights, the time spent watching them playing softball, or the just hanging out and talking. I miss those times tremendously — I miss them a lot.

    It’s just I see those past events as rare occurances. It was not like we hung out every night or even every weekend. Usually the get togethers where we had fun were on the weekends. It was rarer that we’d do anything during the week when I needed the attention the most.

    It seems to me from these hundreds of miles between us, that they get together even more now that I am gone than when I was there. I remember commenting on this one of my core friends and they said that was because I was the catalyst. I was the one that brought everyone together to mix and mingle in the beginning and even though they didn’t meet up as much as I liked while I was there, they now meet more because of me. I’m missed after the fact.

    The catalyst: a person or thing that precipitates an event.

    I’d like to stop being the catalyst and just have more people in my life to fill my time. I think a large loud family would have suited me well. I like the noise, some mellow drama and angst, the warmth, the support, the love. Mom,as usual, was right. I’d rather have a human to to play with than a toy any day.

     

    Perception is Everything

    In the Air Force there were strict rule of Do’s and Don’ts, common phrases, acronyms, and eloquent, but to the point statements. One that has stuck with me is “Perception is Everything.”

     

    Metamorphosis I

    Metamorphosis I (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

     

    It doesn’t matter that the truth is different, it is what it looks like that matters.

    The statement came about while we were in class about PDA (public display of affection) and Fraternization is punishable under the UCMJ. Fraternization is where one person is involved with another of a higher rank and favoritism may occur.

    The story went that an officer was hanging out, off duty, with an enlisted member. The relationship was strictly platonic and no favoritism was directed toward the enlisted member, but the familiarity between the two lead the enlisted peers to think they were more than friends. Because of this perception, the enlisted member was court martialed and the officer reprimanded.

    During the court martial it was shown that there was no favoritism by the officer toward the enlisted; however, the perception persisted and even though the enlisted person was exonerated of all charges, the career was short lived.

    While we cannot live up to everyone’s expectations, real or perceived, unless you want to live in an isolated world, perceptions do impact you and the way you live your life. You can minimize the impact or misleading perceptions by communicating better with the people in your life, but ultimately people will perceive you their own way. Just look at social media and they way we perceive people we don’t know based on a comment here or there without any of the background to put the issue in context.

    A few months back a Jersey friend of mine was stating how it was cool that I could move on with my life and go where I needed (or thought I needed) to go. She wished, in some ways, that she could too. I laughed because on the flip side, my perception of her life was something I aimed for. A life full of family and friends, people to meet and share memories with.

    As I was writing this piece, perception came up again with a Virginia friend. We were commiserating about where we are in our life. Neither one of us were where we dreamed we would be. It’s not that life is bad, but we wanted more or rather different people and places and experiences at this stage in life. During this exchanged she pointed out all that I had accomplished, been, and currently have in my life. My perception was not on what was, but what I’m missing; it’s not that I’m missing a lot, but a couple key pieces that make the rest of my life blur.

    On the flip side, my perception of her life was, like my Jersey friend, one of warmth of family and friends, of holiday’s and places and experiences shared by loved ones.

    As close as I am with both these people,it’s amazing that the perception we have about the other is focused on something different that what we internally see as complete. While none of us are unhappy, I think we each recognize there is that small piece or two that we don’t have in our current life that might just make us complete.

    Perception is everything. It makes us happy or sad or wanting what someone else has. Change your perception and you might just change your life for the better.