Leaving on a Jet Plane..

Things have been crazy at work. We lost a few contracts, and as winter approaches everyone seems to be looking around, wondering why nothing is happening. The whispers of layoffs and office changes could be heard all around the office. Last season was great, but that’s just the ‘nature of the industry’.

Yeah, okay.

Needless to say when my boss came into my office last Thursday  morning and closed the door, the whispers began to feel all too real. At the start of the conversation, it was quickly made clear that I was not being laid off (phew!), but that the ‘department would need to undergo some changes’. After a solid 20 minute conversation, I had been tentatively offered a position in Northern Alberta in order to save someone else’s job in our company (who is unable to work in the said position due to lack of education). So bascially, I leave, or she leaves. A camp job. Hmm…

For a moment, the “25-year old girl who moved to Alberta to get rich directly out of university” in me flaired up. YESSS I want to go! Duhh. I was reminded to talk it over with my husband, and that a formal offer would be made later in the day.

The next few hours flew by, and after a phone call to the husband we both agreed that the “8 days on, 6 days off” rotation I was being offered would be okay, and would likely not be a need for imminent divorce. So it was settled. Where’s my offer?

It was soon apparent that they had spoken too soon, and HR was on holiday’s until Monday. Oh coool, let’s just put my life on hold for a second (or 4 days), shall we? Friday and the weekend passed, slowly..while I thought over every possible scenario in my head and asked my husband as many questions as possible about ‘camp life’ (which he is all too familiar with).

By the time Monday rolled around I was pretty much ready to put on some wool socks and roll out.  I was given a bit more information on Monday morning, although I still wasn’t enlightened on the most important things: such as my hours of work, size of camp, gym facilities and quality of food. I was enrolled in a vast array of training courses for the next few days and scheduled for my drug and alcohol test. I can now officially say I am able to use a ladder and dig a trench safely and effectively. 😉 Silly.

Side Bar: I have been googling like crazy, trying to find information about the secret little realm I’m about to enter into. Sounds scary, fun, stupid, neat, cold, and snowy…but really overall there isn’t that much info. UNTIL NOW, my lucky friends. I am going to keep you all posted on my journey… I bet you can hardly wait!

So, I fly out on Monday at 1:00pm to Wood Buffalo, Alberta. Google that shit.. No, but seriously…you will be afraid when you see how close to the top of the world I will be. Looks cold.

So now that the flight is booked, things are starting to look a little more real. “25-year old girl who moved to Alberta to get rich directly out of university” is hiding somewhere in a corner, and Ashley is here, trying to imagine what it will really be like up there. It’s only 8 days at a time..right?

So! As of now, my main thoughts are:

  1. I still don’t know what hours I will be working..only that I will be doing 10-hour days. Fingers crossed I’m not up by 5am..
  2. Camp food — I’ve heard everything from “OMG RED SEAL TRAINED CHEFS” to “bring trail mix and protein bars…”
  3. The gym — Will it be shitty, or will it be great? Perhaps this will be the motivation I need to stop eating like a chunker?
  4. No matter how bad it is, the first cheque will make it all worth it, no?
  5. Only 11 more sleeps and I get 6 days off (That’s the spirit!! :))
  6. I’ve never done 10 hour days…  I think 10 hour office days are probably very different than 10 (or 12!) hour “working-outside-in-the-minus-50” days.. which is typical for most of the people up there . I should probably not complain, ever, no matter what.
  7. Everyone I talk to keeps warning me about the male/female ratio, and how I needed to “watch myself” and “be careful”. Yesterday I was even warned by the lady who provided one of my training courses that I should “not speak to a man unless spoke to first, as it may give off the wrong impression”. Uhh sorry, what century are we living in?
  8. Will I miss J too much? I’m scared..but I know it will be fine…as long as he misses me just as much. ❤

Four more sleeps and a few shopping trips from now and I’ll be flying up to the Great White North (literally?)…weird.

Fingers crossed.

❤ Ash

 

Little Monsters make my life.

I had my first shift at the shelter last night. I’ve been there a few times for orientations, and to pick up our fosters, but this was my first day hanging out with the dogs in the shelter.

I’m in love.

Since it was my first shift, I had to stay with an experienced volunteer the entire night. We walked a very pregnant Momma, “Maggie”. She was tired. We had to entice her every step with treats. We finally made it outside to the grass and we weren’t sure we’d ever get her back inside.. it must have taken 45 minutes to go 200 meters. I wonder how many puppies she will have. Next, we did a bit of ‘doggy physio’ on a dog that was found with a badly broken leg. She had to have surgery to get her tail amputated and has about 20 staples up her leg. Her sad little eyes and underbite were magnified by the plastic cone around her head. Poor baby. We fed her treats, gave her lots of cuddles, and stretched her leg muscles out for her. She was unimpressed at first, but eventually realized that the pain in her leg was a fair trade-off for all the ear scratches. It’s amazing and beautiful to me how forgiving these animals can be, even after all they’ve been through. If only people could be more like dogs.

Now comes the part where I bring home another foster puppy (oops!). He was so sad, and all his brothers and sister’s were going to foster homes already. I couldn’t leave him all alone overnight in that scary kennel, could I? Nope. It was decided. I texted J and told him not to hate me..I think he knows what that means now. At the end of the night, little Sullivan and I packed a crate with all the supplies we will need for our short time together. We cruised home, with Sullivan whining periodically, and only stopping when I put my fingers through the tiny holes in the side of his crate. He is so, so small. Dont worry, little man, you’re safe now.

When we arrived home, J was sitting on the couch looking little more than unimpressed. I was prepared for him to be upset..but I had already decided that me and little man would do our absolute best to take care of ourselves, and wouldn’t ask J for any help (he loves puppies in moderation, and lately I’ve been giving him puppies in overload). I put the crate down and let the three current canine residents sniff him out for a bit while I walked over to the couch..he smiled at me. That same smile that I fell in love with, dimples and all. “Well, let’s see him,” he said, still smiling (although I could tell he was fighting it back ;)). God I love that man.

Welcome to your ‘for-now’ home, Sullivan! I can’t wait to meet your forever family.

puppy

P.S. If you think fostering might be something you’d be interested in, I highly recommend looking into it. Taking one dog out of a kennel, or run at a shelter makes room for them to save another life. Often times (as in our case) you are provided free of charge with everything you need: food, crates, toys, collars and leashes, even food and water bowls. All you need is to provide a loving, safe environment for the dog until they find their new family. Google it to find a rescue in your area! 🙂

Go Home, Thyroid, You’re Drunk..

I think I am getting the flu. My body aches like I can’t explain: it feels like I got hit by a bus. I have had a headache for 9.5 days (yes, I have been keeping track). I never get headaches. Yesterday was the worst. It felt like my body was giving up…my muslces hurt!!! This morning I woke up, expecting to be bed-ridden, but nope, still the same, except now my throat is a bit sore. If you’re coming to play, flu, please come now. I am not interested in prolonging this experience any further. GET OUT OF MY BODY.

On another note, I had a follow-up appointment last week with my Naturopath.

We have determined that I have very low stomach acid production (who knew?), and I am now on supplements. When I say low, I don’t mean low, either. I mean low like “you should only be able to take 2 acid pills max per meal without pain” and I can take 5..no problem.   Now before you roll your eyes (or is that just the old me?), please understand that I used to be anti-“hippie doctor”, too. I thought it was bogus, and people who took oil of oregano made me giggle. But after this thyroid fiasco started,  I began feeling like an 80-year old woman, and my MD said “Get used to it. You’ll be on the medication for the rest of your life”, I decided to burst through my conservative bubble and try it out. Oh boy, I’m glad I did.. he’s awesome. While I’m sure there are some cases that Naturopaths are, in-fact, glorified “hippie doctors”, Dr. M rocks! Everything he says is so logical, hey did you know that low stomach acid means low protein digestion means low amino acid digestion and low mineral availability? And that, combined with the fact that my thyroid is in constant underdrive is probably contributing to my feeling like a bag of poo all the time? OH and probably why my body is holding onto these last 10 pounds like a life raft? DUHH!!! It makes so much sense. Everything he says makes so. much. sense. I love him.

 

Besides that, I got another blood test. He called today with my results, and we chatted for a while (it’s so nice not feeling rushed by a doctor). With the blood results in hand, he thinks my ‘flu’ is actually my thyroid. I’m hoping for the flu…seems more short term.  So what’s up with my thyroid? HAHA good question, I’m not sure it has any idea.

Keep in mind, I am currently on Synthroid, which should, in my non- hippie-doctor’s opinion, be a cure-all treatment (P.S. I hope that’s not politically incorrect, since I’ve now said it three times.. I’m only trying to relate to the old me 😉 )

June 26 Blood Test:

  • Free T3: low, outside normal range (but borderline acceptable)
  • Free T4: low (but acceptable)
  • TSH: okay, but low
  • TPA (Antibody): too high

Based on this, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and given a new medication *supplement* to help faciliate the T4 to T3 conversion (Synthroid is T4). At this stage, I asked for T3, and he told me T3 is only really used by people in body competitions who want to get realllly, realllly lean. Uhh…okay, so can I have T3? No such luck.

Last week’s Blood Test:

  • Free T3: Way too low (almost 1 pmol/L lower than last time)
  • Free T4: Too low, lower than last time (but still borderline acceptable)
  • TSH: much better, within limits
  • TPA: much lower..almost within limits

SO! Based on this, I do NOT have an autoimmune disease, I do NOT have Hashimoto’s. BUT, Hashimoto’s is a sneaky little bugger, and who knows, I could have it next blood test. 😐 Yeah, okay, this sounds dumb…is this a real disease? I still can’t have T3. Today, I will start on a new medication, again, to help facilitate the transition even harder..maybe even FORCE it a bit.

Come on T4, lose a T already, would you?!?! I need to get my energy back, and kick this flu.

Xo

Ashley

 

New goals, fresh start.

Before the wedding, I was getting a bit obsessed with ‘getting fit’. I was working out to exhaustion, eating specifically according to my ‘plan’, and working with a ‘coach’. I say coach in quotations because, looking back, I should have listened to my husband: she had no idea. She made me cut out foods that I loved, and I listened. I’m not talking chips and cookies here, either. I’m talking organic, unsweetened coconut milk in my smoothies. But she told me it was bad, so I listened. She made me stop eating carbs at lunch, and I listened.

Guess what happened? I was cranky, upset, hungry (at times), over full (at other times)..but most of all, I wanted coconut milk, and carbs at night. BADLY.

I was so worried about the wedding. I was so, so paniced. The used-to-be fat girl inside of me kept worrying that when I got my wedding pictures back I would regret it. This was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. If I hated the way I looked in my wedding photos, I’d always regret it.

The big day came, I had my hair and my makeup done, my Mom laced me into my dress, and I put on my earings. Guess what? Not once did I think about what size I looked. Not once. For me, this was a miracle.

gop-ajgirlssneak-4

I went the entire day, and I felt like a princess. I was so happy, and so surrounded by people I loved. It was magical. And I didn’t think about my size. Not once.

On our honeymoon, I walked around in my little bitty bikini…and I rocked it (at least I think I did). I ate way too much food, and I had absolutely anything and everything I wanted for two whole weeks. I didn’t worry about a carb, a fat, and a protein with every meal. I didn’t have 6 meals a day or stop eating carbs at lunch, I just ate. I just lived.

After 14 days of this craziness, we flew back home. I mustered up the courage to climb aboard the scale to judge the damages. Pulling the blue glass scale out from beside the bathroom sink, all those feelings came back. I hadn’t even weighed myself yet and I was thinking “you shouldn’t have eaten all that”. Guess what? I lost 4 pounds during our trip.

I joked with J that the ‘burger’ diet was good for me, and he smiled. He loves seeing me confident in myself, I can tell. “I told you,” he said “you just have to eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re full. I know you’ll never let yourself go overboard”. I love him.

So that, my friends, is my new plan. Since we only really buy organic fruits and veggies, grass-fed meats, and whole grains, I should be good to go. Noted that this ‘plan’ probably wouldn’t work for someone who’s taste buds are in a loving relationship with oreos and lucky charms, but I think I’ve got this in the bag.

I am going to up the workouts now that we’re back, and I’m going to eat like a normal, healthy person. Lots of fruits, lots of veggies, and carbs whenever I damn well feel. If I want ice cream, or frozen yogurt, I’m going to eat it..just not for five consecutive days. I am excited to see what happens next. I want abs, and we all know those are made in the kitchen. Come on kitchen, get cooking! 😉

I feel happy…and I feel healthy. I could get used to this wife stuff.

More than I can swallow

I keep thinking maybe I have bitten off more than I can chew…but how could that be? Maybe it’s a reasonable amount to bite, and a fair amount to safely chew, but the swallowing isn’t really working for me.  

In reality, I’m not doing any more than the average person, but wow, I am exhausted. This, my friends, is a whole new level of tired for me, it’s not the ‘Oh, I need to get 8 hours tonight” kind of exhaustion, but it’s more like “I need a week where I don’t have to do anything but sleep, and all my responsibilities are being taken care of by someone who has the same motivation as I do”…haaaaa. Ya think that’ll ever happen?

The best way I can explain this is emotional exhaustion..but it’s almost past that point. It’s Monday, I just had a full two days off to relax, and I simply cannot fathom sitting here at work all day.. I won’t make it. I have a pounding headache, and my eyes can barely stay open, nevermind focus on anything. I have no patience, and I am uninterested in doing my work. What the hell is going on?

People with children, I have no idea how you do it. I cannot imagine ever having that ability. You are amazing.

I am trying not to be a whiner. I am 25, I don’t have kids (see above point…and again, HOW do you do it?), I work full-time (but who doesn’t?), try to work out at the gym daily, and I have dogs (too. many. dogs.). I have a husband, and a house which is way too big for us (no one informed me that even if you don’t use your two spare bedrooms, they still manage to need cleaning..or they end up as storage areas for everything you don’t want to deal with). Still,  sound’s do-able, right? It’s a moderate work load. So why is it that I am so exhausted? I honestly don’t get it…and trust me, I’ve tried to put on my big girl panties and get it done. I can’t. Not without crying and having a break down about how everything is just too much. Every day I try to think of something to quit to lessen the load: my job (please can I win the lottery and be a puppy rescuer?), the gym (but I know that will make things 10X worse), the dogs (hahahaha…kidding, never). None of those things are reasonable. I need to get it together.

Since I was diagnosed hypothyroidism/ Hashimoto’s, I promised I’d never use it as an excuse. I will not gain weight, I will not say I can’t lose it, I will never be too tired to get out of bed, or not have the energy to stay awake at work. Nope. Screw you, Hashimoto’s. But I’m starting to think that might just be the cause of this problem…

Ahh, I need a snuggle, and my naturopath. I missed my appointment this weekend, too, and now I can’t get in for another two weeks.

Why? Because, well, this happened:

samson

Yeah, that’s a cast, for his broken knee. I cried like a uncontrolable baby when they told us the x-ray results. How could I let that happen?! (Again, people with kids….? HOW?!). Oh, and did I mention that I am IN LOVE with this little guy? Did I mention that the day after this little incident occurred, we had someone coming to meet and adopt him, and I was happy he would be leaving so I didn’t get even more attached? Oh, and now he has to stay with us for 6+ weeks while he heals? Oh, and did I mention that he’s SO snuggly, sweet, and possibly even cuter than before with his little yellow cast? Great, just great, Sam. Please don’t make me keep you, Dad will be so mad.. ❤

Thanks for listening. 😉

 

 

25 days..

Our wedding is coming up fast..like really fast. It feels like yesterday that I was sitting on the couch with Jamie discussing vendor payments that were due at the 6-month mark. Well, we definitely don’t have 6 months anymore. I’ve put in four solid months of healthy eating and exercising, I’ve been praticing trying to be a ‘wife’ and do laundry (without waiting for 10 loads to be ready..) and make dinner, and pack lunches with fresh baked goods. I’ve started cleaning up every night after dinner (instead of leaving the mess for the next day), and the dish washer hasn’t sat clean for more than an hour before the dishes made their way back to their place in the cupboards. I am starting to feel like a grown up.

And then last night it finally hit me. I am getting married in just over 3 weeks. We are no longer able to use the word “month” when describing the distance of the wedding. Not even “one month away”. Nope, we even passed that. We are now at weeks. Weeks away. We were sitting on the couch, facing one another, and I grabbed both of his hands. I think I squeezed almost too tight for comfort, and all I could say was “I’m so glad you’re going to be there.. it would be way too scary without you”. It brought tears to my eyes. Not sad tears, just happy, nervous tears. We are really doing this.GOP-Engagement-18-XL

I’m not going to lie, the whole thing feels strange. It feels a bit scary and it feels a bit too ‘adult’ for me. It feels right, don’t get me wrong, and I am ready to get married, and obviously I am completely sure of what I want, but it still seems a bit surreal. I mean, we are planning our WEDDING and subsequently our MARRIAGE. I am going to be a WIFE and have a HUSBAND. Next we are going to be flying away on our honeymoon, just the two of us. Soon we will be planning for children (don’t tell James I said soon…it makes him panic, too) and I’ll be having a little baby with cute little dimples, just like it’s Dad.  In a way, I just thought I’d feel different when this time came, I’d feel prepared and ready and like a real adult.

When I was 20-ish and in my second year of University, I remember asking my Mom when I would start feeling like an “adult”. To me, that meant feeling truly independent, not wanting to cry to my Mom when I was upset, and not craving hugs from my family when I was away from home. It meant being confident in my decisions, and not having a mini panic-attack when signing mortgage papers with James without my Mom present (yes, I actually had that thought). I remember her telling me that I was a grown-up. That my mindset was probably pretty much developed, my views and opinions were there, and all that was left were some life lessons and some time to grow internally. She said I would always need my Mom (and that she still needed Grandma), and I’d never stop having a tiny part of me that didn’t feel fully ready. Man, she was right. I don’t think I’ll ever get over needing hugs from my Momma, or stop missing the fresh, comfy, safeness of my bed at Grandma’s house.

Anyways, I guess that was a bit of an aside (^^) sorry… hahagop-engagement-7

I can’t wait to put on my dress, and get my hair all done up and be surrounded by everyone I love and care about. I cannot wait to walk down the aisle towards James and see his face. I will probably start running once I see him (towards him, of course) so I can sneak in a quick hug before I pass out… Here’s to the next three weeks!

Just because I am SO curious…do my quick poll. I’m having a deep day, I want some deep advice.

 

Love,

Ashley.

 

 

Forgive me while I backtrack..

I was unsure if I should start this blog. Does anyone really care? Well, maybe not..but I can tell you that in my recent quest for as much information as I can possibly find, I’ve come to love blogs of other’s with the same symptoms, or ‘happenings’ as I have.  It’s one thing to google hypothyroid, or Hashimoto’s, and see the “common symptoms”, and it’s a whole other thing to laugh and cry and feel relief by reading someone else’s personal accounts of their life. If even one person reads this and feels some kind of relief, it’s worth it. Plus, maybe it will help me get everything out on paper. I can bring a copy to my next Naturopath appointment, in-lieu of an update on my symptoms 😉

SO! The whole self-detoxing from Cipralex experience (as mentioned in my previous post) happened about a year ago. I felt great for about three months, then I started getting tired, and cranky. I fought with my fiance about everything. WHY DO YOU HAVE THE TV SO LOUD!? I was such a b*tch..and I knew it. I had begun losing the friends I had made while feeling great. I didn’t want to go out, I wanted to stay home with my puppies.. ONLY. EVER.

I went to the doctor several times, he told me I was fine (we had recently moved provinces and been lucky to even get a family doctor, so there was no time to be picky). Maybe it was just PMS (all month..). Maybe I should go back on Cipralex. I didn’t want to.. At this stage, I stopped going to the doctor. He had offered me a solution (medicate yourself, crazy!) and I wasn’t willing to accept it. What more did I want from him, really? Oh I forgot to mention (TMI, maybe), that I COULDN’T poop. Nope, I couldn’t. I ate healthy, I tracked my calories compulsively (something I started doing when I was 220+ pounds in University–it helped me loose over 70 lbs!) and I WAS EATING ENOUGH FIBRE!  I was drinking 3-4 litres of water, per day, and I was exercising like a crazy person. Help meeeee!

This went on for about two or three additional months. I had started a new ‘exercise and diet’ routine ( I was working with a fitness coach and entertaining the possibility of doing a Fitness Competition) and had been working my ass off for two months with NO change. And I mean nothing, not one pound. What in the hell was happening to me?! Then, suddenly, I realized I had extra money in my “Healthcare Spending Account” at work, and realized hey, you know what? Maybe I will go to a Naturopath.. Side bar: my family is anti-natural ANYTHING. If you asked my Grandpa what he thought about this it would be along the lines of “some kind of hippy doctor feeling your aura”. So, I kept this a secret and trecked off to see my new doctor. My fiance tagged along, as he had witnessed first hand the ‘fail’ of our family doctor.

Wow. Just wow. He listened, he asked questions, he had a true, genuine look of concern for my well-being. He knew my symptoms without even asking me. He felt my stomach and he looked in my mouth. He listened to my heart and checked my reflexes and blood pressure. Are you kidding me? I hadn’t had this done ONCE yet and it felt so good to have someone care. I was in there for an hour and a half, which was a big change from my recent 3-minute in-and-out visits. My fiance and I looked at eachother many times during the appointment with smiles on our faces like, “Is this actually happening?!”. He sent me home with some ideas: eating avocados and lemon juice, a special, natural sugar for my dry skin, and lots of great advise. I was given a requisition for blood work, and after everything was said and done (I had to pay upfront for the appointment and blood work), the bill came to almost $200. I didn’t bat an eye.

I went to get blood work the next day, happily, excited to have some real answers maybe. The doctor called me within two days and let me know my thyroid function was still low (despite being on synthroid), there were some signs of Hashimoto’s disease, and he wanted to try some new medications alongside the synthroid. This was last week. I have been following my “plan” for five days, today, and I feel better already. Honestly, even if not being so constipated is my only up-side of this entire thing, I’m SO happy. I go back in next week for a follow-up and we will discuss my results further and plan for more blood work in a few weeks. I have been researching like a crazy person. Every time I come across a new symptom I am astonished. I feel understood for the first time in my life, I don’t feel like such a failure. I’ve always wondered why my body was seemingly so much different than everyone elses, and now I am starting to understnad. I want to understand everything there is to understand about this disease. I am going to control it so it doesn’t control me.

❤ I am filled with so much hope!