Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I don't know if you can call it better. The sun is shining and I'm not crying all the time. Except for this morning on the way to the endo. Does that count?

More thyrogen in my butt this morning. I ended up with a sore shoulder yesterday. I have no idea why. I'm wondering if I'm going to get one on the other side today. My butt is now sore. Better I suppose than it being twitchy, as it was yesterday.

Tomorrow is radioactive day. I am going to get a small dose of radioactive iodine and then, on Friday, they can look at me glowing. Apparently, according to the nurse, they won't get my results back for two weeks. Interesting. I have an appointment with the endo in less than two weeks after my scan. That should be good then. He'll be able to tell me exactly zero about whether the cancer has come back. I wonder if he'll tell me that I'm imagining all these symptoms as well. "Mrs Dodd, you aren't hypothyroid according to your blood test so IT'S ALL IN YOUR HEAD..."

Monday, March 30, 2009

Not Just a Bad Day...

...I'm finding life more and more difficult to cope with at the moment. I am spending more and more parts of the day in tears for NO REASON.

I had the thyrogen this morning. So, now, on top of all the horrible possible hypothyroid things I've been feeling, I now feel tired and nauseous. More tired than I did before. And I have three children to cope with. Mind you, I'm glad they didn't make me come off the synthetic hormone as that would have been one hell of a lot worse.

I was supposed to get a pregnancy test on Friday but I didn't as I came on. I found it faintly ridiculous that I have to turn up to have a pregnancy test when things down below are doing their thing. Properly. Cramps and normal amounts of stuff and everything. Not implantation bleeding or anything. However, in order to prevent stupid people from suing, the nuclear medicine department insist that you have it, so they made me get it. So I had to wait for 45 minutes feeling nauseous and yuck whilst corralling a 2 yo in a waiting room full of older people so he didn't run off into the depths of the hospital and trying to explain to my 5 yo why she had to sit still and wait, when she wanted to run about or watch something on telly that didn't have Rachel Ray's grinning mug on it.

Then I stupidly got involved in an internet argument that I really shouldn't have.

Didn't need that today. Really not.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

So Sad.

Just really sad today. No reason that I can see. Just want to cry the whole time. I seem to be very tired and am finding it difficult to concentrate on a screen, my book, anything really. Little things keep setting me off for no reason so I think I shall avoid the internets for a bit.

Sean just asked me if I felt like this when I was hypothyroid last year but I have to answer honestly that I really can't remember. It is, quite seriously, a blur. I vaguely remember my mum being here and my sister spending the entire time she was here on MSN to her lover but that's pretty much it. What we did while they were here? Can't tell you.

I've got to have my blood tested next week. I am wondering if it's going to say that I am hypo or whether I'm within acceptable limits and, if I'm within acceptable limits, just how the hell am I supposed to live like this?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What's Occuring?

Not much!

Been a bit...off...for the last week or so. I'm due to get my first body scan since the radioactive iodine treatment. Truly, I should have had it at the beginning of February but due to a catalogue of errors more often seen in farce, I'm not getting it until the end of next week. I'm on a low-iodine diet but it's nowhere near as harsh as it was last year. Last year, I couldn't eat anything that I like to eat at all (and still managed to put on 15lbs in two weeks...go figure) and I felt very sorry for myself. This time I'm actually allowed to drink a small amount of milk in filter coffee (no instant), though I still can't eat any dairy or fish or soy...oh bugger, I just remembered those two Boca burgers I had on Monday...never mind! I don't know why that small amount of milk is making me more happy than last time. I suppose as well, there's light at the end of the tunnel this time, in the fact that I know exactly how long I have to bear with the diet. Last time, I was told two weeks maximum...ended up being nearer four...

Anyway, went to see Mary Poppins on Broadway on Sunday with just Imogen and the Girl Scouts. There were 18 of us and it was really nice. The show was really good; very much different from the film as you can't really have a merry-go-round horse race on stage and they did away with the whole laughing scene with Bert's mad uncle. They also changed all the words to Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, which was really annoying as I couldn't sing along...OK, maybe that wasn't a bad thing! And do you know, I managed to spell that correctly, first time of asking!

I haven't really spent much time in the company of the ladies from our troop but they're all really lovely mums. I often feel like a bit of a fraud because Imogen's my eldest and I really can't do as much for the troop as some of the others. Out of her troop of 15 girls, there are only 3 of us with younger children and only me with a baby. So I haven't done any of their camps, I haven't gone and been a helper, the only thing I've done is I'm always 'emergency contact' as I'm always at home. I don't think anyone really minds, I just don't think anyone's actually spoken to me for more than five minutes at pick up time. I kind of accosted a couple of them by being all proactive and sitting next to them on the train and at dinner. It's nice being foreign; you can do things you wouldn't normally do and know they will just bypass it in their head as 'strange foreign thing'!

By the time I got home on Sunday night, though, I knew I'd done too much. We walked from Grand Central to the theatre, back down to Times Square as we were early and some of the others wanted to go to the M&M store, back up to the theatre, sat in the theatre for two and half hours which always gives me a headache, over the road for dinner and then back down to the station. I managed to forget to take any drinks or snacks with me, so I had nothing to eat or drink from 10am to 4pm...bad move. Imogen was fine as I bought her a huge soft pretzel, but I couldn't eat it as I didn't know if the salt had iodine in it or not. I also bought her the orange syrup they call Sunkist over here. I should have got a bottle of water then...duh!

So, Monday was a complete washout. I collapsed into bed on Sunday night at about 9:30 and didn't move off my chair all day on Monday, except to cook dinner and play cars with Gabe. I've also been so cold just recently. And all my nails are breaking again. Couple that with the strange infections that grow out of all proportion, the inability to shift any weight at all and no improvement on my energy levels from doing more exercise, I have many, many things to talk to my endo about when I finally see him in April!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What things are innate?

I am currently watching my son dip his chocolate graham goldfish into his glass of milk. I'm not being silly or anything but WHO taught him to do that? I didn't. I don't dip. Well, mainly because I don't eat biscuits. Much. Well, not ones that can be dipped anyway. Dark chocolate Hob Nobs are too nice to dip...

The girls don't dip, apart from bread in soup and we all do that, so I'm pretty sure that's a learned behaviour. So how did he make the connection between knowing that bread and soup can be dipped to dipping his biccies in his milk?

It's obviously good because he's still doing it! And now he's lost one. That's always the way; you dip your biscuits, think you've got it all in your mouth and then the layer of mushy Rich Tea at the bottom of your mug accosts you. Actually, looking at the bottom of the glass, there's more than one stray goldfish swimming about in there.

Makes you wonder what's innate and what isn't. I love this age! They're full of contradictions and enthusiasm. The cognitive leaps he makes on a daily basis astound me, in exactly the same way the girls did. But the leaps he makes are different to the ones that Imogen made, that Miranda made. And that's the thing that makes us want to keep going, to have more, their ultimate individuality.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


It's weird the things that make me homesick. Mostly, it's food. Missing decent chocolate and decent cereal and basically anything that doesn't involve cinnamon or artificial vanilla, both of which will assault you from the strangest of places.

But today it was music. I ended up going to the supermarket on my own, a blissful occurrence that only usually happens if Sean is particularly amenable or one of the kids is sick, as was the case today. Gabe's been running the high temperature that Miranda's had for the last three days. He seems to be shaking it quicker though.

Anyway, I sailed around the supermarket with my iPod going full blast. I've currently got it on random mix of everything labelled 'Alternative & Punk' which includes everything from Placebo to Paul Weller to Green Day to Keane... So on comes the Chilis with Emit Remmus which has a lot of London references. I lived there for 7 years and I still miss it to my bones, though I couldn't bring up children there, so the deep longing I have is more wistful these days. And then, as I got in the car to come home, this is playing:

I remember thinking murder in the car
Watching dogs somersault through sprinklers on tiny lawns
I remember the graffiti
We are your children coming in with spray cans of paint
I remember the sunsets and the plains of cement
And the way the night just seemed to turn the colour of orangeade
In this town, cellular phones are hot with teens
In this town, we all go to terminal pubs
It helps us sweat out those angry bits of life
From this town, the English army grind their teeth into glass
You know you'll get a kicking tonight
The smell of puke and piss
The smell of puke and piss on your stilettos
Here comes that panic attack
My heart stops... and then it starts
Give me a drink
I'll drink your round
I take you round the pole
It's cold up here (I see the universe waiting by a minibus)
You'll catch the flu
Or you'll catch the city
Either way, you'll catch the flu
Or you'll catch the city

This is Essex Dogs by Blur and it's Albarn singing about Colchester...

And, bizarrely, I want to go home.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Random Musings

Why is it when I sit down to write this, having had all sorts of ideas running round in my head, I can never think of anything to say?

This week I have been mostly watching Heroes and Being Human.

It's interesting to me that both shows are really exploring the human condition from the viewpoint of extraordinary people who want to be normal. In Heroes the themes are about our differences, how we cope with them, how we need to be accepting and finding common goals. In Being Human it's more down to Earth than that, it's more about what defines humanity. George's understanding at the end that being human means love and sacrifice just spoke to me. Because that's what it all comes down to in the end; how much we love and what we sacrifice for that love.

My train of thought on sacrifice and love went off on a tangent then and I got to thinking about something my beloved and I don't agree on. It's quite biblically unacceptable to think that homosexuality is a right and proper thing. Where it is mentioned, it's usually mentioned as a violent thing, something that's akin to male rape. However, I believe in a loving and just God who would not make creatures to be homosexual if it wasn't glorifying to His creation. There are too many examples of homosexuality in the animal kingdom for it not to be a normal bell-curve thing and I believe very strongly, given how much evidence there is, that about 10% of men and women have the brain chemistry of the opposite sex. So, what should a God-fearing, Jesus-believing homosexual do? Does it come down to monogamy or abstinence? And is that abstinence the ultimate sacrifice for the love of God?

It's been a bit of a slog this week, generally. Miranda hasn't been well with a high fever and the clocks going forward last weekend didn't help any of us. We've all been walking around in a fug! Today is such a lovely day though. I want to go out and take a walk and smell Spring on the air, but Miss Miserable won't change out of her PJs! Ah, well, I shall just have to go and bake a cake instead.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Negative Equity


According to Zillow, the real estate tracking website, the prices of the houses in my town have fallen 14.4% in the last year. This means that our house is worth about $75,000 dollars less than we paid for it.

If we wanted to move, we couldn't. Which we don't, but you never know what tomorrow will bring.

We live in a lovely town in a beautiful part of the US. It's a typical New England town, with old houses that are pale coloured with cedar shake sidings and pretty gardens. It has a thriving town centre and a politically motivated populace who turn out for town meetings in large numbers. It's an aspirational community, somewhere you might see and think 'Ooo, I'd like to live there'.

We ended up here largely by mistake. Sean was and is working in Stamford, a city on the edge of both Connecticut and New York State. We talked about it before we came but we came to the conclusion that moving from a village into a city was too much of a jump, especially for Imogen who was 6 at the time and struggling even in a village school. So, with our rental allowance in hand, we looked at all the places we could afford and discovered that the nearest we could get to Stamford was here in Ridgefield, for the money. The problem with this area is that it's a dormitory for NYC. It's a bit like Surrey with Surrey-like prices.

We liked the town. We loved the school. So, when our rental contract was up, we looked to buy into the town. So, we bought a house. At the top of the market, or thereabouts.

So here we are, like hundreds of thousands of families across the world, in negative equity. But, we're in a rather unique position. We have two houses as we kept our cottage in Essex and have been renting it out for the last year. It is NOT in negative equity; in fact there's still some equity in it! If the worst came to the very, very worst, we could just up sticks and flee with tail between legs back to Blighty.

The lack of communication between countries with regard to credit is abysmal. Our credit score in the UK is amazing. We've always had credit and we've always paid it off. When we've had troubles, we've told our creditors immediately and arranged a payment scheme that suits both parties. When we came here, NONE of that came with us. We've had to build our credit score again, even though the main credit score companies here are the same ones as at home. It's taken four long years to create a credit score that actually allows us to run a reasonably priced mortgage. BUT, this works both ways. We can walk away from the house, the mortgage and ALL our credit here and it will have zero effect on our credit score at home.

We could never come back to the US though. Not even for a holiday! So it's not a real option. But it helps me sleep at night...

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Why doesn't everyone take vitamins?

It's taken me 37 years but I'm finally taking a regular multi-vitamin outside of pregnancy. I always resisted taking them before because I'm a great believer in a balanced diet. I eat a balanced, healthy diet. OK, it might be a bit heavy on the portion size and light on the exercise, but it's healthy.

I've been taking the multi-vits for the last four months, basically since I had my last bad bout of infection. I was desperate and it was the only thing I could think of to do, other than wash in antibacterial soap, that might, just might, stop the damn thing happening again. It's a fairly wide spectrum one, pretty much 100% of RDA of everything and a few things at a larger amount. I also take a regular calcium supplement, something you're supposed to do once you've had your thyroid removed, to prevent as much osteoporosis as possible. A month ago, I added a flax seed oil supplement too.

At the same time, I started the kids on regular multi-vits. If anything, they eat better than I do because they eat more fruit than I do and tend to self limit on the portion sizes. But I thought if I was doing it for myself, I'd do it for them too.

Why this is important is because this cold season has been surprisingly easy for all of us. Even when Gabe and I went down with the horrible cold last week, the girls had sniffles and not much else. Also, usually by this point in the season, Imogen's hearing has deteriorated to the point where her behaviour in class is bordering on unacceptable. I finally got my ar$e in gear to get their hearing monitored and, as is always the way, both girls have had no problems this year at all. Apart from two colds back to back in October, before they started on the vits, the girls haven't had a cold all season...

I'm signed up to About.com's Thyroid updates and I hadn't even thought about taking a supplement to boost and support my metabolism now I'm without a thyroid. But reading their information, it seems that the multi-vit I'm taking contains all the right elements in the proportions that they suggest. And I feel great! I haven't felt this good for a long long time. My skin is in good condition, my hair is looking nice, I haven't had an infection since September, my cycle is just about back to normal (thank God) and I'm finally, FINALLY, losing weight.

So, my question stands: Why doesn't everyone take vitamins?

Maybe it's just me that they seem to be working for!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Lenten Diet

I've given up chocolate and alcohol for Lent. It's the first time in a very long time. What with all the palaver with being pregnant (obviously alcohol went but you can't ask a pregnant lady to give up chocolate; not and keep your head), then finding out I had cancer, then having to go hypothyroid (the most horrible experience of my life), with all that I just didn't have the ability or capability of going on my Lenten fast.

Traditionally, the alcohol has actually been the most difficult part of this and, as previously, I am getting to 6pm and thinking 'Where's the voddy?'. I've resorted to making a part mix of cranberry and raspberry juice with diet tonic water. It's fooling my tastebuds mostly, so far. But I still can't drink all that much of it as the juice is packed with sugar.

I am also finding that, this time out, giving up chocolate is pretty hard too. Sean and I are used to sitting down with something sweet once we've got the kids to bed and that's usually chocolate. Just recently though it's been cake. And ice cream. And just about anything that doesn't have chocolate in it. Last night, we were down to 3 year old mini packets of jelly babies for me and some left over candy corn for him...

So, I get on the scales this morning expecting the worst. I haven't done much exercise in the last week as I've had this cold and then so did Gabe. In fact, I haven't done any Wii Fitting since Friday last week, what with the snow day and general laziness on my part. I even cleaned the kitchen yesterday to avoid working out. With a Brillo pad.

But, bizarrely, the scale showed a definite loss of another 2lbs. OMFG! OK, I haven't yet been on the Wii Fit yet for it to tell me in its squeaky overly saccharine voice that, despite the fact I've lost weight, 'That's Obese!' as if I didn't bloody know! I shall have that dubious pleasure later. But 2lbs. That's a nice weight loss for a week. And incentive to stay off the chocolate and eat more cake, methinks!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Snow Day!

So the entire North East and much of the East Coast from DC up has been hammered. It's still falling and we have about 10 inches sitting out there already.

It's been pretty warm here for the last week or so and all the nasty grey ice piles that have been sitting round since the last storm had finally melted in the most part. Only to be replaced with new ones today. Oh joy.

This is the time of year we usually get the 'last blast'. This year's been a good snow year. We've actually had some! Last year was very quiet and we actually had more rain than snow. This year, I reckon we've probably had a good 50 or so inches over the season. We've actually been skiing locally, it's been so good!

Sean was working last night when the servers fell over and he then spent the rest of the night trying to get them back online. So he's currently in bed sleeping...good thing too, to my way of thinking, looking at the roads.

The kids are downstairs playing video games. Probably not the best thing they could be doing. I might go and watch a movie with them later. I recorded War Games on the DVR last week as I think Imogen would get a kick out of it and I haven't seen it in ages!

I've also just made a HUGE pot of home made chicken noodle soup. It's just about the easiest thing to make and tastes AMAZING! You boil up your chicken carcass, after having your roast dinner, with the giblets and the skin, a stick of celery, a carrot and an onion, in about 3 pints of water for about 3 hours, topping up the water periodically. Then you strain off the liquor into a tub, pick through the bones returning any nice chicken bits to the liquor, and put the tub in the fridge overnight. Throw the bone and veggie mess away. Following day, scrape off the fat from the jelly and put it back in a saucepan. Add a couple of sliced carrots, some veggie stock or veggie water, a handful of left over chicken chopped up and about 4ozs of spaghetti broken into pieces. Boil it until the carrots and pasta are tender and serve with crusty bread. Yum! Just the right thing for a snow day!