In the past few weeks, I’ve read a lot about New Year’s resolutions, why some people make them and why others are totally against them. A patient advocate colleague of mine commented that resolutions are a very painful thing for the chronically ill – I think this is because at times it is so hard to expect things to ever improve when you feel like you are in such a deep, dark hole. However, it is has always been my personal philosophy that hope is precisely what has kept me going in such situations ... much along the lines of this poem:
Hold out hope at the end of your rope
Life takes its twists and turns
Vicissitudes and crazy moods
Sometimes we crash and burn
But from these things we learn
Anger and sadness; unexpected gladness
Grey clouds fly away
And make room for a beautiful day.
Resolutions are all about hope, but it’s also important to be realistic and avoid putting yourself under excessive pressure and stress. For example, instead of resolving to completely eliminate junk food from your diet, consider cutting down on it or even turning this into a positive resolution to add in more healthier foods. The “all or nothing” approach is frequently doomed to failure because nobody is perfect and we all have our off days. Furthermore, it’s important for us to accept that such days are normal from time to time so that we avoid beating ourselves up about them. So often, resolutions seem to focus on what we are no longer going to do, which gives them a rather negative slant and doesn’t make them seem that motivating. So instead of talking about what you are not going to do, consider talking about what you are going to do to improve your life and those of the people around you in the New Year. Alternatively, if you absolutely do have to eliminate something (e.g. foods you are intolerant to) and you find this challenge overwhelming, consider doing this one step at a time.
I associate many words with the word resolution – wishes, dreams, aspirations … my take on this is that dreams are ultimately intentions and intentions can be more powerful than we sometimes realize – if you put your intentions out to the universe - whether by casting a spell, telling someone about them or even writing them down in your private journal, there is a chance that they might just come true.
With that in mind, I asked thyroid patients to send me their hopes and aspirations for this coming year with the intention that their collective sparks of hope will light a fire to inspire everyone reading this.
“My resolution is to keep advocating for fellow thyroid patients until each person in our community has access to modern, effective thyroid treatment.”
Michelle Bickford, Hashimoto’s
“This year, I want to master making water kefir to help heal my gut and support my immune system.”
Jennifer Mason, Hashimoto’s
“My 2014 resolution is to get over my fear of flying so I can release myself from the corner of the world I’ve been boxed into ever since I swallowed that pill of RAI in 1999. My life will never be the same, but it doesn’t have to be limited to within driving distance. I accept and embrace the fact that I never feel well. If I can sit on my couch feeling sick for six hours, I can sit in a seat on a plane feeling the same sick for six hours. I’ll just be in a different state or country when it’s time to get up and stretch my legs.
Debra Shultz, Graves’ with RAI
“This year I hope to be able to get my thyroid levels under control to where I have more energy and am able to get pregnant this year.”
Jessica, hypothyroidism, PCOS
“My 2014 resolutions are to run, walk a half marathon, continue working towards a gluten-free lifestyle, continue monitoring my blood work, and bring myself out of the foggy head state I seem to be in daily.”
Marie Holly, Hashimoto’s
“My name is Amy Lindsoe. About 15 years ago I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and then PCOS along with insulin resistance. I have been having more and more symptoms and have just learned I have Hashimoto’s disease which probably started the whole thing. My resolution is to see an endocrinologist a good friend told me about so I can get on the right meds, to master gluten free eating, and to finally lose weight.”
Amy Lindsoe, Hashimoto’s, PCOS and insulin resistance
“I have not been officially diagnosed as my doctor refuses to admit that I have Hashimoto’s disease though I have all the signs of it. I hope and pray that next year I will finally get the diagnosis and the treatment that I need, though I have taken my own need into my own hands and am researching all alternatives.”
Nora Fraser, undiagnosed Hashimoto’s
“My name is Sarah. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis almost 12 years ago. My goal for the year is to get my TPO antibodies down to a level where I can take Armour or Naturethroid without my immune system attacking my thyroid, and get off Levothyroxine. God willing ...”
Sarah Dennis, Hashimoto’s
“I intend to continue to advocate for myself as well as for others because overall I am in a good place. The one thing I might entertain is switching to NDT and perhaps giving up gluten. I also intend to socialize more.”
Donna Anderson Terlecki, follicular thyroid cancer with no prior evidence of disease.
“My New Year's resolution for 2014 is to get my lab tests on time and to make sure I take my thyroid and hormone replacement therapy regularly. It’s easy to slack off and make excuses (I’m sick, I’m tired, I have other things to do, other people to worry about), but if I can't keep myself together, I can’t help anyone else. I know these things are very important to my health, and I have to make them a top priority.”
Kit Kellison, Graves’, Hashimoto’s and celiac
“I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in 2011 during my first pregnancy. As I understood it then, it was ‘take a pill every day and you'll be fine.’ I am learning now just how much I didn’t know, and how much more to this disease there is. My resolution for the New Year is to go gluten-free and focus on holistically healing and managing my health.”
Heather Carr, hypothyroidism
“I hope to put my Hashimoto's into remission!”
“This year I would like to be more graceful and less angry in dealing with this illness. I want to remind myself that my illness is not my identity, that underneath all of the pain and frustration is still the awesome person I’ve always been, that my voice, no matter how weak, can still be raised to advocate for myself and others. I need to get my hypothyroidism under control ... I’d like to change my eating habits, and the list goes on.
Heather Amos, Hashimoto’s
“My New Year’s resolution for 2014 is to follow some good advice given to me by my thyroid advocates and friends. Baby steps, live life and big love.
Shannon Hawley, Hashimoto’s, thyroid cancer survivor, fibromyalgia
“My New Year’s Resolution would be to get correct answers, I was diagnosed on April 29th with thyroid cancer and had surgery on May 29th. I just want to feel like I did when I was a little girl – no weight gain, no hair loss, never tired. We are still trying to regulate my medicine so maybe someday I will feel ‘Normal’ again. My quote would be ‘Somewhere over the rainbow my levels will level out’.”
Micki Lowe, thyroid cancer
“In 2014 I hope to ‘keep swimming, keep swimming.’ But I want to be more reflective of where I’m headed. My energy has been compromised by my thyroid cancer diagnosis, but the silver lining is that I’m now more selective with how I channel my energy. I sweat the small stuff less. I pursue my dreams more determinedly, instead of deferring them. I try to meet myself, and others, with a deeper, more understanding kindness. And, finally, I listen to my body. I sleep more. I don’t push my body where it doesn’t want to go. I stay with care providers who take the time to work with me and interpret the quirky messages my body relays. I’m hoping that 2014 will lead me to a deeper understanding of my new ‘normal,’ which changes by the day. And that I will continue to ‘keep swimming,’ whatever comes my way.”
Caroline Webster, papillary thyroid cancer, follicular variant
What are your wishes and aspirations for 2014? Are you able to relate to some of the resolutions posted above? Please share in the comments.
Wishing you a happy, blessed and healthy New Year!
Yours in health,