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When to Stop Fighting and Ease Up

Selfie of bike tour departure in better days

Wow. Last week I was so tired, so foggy, that I started my Easy ButtonTM post and never got to the point I meant to make with it.

Where I fell off the edge with my story was, I went to see my Nurse Practitioner a while back for my 6-month bloodwork (you get that when you’ve had a major, near-fatal trauma, to make sure your bashed-in organs are still functioning as they should). My test revealed “subclinical hypothyroid.” This means my reading was low normal, but I had the elevated cholesterol pattern associated with hypothyroid, and several other symptoms that made her want to start me on medication.

Now, I believe elderly people in this country are grotesquely overmedicated, and I’m only 56. I take a long, hard look at any new prescription. My default is to look into natural alternatives and lifestyle changes to nudge my body into fixing itself. For instance, I declined Nexium for stomach issues in favor of not eating after 8 PM. Problem solved.

I mentioned my diagnosis to my niece, a NICU nurse, and she said, “Oh, if you can get Granny Crack, take it!” Apparently the thyroid medicine raises energy levels and alertness to the point where it has a nickname.

My acupuncturist wanted me to try a Chinese herbal mixture to see if it helped stimulate my thyroid. I told my NP I was going to do that, and Bonnie sat back and said, “You spend most of your day’s energy on your body already, with your exercise program and attention to your diet. I respect your conservative outlook with medicine; I even share it. But I’m telling you, take the Granny Crack. You’ll feel better. Your life will be easier. You’ll have more time and energy for the things you use your body for. The medicine is super cheap and you’ll make more money when you have more energy. Hon, it’s time to hit the Easy Button.”

That’s why the Easy ButtonTM has been on my mind. Things have been harder this winter. I’ve been sorer, tireder, and foggier than in winters past. The weight I gained during my knee injury has not gone away. Shedding 30 pounds would make such a difference (to say nothing of saving me money on upsized clothes.)

I have a follow-up appointment today. I repeated the blood test last week and the result was the same. It was a sunny day and I rode my bike to the lab, reveling in the attention the technicians lavished on me for being such a badass. I had an ulterior motive; I’m a difficult draw thanks to a history of hypovolemic shock (near bleedout), and getting my heart pumping and raising my body heat would help make my veins easier to find and stab. It worked, too–the tech nailed me on the first stick.

This situation reminds me of a book I read several times as a child, Karen. It told the story of Karen Killilea, a girl born with cerebral palsy at a time when such children were usually institutionalized and neglected so badly there that they died young. Karen’s parents defied the bleak prognosis and raised her to reach her full potential. Toward the end of the book, when Karen was a young woman, she made a brave choice. She had been pressured to walk, and did so with crutches and braces. Walking consumed all her time and energy. Karen decided to put away the crutches and use a wheelchair so she could spend her time and energy on more than just getting from point A to point B. Many judged her for “giving up,” but to Karen it was hitting the Easy ButtonTM so she could have a life. It was anything but giving up.

My mind is made up, I’m taking the Granny Crack. Bonnie is right, I expend so much time and energy on maintaining my body, there isn’t a lot left over to generate income or simply enjoy life.

I read once that the lightweight bicycle craze was silly, because you could get the same benefit of removing 5 pounds from the bike by removing 1 pound from the rider. I believe that. When I’m in touring shape, I barely feel the 2 weeks worth of gear in my panniers. I remember the body I rode in just 5 years ago and wish for it back. You heard that right—I’d roll back 5 years of my 9-year recovery and go back to a time when I had much more pain, to have that energy back. Riding the Coast Cariboo Loop Trail in southwestern BC seems impossible now. But I’m doing it again in summer 2021.

I haven’t donated my size 12 jeans. I plan to fit back into them, if not at the end of this summer, after my Coast Cariboo Comeback Tour for sure. I’m starting my garden early this year and I will eat fresh vegetables until they spurt out my ears. I’m getting back in the game. Come on, Granny Crack, we have work to do!

What difficult choices have you had to make to live better with your health issue? Tell us about it in the comments.

When to Stop Fighting and Ease Up


Kristin Noreen

Kristin Noreen lives in Bellingham, Washington with two cats and her vintage touring bicycle, Silver. Her triple passions are animal rescue, long-distance bike touring, and writing. Her book, On Silver Wings: A Life Reconstructed, is about reinventing her life following a catastrophic injury.


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APA Reference
, . (2020). When to Stop Fighting and Ease Up. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 27, 2020, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/hidden-disabilities/2020/02/when-to-stop-fighting-and-ease-up/

 

Last updated: 25 Feb 2020
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