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My Life With Graves Disease (Guest post written by Emily Garcia)

My name is Emily Garcia I’m 28 years old, I’m a fun loving California girl and I have an auto immune disorder called Graves’ disease. Graves’ disease is a autoimmune problem that causes the thyroid gland to produce too much thyroid hormone, which is called hyperthyroidism. Graves’ disease is often the underlying cause of hyperthyroidism. It effects 1 in 4 women some don’t even know till gets worst and it is difficult to diagnosed.

The Diagnosis

My battle began as my life was just starting out, I was on a weight loss journey and successfully, I had just lost 150 pounds, I was in a medic program to become a paramedic. I was so free being that I am young, single, childless and with limited responsibilities, The world was my playground, I could wake up and decide today I can go on an adventure to the to the beach or Disneyland life was good, til January 2015 I was running my first 5k and I collapsed but thought nothing of it, the next few weeks in medic school I couldn’t focus everything was so hard for me to remember then it was too hot, mind you it was winter, I’d be drenched in sweat. February came, and we were doing an EKG lab in class it was my turn to have the leads placed on me, my classmate the pushed the button my instructor told him to do it again the results where abnormal. My instructor sent me to the hospital, and they sent to see my primary care. I hadn’t felt well in a while my energy was low, I had gotten blood work done a few days prior then I went to see my doctor. My doctor of 23 years came in and told me I had graves and it was the worst case my numbers were bad that it was affecting my heart, I was having brain fog and my muscle were wasting, he also felt masses in my throat, and from there what’s where my battle with graves started.

The Battle Begins

My thyroid had declared war on my body and I was determined to not let this define me or knock me down I went from being pretty healthy to 7 prescribed medications and I was placed on medical bedrest being the girl that I am I wasn’t going to let this stop me I was so determined to fight, I’m a stubborn woman but that lasted like 2 weeks though, quickly my health decline, the day came that I started fainting and my legs would give out randomly and I’d fall then, I’d have bad heart palpations it was very upsetting. The days of random road trips were gone and replaced with doctor visits every week I’d see my Doctor, then endocrinologist and then my ENT, Mondays and Fridays I had lab work. My doctors the MA’s and lab techs became my new best friends suddenly vacation meant not going to an appointment. My dreams of becoming a medic were gone I went from wanting to save life to saving my own. My health declined drastically and I wasn’t responding to the medication, I couldn’t eat or hold anything down, my hair started thinning, I was weak often I had consistent headaches, my weight yo-yoed and my hands would shake, it was very depressing my carefree days were gone my friends stopping inviting me on trips everyone was scared I’d get sick or that I’d collapse while out. So, my life was Netflix in my room it was especially hard for me being I’m a social butterfly so being locked up took a toll on me. A year passed, and I was worst, it was time to look at other options, so they said the only thing they could do was radiation or a complete thyroidectomy. However, they couldn’t do the radiation, it I couldn’t hold down food and I would be a hazard since a thyroid radiation is done with a pill. Then I couldn’t have the thyroidectomy for the fact my levels were so bad that that I could go into a thyroid storm on the table, so we gave the thyroid medication another shot. September came, and my levels hadn’t improved

I had been in the hospital for a possible thyroid storm. My doctor said it was time for action, he gave me the speech “if you don’t have the surgery you might die from a thyroid storm and but also your levels are so bad you can die on the table”, I felt so bad that I just wanted to feel better I am fighter and was ready to fight this. In October I had a complete thyroidectomy, everything that could go wrong, went wrong my luck just got worst, I had two surgeries in the same day, but I went in brave hoping this would make me feel better.

Road to Recovery

After my thyroidectomy, I spend a week in the hospital, my calcium levels were low, and my thyroid levels were everywhere. I spent the next months at the doctors every week .I fought to get better but unfortunately now it’s been a year and a half since I had the surgery, and I still haven’t gotten better but I am still hopeful that someday they will find a better way to treat people who have auto immune disorders. My mission since I was diagnosed is to raise awareness to other women on getting your neck checked. I’m still fighting the good fight I am sick and always tired but you’ll never see me without a smile. My dreams of becoming a medic shattered but I started working from home and continue to bring awareness everyone to “Check Your Neck”. Your thyroid reaches almost every cell in your body. It’s important that it is working properly

Check your Neck

There are different thyroid disorders but I know about Graves from personal experience, and know that 1 in 4 are affected with a thyroid problems

In Graves’ disease, your immune system creates antibodies that cause the thyroid to grow and make more thyroid hormone than your body needs. These antibodies are called thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins (TSIs). The TSIs bind to thyroid cell receptors, which are normally “docking stations” for thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH—the hormone responsible for telling the thyroid to produce hormones). The TSIs then trick the thyroid into growing and producing too much thyroid hormone, leading to hyperthyroidism.

Symptoms

The early symptoms of Graves’ disease may be confused with other conditions and make diagnosis a challenge. Some of the more common symptoms include:

Weight loss

Anxiety, restlessness, tremors, irritability, difficulty sleeping

Heat intolerance, sweating

Chest pain, palpitations

Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing

Increased stool frequency

Irregular menstrual periods

Muscle weakness

Difficulty controlling diabetes

Goiter

Prominent, bulging eyes

Vision problems

Don’t take no for answer

What I have learned from having an invisible illness many doctors will brush you off because they cant see it, don not except no and demand answers because you deserve to know whats going on in your body. for years I said I didn’t feel right and when they found that I had graves they said oh well thats where that came from which I firmly believe if it had been caught earlier it could have been controlled with medication

Life Now

It’s a bummer that I’m living with this, but it makes me grateful and appreciative for the good days that I have, the only con I have is people consistently worrying about me and the toll it takes on my family, but I have such a great support system. Life is precious, and I enjoy talking and supporting others going through this. I believe maybe somethings do happen for a reason, I’ve documented my journey and multiple people have reached and at told me because of me they found out they had a thyroid problem because of something I shared. I hope to continue bringing awareness for years to come and hopefully someday I feel better but for now I’ll just keep on fighting the good fight with a smile on my face.

– Emily Marina Garcia

– Beautywithscars.com

– Instagram: @emilymarina29

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Dream Meanings- Part 2

This is going to be the second part of my series on dream meanings. As of right now, there is no actual time line of when new dream posts will be coming out and there is no set number.

My first post was written a little while ago and was an introduction to my studies. This episode will be discussing recurrent dreams.

This won’t be a long post, recurrent dreams have one main point- they are your subconscious trying to convey a message to you. They are the dreams you may be haunted with for years- or even decades but once you find the true meaning of the dream, it will usually go away.

I’m actually trying to find a way to go into more detail about this but recurrent dreams are simple- ignore and they will keep coming back but if you decide to find the meaning, it’s normally the only way to get them to go away.

They are either trying to tell you something or teach you something- either way, if it’s been recurring, you need to listen.

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The smoking countdown begins

We have discussed quitting smoking and made attempts. Now, they’re banning smoking on our complex’s property- outside. We do not smoke indoors so quitting is our only option. May 1 is our quit date. I bought patches a few weeks ago because I knew this was coming and I have gum but can’t tolerate it.

I have been working on cutting back and trying to practice some of the tips I have read.

Wish me luck that we both can cut back enough to be able to quit for good this time.

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Meaning of Dreams- Part 1

Since I have been studying dreams, dreaming and dream interpretation for over 20 years I have a broad knowledge. I am working on coming up with a dream interpretation workbook and dream analysis journal. I also interpret dreams on Etsy and I’m hoping in the next year or two I’ll be ready to move to a private website (dream interpretation and tarot)

One thing I stress to people when I’m talking to them about dreams is that all symbols may mean different thigns to different people. Three may represent a family unit or a “love triangle” but it could also have a deeply personal meaning- depending on the the dreamer. The entire dream needs to be looked at and analyzed in order to gain a full understanding of the meaning but one thing is certain- if you remember a dream, it has some kind of meaning. There is no real supernatural aspect- dreams are normally our subconscious working on trying to figure something out, work through a problem or even letting us know there is something very wrong (either with a situation or health).

Lucid dreaming is a strange dreaming method that can help when you learn how to do it.

Once you master lucid dreaming, you can test out different scenarios to see different possible outcomes. Lucid dreaming is where your conscious wakes up in the middle of the dream- you’re aware you’re dreaming and have actual control over what you do but you’re still asleep. It has taken me years, but I have learned- I can’t always but there have been a few times I have been able to figure things out by lucid dreaming and it has helped me get through tough decisions.

There are tons of resources out there- all giving similar but different interpretations- there seem to be as many interpretations as there are interpreters- but no one person is 100% correct. Those of us whom have studied for years are able to guide you through the interpretation and we can help you see the truth in the dream, but the best person to interpret your dream is you. Over time, I have developed a template dream analysis- the same I use to interpret other peoples’ dreams. I am currently working on a dream dictionary I hope to publish and a dream journal to help people discover how they can read into their dreams.

However, when you do work on interpreting dreams, sometimes the subject can be too close. That’s why there are guides, interpreters and the resources to help. If something is too close to you, you will not be able to see clear. Your own hopes, doubts and fears can get in the way of the meaning. That’s why everyone who tries to figure out the meanings to their dreams ends up having to find some resource- if it’s a book, blog, interpreter or anything else.

In this series, I’ll be talking about the uses dreams have, different subjects (by category), popular dream themes and any other subjects that come across my mind.

I’ll also answer any questions anyone has about dreaming. I have been studying for 22 years now, interpret on Etsy for profit and have been interpreting my own (and friends’) dreams for decades.

 

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How I met my husband (almost 8 years ago)

I was out with two of my friends one night doing Karaoke at a local bar. Two of us went outside and were walking down the street. I saw an attractive guy with long hair walking down the street who was wearing an As I Lay Dying jacket. I had recently bought one of their CDs and found I really liked their music (I used to buy music based on cover design and found a lot of bands I liked from doing that). I had a decent buzz going on so I yelled across the street “Hey! I like your jacket” and my friend noticed he didn’t turn around- she yelled “Hey, dude or chick- she likes your jacket”  and we walked on.

The guy saw me (I didn’t see, he later told me) and turned around, walked back to the bar I was in to “see if he could bum a cigarette.”

While I was back in the bar, I glanced out and saw him outside so I excused myself and went outside. We started talking and hit it off immediately. He was only 19 so he couldn’t go in the bar (I had just turned 22) so I stayed outside talking to him.

My friends and I left and we invited him to go out and get a hotel with us and he accepted. I figured it would be a one night stand but I gave him my number (didn’t give my number to guys back then) and he called me. We talked on Mysoace all night the next night and he walked from his house to my work the day after that. We both were living with our parents (I was still detoxing and working on getting clean and he was just a teen) but we wanted to be together so we started staying with friends for a while.

One night, we were discussing the concept of marriage and he proposed- it was only 2 1/2 weeks in but something told me to say yes. We were accused of mocking marriage and all that but my parents accepted it, at least. 2 1/2 months later, we were staying with his parents while he was trying to find a job and we were looking for a decent apartment. We decided to elope shortly after so we headed to the courthouse with a friend and applied. We told his parents (who tried to talk him out of it) and my parents who just wanted to be there to see their only daughter get married so we arranged the time with them and they met us at the courthouse. His friend’s car broke down on the way so we had to walk (in the August heat) and ended up being an hour late. We lucked out that my parents were witnesses they were able to stall the judge so we didn’t lose our place.

We were married on August 5, 2010. About a month later, we finally found an apartment and were able to quit staying with people and move in to the house we lived in until last year.

Our story may make me look bad but I’m 30 now, I quit drinking (when we met I did have a drinking problem) and he was never a drinker- it helped that he couldn’t join me at bars for 1 year. I actually haven’t been to a bar outside of watching a couple concerts since that night.

Like I said, I’m 30 now, he’s 27, we’ve had 3 kids, we both have been back to school and neither of us are impulsive like we used to be. We have outlasted a lot of couples we know who actually waited years to marry. My husband and I both were young and impulsive but we both were raised by couples who were on their first marriages, had been married for a long time and we both went into the marriage knowing it wasn’t easy. We knew it was the most serious commitment, you can’t just walk away and it would take a lot of work.

It wasn’t, isn’t and won’t be an easy ride- but so far, eight years in, neither of us have any regrets.We have been through so much together and it has made us stronger.

I always held the belief that when you meet someone, you will know. It won’t take years to decide and if you have been together years with no interest in marrying that one person (unless you’re just not interested in marriage), there is a reason something is holding you back. I don’t believe people should rush in (it worked for us, but doesn’t work for everyone) but I also don’t believe you should date for years then just get married “just because” or because it “is the right thing to do.” Love is an emotion and shouldn’t be something you have to justify (I also am one of the people who will tell a woman who’s on the fence about having kids to wait since it’s a lifetime commitment)

If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Love isn’t’ logical and if you’re looking for logic it will fail. I personally only believe in divorce in cases of the three As- abuse, addiction and adultery. Same with my husband. There are things that should be discussed beforehand- religious beliefs, kids, how many kids you want, how soon you want them, jobs/goals for career or education and any other major life choices.

Personally, I love that we got married young. I spend almost all of my 20s with him and in 2 years, he will have spent all of his 20s with me. We both have changed a lot and it’s like we’ve grown together, but as we’ve gotten older we’ve gown more similar so that has helped us. We also didn’t go in thinking it would all be fun and games, or temporary. Neither of us are traditional, but we hold those traditional beliefs about marriage.

 

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In 2 days I will have a 7 year old

I never believed when people said time flies by, but my tiny little doll sized baby will soon be 7. She’s reading, telling time and knows the days of the week. She knows which therapies she has on what days and reminds us on a regular basis.

I don’t know how her future will look, it’s 50/50, but she is already showing herself to be more intelligent than people give her credit. She’s kind, sweet, goofy and loving and I’m so lucky to call her my daughter.

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Day 7 of the Happiness 21 Day Challenge- Try Something Different

Today, I’ve been trying to sit back and really experience every meal and every peice of food I put in my mouth- it’s easier said than done. I guess I have a habit of eating quickly and with distractions (like computer or chasing kids around)

I made Calamari for dinner and really experienced the tentacles when I ate them… maybe wrong choice of foods when doing this.

 

Tomorrow’s challenge may be pretty hard since I’ll be at work all day.

Today, your task is to try something that you’ve never done before.

I’ll update if I can figure something out for that day.