Suboptimal or Subclinical Thyroid

Before I got pregnant with little Miss J, I went to see a naturopath. I was tired of hearing that I was normal from doctors. Ready for the run down? I have:

Low Level Bipolar disorder
Anxiety
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
B-12 deficient
D-3 Deficient
Low iron
Allergies to everything (or so it seems)
PMDD
Infertility
Mornings where I just can’t wake myself up.
Days where I have brain fog constantly.
Slow digestion.
Bloated tummy.

So I deal with all of these things pretty much on a daily basis. Some days I have more energy, but for most, I feel pretty run down. You can look at each of those ailments separately and try to treat them that way, or you can look at them as a whole and ask if there is something causing all of it.

My naturopath ran a lot of blood work. I think there are a few more tests he could have run, but that is in hindsight. I am tempted to go do a little more actually. Upon doing the blood work, we learned that according to conventional medicine, my thyroid levels are in the “normal” range. I also learned that I am low in B12, sometimes my glucose is low, and I have a mutation of a gene called MTHFR (I call it the motherfer) that prevents me from properly metabolizing B12 and folate. Still, taking these things at face value led us no where.

I decided to dive deeper and find out where these range values come from for the blood work and what are they in other countries, and why. I learned that according to other countries, I was VERY low in B12. Being low in B12 can cause a whole host of problems including depression.

I began to gather some supplements that would help replenish the nutrients my body was missing and then we began our IVF procedure.

It wasn’t until recently, as I’ve begun to feel run down again – never mind the constant lack of sleep from a baby that still doesn’t sleep through the night – that I decided to look at the results of my blood work again. My husband has been listening to some very informative podcasts and several times they have brought up the thyroid and the adrenals.

9 years ago we tested my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). I was feeling horrible and couldn’t keep myself awake. That came back normal. It has since been tested multiple times, and despite having most of the symptoms of a messed up thyroid, my tests always came back normal….until I was pregnant with Miss J and I couldn’t get out of my bed for over 2 months. My numbers came back extremely low. Ever since then I have been wondering, is it possible that what is considered normal for other people, doesn’t work for my body? This led me to discover the terms sub-optimal and sub-clinical thyroiditis. Most doctors do not have a specialty in the thyroid system and so do not know what to look for, let alone that there is in fact an “optimal” range to be in.

After listening to people like Chris Kelly and Yuri Elkaim, I learned that my TSH and my Free T3 is actually considered low! I’m not crazy! I just needed to know what to look for!

Anyhow, after doing even more online research, I decided to add a few things to my pre-pregnancy regimen to hopefully bring my numbers into a normal range. I couldn’t find a blend I liked with the amounts of each supplement that was needed, so I just take several different pills. Looks a little like this:

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It seems like quite a bit, but it’s really not so bad. In case you are wondering, those are my BCAAs in the drink behind the pills. Time will tell, but I know I do feel the slightest bit better. I’ll be sure to fill you all in more as time goes on. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to get a 3rd Livingston baby.

Zion’s Ragnar Trail 2016 Race Report

My husband has inspired me to get back to writing my blog! He has consistently kept up with a weekly post, partly to keep himself accountable to his training. It’s been awesome to watch him come so far in the last two years. Check out his blog!

Some awesome things have happened since I last was active here and I’ll be sure to share each of those in their own post. The biggest thing to have happened to us as a family is that we were finally able to grow! We welcomed miss Juniper last July and as always with babies, our routines have been thrown out the window!

I was unable to run while pregnant so my energy became focused on helping my husband train for his first 70.3 Ironman in St. George. Since having Juniper, life still hasn’t returned to normal and my training has gone very poorly.

I created a team for the Ragnar Trails that was coming up in May hoping it would kick my butt in gear…and because it would just be fun. Unfortunately it’s been difficult to fit in the time to train how I would like, especially out in the mountain – can’t always take a stroller! So with sub par training in mind, I give you my race report!

We knew that planning our trip down to St. George would be interesting this year. The St. George Ironman and Ragnar Trails were scheduled only a week apart. Juniper hates being in the car for too long and we live 6 hours away. I did not want to drive down twice in one week if we could avoid it. So we decided to leave on a Thursday and came home 10 days later!

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Friday we spent getting Shane set up. He organized his transition stations and made sure his mind was in the right place. He wanted to get a swim in the water at Sand Hollow, but ran out of time.

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Dennis ran in Ironkids that night and seemed to have an enjoyable time. There were WAY more kids running this year than last – it was like a river of children that just didn’t end. Dennis loved earning himself a medal!

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Saturday morning, very early, my father in law took Shane to the shuttle so he could head over for the swim. We were concerned that me leaving would mean Juniper starting her day at 5 am.

It poured. We saw the clouds, they were large and very dark. From a distance you could see water pouring from them. Last year, Ironman was hot. So, so hot! I woried that Shane would be further broken down by the heat and possibly not finish. Somehow he managed to. This year it rained. It rained while he was swimming. It poured while he rode. I’m not sure how dry he managed to get during the run! Overall, this year proved much better for him. He cut his time by over two hours and qualified for an official time. He’s put in a lot of hard work and it showed by his performance!

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Later that night I decided I needed to try to get a run in. There’s lots of hills in St. George and I needed to take advantage of them. My longest run in Zions would be nearly 8 miles. I had only trained for 3. That ended up being the only run I was able to get in before my relay.

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Later in the week we switched hotels before leaving for Zions Thursday morning. We got through check in and saved enough spots for my other teammates to pitch their tents.

The last time I ran this relay, we got snowed out. I had a total panic attack because I was not prepared to run in the snow. I don’t like cold and wet. It doesn’t work for me. That year I was only able to get 2 of my 3 runs in.

There was no snow or even rain forecast for my relay! Yippee! This made me very happy. I had sun, warm temps, my family, and a thermarest to sleep on. Good feelings all around. I felt ready.

Team start time was at 11:30 am. Runner 1 headed out and we all waited our turn. Each runner came back ready to share how they felt the trail was. I was the first to run the red loop and if I was the cursing type, there might have been several words to fly out my mouth. I was runner #3 and I started right in the hottest part of the day, over 90 degrees! My first run was 7.8 miles and my trail did not have shade. The sun beat down on me through every ascent, descent, and rolling hill. The views were spectacular. Southern Utah really is so beautiful!

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About a mile in I realized my watch was not tracking properly. I tried to restart it a few times, but nothing worked. I was going to have to push myself the whole way without knowing how much farther. I also decided at this time that my black tank top was not helping me stay cool. Off it went! Much better!

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3 miles in and I finally came to an aide station. I had already been using the water from my pack to cool off my burning skin. I did the same at the aide station – poured water in my hands and rubbed it all over me. That felt good, but not for long.

I had my supplements and my water, but I was running out. I felt so hot but could tell that my body was pushing through the distance just fine.

At mile 6 I came upon a volunteer cheering runners on. He asked if I had enough water and after passing him I realized I probably should have gotten more.

Mile 7 another volunteer. No water offer. Almost there. One foot in front of the other.

Got to the switchbacks. They were horrible but I got up there. I walked and told the campers cheering people on at the top that they had the best view as they watched us climb up the hill. They encouraged me to keep running, I was so close.

So I did. It might have been slow and more of a trot, but I moved my legs. I heard my husband yell some words of encouragement as I strolled into the finisher coral.

Phew.

It was hot. So hot.

That chair looks nice, I think I’ll sit down a minute.

I then realized how dizzy I was. I gave myself a few minutes to cool off and tried to stand up.

Nope.

Still dizzy. Gave myself a few more minutes.

Nope.

At this point I realized I might need some help. I watched all the busy runners going in and out as they switched off. I watched the volunteers and tried to pick out whose attention would be easiest to get. I finally flagged someone down and barely got out that I might need some help. Right away someone came over.

They poured ice water on me. It was so cold it was hard to breathe. They did it again over my head. Breathing pace began to increase. As the cold faded I realized my feet and face were buzzing. How weird. I relayed this to the woman helping me. She gave me another minute and then decided it was time for the medics.

At this point I knew my husband had been waiting outside for me. I figured he was probably wondering if I was still in there or if he had missed me coming out. Took me a few tries, but I finally got someone to let him know what was going on. They tested blood pressure, sugar, temperature. I was doing really well…even though I was now slurring my speech. It was my salt. I hadn’t taken enough on my run and I was completely depleted. I am definitely a salt sweater and usually this is one of the first things I address when I know I am going on a hot run.

Well eventually my body calmed down, the shock and heat stroke went away. I got some strong electrolytes into me. Had a good headache later on but nothing some Advil and loads of water and food didn’t fix.

My remaining two runs weren’t nearly as eventful and I actually enjoyed them! I was concerned I wouldn’t feel better in time to do my second run, but i was determined as well. My 3.9 mile night run was sometime after midnight. I enjoyed the stars and was grateful it was too dark to see the hills that were coming. The run downhill was a rush. I loved it!

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My final run was around 10 am. It was still fairly cool from the evening and so I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was a lot of climbing as some parts were too steep to actually run, but I enjoyed my 3.4 mile loop the best. It might have just been the conditions that made it my favorite.

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Overall, I enjoyed being able to run all 3 loops of Zions Ragnar Trails this year. The first time I did this, we got snowed out and I couldn’t do my third run. This was a very different experience. I’m so glad they moved the date to a warmer time….even if my body wasn’t prepared for the heat. They took injuries and illnesses seriously and were easily able to resolve any questions.

I’ve got some friends considering doing the Trails in the Tetons in September. Maybe that’s something to consider!

Here are some pics from our adventures!

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Something Wonderful

I cannot begin to express the level of emotion that has been experienced in the last year. A year and a half ago we decided to follow a course more forcefully towards growing our family. We put the word out that we were ready to begin the adoption process and that we were hoping for private adoption, not through an agency. We also began the process of becoming licensed foster parents. We went through all the classes and began the background check. The classes completely changed my view on parenting and helped me refocus the relationship I wanted to have with my son.

Because we had moved out of the state for one year fairly recently, they wanted to do additional work on the background check. At this point I had a feeling we needed to take a pause. This was very confusing as we had invested a great deal of time going to these classes but the feeling to wait remained strong.

In the Spring of 2014 I made several phone calls in an effort to make a decision about doing IVF. Was this right for us? What could go wrong? How would I feel if it failed? If we had no clue what was wrong with me, then how could we have hope that IVF would work? So many unknowns. With my husband traveling it was looking a bit hopeless at being able to schedule everything to work out. I tried to schedule things anyway and it didn’t go well. Everything kept going wrong. The medicine was going to cost more than I thought. We needed quite a sum of out of pocket expense just to start the process. My husband was struggling to schedule time to work from home. If things didn’t work out that month, we were going to have to wait until the Fall and that seemed awfully far away.

One day I sat in complete frustration thinking everything was stacked against us being able to have another child. Everything felt futile. We did not have the funds and my husband was never home – how on Earth could it ever work. Then I had a clear thought – stop forcing it. If we were to force the whole process now, nothing would go right and it would probably fail. Stop forcing it. So I did. I called everything off and basically gave up on the idea of ever doing IVF.

I spent the rest of Spring and all of Summer focusing on my running. I began cycling and loved seeing how that improved my running. My pace increased and I was pleaaed to see all my hard work paying off. We focused on doing things, as we always have, as a family of three.

Then one week in September, while sitting in front of the computer, it occurred to me that our medical deductible was met. The thought of IVF passed through my mind. Maybe. Maybe it could work. I called our fertility office to check on the financials. All of a sudden everything was affordable. The timing was right. We could do things that month if we wanted. Shane would even be home.

No. September didn’t feel right. October felt right. I wasn’t sure what was going on. I was afraid to get my hopes up, but it felt right. We waited for my cycle to start and then began the plan created between my doctor and I.

I felt very strongly that minimal stimulation IVF was the way to go. I didnt want to worry about what to do with so many potential extra embryos. The doctor felt I was a good candidate for minimal stim. I did a combination of clomid, mini hcg, and a few other drugs. I was hoping for at least 8 eggs.

October 20th I went in for a scan and they saw 5 eggs ready to go. We scheduled the extraction for the 22nd. Rather than letting nature decide with only 5 eggs, we opted to fertilize with ICSI.

The morning of extraction, my doctor gave me my odds. 5 follicles, 4 eggs, 3 fertilize, 2 survive, implant both and none left to freeze.

That was disheartening. 

I woke up and learned through the day that there were 5 eggs out of 5 follicles. All 5 fertilized. By day 5, 4 embryos survived. They put 2 in and froze 2.

God was most definitely in charge of this whole process. How could he not be? The timing for my husband to be home, to be financially ready, for my body to prepare the best scenario, the eggs to beat the statistics. It all worked together so flawlessly. Looking back, with the fear and uncertainty removed, it was a beautiful process. 

The morning of transfer I was shown a picture of the two embryos they felt were the best to put in. What an amazing thing! Two tiny little round balls of cells that had the potential to become little humans! 

It was time for the two week wait. If you’ve never experienced infertility, you have no idea what it is to live your life two weeks at a time and no idea how painful and stressful those two weeks are. This time was much worse than normal. I knew two embryos were growing inside me. I only had to hope they stuck. There were a few times the stress of it felt like too much. I felt like I’d have an emotional breakdown. 

At transfer, my eggies were 5 days old. I had 9 more days to composure the two week wait. I couldn’t help it though, I started testing right away. I got a negative result on each test until one morning I didn’t. At 6 days past 5 day old aka 11 days past ovulation, I received my first positive result. For the very first time in almost 9 years I saw two lines on that tiny little stick. Those lines held all the weight in the world. 

Peace, Joy, and Fries

Let’s be honest for a minute. I’ve forgotten I love to cook. I’ve forgotten my passions. That’s what happens when you get bogged down in emotion and are stuck there. I love to cook. I love to fill others bellies. I love the smells, tastes, and textures of a well formed recipe. The smell of rosemary mixed with cream cheese, cinnamon on a baked apple, curry on an egg with kale.

I have other passions I’ve forgotten about. I want to be a certified yoga instructor but need to get back to a daily practice. I love the stars. I love science. I love the temple.

I haven’t forgotten I love to run. In autumn with the crunch of orange and red leaves under my feet and the smells only autumn can bring. In winter with the biting chill and the silence that comes with snow. In spring, the brilliance of the sun warming my skin. In summer, the heat and the sweat bring challenges and force you to push yourself. All the while, through each season and through each run, a chance to think about life, solve problems, find peace in the moment and joy in reaching new goals. There is peace in running.

I used to find that peace in food – which some might understandably see as unhealthy. But flavor and our sense of smell, they are so easily connected to emotion. I’ve allowed myself to lose that part I enjoy. It is time to find it again.

I also find joy at Fizz n Fryz, LOL! Today was a great day! I was able to close on a house that has been listed for a long time. It was time to celebrate, so as a family we went over to Fizz n Fryz. I think it’s safe to say that’s my new favorite place! Mmmmm cheese sauce…

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This blog…

…is about to cover a lot more than just food. Our life, my husband and my boy. Facebook is starting to get to me. There seems to be a constant stream of…well, crap. I want to know how my friends and family are doing. I don’t mind seeing a funny post once in awhile, but now there are hundreds of those PLUS what Facebook thinks I might be interested in. My brain hurts. I feel like (and most likely am) a lab rat.

A lot’s been going on. I haven’t bothered to get the official diagnosis (I’m only one step away anyway), but am most likely bipolar. I’m officially diagnosed with a major depressive disorder. All you need to add to that are the highs that no one ever goes to the doctor for because they feel great. Seriously, why would anyone go when they feel good. I don’t hallucinate and I don’t think I will solve world hunger, but when I get excited about something – it’s REALLY excited. Like, I go from feeling pretty bland most of the time to super excited. Yea, that’s not normal. Besides, the next day I usually end up feeling low and like the world sucks and I want to sleep all day or stare at the wall. So yea, I’m not giving my doctors any more money. I recognize what is going on. Now people need to just not be offended the days when I avoid them. I promise its for their own good as much as its for mine!

Aside from that, there is the never ending battle of unexplained secondary infertility. I want to break free from it. I want to let it all go. I start to think that maybe I’m comfortable with the idea of letting go and being done, but then there are about a million posts on that evil Facebook. On average for the last 5 years, at least 5 of my friends at a time are pregnant. I usually discover all their announcements the same night.  I spend the next 9 months listening to complaints about morning sickness and body pains and joyful shower announcements, gender, what clothes to buy, what new equipment is needed if its not the first kid, and “oh my gosh we need a bigger car to fit our huge family that is driving me nuts”. Then I hear all the birth stories. A month or two passes and the next round of at least 5 friend make their announcements. 

This has happened continually-I kid you not (har har har).

So yes, I’d like to break free from that, but according to my naturopath, I’m a red which seems to mean I have to solve things. Well, I’d agree with that.

Reproductive endocrinology has yielded absolutely zilch. I thought that was the end of the road. But I’m a physical mess so I was looking things up about allergies and what not and some how stumbled across Reproductive IMMUNOLOGY. What’s that?! Never heard of it. I start to research it and it turns out I’m a pretty darn good candidate. Lots of women with unexplained infertility have immune problems. Fix those and BAM! they’re pregnant.

So of course now that I’ve stumbled across a new possibility, I won’t be able to let it go til it is fully explored. The blood work’s already been ordered.

Despite all that, have I mentioned I have a dream of a child? He is my miracle boy. Typical story – 3 months without even trying. He has been frustrating on every level, but I have never felt so much joy and love. HE is the reason I want another so badly. He is growing up so quickly and yet sooooo slowly. We’ve reached a new phase where I can actually trust him to get chores done. We don’t fight about it anymore, he just helps. It’s the most amazing thing. Ok, maybe a little fighting – but seriously it feels like nothing compared to his very noisy past.

I’ve written enough for the day. He wants to watch the final Harry Potter and I think I’ll sit and veg and eat a poorly constructed dinner with him.

We’ve had an eventful summer and we’re not done yet. This past weekend was the Utah Spartan Beast and I will fill a post with it!

An Unexpected Post

Some people say writing or doing things late at night is not a good idea. People tend to be too emotional or act out of character. Sometimes I feel like my emotions are the most real at night when I have time to think. It’s the time of day I really analyze what I’m feeling. Maybe that’s the curse of being a night owl.

This is a blog created to show my excitement about food and my adventures in vegetarian fare. I meant to keep up with my diet as it progressed. I experimented with different diet rules as I’ve tried to figure out my health. I was eventually led back to eating meat. I’m now trying to find my way back to being vegetarian. I miss it but habits die hard – so I’m trying.

The post I’m writing tonight is not about food. My name is Liz. I am a faithful Latter Day Saint aka Mormon and I am dealing with Secondary Infertility.

I’ve spent six years dealing with this and in that time, much less in fact, I’ve discovered all the comments people can possibly come up with about my situation. The first to address would be those dealing with Primary Infertility. I know how much they must hurt. They hurt when they see me “complaining” about not being able to have a second child because they do not have even one. I am not belittling their pain. I simply wish to state that I do in fact understand their pain. My pain is not the same but it hurts just as much.

This month sucks. I have just completed my 7th round of Clomid and our second IUI (intrauterine insemination) and it didn’t work. I have so many thoughts running around in my head but most of them come back to asking Heavenly Father why he hasn’t done what he promised which was to give us a second child. I believe completely in my husband’s authority to exercise the Priesthood. We’ve had many amazing things happen to us which could only happen with the guidance of the Holy Ghost. I feel like we have been literally led from one place to another – one job to another, one state to another across the country – and yet here I am wondering why this one thing remains unfulfilled.

We have done all that we have been asked and not once has it crossed my mind that it has all been in our heads. Maybe I will write posts following this about what kind of journey we have had since 2008 because I’m sure a lot of what I write does not in fact make sense. Regardless, we have sold a house when we didn’t want to, moved across the country when we didn’t want to, lived in a house that was unhealthy, searched for new work, came back across the country and accumulated debt while doing so. We have served, we have sought out those ignored and tried to make sure they know they are not invisible and are loved. We have done so much and yet this blessing is held back.

I have been told in priesthood blessings that I will understand why I have not gotten pregnant. I have been told that more than once. But while I sit here and wait – it is so hard not to become bitter and upset with my Heavenly Father for not being clearer – for not providing answers. I feel jaded. I feel withdrawn. I feel angry. I feel ignored.

I have spent 6 years coming up with boy and girl names just waiting for the opportunity to actually use one. I hear a name and ask my husband what he thinks. I need to stop doing that. I have told myself the last couple days that its just not going to happen. Even with medical help, I can’t seem to get pregnant. My husband travels and now the timing is all screwed up. If Heavenly Father wanted me to get pregnant, wouldn’t it have happened when the timing was right for my husband to be home? I feel like I am being forced to accept that it is just not going to happen.

I can’t keep hoping every month. I can’t keep looking at other babies and thinking how nice it will be when I finally get to do that again. I can’t keep picking out baby names or looking at girl clothes and thinking “someday I’ll get something like this for my girl”. I can’t keep thinking of how I will fit a crib in my house or how I’ll handle a baby while taking care of my older child. I think I’m done trying. I’ve given all the emotion I possibly can and after 6 years I’m empty.

I know many of you won’t understand this post. It will sound like whining. To others it will ring true. Some will try to fix the situation and make me feel better by telling me not to give up and just trust in God. Well I’ll tell ya, I’m trying but trust is a two way street and I have been waiting and things have been awfully silent.

I don’t want to fix my situation anymore. I don’t want to convince my husband that adoption or foster care is right for us. I am tired of trying. Right now I am bitter and upset with Heavenly Father. I know the way to fix that is with service. Part of me says to go there but a bigger part says we’ve done that already and now we are back to hurting.

I felt the need to write this post because I have a lot of emotion cooped up right now. I don’t let other people see deep into what I am feeling. Even my husband seems to have to guess when I am crying or what I’m even crying over. I don’t cry on people’s shoulders. For some reason I am comfortable opening up while writing and this seems to be a therapeutic way to work things out.

So there you have it. I’m LDS, infertile and mad. I’m trying to distract myself with lots of gym time and running. I’ve gotten my license in real estate. I’m keeping myself busy. But in the back of all that, my life still runs two weeks at a time.

 

Garden Beet Roast

I went to a friend’s house the other day to help pick green beans. His entire back yard is a garden! It’s beautiful! By the time we were done with the beans, we had filled two grocery bags. Before I left, my friend loaded me up with beets, broccoli, cabbage, red onions, new potatoes and cilantro. It was like I had just been to the grocery store!

I knew I had to cook something up soon and so I threw this recipe together and called it Garden Beet Roast.

This is a fairly simple recipe and so I will not give exact amounts. I eyed everything. If you feel you need actual measurements, feel free to message me and I will help you with that.

For this roast I used red onion, beets, zucchini, new potato and carrots. Sprinkle it with cheese, olive oil, balsamic and garlic salt. Depending on the oven, roast your veggies uncovered for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. Afterwards for some crunch I added some French fried onions. It was quite tasty!