May 2, 2011 by Leah
This blog is about us trying to live on a budget, sure, but it’s also about how frugality is more about mindful consumption than penny pinching. What’s the point of having a few more dollars in your pocket if we’re all going to be living in a post-industrial wasteland fending off pigeon armies with the bulbous skin growths we get from the lack of an ozone layer in a few decades?
So, under the umbrella of “mindful consumption” I’ve been learning a lot. I’ve mostly converted to real food (you know, whole foods or prepared foods with entirely recognizable ingredients), I’ve started growing some of our own food, and I switched to baking soda as my cleaning and hair care product of choice, all of which actions save money. There is also a host of parallel knowledge I’ve come into on this path, e.g. dietary fat is not the enemy, and chemicals are really bad. I already knew that chemicals were bad, but I didn’t realize how totally insidious they were. They’re not just in our foods, they’re in all our cleaning and personal care products (here‘s a link about toxins in baby products with a link to the Cosmetics Database), paint, clothing (my children will be sleeping naked, btw), everything. All of this distills down to a worldview that says “man-made, bad; natural, good!” I jumped on that bandwagon. And then I did something stupid. I accidentally-on-purpose stopped taking my synthetic thyroid hormone supplement.
I am so sick of taking it. I hate having a lifetime’s indenture to a drug. I’m appalled that I’ll have to be on it for the rest of my life according to the doctor who originally prescribed it. I never manage to take it an hour before breakfast. I hate the fact that no one has any idea what happened to my thyroid. I guess I kind of hoped I could just will my thyroid to start working again, because how could I, a natural being, really be made with such a grievous error as a gland that doesn’t produce enough of a necessary hormone?
(The doctor who removed my skull tumor had a pretty good answer to that, actually: “humans are imperfect beings.”)
I’m not sure when exactly I got so sporadic and bad about taking this stupid drug, but I just picked up my scheduled 90-day refill and I have about half the pills left in my previous bottle. So, it’s been quite a while of non-compliance with the routine, and the past week or two have found me: mired in lassitude, seven pounds heavier, nauseated, turning into (more of a) lush, and slightly agoraphobic. The house was such a disaster Aaron did laundry, dishes, and vacuumed yesterday before gently convincing me to accompany him to the gym. My yoga practice has trailed off. I was blaming the fact that Cesar Millan guilt-tripped me into thinking I had to run or walk the dog for miles every day, but I could run or walk the dog AND go to yoga if only I could drag myself out of bed in a timely manner.
Aaron is now reminding me to take the stupid drugs every morning until I actually do it. My mother can’t understand what the big deal is – she keeps being rational and saying pithy things like, “If you were diabetic, you’d take insulin. It’s all about living the best life. And having a happy home in the process.” Some of my friends are harping along the same general lines, and, of course, they are all right. Apparently if you have a mild case of hypothyroidism, it is possible to reverse the condition if you have nine months to two years to spend under the care of a naturopath or practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine. It is not, however, advisable to stop taking your drugs because they are nasty synthetic hormones and you feel you can will your body to make more thyroid hormone. It will make your home less happy for your whole family if you decide on this course of action.
This doesn’t mean I’m not still paranoid about chemicals. My rheumatologist initially theorized that my underactive thyroid was collateral damage from whatever autoimmune disease I seemed to be suffering, but he doesn’t think it’s related to the sarcoidosis. So clearly there’s some weird stuff going on in my autoimmune system. I was using the prescribed steroid cream on some of my sarcoid patches on my legs until it started to hurt (see a pattern here? I’m a physician’s worst nightmare). Meanwhile, the patches on my upper body have been spreading. So, because of all this, I’m seriously thinking about going on the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet, which was developed to help autistic children but has been used successfully on adults with certain mental illnesses and immune system issues (some might argue I have both). Here’s a harebrained scheme I can chase without actually harming myself or my family – it’s not a calorically or nutritionally restrictive diet and the only expensive part will be finding probiotic supplements. (I do better with pills when there is an end in sight.) I’m currently reading the book before I make any (conscious, this time) final decisions, but everything the author has said so far makes intuitive sense. Plus, it would give me a project. And I think I really need a project to get me through the looming emptiness that is most of May (although I do have the Dalai Lama and a dinner party to anticipate eagerly).