Don't know about the rest of y'all but I'm not going to say goodbye to 2016 with any lingering feelings of affection. Not that everything in my life was bad but it just seemed like that Facebook meme was true "Dear Life, when I asked if my day (year) could get any worse, I didn't mean that as a challenge." Am I right?
The one GREAT thing this year was that the hubs, here within the last week of the year, got a job going back into the career love of his life: radio. He started out on the air at the age of 15 and is going back into the studio at the ripe old age of...nevermind. But for THAT we are very grateful!
On the other hand, forgive me while I complain just a wee bit before I wrap it up with another bit of gratitude and hope. 2016 for me, this blog, and my health seemed to start out well. I joined a group at work, a knock off of The Biggest Loser that we called The Biggest Loser Respiratory Department Version. Using my meal planning system that I blogged the first three months of the year I lost 25 pounds and have kept that off all year although both blogging and meal planning as I had blogged it fell by the wayside as my health declined. By May, when I finally made an appointment with my Primary Care Doctor, I was sleeping 14 hours a day, could hardly move out of the chair, was short of breath even walking the length of the house, had chest pain, muscle aches, and my hair was falling out to the tune of a full hairbrush every day. Blogging? That simply didn't/couldn't happen. Working? Could barely get through a shift and used my days off to recover. Cooking? Maybe once a week. We lived on sandwiches, soup, and cheap take-out. How I managed not to gain the weight back I have no idea.
Should I have gone for help sooner? Absolutely! But I'm stubborn and love to live in denial. You know how that goes. We all think "But if I just try harder and ignore this, mind over matter, this will go away." But it didn't.
After bloodwork, a chest x-ray, and a stress echo to check my heart I learned both good news and bad news: my heart is beautiful! Isn't that a wonderful thing to find out? But my endocrine system and blood work up were not. All of my symptoms: extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, muscle aches, thinning hair, were all brought on by out of whack values (low) on both my thyroid and hemoglobin (anemia). Maybe I should have known better than to put off going to the doctor. I'm medical, after all, but I'm respiratory and while I "get" the anemia and its affects better than most, the endocrine system is not really my "deal", so to speak, so I didn't realize how far reaching the systems of hypothyroidism could be. But having suffered through them and the six months it's taken me to take my life back and not feel like sh&& day after day, the point of all this confession is to be a cautionary tale to others. If YOU don't feel good, if you have any, part, or all of the same symptoms I experienced, please do not suffer and try to fake it till you make it. Please go to the doctor. And if you have chest pain, please go IMMEDIATELY to the ER. I admit, and fully admit that I was wrong in this, but we medical people sometimes tend to be the worst patients, assuming we can figure it out and cure ourselves but in thinking that way we sometimes do ourselves a great disservice.
Back to the hope and gratitude part of the "public service announcement": I'm finally feeling better! Maybe still not 100% and I have cranky knees but I'm pumped up and ready to tackle the new year, a new Biggest Loser of the Respiratory Department challenge, and a home program to strengthen my aging knees, low back, and core. Starting January 1, the blog will have a slightly new look and I'm going back to full meal planning that worked so well for me the first quarter of last year. Between now and next Thursday I will be uploading several new recipes that I have made during the last six months I've been on hiatus but hadn't had the energy to finish writing. My planning method is pretty straight forward: The grocery ads come out on Wednesday, I plan my weekly menus, shop on Thursday, and begin my new menus on Friday or Saturday night.
For those who went along that journey with me, it's all about a little planning each week to make sure my crisper has items for a specific salad of the week for lunches or dinner additions, the fridge always has a container of healthy soup for lunches and snacks, the bread box a couple of homemade options for any meal, and I have the ingredients on hand to make from scratch dinners, some a little fancy, some quick and delicious but not fancy at all, so that we can skip the drive thru's, the grocery store processed stuff, and the take-away to eat great tasting, cleanly prepared food at home. It takes a little time to plan, shop, and afternoon or a few hours here and there to cook ahead, but it's so worth it. And one of the other big lessons I learned was to use simple shortcuts where I could, such as making and baking double batches and freezing half for a later time, especially times when we get busy with social obligations and all the minutia of life. I also don't plan specific meals for specific days. I have the ingredients for six meals on hand for the week (and one day off for date night) and then I use them as our quirky cravings of the day or last minute plans in life call for them. Like most people who love to cook, I spend more time on meals on my days off and more crockpot/casseroles when I work, especially since I work 12 hour shifts overnight. Night shift and 12 hours can make life a little more complicated in the kitchen but I thank God every day for whomever invented the crockpot. What a lovely little machine that is!
I invite you to come along with me in any way that works for you. Use my menus to make your life easier, use the concept and plug in your own menus, cook my recipes that appeal to you, but more than anything, let's all have a happiest, healthiest, and cheeriest of new years. Welcome 2017!