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How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: When In Rome??, Part II

Post Published: 13 September 2009
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Category: Column, How To Kick Your Thyroid's Ass, Thyroid Nutrition and Health
This post currently has 11 responses. Leave a comment

I only just started putting my suitcase away today; that’s a whole five days since I’ve been home from Pittsburgh.  Not that it’s a record or anything;  I’ve been known to go a few weeks, after traveling, before finally putting away clothes and shoes.   And anyway, it’s not so much of a suitcase, but more of a bag. A pink paisley bag with a whole bunch of other bright colors stenciled in and around the design.  I had bought it up 7th Avenue in Brooklyn about a year and a half ago.   Maybe two years. I usually try not to date myself.  Not that I’m so old, but that those are the kinds of memories I’d rather keep close, and not acknowledge the time lapse between memory and reality.

I haven’t always been scared of travel, which is why I bought the bag in the first place.  In New York, I traveled alot just due to the fact that my job and my home were an hour and a half away from each other.  You need a pretty and durable bag when you travel so much like that — there are alot of shoes and clothes or dirty laundry that needs to go back and forth between the two.   It was the kind of commute I was able to actually enjoy because, for one, it was rather scenic — a 45 minute stretch down the Hudson with all kinds of people and animals and sky and water lapping onto pebble and rock beds to watch as the train made those twenty or so stops before Grand Central.  A few mornings a week I’d even see the crew teams rowing up the river, all at once, in synch which made me wonder how people could get up so early to do something so rigorous. ,  At night, when going home, and after the train ride, I’d hop the Q which was a pretty short shot into Brooklyn and a good opportunity to get in some reading, or some coffee, or eavesdropping (which I happen to be very good at). ,  Most of the time the Q was hot (or miserably cold) and crowded (or miserably empty), but still, enjoyable.

Really, I haven’t needed this big pink bag for quite a while now, just due to the fact that, like I said, I’m sort of scared to travel anymore. ,  Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of travel… I like the way it all makes sense in my head. ,  I like the way being with family and friends and seeing new places plays out in my mind.  But the reality is something much different and not quite to so idyllic or relaxing.  Take, for example, this past week: a wedding.   Or, more appropriately, four days of a wedding, and in a city half way across the country.

I don’t know if this is important information or necessary to the story, but my uncle who we stayed with lives right outside the city. ,  He’s in Pennsylvanian farm country, as in cornfields side to side and flanking his house (probably GMO, I was thinking, but there’s no way to really be sure). ,  The drive from the airport to his home in the country was nice, in that, we got a chance to see the city and city outskirts, both of which offered me inspiration.   It was funny because of all those abandoned buildings on the side of the highway, would you believe that not one of them didn’t still have some kind of window covering or drapes?  The real irony is that most of them were lace.   Lace fabric on the dirty grimy highway-facing windows of buildings that no longer have an owner.   That’s Pittsburgh I guess. ,  Not like I’d know — the last time I’d been there was back in ’01, just passing through on my way to University Park; the time before that? ’94, as a child.   Alot of things can change in a city in all that time.   Homes get abandoned, windows get dirtied.   But more things can change in a family.

Like, for example, a wedding — the whole reason I was traveling to begin with.  And when you (meaning “me”) can’t eat jack shit that they serve or even drink the water (hello contamination, fluoride, and chlorine), it gets tough.   It probably would have helped if the people getting married (my cousin and her fiancé) weren’t Greek and Italian, respectively.   Basically that’s a round about way of saying it involved a whole lot of baklava, pizza, gyros, and butter, butter, wheat, and wheat.   It also involved alot of people trying to understand why I couldn’t just have a beer, or one of those cute little eggroll or mini spanakopita hors d’oeuvres at the reception.   (Remember: highly-sensitive body, and also, I do not do this for fun).

The moral of the story: traveling is a bitch, but only because I couldn’t control my environment, as I do at home. ,  In order for my body to stay healthy, I have to keep a keen eye on everything that I put near it.   So far, it’s all helped.   So far, my hard work has paid off.   But my health was out of my hands in many ways while visiting my family, so I had to take extra efforts to regain that control.   It meant cooking for myself, drinking purified non-toxic water, taking time to just relax and be alone for a few minutes everyday, going for walks with my mom, and doing alot of writing on all the scenery and inspiration and events I had been taking in. Also, being with my family was a great distraction, as was the reminiscing and writing, which, hopefully shines through this long drawn-out story. ,  Those things helped me to forget the many ways my body is still giving me the finger. ,  Oh, and because I promised to tell you what I learned about kicking my thyroid’s ass during those four days, here it is:,  when in Rome, do whatever the fuck you can to stay sane and healthy.

Until Next Week,

Love Always,

Liz

Have a question, comment, story, love letter, or rant/rave to send me?: Liz@DearThyroid.com

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11 Responses to “How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: When In Rome??, Part II”

  1. Cyndi Woodruff says:

    Awesome, Liz. And such good advice.

  2. mike5816 (is a geographer) says:

    We have several people in the family (including me) that have some unusual food requirements (none as severe as yours, though). But, over the years we’ve learned how to accommodate one another. In some cases, certain foods are prepared, but not combined. This is so certain of us can omit certain ingredients or seasonings. In other cases, standard food is prepared for the masses, but separate time/facilities are arranged for those of us to cook our own things. Usually others pitch in to help so that even though someone is cooking for herself/himself, it’s still a social activity. Some people even bring their own non-perishable food from home and then go to the supermarket for the perishables. Again, it’s made into a social activity. And for special events, we’ve made it a “thing” with us that people can eat and drink (or not eat and not drink) anything they want, and nobody will be offended (it didn’t used to be that way, however.) I would say that educating your family is as necessary as educating yourself, but it can be done.

    (PS: I don’t know what it is with New Yorkers and their warped sense of geography, but Pittsburgh is not half-way across the country from New York. Seattle is about the half-way point between New York and Hawaii or Alaska.)

  3. Marie says:

    Healthy Highways is a good book for travel. It has a list of heath food stores and places to eat in every state.

    I want to travel out of the country once I get well enough to leave my house for more than a couple hours but I am intimidated by the language barriers that I’d be up against. It’s hard enough explaining stuff to waiters who claim to speak the same language I do. Once I overheard my waiter ask someone else if there was “glucose” in the entree that I had ordered after I told him I couldn’t have gluten. Ugh. The confusion over glucose and gluten has actually happened on several occasions.

    Now that I have eliminated even more stuff from my diet, it’s impossible. I have a stress attack just thinking about it. Plus, even when the waiter seems to have everything worked out and it all looks safe, half the time I still react to the food.

    Life has ceased to be safe. Cause when I’m not at home, even if I have meticulously planned, examined the menu, called ahead of time, brought my own condiments and talked to the manager — half the time I’m at the mercy of someone who doesn’t know shit about food even if they care enough to try.

    So now I’m a control freak, even if I never wanted it to be this way. But the one good thing this has done for me is that I’m way more assertive than I ever have been about making my needs met even at the expense of coming off neurotic or high maintenance. I just try to keep a sense of warmth and humor about me while never coming off as apologetic. When I explain my situation to people over and over and over, I feel like I’m helping pave the road for others like me and hopefully making it a little easier for the next person that comes along.

    So yeah, it’s painful and it’s tough and we meet up with a huge amount of resistance and misunderstanding, but some people listen. In a way you’re being an activist just by being in the world and telling your story, which is pretty cool. (Still, I just wish traveling wasn’t such a bummer. Even activists need a freakin’ break sometimes.)

  4. Kathy says:

    I wonder what you would have been writing, if you had let your guard down and partaken of the nibbles and bites offered. I don’t think that you would have even enjoyed the tasting then. But, reading your calm words of reflection on your trip, the pictures painted of your bag and the scenery, makes me feel a certain peace with and for you. As one who is experienced at letting the guard down, and tasting and experiencing, having to start over and over and over again is so not fun. Thanks for quietly telling us to DO IT, and saying in not so many words IT CAN BE DONE! I felt a nudge on my shoulder.

  5. Bee says:

    hah!!!! I have you beat, Liz. I was in the reural farmland outside of Pittsburgh 2 WEEKS AGO and I STILL have 1/2 my suitcast dumped on my spare bed and NOT put away…this is a contest, Right??!!

    To Mike (the geographer) I was thinking about Pitt. and the half way stuff-thanks for clarifying

    Kathy and Marie- love your posts ..reflective,thoughtful…and Liz, as always I enjoy reading your words

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