February 9, 2021

Bette Ann Bednarick drew a caricature of the Fat Lady. In my opinion, the caricature resembled her perfectly.

Greetings from a very cold Manitoba.  To begin my post today I will give you some idea about the weather conditions we have been facing since late last week.  Friday, February 5th weather announcement included an extreme cold warning.  It continued on to say that a period of severely cold wind chills continues.  This extreme cold will persist for a few days.   An Arctic ridge of high pressure has allowed for a very cold air mass to settle over southern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba. Along with winds of 10 to 20 km/h, extreme wind chill values between -40 and -50 are expected over most of southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan once again today.  The bitterly cold air will remain over the Prairies for much of the next week.  Extreme cold puts everyone at risk. ¹Steinbachonline

I had a CT scan at St. Boniface hospital on February 6th. The temperature was -28C with a wind chill factor of -41C. There was a 30 km wind.  Waiting rooms are very different in this time of COVID.  During the wait for my CTS can there were only ever 3 people in the waiting room.  We were placed in different corners of the room.  The chairs we sat in were wiped down as soon as we moved to a different location. 

Now begins the wait for results which is always stressful.  After my last two CT scans the result was not a pleasant one.  Thankfully the doctors realized later that the bad results were a mistake.

It has been a really rough couple of weeks health-wise. I will be seeing an endocrinologist and hope I can convince him to up my thyroid meds. My dilemma reminds me of a blog entry I made in 2002. The entry reads as follows: “On June 11, 2002, the College of Physicians & Surgeons of British Columbia succeeded in temporarily suspending the medical license of Dr. Derry, a Victoria, British Columbia MD who has successfully treated about two thousand thyroid patients. His success was often after specialists had been unable to help these patients. The College did this after removing Dr. Derry’s thyroid prescribing privileges in November 2001 and assuring a Supreme Court judge in December 2001 to investigate Dr. Derry’s thyroid treatment practices. Instead of carrying out their court assurances, they looked through files of Dr. Derry’s patients +with other health conditions and used the non-thyroid-related deaths of two patients as grounds for suspending his license.”

Dr. M. Derry listened to how his patients felt and prescribed thyroid medications accordingly. He did not prescribe by the results of a TSH test.

“The College had thus left Dr. Derry without the ability to prescribe thyroid medication for seven months, and then without the means to earn a living. This interim suspension had been planned to coincide shortly before summer when the College Executive Council members would be taking vacations. All this had happened without a fair investigation into Dr. Derry’s treatment and despite his huge success in treating thyroid patients.”

On June 25, a Supreme Court judge, Mr. Justice Pitfield, stated that self-governing bodies must be more accountable. Unless the College holds an investigation into Dr. Derry’s treatment by September 30, 2002, the suspension of Dr. Derry’s thyroid prescribing privileges and medical license will no longer be valid. This investigation, if it takes place, must be based on clear evidence.

The College will tell you that this hearing is about a doctor whose treatment is “dangerous.” Patients of Dr. Derry will tell you that it’s about a witch-hunt of a successful MD who treats patients the way he was taught in medical school because it works—but which doesn’t fall in line with what pharmaceutical companies push or what sometimes misleading lab results may indicate.”

This excerpt was taken from http://www.bites-medical.org/dderry/.

Sunday was apparently not cold enough. I guess we are being tested to see if we could survive the next ice age. The temperature was -31C with a wind chill factor of -42C. Thankfully the wind died down by Monday afternoon.  Monday morning the temperature was -31 C with a wind chill factor of -44C. My poor dogs have to tolerate this weather for as long as it takes them to take care of business. Several school districts have cancelled classes.  Today it was a balmy -23C with a wind chill factor of -32C.  

In closing I wish you all good health.  Keep warm and keep safe.

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January 6, 2021

Христос Рождається’ Khrystos Rozhdayetsia – Merry Christmas Christ is born.

Wishing all my readers a Very Happy New Year.  Today is Ukrainian Christmas Eve.  Orthodox Christmas Eve is Jan. 6, with Christmas Day following on Jan. 7. The difference in date is down to the Orthodox Church continuing to use the Julian calendar, which predates the Gregorian Calendar used in the West.  The Ukrainian song “Shchedryk” became the basis for the world-famous Christmas carol, “Carol of the Bells”. 

I have discovered a new Swedish author, Arnaldur Indridason. Since we are restricted as to where we can go and what we can do I have read four of his books since New Years Day. One has to do what one can to drive the boredom away. Another Swedish author whose books I quite enjoy is Torquil MacLeod.

After a bad experience with a holistic doctor, I stayed away from them. After being plagued with thyroid issues since the fall I decided to do some research and came across Dr. Sten Ekberg. His explanation of TSH numbers was an eye-opener for me. According to Dr. Ekberg, the optimum TSH numbers range from .05 to 1.8. After much experimenting with doses of Synthroid, my optimum number is .01. However, my family doctor feels this number is a danger to me. Quite frankly I would rather give up a year or two of life in order to feel good for as long as possible. Lying in bed all day and sleeping for 18 hours a day is no way to live. I have included Dr. Ekberg’s lecture on optimum TSH numbers. According to YouTube, this video can be shared so I hope I am not ignoring copyright laws.

I would love to hear from any of my readers who are also experiencing difficulty in achieving a TSH number that is the optimum number they need to function normally.  

As of today, Manitoba has 13 new cases of COVID 19. Another 10 Manitobans have died. Our provincial government is extending the provincial wide state of emergency for another 30 days. Please everyone TAKE CARE and KEEP SAFE.

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December 27, 2020

Christmas was different this year but we made the best of the restrictions.  We had a great video chat with our grandson Benjamin and his partner Danika on Christmas Eve.  They opened their gift during this chat and it was almost like we were with them in person.  Hopefully next year we will again celebrate in person.  Their gift to us was an Amazon gift card and we are busy making our order today.  

On Christmas day we chatted with our daughter Natasha and her family.  Natasha and Mike were exhausted after an incredibly busy week with Natasha’s gift basket business.  Natasha’s dad went into Winnipeg for two days during the week before Christmas to help deliver baskets.  Christmas day we also had a video chat with our son and his wife in Seattle.  No snow for them but they had experienced several days of heavy rainfall just before Christmas.  

Peter and I put up a small Christmas tree with lights at my parents’ headstone on Christmas Eve.  I took several pictures that did not turn out that well.  I will post one of them so you get an idea of what I am talking about.  Private individuals and businesses decorate trees around the hospital each Christmas.  The result is really quite beautiful.  I took several pictures on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Day my husband cooked a wonderful Christmas dinner for the two of us.  We also ate too many New Years Cookies which were amazing especially when combined with a Caramel Macchiato coffee from Starbucks.  Portzelkys (New Year’s Cookies) are a Mennonite tradition in our family.  They are only made at New Years’. According to Wiktionary Portzelkys are a Mennonite dish of raisin fritters — fried, roughly ball-shaped pieces of dough with raisins in them — eaten especially on New Year’s Day.  My mom would roll them in icing sugar to make a wonderful glace.

I have been hunting for new authors.  Helen Pearson, a dear friend has been sharing her favourites with me as have a few other readers of my blog and Facebook page.  Last week I discovered another Swedish author by the name of Helene Tursten.  January should see the release of several new books by some of my favourite authors.  Some of them are Reginald Hill, Ann Cleeves, Minette Walters, Martha Grimes, William Kent Kruger, Elizabeth George, Peter Robinson, J.D.Robb and Louise Penny to name a few.  

Before I close I want to wish all my readers a wonderful and Happy New Year.  May 2021 bring you much joy, good health, many blessings and leave you with many memories to cherish.  

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December 18, 2020

Christmas is only seven days away.  This will be a very different Christmas for our family and for all the other families in Manitoba.  During the month of November, Steinbach, Manitoba with an approximate population of 15,000 people had the highest incidence of COVID infections per capita in Canada.  Code Red restrictions have been extended until January 8th.  Family gatherings are not allowed under these restrictions.

Since my husband and I will be celebrating Christmas on our own I decided to forgo decorating my house and yard.  Hopefully, we will be able to manage a Zoom meet up with our children and grandchildren.  Strange world we live in.  Since I did not decorate this year I decided to share some pictures of decorations done in previous years.

COVID is coming closer to home every day. We received news last night that my husband’s sister who has been living in assisted living accomodation has tested positive for COVID 19. She has underlying health issues and the virus has hit her hard. All we can do is keep her in our thoughts and prayers. Sadly visitors are not allowed. It must be so incredibly lonely for people living in similar situations to have to face this virus without the company of family and friends.

A huge thank you to Jacquie Lawson https://www.jacquielawson.com/ for making her amazing cards available to the general public. The cards are beautiful and a yearly subscription is reasonably priced to make it affordable for most people. My health being what it is these days has really hampered my ability to get letters and cards out this Christmas. Thanks to Jacquie Lawson I was able to send out cards via email with room for a short personal message.

Christmas Greetings from our house to your house.

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December 9, 2020



December 2nd has become an important date in my life and I spend the day in reflection and in remembrance of all the wonderful and precious memories of my mom.  My mom passed away on December 2, 2006.  It was 10:30 AM and the sun was shining through her bedroom window. I still miss her so much. She was a very special mom. When I was little, she would tell me this lovely story. My dad and mom were married for 11 years and had given up on a family of their own. One morning she noticed that the flag on their mailbox at the top of their driveway was facing up. To her surprise, it was a letter from their social worker in Winnipeg telling them that there was a six-month-old baby girl waiting for them. I was told the story about my adoption as one of my bedtime stories from as far back as I can remember. The story I was told is as follows: The next day my mom and dad went into the city and were taken to this house with a huge room filled with babies in cribs. They spent several hours looking around until they saw me and immediately told the social worker that I was the baby they had to have. Needless to say, the story was somewhat exaggerated since prospective parents were never shown a room full of babies to choose from but I loved that story and made me feel very special while I was growing up.

COVID 19 has hit too close to home.  My cousin, Barbra Kroeker, aged 69 years, passed away peacefully after a brief illness with COVID 19 on Monday,  November 23, 2020, at the Bethesda Regional Health Centre.  Her husband Jerry was also admitted to hospital.  Even though he is still very sick he has recovered enough to be allowed to go home.  In the last three weeks at least 8 people we know have passed away and at least that many if not more are sick with this horrible virus.

It is December 8th and only a few weeks until Christmas. Due to the rapid rise of COVID 19 in our province, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin and Premier Brian Pallister announced Tuesday that Code Red restrictions will continue into January.  A few restrictions have been altered in an attempt to make the Christmas season less restrictive. The province of Manitoba’s COVID 19 information page states that the restrictions will continue that prohibit the sale of non-essential items in stores — but some items, such as school supplies, will be added to the essential list. Holiday-themed items like Christmas decorations can now be sold. As well, thrift shops will be able to open to sell all items in store under the revised orders. But orders that prohibit visitors at private residences, with only a few exceptions, will remain in place — meaning no gatherings in homes for Christmas beyond members of a household. It will be a very lonely Christmas season for many people. Residents of care homes and hospital inpatients will feel the loss of visitors.

For the first time since our wedding, I have decided not to decorate for Christmas. My health at this time leaves me incredibly fatigued so I will take the easy way out. Thank goodness for online stores. I did however notice tonight while trying to place some orders that online stores have limited amounts of certain items and delivery dates into January.  I guess that can be expected since many people will choose to order online this holiday season. Thank goodness I am almost done with my shopping.

My health has certainly been a worry in the last while. For quite some time now I have complained about the mind-numbing fatigue that I experience every day. This last week a new problem was added to my already ridiculously long list of complaints. At times just the effort of walking from the bedroom to the kitchen brings about shortness of breath. Where this is coming from is beyond my comprehension. I saw a cardiologist and had an EKG on March 5th. The EKG came back within normal limits and the cardiologist informed me that he would recommend me for the surgery I should have had months ago. My chest x-ray also came back within normal limits. Another problem that has come to plague me is huge variations in blood pressure. I have been on blood pressure medications since my children were born. I had pre-eclampsia with both pregnancies and at times would have blood pressure readings as high as 223/110.  Thankfully both my babies and I survived but I have been dealing with high blood pressure ever since. The blood pressure medication I am on is called Clasipril. With this medication, my blood pressure hovers between 120/80 to 139/90. After days of hardly getting out of bed because of the fatigue and extreme attacks of dizziness when I tried to get up, I finally realized I needed to check my blood pressure. To my shock, my blood pressure would drop from 139/90 to 120/80 to 110/80 to 108/60 and 104/60. This variation explains one of the reasons for fatigue, dizziness and nausea. I would like to hear from any of you who have had experiences with fluctuating blood pressure. I firmly believe that these problems are directly related to the decrease in my thyroid medication. Once Code Red is lifted I will have to get in touch with my family doctor. He thinks that my numbers are putting me into a hyperthyroid range and that this could shorten my life. I feel that I would rather shorten my life by a few years but have a decent quality of life now instead of living longer but spending that time fighting fatigue and sleeping. I love to read and I used to read at least 4 – 5 books a week. Now I have to fight to stay awake long enough to read for 30 minutes.

Enough complaining.  You may have noticed that I have included the URL and several posts from the mental health site called My Mental Trampoline.   My daughter is the author of this site and the information she shares comes from her experiences dealing with Bipolar disorder.  I am incredibly proud of her and all her accomplishments.  She has not let this disorder rule her life and has fought through each debilitating episode to become a stronger and wiser woman.

Enough rambling for tonight.  I wish you all a wonderful Christmas season.  Try to make the best of this holiday season while dealing with so many restrictions.  The most important thing is to take care of each other and to keep safe.

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November 9, 2020


In Canada, we celebrate Remembrance Day on November 11th.

Good evening readers.  I want to take this opportunity to thank those of you who follow my blog.

On November 5th I had my teleconference appointment with my liver specialist Dr. S. Wong.  I am very fortunate and grateful that he is my doctor.  He went over all the blood work that he had ordered prior to this appointment.  All tests were well within normal limits.  My liver function tests normal.  The only problem is the cirrhosis of the liver and that will never go away.  I watch what I eat and hopefully, this will prolong any more negative changes to my liver.  My cirrhosis of the liver is not due to the abuse of alcohol.  As I have mentioned many times in the past I did not drink alcohol because it gave me horrendous migraine headaches.

I have to admit that these last few months have been very depressing.  A close family member who was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder thirty-three years ago is celebrating a milestone birthday this month.  I decided to devote part of this post to this disorder.  Bipolar Disorder impacts the whole family unit.  At times it can become almost impossible to deal with.  Sadly our family is in the estrangement phase and one never knows whether this will last a month or six months.

The following information comes from https://www.betterhelp.com/.  In the manic phase of Bipolar Disorder, a feeling of being in a “high mood” is often described. While most people like the idea of having increased energy or feeling exhilarated, the feelings associated with bipolar mania can be quite severe. Some symptoms include:

  • Impaired judgment
  • Feeling distracted easily
  • A feeling of being invincible, even in dangerous situations
  • Acts of aggression
  • Engaging in risky behaviour, such as substance abuse or sexual promiscuity
  • Inflated sense of self-esteem
  • Rapid speech, often jumping from one topic to another
  • Racing thoughts and bizarre ideas

When the manic phase of Bipolar disorder has subsided the depressive phase occurs. During this stage, the sufferer may experience extreme sadness or hopelessness. Other symptoms include:

  •  Insomnia
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Low attention span or difficulty remembering things
  • Poor job or school performance

Being diagnosed with a mood disorder can feel overwhelming.

“At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of. They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication.”- Carrie Fisher

The COVID 19 numbers continue to rise in our province.  Manitoba has announced more than one thousand new COVID-19 cases in the last three days combined.  Code Red restrictions in Manitoba began today.   Keep well and keep safe.


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October 22, 2020

Winter has arrived.  It snowed for a while yesterday however it disappeared overnight.  We are consistently experiencing below zero temperatures.  Hopefully, the snow will stay away until the end of October.  These barometric pressure changes and temperature changes sure play havoc with these old bones of mine.  

As I mentioned in earlier posts my family doctor stopped my Cytomel 25 mcg medication because it was giving me a high heart rate.  He then went on to reduce my Synthroid medication from 200 mcg to 175 mcg.  The change in dosage has not been good to me.  In the last two months, I have managed to acquire many of the hypothyroid symptoms and let me tell you they are not fun.  Here is a list of some of the symptoms that have invaded my already compromised life:

Exhaustion is one of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism. In addition to physical fatigue, a person may experience low motivation and mental exhaustion. Exhaustion occurs because the hormones the gland produces regulate energy — too little leads to fatigue. If this symptom is a result of a thyroid issue, getting sufficient sleep will generally not alleviate the problem.  

Rapid weight gain can be a symptom of hypothyroidism. When your body does not release enough thyroid hormone, it slows resting metabolism, the rate at which the body burns energy at rest. This causes weight gain. Furthermore, the exhaustion that leaves a person with hypothyroidism feeling sluggish or tired contributes to a lack of regular exercise.

Depression It’s unknown why depression is a symptom of hypothyroidism. However, many people report feelings of sadness associated with low levels of thyroid hormones. Medication may help this and other symptoms by boosting the production of the missing hormone. Medical professionals can help find the right form of support, be it medicinal or psychological.

Itchy or Dry Skin Hypothyroidism can lead to itchy or dry skin, another sign of issues with the thyroid gland. When the thyroid is not releasing enough hormones, the skin may dry out. Furthermore, if skin cell turnover slows due to hypothyroidism, skin cells stay in place longer instead of shedding as they should. In turn, they build up and cause flaky skin.  The above from Factcheck – Trista

Monday afternoon I called my doctor’s office and discussed my thyroid issues with his assistant.  The assistant called me back this morning and told me that my family doctor did not want to raise my Synthroid back up to 200 mcg.  He was willing to compromise by allowing me to add an additional 25 mcg of Synthroid three times a week.  I can only hope and pray that this will help to alleviate some of the symptoms. 

About an hour before going to bed last night I noticed that I was experiencing pain around the ankle that I broke a number of years ago.  I had a compound fracture and after three surgeries and the removal of three screws, the ankle healed nicely.  I woke up this morning and the pain has travelled up my leg almost to my knee.  My foot is swollen and if I did not know better I would consider a fracture.  However, nothing happened to that foot to warrant this much pain.  I suppose it will eventually settle down to the point where I can walk on it again.

Peter will be celebrating his 74th birthday on the 24th of October.  Not sure what we will do to celebrate.  With the high number of COVID 19 cases in Manitoba, we do not want to go to a restaurant or any other public venue.  We will probably spend a quiet evening at home.  

We just finished watching seven seasons of “All Creatures Great and Small.”  We both enjoyed this series and were sorry to see it finish.  We subscribe to Prime Time, Acorn, Britbox, Mhz and Sundance Now.  I really enjoy the series from Sweden, Denmark, France and Norway.  It does not take long to get accustomed to reading the English captions provided for foreign language shows. 

Just in case anyone is interested I decided to list the books that I have been reading in the last few weeks.  They are as follows:

  • The Pact by Linda Castillo
  • Winter Grave by Helene Tursten
  • Revenge by Susan Hill
  • Hunting Game by Helene Tursten
  • Snow Creek by Gregg Olsen

Excerpts from the Zacharias Site https://zachariasfamilytree.com  

The following are excerpts from a few of the 580 histories, stories, documents, letters documented on the Zacharias site.

Annihilation of the Kulaks: A personal journal written in the 1930s by a member of the Zacharias family documenting the annihilation of the Kulaks in Siberia. Many of our Zacharias family members were forced to participate in collectivization. The penalty for refusal was death.

Compulsory Return Transport: A personal journal describing the difficult times the author and other Mennonites experienced while waiting for exit visas from the former Soviet Union and the cruel forced return journey from the suburbs of Moscow to their village homes. These events happened from 1929 to 1930.  On Sunday evening, November 17, 1929, the menacing return transport began from Perlowka, Malo-Metischtschi, and Tarasowka. The transport continued on the 18th. During the previous night, the GPU had written up a list of all the refugees. The refugees who were forced onto this return transport were mainly Mennonites and included members of the Zacharias family.

The summer of 1929 in Moscow: A personal journal describing the summer of 1929. Many Mennonites from Siberia spent that summer in Moscow and the suburbs of Moscow while waiting for their exit visas. Many of them were forcibly removed from Moscow and its’ suburbs and transported back to Siberia and to the villages they came from. Many of the children died on the return trips from the extreme cold, starvation and an outbreak of measles.  October 1929 will remain in the memory of many people. This was the day that in the early morning hours the first group of refugees who had gathered in the passing months in Moscow were loaded into prepared cattle train cars to begin their trip back to Siberia.

Bernhard Giesbrecht’s Letter to His Children: The following is a translation of a German letter written by Bernhard Giesbrecht to his children in Canada dated October 30, 1934. The letter was written very carefully to avoid censorship by the Soviet government should the letter fall into the wrong hands.  The letter was smuggled out of the Soviet Union in 1934.

History of Katarina and Maria Giesbrecht: Katarina and Maria Giesbrecht were the daughters of Bernhard and Helena (nee Zacharias) Giesbrecht. They were the granddaughters of Wilhelm and Anna (nee Peters) Zacharias. The sisters survived World War 1, World War 11, Hitler’s Birkenau Concentration Camp, and Stalin’s Gulag. They raised their sister Anna’s three orphaned children namely Helena (nee Zelmer) Neufeld, Heinrich Zelmer and Ewald Zelmer.

Autobiography of Isaak Isaak Zacharias:  Isaak Isaak Zacharias was born on February 22, 1868, at Zachariasfeld, South Russia and this is his autobiography.  Wilhelm, Isaak and Gerhard, three sons of Isaak Wilhelm Zacharias, the founder of the Zachariasfeld Estate, all farmed together on the estate, all experienced the same events during the revolution.  All fled to Osterwick during the time of anarchy in 1918 and immigrated to Rosthern, Saskatchewan in the first contingent of Russian Mennonites to arrive in Canada.  Full credit for this document belongs to Ruth Heinrichs and Heinz Bergen.

History of Johann Johann Epp and Family: The Great Grandfathers; from a thesis titled “SADLY THERE ARE NO DIARIES OF THE GRANDMOTHERS” HEALING ANCESTRAL WOUNDS ‘AN EXPLORATION OF TWO GRANDFATHERS’ PERSONAL MENNONITE TEXTS, 1852 ~ 1945;  Permission granted by author Eleanore Margaret Koop.

Holodomor:  Ten million children, women and men died in this horrendous genocide, the Holodomor of 1930-1934.  The survivors who have shared their stories with me will live on forever in the hearts and minds of future generations.  It is a testament to the resilient spirit of the Mennonite, German and Ukrainian people.  Holodomor was genocide by starvation and one of the most heinous crimes in the history of mankind.

Nestor Makhno:  Nestor Makhno was born on November 7, 1888.  He was a terrorist. Between 1917 and 1921 he took advantage of the breakdown of law and order in Russia and assembled a band of thieves, rapists and murderers.  My great grandfather and his family including my mom Helen (nee Giesbrecht ) Reimer were forced into the basement of their home by these monsters and left to die.  Helen was a six-month-old baby at the time.

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September 29, 2020

Woke up to a chilly house this morning. Won’t be long now and we will have to turn on the heat. The big tree outside my den window lost all it’s leaves this past week. We have experienced some very strong winds in the last two weeks but thankfully our tall spruce trees survived. Two of the trees originated from the family farm. When my parents had to relocate because some of their land was being expropriated for a four-lane highway they had two of the trees moved to their new country acreage. After approximately 10 years they decided to move into the city and moved the same two trees and had them planted on their front lawn. I took in my Mandevilla vine hoping to keep it healthy during the coming winter months. The blooms on this plant are so beautiful.

This afternoon my liver specialist called me and we had a great conversation. He reassured me that after the last MRI, CT Scan and Ultrasound no lesions or masses were seen on my liver. He also told me that my last blood work all came in within normal levels including the test for liver cancer. My family doctor had already called me with the MRI, CT Scan and Ultrasound results but it was nice to have it reconfirmed by my specialist. I will have another CT Scan in November and then a follow up with a Telemedicine appointment. I love Telemedicine appointments. All I have to do is go to the local hospital where the TV is set up and wait for my doctor to come online at the specified time. No driving for an hour or paying huge parking costs.

Since I have nothing of interest to add to this blog I will keep it short and write a longer one in a few days. Take care of yourselves and keep safe.

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September 22, 2020

In 1998 I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease.  After my diagnosis, I built and maintained a message board with over 900 members called Widebertha’s Message Board.  The name Widebertha was very appropriate at that time in my life.  The main goal of the message board was to inform people about the perils of radioactive iodine.  The powers that be did not approve of my message and often let me know in no uncertain terms.   I remember one lengthy email in particular written by a doctor from Australia.  He berated me for my negative opinion on radioactive iodine.  Having never endured the side effects of this treatment, I felt that he had no business berating me for my opinion on the use of radioactive iodine to treat Graves’ disease.

After doing some research on treatments for Graves’s disease I came across an article written by Dr. Sun Y. Lee and published in the American Thyroid Association papers in 2019. The article started off by stating the following: “Quality of life is worse at 6-10 years after radioactive iodine therapy of Graves’ disease compared with treatment with anti thyroid drugs.”   I did a double-take after reading this.  I am a prime example of what can happen to a person after drinking radioactive iodine.  The article went on to read and I quote, “Overall, patients with treated Graves’ disease had worse thyroid-related quality of life scores than the general population. Among the three treatment groups, patients who received radioactive iodine therapy had worse thyroid-specific quality of life scores than patients treated with anti thyroid drugs or surgery, as measured by ThyPRO.  The radioactive iodine therapy group had worse scores for goiter symptoms, hyperthyroid symptoms, tiredness, anxiety, depression, emotional susceptibility, impaired social life, impaired daily life, and impaired sex life than the anti thyroid drug and surgery groups. In addition, the radioactive iodine therapy group had worse scores in hypothyroid symptoms, eye symptoms, and appearance than the anti thyroid drug group. A similar pattern was found in general quality of life measures as assessed with the SF-36 questionnaire, with worse scores in the radioactive iodine therapy group compared to the anti thyroid drug or surgery groups.”

Dr. Lee went on to write and I quote, “If these findings are confirmed in other studies in other countries, it would suggest that radioactive iodine therapy may be less desirable in the long term as compared to anti thyroid drugs or surgery.”

If only I had been able to talk to a doctor like Sun Y. Lee before I drank the poison called radioactive iodine.  As I have mentioned before I had huge doubts about drinking a poison called radioactive iodine.   Had I been able to discuss my concerns with a doctor like Dr. Lee I would never have agreed to drink the poison. 

 If you have been diagnosed with Graves’ disease please think about your options very carefully. My gut feeling at the time was that I should absolutely refuse radioactive iodine.  However, I was made to look like a fool and proceeded to drink the poison.  Again, think very very carefully before ingesting radioactive iodine.


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September 19,2020

Island Paradise

Today I am incredibly thankful that my son and daughter-in-law arrived safely in Seattle.  Crossing the US from Boston to Seattle was a five-day road trip. They left Boston to go back to their island paradise. Our son’s employment situation remains the same as it was in Boston.  They have moved onto the same property and into the same house that they lived in four years ago.  They managed to stay ahead of the snowstorms in Montana.

Island Paradise

I am also grateful that I did not do major damage to my body when I fell on Tuesday. I have no idea why I fell.  I had been dizzy earlier in the afternoon. All I did was get up from the supper table to get a drink and the next thing I knew the whole house shook and I ended up on the floor. I banged my head on the stove and damaged my already problematic knees. My head and shoulder are fine but my knee continues to give me grief.  It will probably take a lot of patience and rest before my knees stop throbbing.

A week and a half ago I finished scanning in all my old negatives.  When I added them up I realized that I now have just over 4500 pictures I did not have before I began this project.  I admit that many of my projects in some way include pictures.  I would even admit to being addicted to picture projects but when all is said and done this addiction is really quite harmless.  The following pictures are a result of the negative scanning project.  They are pictures of my childhood home.  It was located only a mile from the nearest town.

Since I am considering a change in my thyroid medication I have been doing some research into desiccated thyroid, also known as thyroid extract.  According to Wikipedia and I quote, “desiccated thyroid, also known as thyroid extract, is the thyroid gland that has been dried and powdered for medical use.  It is used to treat hypothyroidism. It is less preferred than levothyroxine. It is taken by mouth.  Maximal effects may take up to 3 weeks to occur.”

Also from Wikipedia and I quote, “desiccated thyroid has been used since the late 1800s.  It is usually made from pigs, sheep, or cows. (Many people prefer desiccated thyroid made from pigs).  It is available as a generic medication.  In the United States, the wholesale cost for a month of medication is about US$15.30.  In 2017, it was the 130th most commonly prescribed medication in the United States, with more than five million prescriptions. Usage has decreased since the 1960s.’

As I have noted in previous posts I am not doing well on 175 mcg of Synthroid.  I am scheduled for a blood test this coming week that will measure my TSH.  Coming off the Cytomel was a necessity.  Apparently, it is not a drug of choice for older people and I guess I am an “older person.”

Dr. Bimbo

Before I continue I want to say that I am well aware that I have written about my Graves disease diagnosis and treatment many times throughout this blog.  Please bear with me as I write about it again.  When I was diagnosed with Graves Disease (Hyperthyroid) in 1998 the only option I was given to deal with this autoimmune disease was to drink radioactive iodine.  I had a bad feeling about this treatment option.  However, I was continually lied to by my family doctor at that time, Dr. Squirt and by the endocrinologist, Dr. Bimbo.  I was told that all I had to do was take a little pill every day for the rest of my life and all my nasty symptoms would disappear.  It still makes me angry that I believed their lies and drank the poison.

Dr. Squirt

To get a prescription for desiccated thyroid I believe I will have to see a naturopath.  A cousin of mine sees a Naturopath in Winnipeg to deal with her thyroid issues.  She gives him a high recommendation.  I have to admit that I am somewhat leery about seeing a naturopath.  Early on in my journey to find answers to my thyroid-related medical problems I went to see a naturopath practising in my hometown.  While talking to him on the phone he reassured me that he always took a lot of blood and sent the samples to a well-known lab in the US.  Imagine my surprise when he poked my finger and squeezed a small amount of blood on to the specimen glass used with microscopes.  When I questioned him about the small amount of blood he assured me that the amount on the glass was all he needed to make a diagnosis.  There was no more talk about shipping my sample to the US.  After the blood test, he asked me to stick out my tongue.  He informed me that I had white spots on my tongue which proved I also had a tired adrenal gland.  He gave me a natural medication to boost my tired adrenal gland.

Dr. Nature Boy

This appointment cost me $190.00 which would have been repeated weekly until such a time as he declared me cured.

Since that fateful day in April 1998 when I drank radioactive iodine, I began my downward spiral.  In June 1998 my hypothyroid symptoms became unbearable.  Receiving only angry retorts when I approached Dr. Bimbo for help I began to research Graves’ disease, hypothyroidism and the side effects of radioactive iodine.  I have been researching this topic for 22 years.  An option I have not tried is desiccated thyroid.  I would love to hear from anyone who is presently taking desiccated thyroid.  What dose of desiccated thyroid do you take in a 24 hour period?  Do you have any side effects and if so what are they?  Is your desiccated thyroid made from pigs, sheep or cows?

It is time to sign off for today.  Book #25, The Old Success (Richard Jury Mystery Book 25) by Martha Grimes beckons me.  Be back with another blog post real soon.

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