I haven’t blogged in many months, not because I don’t have anything to say. No, on the contrary. I have plenty to say. I write for a living and I keep myself busy! Sometimes writing for pleasure gets pushed WAY down my list of things I want to accomplish.
Today, though, marks some important anniversaries. As of today, I’m 16 months sober and I’ve been riding a motorcycle for two years: two things that have had a huge impact on the person I am today.
Since I bought my Harley last March, I have put over 10,000 miles on her. On bikes before the Harley, I probably rode another 10,000 miles. That’s 20,000 miles of pure freedom and joy. I have taken several rides with the Litas, the group of women riders I am part of. We have gone on several rides with our group of riding friends. I have ridden with my husband all over the Dallas/Ft Worth area. We took our first motorcycle trip to NW Arkansas in September during Bikes, Blues and BBQ and rode some of the most beautiful roads in the South. But mostly, my favorite riding therapy are those solo rides. Just me and my music blaring into my helmet, clearing my head and feeling the wind on my face.
In July 2019, I wanted to get back into a routine of exercise. In past years, I’d racked up tons of miles walking, but hadn’t been able to regain my focus on exercising for a while. This time, though, I decided to focus on lifting weights. I still sometimes walk, but my focus is gaining strength and tone. Since joining the gym, I have consistently gone 2 or 3 days every single week for going on 7 months now. It’s amazing to see the muscles I’ve never seen before starting to define themselves. I have biceps!
Sometime in the summer/fall of 2019, I started eating foods off my plan occasionally. My mental and physical health suffered because of it. I stumbled through a pretty awful depression for several months, but eventually realized it was because I had stopped focusing on eating the right foods for my autoimmune condition. The important thing is I DIDN’T drink to cope with that depression. I still kept going to the gym a few days a week. The depression was absolutely caused by eating inflammatory foods that exacerbate my Hashimoto’s. The day after Christmas, I recommitted myself to eating to nourish my mind and my body. It’s amazing…within two or three days of eating paleo once again, that depression was GONE. My body stopped hurting again. My joint pain and low energy were resolved. The majority of the symptoms of Hashimoto’s were gone. You think I’d learn. Eating grains and legumes and processed junk makes me sick. Every single time. And it’s not just digestive symptoms. On the contrary, in fact. Having an upset stomach is the least of my worries. No, when I eat those things, my body hurts. My energy is zapped. My libido is gone. But worse, my mental health suffers immensely. I stop caring about things that are important to me. I cancel plans. I just want to stay home and be alone. I’m grateful I was able to pull myself back up out of this depression again and overjoyed I didn’t turn to the bottle to make it through.
Our family has had some exciting changes this past year.
My son, who battles severe anxiety and depression, started his first JOB a few months ago. He loves it, and has become so much more self sufficient and proud of himself for the first time. This Christmas was the first time he had his own money to buy gifts and was so incredibly excited to give presents to the people he loves! He has even been on a few dates and is meeting new people for the first time in years. He has plans to learn to drive, to earn his GED, and to move OUT. He had top surgery in August, which is a huge piece of confirming and supporting his identity. For the first time in many years, he and we can see possibility.
Our daughter graduated with a degree in hospitality management in May, another exciting feat! Her senior year of high school, so was also diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and struggled with many of the same symptoms I’ve had to manage. Her first year of college was a real battle, but she, too, learned to avoid certain foods and sees a great doctor for managing her condition. And on New Year’s Day, she got ENGAGED! Her fiancé is a wonderful person, and we couldn’t be more proud and excited for them. The two of them truly seem to be in love and make a great team. They live in a brand new house he had built a little over a year ago and are completely independent, working great jobs and doing this adult thing so much better than we certainly were doing at 24 years old!
In October, my husband and I celebrated 25 YEARS of being married. Since that first ride on the back of his Harley in September 2017, we have continued to become closer than ever before. We genuinely enjoy our time together and have a blast going on adventures. 2020 has us both focused on goals and dreams for the next 25 years together.
At 47 years old, I feel so much stronger, confident, and content with life than ever before. When I look back at pictures of myself 5 years ago, I don’t recognize that woman. Sure, there are physical changes, but look at the eyes. Look at the smile. The healthiness and happiness just oozes out from within. The picture on the left is 2009, 37 years old. My Hashimoto’s was undertreated, I was drinking pretty heavily, and my body hurt all the time. The picture on the right is 2019, 47 years old. Sober, happy, healthy.