Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Good bye and good riddance 2013!

This past year will go down in history as the worst year of my life, and I am truly hoping that as we turn the page to 2014, all of the pain, death, and just plain bad luck will be behind us. Unfortunately I have recently learned that a 1.5 cm nodule on my thyroid has grown to 1.9 cm and is the reason that my throat has felt swollen for the past month and a half. I have a doctor appointment for Jan. 13 to get it further evaluated, and I really hope that it turns out to be a non-event.

It was a year ago today that my husband and I were at the bedside of his mother as she passed away from cancer. And it had only been a couple days earlier when my little bichon frise (pictured above) had passed away. Looking back now, it seems as if those two deaths were simply the "preview" of the year ahead. In March, Coco, one of my most special goats died from a ruptured uterus after a very difficult delivery with quintuplets. And only a week later, my father-in-law passed away.

Then over the summer, my very first goat, Star, died. She was 14 years old, and she was really slowing down towards the end. I still remember telling her, "This is really not a good time for you to leave me. Please stick around a little while longer." She passed away about six weeks later, and then a week later, Sovalye, our livestock guardian dog of nine years passed away.

As the leaves began to fall from the trees, I started to think that all of the death was behind us, but I was wrong. In the middle of November, we had two goats and a llama contract meningeal worm, a nasty parasite that is common in white tail deer but deadly in other ruminants. We ultimately decided to put down Timpani, but Windy the goat and Katy the llama are still with us and still recovering. Because of the neurological damage done to the spinal column and brain, no one will hazard a guess as to whether or not they'll make a full recovery. Although Katy has finally managed to stand once without assistance, we still have to lift her a couple of times every day, and she can usually manage to take a few steps here and there before collapsing again.

There were a couple of bright spots in the year. I taught an online class called Raising Goats Sustainably for the University of Massachusetts, which was fun and challenging. Imagine teaching a livestock care class online, and not everyone in the class even has access to real live goats. Challenging!

We also had three wonderful interns this year who renewed my enthusiasm for sharing my knowledge and teaching! And I am looking forward to expanding the educational component of the farm in 2014 and beyond.

My third book, Raising Goats Naturally, was published in September. After writing three books in three years, I am taking a break from writing books. There was a part of me that wanted to keep chugging along and write another one, but considering all of the things that have happened lately, I think it's time to relax and rejuvenate. Quite frankly, I feel like I've had the wind knocked out of me.

I've had chronic back pain for about a decade now. I realized from the beginning that it was always much worse during the winter months and attributed that to a possible lack of vitamin D. I would generally be in quite a bit of pain through the winter months, but once spring arrived and I was outdoors more, the pain would gradually lessen. It didn't happen this past summer. And somehow I didn't realize until fall that I had not spent nearly as much time outdoors as usual. I got my vitamin D level tested, and yep, I am deficient, so am now taking much larger doses of supplements than I have taken in previous years. So, #1 on the list of things to do in 2014 is to spend tons of time in the garden next spring, summer, and fall, not only because of the great food it will produce but also because I need lots of sunshine to stay healthy.

At the moment, I am off on a two-week vacation with my daughters Margaret and Katherine. I am hoping to come back rested and rejuvenated and ready to jump back into all of my projects with renewed energy.


susanb said...

I had thyroid cancer in 1999. I lived in the Chicago area so if you need help let me know. I'm hoping it's just a hot (or is it cold? I can't remember which is pretty benign) nodule and nothing worse. See a good endocrinologist. I agree with you - good riddance on 2013!

Holly said...

Took my doctor and I three years to figure out levels of thyroid meds to curtail the growth of new nodules and stop the existing ones increasing in size. Be patient. My meds have to be changed on occasion so I have normal free T-3 and free T-4 tests but it is a given that I will have disturbing TSH numbers for many doctors to keep the nodule growth in check. A girl has to do what a girl has to do. I will pray that you don't have to deal with cancer. I'm familiar with that as thyroids are a bad dude in our family. I wish you the best as you begin your journey of discovery. Keep in mind all your hormones are inter-related. They are like dominoes in one effects the levels of the others. Low vitamin D-3 levels are also involved in this balance. I take higher levels of D-3's also. Be persistent. I had doctors tell me for twenty years I didn't have a thyroid problem until I finally found a doctor that would authorize an ultrasound. Imagine the alarm when they found nodules and follicular cells, non-cancerous and then shortly after I began growing tumors in several areas of my body at alarming rates, luckily not cancerous but requiring surgery. Now I'm on a number of natural hormones formulated by a pharmacy just for me and my health is increasing every year. If you need a sympathetic ear or think I might have some information you might need don't hesitate to contact me at easylivingthehardway.blogspot.com.For nine years I've been doing my homework on thyroid and adrenal issues.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry you had a rough year. It reminds me of one year on our dairy farm. Don't give up. You are an inspiration to so many! Thank you for taking the time to share so honestly.

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Praying the doctor appointment gave good news.

Deborah Niemann said...

Thanks for asking Thistle Cove -- not really good news. The nodule is also oddly shaped (not like a cyst) and has a blood supply, so I'll be having a biopsy on Feb. 11.


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