Lately I feel like I’m doing all I can to maintain life in the day to day. I have the feeling like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew… but I haven’t. My kids don’t play sports or do many extra curricular activities. We have a co op that we meet with once a week and we have enrichment classes that we do through our local homeschool association. I feel like no matter what I do, I can’t catch up.
Usually, if something is off in my life, I blame my thyroid… and for good reason. In 2003, I was about to turn 24 when I found out I had a nodule on my thyroid. I had an ultrasound, a thyroid scan and a biopsy which all came back inconclusive. It was decided that I should have surgery to remove the right side of my thyroid (the side with the nodule) and be able to fully determine whether the nodule was cancerous or not. So… a couple of months after my 24th birthday, I had surgery. The nodule was not cancerous and I was now down half a thyroid which rendered me dependent on daily medication. Oh and I also found out I have a disease called Hashimoto’s Disease… sounds fun right?… yeah… not so much!!!
Here’s a definition of Hashimoto’s from the Mayo Clinic:
Hashimoto’s disease is a disorder that affects your thyroid, a small gland at the base of your neck, below your Adam’s apple. The thyroid gland is part of your endocrine system, which produces hormones that coordinate many of your body’s activities.
In Hashimoto’s disease, also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, your immune system attacks your thyroid gland. The resulting inflammation often leads to an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. It primarily affects middle-aged women, but also can occur in men and women of any age and in children.
And here’s a definition of Hypothyroidism:
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain important hormones.
Women, especially those older than age 60, are more likely to have hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism upsets the normal balance of chemical reactions in your body. It seldom causes symptoms in the early stages, but, over time, untreated hypothyroidism can cause a number of health problems, such as obesity, joint pain, infertility and heart disease.
Now… how does this all play out in the day to day?
Did you read the part of the Hashimoto’s definition that says “The thyroid gland is part of your endocrine system, which produces hormones that coordinate many of your body’s activities“? Yeah… the thyroid… that tiny little, butterfly shaped gland (well, mine is just half a butterfly now).. coordinates many of your body’s activities… such as… appetite control, metabolism, body temperature, mood, hormones, bowels, concentration… just to name a few.
Most days, I can push Mr. Hashimoto to the side and get on about my day…but some days are quite honestly like PMS on steroids… I have more mood swings than my toddler. I have joint pain and feel like I’m in a constant brain fog. I wear layer upon layer of clothes just to stay warm on a summer day. I’ll have anxiety one day and depression the next. Oh yeah.. and sometimes I look at food and gain 20 pounds.
Most of the time, when my meds (I take the generic synthroid) are regulated and I am “in the normal range”… I’m okay… most of the time.
Then there are weeks like this, when try as I may… I can’t seem to get it together enough to complete a thought or task. Homeschooling becomes unschooling in my home. Yesterday, the kids watched a Between the Lions video from the library (phonics and language arts). Big Brother and I played Battle Ship (math). Big Sis worked with Little Sis on her letters. Big Brother and Big Sister played with Legos (fine motor, problem solving and following directions). Big Brother played Angry Birds and Bag Piggies (physics). We went to the store to let Big Brother spend some birthday money (life skills and math).
Do I feel bad that we didn’t “do school”? Maybe a little. Do I see the value in learning and practicing math facts and sight words? Yes! But am I okay with letting that go every now and then for the sake of my sanity? Absolutely.
I used to be a teacher in a classroom… after eight years of being a mama (four of those spent homeschooling), I think my brain is finally starting to be okay with letting some of the traditional methods of teaching go. There is freedom in homeschooling. Some days.. when the Hashimoto’s is hard to handle, I wonder if my kids would be better off in school. However, I think we are right where God would have us right now and I’m okay with that.
I don’t mean to sound like a Debbie Downer… I mean… death and disease do suck… right? BUT God is good and sovereign and in him there is hope, healing, rest and redemption. He is where my assurance and my day to day ultimately lie and for that I am thankful!
If you are a homeschooler and feeling overwhelmed for whatever reason, I HIGHLY recommend that you plug in to a homeschool community around you. It has done wonders for us.