Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Losing Weight with Thyroid Cancer

I doubt that I am going to cover something new, but the realization that I had may be new for some.  I had not read this, or been told anything about how my metabolism works when I have no thyroid anymore.  My realization is about eating habits, and meal timing.  I think I am on to something, and might help others.

As I understand from various books, literature and websites is that our thyroid hormone production goes through waves, ebbs and flows throughout the day.  There are times that is high, and low, or say exercise should trigger a burst of production.  There are other aspects that can influence your production as well.  But what happens when you don't have a thyroid gland anymore?  How do you get ebbs and flows, bursts when you need them to recover?

The answer is I don't think there is bursts, or a cycle, or there is a significantly lower cycle.  There may be some T4 hormone stored in various parts of the body in small amounts for future use.  Triggering a large release for metabolism and the like may not happen to an expected level, it may much less.

The reason I mention this, is to realize that the expectation to eat on a schedule the same as when one had a thyroid gland may not be possible.  As you exercise, or just perform your duties for the day we burn calories, and have to regenerate our energy and try to rid our bodies of the byproducts of the day.  Normally, we would eat dinner, and metabolize that food to help us recover.  We still do.  But it is harder at 6pm to have a hormone surge to help with that metabolism and recovery mode.

Statistically, during sleep we burn a good amount of calories in our regenerative process.  Many people are amazed the calories that are burned during our sleep cycle.  Part of this is triggered via a surge in thyroid hormone being available.

What I have realized is that via my body temp, I am not seeing that surge at night.  My body temp drops pretty far, well over a degree.  That is not unheard of, but to me, when I am struggling to maintain 97.5 with the drugs I am on, then having a drop that far also indicates that my body is not metabolizing as much at night.  It is struggling to go through the calories, to fuel up further and the like.

I realized that when I was struggling to lose weight, that the later I ate, the harder it was to lose.  When exercising, it was nothing to see 2 pounds lost on the scale over night because of those various processes going on.  Post Thyroid Cancer sees it difficult to see a 1 pound difference.  In a non scientific way, the low body temp, lack of weight drop at night and overall difficulty in losing weight indicates that the overnight cycle is not working perfectly.

What I changed was my eating habits and schedule.  I try not to eat dinner, but during the day spread out meals and food intake better.  If I eat dinner, I see problems with weight loss.  So I try to eat before 5 if possible, or have a sensible snack in the evening.  With this different schedule I am able to lose weight.  I feel more hopeful that things are going in a reasonable way.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Riding with a camera

If you have been aware - lately there have been more videos popping up where cyclists are documenting aggressive and life threatening behavior with a GoPro or similar sports camera.  I rode for the first time with one this morning.  I had it mounted on the drop of my handlebar, and messed up the orientation of the video, but corrected that in playback.  Tomorrow I will dial things in better.  I have mine set in 1080 30fps and saw reasonable video from it.  I have a JVC camera, it was on sale for about $100 from Fry's Electronics recently, and I am using a handlebar mount, right over my handlebar tape, on the bar end/drop.

I am still playing and figuring out what works and what does not.  The few moments I reviewed this morning needed quite a bit of work, and might argue to mount the camera on a helmet instead of a bike due to how bumpy the pics are.  If I import the video into Final Cut, I probably can manipulate and clean up the bumpiness a bit as the software can help that out.

The reality of this, using a camera, is why do we need to do this?  Especially, on a training ride?  I can see taking a camera on a special trail, or in a race to capture the action, the chaos and all of that kind of fun.  That makes sense.  Many are recommending using cameras out on all rides.  Why has our society made this happen?  We can't trust other road users to act responsibly, and that is a shame.

Earlier this year, when I was training in the afternoons, I had two incidents where I wish I had a camera on board to capture the license plate of a vehicle full of teenage boys that assaulted me.  One time I chased them down into a parking lot and attempted to stop them.  They drove in a massivly dangerous manner, in reverse across a full parking lot, nearly sliding into a pole, hitting other cars just to get away from me.  I turned them into the police two times, and I have no idea if they have been found, arrested or anything. If I had the plate, it would have helped out quite a bit. 

I wonder about this rise in assaults on cyclists.  I also wonder what would happen if bigger vehicles started doing the same to these drivers that assault cyclists.  Are we getting into some macho one upmanship of who has the biggest gun?  I used to ride, a few decades ago, with a friend that carried a holster and a .22 semi auto handgun right on his stem.  I used to always have a frozen water bottle with me, in the summer here it was welcomed, but I thought of it as a weapon, and have thrown it at two cars before, hitting one with a resounding thump. 

I still wonder why things have to come down to an arms race.  Would these same drivers appreciate aggressive vehicles brushing against their kids on sidewalks while walking, running, skating or even riding?  I would be just as mad as when they do the same to me. 

I have friends back east that have taken to mounting cameras in their cars to record bad drivers.  I imagine that video footage can be useful, and could be turned into the police and the like.  But I also wonder when the police start refusing, or not even using, or not pursuing these bad drivers.  I see that in the future where the police "claim" they cant do anything, even with the video proof.  Vigilantism will probably ensue.  There was an issue of that happening in the Bay Area, but it was taken too far, and the vigilante was charged. 

I hate having to video my bike rides.  I should ideally be able to ride my bike in my neighborhood and trust everyone to use the roads responsibly.  Mistakes and accidents do happen, that is understandable.  Outright rage and aggressive nature towards other drivers, road users and the like is not understandable.  Perhaps something will change in the near future where we are forced to act far more responsibly in regards to the vehicles we use, such as adding penalties for getting tickets for cell phone use, assault with a vehicle or similar occurrences where they will raise your insurance cost.  Hurt those with bad behavior in the pocketbook.  Some auto loans have the ability to end the contract due to breach because the car was used in an inappropriate manner.  Normally this is dealing drugs or things like that.  Expanding the contract language that if you assault someone, or use inappropriately could be added as a factor, especially if you are jeopardizing your insurance coverage and the safety of others.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sleep, Bike, Eat, Work

Not necessarily in that order.... Since finishing my Masters, I have found things a bit liberating so to speak. I can actually concentrate on riding my bike. For some that will sound weird, just go and ride. However, with responsibilities it doesn't always go that way. I was amazed at how school was such a limiting factor.

About a month ago I switched to my previous Endocrinologist, Dr. Barnett in Chandler. I was seeing him when I had no insurance and paying fees out of pocket. I didn't mind because we had intelligent conversations about my care, and would work as a team to try things in order to improve. When I was working as a teacher I finally got insurance. In 2013, it was time for me to do a five year scan to see the status of my cancer. The problem was Dr. Barnett was not the right doctor for these scans and evaluations.

I had to switch doctors. So I switched, and for simplicity stayed with her after the scans. I was happy that I was clear, and thought that my meds were ok, but nothing great. It did get to the point that I was being treated solely based upon my blood work, and I hate that. It takes little into account in how I feel, my exercise performance and a list of reasons beyond that.

I switched back to Dr. Barnett. I was feeling so bad in February I simply stopped taking what was my previous doses, and started putting on weight like crazy. Mind you I wasn't feeling any better. On my first visit we decided to try something different, that we had not tried before, and that my previous Endo would never consider. We designed a dosage of Naturethroid and synthetic Synthroid. Standard Endo's normally prescribe just Synthroid to someone like me. They feel if the body is working correctly, that it will strip the T4 Synthroid down to T3, T2 and T1. Mine will to some effect, perhaps not super efficiently though.

Naturethroid is a natural desiccated thyroid, meaning that it has naturally occurring levels of T4, T3, T2 and T1. This is the best I have felt in a very long time, years in fact. My testosterone seems to be working better (a factor of the T1 availability). Through this week I have been trying to ride and lose weight. I am actually able to lose weight without a supreme struggle. Now this is not to say that I have a normal life and diet, far from that, but I have finally found something working for the time being.

A few weeks ago I was at 230 pounds, and felt that I couldn't do much about it. Short of fully starving, not much was slowing down my weight gain. This week I have been progressing down, and probably will be around 220, maybe lower on Sunday. I was about to hit 222 today in fact. This week has finally showed me that I was never in a reasonable balance with my meds for way over 5 years, I was fooling myself when I felt ok.

I was listening to the Dr. Drew Podcast that had Bald Bryan (Bryan Bishop) as a guest. Bryan works on the different podcasts and radio shows of Adam Carolla. He recently went through a type of brain cancer, and has written a book that I want to buy and read. While we have different cancers, he advocated one great thing: you have to seek out the best care for yourself. He had to switch doctors, and it wasn't a case of being told what he wanted to hear, but to find someone to work as a team with. In his case, he was able to find one of the best doctors in the world in Los Angeles to help him. I agree with Bryan, you have to do what is right for you, find the best, find someone that works with you. It is your life, and you have to Come Back from Cancer on your terms.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Getting back into the swing of things

Last week I rode three times for 91 miles. Not much, but it was a start. I rode a few times in the morning, and did the Saturday ride. I know I need more riding for sure. My goal this week is to ride every day. I rode Monday so far, a few miles in the evening. When I woke up this morning, the wind was gusting pretty badly, and I didn't think I would get much out of riding. I should have went anyways. I guess I am spoiled in AZ with light winds and decent weather year round. If I was in Kansas, there is nothing but wind. I hope to ride twice on Tuesday. About an hour or so in the morning and then an hour in the evening at the Underground Crit. But I realized something today. I am not training right now. I am not in good enough shape, nor do I have my weight down to actually train. With that, I need to enjoy riding and not put pressure on myself. I need to get my 200 miles per week in, watch my weight drop, and have fun. I am not going to get anything out of doing intervals, or something special. I need to save that for a few months from now when 50 mile rides are easy. Then I can actually start being productive on the bike. I wonder if I can get this thin again? 145 pounds?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My body is confused

I am a frequent reader of Steve Tilford's blog. I know I am out of shape, but I feel envious, especially today, when he laments about feeling off and then riding himself into feeling good. I had the opposite happen this morning, and now here at work, I feel worse. I started off pretty well. It was cool out this morning, if just below 60 is cool. It is for Phoenix. I was warming up reasonably well, and holding a decent cadence in the small ring, even uphill. Got out to the first hill on my weekday route that gets me around 25 miles total, and then things went downhill from there. I know I am struggling from lack of fitness and being grossly overweight. My body is confused. It seems to love being out and riding, but is tearing itself up in the process. So now I sit here writing, about 4 hours post ride, and I am a bit tired, and some muscle aches. I also wish that I rode myself into feeling better, but with the wind, and not enough endurance, that is not going to happen. Oh well, I now able to focus solely on riding, and getting back into shape. I have a very long road ahead of me. No big deal, one focus and all that.