It's hard to believe but it has been one year since I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer. I shared in a previous post how I discovered it through our struggles with unexplained secondary infertility. And in this last year, I have learned so much about how common thyroid diseases and cancers really are even though no one really talks about it. Thyroid diseases like hypothyroidism. Many of us live with it without knowing we do, while it silently affects our daily life. Like exhaustion, how many of us equate our lack of energy with our lifestyle? I know I sure did. Fortunately, I've been given the chance to make changes in my life and not take this whole experience for granted. Besides a small scar on my neck, you really can't tell that anything is wrong with me from the outside but internally I needed a lot of damage control. So for the first time in my life I really focused on self-love and self-care. Previously I was really reluctant to do so because I felt selfish and guilty but I've learned that in order to be there for others I have to first be there for myself.
PHOTOGRAPHING LIFESTYLE, INTERIORS AND TRAVEL
One major change I did this year that was really hard was reduce the amount of weddings I would photograph. I had a long hard struggle with this one, constantly going back and forth about my decision. I really love weddings, it encompasses so many elements that I love photographing but it was also constantly making me choose between my work and my family. K started school full time last September, meaning I wouldn't spend much time with her anymore during the day and I would be working during the evenings and weekends when she's not in school. I didn't want to feel guilty about not being there for her and my husband, I wanted to be able to spend time together as a family and so it made sense to slowly move away from weddings. Besides my lifestyle work, I've also been photographing a lot more interiors, products, and travel photography which has made shooting less weddings a little easier.
BEING MORE ACTIVE
A couple months before my surgery, a couple of my good friends gave me a FitBit for my birthday in anticipation for my recovery from my surgery. They wanted to give me something that would motivate me daily to move and to get back to where I was pre-surgery. Little did I know this little black band would give me so much motivation. Honestly, I'm not breaking any records with my steps, I still enjoy my tv marathons a little bit too much but it does encourage me to choose stairs instead of escalators, park a little further, get up and take a break from my computer, just to add to my step count and see the little fireworks light up when I hit my daily goal. It has helped me become more active and actually makes me want to improve my physical health. I've also started working out again and joined my friend in running, it's huge because I am not a runner! And as much as I moan and groan about working out and running, I'm starting to see the benefits.
CUTTING OUT SUGAR
This is a more recent one because sugar and I go way back, wayyyyyyy back. My sweet tooth has a mind of its own and it's powerful. I struggled a lot with being tired and not having enough energy and I relied heavily on sugar to give me that extra kick whenever I felt my energy levels drop, plus I just love sweets, like put a cupcake in front of me and I can't say no. But I noticed that on days when I've had my tea with too much sugar or had too many sugary treats I would get headaches the rest of the day and then have trouble sleeping at night. The bad night of sleep would make me crave for sugar again and it becomes an endless cycle. I know cutting out sugar completely is not realistic for me so I'm taking baby steps, I stopped adding sugar to my drinks, stop drinking sugary drinks and trying to eat less sweets. I've definitely have had less headaches and my energy levels are more consistent so I'll see what other sugars I can cut out slowly too.
HAVING QUALITY FAMILY TIME
G works a lot of long hours and during the winter it's his busy season, then spring rolls around and I start my busy season until late fall. When we had K, we thought this is perfect because there will always be someone to watch her and we continued to trade off busy seasons for years. But then we started to realize that we rarely had time together as a family. We basically had November and December together and then it would be back to the same routine. Well that changed this year, for the first time ever we took not one but TWO family trips this summer. We've been making weekend plans with friends and family and I have to say it's been really nice spending all this time together. I didn't realize how much I craved this quality time with the family and I'm now enjoying some much need slow paced living.
OUR FAMILY PLANS
You may be wondering what has been happening with our infertility struggles. We are still hoping to add to our family but have taken a break from pursuing IVF, after last year we just weren't ready to jump back into it. Thankfully a fellow photographer was kind enough to share her own struggles with TSH levels and unexplained infertility and introduced us to NaPro Technology which is a more holistic approach to fertility and infertility. They have a high success rate with diagnosing couples who are previously diagnosed with unexplained (secondary) infertility. We've started the program with FertilityCare in Toronto and hoping to get some answers in the next few months. In the meantime, I'm focused on keeping my stress levels low and improve my overall health.
We've done a lot this summer so far, ticked off a few places that I've been meaning to visit for awhile including the Bruce Peninsula and Tobermory, Terre Bleu Lavender Farm and Prince Edward County with the stunning Sandbanks. These small trips have really been great for the soul and I'm excited to do more. Feel free to share in the comments some places you like traveling to in the summer or suggestions for Fall trips because summer is coming to an end all too quickly!!