2013 has been very eventful as brought me so much progress health wise as well. I thought it would be fun to go through 2013 chronologically.
Was certainly special to me because I made the right changes that got me great results. Some may remember that I ran into problems after changing to a low carb diet. Not only did my thyroid act up again, that had been fine without meds since early 2012, but my liver enzymes also were extremely elevated among other "minor" problems like a sudden onset of PMS and acne.
In January I increased my carbs again and got immediate relief. I felt a lot better. Even my hair loss that started late 2012 slowed down.
I started a detox with herbal supplements that rid me of PMS by the next cycle, improved my skin and I was able to gain a few pounds finally (9 lbs gained).
My thyroids TSH had normalized and was back at 3.2, which is okay, but not ideal. I added raw thyroid supplements (1x daily), which really is just dried, encapsulated thyroid and pituitary gland from cows, and it brought my TSH to 2.0 - perfect.
It was a really peaceful time, I figured out great ways to distract myself from the hair loss and health issues. I got into making slouchy hats to cover up hair loss related problems like thinning temples, annoying regrowth, or regrowth related bad hair days. I came up with lots of creative hair do's that don't make it as obvious that I lost hair (Especially to me. Making a bun that is suddenly much smaller is no fun).
We took lots of trips to the snowy mountains here (Taunus). It was beautiful and I hope it will snow soon so we can go back.
Some time in March, my hair loss stopped completely (it was still snowing!!). I was back to losing only a few hairs a day. My hair had survived the shedding. It was still long, and not too thin down the lengths. I feel it was also a good idea to keep up monthly trims during this hair loss episode, because it really helped keeping visible tapering of the ends at bay.
I started using Mineral Make Up foundation to try and cover my acne a bit. It worked great at first and was not very noticeable.
My husband and I started going out again occasionally. First only to local events and places, and my son was doing great with his grandparents every time. No tears :)
My hair was thickening up with the speed of light! It was amazing to see. It was really like all my thickness moved down directly, without any additional taper. Surprisingly, even with all the hair loss episodes going on, I did not have a lot of taper at all.
My skin however was going through worse periods again and my problem went from mild to moderate acne. So I started looking into diet related causes of acne and cut out certain foods for a bit to see if I break out from them. However, I saw no significant changes. I even reduced my meat intake for a while and upped my fruit intake, which really wasn't good. I felt jittery and experienced more redness in my face. I also wasn't sleeping well, I felt restless.
I was also experiencing more digestive issues than normal and started taking probiotics, which improved my skin at first and reduced bloating and digestive cramps.
I stopped using facial moisturizer ( it could possibly cause skin problems) and instead moisturized with linseed oil.
My son went through a bad cold and refused to nurse for over a week. My milk supply dropped drastically during this time. When he wanted to resume nursing and noticed there was barely any milk, he panicked. He was crying for milk night and day and refused all solid foods as well as almond milk. He lost a lot of weight then and the only way for me to increase my breastmilk again was taking a lot of Fenugreek supplements. I am sure all that took my hormones on a rollercoaster ride.
The probiotics continued to work wonders, and I had also added digestive enzymes with HCl... my bloating went away completely and I had zero digestive problems.
My acne was having its ups and downs. My skin was getting increasingly flaky. I began eating foods that I usually avoid to see if they have an impact on my acne at all. I just needed to see if the occasional piece of bread or pizza would cause acne...I did not notice any negative impact on my skin with eating one grain based product a day though.
I went through a parasite cleanse and certainly had symptoms of parasite "die off" in the beginning (bad bad migraines and aches). Then I began to see little worms (pin or hookworms?) in my stool here and there. I am sure it helped in some way, but I can't say I immediately felt better after. Only my digestion worked better even without probiotics.
In May I was also experimenting with the supplements I was taking for the regulation of hormones. I had previously stopped them, but my PMS returned. So I tried to see how I was doing with a lower dose and different brands, because frankly, taking Calcium D Glucarate AND DIM for my hormones was getting pricey, and it is always better to be able to take less ;).
In spring I had made lots of new friends (also moms with small children) and I was very busy with meet ups in summer. I started going to a La Leche League based English Speaking breastfeeding group, as well as English Speaking Mom and Baby meet ups at a Cafe in the City. We were also going to a local Play Group every week still and made friends and eventually met up during the week at my friends house. All this served as distraction from my problems.
2013 was also the second summer I spent completely SPF free and I was surprised how much my tolerance to the sun had increased. I would never burn, despite being outside much, I just slowly tanned. I think I found a great balance between too little and too much sun. I had a healthy tan without any burning, peeling or dryness. It just gradually faded.
Not using sunscreen I have been darker even in winter. You may remember that I am not a fan of "tanning", but this looked very natural and subtle. Still like me and not like I am trying to be darker than I naturally am :).
My Vitamin D levels also have been doing fine. They have been low in the past.
All my henna had grown out after almost 4 years. I had natural colored hair at tailbone length. Now I also know exactly how it takes me to grow to TBL :))
My acne worsened, though I felt like a day in the sun really made it a bit better. We went to the pool often, to get Aodhan into liking water :). He had a lot of fun. I swam with my hair down too. For one it is just fun and I was also trying to see how my hair color will lighten now that all the henna was gone. My intention was for the ends to look lighter as the rest. And it really did lighten, I was happy with the result and you can see a very gradual, natural looking "ombre" type of effect (I personally think bleached ombre looks to harsh most of the time, I like naturally lightened hair)
My hair started to shed again, I concluded it might be due to my son's nursing strike in April. It would fit the "3 month" time frame.
I long had a suspicion that my skin problems may actually be yeast related, so after home remedies did not bring any bettering at all, I went to a doctor and got a prescription for an anti fungal cream.
The anti fungal cream made my acne disappear within 2 weeks, no kidding. It was like my freakin skin was being "reborn". Old layers of dry flaky skin peeled off, and what appeared underneath was as soft as a baby's butt. It was almost a shock to me seeing the transformation and to this day I sometimes try to avoid looking in the mirror because I somehow have that fear of acne in the back of my head.
I was left with red marks, small purple scars and broken blood vessels however, and developed a plan to help my skin heal (which I posted just a few days ago).
I was trying to stay positive during yet another hair loss episode. But because I was a little frustrated, I decided to shorten my hair to just hip length, hoping that thinning would be less apparent at a shorter length.
I got some blood work done which was supposedly great according to my doctor, so I did not bother picking up the results.
As you know I did not like my hair at the shorter length. It was harder doing certain updos ( I did not have enough length for certain buns I like) and it felt like an awkward length to me. I decided to grow it back to TBL without any trims and see how that goes. It is always good to be able to experiment.
I was still trying to figure out a good dose for my hormonal adjustment. I was taking one tablet of DIM a day and still experiencing slight PMS. After adding milk thistle again, I had perfect periods. I have been on this dose since then and don't intend to change it anymore, because adjusting my hormones over and over again can also cause hair loss. My skin was healing up well and I was able to stop using foundation.
I also noticed that the little fine hairs on my face started growing back. I never noticed I had lost my "facial hair"....you know the transparent peach fuzz women have? That is what I am talking about.
My was still amazingly soft, almost as soft as baby skin. I never noticed how bad it had gotten until I got to feel this softness.
My 31st Birthday! I was happy to see that overall I looked healthier and better than on many of my past birthdays :)
I was hoping for my shed to stop in october (3 months is the fastest hormones will regulate) but it didn't. Though it seemed that I had gotten past the peak phase (where you lose more hair than in the beginning and end of a hair loss phase), but my scalp was itching and I decided to start treating it for yeast too (with anti fungal cream and grapefruitseed extract), this gave me some bettering, but used up too much of my cream ($$) so I switched to Nizoral Shampoo (which I turned out to be allergic too).
I made a lot of money in fall selling knits online on three different sites, as well as locally, with altering and hemming some pants for locals here, and I also sold a few of my belongings, Ray Ban Sunglasses, a purse. So I was able to buy some things for everyone, toys and clothing for my son, my husband got himself something and I bought myself a FOSSIL purse (which was 145 Eur, so not something I can just buy).
I finally got the chance to pick up the test results and saw that they are actually NOT great. My doctors had completely ignored that my ferritin was only 23 (it needs to be above 70 if you lost hair due to low ferritin). My iron was around 60, but damn...this might have contributed to my hair loss all along. LUCKILY, I started taking ferrous iron supplements in September, to be sure it is not that. So if that was the cause (or a cause), it should see an improvement soon.
My hair loss had stopped for a little over a week, I was very happy. However, my son was sick again an refused to nurse. This time I bought a hand pump, but I was not able to pump much at all. I never responded much to pumps, and my son never had a bottle of pumped milk even...(which also means I wasn't able to go out for over a year until he ate more solids).
When he resumed nursing, my shedding started again. I really don't know if that caused the shed to continue for longer, or if it was just a coincidence.
It even got quite bad again and I was combing out balls of hair throughout the day.
To distract myself I picked up a hobby that I gave up when health issues first hit - Fashion. I am really not the typical fashion person, but I do enjoy putting together outfits and making the best out of my wardrobe by combining old and new. Due to leaving most of my belongings and clothing in New York a few years back, I really wasn't able to put many great outfits together.
I started collecting pictures of looks and blogging about them recently, and will share once I have collected a few more looks.
First time we went to a club (90's party haha) since 2010! I wasn't going when preggo, then I was a full time mom and only went to smaller events.
My hair had thinned by a lot. It was already a good deal thinner due to the late 2012 -early 2013 hair loss episode, so this time the thickness went down further than ever. My ponytail circumference dropped to 7.8 cm (7.5 in 2010) but my braid as a whole actually looks thinner than in 2010. Weirdly, my ends don't look all that much thinner, and so my hair looks fine when worn down. Not see through yet. It might seem thick atm, but it isn't, it is an illusion created by thicker ends! (I think I should really write about the power of taper in the future! ;))
My ponytail was already thickening up again.
The fashion thing was a lot of fun. I used to dress up more before I was pregnant. And I don't mean getting all done up...just putting more thought into an outfit, hair do, (Make Up) and accessories, combining clothing items in an interesting way, no matter if casual or dressy.
Especially since becoming a mom I started to dress down more, because the other moms are not into fashion and I felt I might be more like-able. I always had problems making female friends and did not want to give off the wrong impression.
But I wasn't happy dressing down, so now I am back to whatever...and I haven't lost too many friends yet. ;)
I enjoyed Christmas season and going to different fairs. The decorations are so beautiful and everyone is so cheerful during this cold and dark season (it gets dark at 4PM!). I love Christmas and I wish it would last much longer. My tree and decoration are going to be here for a little longer...it is still winter and it looks good, so whatever... ;)
PS: I got a new Camera for Christmas, so you know what that means!! :))
Plans for 2014
- Fine tune my health further
- Hoping I get to regrow my hair and won't shed
- Making better Videos and taking better pictures with my new camera
- Traveling, traveling, traveling
I really don't have too many plans, but it always works out. I will also have to go back to work (part time) since my 3 year maternity leave is running out. I'm glad I was able to be there for my son, but I am also looking forward to getting out a bit more. I will try to keep up making money online so we can have some extra cash too.