Waiting for the Weekend

As another week comes to a close I can say with absolute certainty that I have been counting the seconds to Friday since Monday. This has felt like a never-ending-week–and when you hope every day is Thursday all week, you can imagine my disappointment!

Frank Melville Park - Setauket, NY

{Yes, those are turtles on that log!}

One highlight was visiting the Frank Melville Park in Setauket during my lunch break mid-week. The peaceful setting almost made me forget about the lengthy to-do list I had waiting for me when I returned to the office.

Now that the weekend is about to make its debut, I am looking forward to some much needed down-time – with no plans and nothing on the agenda except maybe a visit to the spa at Danfords Hotel and Marina (a mani/pedi never hurt anyone! ). Even though the 400+ emails currently sitting in my inbox will probably still be there on Monday, I am eagerly awaiting my well deserved quiet weekend.

Happy Friday!

Thyroid Thursday

Synthroid 112

Can you believe we are halfway through September and Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month? While awareness should take place every day, I hope all the articles, photos, and tweets I’ve shared have inspired you to get your neck checked and learn more about thyroid cancer (the ninth most common cancer in the United States according to thyca.org).

I wrote a post to celebrate my one-year thyroidversary back in June 2014 (you can read it here). Now that I am past the one-year mark, I thought I would share what I have learned going through a cancer diagnosis.

I was very fortunate that my cancer was found early and from the start I had a good team of doctors. I would advise anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer to get a second opinion before making any decisions. After I was diagnosed and had a consultation with an endocrinologist, I saw three surgeons. With each appointment I learned more about my diagnosis, asked questions related to the surgery and post-operative care, and took notes on how they treated me as a patient. When I finally decided to have surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College (after almost two months of research), I knew I made the right choice. I felt confident in my surgeon and the hospital. He explained the procedure at length to me and even gave me his email address in case I had any questions after the consultation.

My endocrinologist warned me, “Don’t turn your diagnosis into a ‘research project.'” Nevertheless, doing your homework and making sure you find the right doctor whom you feel comfortable with is critical. Also, being mentally and physically prepared to undergo surgery is important. I had initially scheduled my surgery for May 2013, but then postponed it by a month. My diagnosis so frightened me that I needed more time to process it all. By the time I went for my thyroidectomy in June, I felt informed and confident.

While the surgery and recovery went well, I did struggle at first with my Synthroid dose. I was put on 88 mcg before my surgery because I was also diagnosed with an underactive thyroid. After a few weeks on Synthroid, I began to feel sluggish, weak, and have stomach pain. I told my endocrinologist about my symptoms. To my surprise, he was not sympathetic and brusquely told me to see my primary care doctor.

After the operation, my surgeon increased my dose to 100 mcg to account for the fact that I no longer had any thyroid hormone. Weeks after my surgery my thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels were tested and my surgeon told me that everything looked good and that I should continue on the same dose. Later that same day, though, my endocrinologist called and said my levels were still too high and he wanted to increase my dose to 112 mcg. You can imagine my surprise and confusion after the call! For most of the year following my surgery I saw my surgeon regularly, seldom seeing my endocrinologist, and remained on 100 mcg of Synthroid. It wasn’t until April 2014 that I saw my endocrinologist, and again he advised me to increase my Synthroid dose to 112 mcg. After a tense conversation, I reluctantly conceded, more because I needed a new script than that I actually agreed with him. He explained that the higher dose was necessary to prevent the cancer from returning, but there were risks to being on a higher dose when it wasn’t required due to high TSH levels. I left his office that day upset, confused, and reluctant to take the higher dose of Synthroid.

As a rule, I have always preferred to take the least amount of medicine possible. While I understood why the endocrinologist believed a higher dose was necessary, the contrast between his and the surgeon’s interpretations of my blood results was frustrating. The former seems to be more concerned with surpressing the TSH to almost non-existent levels and less with how the patient feels on a certain dose. I haven’t noticed much difference in terms of increased energy levels on 112 mcg, and I must be candid: I prefer to be on a lower dose.

In the end, after speaking with many thyroid cancer survivors, I have learned the importance of finding the right endocrinologist–one who will listen to your concerns and frustrations and not base their recommendations solely on numbers– because as a survivor you will be dependent on them for prescriptions, and even more importantly, on their knowledge and guidance for future care.

Fall Pairings

Is it too soon to be pining for the warm, summer months? After two days of chilly (highs in the low 70’s, which felt much cooler) fall weather and having to break out the sweaters during the day and comforter at night, I am sorely missing those nice sunny days. I’m sure the grey, cloudy (and let’s not forget rainy!) weather isn’t helping any. Has anyone else noticed the days slowly getting shorter? Yes, fall brings the return of some of my favorites – riding boots, long coats, pumpkins (and pumpkin lattes!), apple picking, chunky sweaters – and makes me feel like it is okay to stay in pajamas all day while snuggling up with magazines on the cozy couch. But I am not ready to say goodbye to my summer staples!

In an effort to extend a few summer looks, I’m breathing new life into my signature dresses by pairing them with blazers, tights, and boots this season.

Fall Pairings

{H&M dress & Anthropologie sweater}

Fall Pairings

{Banana Republic dress & H&M blazer}

Fall Pairings

{Banana Republic sweater dress & Franco Sarto riding boots}

Working on the Workspace – Part II

Working on the Workspace - Part II

Ceiling light

Light bulb lamp
$485 – alexanderandpearl.co.uk

Contemporary lighting
$205 – outthereinteriors.com

Eiffel tower table lamp
$45 – target.com.au

Wool area rug

Square area rug

Interior wall decor
$120 – bonanzamarket.co.uk

Black furniture

Computer desk

My lofty goal of having my home office completed by end of summer may have been slightly ambitious. In an effort to speed up the process, I have decided to put a few of my favorite items, and some from my wish list, together to serve as much needed inspiration. During a late-night Target run last week I managed to pick out a rug, similar to the ones I’ve been eyeing for a while and those shown in this post. Now that I have the desk (the glass L-shaped desk shown in the post is my actual desk circa three years ago) and the rug, I feel like I can finally start to work on the decor. While I would love to have a glass chandelier hanging from my office, I doubt that will become a reality…but a girl can dream!

A Closet Full of Nothing to Wear

Fall Wardrobe Organization

Let’s be honest. We all have those mornings where hitting the snooze button on the alarm clock five times in a row is so much easier than trying to get out of bed on time. If you are anything like me, you probably spend way too much time calculating the last precise second of precious sleep you can enjoy before you need to wake up…or risk being extremely late for work!

This week was just one of those weeks for me. I felt exhausted from the minute I woke up each morning, and even extreme amounts of Starbucks and espresso were not enough to do the trick. On top of that, despite many shopping trips and closets and dressers brimming to the brink of explosion, I found myself wrestling every day with the same old nagging dilemma. What am I going to wear? We all have those moments, right? In my defense, this question seems harder to answer now that the mornings are chilly, but by 10 am the fall sweater I thought was a good idea seems completely unnecessary. This is the reason why summer is my favorite season – a light, colorful dress and you are good to go!

Since I seem to be struggling lately with my wardrobe, I have decided to use this weekend to take inventory of items in my closet that I no longer wear, don’t want to wear, will work for fall, or won’t use again until next summer. Needless to say, I think some organization is in order. Hopefully this well-intentioned (and much needed!) project won’t send me running to The Loft or H&M in need of new fall essentials!

Wish me luck!

Thyroid Thursday

Scarfies4Thyca - Thyroid Cancer Awareness

Have you taken a “scarfie” for thyroid cancer awareness? During my trip to the beach last weekend I thought it would be the perfect place to take my Scarfies 4 Thyca. This effort to raise awareness, started by a group of thyroid cancer survivors, is simple. Take a “selfie” wearing a scarf ( = “scarfie”) and tag the photo #scarfies4thyca. That’s all you have to do! You can post the photo to your wall and tag your friends to take a “scarfie” to help raise awareness for regular neck checks and early detection. For more information about Scarfies 4 Thyca, visit their Facebook page (Scarfies 4 Thyca) and follow them on Twitter (@scarfies4thyca).

Last Friday, in honor of Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month, I had my neck checked by my Ear, Nose and Throat specialist. He was happy to perform the exam. After feeling from the front of my neck, and moving his fingers up and down the base of my neck, he said everything felt good and that I should continue to follow up with my endocrinologist regarding my Synthroid levels.

Here is a short YouTube video showing you how to perform a neck check at home and an article from Glamour Magazine about thyroid cancer:

How To Do A Thyroid Neck Check Self-Exam. (YouTube.com)

5 Things Every Woman Should Know About Thyroid Cancer. (glamour.com)

Looks I Love

Looks I Love

Darling petite blouse

Deletta brown top

Temperley London red wool jacket
$1,135 – temperleylondon.com

John Richmond dark blue blazer
$1,015 – yoox.com

Paige Denim skinny jeans
$270 – julesb.co.uk

Lee skinny jeans
$120 – johnlewis.com

Athleta activewear

Just Female print pencil skirt
$44 – zalando.co.uk

Tory Burch flat

Rosantica magnet jewelry

Athleta loop scarve

September’s Surprise

West Neck Beach

Just when I thought my beach days were over for 2014, September delivers two beautiful, sunny days for me to enjoy! I am happy to report that I took full advantage of both days – spending time in the sun, catching up with a friend, and remembering how much fun it is to get caught in the rain at the beach.

This weekend was exactly what I needed to prepare for a busy upcoming week. I’ve always found a day at the beach to be calming, and this weekend was no exception. On Saturday, the humidity broke by mid-afternoon, but it still felt more like August than September. Although the beach was not as crowded as usual, plenty of people came out to soak up the sun. The water was warm, but the small waves in the bay were indicative of a storm brewing. I used the time to take some of my last photos of West Neck Beach for the season.

West Neck Beach 2

West Neck Beach 3

West Neck Beach 4

Around 4 p.m., the sky changed from a light blue to pink, and then grey. The once sunny, hot day turned dark and cool in a matter of minutes. It has been many years since I’ve gotten caught in a storm at the beach, but as the first rain drops fell I was reminded of running for cover under the boardwalk in Long Beach as a child. The rain lasted mere minutes, but it was enough to send people fleeing to their cars. By the time I collected my belongings, the beach was empty. The sky began to return to its beautiful summer glory, but I was ready to say goodbye to West Neck.

West Neck Beach 5

West Neck Beach 6

Sunday was equally beautiful, although cooler. It was the perfect day to get in one last stand-up paddle boarding session in Port Jefferson harbor. Despite all the activities going on in Port Jeff, the water was calm and quiet. The perfect way to spend a morning. After paddle boarding (if you’ve been paying attention, you might know what’s coming!) brunch at Sweet ‘n’ Savory was next. I had worked up an appetite and only a cannoli crêpe would suffice!

Happy Monday!

Delicious Delights

Happy Friday, my friends! I hope everyone enjoyed the four-day work week and spent a little time taking in these nice September days. The weather here was a perfect blend between hot summer and cool fall – all in a span of five days.

Although this week left me struggling to keep track of the days (thanks to Monday being a holiday), I can clearly remember all the great food I sampled.

Sweet or Savory? Decisions…decisions!

Sweet n' Savory

{Sunday – Sweet ‘n’ Savory, Port Jefferson, N.Y.}

Did someone say cheese?

C'est Cheese - Port Jefferson, NY

C'est Cheese - Port Jefferson, NY2

{Tuesday – C’est Cheese, Port Jefferson, N.Y.}

Summer’s still kickin’

Summer Fruits

{Wednesday – afternoon snack}

Afternoon delight!

Red Velvet Donuts

{Thursday – Red Velvet Donuts}

Thyroid Thursday

To honor Thyroid Cancer Awareness, during the month of September there will be a new series, Thyroid Thursday, posted each week. Topics will include how to perform neck checks, what to know about thyroid cancer, and how to promote awareness.

Thyroid Cancer Awareness

Image courtesy of ThyCa (www.thyca.org)

On April 2, 2013 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. According to the Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association and the American Cancer Society, approximately 60,220 people in the United States were diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2013 (62,980 people will be diagnosed in 2014). I never expected to be part of that statistic at age 26. One month earlier, during my annual visit to my gynecologist, the doctor performed a complete physical as part of the routine visit. During a neck exam, he felt a lump on my thyroid. That discovery caught me off-guard; I had no particular symptoms and had been healthy. Nonetheless, my doctor recommended that I have blood taken, a neck ultrasound, and he referred me to an endocrinologist…. You can read my full story here.

Here are some informative links from ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association. Please visit their website: http://www.thyca.org

Top 10 Things to Know About Thyroid Cancer

How to Perform a Neck Check

Thyroid Cancer is NOT a “Good” Cancer