An Open Letter to My Thyroid Doctor

DSC_0007I am almost 10 years out from having thyroid cancer, yet this last year has been like the first.  I have more half used bottles of medication than I care to have in my cabinet. I have wasted countless dollars on co-payments just so you can tell me “the dose I wrote the script for last time is no longer working so you’ll have to get another prescription filled?”  Really??? Do you treat your other patients with the same lax level of care as you treat me?

Last week I came to you because I know my body and I know when it is off.  After I weighed in considerably heavier than my visit several weeks back, you had the audacity to tell me my weight wasn’t that bad.  How about you let me, my knees, lower back and the rest of my joints be the judge of that.  Then you proceeded to pepper me with your standard list of questions about my eating habits, whether I worked out, and if I was taking my medicine on an empty stomach every morning 30 minutes before eating.  Remember the part about being 10 years out??? I have been dealing with this for a long time so I am insulted when you insinuate that I am the reason why my body is betraying me yet again.

But I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt.  I humbly asked to take you up on your offer to see a nutritionist  who, by the way, can’t even see my until a month from now.  You obliged all the while writing what you really thought in my chart.  Guess you didn’t think I actually read the notes you put on my summary document because if you did, then you clearly wouldn’t have written “obesity due to excessive caloric intake.” Wait…what???? Did you even listen to me as I poured my heart out to you about all the other symptoms I am experiencing in addition to weight gain?   The dry skin, increased anxiety, mood changes, sleeplessness, hoarseness, etc. Yeah, you halfheartedly ordered more blood work but your notes tell me you didn’t believe me.  Your disbelief tells me you don’t really care.

I just wish you would be honest and tell me “I don’t know” or “I am at a loss for what to do for you.”  I could respect that more.  What I don’t respect is you not hearing me and you allowing your bias to assume that I am my problem.  No, not having my thyroid anymore is the problem.  The meds I have to take to keep my cancer away is the problem.  You assuming that bad habits are contributing to my situation is the problem.

Well, in spite of all your training and medical degrees I decline to be subjected to your ego any further.  You may be an expert in some things but you are by far no expert in me.

Sincerely,

A Thyroid Cancer Survivor Who Has Had Enough.

 

Photo Credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/67923086@N02/6306512682″>02_2 free UseAsDirectedMedBottle</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

 

 

Visibly Invisible

24697474723_892242a450_nFor most of my career I have worked in corporate America and for most of my career there has been one constant…I have never permanently worked under or reported to a leader of color.  I also have yet to be on a team where there were more than a handful of people of color within my immediate working circle.  What’s the issue?

Everyone seems to love to talk about and tout diversity and inclusion efforts.  But I wonder how much of that is pomp and circumstance as opposed to true effort and intentional execution of a meaningful strategy. From where I sit, there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of diverse talent within organizations.  There is, however, a shortage of diverse leaders at the top of organizations.

Now before I go any further, I want to be clear.  When I reference “diversity” or “people of color” I am not limiting my sentiments to African Americans.  Diversity issues vary based on the industry or situation.  Any number of people from  protected classes can rightfully argue that they are not truly given a fair chance at having a seat at the top.  So what do we do?

I have observed many of my peers choose to leave situations where the likelihood of promotion or success was slim to none in comparison to their counterparts.  For some it has worked well and they have been able to rise to the levels of senior and executive management.  But what about those who are left behind?

Talking about diversity in some ways is almost as taboo as talking about ones mental health status or sexual orientation.  As a matter of fact, in some instances I think people would rather tackle those issues than the issue of diversity or lack thereof. If you’re impacted and have strong feelings about your position and potential in a seemingly non-diverse leadership environment, you dare not speak up for fear you will kill your career. The only option, it seems, is to remain visibly invisible.

HR knows you’re there.  Executive leadership knows you’re there.  You know you’re there. Everyone can see you clearly when you sit at certain levels in the organization.  It’s when you aspire to achieve those high level leadership roles that  you, your potential and opportunities for success become faded until it feels like you are invisible.  When those roles or opportunities become available, it is as if no one sees you or wants to see. So what do you do?

In his book, Originals, Adam Grant talks about the four options for handling a dissatisfying situation: exit, voice, persistence and neglect (p.79). In the context of navigating while being visibly invisible, exit is the simplest remedy – you leave and go where you have a greater potential to achieve higher level roles.  Voice is  a little more challenging because it means “actively trying to improve the situation” (p.79), i.e. not only identifying the problem but coming to the table with potential solutions. Persistence is just dealing with it.   In my mind this is synonymous with acceptance – it’s always been this way and it will never change but as long as I do my best, I can deal with it. Last but not least there is neglect which means you stick it out while slowly giving less and less.  Whether there is a right or wrong response can be debated but when you are trying to effectuate change, the most effective one is voice.

Think about a ship at sea.  As it sails through the fog, you may not see it but as it nears land or another vessel you will certainly hear the horn signaling its approach.  The same can be true while navigating thru visible invisibility.  You speak up.  You clear the fog of bias and stereotypes and you voice your concerns. Easier said than done, I know, but not impossible.  One thing you must do is never give up.  As difficult as it is to imagine that,  in 2016, people are still not being afforded equal opportunities, staying visibly invisible and silent won’t solve the problem, it only adds to it.

Source:

Grant, A. (2016). Originals: How Non-Comformists Move the World. New York: Penguin Random House.

photo credit:<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/101440531@N06/24697474723″>meeting_in__the_mist_6D3566</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

 

 

I Did It – Food Prep Success!

I’m a little late posting but wanted to circle back to share that I did successfully prep all of my food for the week.  It was a long tedious process but oh so worth it.  For anyone reluctant to invest the time and energy into doing, I say do it.  the 3 hours spent on Sunday is saving me so much time during the week.  It’s easier to stick to my eating plan and to spend less time in the kitchen and more time living!photogrid_1458521468558.jpg

Planning to Succeed – Meal Prepping

24550301721_6cec73c36f_nLast week was a complete and total nutritional nightmare for one reason, and one reason only…I did not plan out my meals.  I had to travel for business so I assumed my eating would be “off” so I gave no thought to planning how to stay on track.  Bad, bad, bad I know.  I reasoned that once I got home Wednesday I would resume my mindful eating habits only to find that my fridge was on the fritz so all of my healthy food – GONE!!!  I don’t need to finish the rest of the story because we all know how it ends…with fast food too many calories and disappointment.  Where is the willpower????

So this week I decided I wanted to get back to being deliberate about what I am putting in my body.  As I was watching the latest episode of Fit to Fat to Fit, something the trainer said resonated with me.  He hadn’t eaten “junk” in 22 years because he used food as fuel not as a reward or for satisfaction.  Interesting????  I have heard that before but this time, it really resonated with me.  Why? Because I noticed that lately, food has been my go to for everything!  When I am having a bad day, I eat.  When want to celebrate a professional accomplishment, I eat.  When I feel like being lazy, eat.  When I talk on the phone with my bestie, we talk about eating.  Something has to change.  I have to change.

So, I decided to make a small investment into changing.  I ordered Pakkon 3 Compartment Bento Boxes. 20160319_121136.jpg   I like the fact that they have three compartments so I can choose to incorporate my fruits into a meal without having to worry about the savory parts of my meal messing up the taste.  I also like the fact that they are stack-able so they should fit nicely in my fridge.  Now all I have to do is plan out what to put in them and I will be well on my way with meal planning.

I have often heard the saying “Fail to plan, plan to fail.”  I definitely lived that this week and am taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  My health and well-being are very important and I am confident that I am headed in the right direction.  More pics to come once I fill those boxes with healthy eats!

 

Photo Credit:

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/23837066@N07/24550301721″>fruits colors</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

If not now…when?

In 2006 when I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, I just knew that would be the push I would need to be more aware of my health and to make better decisions – eat healthier, work out more, etc. Fast forward to 10 years later and the struggle is still very real and my attempts to stay the course of being more mindful about my health and wellness have come and gone like the wind.

I corrupted my family too. Fatty fried foods, carbohydrate laden side dishes and no green vegetables on the plate unless they were cooked and smothered beyond recognition became the norm. But as they say, you can’t out exercise a poor diet and I am living proof of the trueness of that statement. Tired of being confused as to why I am exercising but not seeing results, I decided for once I was going to make a change.

PhototasticCollage-2016-03-11-22-06-19So, I started drinking Shakeology. Best decision ever. Then I decided I would reboot by doing the 3 Day Refresh. The results were wonderful. After 3 days I was down 6 pounds and lost more than 5 inches total. I immediately followed the Refresh with 21 Day Fix and it was another great decision. I learned that with a little prep, eating right is possible. I also learned that you don’t have to spend hours in the gym every day to see results. Just a little consistency each day coupled with eating right and the results will come. But most importantly, I learned that the physical transformation is just the icing, the mental transformation…now that’s the cake.

Fast forward to today and I have more energy. I genuinely feel good in the mornings because I know I am taking positive steps to improve my health and well-being. For me, it’s not about a number on the scale. Rather it is about the personal satisfaction I get from knowing I am doing something for me and that this time, I am sticking to it.

So what about you? Are you tired of going through the same old routine and never seeing results? Are you looking for simple ways to improve your diet? Perhaps you struggle with meal planning and want someone to help guide you? If this sounds like you, please send me a private message so we can connect. I am hosting an accountability challenge starting Monday March 28 and I am looking for 5 people who are ready to make a commitment to improve their health and well-being. I promise to support you along the way. In fact, we will support each other. This is as much my journey as it is yours. Ask yourself – If not now, when? Send me an email at jebspinder@gmail.com if you are interested so we connect on how we can help each other.

My Transformation – Why?

I am so overwhelmed by the outpouring of support since announcing my decision to invest in my health and well-being as a coach. I am amazed at the encouragement and votes of confidence I have received from many!

Now you might be wondering why someone who is currently enjoying a measure of success and satisfaction from her “day” job is doing this.  I’ll tell you… They are pictured here.PhotoGrid_1457661076430.jpg

My beautiful daughters and the circle of lovely women I am a part of. The last year has been a struggle physically and emotionally. I leaned on my support system,  asking them to give me more than I was willing to give myself. All of the neglect I heaved on my body…i knew it was time for a change. And I realized that the same way I can inspire others with my words,  I should be inspiring them with my deeds. I want to be here and to be healthy for my girls. I want to set the example that no matter what you should never neglect yourself and you should never neglect to help others along the way!

 

Thursday March 10, 2016 – “Say Hello”

Good morning!  I am in an exceptionally good mood this morning!  Woke up early, had a delicious #Shakeology shake for breakfast (Cafe’ Latte is the best), and meditated for a few minutes to clear my mind.  The forecast calls for summer like weather today so I am looking forward to a mid-morning walk around the neighborhood to soak up the sun.

Now for the real reason I am writing this morning. I am back to share today’s #HappyActs and it is a good one – I will say good morning to 3 strangers.

3.10.16This is a good one.  I generally don’t have an issue with saying “hello” to strangers.  Growing up in a rural area, it was just something you did.  You didn’t have to truly know a person to greet them.  If they lived in your town, they were your neighbors whether you saw them everyday or once in a while.  When I worked in the city, I was initially appalled at how “rude” people appeared to be – as if raising one’s hand and saying “hello” was such a chore.

I also notice a lack of cordiality in my corporate home office every time I visit.  The main hallway is very wide and a number of people stroll through at any given moment during the day.  I laugh as I think about the “wall-huggers.”  You know, those people who look like they would rather hug the wall than make eye contact for fear they may be obligated to say something to you.  Who knew something so simple strikes fear in so many?

Even though I work from home, I am going to take a trip to a local store and find 3 people to say “good morning” to.  This is a good exercise because you never know when your friendly hello and smile will be just the lift someone needed to have a great day!  For tips on how to accomplish this and other #HappyActs, please visit happyacts.org

Source & Photo Credit:

http://www.happyacts.org/events/2016/3/10/i-will-say-good-morning-to-3-strangers