picture: Marlies Nindl  rider: Berber Semmelink

It definitely depends on how you look at it.. It has been easier to accept, knowing that the snow layer would not be very trustable. Deep powder and flat faces are not really my thing either. My body felt slow and stiff after a week with a nasty cold, couldn’t imagine having fun in the woods either. Well, that’s how I managed to tell myself to look forward spending my time with doctors appointments on the first real Blue Bird Powder Monday of season 2015/2016. Yes, stick that needle in, I want to know how I am doing !
It all started in October 2013, after an incredible impact in my private life, I got dead-ill. Accumulative Hyperthyroidism – my thyroid gland got hyperactive and completely out of control.
I refused to acknowledge I was ill for a few months, until I completely collapsed during the FWQ 2* in Verbier, Jan. 2014.
This is when it started… fighting my way through as a long term patient.
First I was diagnosed with a depression.. Well ok I was definitely feeling depressed and Anxious as I lost a scary lot of weight in a few weeks, my heart rate was way to high so I haven’t been able to sleep properly for weeks, my muscles were hurting and cramping constantly, I could’t see well and had stomach and headaches 24 hrs. I was absolutely burned out!! Exhausted myself, by refusing to accept I had all these symptoms, since 4 months. Of course I was a wreck, but I knew I was not mentally ill. I refused to take the prescribed medicine and went back to get a more fitting diagnose. Unfortunately I was send home with a shoulder padding and a :’Give it two weeks and you’ll feel so much better‘ …  so I started to do research with Lab results of my blood tests I had.
It didn’t take long until I found the first threat to the disease with had all the symptoms described occurred,  that I had.. So back to my doc. : ‚ Oh, yes that could be.. Here are some meds. You’ll feel better soon!‘  So I got the meds and two days later I had a rash all over me, my eyes were so badly swollen I couldn’t open them anymore. So I went back to my doc. : ‚Hmm but if you react allergic to the meds we have a problem as there are no other meds to help you!‘  But smart as I am I was able to tell him there are more ‚brands‘ that produce Thyroid gland inhibitory meds. My ex-doc got out his medical encyclopedia and looked it up. ‚ Ah okay, well then we take the drops.. I never prescribed them before so take 5 in the morning, 5 at night with water.‘  The biggest drama was at the drugstore.. ‚Sorry but we don’t have the medicine‘ I cried my heart out in the middle of the drugstore. Some SOS pastilles and a pack of tissues, was what I took home.
I started to do further research in the wwweb again and read about the drops I got prescribed. ‚ Caution, if thyroid gland is swollen these medicines are dangerous! ‚  Well no one ever had a look at my thyroid so no one knows if it is swollen…
The next day I organized an appointment to get an ultrasound done. Clearly swollen… The doctor was very friendly and suggested a new doctor with more experience with thyroid patients. Dr. Otto Dobretsberger did not waste any time, 3 Hours later I had medicine prescribed by a Chief Senior Physician of the thyroid clinic in Schwarzach-AT.  I felt taken serious and finally helped! But he warned me ‚ This will not be healed in two weeks, if ever. Please prepare yourself for a longer journey.. ‚
After going through more thoroughly tests in the thyroid clinic a week later, I was diagnosed with the Graves disease in a very severe current status. I was prescribed to a very high dosis of inhibitory meds (prothiucil) and to prevent the risk of heart damage I was put on a high dose of beta blockers. (as resting pulse was 145bpm!!!) Can you imagine how I felt. Well.. the worst message was pumping my heart rate over 200bpm : ‚Unfortunately you are not allowed to do sports or change altitude.. you have to take bedrest for the next 7 weeks and are not allowed to go up the mountain!‘
So, I didn’t take the bedrest but I did slow down and instead of working on the mountain I did a lot of work in the children’s area of a skischool, down in a valley.
I had to fight my way through every single day, trying everything to improve my health with only very little results. Every day has been a fight.. so much pain, horrible side effects of the meds, not able to carry my own body..  Existential fears.. losing any joy in life.. Thoughts and feelings about wanting to die.. This auto immun illness was literally killing me from the inside.
This went on for a whole year.. until my blood tests finally showed some improvement. I couldn’t have been happier! It straight away gave me confidence again but as usual I dream ‚big‘ really fast and normally way to fast.. But it was nice to get hope back, even if the monthly blood tests were very devastating again after a fall back. They happened every few months..
I already tried to change a lot in my diet, no more ‚warming‘ fruits and veggie, NO SALT at all!! , no legumes etc. I also cleansed my intestines and build the flora up again, stopped using any products with aluminium (suncream, deodorant, shampoos) and drank NO ALCOHOL at all!! made cooling drinks, supplied myself with extra magnesium and Vitamin D and on and on.. Next to these changes I looked into myself very deeply. I have been working on my soul and person, taking more care of myself.. Picking up old hobbies, like singing, drawing and writing. More meditational hours and breathing exercises to get a grip on my Anxious, unbalanced, stressed brain.                                                                             Step by step I managed to realize what was doing me good and what had to be eliminated from my life.
One of the good but very hard steps was to end my relationship.. after trying to end it 2 times before I finally managed to not go back, in Feb. 2015. I felt relieved from the first day on.. even if it had been a very unpleasant and hurting time. At the same time I had a problem which turned out to be one of the most positive things that happened to me in a long time.. : I didn’t have a place to stay … I was really exhausted from all the stress with my ex and homeless as I rented out my own place..                                                                           My plan to visit the Poederbaas Freeride Event 2015 was my solution. I already payed for accommodation so I went to the event. At location I decided to socialize instead of wining around.. I was motivated by some great people to just join the Freeride competition.. I had some awesome conversations, parties, skied a nice competition run, very easy going, without pressure… and WON!!
Such a blast, so much fun! Nothing better could have happened to me at that point.               3 weeks later I got a Wild Card for the FWQ3* in Kaprun.. During my hike up I was not sure what I was seeking there, on the first 75% of my ride down I had great fun again, the last 25% I had to stick it in.. But that taught me to not overdo it during competition.. and you know what!? I actually came 3rd !! My FighterSoul was fed with a lot of willpower again!
As I love to proof myself I decided to stand up and walk out of the Thyroid clinic in June 2015. They would not be able to get me to go through radiation on my thyroid!                         ‚ but.. we can’t operate as that could possibly be fatal in your case..‘   I didn’t think any of this would be the solution. I would not let them amputate a very important part of my system!! Neither through radiation or by cutting the gland out! I was convinced that I would get it under control with help of the meds, more time and working hard on myself. The risks of kidney and liver complications, because of the longterm use of the meds, I had to take for granted. Up to 18 months of usage are said to be the maximum. I say to myself : they give the meds this ‚expiry date‘ so they can not be sued for anything.. and, so they can go on with treatment, get rid of the Thyroid gland and create a patient who will need Thyroid hormones the rest of their lives ..$$ ..                                                                                                          I have extended the ‚expiry date‘ like I would do with my Yoghurt, up to today. I have not had any concerning lab results from my kidneys or liver. Of course I have kept a close eye on it !
My all over physical comfort improved over summer, everything started to stabilize. My mental health was so much better as my body was willing to not only carry me, it was willing to do training again! One big thing kept me from feeling very very good and positive: my work situation.. Due to very bad communication I felt stuck, disrespected and unable to enjoy work. I have tried to solve the problems for about 3 months but had to make the decision to resign. Since the first of December I have not got a job anymore and I was definitely not prepared for the winter season. BUT it has been one hell of a good decision to resign! The time and possibility to finally find inner calmness and make the last steps towards getting my thyroid to work properly again!
I had to be selfish a lot over the last 2+ years.. wasn’t able to keep friendships up as I had no energy and no interest. The only profit I had of being selfish was that I was able to grab the chance of healing myself and keep my existence up. All of the other side effects of being selfish are negative.. Like sitting at the doctors on a Blue bird powder day!
Last Monday the 19th. of Jan. 2016 I sat there with very mixed feelings. I was very curious about my results but scared at the same time. I was not feeling well for a while already and lost my inner calmness due to the lack of snow.. no snow, no work, no money.. My overall feeling was just not to good. It made me sad sitting there looking outside and having to miss out on this beautiful day. On the other side I was looking forward to the second blue bird powder day of the season, tomorrow.
Tuesday morning 8 o’clock and I make my phone call to hear the lab results. Otto had to swallow and told me he wants to see me in 3 weeks instead of 6 weeks, again. It scared me .. and then he started to tell me the results with an overjoyed sound in his voice. ‚Berber, this is incredible, you have made the biggest step! Looks like you proved yourself! You are close to having healthy blood values and we can soon start to slowly take you of medication!‘
This blue bird powder monday was worth leaving out. With the winter finally here and these amazing results after a very long journey, I feel like re-born ! I had the best second blue bird powder day of my life !
picture : Marlies Nindl  rider: Berber Semmelink


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