Two weeks ago, I gave up coffee.
Or rather, I gave up caffeinated coffee. I bought some ethical, organic, non-chemically decaf espresso so I didn't have to give up my beloved lattes completely.
I love coffee. I love the taste. I love the smell. I love the ritual. I love making coffee. I love trying different coffees. I love going for coffee. I love how coffee makes me feel.
But coffee doesn't love me. Well, caffeine doesn't love me.
Science alert! We have four parathyroid glands. They are located directly behind the thyroid gland and they (along with the hormone calcitonin) are responsible for regulating the calcium levels in our blood and within our bones. They're small (like, grain of rice small) and they're often damaged during thyroid surgeries. After my two surgeries, I have one and a half(ish) parathyroid glands left. I also don't have any calcitonin. Calcitonin is one of the hormones produced by the thyroid. Synthetic thyroid hormone replacement doesn't replace calcitonin (don't even get me started on synthetic thyroid hormone replacement. It sucks. I have many nasty words to say about synthetic thyroid hormone replacement therapy. Another time.)
And I'm breastfeeding.
Damaged / removed parathyroid glands, no calcitonin, lactating. My calcium levels have hovered just above or just below the red zone for the last 18 months. I have been warned that if my levels don't improve, the next step will be heading to the hospital for 6-hour calcium infusions.
I wasn't drinking a lot of coffee but I was drinking too much. And I was in denial. My doctor would ask about my caffeine intake and I'd say "but I only drink one or two coffees per day!" Withholding the information that my first coffee of the day was always a triple espresso.
I'm not saying that caffeine is the root of my calcium problems but it definitely contributed to my body's difficulty at absorbing the calcium I need. (Fun fact: not only do I have crappy calcium levels, one of the medications I will take daily for the rest of my life increases my risk of osteoporosis. And! I have a family history of osteoporosis. And small bones. I'm low level panicking is what I'm saying.)
So I decided to cut out coffee cold turkey. The first five days were hell. I had the worst headache of my life. People told me it looked like I had hurt my back because I was walking like I was in extreme pain (I was in extreme pain! I gave up coffee! Worst! Pain! Ever!) And then it got better. The headache comes and goes but it's not all-consuming the way it was at first. Overall I feel like quitting coffee was a good thing. I've slept better in the last two weeks than I have in probably ten years.
I've started drinking a mug of black tea in the morning and it's not as satisfying as my morning latte but it will do. I'm hoping to find a black tea that I capital-L Love to replace my love for coffee (suggestions are welcome.) My goal is to stick to one caffeinated drink per day and stay away from caffeinated coffee completely because I reckon the first time I have a caffeinated coffee I will turn it up to eleven and drink all the coffee. All of it.
All this talk of coffee is making me miss it even more. Everything is terrible.