Friday News Update

I've struggled writing this piece, not really sure how to begin or end. I really enjoy writing this blog, sharing ideas with all of our readers and learning even more from the entire process, as well as all of the feedback. A lot of people email me with their thoughts, questions or suggestions. Many people forward me articles for the news digest. This is all so kind and I'm overwhelmed at times with the tremendous interest and enthusiasm people have for Strong Towns. Thank you, everyone.

I've had a little Minnesota guilt the past couple of months because I have not been able to keep up with all of the stuff sent to me. I don't want to disrespect anyone, but I've quite literally physically had a hard time getting back to people. I actually became worried because writing the blog was increasingly taking up a lot more of my time than it had in the past, not to mention doing the other work we are doing here as well as my full-time job at Community Growth Institute and, of course, I'm a husband and dad to some awesome girls.

Well, last week I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. This is actually great news, because for many months I have felt myself physically (and mentally) deteriorating but was not really able to fully comprehend what was happening. Like the proverbial frog in ever-warming water, the symptoms kind of crept up. Having a diagnosis, especially for something that is such a common ailment and so easily treated and managed, is a relief.

I'm not a doctor, but this is what I gather. Hypothyroidism is a disorder in your thyroid, which regulates metabolism. In the hypo-version, things slow down like your body is trying to hibernate. The symptoms I had were mostly joint and muscle pain, really severe headaches, a detached mental state and - most debilitating - extreme fatigue.

I'm a guy that runs on four or five hours of sleep fairly routinely. Over the last two months I was getting ten or more hours a night and still having problems staying awake during the day. It is funny to think now that my assumption this summer was that I was just getting older and needed to slow down. For crying out loud - 37 is not old, no matter how many Mt. Dews one drinks (and I have cut down a lot).

Anyways, I have a prescription now and things seem to be going well. I am definitely feeling better, although knowing what it is has made me a little less resistant to the effects. Instead of fighting the fatigue and then falling asleep with my computer open on my lap, I'm giving in, shutting it down and heading to bed when tired. I've read that it takes up to a couple of months to get everything right, but I'm optimistic after this week that it will not be nearly that long.

Hypothyroidism is very common and the drug they have given me is the only medication I have ever seen that says on the label that there are no side effects. I'll bet it really pained some attorney to write that, actually. My writing all this here is certainly not to solicit any sympathy (please, no) but more to clear my guilt and let all the kind people that have emailed, tweeted, messaged and texted me know why I have been really slow on the response.

While I'm at it, I'm just going to again say thank you. Since the year started, our regular readership has grown by a multiple of twenty. WOW! I appreciate everyone who has talked about what we are doing, has spread the word to others, participated with us on Facebook and Twitter, etc.. We're attracting a lot of great attention thanks to you.

And additional gratitude to Justin, who has had to do some extra editing here with my decreased mental awareness (not to mention carry the load with the day-to-day work). Thanks for letting me sleep in the car on our way to meetings and site visits. I'm fortunate to work with such kind people.

Strong Towns is a big part of the answer to many of the problems that confound policymakers here in America. Let's all continue to do what we can to build Strong Towns.


P.S. Last night we had our first Curbside Chat and it was awesome! I can't wait to share the content with all of you.