Interview: Ann-Christine Reimer

Photo credit: Gugge Zelander

Name: Ann-Christine Reimer

Where do you live: Limhamn/Malmö, Sweden

Known for:
My blog about thyroid diseases and hypothyroid (low metabolism) in particular, but I also write about rheumatism and rosacea. Two other diagnoses I happened to get ten years later. I am a very healthy person. I eat healthy, I have not had any meat or chicken in 35 years, I do not drink coffee or alcohol, I exercise, I sleep good, I am busy, but I do not live a stressful life and though I have been punished… And I forgot about my fingers and feet. I also have Raynauds. It goes with the rheumatism. My fingers and feet turn white when it is cold. But it does happen even at the office – every day.

My blog turns ten years in June. I do not exactly remember the first post, but certainly the first comment. Wow, somebody has found this and read it! Subjects on the blog are not amusing, but according to the amount of page views it is needed. To lighten it up I also have posts about healthy food and living, trips I make and other more personal stuff. I want to give hope to those who still are suffering.

My goal is to try to help other people in the same situation I was. It was like talking to a wall when I got sick. Two years went on before I got the diagnosis. Two years to get a diagnosis all doctors say is very easy diagnosis. Sounds strange in my ears. I had no understanding at all and I had to be my own doctor and fight as hell. It was awful, a complete nightmare. I though life was over.

Before I got sick I was more like a private person, I did not talk about myself so much, but from the very beginning I understood that this is something I really have to open my mouth about. Being open and talk about it makes the disease known. So many people are suffering from this and doctors are not willing to listen, to understand, to treat. In 2014 (figures for 2015 are not yet run) 417.849 patients where on a T4 medication – just in Sweden. Low metabolism is at the top of medication precribed. But a lot of people have to wait for years before they get medication. They are in hell. And sometimes medication does not work.

Writing has always been my cup of tea and I decided that I had to tell the world about my experience in the Swedish health care unit. And tell the world about what I had heard from other mistreated people. I have learned so much, I have met so many people and I see myself as a completely different person nowadays. I do understand that you can be tired inside out and that is no way you are able rest that awful feeling away. That I certainly did not understand before I got sick.

I have been in hell and now it is pay back time and one thing I could do is to listen to those people who still aren’t on the safe side. Or safe side, but my biggest fear is that I will be back in hell one day.

In April 2009 I got another medication and that was, and still is, heaven. But you cannot trust any medication completely, you have to do a lot yourself and in my case I try to live as healthy as possible. I stopped eating gluten two years ago and I quit everything that comes from the cow 2,5 years ago. No one needs any of it. They are both inflammatory ingredients in our food and as I have a whole bunch of diseases in that matter I got rid of it. And it is not a loss. And not difficult. Actually I quit gluten and cows because of rosacea. My face is like night and day now. I have always had a very good skin, but in March 2013 the rosacea struck me. I have cut chocolate too. And bananas. And cherries. They all triggers rosacea, at least in my face.

Nowadays I am into anti-inflammatory food like turmeric and ginger for example. I buy fresh turmeric in an Asian store and grater it on top of my oat meal for breakfast. Tooth brush gets YELLOW!

Even as a teenager. I was very interested in a healthy life. I was a long distance runner for fun for 25 years before I got the low metabolism (Hashimoto´s), now I am more into golf, spinning and yoga, but I like running in the summer. I have practiced Bikram yoga for the last three years. Not consistently, I have breaks during summer and when I was recovering from the rheumatism. Bikram yoga is practiced in a heated room (40,5 degrees) for 90 minutes. You sweat like hell, but it does something to you that get you into heaven for the next 36 hours. I do highly recommend it.

Currently working with:
Assistant to corporate management, keeping the business going, but work is a lot about marketing. I work for a company that mainly is in the crop protection business.

When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area?
I have been here for eight years. Before then I was also in the agricultural business and I do admire our farmers a great deal. They have great skills in a lot of things and without them world would be starving. They do a great work before we get food on our plates and that most people do not think about.

If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why?
I have been in many amazing and fun places, but I must say that Vancouver captured me at first sight. I was there first time in July 2010. My sister lives in Canada and I had got the airline ticket from my mother for my 40th birthday. A few years went on before I made the reservation but when I came there it was love at first sight.

Vancouver is nice and clean. I am a big fan of visiting the US, but Canadian people are more genuine. They are more down to earth, they are polite and helpful.

Vancouver is the most beautiful city I have visited. It is called City of Glass, and Downtown is amazingly green and the mountains, water, boats around it is breath taking. I once took the bus to Jericho Beach on the other side of Vancouver Downtown and there I had everything in one sight. People playing volleyball on the beach, the water (cold even in the summer), the ships and boats (Vancouver has a major Harbor), the skyscrapers in glass (you do have a lot of work as a window cleaner in Van) and then the mountains with snow on top. It absolutely blow me away and I can hardly talk about it without getting tears in my eyes. I might go back this summer for the third time. Second time was in September 2014 celebrating my 50th birthday. After a week in Van I jumped on a flight to Honolulu for another week in Oahu and that was also something to write home about.

Different blogs from different trips (see my blog) started with the “birthday trip” to Vancouver, Kelowna and San Francisco in 2010. I thought Mom should get updates live at her computer back home in Burseryd, Småland, and not wait for three weeks until I was back as she paid for the airline ticket.

I travel on my own and I enjoy it. I get to do whatever I want, when ever I want and if I feel tired because of my thyroid problems I can relax and do not have to feel responsible if I am not as fast as I usually am. But I do not have any big problems with my thyroid any more. And for that I thank some one up there every single day.

How would you describe your creativity?
I had no idea I was a creative person before I was hired to return to a company I worked for as a secretary dealing with the administration of the internal education. I returned there after 18 months at Malmoe Congress Bureu to launch the Intranet. Internet was almost in its infancy by that time and I was asked to return as I was fast, could write and spell and I also knew all the people in the company since I had been there for five years at my first engagement. I also got to do ads, leaflets, folders and that was all completely new to me. And fun!

How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner?
This is answered in other questions.

What do you do at the moment?
Projects are many – I want to be better in everything I do. Golf for example. Last year I did not get to play much because of the weather. To cold, to windy, to rainy – to much of everything except sunshine. Goal was getting down to hcp 20, but I am still at 23 so goal of 20 is renewed.

Another goal is to learn Spanish. I started this fall. I studied Spanish in school, but that is ancient history. I do think a lot of my retirement (many years ahead), but I am always at the front …I do not believe I will live in Sweden for the rest of my life. It is too cold and dark between October and March. If I learn Spanish now and keep it up with trips there once in a while I do not have to deal with language when I retire – I can spend the days on the golf course instead. I have a trip planned to Madrid for Easter. It is included in my personal Spanish education so to speak.

What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you?
That keypad works well so I can type as fast as I want. I started out as a secretary and I am fast. And I want my workplace to be clean and tidy. I cannot think in a messy environment with stuff all over. It kills my creative spirit instantly. Fortunately I am an extremely well organized person so there is never any mess to clean up.

What is your favorite film?
I am a kind of a movie freak, but I am not very good in remembering titles of books and movies. I would say Pretty Woman, but Mamma Mia! does bring joy into my life. I have seen the movie several times and the play 8 or 9.

If I may mention another genre I would say The Killing Fields. That movie is a piece of important history. I like movies that are based on true stories. James Bond is waste of valuable time. Science Fiction I would not watch even if I was invited.

Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why?
A historic person maybe. Or a historic living person like the former UN leader Kofi Annan. He seems to be a kind, decent person with common sense. It is a pity he still does not run the UN business. He certainly is needed.

How do you like to spoil yourself?
I like to go and have a thai massage, but I would not say that going there is spoiling myself. Right answer might instead be getting myself a ticket to Maui or Australia and the fanciest hotel in town. Those two can actually be combined – they are both on the other side of the Globe.

What is luxury for you?
A good health – the most important thing in the world.
But I do enjoy fancy hotels.

What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom?
I every now and then get compliments for my way of writing, a creative language. I am in love with characters. It fascinates me that you can put some oddities together and get something out of it. Words are power, it makes the world go round and I am very pleased that I “broke the code” early in my life. I am dependent on words. With words you can get what you want and move ahead. We need all kinds of people in the world, but I feel sorry for those who have not found the joy of words. That includes reading too. Reading a good book is first class relaxation.

Pics from my trips are also something that I get compliments for and of course my work for those who are suffering from a thyroid disease. About the pics from tips I want them to be used not just as a screen saver on my computer. How often do you have a look at your pictures in the computer? In 2014 I did my second cook book on This one is called Ann-Christine´s favorites in the vegetarian world. Recipes are all free from gluten and cow as well. I did it for myself, to keep my favorite recipes well organized, but I have sold a few though my blog as well. 2014 was a year of celebration as I turned 50 in September and the book is a memory of that year. Receipes are mixed with pictures and stories from my trips that year. As I turned 50 I gave myself a few trips around the word. It started during New Year in 2013/14 with a golf trip to Valle del Este south of Alicante in Spain and continued with a visit to New York in March. And then onto Tokyo in May (a new amazing city for me!) and in September/October I went to Vancouver and Honolulu/Waikiki/Oahu. The year ended with another golf trip to Fuerteventura. Golf did not turn out well, but the island has a really interesting nature.

Another way of using my pictures is to print them on canvas. In my bedroom I keep calm colours on the walls with pictures from giraffes, lions and other animals I was lucky to see on a visit to South Africa. I just love those! And in my living room I have a LARGE painting with a collage of pictures from all kinds of trips throughout the years. It is in black and white. The idea of this I got during one of my morning walks so that thought was a realistic one. It was difficult to bring it home from those who framed it though. It is 3 meters x 80 cm and I had to ask a friend who runs a construction business to bring it home in his van. And it did not go into the elevator and hardly through the stairs either so I suggest you think twice about the size before you do anything similar.

What do you fear most?
Getting sick. The most common question I get about my trips is “oh, sounds great, but how is it to travel by yourself, aren’t you scared?” I must say I am not afraid of anything except getting so sick that I cannot get to the airport and fly back home. But I have heard about SOS International in Copenhagen *lol*

What is a happy life to you?
A good health. I cannot stress enough how important this is. Without a good health life is not worth anything.

What does a regular day look like for you?
Alarm is set for 5.20, but I seldom need it. I check news and emails while having a cup of lukewarm water and then I go out for my morning walk for about an hour. Leaving home at dawn to meet daylight afton ten minutes is a hallelujah moment. Back home I try to find time for some yoga before I jump into the shower and getting ready for work. At 4 pm I am off again and I try to do something fun every day. I almost never go home and do nothing until it is time to go to bed again. I have work at the computer at home. I update the websites for Sköldkörtelföreningen (The Swedish Thyroid Society) and the housing society, I go to movies, concerts and theaters, I practice golf, have a sauna by the water, I practice Bikram yoga. I try to do everything that make life enjoyable.

Tell us about your dream project.
I do not believe in dreams. I try to materialize my thoughts and ideas before they end up in dreams. But I certainly would not say no if The Leading Hotels of the World called and said that they would like me to visit different hotels and write articles about my experiences. Hello, LHW, I am here! Ready to jump on a flight to where ever you send me!

Who is your professional role model/inspiration?
I do not have any role model. I let my own star lead me.

Which is the one thing you can’t live without?
My golf clubs? I started to play golf five years ago and it has brought me a brand new life. I should have started earlier. It is so much fun hitting the ball and not feeling the strike was heavy. Light as a feather and then see the ball fly away and hit the fairway – where it is meant.

What inspires you?
My morning walks. I go out for about one hour every morning all year around. It is only skipped if it is really, really slippery. I get so many ideas during those walks. Some are not realistic, some are great.

A book that has changed/made the most impression in your Life?
This is like the question about movies. I cannot remember any titles, but I have read many novels and documentaries about Afghanistan and that country is fascinating. One title was like “To Afghanistan God comes just to cry” – that book I remember was very good. Another favorite is Moroccan. “Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail” by Malika Oufkir. She was a prisoner in the Sahara desert with her family. I read that one non-stop. I prefer true story-books. I do not want to read about crimes and murders. It is enough of that in the papers.

Connect with Ann-Christine via Facebook and Twitter @visitstina
Check out her awesome website and blog right over here
Send an email to her 
Ann-Christine-Reimer-5Photo credit: Gugge Zelander

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