Doc to Me: “I’m Surprised You’re Still Lean.”

I’m surprised you’re still lean.” Those were my doctor’s first words as he came in the room to give me my results last week during our visit. This was the meeting I’d been waiting for with my Hormone Specialist. Blood was drawn, and results were in.

Before I get started let me first say I’m not looking for sympathy. I really am okay. I am happy, and I am strong. I am learning every day about my body and the struggles its facing. We all have our own challenges, and we can all adapt and respond to them – positively or negatively. It’s OUR choice. I share this with you though to let you know that things aren’t always what they seem…

Also let me state I struggled whether to share this with you. It’s so much easier not – pretending to be perfect, pretending nothing is wrong, pretending that everything about my life is healthy. That’s the easy route. I could be shooting myself in the foot by opening up. This might be the wrong thing to do. Perhaps I’m too much of an open book. I’m not sure, but for whatever reason I feel it’s important. In a way I feel compelled to share. Why? By no means for sympathy because I am stronger now in more ways than one than I have EVER been, but perhaps because it might provide one, hopefully many of you with hope. Maybe you’ll relate to some of experiences. Maybe you’ll notice some similar symptoms Or maybe your struggle is completely different from mine but the fact that I am choosing to beat it and come out stronger than ever before will somehow motivate you to do the same. I’m not sure, but there you go. I’m putting it out there…with maybe just one or two reservations.

Come along with me as I bring you up to speed on my last meeting with my Hormone Specialist.

This past year has probably been one of the most incredible years I have ever had. So many wonderful opportunities have come my way, and I’ve savored every one of them.

At the same time it’s been one of the most difficult – health wise.

Before I tell you about the results, I think it’s important to share with you my past.

Most of you know last winter I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.

My last figure competition was in April 2010, and then I followed figure with a line-up of races. September 2010 I ran the Top of Utah marathon, and it was that very marathon I was feeling at my worse. Though I pushed myself and killed my time (qualifying for Boston), it was physically one of the most difficult things I’d ever done. I had to repeatedly remind myself all of the necessary steps to keep proper form while running. I didn’t feel good at all and at the end wanted nothing more than to collapse. I know, I know “with 26.2 miles, who wouldn’t want to collapse?” Well, I’d run St. George the fall before and felt incredible at the end of the race. This time I felt a difference – a huge one.

It wasn’t long after I went to lunch with a friend of mine. She mentioned she had hypothyroidism and that my symptoms sounded very similar to hers. She recommended I make an appointment with my GP – which I did.

At the time I was:

  • Severely fatigued
  • Stressed
  • Tired
  • Bloated
  • Constipated
  • Anxious
  • Cold
  • Over-analytical
  • Paranoid
  • Quick to temper
  • Increased hair loss
  • Forgetfulness
  • etc…

Some of the symptoms were new. Many weren’t. I’d struggled with depression when I was younger. I’d been constipated as far back as I could remember. Since I’d lost my weight I’d always fought with Greg over the temperature in our house. As far as stress went I wrote it off as being tired – going to bed too late and getting up too early and having a newborn.

That’s the way we are ladies. Don’t we always rationalize how we feel? It must be this… It must be that… We figure we have all the answers. Separately each one of our symptoms are easily written off. Collectively they can contribute towards something so much bigger.

I went to the GP. I’d wanted to make an appointment with a highly recommended local hormone specialist. Some of my friends had given me referrals for a couple of really good ones. I’d checked in to them both, but neither were covered by my insurance. I set up an appointment with one of them only to cancel it beforehand. I didn’t think I needed a specialist yet (denial), and I sure as heck wasn’t ready to pay for one (cheap).

Last winter my GP put me on Armour (after a brief stint on Synthroid) to help treat my under-active thyroid. I started at 50mg, then up to 60, then up to 90, and then most recently and for the last few months have been on 120mg. Finding the right dosage is critical and not the same for each person. An under-active thyroid means NO energy, a sluggish metabolism and contributes to all of the symptoms I listed above.

Over the months I felt somewhat better, but I never felt completely like my old self. I still had determination and will-power in my mind, and most every morning I felt incredible (after a good night’s rest) but by afternoon my body would be exhausted. Every day. Some days were better, but then there were real lows. As much as I tried to practice mind over matter, I couldn’t muster myself to completely “feel” better.

My body was talking to me, but did I listen? No. Again, I made excuses…for a long time.

This continued for months.

Then around a month ago I was surrounded by promptings. Call it what you will – messages from the universe, signals, cues. Everywhere I turned my friends were talking about “hormone this”, “specialist that”, “this test”, and “that test”, etc. Then a sweet friend (Tracy Russell) sent me a book called AGELESS by Suzanne Somers (yes, the same “not so” dumb blond from Three’s Company). As I poured through the pages I read about “me” in them. Every single one of my symptoms and some I hadn’t even considered jumped out at me. There I was – in her book.

With a new fervor I was determined to line up a meeting with my specialist once and for all.

And I did.

And I felt it wasn’t chance I needed to meet with him. The last time I’d called (and later canceled) to make my appointment, I wasn’t able to get in for several weeks.

This time when I called to make my appointment, surprisingly they were able to squeeze me in the next day. Even better? When I asked about insurance, my doctor was now taking my carrier. I don’t think it was a coincidence because things like that never are. At least I don’t believe so.

I expected my meeting to be unemotional. It was anything but. My friend had warned me. I anticipated my first meeting would be informational. I’d simply bring my new doc up to speed, have some blood drawn, and that would be it.

Just the opposite happened. The moment he came in, I broke down. Tears flooded my eyes. It was as if all the frustration I’d felt for months in not being able to kick these feelings, this tiredness, frustration, everything, surfaced and came out at once. If I was going to be “fixed”, he was going to help me do it. He needed to know everything and with that, all emotions I’d stored up came out.

  • I told him about my Chronic Fatigue diagnosis as a teenager.
  • I told him about being mildly depressed and on depressant drugs in my early 20s.
  • I told him about my weight gain getting up to 170 pounds in my 30s and my drastic weight loss shedding 60 pounds within a year.
  • I told him about my 7 figure competitions in 2 years (3 seasons).
  • I told him about my incredibly structured and fat-deprived competition diets and how I continued on them after comps (against good judgment) to maintain the “cut” look as long as I could.
  • I told him about my running several races including 3 Wasatch Back relays, 2 Red Rock Relays, a half dozen half marathons, and 2 sprint triathlons.
  • I told him about my running 3 marathons within 18 months.
  • I told him about my infertility problems – that I’d undergone investigative surgery, surgery to open my tubes, and then in-vitro unsuccessfully twice.
  • I told him about adopting our little one recently and being a new mommy.
  • I told him about some of the complications we experienced after our adoption.
  • I told him about life adjusting with my older son’s birth mom not being involved and our little one’s birth mom being very involved and how that impacted the dynamics around the house.
  • I told him about my early morning workouts and my early evening tiredness.
  • I told him about my fan page and its impressive growth, but the weight of the responsibility and questions I received, and how that truly impacted me.
  • I told him about my workload with meal-plans, emails, and all the domestic wife and mom duties I have to.
  • I told him about my published book and my soon to be published snack book.

I basically shared everything I possibly could that might influence my overall health now. It was “now or never”. I was paying for it in more ways than one, and I wanted to make sure he was completely aware of everything. I was ready to be “fixed”.

I remember how I used to feel and how I could go nonstop all day long. I loved that person. I wanted that old feeling back. I craved it. So I put it all out there.

Without hesitation he told me he felt I likely suffered from Adrenal Fatigue.

Though he couldn’t confirm it at that point, all indications looked like that could be part of my problem. I’d basically run myself in to the ground by over-training, over “doing”, over “committing”, over “stressing”, expecting too much of myself, and putting far too much physical and emotional stress on my body.

He said I needed to focus on the “R”s – “Relax, Rest, Replenish.” He suggested more sleep, less stress, a vacation (yes), massage, soft touch, and things that would relax me.

Though he said weight-training was completely okay, he did say my long-distance endurance running was on hold for now. In his words, he didn’t want me to do anything that tapped in to my glycogen stores. HIIT was okay. Short bursts were okay. But my long runs? Done.

Again, I don’t think this was a coincidence. When he told me that I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened had I met with him before Boston? What would I have done then? What if he said Boston was a no-go? I wonder how I would have reacted.

Before I left the office his assistant took 8 vials of blood.

Two long weeks I waited til our follow-up visit. This would be the visit he’d give me my results. I waited as patiently as possible – hoping to get some answers – anxious to start whatever program I needed in order to restore my hormones to normal. I was ready. I wanted to feel like the old me again.

Though I thought I was ready, I had NO idea what I was in store for.

I’m surprised you’re still lean” – the first words out of his mouth.

Followed by, “Your hormones are completely out of balance.”

The words hit me like a brick. ‘I was so healthy. I trained so hard. I aimed to be the perfect wife and mom. I ate so clean.” His words sounded worse than anything I could have expected.

And the “…surprised you’re still thin…” comment hit me hard. “Why wouldn’t I be? I was on Armour to treat my thyroid. I ate clean and trained hard. Wasn’t that enough?” Yet inside I knew my body was different. Something was “off”. This off-season felt different than the one before. This year I ate cleaner, but my body looked and felt different. Though only 1-2% higher than the off-season before, it was a big difference to me. I was no dummy, but I still didn’t like his words.

I’m not trying to be ungrateful for how I look. I’m actually happy with where I’m at now, but the point is I’ve had to make drastic adjustments in order to maintain the look that came so much more easily the last couple of years. Last year I lived off of Fruit Medley and old-fashioned oats. I ate them like there was no tomorrow. At night I’d have one of my favorite desserts, the “Sheena Tin” (which I’ll have to tell you about another time) probably 4 nights out of every week. Maybe even more. The rest of the time I ate clean, and I still trained incredibly hard. This year I eat clean 95% of the time and train just as hard. The result? Not quite what it used to be. I know my body.

He then proceeded to tell me that Hypothyroidism was only part of my problem.

The root of my problem was based in Hashimotos – a disease I’d likely had for years and didn’t even know it. He said it probably was part of the reason I was heavier years ago in the first place. Hashimotos is a disease that attacks the thyroid. They’re not exactly sure what causes it. It might have been hereditary, or it might have been introduced in to my system when I was younger.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a condition caused by inflammation of the thyroid gland. It is an autoimmune disease, which means that the body inappropriately attacks the thyroid gland–as if it was foreign tissue. The underlying cause of the autoimmune process still is unknown. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis tends to occur in families, and is associated with a clustering of other autoimmune conditions such as Type 1 diabetes, and celiac disease. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is 5-10 times more common in women than in men and most often starts in adulthood. – www.medicinenet.com

However he felt my test results the way they were indicated I’d had it for awhile.

I found out some other interesting facts during my visit.

I found out my DHEA, Progesterone, Testosterone, and Estrogen levels were all super low and need to be treated. I won’t go in to too much more detail on this. I’m addressing them. DHEA is the underlying hormone here, so I’m on a DHEA supplement which we’ll monitor in the months to come and see how my body’s responding.

I found out I have several allergens I am now addressing, so this means my ever so strict diet is becoming even more strict. Think of it as being on a competition diet (with healthy fats) all year long. It’ll make being ready for a photo shoot that much easier! Glass half full, right? **smile**

The most difficult discovery? Finding out all of this (my hormones being so completely out of whack) more than likely was the root to my infertility 13 years ago. Though I am so grateful for my two beautiful boys and I would not give them up for the world, there’s always been a part of me that’s wondered what it would have been like to bear my own children. How I would have loved the feeling and experience of being pregnant. I’m sure there are some of you out there thinking, “Oh no you don’t!” But really, I do. I would have loved to have experienced it – even if I would have been miserable. I just wanted to feel it. I wanted to know what Greg’s and my genes could have done “together”.

I’m not trying to be selfish – I’m just being honest. I think nearly every woman at some point wants to bear children of her own. I’m not saying anything against those who don’t, but I personally, wanted to. I wanted it more than anything in the world, and as a teenager and in my early 20s I expected it. I wanted to feel the developing fetus in my tummy, the butterflies everyone talks about, the kicking, the cravings, everything. I wanted to experience childbirth.  I never even considered it NOT being an option.

All those years going through what we did I always wondered why I couldn’t, why surgery didn’t work, why in-vitro didn’t work. And then to find out during this “follow-up” visit. I was taken back – I wasn’t expecting it at all. It was hard to hear and I was very emotional. Had I simply known back then. All the “what ifs” came out.

I left the doctor’s office with a slew of expensive pills to take, a couple of prescriptions, and new knowledge I didn’t know how to process. It was too much.

Over the next few days I struggled with it. I went through all the stages of Grief. I realized that as I was going through them, but I had hard time accepting it for what it was because I was so caught up in my own feelings.

  1. Denial — “This isn’t me. I’m really okay. Maybe I’m making this out to be worse than it really is.”
  2. Anger — “Why is this happening to me? How could this be happening to me? I’m finally taking the lead in my life. I am healthy, strong, and active. Why?
  3. Bargaining — “What if I don’t make any changes, or just make the changes I feel I need to or the ones I agree with?”
  4. Depression — “What’s the point? I’ve worked so hard, and this is how it’s resulted?”
  5. Acceptance — “It’s going to be okay. This has happened for a reason. I can overcome this. Better now than later when it too late…and my body no longer responds. Let’s do this!”

I’m happy to say I’m finally at Acceptance. {{{{Huge Cheer}}}} I have been now for around a week. I processed through the beginning stages fairly quickly – thankfully.

But it doesn’t change how I am feeling now. I’m still tired, and on top of it my body is adjusting to the supplements he’s prescribed to help me get my hormones back to normal. He’s prescribed some medications to help stimulate my thyroid gland; others to do the opposite. He’s doubled my prescription for Armour and renewed my prescription to help with Adrenal Fatigue. He’s supplementing my hormones with DHEA. He’s prescribed Testosterone. My body is adjusting to all the changes.

And on top of the new changes, my body is still dealing with the symptoms of the root cause itself. I’m still tired, disillusioned, cold, scatter-brained, and at times, confused. There are days when Greg comes home and I am a complete vegetable. I want nothing more than to go to bed (not for the reason he’d like) or “chill” on the couch. The person who usually feels like she can do it all…on some days feels as if she can barely manage. I’ve been overwhelmed before. This isn’t new, but the feeling of not being able to cope? That’s new, and I know it’s all the adjustments and the “sicknesses” (for lack of a better term) I’m dealing with.

Not all days, but some.

But even on the “good” days they’re not the “great” days I am used to. They are “okay” days.

So the bad news? I am fighting my own new battle – one I didn’t know I had to fight – but now I do. Adrenal Fatigue can be cured with rest, patience, and time. Hypothyroidism can me helped with medication so long as my thyroid recognizes and responds to it. Hashimotos can’t be cured, but it can be treated.

I’ve tried to look at my situation through new eyes. At first I wondered “Why is this happening when I live the way I do?”

I now realize this couldn’t have happened at a better time. Had this happened a few years ago when I ate junk and never worked out #1) I might never have gone in to the doctor in the first place, and 2) I would have had a much harder time making the changes I am now having to make. I already eat clean. I already exercise. I live healthy. I value health. I strive to be fit. Back then? Not even close. Back then it would have been a huge wake-up call for me. It would have been really hard. Making adjustments now? It’s doable.

I also think mentally I am stronger now. Back then it would have gotten the best of me. It would have sent my depression through the roof. Back then I would have sunk to a new low. Now it’s like having a new challenge I can’t wait to beat.

I know me. I know my body. I know what it can feel like. I know that I have so much influence over it. It’s up to me to treat it right and help it. I can do this. A few years ago I never would have had this strength.

So, things aren’t always as they seem.

I will do this. I am strong. I am happy. I have more inner-strength than I think I even realize. I simply need to tap in to it.

I have the support of a loving family, amazing friends, and a Heavenly Father who watches over me. He helps those who help themselves. Well, that’s exactly my intention. I’m going to help myself get better.

This is the new “package” called my life.

And I’m okay with it.

Want to know why?

As crappy as I feel at times (really, is there a better word? I think not), I also think about all I’ve accomplished in spite of what’s been going on inside my body. Until recently all I knew was I didn’t feel like me, but I didn’t let it stop me. I still set goals. I still set out to do them. I made plans. I followed-through. I gave it my all. For Heavens Sake, I ran the Boston Marathon. I am truly thankful. If I could do all that without knowing the full effect of what was manifesting within my body, just imagine what I’ll be able to do once I get things back in check. I have to remind myself of that. It gives me HUGE hope, and I’m excited.

So there’s the update GALS!

My advice to you? Listen to your bodies. Don’t ignore what they are trying to tell you. Be smart. If something doesn’t seem or feel right, get it checked. Don’t wait. Appreciate your health. Don’t take anything for granted. Treat your body with the love and respect that it deserves.

That’s my plan at least…

45 Responses to Doc to Me: “I’m Surprised You’re Still Lean.”

  1. Lelia July 21, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

    I am *so* impressed with how strong you are as a person. I’m preparing for my first figure show now (9 weeks out) and I wonder how there are those ladies out there that seem to run a mile a minute and can balance things so well! I was even talking about you to my fiance last night and how awesome your blog and new site are — and how you’re an inspiration for me in starting a similar endeavour over the next few years. Knowing that you are able to do all the things you do WITH all of these unknown medical issues is just amazing and is a true indicator of how strong of a character and work ethic you have. I am striving to be more disciplined and work harder. I am trying so hard not to be lazy or give up easily. You are such a helpful part in teaching me to be this way! Best of luck as you adjust with everything. Honestly it is so nice to hear that you aren’t “perfect” — makes me feel like there’s hope for me! (I hope that comes across in the right light! 🙂 ) I think sharing this will do nothing but GOOD for your readers. Kudos!!!

  2. Kerryne July 21, 2011 at 11:50 pm #

    Jenny, I so appreciate your honesty in this post. I have struggled with “not feeling right” for almost two years. I have had my thyroid checked twice. Both times I am looked at like I am crazy for wanting it checked, and then the results come in and of course all is well. I have felt exactly the things you feel. Sluggish, EXHAUSTED for no good reason, COLD all the time, achy, headaches, forgetful, and though I should be in the best shape of my life because I am way more cautious of what I eat and I work out more than I ever have the weight is sticking to me like glue, and my muscles, my body, everything just looks “off”. I looked better after having two kids than I do right now. It is frustrating and I cry a lot. I don’t know what to do at this point but I do know that I am inspired to keep trying to figure out what it is!!! Thank you!

    • jenn July 22, 2011 at 3:00 am #

      Hi Kerryne, you should push to get referred to an endocrinologist…cortisol levels should be checked out along with a battery of other hormones. I also wonder if you have maybe sleep apnea..which can influence hormone levels, blood pressure, mood, temperament, concentraion and weight. An over night oxymetry test would determine if you have sleep apnea. You have nothing to lose, at least it can be ruled out. Good luck.

  3. Sarah July 21, 2011 at 11:55 pm #

    Is there a specific type of doctor you would suggest someone who has no diagnosis to visit? This sounds just like me… Thank you for sharing. Truly you are an inspiration in more ways than one!

    • Jen July 21, 2011 at 11:57 pm #

      A Hormone Specialist or a Bio-identical Hormone Specialist. They go by other names as well. 🙂

  4. Laura July 21, 2011 at 11:59 pm #

    You are truly an inspiration! You have accomplished so much, despite your undiagnosed medical condition. I love your positive and healthy attitude. I look forward to more updates!

    Also, what is a GP? If one suspects they have similar health issues – what type of doctor should you make an appointment with? I’m always cold, tired, anxious, stressed, quick tempered, constipated, etc. but since I’m not overweight I have dismissed any potential thyroid problems.

  5. Stacey Dicks July 21, 2011 at 11:59 pm #

    Jenny, WOW. Thanks so much for writing that and sharing your deepest feelings with us. I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia in 2005 and my world turned upside down, as I struggled with the illness for 4-5 yrs. Though I believe God has brought me much healing, despite countless doctors seen and money spent, I still struggle at times with excess fatigue, sleep problems, etc. etc. It’s amazing to me that you are in such fantastic physical shape given these issues. But I get it. I am in pretty good shape too because, like you, I pushed myself over and over to walk, stay active, get in whatever kind of workout my body would allow. Yes, I have to manage my activity more these days, but I’m so thankful for the better place I’m at now, despite some fatigue and lingering chronic back pain. So thank you so much for sharing this. It’s inspiring and though you aren’t looking for it, I applaud your strength and confiding in us GALS. 🙂 XOXO

  6. Pari July 22, 2011 at 12:01 am #

    I’m doing everything not to cry while reading this. I too am exhausted all the time, can sleep for hours, wake up feeling great and a few hours later can take a nap!!! I read your posts and wonder how on earth you do it, and think you must have energy like no other human. To read that you dont and havent for a while is amazing to me and makes me wonder how you have accomplished everything you have, amazing!!!! Then I then think, if you didnt live the life you live now, you probably never would have found out the issues you are having, I truly, truly believe everything happens for a reason!! I wish you nothing but the best and I know just by “seeing and reading” that you will prevail and kick ass on anythings that gets in your way!!! This is the first comment that I have EVER left on a blog and I thank you for doing what you are doing! Keep up the great, amazing work!!! Take care of yourself, your babies need you 🙂

  7. Toni July 22, 2011 at 12:12 am #

    Thank you for sharing…sounds exactly like me! Except I have been eating really clean and have gained 20 pounds in 6 months! I am also on Armour and my dr said my cortisol levels are really high. I need to make another appointment…what tests did you have done, do you know? I am tired of feeling this way! Thanks for being so open!

  8. Holls July 22, 2011 at 12:51 am #

    Reading this post was emotional for me. Im not dealing with health issues persay, but other ‘stuff’ life throws at you. You recognize your blessings and you accept your situation. I’m struggling with accepting where I am now, and feeling gratitude.I would love nothing more than to move forward, feel joy and live in the moment; instead of always hoping the future becomes better. Thank you for opening your inner self. You have such a talent of expressing yourself and you touch so many lives! What a gift! ~prayers and hugs your way Jen~

  9. Cheryl Roles July 22, 2011 at 12:57 am #

    Wow … Jen…. I had tears in my eyes…. You are truly…. beautiful….

    What an amazing women you are. To have all those setbacks/pressures & emotions, and see good in all of them. The way you have learned from all of them, and grown from all of them….. You are, truly…. inspirational.

    I do wish you had the chance to experience child birth, you would have loved it.. but you know what… it lasts only a couple of hours. And when you think about all the other hours in our lives… childbirthing hours are so small in comparison.

    Your gift to the universe, for this lifetime, isn’t to birth, it is to lead by example, and pave the way for others to be as strong as you. and you know what…. you’re doing it. Congratulations on being so true to ‘you’, and sharing ‘you’ with the rest of us.

    Please keep being ‘you’.

    Thanks Jen. Love to you.
    Cheryl

  10. Hope July 22, 2011 at 2:29 am #

    OMG I knew from your first line where this was going. Busy as a trainer, instructor, mom and training myself hard I spent this past year winning to my bf that I don’t feel well. Something is not right. i too have thyroid issues so I ran to the endocrinologist several times and she would say my tests were fine. Finally one day it click Menopause. I bet thats it. After a simple blood test that the endo. could have done over a pear prior my gyno said yep menopuse and you hormones levels are crazy. I started HRT after speaking to ladies I know who compete and all said go for it. I did and have to say I feel a million times better. I am back, have my energy level back and think I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner. Good luck and thanks for sharing.

  11. Kelly July 22, 2011 at 3:08 am #

    Girl, you are amazing…I just found you a week or so ago…(yup, I’m a newb!), and I’d already decided that you are amazing…and now I’m even more convinced.

    I love your attitude about this…looking at the silver lining. Thank you for being you…thank you for sharing this incredibly personal issue with us, and thank you for remaining true to yourself.

    NOW…GET BETTER! 🙂
    Kelly

  12. Kristin July 22, 2011 at 3:40 am #

    Thanks for sharing Jenn! I love “our” doctor – we see the same guy. He is truly a gift from above and I am so thankful every day that I was led to him after endless searching. He is highly recommended AND covered by my insurance!
    You are such an inspiration. Thanks for all you do and all you share with us all.

  13. Kathy July 22, 2011 at 4:04 am #

    Jen,

    Wow, I am so amazed by your honesty. I just started to follow you and I too have hashimoto and hypothyroidism that I have been battling for three years just to get the right medications, but still not 100 %. I know of the fatigue, coldness, scatter-brained, inability to focus and complete lack of energy. I also know the weight gain your doctor was talking about because that is one of my biggest complaints. I have found that when I am eating clean and exercising it helps manage my weight, but I still haven’t been able to get back down to my “fighting” weight. What kind of doctor did you see that found all your hormonal imbalances because I think that is the next step in this journey? Good luck!. Keep pushing on the docs until you feel better. You are your best advocate!! Thank you for inspiring me!

  14. Amy July 22, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    Oh my gosh this sounds so much like me. Always tired , hairloss, depression. They told me my T3 was a little low and my cortisol was high but I wasn’t in need of meds which was fine with me. I am on lexapro for the anxiousness. I have a hard time gaining weight and I’m always cold. Its so hard. I’m up early, train hard and wiped out by 4pm. I have stomach issues always constipated, bloated, gluten aggravates my stomach but they can’t find anything wrong. so frustrating!!!

  15. Petra van Goor July 22, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    If you add in ‘debilitating migraine like headaches during my break week off ‘the pill’ (which is what we call oral anti conception in the Netherlands), you’ve got my symptoms. I’m only now slowly finding out about cortisol shortage and what it does and I just got the phone number of a Bio-identical Hormone Specialist. Don’t they say that there is no such thing as coincidence?

    Thank you for being so open with your story. You’ve just given me a confirmation that I am looking in the right direction.

  16. Mary T July 22, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    A few years ago someone introduced me to Suzanne’s books. While I realize she is not a medical professional, a lot of what she says does make sense for those of us who struggle with hormonal issues. I was borderline hypothyroid after my baby was born, and I could barely function, much less run a marathon! You are an inspiration. I always said that when I felt that the hormones were too badly out of place, I would visit a specialist. You definitely have made me see that it could be a difference between quality of life and just living. Thank you so much for this!

  17. Carol July 22, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this! I also just ran the Boston Marathon and am training for Marine Corps marathon in October. It will be my third marathon in 12 month. I’m dealing with a lot of fatigue, though I am eating clean and living as healthy a lifestyle as I can. You’ve given me something to think about. Perhaps a visit to my doctor is a good idea. Thank you for being so open. I only ‘know’ you from posts on fb, and think of you as a superwoman 🙂 Nice to know superwoman is also human like me.

  18. Melissa Leister July 22, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    WOW had to get a tissue! You may have just helped many women struggling with the same issues through opening up in such a courageous way! This may be your Heartsong! We love you!

  19. kim July 22, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    ive been a fan on fb for some time now. i found ur page from jamie eason ur always so positive so when you kept mentioning how u were tired and had to go to docs. and you needed rest i was concerned. im glad you shared w us whats going on sometimes its strength in numbers and sometimes ur helping out others w/out even knowing it. im only 32 prepping for my first contest, two children and a hairstylist. ive had some of those symptoms and some others been to an orthopedic specialist for xrays also have an appt w rheumatologist. they said i have something autoimmune thinking fibro. but im thinking RA. i was devastated. i kept looking at my hands and thinking this is it?!!! theyre gonna be deformed. while there are meds to help treat the symptoms theres no cure and most of the meds have horrible side effects on the rest of ur organs. i was also checked for allergies which im allergic to most everything(seasonal and animals) especially anitbiotics. which is another treatment ive researched for RA. like you i was crushed at first but then you get to the point where you say you know what?? im in the best shape of my life im gonna keep going yes take the rests when needed but im not stopping. Deal w life as it comes! so thanks Jenn. thanks for having the courage to share!

  20. Jenny B July 22, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    You are so right about women not rationalizing with our own feelings. Always the ones who has to save everyone else in our lives. Thank you for sharing your story. It amazes me that some people expect that because you’re in a certain place in your life that you don’t struggle. What I do know from reading your blogs and links is that you are just as human as the next woman. The difference…you share a real story, for real people. Thank you again for your willingness to be open and honest. Continue to keep the GALS smiling. You rock!

  21. Holly July 22, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    Wow! I’d be shocked if anyone shamed you for such an honest, helpful and inspiring post. We are all human, and even though we might strive to live as healthfully as we can, there are some things that are simply out of our hands. Thank you for reminding us to be true to ourselves and to listen to what our bodies might be screaming at us instead of brushing it to the side with excuses and reasons. It’s making me second guess what has been happening to me over the last year. I appreciate your willingness to share and help others and my respect for you just went through the roof. God Bless!

  22. Meghan Boettler July 22, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    Thank You so much for sharing your story! I was diagnosed with POTS 2 years ago and my world turned upside down. I had to get a pacemaker implanted after my heart stopped. I had to retire from my job as a police officer and also had a toddler and a newborn to take care of. After 1 year of figuring out how to best manage my symptoms I learned how to live in my new body. I ran my first marathon a year ago and plan on a second.

    Its a daily stuggle and sometimes there are days when I just have to do nothing. Its so great to know that there are others who are going through the same types of issues and refuse to give up.

    Thank you again for sharing your story 🙂

  23. nicole July 22, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    Jenn –

    We all thank you for sharing such personal details of your life. You’re living my dream. I live with sarcoidosis & let me tell ya, it keeps my doctor continually guessing. Even now as I share very, very similar problems as you do, they have literally thrown up their hands. Sarcoidosis can mess with any organ, at any time & it looks like so many other things. I practically have to go to the doctor for everything b/c you just never know.
    When they first were in the diagnosing stages he was sure it was lymphoma & gave me & my boys (2 & 3) the wonderful news of only having 6 months to spend together.
    Luckily, he was wrong 😉 I then made vast changes in my life to get healthier which then led me to the weights & then eventually competing. So when I say you are living my dream, what I mean is, you are using your life & the trials you have faced to help us GALS & I’m sure many more.
    I’m glad you’re getting answers. I’m hoping someday to do the same b/c I simply can’t handle this extra weight anymore (up to 153lbs….haven’t seen this # in 4 yrs ;().
    Best of luck to you with all these changes you are going through, I have no doubt you succeed & conquer this in ta rue graceful GAL form! =)

  24. Heather July 22, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    Jenny, thank you so much for writing this! My dr put me on dhea last week along with natural estrogen and natural progesterone and a few other things. Seems for however long (maybe 5 years) I’ve been fighting my body and losing. My insulin is high and it’s knocking everything out of whack. And I had no idea that the caffeine I was drinking to combat my fatigue, was increasing a bad hormone. Ugh! Kerryne, I got my thyroid checked and twice it came back normal and twice I cried openly about it. I kept searching until I found a dr who knows that normal isn’t normal for everyone and since I had the symptoms, low-normal must be LOW for me. Keep searching. Don’t give up. Search for a women’s endocrinologist in your area. I finally found one and met with her three weeks ago.

  25. Luisa Dinkin July 22, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    Thank you so much for writing this and being so honest. I have the book Agless downloaded on my Ipad but have not read it yet. I am now. I have almost all the symptoms you mentioned and for about two years have not felt right. Had bloodwork done and they said I test positive for Epstein Barr. Talk about tired! Been to an acupuncturist that helped a little but still feel off. I have also had the stomach issues and was tested for celiac disease but don’t have that. Your post is just the push I needed to really start taking better care of myself. I wish all the all the best in your journey! You ROCK!

  26. Chrissa Farrell July 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    Jen! Your story resembles mine(except for the infertility)! I always had weight issues, but FINALLY got it together, so I thought, and lost 60 lbs (altogether) after my kids were born. Then about 6 months into really leaning out, I began to gain weight. My doc at the time could not figure it out. I ended up gaining all my weight back. When we moved to FL, a new doc found out of whack hormones, adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism. I was on hormone crams and pills(which I finished), and also Armour, but hated upping doses, and didn’t feel any better, so I quit, but still take natural thyroid support. I cut soy out of my diet and have lost 50lbs or so. it is a daily struggle to get to my goal, but I will. I would love to compete one day, but wont be upset if I don’t. Having a fab 40+ body and being healthy is reward enough.

    I’m still on my journey, and I do share my story in hopes of helping others. Thank you for sharing yours. It gives me hope and confirms that I am not alone. (((HUGS)))

  27. Marinda July 22, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    can I ask who you saw? My friend has been telling me to see one for years. I kept saying, not while I’m breastfeeding, etc. But I am still breastfeeding but feel I need to know what I am up against.
    Thanks
    Marinda

    • Jen July 22, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

      Are you from around here? His name is Dr. Porter out of Provo.

      • Marinda July 22, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

        i’m in SLC area, but i’d drive to provo. Thanks!

  28. lani July 22, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

    Look at you go! You are an amazing woman, Jen. Such an inspiration! I think you may have unconsciously “waited” until after the Boston Marathon to check things out because you wanted it that bad. Deep down, you likely suspected you might be told to slow things down and you weren’t ready yet. I do the same thing. 🙂 When you posted about doing St. George’s (I think?) Marathon this year after the Boston, inside I was thinking “Whoa! Hold up… I think you’re on the brink of burnout, Jen.” You wrote of how hard it was to motivate yourself to get out the door for runs. I almost e-mailed you and then felt like you would figure it out on your own. In your own time. In your own way. And you did. 🙂 Thank you for being an open book. It’s a risk. I’m the same way. I struggle through things very “openly”. And sometimes we get burned doing it, but I think the good that comes out of it, outweighs the bad. I thought you might be interested in reading the blog of another woman I know that struggles with Hashimotos. I’m going to pass on your blog to her, too. Hugs. We love you, but always put you first. We’ll be here to support you. Her blog is – http://www.joyunexpected.com/. I’ve been reading her since 2000 or so.

    • Jen July 22, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

      Thank you Lani! I can’t wait to check out the blog. You are awesome to share it with me. 🙂 I have so much to learn about this new journey!

  29. nea July 22, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    Awsome info and straight to the point. I am not sure if this is actually the best place to ask but do you folks have any thoughts on where to get some professional writers? Thanks 🙂

    • Jen July 22, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

      I’m not sure what you are asking? For what?

  30. Jen July 22, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    This was a beautiful comment sent directly to me. I asked for her permission to post it. It gave my heart hope. I hope it does yours as well.

    ***

    Hi Jen,

    I’ve never personally written you but after the last blog entry “I’m surprised you are still lean” I felt compelled.

    I cried. I only made it halfway through and my eyes welled up with tears.

    I’m a Personal Trainer who also competes in Figure Competitions. Like you, 4 years ago my husband and I tried to start our family. For 2 years I wondered why I wasn’t getting pregnant. I visited my Gyno and they did blood tests. Then they sent me to a specialist because they feared PCOS (polycistic ovarian sydrome). It ended up being true, I had PCOS AND my hormone levels were all over the map. I choose not to go on the traditional hormone therapy and wanted to try a more natural approach.

    So I visited an acupuncturist for 6 months. After only 3 months with her, changing my diet to incorporate more fats and changing my workout routine, I regained my menstrual cycle. But another 6 months went by and I still wasn’t pregnant. Now it was 3 years trying with my husband. I decided to visit with my Gyno again and after more tests, he informed me that he suspected I hadn’t ovulated in at least 3 years and that he didn’t feel I would get pregnant UNLESS we went HIS route with drugs and/or invitro. He said it so coldly, no compassion or emotion. I held in my tears mostly because I was shocked, and also because I wanted to look “strong”. I got into my car in the parking lot and finally broke down. I couldn’t even drive home.

    After getting home and talking with my husband, we decided that having a family needed to be put on hold and that we could focus on each other and having fun. We would revisit making our family with an adoption but we needed rest. 3 years is a long time of trying. So for one year we resolved to not think of babies.

    Within a week I started making plans to have FUN. I bought a street motorcycle and began riding. I looked up sky diving lessons. I began to powerlift.

    Then a month later I started feeling “weird”. My boobs hurt, I was exhausted, and I started feeling sick. I’m very in tune with my body so I knew something was different. I rummaged through my closet pulling out an old pregnancy test (at least a year old). I took the test without telling anyone. It came out positive. I went to the store and bought another pack. Took those two, and they came out positive. I cried. I couldn’t believe it.

    Today I was reading your blog entry and holding my son, and crying. Because I felt your pain. And as you, as a Personal Trainer, I struggled with telling others how a “fit person” such as myself could have health issues. I kept it hidden from most of my clients in the beginning. So thank you for your post. Because other women need to know we face these struggles just like others.

    We plan on having another baby sometime in the future. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to conceive again. If I can’t, we’ll adopt and I’m sure that will be a beautiful story in my life as well.

    Thanks again.

    Krystal Finney

    • Stacie Bilbo June 18, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

      Hi Krystal (and Jen),
      Thank you for allowing your letter to be shared. I’m 35 y/o and getting married in two weeks and hoping to start a family as soon as possible. I’m also a former competitor and going on 8 months with no cycle now. Just this morning I made an appointment with a GP as I’m having fatigue issues, absolute foggy brain with no short term memory and trouble maintaining my weight, despite clean eating and continued training. I am so happy you were able to have your son and am hopeful I can get my body back to being “happy” so we can have a child as well.
      Thank you for your honest, heartfelt stories. It gives me hope that I will find the answers to my issues and be able to get better.
      Stacie

  31. Mia Loewinger July 22, 2011 at 11:17 pm #

    Thank you for being YOU! 🙂

  32. ipad 2 July 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    Do you have a Facebook page or Twitter? Would love to follow you there, I’m on my iPhone and love reading your stuff!

  33. Sherri July 24, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

    Jen, I follow you on Facebook, and I could have written this blog! The infertility (no kids for us), the weight fluctuations, the fight to get and stay in shape, followed by a complete crash last year that left me like a zombie. The adrenal fatigue, glycogen stores. . . I am mirroring your story, and I’m so grateful for your honesty. Makes me feel like someone understands, and I’m not making it up in my head. Thank you so much.

  34. Shauna Utz October 31, 2011 at 2:46 am #

    Is Dr. Porter who you mentioned in a previous comment the hormone specialist that you saw. If not I would love to know who you reccommend. I feel like I just read my life word for word. I have hashimotos and would like to find a good specialist to help me manage all my symptoms. I feel like just taking synthroid is helping but I still don’t feel like myself. Thank you so much.

    • Jen October 31, 2011 at 3:07 am #

      Yes, Dr. Porter is the hormone specialist I see. 🙂

  35. Isaiah Aubrey  August 3, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    Great post. I am facing a couple of these problems.

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