My Biggest Fear

…or at least one of.

I can think of a handful of other things that would challenge this one, but it’s still a fear of mine nonetheless.

I know I come across as being strong. I come across as having unquestionable faith, strength, hope, and drive.

I choose to be that person.

It doesn’t mean I am.

At least not always.

If I were to turn back time to 5 years ago I would have thought nothing was possible. At least I wouldn’t have given myself much hope at that time. I knew I had incredible drive. I knew I was extremely proactive in the corporate world. I had done very well financially and status wise in my career, but when it came to me? As a person? Individually? I didn’t have much hope. As I have shared countless times before I thought at 37 years old my best years were behind me – health wise.

Now if I were to go back 4 years or even 3, my answer would be completely different. I felt invincible. There’s really no other way to put it. I felt as if I could do anything I set my mind to. I felt everything was within reach. I felt strong, determined, and had a never-ending zest for life. I’d found “me” again – or maybe even the “me” I never knew but was only then beginning to explore, and I loved it. I loved life, and I loved everything and everyone in it.

I started setting goals. I started seeing them through. I started a bucket list and little by little I started crossing things off. Things I never would have dreamed of. Competing. Running. Trophies. Boston. Requalifying.  In less than two years I ran at least a dozen 5ks, several 10ks, a half dozen half marathons, and 3 full marathons. I competed in 7 figure competitions. I participated in 2 sprint triathlons. I organized and ran in 3 Ragnar relays and 2 Red Rock relays. I loved life. I loved being healthy. I loved the energy and motivation I felt. Energy oozed from me. I was passionate about everything.

Was.

Past tense.

Then came my initial diagnosis of Hypothyroidism, and my journey changed. Low dosages increased to much higher dosages. Minor improvements. Then my diagnosis of Hashimotos auto-immune disease which would not explain my Hypothyroidism. Went from an already extremely strict diet to the necessity of being gluten-free. Big changes with minor improvements. Then my diagnosis of Adrenal Fatigue. Too much stress, too little sleep, too intense and too much training. Too many fat burners and stimulants over the years. Instructed to reduce all. Again, big changes with minor improvements. This is my current journey. Fighting what I’m dealing with now while striving daily to get back to where I was.

I still love life. Don’t get me wrong. I’m still happy with just about everything in my life. I love my family, my husband, my kids, my friends, my neighborhood, my faith, my interests, and to some extent – my health.

But the last year and a half have taken a toll – especially since Boston 2011.

Looking back I am ever so thankful for the health Heavenly Father blessed me with. Granted it didn’t come easy. I had to work hard for it. I had to eat clean and train almost daily to turn my life around for the better, but I now realize that that’s not always enough.

I now realize that I can’t do it all on my own. I can only do so much.

The rest is out of my hands.

I’m still training almost as hard. I say almost because I’ve been instructed NOT to train as hard by my doctor.

I’m guessing you are familiar with the one step forward two steps back saying. That’s exactly how I feel.

I am trying to do everything within my power to heal. To rest. To regain the mojo I had what seems just like yesterday.

But the reality is Hashimotos and Adrenal Fatigue go hand in hand. They are persistent and ever present, and they are on some days stronger than I am, and they get the best of me. They make me tired. They make me fatigued. They make me weak. There are days I want to sleep all day. Still. I want to hide up in my room and turn my brain off from hurting. There are days I can’t even form full sentences. I can’t think clearly enough to articulate myself the way I used to. And what’s funny about that is I used to have friends who commented on how well I did articulate. Not now. Now much of the time I have “brain fog” and feel dumb as I speak. I know it’s not me, and that’s what’s most frustrating. I’m at my best as long as it happens before noon – maybe even 2 pm. After that? It’s risky. By 8 pm I’m shutting down. Mentally and physically. I’m more of a homebody now than I was. I used to be go go go, and now I stress just thinking about it. Granted, it’s not as bad as it was at my worst, and I have seen noticeable positive changes, but I’m still not “me”.

I’m only the shadow of who I was.

It’s like I’m a puppet, and I’m trying to make my body act the way it used to. Some days I’m full-out pretending.

Some people don’t get it.

I don’t know that I even would get it or fully believe it if I weren’t going through it personally.

I have body aches I didn’t have before.

I have highs and lows.

I have delayed onset pain that before never would have been an issue.

I’m more emotional.

Too many things to list, but all things that I didn’t struggle with when I was at my best.

And all because of a disease I am learning to live with, manage, and make the most of.

So my biggest fear?

Why even share this?

My biggest fear is not being the “me” I was  – the “me” I loved being. This might very well be the new “me”, and that scares me. A lot. I’ve had friends who’ve told me not to let my health struggles define me. My health struggles and my ideal fitness do not make me who I am. I try to remember that, but it’s hard. I liked who I was. I liked the path I was on before all this “stuff” took over.

The other day I went to lunch with some friends. One of my friends talked about how she is training for a marathon (again) and then she has New York not that long after.

I was supposed to be running the New York Marathon this Fall. I am actually registered for the race. I qualified last year to run it. Last year.

But I’m not near where I need to be to run it.

Just like I was supposed to run Boston this year. I was registered for it.

But I was no where near where I needed to be health wise to train for it. But I was registered!

And just like I was supposed to run St. George the Fall of last year. It was near the beginning of when everything started to fall apart.

Since I began this journey I’d never not fulfilled an obligation or completed a goal I’d set for myself.

And here I’ve had 3 slip through my hands.

But not because I’m not trying. I’m trying so desperately hard to get back to where I was. I want to believe I will know when I am there. You’d look at me and think my life is perfect. I look healthy and strong. I’m lean and muscular for a girl

But that’s not the whole picture.

I want to believe in the impossible again. I want to believe that anything is doable. Anything is within reach.

I’m going to continue exercising my faith in my own abilities just like I have since the beginning, but it doesn’t mean I’m not scared. Because I am.

Attitude and determination can make miracles happen. I am ready for a miracle.

I’m not ready to give up. I won’t give up. That’s not even an option. Ever since I began this journey I’ve reminded myself of that. Giving up is not an option. Fear or no fear.

XO – Momma

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13 Responses to My Biggest Fear

  1. Heather July 31, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    Jen, Thank you! I have never been able to put into words how I feel and struggle, Yet you just managed to do it for me. I am so grateful to have it in words. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

  2. Gillian July 31, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

    Hi Jen-
    I too am going through something similar but I have no diagnosis as of late. I had been diagnosed with Pericious Anaemia when I was in my youth and habe to have monthly injections of B12 so I’m running like a slug. I was a personal trainer for 6 years, I competed in bikini and fitness model. I had surgery after my first comp that should have been routine.Well, from my surgery I got an infection and was taken in for immediate surgery and placed on some pretty heavy antibiotics. I had to have Another surgery to repair the damage from the infection and had to heal 3 months before that could happen so I was pretty much benched for a full year. I was non active, told I could not exercise until I had completely healed. Whn it came to starting back up, I was working out and things were getting back in the groove, when last summer for no reason, I started to get tired. Like really tired. I started getting body aches and pains -I had no drive. Not even to walk the dogs down the block and back. This concerned me as I too used to be the one always on the go. It was who I was! The active commited trainer who was always planning her next challenge/adventure. I went to the dr and had my thyroid checked amongst other things. Nope all fine.. I know I’m not, am I going crazy? Tried to get back on the horse again-maybe I’m just out of shape, maybe I sat around too long..Maybe I have aches and pains from overtraining? Or not training enough?? Is it from fat burners/supplements?? I was/am going crazy. My fiance is going nuts as he is trying to encourage me to workout and while I appreciate it, he has no idea that some days I have to just sit on the couch as I have no energy to do anything. If I do, it requires great effort, and on some days more than that. He’s looked into it too as it worries him that I am not who I used to be. Heck it worries me too. I went back to another dr this time and again requested my Thyroid get checked. I am actually going to get my blood checked today, and I hope we can find some answers. When I read your post it describes almost exactly how I’m feeling and thinking. I had to share my story with you to let you know you are not alone. I miss the old me too. Hopefully we will find ourselves again <3

  3. Carrie Ann July 31, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    Thank you for sharing. I’m in your sisterhood of Hashimotos & Hypothyroid. ( not sure yet of the adrenal fatigue). I’ve never felt so helpless. I’ve been changing what I eat & I go to the gym @ least 3 days a week. This is HUGE for me. Some days I cry because I’m beyond exhausted. I’m irritable & at times short tempered. I hear myself & I cringe. Many blessings to you…you truly are an inspiration.

  4. Vikki Morgan July 31, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    One of the things I hate to hear others say the most is : You don’t look sick.I want to say I beg your pardon,but you have no idea what I go through not just daily but hourly,minute by minute.I deal with chronic pain,chronic asthma (MY MOM DIED FROM ASTHMA AT AGE 48) and OA.Others have no idea what i have to do,,,to just get my body able to exercise.I do it,because it helps me mentally to deal with all I have to deal with,and physically it helps my back to be stronger.I am careful to not do too much at one time or I will be in the bed for days.I said all this to tell you Jen,,,Life is all about adjustments for us all.I will never be physically the person I was at one time.My body will not let me be.I decided to accept the things I can not change and make the best of them.Would I love to be healed 100 percent.You dang right I would,but it is not likely that will happen.I am a woman of Faith,and I believe,but I also live in reality and it may never happen for me.So,back to adjustments…Those that are able to make it in this life will adjust to there situation,,,make the proper adjustments,move on,and just be happy.It can always be worse.Thank the Lord daily for each and every day no matter the challenges.You my dear I know can smash every challenge sent your way.Do everything with a grateful heart,and a right spirit.You got this girl!!!!

  5. Nicole July 31, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    Thank you for sharing and being so transparent. You are a true inspriation to us all! May you continue to be blessed, and carry on!!!!

  6. Dianne July 31, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your fear and your struggle. It helps tremendously to know that (1) it is not all in my head, (2) that it is possible to continue striving to be the best that you can be. We just have to modulate and work towards balancing out our drive with what our bodies are demanding of us. I hope you find your old “me” – it’s what I am working towards as well.

  7. Jenny Hunter July 31, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this. As I have been feeling exactly as you described. This article you wrote made me cry because I feel the same in ever part of my body. I was just wondering what doctor you went to to get diagnosed as I don’t think a regular obgyn does all the right tests. I have been on line off and on for the past week reading about adrenal fatigue and thyroid. I have heard that most doctors misdiagnose because they don’t test enough areas. If you could email me your doctor I would appreciate it, or maybe one you know of in the Salt Lake Valley. I live in West Jordan.
    Thanks !

    • Jen July 31, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

      My doctor’s name is Dr. Stuart Porter out of Provo. 🙂

  8. Kaila July 31, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    Thank you for this. I’m a long-time follower of your blog (although I am terrible at commenting), and I just wanted to say thank you for your openness with your journey. I’ve just started blogging about my own struggles with eating, exercise, etc. and I’ve noticed how many people in my life have started to reach out to me to say that they have gone through/are going through the same thing. I know that it hurts not to be able to live up to the expectations and goals we’ve set for ourselves–but the fact that you’re willing to face those fears (with an audience no less!) makes it possible for others to start facing their own fears. The fact of the matter is, you’re making a huge difference in the lives of others, and that’s something truly beautiful. I wish you so much luck in your journey, and just know that you are strong, not just because you can lift weights or run fast.
    🙂

  9. Heather August 1, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

    Hey Jen! Sorry to bug you, I wrote on your facebook page as well but I was so grateful for your post!!! I coincidentally just went to DR. Porter yesterday and he diagnosed me with Hashimotos and Adrenal fatigue as well. I was so grateful to hear that I am not going crazy and that there is a GOOD reason why I feel so crappy and tired all the time. I went out of there feeling soooo overwhelmed. He was super helpful and talked to me for an hour but I still feel completely clueless and scared. I was curious if you cut out dairy as well? He told me to cut out milk, but that I could still have greek yogurt and whey isolate proteins. So now I am just confused…should I eat dairy or not? What experience have you had with this? I feel like I have no idea what to eat. I was wanting to do my first bikini competition in October, but now I am kinda freaked out and wonder if it’s even possible.

  10. Bridget September 18, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

    What a wonderful brave inspiring girl you are. Please take care of yourself as much as you possibly can, and know that you are never alone in your struggles. No matter how we appear on the outside, it’s true we are all living our private battles on the inside. Wishing you all good things for now and on in to the future when you will once again be the you you want to be (I am CONVINCED of this!). 🙂

  11. Karen September 19, 2012 at 1:17 am #

    Jen – You are such an inspiration to me and I’m sure so many others. I’ve had my share of health issues and I’m just now coming out on the other side. After almost 6 years of health issues, I have turned things around. I have lost 55 pounds and approx. 26% bodyfat in the past 11 months. All by eating clean and working out consistently. I am fulfilling a dream and reach my goal…in 5 days I will be competing in my first figure competition. I am thrilled! My message to you is this…I am a very agressive, driven individual. When I had health issues in the past, I pushed myself extra hard to try to get thru it. I had numerous setbacks but was determined to keep pushing. In the end, I learned that being a quarterback in my life sometimes meant taking a step back and watching things unfold and waiting for the right opportunity instead of “forcing the play”. It meant learning how to be gentle with myself, asking for help, being vulnerable, being patient and loving myself above and beyond what results I was or was not achieving at the time. Please be gentle with yourself. Maybe you’ll run the Boston and maybe you won’t. In the end, what really matters? YOU and taking care of YOU is the most important thing. It may mean letting go of some of those things and just “being”. Be gentle with yourself…you deserve the best. This too shall pass! (In a time that you may or may not be able to determine.) Hang tough girl. Sending positive thoughts and vibes your way. Thanks for all you do on a daily basis to support us. 🙂

  12. janiesoehl October 10, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

    JEN! This is 100% what I needed to read. YOU have put exactly how I feel into words. As a bikini competitor, I have had to turn down a few competitions this ear to try and straighten out my health and get down to the nitty gritty.
    I feel for you and this post and relate completely. <3 thanks for being real. please reach out if you want to chat

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