Dorielle Dvorin, Thyroid Thrivers
44 years old
Finally, I found a doctor that hears me. I am not crazy, this isn’t ALL IN MY HEAD. It is not depression or aging or stress. Those things definitely play a roll in this process, but thyroid disease is a real thing.
Hypothyroidism is a disease that some people say is, “all in your head.” But it’s not. I repeat, it. is. not! I must admit, until recently, however, I started to doubt this myself. I was beginning to think, maybe it was make-believe, maybe I don’t have a thyroid disease. Maybe the fatigue and weight gain are just part of getting older. Especially since none of my doctors diagnosed me properly. Now, 5 years after starting this battle, I am a true believer. Finally, I found a doctor that hears me. I am not crazy, this isn’t ALL IN MY HEAD. It is not depression or aging or stress. Those things definitely play a roll in this process, but thyroid disease is a real thing. It is silently effecting millions of innocent bystanders, across the globe. I am one of them. Here is my story!
Flash back to 1995…
I couldn’t get out of bed without severe pain and excruciating body aches. I was only 25 years old. I was a single mom with a 2 year old son. I definitely didn’t have time for this, much less time for me. So, I muddled through. My grandmother had arthritis and I decided I had inherited it. Chalk it up to bad genes. Eventually, however, the discomfort and misery, made me cave. I went to see a doctor. After several tests, the doctor concluded it was fibromyalgia. He said I needed to find an exercise regime, do it every day for at least 30 minutes and stick with it! Keeping my muscles ‘warm’ was a necessity. So I did exactly what the doctor ordered and it worked. Pain free and happy for many years, I didn’t really think much about the diagnosis after that.
A few years later, I got married. 13 months after that, I had my precious baby girl! Gaining 60 pounds, I knew I had some work to do, if I wanted to be healthy and fit again. 8 months into my workout routine, I decided I couldn’t do it on my own anymore. A personal trainer is what I needed. I found the best in Dallas. Oh…yeah…it just so happened to be the father of my son so, I knew he’d get the job done. Boy, did he ever! 118 lbs. and 17% body fat, in 6 weeks. I was elated! Yay me, I was not only back to the old me, but a better and healthier version. I didn’t take any supplements or aides, as I wanted to do it au naturale. It took a lot of determination and perseverance, but I remembered that exercising had helped me overcome aches and pains in the past, so I pushed through and it paid off. I stuck with it and was very driven. I was building serious muscle and I loved it. I started to get very tone and ripped and I looked and felt more fantastic than I did before I had kids. I was getting tired, however. Raising 2 kids on my own, was no easy task and it was taking a toll on me and my body. I started to get fatigued very easily. I lost all of my the energy I used to have, by 3 p.m. every day. Assuming this was normal, I kept going. Just like the energizer bunny. It takes a licking and keeps on ticking. I wanted to believe I was successfully succeeding and that this exhaustion was ‘all in my head.’
Heading into a divorce, I found sanctity at the gym. At this point, I needed a diversion. Finding a new trainer and getting my ‘sweat on’, was just what I needed. We set new goals for me. Which gave me something to devote my anxiety and sadness to. He also told me that with a little effort, I would be great at competing in a FIGURE competition. WOW, me?! I thought, “What a wonderful, much-needed mental detour that would be.” I wanted to focus on anything and everything that was the opposite of my personal life and struggles I was going through. I didn’t think about what came next or what was involved. I was like a robot. My diet was extreme. The workouts were overwhelmingly difficult. I certainly didn’t even give it much thought when my trainer mentioned ‘special’ supplements. ‘Great, bring it on!’ The distraction was wonderful.
My body was looking great, my clothes were fitting fabulously and the adrenaline rush was just what I needed. My very first FIGURE competition, I took home a trophy. It was exciting. This was a new world to me, and it made me happy for the first time, in a long time. To think, I could work hard and actually WIN at something, was an intoxicating feeling. Since this was a new concept to me, I stepped up my game and dove into training, with full force. I took diuretics, and I’m not talking over the counter diuretics. I’m talking about special pills that were given to me, ‘under the table.’ These pills would help push me further into looking my best, supposedly. So, I didn’t question it. I was hypnotized by the glitz and glamour of it all. Plus, I found a happy place within it. Disturbingly, at some point, I eventually took steroids. I mean, why not, it’s what you do, right?! It’s what the figure industry of competing does. The ‘winners’ do. I was a winner and I wanted to win again. Working out and striving for another win was my perfect way to spend some of the extra time I had on my hands. Time I could use to suppress the devastation and sorrow I felt about my divorce.
Looking back, I had willingly put blinders on. I wasn’t thinking clearly. I didn’t think what this would do, or was doing, to my body, long-term. The sheer exhaustion that followed was unbearable and unbelievable. Sleeping for 10 hours a day didn’t help me feel rested. I was tired all the time. I drank an unreasonable amount of coffee, to the point that I would fall asleep, not stay awake. Ultimately, I pushed through. I was a single mom of 2 amazing kids. I had done it before, I could do it again. I GOT THIS! And, I did. I came home with another trophy! I think I was trying to prove that although my marriage didn’t succeed, I could be successful at something.
3 years after my FIGURE competing started, I couldn’t take it anymore. Yes, I had 2 trophies and a fantastic physique. But, the sleepless nights were too much. The training and wear on my body, started to interfere with being a mom, my greatest joy. So, I quit the gym. Unfortunately, I also stopped eating healthy. I gave up on everything. The fatigue was winning. The pain was winning. And, the depression had taken over. I faked my way through each day. I had to. This was not an option. When you are doing everything on your own, for you and your kids, your options are limited. (which, might have somehow saved me and my thyroid health) I had to handle it all. There was no room for being this exhausted. I truly didn’t want my kids see the way I saw myself…..physically, mentally and emotionally disabled. No one wants their kids to know how badly they are suffering, especially me. I had to find help.
I went to doctor after doctor begging for them to help me. At this point, I had learned about adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism. I just knew, deep down, that this was what was taking over my life! But, I was not ‘that’ overweight. No one believed me. No one thought this had anything to do with my thyroid. They thought I was just looking for excuses.
I was in full-on depression mode. The doctors obviously didn’t understand or want to help or get to my root cause, because I was wrongly diagnosed with ADHD. This didn’t explain the sleep, or lack thereof. It didn’t explain anything. I felt forced to walk away from my family and the family job. It was miserable. I was beyond depressed, but why? Not because I was sad. Yes, that was part of it, but it was my body. My body was screaming for help.
I had to work and support my kids, despite what my family thought or the fact that they didn’t understand. So, I got a job waiting tables. It was lively and I needed that. The busy atmosphere helped to mask my desolation. I loved it although, I started to gain weight at a rapid pace. 😥 The fatigue was out of control. And, the next doctor said “it’s your job, your age, your family issues.” What? Ugh, not again!
Finally on a small dose of Levothyroxine. My hair was still thinning and coming out in clumps. I never felt rested. I was still having body pains. I wasn’t being properly treated. I wasn’t being heard, although I felt like I had been screaming and shouting for help. This new doctor was too conservative. Wasn’t there someone out there in the medical field that knew more than I had learned on the internet? So, I moved on.
Now I’m on a higher dose. Depression is getting a little better. Some body aches and pains are still there, but thankfully, it doesn’t last too long. Whereas before, it lasted for hours! My once-healthy, full head of hair, is still thinning. I have stopped gaining weigh and actually lost 2 lbs., last month. I am used to making better progress when it comes to body weight, but it’s a step forward. I have cut out gluten and have cleaned up the GMO’s. I am not perfect, but I know I’m doing better. I’m still in the process of getting the right dose and even the right medication. Maybe I need armor? Maybe T3? We are still testing. But I’m on a positive road…and I’m fighting my thyroid battle every day. I will not give up! I know I will kick this thyroid in its ass!
It’s not in your head…thyroid disease is real. I’m thankful that this disease hasn’t done more damage. Because it can, if it goes untreated. Don’t give up. Make someone hear you! And if one doctor doesn’t listen….move on! It’s your body and only you know what is going on inside. Listen to yourself!
Thank you for all of your support, Thyroid Nation…I am learning more and more every day. Your site has been a a HUGE help during my thyroid disease battle! We are all warriors and Thyroid Thrivers!