A Bit of Lint and a Paperclip

Ten and a half years ago when I was a newlywed, my husband got hurt on the job and was unable to work. I was in my third year of University and working part-time at Pier One Imports putting together the visual displays. We were living pay cheque to pay cheque as most students do, and then suddenly we were without my husband’s income. WCB was less than cooperative in paying the claim and wouldn’t allow him to work another job to supplement our income.

I found myself living in a 1-bedroom apartment with gold shag carpet, working as many hours I was able, trying desperately to do all my course work and make it to my classes, and not worry about the looming rent.

When it came time to pay the rent we had $28.37 to our name. I knew it wouldn’t cover the rent so I used the money to buy a week’s worth of groceries instead. Seven apples, a loaf of bread, peanut butter, jam, milk, and all the macaroni and cheese we could afford came home with me. After I put the groceries away I walked through our 490 square foot apartment with tears streaming down my face and quiet desperation filling my heart.

We were completely void of resources and didn’t know what to do or where to turn to for help. Despite all the struggle, effort, and discipline we came up short.

The only thing left in our pockets was a bit of lint and a paperclip.

I find myself feeling the same way today, but this time I am wandering through my 3-bedroom condo while tears stream down my face and sadness wells up in my heart.

Yesterday I spent 3 hours with a Naturopath that specialized in thyroid disorders. I learned so much about my health and how void of resources my body is that I am battling to find the good and positive perspective in all of this.

My doctor correctly diagnosed me with Hashimoto Thyroiditis, but the severity and extremely dangerous position I am in health-wise at this point was not made clear at all. Apparently I have such an acute case, the very kind hearted Naturopath was shocked that I was even out of bed and hadn’t been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I get an A+ in mental discipline and an F- in listening to my body.

I just didn’t know any differently.

I don’t want to spend my life moaning and complaining, so I just get on with life and do what needs to be done even though it is hard. No one said life was supposed to be easy, so I just went with what I had.

One of the symptoms that led to me to start asking questions was my epic level of coldness. I am always cold, and I don’t mean a wee bit chilly. Usually I can’t feel my toes even after running on the treadmill for 30 minutes at 6.5 mph. My toes were VERY cold yesterday. I was so desperate to have him understand the severity of my coldness that I whipped off my socks, showed him my blue tinged toes, and made him feel my foot. His eyes tripled in size and he let out a shocked gasp.

That was just the beginning of learning about all the things that I thought were normal but aren’t. It is actually physiologically impossible for me to lose weight with the state that my body is in right now. He was amazed that I am as lean as I am.

Yes, there is hope, but today I just feel an extreme sense of loss and grief. So many questions are plaguing me and I am living in the land of ‘If Only…

I never allow myself to feel the pain or weakness in my body. I always use the power of my mind to push through and accomplish. Today I am choosing to not push through, but to listen and feel. I am going to allow myself to be sad. By allowing myself to experience the pain and sadness today, I will be able to fully embrace the joy and vitality that comes with the health tomorrow.

Your mind is extremely powerful; make sure to use it wisely.


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  1. Surrender. Sometimes we must just surrender. It’s a hard thing to do for an athlete. I was diagnosed with cancer ten years ago and it felt the same. But now I’m training for a fitness competition – back then I wondered if I was going to survive let alone be shopping for posing suits. These speed bumps in our lives are for a reason and you need to slowly move over them. And don’t think you are the only one out there experiencing this. All of us do at one time or another. Let the tears flow, feel it, and then slowly move on. ….and keep lifting or if you need a rest allow yourself that. Surrender and you will come out the other side in a better place.
    Sandy (friend of Susan from the next level)

    • Oh D, tears in my eyes for what you are having to go through. I’ve never been diagnosed with anything chronic other than food allergies but about 5 years ago, I had a severe reaction to a tetanus vaccine that spiraled my health out of control for 4 long years. I struggled for so long and am finally feeling I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I went from being on 13 different prescriptions, all giving me even more ailments and side effects, to weaning myself off of all but my asthma inhaler. It’s possible to come out on the other side of this better than ever, but yes, you MUST listen to your body. I’m glad you are taking the time to stop and do that, even in sadness, but it will give you a chance to reconnect to it, listen to it and hear what it’s telling you that it needs. That along with a great team of friends, physicians and the like will have you bouncing back from this in no time. I’m very glad to hear that you are working with a naturopath. Keep listening to your body and also your heart, they will lead you to a better day!! Love and hugs to you xoxoxoxo

  2. Jessica Conlin (used to be Powless) says

    Oh DL, this made me sad for you. While I know that misery loves company, I feel compelled to tell you to feel what you need to feel, but don’t forget to celebrate the incredible successes you have made in spite of this. That’s an incredible feat.

    Fitness is all encompassing, don’t lose sight of that. Your mind and your body together will help you through this 🙂



  3. Cry, all you want. Then let it go. You can do it, you’re strong.


  4. Gawd I wish we could all be there to sit in our pjs and be supportive. lol Take some time to have a conversation with your body, see what it has to say. Never feel like you failed it or yourself and never be afraid to ask for help. xoxo

  5. You are completely right. You are absolutely allowed to be sad and have feelings. Although everyone thinks women are supposed to be so strong all the time, we just can’t. We have emotions and feelings and are entitled to feel the way we do. Just know in the end, you will get through it and you have a huge support system behind you! HUGS!!

  6. Wow! Everyone here is so right. Take time to grieve, listen to your body & remember that your health is more important than anything else right now. I’m so thankful for your lean mind & positive attitude as I know that they’ll help carry you through. I’m praying for you! <3

  7. Wow! Good for you for listening to your body. You are on the right path!

    Can you share the name of the Naturopath you visited? I too have Hashimoto’s and would love to talk to them.

  8. What you’ve done over the past couple years is amazing in itself. Now its even more amazing considering that your body has been trying to handle this too. What I do know is that, with the discipline you’ve shown, you will be able to commit to any treatment that is required of you. Donloree, you’re in a very difficult spot, but just like your time being out of money and not knowing how to pay rent, you will overcome. Perhaps the health issues will not disappear, but the emotions you are experiencing will change as you process them. You’re going to make it!!



  9. Cindy Smith says

    Once again you proove what an amazing person you are, Donloree. When you had first shared that you had Hashimoto’s, I was surprised at how well you seemed to be functioning so had assumed it was a lighter case of it. Just hang in there, girl. Certainly don’t give up. There has got to be something they can do for you to help out some? We can all sympathize and share health-related frustration stories. I was quite flabergasted and upset when I was diagnosed with a blood clot back in July. Having to take Coumadin was the most trying things I’ve had to do — especially with trying to be more careful with what goes in my mouth (I have meant to research this, but have heard that one of the main ingredients in Coumadin is also in rat poison — great). You’re in my prayers. Love you.

  10. Sending a HUGE hug your way!


  11. Allowing yourself to feel the sad stuff too is part of the human experience. What you resist persists. Feel it, and – as Sandy says – surrender. That way it will work its way through. With you in spirit and wishing you well.

  12. Sorry hear about your health struggles. When I was told I had cancer 5 years ago what a blow that was. Your life is turned upside down. Remember to be in the moment. Understand that life is part struggle to enjoy the times we dont. Embrace your challenge, you will become a stronger person. My prayers are with you.

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