About

My name is Toni Dawn. Toni is my real first name. Dawn is my middle name. I’m called “The Girl in Yoga Pants” because I wear them nearly every day. I’ve got a lot going on with my body, so my clothes need to be comfortable. My diagnoses include fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalance (low progesterone and testosterone, estrogen dominance, and high DHEA-S), attention-deficit disorder, and a couple of others I can’t remember right now. I share my journey back to health here hoping to educate and inspire others with similar illnesses.

My Story

The Girl in Yoga Pants 2010 Photo

Me, before I got sick.

Before I got sick, I worked as a pharmacy technician and personal trainer. My illness developed from chronic stress in addition to my third pregnancy in 2011. “Little Tiger” is my oldest daughter, “Little Dragon” is my youngest daughter, and “Tater” is my son, the youngest of all. They were all born 8 years apart. I had a difficult pregnancy with Tater, nearly miscarrying him at 9 weeks, then my body literally came apart at the seams. My abdominal muscles and pubic bones separated, and I suffered excruciating pain as a result. I somehow managed to teach fitness classes until 2 weeks before he was born.

Tater was born 6 weeks early after less than 3 hours of labor. Don’t let that number fool you – I was blacking out from the pain and blood loss right before he was born. My bladder prolapsed and I ripped my abdominal muscles from carrying a heavy bag into the NICU, where we spent 3 weeks. He had laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), which means the contents of his stomach rose so far up into his esophagus that it cut off his airway and nearly killed him, due to immature sphincters in his esophagus. All we could do was keep him upright and wait for his digestive tract to mature enough to keep his milk down. He spent 3 months on a heart monitor at home that would alert me if he was in trouble. That was scary as hell.

This blog began as a weight loss blog, as I began my effort to lose the weight I had gained from my pregnancy. I had to wait 6 months to begin exercising to give my abdominal tear time to heal. Things didn’t go as planned. I was fatigued in a way I had never been before. It went beyond the common “new mommy” fatigue. I felt like I had mono again. My body ached and burned all over.

Just 3 days after I started blogging about losing weight, I came down with my first of many rounds of bronchitis and sinus infections. I went to the doctor and we discussed everything else that had been going on. She diagnosed me with fibromyalgia, but I had no idea what that meant or that I’d be dealing with it for the rest of my life. I thought I could just get over it. (It’s okay to laugh). She put me on Effexor after my insurance refused to pay for Cymbalta.

Soon after, my gynecologist diagnosed low progesterone, but refused to treat it longer than 6 weeks. I then gained an additional 40 pounds over the next few months as a side effect of the medication, plus intense sugar cravings, and an inability to exercise without feeling like I was being burned at the stake. It’s just my luck that I would start a weight loss blog, then gain a bunch of weight.

I felt better on the Provera, but without it, my health slowly declined to the point that I could barely function. I couldn’t stand for longer than 5 minutes, so I was practically home bound. It took over a year for me to get an appointment with a rheumatologist. When I finally got an appointment, he suggested I get off all of the fibromyalgia medications I was taking, and cut out dairy. That was not what I expected. I thought he was crazy, but the medications weren’t working well anyway and were giving me horrible side effects, though I still take medications for other things. Yep, you read that right. My fibromyalgia is unmedicated. Shortly before seeing him, I had suddenly became intolerant to dairy and caffeine, so I had no choice but to give it up. Though I had been trying to eat a Paleo diet for over a year, I had adopted the version that allowed dairy, so this was the beginning of some major dietary changes for me.

It was too late, though. I developed gastritis and suffered gallbladder attacks at the same time, although my doctor couldn’t figure out what was going on. Instead of the normal symptoms, I was having acute episodes of chest pains, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, nausea, and diarrhea. I thought I was dying, but the ER docs kept telling me it was just a stomach flu. They finally checked my heart. The cardiologist told me I was having hot flashes.

We triple checked my thyroid. I have a multinodular goiter, but my thyroid is functioning normally. My thyroid doctor told me I was having hot flashes. Two months later, an ultrasound finally revealed that my gallbladder was sick. I had my gallbladder removed, but my episodes persisted. I no longer believed these episodes were just hot flashes, because I had them every time I ate, especially at night after I got in bed. Needless to say, I couldn’t eat much. I lost 65 pounds. I pressured my doctor to send me back to the gastroenterologist. After 10 months of nightly “painsomnia” (not being able to sleep because of pain), an endoscopy finally revealed the gastritis, which I had developed from the high dose of NSAIDs my doctor had prescribed me to treat my pain.

Things finally turned around after I found a clinical pharmacist who specialized in hormone replacement therapy (HRT) willing to treat my underlying hormone imbalance that I was diagnosed with 2 years prior. My pharmacist also found severe adrenal fatigue (low cortisol all day long) from the chronic stress I’ve been under and began treating that, as well.

It’s been a long, hard road. I’m certainly not back to my normal self again, but I’m feeling much better.

About the Blog

You’ll notice a long gap in posts here on the blog. What happened is that I switched from WordPress.com to a self-hosted WordPress.org blog. We began having financial problems due to all of my medical bills, so when my hosting expired, I couldn’t afford to renew it. I was not a responsible blogger and neglected to back up my blog regularly. In the aftermath, I lost almost two years-worth of content.

Yep. I did that.

Being the type who just picks up the pieces and carries on, that’s exactly what I did, with the blog and with my life. “Keep moving forward” is my motto.

I hope you enjoy what you read here. Thanks for stopping by! :)

Toni, The Girl in Yoga Pants

17 comments

  1. I really enjoy your blog posts, so I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. If you’d like to read and repost the award, you can find it on my home page.
    I look forward to reading more of your posts.
    Tammy

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  2. I really like this blog as well!! I have four kids and i don’t think I’ve ever had a clean house for longer than a week! And nice to meet an INTJ i’m an ISFP! (just recently finished a psych class on personalities ) I look forward to reading more posts :)

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  3. What convinced me I needed to read this blog? Besides the vitamin D deficiency connection? It was either “That’s not my ass” or the assertion you, too, would give up food before coffee. Ha. I may have just fell in rapid like. ;)

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    1. Megan, thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart! Congratulations on your own Inner Peace Award! You deserve it, and I’m really enjoying reading your blog. It is very kind of you to nominate me. However, after having accepted a few awards in the past, and after much deliberation, I have decided to no longer do the award thing. Energy and cognitive function are rare commodities for me these days, and I have to honor my limits. Writing three coherent paragraphs has been taking me a whole hour lately.

      While I LOVE getting awards and recognition for my crazy writing and I LOVE that I get to send a little recognition to the bloggers I like who share their stories and struggles with the world, I just don’t have it in me to write award posts and do all the question answering, linking and informing, and all that. The way I’m functioning lately, it would take me all day, and possibly a day and a half, then a day of recovery to write one. That’s why I haven’t been writing more than once a week. I’d rather write my own stuff and recognize other bloggers by linking to their posts as relevant to what’s going on in my writing, you know?

      I appreciate you so much, I really do. Thank you again for the nomination. I hope you can understand my reason for not accepting.

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      1. Thanks for letting me know :-) Of course I understand your reasons for not accepting. I know I definitely deliberated over accepting them from the start. It does take a lot of my energy and cognitive function to accept them and I understand what you mean. Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

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