Sunday, 15 April 2018



( My fat belly.)
When did my flat belly develop a roll? When did my tiny waist grow?

I leaned over my desk in the den as I typed and glanced into the mirror on the closet door. I saw me staring back at my body. I don’t like to look at me without warning and time to pose.

I didn’t like what I saw.

There was a roll of fat – a wheel barrel tire sized bulge in the middle of my body. Ugh.
(Wheelbarrow tire)

It wasn’t my idea to have a mirror this large in the room. We inherited it when we bought the house. I wondered how the mirror would look if I painted it taupe or gray to match the walls. Mirrors were supposed to make a small room look bigger. I didn’t care about the room. This mirror made my body look bigger so it had to go. My six-pack was now large enough to pack a twelve-pack of brew.

Hmmm. Maybe it wasn’t a roll of fat I was looking at. I stopped slouching, stretched the waistband of my jeans over my stomach, and yanked my shirt smooth. Nope. Didn’t help much. Maybe my shirt shrunk. Yup. That must be it. My shirt was too small. Mostly, I washed the clothes we threw in our hamper but sometimes, my husband did. I put all the delicates on an easy wash cycle, chose cool water, and the lowest dial for the dryer. Randy shoved them all in to get them done, hot or cold. Yeah, maybe that was the problem. 

I try and try to be thin, like I used to be, when I was sixteen. I watch every forkful of food as I shove it into my mouth, keep track of my steps as I move from the chair to the couch, and vow to stop at the halfway mark whenever I dig into a new tub of my favorite Tillamook ice cream.  Actually, I try to get in 20 or more miles of walking, hiking and bicycling every week but it doesn’t help.

Before I showered, I closed the window blinds because I didn’t want to scare the neighbor’s dog.  Then I stripped naked and peed because, you know, ounces add up to pounds. The results were always the same: I didn’t lose any weight. Worse, the dimples in cellulite looked like they were laughing at me.

I don’t think the problem is my thyroid. I take synthroid almost every day to try to kick my Hashimoto’s thyroiditis disease in the throat. I more or less stick to an anti-inflammatory diet. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disorder that almost killed my thyroid. It doesn’t make enough hormones for my body’s needs to regulate my heart rate or how slowly my body uses calories from the foods I eat. I tried the Atkins diet, the Nutrisystem diet, a 1300 calorie diet, and now a white food diet. I don’t eat anything white: white potatoes, white sugar, white rice, white flour. You would think this might make me look less white but it doesn’t. I still look mostly white with a tan.

The real problem is that I’m not miserable enough.

When I’m stressed, I can’t eat. Stress can induce my symptoms of PTSD. This keeps my heart pounding with panic, makes me nauseated, exacerbates my migraines, gives me stabbing pain, toxifies my body and mind, and throws off the functioning of my poor thyroid.

I’m five foot seven or eight, depending on who measures me. As an adult, my weight has fluctuated between 118 pounds and 165 in-between pregnancies.  Pregnancy is another situation altogether and doesn’t count. I’ve been too skinny - when my chest was more ribs than breasts, when my cheekbones were chiseled and gaunt, and my knees looked like knobs. Okay. I don’t want to look that skinny again. For my age, I guess I look pretty fine. 

I survived and was able to break the cycle of abuse and with one exception, I have given the gift of forgiveness to those who chose to abuse me.

I’m in love with my family, friends, and life. I live in joy and peace.

For more stories on living with a disabled thyroid:

True Crime Memoir – Survivor: As Long As I Breathe
is dedicated to:
survivors of emotional, physical, spiritual, or sexual abuse,
those who have had to bury a murdered child,
former members of a religious cult based on misogyny,
children born with Cornelia de Lange Syndrome,
and anyone who was falsely accused of a crime.


Joyce A Lefler is a true crime survivor and the author of
From Miracle to Murder: Justice For Adam.
She is a facilitator for Parents of Murdered Children,
a bereavement counselor, registered nurse,
and an advocate against abuse.

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