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Monday, January 2, 2017

Coming Clean

It's been several months since I've been here and a lot has happened in those months. I don't make "resolutions" per se, but I do hope to do better about blogging this year.  I even picked up a "300 Writing Prompts" journal in the hopes it would encourage me to get back here. I'm not sure it really did that, but I have been able to get some words out almost into cohesive thoughts.

No promises here, though!

Looks like the last time I was here was at my 4 year post-surgery timeframe...and that was 8 months ago!  I never made it to my 4-year appointment. Many reasons and excuses why, but in the end, it just didn't happen. I plan on calling tomorrow to go ahead and schedule my 5 year appointment for May.  We'll see if the MD yells at me or not.  

As I said at the start of this blog, transparency is key for me. So I need to come clean on a few things. First, I may have intentionally not made it to that 4-year appointment. About a month before the appointment, I was traveling for work and had something happen that kind of put me in an emotional tailspin. There's no gentle way to put it so I'll just say it. I was sexually harassed at the convention I was attending. I wasn't assaulted, but I did have to pull away from the (very drunk) guy multiple times as he kept grabbing my hand, trying to hug me and rub my back. His words were the most haunting part, though not threatening in content or tone what he said to me was so very VERY inappropriate. I was pretty shaken by the experience as I had never encountered anything like that. I can't imagine what others who have had much worse happen feel like because I felt...disgusting. I called CME and he was able to console me and make sure I was ok. The sponsors of the event were gracious and handled it very professionally and I'm super thankful my boss knew me well enough to have my back 100%! Later I was discussing it with a very dear friend (my way to try to deal with it, I suppose) and though VERY well-intentioned, the words that came out of their mouth loomed over me. 

"You know, you could take this as a compliment...this probably wouldn't have happened if you were still fat." 

Food was my comfort back in the day. Regardless of how I felt physically, food was how I dealt with any kind of emotion. Stress, fear, anger, sadness, happiness... food was my go-to relief.  So, guess what I did. Yep, I turned back to food. In a month I had packed on 15 pounds! Fifteen pounds that have stayed on me since May.  Fifteen pounds that kept me from going to my 4-year post op because I didn't want to face the MD and his chastising. Fifteen pounds I am determined will be gone in the next couple of months. God has brought me too far in this journey to let an ugly situation and an ugly lie keep me in an ugly and unhealthy mental and physical state. 

Fifteen pounds doesn't seem like much in the big scheme of things.  I can still wear my same size 10 pants (though they're snug) and medium tops, but I'm technically overweight again.  THAT is a big deal to me. So I'm in a reset mode of sorts. I've even discussed it with each of our family members. ALL of us have put on some weight in 2016 and we're going to make it a family effort to get the weight off and get healthier.

Good things happened too this year...and I'll end with those, but I need to mention a couple more not so happy things that I know have affected me emotionally over the last 8 months...

My Mom has been very sick - in the hospital a couple of different times and diagnosed with non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver. Her health is NOT good and though I know she's tired of all the doctor visits and 'rules' given, she's not doing all that the doctors have told her to do. She says she's trying, but I worry it's not enough. Her gastroenterologist has sent a referral to IU-Indianapolis for her to be evaluated for a liver transplant. I'm worried that unless she does 110% of what she's been asked to do, that she won't be a candidate. I know she's scared...she's voiced it repeatedly...but I also know she will NOT get better unless she has it. I *think* she's aware of the severity of her condition, but I'm not convinced she has let it set in. 

On October 26, my boss (teacher, mentor, encourager, friend) was let go from our company after 28 years of service.  Long story short is that two somewhat similar (but not really) groups were combined into one and his position was eliminated. EVERYONE was shocked, with many VPs calling me asking me what in the world had just happened. I wish I knew!  To say I was angry is an understatement. For the first time in my 20+ year career with my company I felt alone. Yet, I still have employees to encourage and keep motivated. It wasn't an easy task for me, but one thing I knew was that I wasn't going to let it affect my performance. I have a job to do and I WILL do it well. (Performance and emotional attitude are different, I found out...) My new boss is in Delaware and truly didn't have a good understanding of what I did or what my team does. So I spent the last two months trying to learn a personality while educating him on all that I've accomplished the last year and what my team does and will be doing going forward. Did I mention that my Year-End Evaluation was now going to be written by this person that doesn't know me? :::insert two sarcastic thumbs up here::: Yes - this change has affected me too.

Then, on November 13, I got a call as I was getting ready for church. One of our pastors, his mother and two of his daughters were in a tragic car accident. Only survivor was the oldest daughter. I just remember thinking, "This isn't real. This can't be real.  What did she just say? How am I going to tell Parker? No...this isn't what I'm hearing. What???" But it was real. Painfully real. David and I have been friends since our own marching band days in high school. David brought life to our worship experience and it was his goal to introduce Jesus to everyone he came in contact with - through worship, music and the arts. He led many mission trips for both high schoolers and adults and challenged us all to see people like God saw them...as His lost sheep. David is creative and funny, but serious about worship. David had mentored Parker since elementary school as his "dorm dad" at church camp...had poured into Parker encouraging him to pursue what Parker felt God was calling him to... music ministry. David. David is one of a kind. How could God take him?!?  Sophie...she's just 17.  Sophie...she's so incredibly gifted.  Sophie...Parker is going to be devastated.  Parker and Sophie had just led worship for Middle School YTH the weekend before. Where's that video I took of them? I don't undertand! Why God!? Why would you let this happen? Yes - this affected me. A LOT.

And while I don't have all the answers to my questions, I take joy in knowing that these dear sweet people heard, "Well done, good and faithful servants" on November 13, 2016 and some day, I'll get to see their smiling faces again. 

I also take joy in the fact that though emotionally these events affected me greatly, I did not succumb to food to comfort me and therefore did not add more to the fifteen pounds that I already put on. Seems stupid, but I'll claim that victory! And I thank Jesus for helping through all those dark times.

So what good has happened?

Well, I got to travel - some for work and some for pleasure. I got to see friends that I don't get to see often. We got to see our Michigan family at Thanksgiving, which we don't get to do nearly enough. The granddaughters are growing like weeds and are a ton of fun! We get to do those fun grandparent things and send them home. 😊 The boys are doing well in school and are pretty awesome for teenagers.  Parker got accepted into both schools he applied - Johnson University in Knoxville TN and Ozark Christian College in Joplin MO. Now he'll need to make the decision and we'll keep praying that he gets a LOT of scholarships to help!

There you have it folks... a quick (ha!) summary of my 2016. 

Blogging is my accountability, so I'm going to do my best to stay accountable here. I know that God has me on a journey for His glory and when I let life here on this earth get in the way I suffer - emotionally and physically.  I'm thankful that He doesn't give up on me and that He's never left my side. I just need to cling to Him (my Vine!) and let Him continue to work in me and shape me into the person He wants me to be.

Happy 2017, friends.  May it be a year filled with hope and victories for you and your families.


Our friends... you're missed and loved!


"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I'm still here...

Life has been crazy busy and blogging has gone to the wayside, but I'm still here and just passed my 4 year anniversary of a second chance at life!

I'll try to blog more later... But until then...

2009 vs 5/9/16. Crazy print tips and black pants are the only thing that hasn't changed!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Life on Fast Forward

(Found this in my drafts...oops!)

It's late January. 2016. I am trying to figure out how that happened. Has Adam Sandler found that remote again and hit the Fast Forward button? I mean, seriously!

That might explain how October...November...December...and even most of January have already passed and I've not updated anything here. It definitely feels that way at least.

So here's a quick recap of the last 3.5 months...

  • October was a special month with the addition of our newest granddaughter, Harper Lee!  She's awesome!
  • Attended our annual family reunion (my Dad's side) and now know that it is the last one with any of my Dad's siblings as his sister passed away late December.
  • Thanksgiving was extra special with all my children here to celebrate.  My youngest daughter, son-in-law, newborn and 2 dogs blessed our house for a few days which allowed for some special bonding with Harper since we don't get to see her often.
  • I was blessed to be able to make a quick trip to Michigan to see my dear friends...AND catch up with other friends for a couple of hours at a Starbucks during the drive up!
  • CHRISTmas Eve was nice with my family - though CME had to work. There was a bit of a scare with my Dad. He had a moment that CME and others believe could have been a mini-stroke type issue, although he's quite stubborn and wouldn't go be assessed. Still waiting to see what his PCP has to say about the episode when he finally sees her next month.
  • BEAUTIFUL CHRISTmas Eve midnight service to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ! I am sooooooooooo thankful our church has added this late-night option. Truly my favorite way to celebrate.
  • CHRISTmas day was spent playing many of the board games we acquired and then spent the evening with our oldest and her family - complete with Chinese food for dinner (though I want to nix that going forward!)
  • Out of town daughter/family finally got to come back down to celebrate CHRISTmas/New Year all at once.
  • Work has gone in 100 different directions all at the same time at 100mph minimum!  It's been insane.
  • Through the insanity I did have the opportunity to travel with work. I hadn't realized how much I miss that.  Was able to celebrate some NSVs...no seatbelt extender...crossing my legs on a VERY small plane... yeah... still some of my favorite NSVs!
  • I have employees reporting to me again...it's only been 10+ years. Some things never change, but lots of things do.
All of this has distracted me some from fully being aware of healthy choices/options. There has been a ton of stress as well, but I am happy to report that I've handled it better than I would have in years past. My weight has been consistent (aka no weight gain!) and I've not turned to food to deal with the stress. I'm so thankful for that!  My life is so much different - so much better - now. I still seem to have a bit of an ulcer issue and had to go back on Prilosec. I'll have to discuss that with the MD when I go back for my 4 year (wow!) post opp appointment this year. Other than that, all seems to be well. 

There you have it... life on FF. It's good. Life is good and God is good! And I am forever grateful for the life He's given me!

"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Was That A Compliment?!

I believe it was a compliment. I think so, at least...in a weird sort of way. Yet, I have fixated on what was said to me yesterday. I’m able to laugh about it, because again, I believe it was meant in a good way…

Security guard at work: “Were you a fast runner in school?”
Me: -chuckle- “Not even!”
SG:  “You walk like you were a fast runner.”

I’m sure he could tell by the look on my face that I was perplexed by his statement so he went on to say… “The fast runners always were slightly bow-legged and their feet pointed in just a bit.”

My Brain: “Did he just call me bow-legged and pigeon toed?”  

Why yes…yes he did. So that’s a new descriptor that could be put in the bag of lies of who I am. Even though I know that wasn’t his intent.  It was just odd.

So I went on to tell him that I wasn’t a runner at all. I wasn’t active and I wasn’t athletic. I proceeded to tell him that in past I was about twice the size I am now.  He interrupted and said, “You know, someone told me you had lost a lot of weight.” And he actually high-fived me.  (More oddity)

Then I said it… “Yeah…about 3.5 years ago, God gave me the courage and strength to have gastric bypass surgery.”

People don’t really know how to respond to that some times.  And by the look on his face, he’s one of those people.  I’m not sure if it was a look of disapproval or a look of 'should I take my high five back?' or just a look of ‘now what do I say?’  Luckily for him someone else approached the desk for a legit business reason and I was able to leave.

But my fixation is three-fold. First – was that a compliment?  LoL  I mean did he really think I was a fast runner?  Second – WHO told him (and why?) that I had lost a lot of weight? Really?!  I mean, if I tell people that’s cool… heck I blog about it… but how does that get brought up anyway?  Third – Gastric Bypass Surgery is still a taboo in some eyes.

But here’s the good news. First – He meant well. I’m giving this guy the benefit of the doubt. He has good intentions; he’s friendly and he loves the Lord (other GOOD convos we’ve had in passing). So there was nothing about it that offended me. Second – so someone is talking about my weight loss.  How can I use that to bring glory to God? I can do exactly what I did… “God gave me the courage…” If others see His work IN me…then win/win!  Third – Gastric Bypass Surgery maybe taboo in some eyes, but a life changer (and/or saver) in others. Don’t worry about what people think about your choice. You k
now where you are and why you’ve come to this decision. Be okay with others not being okay with it.

Now off to stare in the mirror for a while and see if I see what he was talking about... (kidding!!!)
"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Emotional Pitfalls of Weight Loss Surgery

I ran across this article the other day. Though I may not agree 100% with all it says, there are some REALLY good points and perspectives that are spot-on for me - some of it explained better than I ever could. 

PLUS, for those who haven't experienced weight issues or weight loss issues, please understand that when your friend/loved one expresses certain emotions or comments - that they're not looking for you to understand. They're looking for a safe place to talk through it without being judged or ridiculed. 

For those of you who are in this process - you are NOT alone! You're not abnormal in your thinking. 

Emotional Pitfalls of Weight Loss Surgery
"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Genetic Predisposition

First - What is genetic predisposition?
A genetic predisposition is a genetic characteristic which influences the possible phenotypic development of an individual organism within a species or population under the influence of environmental conditions. In medicine, genetic susceptibility to a disease refers to a genetic predisposition to a health problem, which may eventually be triggered by particular environmental or lifestyle factors, such as tobacco smoking or diet. 
Still a little 'wordy' for me. So let me see if I can break it down to a place where my simple brain can understand it better.

Predispose means to cause (someone) to be more likely to behave in a particular way or to be affected by a particular condition. Or to make one susceptible. So I'm saying I can make myself more susceptible to something because I may trigger it due to the lifestyle I choose.

So is it really being predisposed or the results of a conscious decision?

I am not saying that we can control all health factors. There are people like my father-in-law who has taken care of his body...ate (relatively) healthy, took vitamins, etc. and yet wound up with some benign tumors in his brain that caused major (and minor) seizures. Others who regularly exercise and eat healthy can still have high cholesterol and/or heart related issues. Let's not even go there with childhood (or other) cancer.  

I am saying we do have control over parts of our lives that can have an effect (positive or negative) on our condition. Just this week, my family has gotten some poor diagnoses on their health: blood clot in a leg; irregular heart rhythms which could lead to the need for a pacemaker (waiting for the results of the 24-hour heart monitor); hospitalization for cellulitis and MRSA. On top of this, a family history of: high blood pressure, diabetes, high sugar - but not yet diabetic, gestational diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, poor circulation/vein issues; knee/ankle/back pain.  And the list goes on.

All this got me thinking. What of this CAN be controlled? What part of lifestyle and life choices contribute to each of these? From my perspective a HUGE part can be controlled. I looked back at the beginning of my blog when I did my Genogram and realized I saw all of this then - yet coming from a healthy side of it now, I have different eyes looking at it. I look at it as the way God has allowed me to break free of some of what I would have called "predisposed"... almost like I said, "I'm part of this family so I'm just destined to be this way." As I said in my last post, family health issues are waiting in the wings just waiting to attack.

I call that lie what it is! LIE! I do have control over how I treat my body.  I do have control over making healthy choices and KEEPING my body as healthy as I can. I have control of what I put in my body. I no longer will allow my family history haunt my health. I no longer will fall prey to the lie that it's part of being in my family. I pray that my children understand this too.

The news my family received this week is exactly where I was headed. I was subject to this unhealthy life because I allowed myself to be. It's all I knew at the time. So thankful that God has given me the power to be an overcomer!

"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Not A Day Too Soon!

My boys start school tomorrow. Though I know we all think this summer has flown by, for me it's not a day too soon! Yes, I know I'm a parent and we all have thought that at some point in time, but this is coming from a place of frustration about their eating habits.

I have done my best in the past 3+ years to try to educate them and help them (all of us) make healthier choices. I don't want them to be in the situation I was in...or fall prey to our family trait of obesity. It's such a hard battle! And it's not about the number on the scale...IT'S ABOUT BEING HEALTHY!  I want to shout that from the top of my lungs - though I know the fine line between words spoken and the interpretation of the hearer. It can get soooooooo twisted (I know...I've let it happen).  Satan will try to attach shame and guilt and judgement to the words, but that's so not it. The health issues that plague our family are waiting in the wings, ready to attack. I'm a Mom...I'm suppose to protect them, right?  Yes, I know I can't protect them forever, but how on earth do I get it across to them that the choices they make now WILL effect the rest of their lives?

Why am I so frustrated? Well, it's like this... we went to the store Monday evening. (That's just two nights ago).  I don't 'normally' buy snacks...and this is part of the reason.  But school is starting and I do like to have a couple extra options to add to their lunch boxes. But in TWO days, the amount of food that's been consumed is beyond...BEYOND...overeating.  I'd list it all here, but since they have access to this blog..well, let's just say I'm not a happy momma!


The good news is...starting tomorrow, they'll be in school all day and will be in our presence at night. I hate  having to feel like I'm monitoring everything they're eating.  I just don't know how to handle this beyond that.

Lord God, give me wisdom and open their ears!
"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14