A-Weigh We Go

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Aha Moment

It's no secret that I have relied heavily on God throughout this process. It truly is how I've done it. Yet, I've been plagued again with bits of the past creeping in...thoughts and actions. It's frustrated me, but I keep pressing on. 

Recently I started a new devotional on Hearing God Speak. It's good. I've enjoyed it. I've learned. Then today...I had an Aha! moment. As I was journaling my prayer, I realized that the words God is teaching me on how to hear Him are words that I've associated with eating in past: Crave (the Word), Desire (Him), Feed (my spirit), Long For (time alone with Him), Hunger (for spiritual milk), Consume (truth and knowledge), Drink (Living water), Nourish (my soul). 

And so I'm asking for Him to help me only associate those words with Him and His Word!! May those words have new meaning to me going forward!!

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And on another note...my three year surgiversary came and went and I almost forgot about it! It wasn't until I was tucked in bed on 5/9 that I went...oh goodness! Today was three years! I think it's okay to not have a big recognition about it...makes it feel more normal. Regardless, I did take a picture and make a quick video for Instagram this week (though can't figure out how to upload the video via my phone/blog app!) It is a good reminder of the transformation of my life!! Thank you God!


 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Don't Look Back...

... You're not going that way. 

I need that reminder. I'm not sure why I'm feeling a little out of sorts. Maybe it's because I am approaching my 3 year surgiversary. Maybe it's because I've seen some old habits creep back in. Maybe it's because I am not liking the pictures I've seen of me lately. Maybe it's because one of the international friends of mine said my weight was better (too skinny last time) aka I've gained weight since I saw her last. Whatever the cause, I'm feeling a bit...over anxious about it. 

CME actually got a bit snippy with me because of it. He reminded me a number was never the goal. Healthy is the goal. I feel healthy...physically, but the mental part of this process can still be difficult! I know those of you who haven't gone through this don't really understand. Some days *I* don't even understand. Regardless this is hard work. Really hard. So hard in fact I've said that I don't recommend this surgery for anyone not willing to put in the effort. To be fully committed to a LIFE change. 

So why do I keep looking back with trepidation? Why must this be a constant battle? I thought I had fully turned this situation over to God, but I apparently keep grabbing on to it. That frustrates me even more! Anyway, I'm not going back, so I must look that way! Needed this reminder this evening. Thankful that God is faithful even when I stumble!


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What a Pain!

Literally.  Three and a half weeks ago, I started experiencing a pretty intense pain directly under my xiphoid process. For those of us who have gone through this, we KNOW when something is abnormal.  This certainly felt abnormal. It was almost as painful as when I had gall bladder attacks. 

So, I did what any normal person does now and consulted Dr. Google.  (Don't do this people...really!!!)  I didn't really come to any definite conclusion.  I narrowed it down to two possibilities...one was an internal hernia and the other... well, let me back up a bit.

About two months ago (maybe longer) I got on a kick of eating Rotel tomatoes for lunch.  That's it.  Like it was tomato soup or something...just spicy.  Multiple times per week.  I like tomatoes.  They're healthy, right? Plus, I had gotten into a really bad habit of drinking waaaaaaaaaaaaay to much coffee. (yes, I admit it) CME tried to warn me - but of course I know better, right?  After all, I've had no complications from this surgery. MD took me off Prilosec.  I'm fine.  I'm nearly 3 years post-op.  Pshaw!  I'll eat my Rotel and drink my coffee.

But the pain didn't go away, though it did subside if I ate.  Two things here...I was eating more frequently to try to avoid the pain (aka consuming more than I should) and I was trying to mask the problem.  I'm a smart person...yet wow can I ignore tell-tale signs!  So, as I was tired of being in pain I decided to take my hubby's advice and I wound up buying some Prilosec OTC.  I know it takes a while to work, but after 3 days...pain free!  So can you guess what I may have been suffering from? I'm still guessing, but if there is a clearer indication of an ulcer forming I don't know what it is.

I've stopped the Rotel and have cut back on coffee - about 1/2 what I was consuming.  I've been pain free for almost a week now.  I called bariatric center today and MD has called in a new Rx for Prilosec.  He wants me to take 2/day until I see him next month for my 3 year post-op.  Standard questions were asked: Consuming alcohol? Nope.  Smoking/tobacco? Definitely NO! Advil/Motrin/NSAIDs?  Nope. He did mention it's not common to have an ulcer this far out - but I really do believe I did it myself.  Not because of the pouch. Heck, a normal stomach might have a problem trying to handle what I was doing!

So I live and learn.  Now to shed the 6 lbs I gained in those weeks I was eating more than I should have to try to avoid the pain.  Consequences of my bad judgement, but still not defined by it!

Thankful that I am aware of what's going on in my body and even though I can be stubborn at times, I do learn. Thankful for CME who speaks medically sound advice to me so I don't freak out by Dr. Google's diagnosis!  Thankful for the minor issue that makes me even more aware of the blessing I've been given through this surgery.  I cannot take it for granted!

Oh...and hi.  It's been a while!  ;-)
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"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mixed Emotions

"You're one of the few success stories I've seen."  That was a comment from my PCP at my annual physical earlier this month. And while it made me happy...I was also sad. Not for me, necessarily, but for the others who my PCP was referencing. She went on to tell me that most people she has seen at her office either 1) do not get to a healthy weight to begin with or 2) have significant weight gain within three years. 

And that three year mark is just around the corner for me. So I had to take captive a lie satan whispered to me: "You're going to hit three years and then you'll gain all that weight back again." When I say "take captive" I mean that I recognize it, call it the lie that it is and refuse to let it bounce around in my head very long. The sooner I can get rid of it the less fear it will bring me. Fear is a captor and thankfully I've been set free!!

And yet...I'm still saddened for the others. I truly wish people could experience the freedom of being healthy!  The freedom of not letting negative thoughts about their appearance keep them from enjoying life. The freedom of actually feeling good!!!

This surgery has been the best thing I've done for my physical health (which in turn has significantly helped my emotional health!) and I can't imagine NOT being successful. I had enough self-doubt and condemnation that if I "failed" at this, I can only imagine the dark place I'd be in right now.  I thank God that He has given me the strength and perseverance for "success" here! It truly is by His power that I have overcome the chains of obesity and self-condemnation. As I continue to seek to know Him better, I can confidently say that He will free me from other lies and baggage I've carried for years. He is faithful!!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Time Doesn't Stop

Yikes!

It’s past mid-January and I’ve not even been out to my own blog!  “Milford”, as I call one of my WLS buddies, sometimes reminds me that I’ve not been keeping the world up to date on my progress.  Although I have plenty of things to say - just ask CME or my children! - I just haven’t made the time to put it my thoughts down on paper.  So this is one of those long get it all out posts...

CHRISTmas 
I can start by reporting that my focus for CHRISTmas was Christ.  Yes, I enjoy the traditions of decorating (well, the decorations at least) and the Christmas music, gift giving, etc.  But it’s gotten so out of control in a lot of cases and I feel like The GIFT of CHRISTmas is an afterthought for many.  There are things I’d redo this year if I could, but in general I stayed in the word and in the reason we even celebrate.  My church had an 11pm candlelight service for the first time – and it was packed!  We’ve always had afternoon/early evening services, but the 11pm was new.  Can I just say that it was probably the highlight of my Christmas Eve?  I truly felt as if I was preparing my heart for the coming of the King!  Oh…and food?  Yeah, it was good.  I didn’t over indulge and I didn’t ‘focus’ on it.  I did make cookies with my sons and my precious g-baby!  I had forgotten what it was like to make decorated sugar cookies with a two year old! We did great until I ‘firmly’ said, “That’s enough cookies!  You’re going to get sick…” A small meltdown and a big hug session later and we were all good again. 

DIY 
An interesting thing happened on CHRISTmas Day.  And I use the word interesting lightly...very lightly!  Long story short is that we had a major plumbing issue that required us to completely replace the pipe from the outside of our home to the septic tank.  It's winter.  It's cold.  Ground is frozen.  Pipes are filled with tree roots (and the obvious other 'matter').  Did I mention it's cold and the ground is frozen?  Regardless... after MANY days of lots of family hard work.  We did it.  There were two days that I had to make frequent trips to one of two different gas stations because the bathroom pipes led to the ditch we were digging.  But two days is nothing, right?  On the upside, even though NONE of us wanted to be doing such a nasty job, it did occur to me more than once that I physically was able to be out there helping - digging, swinging a pick axe, chopping thick tree roots with a hatchet.  Yes, I was sore, but I was doing it.  Not sure I would have (or could have) done those same tasks just a few short years ago.  So I say, Thank you God for making it possible for me to do this crappy job!  
 

Fixing What's Broken 
Before I ever started this journey, I made a promise to my friend L.  She told me that she would only support my WLS decision if I promised to take care of the emotional and spiritual side of me as well.  And though I've done that through the classes and support groups that bariatric center provided, I'd not really dug deep into matters of the heart, mind and spirit.  Not until recently. A precious, God-filled, Spirit-led friend of mine is helping me look back at my life and identify key events that shaped my thoughts, my life, my weight.  Sometimes it's easy to key-in on a specific detail while other times I feel like I'm totally clueless as to where God is taking me.  Subconsciously even, I think I resist going to places I don't want to address.  I've made strides in forgiveness during this process.  Forgiving people from my past, forgiving people in my life now, and forgiving myself.  I've had to be totally repentant of believing the lies I've been told...rather than believing what God has to say about me.  This process has been both humbling and freeing.  I'm so thankful for my friend C and her desire to help others find restoration for their lives!  God bless her calling!!! 

First Impressions
Without going into too much detail because this blog is open to the world, I had a moment recently when I was reminded that people are judged by first impressions - by the way we look. It's so unfair and those impressions can be overcome (as this one was) but to see it play out makes me sad. I found myself wondering what this same person thought about me in past. And then I found myself wondering...almost projecting my own past emotions on others I see. "Are they sad? Have they endured the ridicule I did? Have they ever considered WLS?"  Equally not fair of me to have those "first thoughts" but it is reality. I pray God continues to grow me to the point where I'm not judging strangers - even though I've thought mine was coming from empathy. Lord give me your eyes!!

Enough 
In my time with C, part of the process is allowing God to speak into my life. Recently He gave me the word "enough" which is interesting to me. 
I've struggled for years thinking I wasn't "enough"...not smart enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough, not (adjective) enough... Truth of the matter is, I AM enough because of who I am in Christ!  I am made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) therefore I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). He loves me unconditionally to the point that while I am far from perfect and still a sinner Christ died for me (Romans 5:8). And I am enough because He chose me! (John 15:16) Trying to absorb this truth as I continue my life as His child! Trying to listen to Him and hold tight to knowing that Christ is enough for me!! When my focus stays on Him, I can face each day from a place of victory...no matter what life tries to put in my way!


My Journey
As my friend recently said,"my journey...is my journey." And he is so right. The farther out from surgery, the easier it is to let old habits creep back in.  It's not like I'm not aware of them; for me it's that I'm just not as disciplined as immediately post-surgery. I even told CME last week that I noticed I had let my portion sizes get out of control. Not that I was binging or way overeating, but I knew I was consuming more than I needed to. Stating that out loud to him, freed me from what felt like a "secret". That may sound silly, but satan uses those "secrets" to try to lure me back to a dark place. Exposing them is part of my accountability.  Weight wise I still could shed 10-15 pounds and be at a good spot. I'm not "working" to do that but I am definitely needing to weigh daily and not put any weight back on!  I may ask for new scales for my birthday! Ha!

So there's a snapshot of what's happened and what's going on. God continues to groom me in all areas of my life and this journey has brought me so much closer to Him!  May I continue to let Him work in and through me...even when it takes me to uncomfortable places!!!



Saturday, November 29, 2014

Focus

Some days I focus on the wrong things. Today, I saw a video of me dancing with my gbaby on Thanksgiving and immediately focused on the way I looked. I saw things I didn't like at all. Bending over causes the extra skin and still some remaining excess weight to bulge over my jeans waistband. I am not happy about that at all. 

What's worse? I lost the focus of the moment. At that moment, my gbaby, my sister and I were being super silly all excited about the little bit of snow that was falling. We were laughing and just enjoying the moment. It was good. 

And yet, I let the visual I saw change my focus!  Ugh!!  Now to do my best and not totally dwell on the visual, but instead focus on the memory of the giggles and our happy little snow dance. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

So Thankful

I try to have a thankful heart all the time, but I’d be lying if there weren’t days when I’m so consumed with all that’s happening in life and in the world that I forget to just stop and say thanks to those who have been such an important part of my life.  Though yesterday was Thanksgiving, I want this blog entry to be a thank you and a reflection of what I’m most thankful for on any given day. 

First, I am so incredibly thankful for CME.  He has been my biggest supporter – not just through this weight loss surgery, but in every day life.   He works so incredibly hard to provide for our family – taking on two jobs, working long hours (sometimes up 24+ hours with no sleep) and holidays when the rest of us are enjoying time off with family and friends.  I probably don’t tell him often enough, “Thank you.”  I probably don’t tell him often enough, “I am so proud of you.”  I probably don’t tell him often enough, “You are a great husband and father.”  I probably don’t tell him often enough how thankful I am to be his wife.  I truly am incredibly thankful to be Mrs. CME! 

I am thankful for my daughters and sons.  When I had my firstborn back in 1984, I had no idea how to be a parent.  I was just a kid myself.  I made many mistakes in how I raised my daughters, yet they have turned out to be amazing and successful young women.  They bless me with affirmation that even though I could have done things differently, I raised them to be respectful and loving adults.  I am thankful for their love and the relationships we have as mom/daughters. I'm thankful for sons-in-law that truly care about and love my daughters. I'm thankful for my g-baby and all the joy and laughter she brings to our family!  For my boys?  I’m still making mistakes, but hopefully not the same ones.  I’m thankful that I have the kind of relationship with each of them that I can have very frank conversations and know that they love me, even if they’re not too happy with me.  But as with my girls, they are kind and generous and loving.  As I guide them through this last stretch of their teen years, I pray that I can be a parent that gives them the shepherding they need while at the same time let them flourish and become their own person.  For all my children, I pray they continue to seek God’s best for their lives and that they fully understand and accept the love that Jesus has for each of them. 

I am thankful for my parents and my sister and her family along with my extended family (in-laws).  Too often I can take it too lightly that I have another day with both my parents.  As we all age, I look and see that each and every day with them is a blessing to not take lightly.  Yesterday as I was praying for our meal and time together, God spoke very clearly to me about His blessing of family.  My brother-in-law survived a massive heart attack.  My mom’s thyroid nodules were benign.  My father-in-law’s seizures weren’t caused by a cancerous brain tumor!  No major issues with my Dad or sister; though general health could be better for both.  I have a GREAT relationship with my mother-in-law, which is truly a gift from God! CME’s Grampa and Gramma are still relatively healthy and it’s great to see pictures of them even if we can’t get up to visit often.  We don’t see much of our Michigan family, but I am thankful for ALL of them (aunts/uncles/sisters/nieces/cousins included.)  We also spent the afternoon with a family friend who just buried her husband on Tuesday.  Her Thanksgiving was hard.  Her grief, though hidden most of the time, was real.  I was reminded that Jesus understands grief.  He wept when He saw the pain and sadness of Lazarus’ family and friends – even though He knew that He was going to bring Lazarus back from the dead.  He understood what the family was feeling.  He understood that the family unit is to be a blessing and a reason to give thanks.  I am thankful for family.

I am thankful for the friends (sisters and brothers in Christ) who have poured into my life and spiritual growth over the years…too many of them to name, but you know who you are!  THANK YOU!  I praise God every time I think of you! (MB – this includes you!!!) 

I am thankful for the International Students I get the honor and privilege of being around on a semi-regular basis!  They bring a new understanding to me about people and culture and family.  I feel like God has blessed me with the opportunity to see the world through their eyes!  I love them all and am thankful that I get to be a small part of their lives. 

I am thankful for the staff at bariatric center who guided me through the process - to help me not only lose weight, but to learn about taking care of my body and health.  Yesterday my oldest daughter, oldest son and I spent our morning at the Turkey Day 5K.  I like this new tradition that started last year because it is a way to keep me thankful that I can participate in these.  Three years ago, I’m not sure if I could have even finished.  But because of God giving me the courage and strength and help from bariatric center, I can…and I do.  And I am thankful for this blessing…no matter how sore my legs are the next day!

Most of all, I am thankful for what Jesus did on the cross for me.  I am not worthy of His sacrifice.  I could never do enough to earn the grace He so freely gives me.  May I NEVER forget to be thankful for that! 

So yes, I have a lot to be thankful for.  A lot to reflect on.  I will continue to have a thankful heart and I hope everyone who is a part of my life knows that you are important to me.  YOU are the blessings I am most thankful for on this earth!