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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

Saturday, July 25, 2015

In Other News...

I've got a new granddaughter!!!

Three years ago, just 12 days after my surgery, our first granddaughter, Bella Dawn, was born. Three years has flown by...not just from the perspective of my surgery, but in how quickly Bella has grown. (Parents...don't blink!)

On Friday, July 17, our second granddaughter, Berklee Rae, blessed our lives. She's just as amazing as Bella is and the love I have for them both just overflows!  So, since this is my blog and I post what I want (ha!)... take a look at this sweet little one and our family. God has blessed us, indeed!

PS - Granddaughter #3 (or G3 as I lovingly refer to her at this point) will be here in the next few weeks!  Eeek!!!!
"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

I Am Not...

I read an article this morning and it prompted me to come up with my own "I am not" list...but then to take it one more step to "I am"...  Here are my lists:

I am not...

  • ... a former 'fat girl'
  • ... a teenage mom
  • ... a statistic
  • ... a divorcee (who has wonderful husband second time around)
  • ... a number on a scale
  • ... a recovering food addict who still struggles 
  • ... a success story of gastric bypass
  • ... my past 

I am...

Both lists could go on and on, but it's important for me to remember the "I am" list as it's way too easy to be caught up in the other list...even the success stories. Those stories do not define me. I am who God defines me as. The other things are merely part of my story of His work in my life.

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

Friday, July 3, 2015

Living Life

Top of Deer Mountain - Elevation 10,026 feet
Our family just returned from a week-long family vacation in Rocky Mountain National Park ("RMNP") I don't even know how to put into words all that I experienced, saw and felt - but I'm going to give it my best shot. (warning: long post ahead) 
First, let me say that CME took care of planning the entire trip. From the route we'd drive, where we would camp to, from and during, and where we'd spend our days. He included in the precious gift of spending time with friends in Boulder, CO on the way there and in Overton Park, KS on the way home. He. Is. The. Man. My main responsibility? Figuring out the menu for the week. Easy-peasey. (for the most part)

My first NSV of the trip came in the middle of Kansas. Traveling as a child, we would always see the signs on the barns that said, "See Rock City" but I didn't know there was one in KS! It's crazy to think of how giddy I was to actually get to stop and see Rock City! There's not a whole lot to really see there, but it was a place where I climbed the big rocks...celebrated making it to the top and overcame the fear of climbing back down. (Truly the hardest part for me because I couldn't really see where I should put my feet!) Though climbing was an NSV in itself, the NSV that made my day was when CME encouraged me to crawl through Doughnut Hole Rock. Trust me, I had not intention of doing so until he said, "Now THAT would be an NSV!" - knowing that I've passed on certain activities like caving with the boys because I knew I couldn't fit. So yes, I accepted his encouragement and crawled through a rock! WooHoo!

We drove on to stay with our friends in Boulder for the night...still kind of silly excited about that experience. Monday morning we visited NCAR - which was a real treat for us all, but probably mostly for our youngest son who thoroughly enjoys science. From there we headed on to our campsite at Morraine Park Campground in RMNP. As we were setting up camp, we were visited by a female elk. Yes...right there in the campground. She was within 50 feet of us and didn't seem to care we were there. Crazy. We ate a quick lunch and decided to drive on up to the Alpine Visitor Center. I am so thankful that CME drives so cautiously! The roads are crazy-curvy with massive drop-offs on the sides. He rocked it!

At two miles above sea level (11,796 feet), the Alpine Visitor Center is the highest facility of its kind in the National Park Service.  There's a place across from the building where you can climb a set of stairs to be even higher... 12,005 feet! Second NSV (though it seems small compared to some of the others) was that I climbed those stairs...pain free...and even with the altitude and oxygen levels being different I wasn't totally out of breath!  Come to think of it, I'm not sure I was even a little out of breath! The views of the mountains and the tundra were breathtaking...but the activity level not as much! From there we drove on to the Continental Divide where we spent a few moments to enjoy the site...the water...the mountains...the trees...the snow! Yes, day one in RMNP was a good day!

Though I'm positive that CME shared the information with me prior to our trip, I didn't fully realize what Day 2 would entail. Had I realized the details in advance, I may not have ever come to realize that I could do this! CME fully researched this trip and knew the best way to handle our next hike - Bear Lake to Fern Lake Trailhead. The sites were spectacular and the terrain was everything from rock, stone, dirt, water to sand and snow! The hike itself was 9.2 miles with a total elevation gain of 1230 feet and it took us 7 hours to complete. (Many NSVs during that time period.) It was the hardest and most exhausting 7 hours I've ever endured. But my goodness was it worth it!  More than once, I would get teary-eyed. Not because I was tired or in pain (though the descent down did make my knees tender), but because I was in awe of God's transforming power in my life! This was hard. I hurt in places I didn't know existed. I crossed snow-covered paths that truly should have made my heart so nervous I couldn't move (one wrong step...) but instead I was basking fully in God's creation and praising Him that He made it possible for me to be living this life...hiking and experiencing His greatness with my family. I spent a lot of time, thanking Him while on the trail as well as calling for His strength to finish safely.  Through Him, all things are possible.  I never imagined I would have or could have done this....but I did! Praise God!!

Wednesday, Day 3, was a special day as well. Our oldest son celebrated his 16th birthday on the summit of Deer Mountain - a 6 mile round trip hike with a total elevation gain of 1236 feet. (NSV yet again.) Our youngest was determined to beat the rest of us to the summit. He succeeded by about 10-15 minutes. Again, breathtaking views of the mountains, plus a sneak peek at Estes Park where we'd later celebrate PJE's birthday. Trail food lunch at the summit was nice...except for the chipmunks who definitely were NOT afraid of humans. They weren't mean, but they were rather aggressive in their attempts to snag some of our food.  I thought they were cute even if they were pests!

Later that afternoon, we celebrated PJE's birthday at Grubsteak Restaurant where CME and PJE dined on Yak Burgers, MAE had an Elk Burger and I had a portabella mushroom burger. In hindsight, I probably should have eaten something I can't get locally, but I like portabella burgers... Anyway, the guys enjoyed the wild game and trying something different and I did try their Wild Boar Scotch Eggs. Pretty tasty actually. The rest of the evening was spent visiting the various shops, stopping at a park where Rocky Mountain Church was preparing for "Praise in the Park" (cool!) and ended with ice cream from Hayley's Ice Cream Shop (recommended by our waitress). Though I don't often indulge in ice cream and I find it expensive to buy one only to eat about half...that's what I did...ordered a single scoop of the salted caramel ice cream, ate about half and was way satisfied. 

Day 4 in the park was a "take it easy to let our bodies recover" day. We slept in a little, ate breakfast, then headed out to the west side of the park. More meadows and open fields than the east side, but also a place to see more wildlife. We stopped again at Alpine Visitors Center...yanno, bathroom break and coffee stop! Our first "official" visit was at the Holzwarth Historic Site. A small walk back to the cabins to visit a little bit of history was fun and also allowed us some much needed walking (on flat terrain) time to keep the muscles from getting too stiff. Not to mention that I took a few moments to sit next to the Colorado River - because I could.

We enjoyed a picnic lunch at Coyote Valley Trail. Again, this was a flat area where the mountains and open fields were quiet and peaceful, especially being the only ones there at the time. We walked the trail that wound along side the Colorado River and even took a moment to all put our hands in it. It was during this hike that I got to spend some time talking with MAE about how God was moving in my heart during the week. We saw MANY older adults (seniors for sure!) who were out on these trails - moving and grooving. Many of them even passing us at times. I told MAE that this trip had been one that God kept showing me that He is allowing me to truly LIVE life. To be active...to move...to be healthy. I admitted to MAE that I still have days I struggle with my addiction. There are still days I have to battle the urge to eat more than I should or things that I should. I told him I have a tendency to be lazy when it comes to exercise. I'm not doing what I should all the time, but I also told him that God was how I was able to get through the past two days. More than once I called on His name to help me take another step. I want this life to be a reflection of His goodness, so EVERY thing I do is for His glory - this trip included.

We later stopped at the Kawuneeche Visitor Center on the west entrance to the park where the Park Ranger advised us to visit Adams Falls since we were looking for a short hike. I am so glad we listened to her! The hike back was short...with some elevation gain, but the falls were beautiful. There's something about the sound of water that calms me. I wasn't even stressed as the boys got closer to the ledge than I would have instructed. We continued our hike past the falls to see some 'meadows' (though I think CME and I both would consider them swamps!). And there he was! Within 100 feet from us (and up a hill) was a bull moose grazing on the land! He was huge! I was more than a little pumped to see him...it was one animal I wanted to check off our list...and for CME and the boys to see up close too! Super cool!

We concluded our night by driving back to Estes Park for dinner and by the time we got there (about an hour and a half later) anyone nearby could tell CME and I were tourists - just by how we were walking! Legs. Dying. (Ever have to tell your legs to move?) Quick pizza and then back to camp so we could rest up before heading home. 

Both on the way out and the way back, we stayed at different KOA Campgrounds - one in Topeka and one in Salina. Both were very nice...yet different. Not all KOAs are the same, but I'd recommend either of these. CME knew we'd be tired on the way back so we didn't camp on the way home. Instead he rented the TeePee at the KOA in Salina KS. The camp is owned by a Native American Family and being able to stay in the teepee was a great ending to our week on the road. (Never been so happy and thankful for hot showers!!!)

Some things I failed to mention:

  • No hot running water in the campground. Solar showers are great...IF the sun comes out to warm the water and IF you're not taking the shower in the evening when the sun is setting and the cool breeze whipping through the outdoor facility. Solar shower = not a fan. 
  • The weather? We couldn't have planned it any better. The weather was amazing and each day it seemed to be exactly what we needed for the trail/hike. 
  • I did have 3 blisters, 1 mosquito bite and 1 bug bite gone bad...but other than that, it was great! 
  • There was a hummingbird one afternoon that kept flying around our head. That was cool. 
  • Watching the rain fall at the mountain across the way was interesting.
  • There are interesting people on Pearl Street in Boulder.
  • Having friends to visit (both ways) was definitely a bonus to our trip.
  • God can create friendships through ways we can't imagine...Instagram? Yep.
  • The drive is looooooooooooong.

I'm sure its because I'm a city girl, but being in the mountains allowed me many opportunities to reflect on life, on where I was physically and emotionally not long ago and where God has brought me through this journey. He's allowing me to truly LIVE this Life! I am so grateful! I'm at awe of Him! 
Crawling through Doughnut Hole Rock

We're THAT family.

Miss her!!
Friends Reunited

Admiring our "backyard" for the week.

My guys!

Had to touch the snow at the Alpine Visitor Center!
First "hike" of the trip...up those steps!
12,005 above sea level!
Hanging out in the rocks - looking over the tundra!

We just HAD to get in the snow!
Then a snowball came flying at us!
Part of our 9.2 mile hike
Part of our 9.2 mile hike
Love this man!!! So thankful for him!

The "sketchy snow" slope part of our 9.2 mile hike.
Part of our 9.2 mile hike - getting a bit tired!

Beautiful view...narrow path! Part of our 9.2 mile hike
So thankful for his encouragement and support!
Part of our 9.2 mile hike
On top of Deer Mountain with my honey!
He napped while waiting for the rest of us!
What a cool place to spend your 16th birthday!
Know where you're going...even when you're just 16!
Family time = fun time!
Goofball #1
Goofball #2
Quite place for a nice picnic.
Adams Falls
Adams Falls
Selifes at the falls?
Adams Falls
There's a moose up there!
TeePee for the win!

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

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Three Year Post Op

Better late than never, right???  

My 3-Year Surgiversary was on May 9, but the lab where my blood work was drawn messed up the B-12 part of it and I had to have it redone. That pushed my follow-up to this past Thursday (a month late). In hindsight, it was probably an okay thing...but seriously I've realized I still have some 'baggage' that I'm dealing with in this process.

It's been 3 years and I'm still afraid of the scale! I'm still afraid that the scale at bariatric center will show that I've failed. How afraid, you ask? Well, if you asked CME, he'd tell you I was a NERVOUS wreck last week - even to the point that I was nearly in tears on Wednesday night before the appointment. I can't explain why. And if you've not struggled with this issue... that's great! But for me it was not only annoying, but frustrating!  One positive thing is that I did turn to Scripture to calm me last Wednesday. Spent some time in prayer with God - admitting that I've let the scale define me...even now.  Asking for His forgiveness for believing that lie instead of the truth He tells me.  It was after that moment that I finally felt calmness in my spirit.  Man!  Now to work on ignoring the lies before they get past my ears, I'll be in business!

The appointment with MD went well, actually. Though my weight was up .8# over last year, MD was very pleased that I am still at a good spot. My BP was 106/64; my lab work was all normal; my total cholesterol was 109 with the "bad" cholesterol being 33 (lowest MD said he's seen!); I lost 3" in my waist, but added 1" in my hips this past year. We discussed the pain I was experiencing in April. He's not convinced it was self-induced as food can't "give you an ulcer" - though things can weaken the lining of the stomach making it possible for h. pylori to do it's thing. Regardless, he's treating it as a suspected ulcer by keeping me on Prilosec 2x a day for a total of 6 weeks, then 1x a day for the next 6 months. I'll take it. The pain is gone...and one I don't care to experience again. MD did say that if I experience the pain again, he'll want to do and upper GI to find out what's going on. I'm praying that wont' be necessary. Like I mentioned to him, I am so aware of my body now that when something is amiss, it's a quick red flag for me to get it checked out. So that's positive. 

In other happenings... I successfully (at least in her opinion) made my gbaby's third birthday cake without eating the icing. Come to think of it, I didn't have a true piece of the cake either... I did, however, gather up a few crumbs to just get a taste. It was enough. The cake was like the leaning tower of Pisa, but at 3 my Boo couldn't care less about that! All she knew was that Gigi made her a Princess Castle Cake. She was happy...and so was I!

Also, CME the boys and I spent about 4 hours last weekend working on the trails at a local State Park. And by working, I mean shoveling, raking and clearing paths. Though at about the 3 hour broken blister mark, I was tired. I did totally appreciate the fact that 4 years ago this wouldn't have happened. Sure, they guys may have been out there, but I wouldn't have been. Not only would the heat have been a HUGE issue for me...walking the trails...shoveling the trails...just wouldn't have happened for me. So YAY for another NSV happening 3 years post op!

In the end, it's been three years of a healthy life. It's been three years of seeing how God will continue to use this part of my journey to bring Him glory. It's been three years but only a dent of what's to come! 

Mother's Day with my Sons
Memorial Day with my Daughters
Boo's Birthday
"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14