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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Nothing Unplanned

Ask my family and they'll tell you, I'm not a planner. (but I don't do well with last minute changes/decisions either...I know...I'm complicated!)

My oldest son, PJE, is graduating from High School in less than 2 months.  I don't have a plan yet as to what his graduation celebration will look like.  My oldest daughter, on the other hand, has planned her daughter's 5th birthday party (for the same date as the un-planned graduation open house)... she did it in February.  She asked me the other day what my plan was for Mother's Day.  Isn't that still a couple months away? Her family's summer camping trips and Thanksgiving Disney adventure are already scheduled and details coming together.  I'm doing well to think about what's on my calendar tomorrow and can't even fathom looking beyond asking CME to reserve a campsite in DC in July (which he's already done).

 I'm not a planner.

One thing I would always tell people who were considering RNY is that you have to plan.  You have to plan what to eat when you go out to a restaurant. For instance, did you know that many of the salads on restaurant menus are some of the highest caloric choices you can make?  Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself.  You have to have a plan when holidays/birthdays/celebrations roll around and you're surrounded by people and food.  You have to plan how to respond to questions about your "sudden" weight loss, or why you chose RNY as well as many other questions you WILL be asked. You have to plan and track and be aware of everything - or old habits WILL creep back in regardless of how much you say they won't!  (First-hand experience)

So I'm thinking - what if NOTHING unplanned went into my body? I'm approaching my 5-year surgiversary and I'm still struggling. Mom's been back in the hospital/rehab, work craziness continues to be crazy and I continue to struggle doing what I need to do. And doing what I need to do should consist of PLANNING what goes in my body. So that's my new "NSV" goal... nothing unplanned.

And my "support" system for this plan is found in God's word.  It's what I need more than anything...He is what I need.


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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

Monday, February 20, 2017

Do What You're Supposed To Do

It seems like such an easy concept, right?  "Just do what you're supposed to do." But it's not so easy. Not easy in so many aspects of life.

Why is that?

Are we, humans, just that inept? Are we that stubborn? Are we that weak?  Why can't we just do what we're supposed to do?

I've said that statement to my Mom a LOT lately. She's gotten stronger and has been released from rehab (but not until she fell again and got a MASSIVE black eye) but she's not exactly following the plan. So I said that over and over and over....

And then, this thought hit me...What's that verse?? Oh yeah...“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."

That fifteen pounds...those were the results of not doing what I am supposed to do.  My lab results from last year were tell-tale and a result of not doing what I'm supposed to do. So I need to take my own advice and do what I'm supposed to do.

My mom? Well, the liver specialist confirmed that she has advanced cirrhosis (based on the symptoms she's showing) but has ordered a more thorough CT to get a better picture of her liver.  The doctors here are treating her in the same way the specialist would...so that's good news. Right now the only thing she can really do is try to manage it to keep the progression to a minimum.  It's going to take a lot of the "doing what she's supposed to do" and I pray she does just that. Low sodium and healthy diet, doing her PT at home, drinking water, avoiding Diet Coke, etc.  Yes, I pray she does what she's supposed to do!

As for me...I need to be sure to get in all my water.  I need to be more active again.  I need to NOT put anything in my mouth that's not planned. You know...those LIFE changes I know how to make...but sometimes fail to do what I'm supposed to do.  I pray for me too... to get my health back - including managing the never-ending stress that seems to be coming my way these days. To take my own advice, "Deedra - just do what you're supposed to do!"

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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

Saturday, February 4, 2017

When I've Tried to Blog

I've picked up my laptop a couple of times recently thinking I was going to blog. I was frustrated about various things going on around me and with me and I felt the need to just get it out. But each time I did, I couldn't come up with the words to express it - and then, then, it hit me. I was just wanting to complain. I don't need to complain, I need to be thankful. There is absolutely enough negativity and ugliness in this world, that it doesn't need more!

So this morning as I was having my quiet time, I decided that I need to put into words some of the moments to be thankful about from this past couple of weeks.

I am thankful...

  • that my mom is gaining strength and will probably be released for the rehabilitation center at some point next week.
  • that I took the time to actually fix healthy meals for the family this week.
  • that I have children who others recognize (as do I) as genuinely loving and kind people
  • that when my "pouch hurts" I can surf the web and find others that have experienced the same thing. I know that may sound strange, but if you've not been through this you really don't understand - as helpful as you try and knowledgeable as you may be.
  • that the situation with my mom has made me more diligent again in caring for my own health.
  • that the five pounds I've lost are still off - even if the other 10 aren't.
  • that I could spend last night with the International Students!!
Focusing on the positive instead of the negative can make a world of difference in emotional health which effects my physical health. And if I don't focus on the good, then I'm in a place that is going to lead me down a dark path that had me trapped by food for decades! What a good breakthrough this morning! And for that I'm thankful!

My Name or "Mom" in 11 Languages!

My Kuwaiti "son" that started the whole thing!


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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

Thursday, January 19, 2017

It's Back...

That dull ache in my stomach... with bouts of intense pain. Yep.  It's back.  So I started myself back on Prilosec.  UGH!  

I'm 97.235% positive it's an ulcer trying to happen. It sucks, to be honest.  But luckily the Prilosec helps. And this time, I'm 99.9924% positive it's stress related.  (see previous post)

In the past 17 days since my last post...


  • My mom was told she's not a candidate for the liver transplant. Of course, she didn't ask why. However she does have an appointment with a liver specialist in Indianapolis next month.  My sister and I will be both be going so we can ask and hear and process all we're hearing
  • This past Monday I spent the day off work in the ER with Mom.  Her stomach as distended and it was causing her shortness of breath.  Her GI doctor advised her to go to the ER...where they did a paracentesis to drain the fluid from her abdomen (about 7 lbs worth again!) and then admitted her for chronic dehydration (ironic, huh?) and a UTI.
  • Although she was a fall risk, they left her unattended after her shower yesterday...and she fell trying to get dressed. No injuries, thank God, but still...
  • Later yesterday she was released, went home and she fell as she bent over to pet her dog. Another bump on her head, sore back, but worse was that she had to lay on the floor until my nephew could get up there to pick her up - my dad wasn't able.  (Yesterday the intense pain was BAD and I felt like I had heartburn on top of it all!)
  • Today (24 hours after her first fall) she lost her footing in the shower...and she fell again.  This time, my dad tried to steady her, but HE wound up falling into the tub as well!  I'm thankful for EMS personnel who respond to the "Help! I've fallen and can't get up!" calls. My husband has had to do that many times.  I just hate that my parents had to make that call!
  • I've been in crunch mode at work to get some not so pleasant tasks completed. Management isn't always what it's cut out to be!
  • I've watched as my baby boy has been heartbroken by normal teenage stuff.  Yanno...it kinda sucks that the days of "Let Mommy kiss it and make it all better." are no longer. I want to help and fix it...but I can't.
  • I kept two of my gbabies for a week. That was fun. Tiring, but fun!
  • I've lost 5 of the 15 pounds that have weighed me down (literally and figuratively) for a while.
So yes, my theory of the pain in the gut being stress related is pretty much a truth. Good news is that through all the extra stress, I've not binged. I've not thrown caution to the wind and grazed all day. I've gotten part of the weight gain off.  So that's a victory I'll claim.

I keep hearing and I need to soak in this truth...



May it be so, Lord.  May I soak in Your truths!!!
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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

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.


Family


















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


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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