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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

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