Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Overcoming Adversity

Overcoming Adversity

This is an article I wrote for the Air Force Marathon organization. It tells part of the story of how I got on the path I am now. I'm blessed beyond belief to share a friendship with Casey and he supporting me through my adventures.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Easing back into full training.

It seems almost impossible that its been over six months since my surgery.  Having my hernia repaired and the panniculectomy done has been such a huge blessing for me.  I feel so much better already and doing so much better than I thought.  Its been a huge healing process for me, and realizing what its like to live inside of a "normal" body that I had never owned before.  Doing things I had not experienced before.

However at the same time, there are times, even now, when I can tell my body is exhausted.  Its still in the healing process.  It was two major surgery's done at once, and took a toll on my body.  Even though it has been over six months, my body is tired and still not able to work out at full capacity like it used to.  Being the stubborn person I am, I thought I would be okay working out right away and start training the way I was  before.  

We all have our own version of normal routines.  Yes, I knew my body was sore, healing and recovering.  That it was going to take time.  That a full and complete recovery would take a full year for me.  Even now, as I right this, it still baffles me that I am still as tired as I am.  Some of that is perhaps I started going faster and harder than I should have sooner than my body was ready. 

I was talking to one of the girls from the gym today.  I told her that I think part of it for me is that I have been super scared.  Scared that too much time away from the gym would cause me to go back to my old lifestyle and become the girl I used to be.  Scared because I started to see some of the old trends.  I was at a crossroads emotionally and mentally.  Wanting to be normal like others who could eat what ever, and still pursue a fit lifestyle of the elite athletes who were training for athletic events like the Boston Marathon.  In order for me to do that, I knew in the back of my mind, I could not live the life of the "average" or "normal" person. 

Yes, in the days immediately after the surgery, I pretty much ate what was put in front of me.  I was good at prepping my own meals prior to surgery and freezing them so I would not have to worry about meals and could just through it in the microwave.  My problem was though, I would sleep all day and night, and forget to pull something out of the freezer to though.  Therefore I was left "eating" protein shakes because I did not have the energy or patience to wait for the food to thaw in the microwave because I was hungry and tired. 

I know that I ate a muffin one night sometime after eight o' clock because my best friend bought it for me when he stopped over with a salad for me.  I don't remember if it was good.  I remember just sitting in his car trying to eat it through the pain, and trying to not look pathetic. I had ice cream that week too. I kept telling myself that it was okay because my body was under a lot of stress, and was healing.  It needed the extra calories because it was working extra hard to heal.  I knew better than to eat bad, but knew my body needed the right kind of calories to heal properly.

As I prepare for me transition back into full training, its tiring and exhausting for me.  Trying to remember to stay focused and work hard.  Yet giving my body the right kind of balance to rest as its still healing in the process.  There are bumps along the way.  However its going to be worth it in the long run to see how much this has all been worth it in the long run.  I am excited to be able to run and train for these events as I get back to my normal life.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Unexpected Change

I am a lover of quotes.  There is one I come across occasionally, and this is paraphrased, that says that God will force us to change because He knows that we will not do it on our own.  Change is scary and it is hard.  Especially when you are treading on uncertain territory and concerned about the future.

Recently, I had posted on Facebook that I had thought it would be fun to have a job entertaining children.  It was just a thought at that time, and something I really do think would be fun.  Kids are a lot of fun and can be entertaining as well.  They say some of the most random, laughable things ever. Which is one of the reasons I love being around children. 

Due to recent changes in life, my job has changed within my employer, where I will actually be working more hands on with kids.  Helping them making memories while on vacation and that they are having fun with their family!  A great way to bring positive light to others in simple measures.

For awhile, I knew a change needed to be made in my life.  That I needed something new because of outside stresses.  The situation was forced.  However, in the long way, I know that it will benefit my life in the long run for so many beautiful reasons.  It will open up so much more free time for me to do the things I need to do in order for me to become a better person.

The transition is something needed.  It may become a bit bumpy.  Though I am stubborn and don't always like to admit when change has to happen.  However, in this situation, it was time to admit that the change is best for everyone involved on many levels.  Including myself. 

Though I am not sure how long I will be in this new role.  It is with my very best intentions to make the most of it and for it to be fun and rewarding position yet.  I learned a lot in my last position and I did learn different things, good and bad.  However, this new chapter and challenge, I am ready to take on to become the best version of myself to date.  Its a great way to start making new memories.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

My Darkness will Not Win

Drinking my coffee before work, I realize how different life is now for me the n it was just a few years ago.   Physically, mentally and emotionally.  A few years ago I was just barely living, going through the motions.  Many times feeling like George Bailey from "It's A Wonderful Life." Many times wondering why I existed and how much better the world would be without me.

Standing barely five feet tall, and weighing over 300 pounds, I saw no purpose in my existence.   I had no close friends to talk to and do things with. I just existed for the sake of working and eating. When I was home I spent a lot of time on the computer. I had little interaction with others.

Thankfully that started to change when I met someone at a blood drive who started giving me hope that my life was worth changing.  He and I started becoming close several months later. But that chance meeting ended up saving my life. Had it not happened, I am certain that I would have never left my dark place. The bigger I was becoming, the lonelier and hopeful I was. I was close to ending my life many times.

The darkness is not a great thing.  However, at the same time, I am hoping my struggle there, and overcoming my challenges will hopefully help someone else. It's hard. It's appears those who laugh the loudest hurt and hug the most.  I was that person.  I tried hiding my pain. Not always well.

I'm thankful today for the friendship that formed at the blood drive.  Many other opportunities were created and opened because he inspired my health journey. My outlook on life has changed and improved greatly.  I'm still struggling sometimes with battling the darkness, I had to fight it this past Monday. I skipped a session with my team and trainer at the gym, and I rarely give gym time up.

I'm learning to fight through the pain.  Pushing through the hard times to see how great the other side is.  Heath is a life long battle for me. Its not a short term fix, it's a lifestyle.  The mental state and eating are struggles I fight daily because we have to eat to live, and push away negativity to make positive actions happen.

My struggle with the darkness is why I'm. Running for Dylan. I know where he went and how hard it is. Sometimes you don't know what you need, or how someone can help. Your afraid to reach out because your afraid to be a burden.

After my sexual assault, I really thought about it daily. Yet I didn't want to give him more power over me than he already got when he took my innocence.  Strangely though, a few years later I got a call for he turned a gun on himself and died.

I ask you all to pray for the family left behind of any one who left by suicide. They struggle and wonder why and if they could have stopped it.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Back to Basics

Over the past year since returning from the Air Force Marathon, I have gone through a lot of changes.  Some great changes, and other very challenging ones.  Within a span of a month in 2015, I turned forty, my biological father died, and I ran the marathon.  All three separate events are emotional and stressful, but all three happening within a month was a bit much.  Especially when I returned from the race hurt.

It was not long after I came back and started to workout with my trainer again, that he suggested seeing a therapist.  Yes, it was bold, however, it was something that I knew needed to be done because so much was happening in my life.  I was still mentally trying to wrap my head around the fact that I was a "normal" person in body form.  However, I felt more lost and confused about my role in society and what was best for me in this life.  I knew it had to come for me and was grasping for anything to hang on to as I figured out who I was and being happy in the moment as I tried to improve.  I was, and still am in tears on almost a daily basis.

One of the things that I thought would change when I lost the weight, is that I would be more active socially with others.  Although I do spend time with people more now than previously, it is still very few and far between on the social level.  There is realistically a small group of people I can say I see regularly on one hand.  When I am not in the gym or at work, I spend most of my time alone, except on the rare occasion I do go out with one of these friends.  Social situations are hard still because I am unsure still, and makes me feel incredible awkward unless its on an individual level and not in group settings. 

As far as my workouts go, I am still learning a lot.  My new trainer and I were talking one day.  I admitted to him that I thought it was a mistake looking back that I did my marathon so soon after such a dramatic weight loss with no transition period.  I should have let my body get used to being smaller and enjoy the process more.  To go to know what my body could do, and let the muscles and other parts of me get to know each other in the new, smaller version of my.  It would have prevented me from being in the position I am in now, where I have not been able to do a lot of running the last year.

Since I started working with my new trainer, I am learning a lot.  Getting to know my body better.  Starting with very basic movements and exercises.  Yes, there are times I get frustrated.  I cry.  I get upset.  I get embarrassed because I can not do simple things that I should be able to do.  However, its all part of making me a better person, physically, mentally and athletically.  I need to be able to function in the simplest ways possible so that I can push myself to the max on race day without injury.  No matter how slow this process goes for me, it will get better, and harder at the same time.  Looking back now at how far I have come, shows that there is no turning back.  I have come to far to give up on the process of my goals.  No matter how far or long this process goes, there is always room to remember the basics in a long, journey of a million memories.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

No More Crying

This past week, was an incredibly busy, rough week.  A lot of long days and short nights with little down time.  By the time Sunday came, I was ready to collapse on the couch and call it a week.  My body needed a break, and my brain needed to shut down. 

During the course of the week, I worked a lot of overtime during the day, and still made time to head to the gym for my team training sessions at night.  Tuesday I ended up so frustrated and embarrassed about my inability to do simple workouts that I left the gym floor in tears. After the others left that night, I ended up staying and hitting the tire and talking with one of the ladies about my frustrations with what was going on.

It was incredibly embarrassing for me to cry in front of somebody and to open up.  Both of which I do not do in person a lot.  Its new for me and its hard.  At no time do I want anyone to think I am weak or incapable of doing something.  My life has been under going a lot of changes the last six months, and especially the last month, had made some drastic changes in how I wish to proceed with my health and training. 

Change is hard to adjust for me because I am so used to routine and sticking to what I know.  However, the old workouts and gym were not working for me mentally or physically.  My new body was not adjusting to the old workouts.  I needed to be taught new ways to help my body adjust to the new physical self so my balance could improve and I would be more functional. 

In saying this, it is not meant to be disrespectful to my former gym or trainer.  I just needed challenged in new ways to improve my overall health so I could improve as a person and an athlete. I was not getting that before.  I was not willing to stay the same and not be pushed beyond my capabilities.

By the end of the week, there were more challenges that popped up that were not expected. Despite a few moments of break downs and tears, I got through them. 

On Sunday, as I was walking home from work, I was thinking about the past week.  It had been an incredibly busy week, doing a lot of overtime at work, my nightly workouts and other adult responsibilities, and a few social outings with friends.

It occurred to me that a few years ago, when I was still over three hundred pounds, that I would not have been able to get through the same week in the same way.  When I weighed over three hundred pounds, it exhausted me just working a normal forty hour work week, working overtime was unheard of  because it wore me out.  My energy level was so low after work, that I did not bother trying to make plans after wards.  I either came home and slept or played on the computer.

Though I knew a lot of people in the area, it was a rare occurrence that I spent anytime with people in social settings.  It was hard and uncomfortable for me to go out.  The stares and comments others would make about me behind my back were hurtful, even through I knew the weight was all my fault. 

If I needed to go to the grocery store or do other errands and chores, I did them on my day's off instead of doing it before or after work because of the lack of energy.  If I did go to the store before work, I dreaded it because I hated getting up early.  There were days, that I would have to take a nap because it took so much energy out of me. 

My sleep habits back then were horrible.  No matter what time I went to bed, I would sleep until mid-morning, and still feel tired and exhausted.  Back before weight loss, I worked a lot of evening shifts, and would often get home after mid-night, and could never get to sleep at a decent time.  There were a lot of times, it took a lot of effort to get up early if I knew that I needed to be up early to go somewhere before work.

Now, fast forward over two and a half years later, the difference in how I respond to life is much better.  Yes, there are some days that I do allow my body to sleep in with out alarm clocks to give it the much needed rest it deserves.  However, those days are fewer and far between instead of being a daily habit.

There are a lot of days that I am up and moving before the sun gets up, and don't get home until late. This week, even with putting in almost 18 hours of overtime, I still managed to get my grocery shopping and laundry done, meal prep and all of my workouts in.  There were some days that I felt like death, like after a harsh workout.  However, I felt much better at the end of the day than what I did a few years ago. 

My sleep habits, although are still horrible, I do sleep much better.  I fall asleep a lot faster, and I dream now.  Dreams were a rare occurrence for me at my heaviest.  When my weight become a problem, I stopped dreaming.  Although I still can't make it through the night without getting up a few times, my quality of sleep is so much better.

Despite the moments tears, frustrations and aggravation this week, I am thankful that I have weeks like this to remind me of how far I have come.  That I am able to live life to the fullest and still make progress along the way.  There are always going to be difficult and stressful situations, but they have made me a much better person in the long run, with a lot of life lessons to learn to continue to improve upon.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Baby Are Not Us

When I was seventeen, I found out that I would never be able to have children. This was hard to hear because I had been in Sunday school the Sunday morning prior to the appointment telling them I dreamt of being a mother and taking my family on a cruise with my husband.

I struggle with my inability to have kids. I love my nephews and nieces and my friends kids. Even when kids come to work, at least the well behaved kids. It makes me happy entertaining the kids when I am in costume and they love on me. Yet I cry because I wanted those moments in life too,  I just get to watch on the side lines.

It's hard sometimes wanting something I never will be able to have. Unless it's a ready made family should I meet a guy I like who already has children.  I struggle with relationships because I see myself as damaged since I can't produce kids. I felt like a failure in an area that is so natural for most women. Since I have felt so incomplete within my body, I never bothered pursuing a relationship with guys because I was scared they would not accept the fact that I could not give them children to carry on their family name should they want kids.

I love getting to play with the kids and finding time to be childish with them.  Its a joyful expierence to hear them laugh, and hear their stories and watch them grow.  I also love to spoil little ones and give them back to parents on a sugar high, or get them wound up before heading home, because I know they would never be able to pay me back should I have kids one day.

I struggle with my heartache in not being able to have kids.  I am sincerely happy for my friends and family who have kids.  Yet, there are many times I come home and cry because I am not able to feel the same joy that these parents are having.  Knowing I will never know what its like to have a life growing in side of me, or watching them grown and do little things that others take for granted.

The rude hurtful comments I hear from people through out life since I have no kids have been harsh as well.  Once, I was told that I would be going to hell because I was not married with children at the age of 33.  This lady told me I should have been married with children, and that God was going to punish me for it.  I don't remember the full conversation, but I looked at her, and questioned her why God would punish me for not having children when He gave me a body that could not have them. The look on her face was priceless for being judgmental and assuming my situation.

Having known for so long about my rare condition and why I am not able to have children, I know my options for me, and have researched them.  It gets frustrating at times when others are assuming that I am not aware of the fact that I can adopt, foster, IVF, suragant or what ever other they may think of in how to have kids.

At this point in my life, I am convinced that from the start that God had other plans for my life, and my life was better suited for not having children of my own in it.  I am okay with that now.  Even at forty-one years old, I may not know my full purpose in life, and things change so frequently, that part of His full plan, it could be that the world is better off in focusing on other areas instead of being a mom.  He must think I am better suited for the world doing other things for His greater good, what ever that may be. 

How does this apply to my being healthier now?  I found this out when I was seventeen, during my junior year of high school, and right before prom.  Already a stressful period in my life.  I did not deal with it well.  I just ate, and ate and found more excuses to eat crap.  It was beyond just one night of staying in bed with Ben and Jerry's and watching sappy movies.

I went through the motions of life, and did nothing healthy to deal with it.  There was no body I felt like I could to openly about it.  It made me feel more disconnected from the world, and started the downward spirial of my weight and not caring about my appearance.

Looking back now on my life, I would tell my younger self to make better choices.  To go talk to somebody about life changing moments.  Not being able to have kids is something I could not control.  However, my attitude towards men, children and marriage could have been different.  My health could have been better my entire life had I taken a better path of numbing the pain and heartbreak.

Instead, I am paying for the consequences of making poor choices at a young age.  However, I am learning now, how to deal with situations in a much better way.  Its not always perfect, but it is improving. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

To Drive Or Not to Drive...

Last night I actually accepted a ride home from the gym from my trainer and his wife.  I had recently just started with a new trainer at a new gym the last few weeks.   However, I have known my trainer for a couple of years now, so it was not a hard transition to make.  In fact, I had been thinking of switching trainers for several months, it was just a matter of time before I did it.

The conversation had started out about how much I walked every where, and that I was pretty sure that the fact I did walk or run every where help contribute to me winning the Fit Challenge in 2014.  My trainer had mentioned that one of the former Challengers did the same thing, except he basically rode a bike during their Fit Challenge to win. 

I had told them the main reason for the longest time that I did not drive was because I was not able to comfortably fit behind the wheel of a car.  It was hard for me because often times the wheel would be pressing against my stomach.  It was not comfortable moving the wheel, and with being so short, it did not help with the rubbing.  It made it hard getting in and out of the drivers door as well. 

Now, I realize that I am much smaller, and can easily fit in the drivers seat. Though, I am still no taller than I was before, I just am without the added stomach.  My biggest struggle is gaining the confidence in wanting to drive to get around.

Tonight as I was walking home from the gym, I was thinking about the conversation.  How much easier it would possibly make my life.  How much time it would save me in driving places.  Others say I would be more independent driving, though to me, I don't feel dependent on others in walking everywhere.  I make adjustments just like everyone else, I just chose to get around differently and live according to my current needs.

However, it has made me wonder, how driving would affect my physical state.  It makes me wonder if I started to drive, if I would gain weight.  Or how much harder I would have to work in the gym and train to maintain what I am doing now.  I know in my healing process right now, it would be a great to give my feet a rest.  I also wonder if less time on my feet would help make me a better runner since I do walk almost everywhere and not have to buy so many shoes.

Its a decision I know that only I can decide.  However, I go back and forth.  I am scared to drive because it is new.  I am also scared to gain the weight back as well if I do drive.  I am confused, and want to be able to do more at the last minute if I were to drive.  It is a matter of time before I do decide which is the better choice for my current life and what I want to do in the future. 

I do get and understand the reasons everyone tells me to do it.  However, it is something that is up to me and I have to decide on my own.  It is just coming up with the right choice for my life and my needs for the moment and possible future options.  Time will tell.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Good Bye Fat Suit

Food.  It fuels our bodies.  Gives our strength.  We need it to live.  Yet it is my addiction.  My comfort and confidant.  Controlling my urge to eat when emotional and stressed is a challenge.  Unlike other addictions, we need to eat to live.  Outsourcing the stress and emotion in other areas is critical.  However, we must decide if we are picking up the fork and eating because we actually hungry, or if we are just bored, anxious, bored or emotional. 

The last few weeks have been highly stressful for me.  Therefore its been hard for me to stay away from the foods and other habits that got me to my old size.  I can say that at this point it is all mental.  Awhile back, I made the decision to take time off from the gym when my membership was over.  This was purely just to make sure that my body was healing properly from the surgery, because I have still been having a few issues. 

The time off from the gym was no intention for me to use that as an excuse to be lazy.  My body has been through hell the last few years.  I will be honest.  The amount of weight I have lost, happened really fast.  In my opinion, it happened way to fast, that I am not sure it was exactly healthy from a physical or mental stand point.  Then going from weight loss mode, to marathon training mode with almost no break.  Its not a surprise that I need a break to allow my body to rest from all its been through.  Major weight loss.  Intense training.  Two major surgeries at once.  A lifetime diagnosis.  My body needs to heal.  My mind needs to catch up and process all that has happened.

I tell so many people that I feel like Rip Van Winkle.  I use the day of my surgery as the day I fell asleep like he did.  When I "fell asleep" for my surgery, I was still the fat girl, who had a huge stomach.  It still smacked as I walked and ran, and had to be stuffed in my pants.  When I woke up three hours later, all the skin was gone.  I "lost" three hours of my life that I won't remember as the doctors did their magic to make me better.  When I woke up, I was in a new body.  There is a "zipper" across my abs where my fat suit came off and made me a normal sized person. 

It is a lot to take in.  I am not sure how to handle and process all of this.  It is a struggle emotionally.  I am not what to do some days.  I cry, a lot.  My life has changed a lot the last few years.  Yet it has stayed the same in many ways.  The same in that I still spend so much of my time alone.  Days like today, I still spend my day off alone at home with little contact with the outside world.  I seldom get invites to go out with others, nor do I make suggestions to others to hang out.  Despite my desire to spend time with others, it is still a process and something that is very hard for me. I still feel like the fat girl.

Though many have said they would do things with me, those plans have all fallen through and never taken place.  Two different people have said they would go to cedar point with me, and it never happened.  Indians games were promised and never happened.  So many broken promises and plans have left me with a broken heart and left me not trusting anybody.  Even costing me a professional relationship I thought would never end. 

In the end, it is just a matter of making the right decision for my life and what is right.  Considering all options for my best fit is all that matters, and moving forward.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Learning To Adjust

Today, it has been exactly seven weeks since I had my hernia and paniculocotmy surgery. The first few weeks, I can say, were obviously very painful for me.  Much more than I thought, though I expected there to pain, and struggle with walking upright for awhile.  Yet, I was bound and determined to be able to be up and getting back to my version of a normal life, the best I could. 

Which meant that I was back in the gym a week later, moving ever so slowly.  Though I was just walking, and holding on for dear life on the handles, I was still there, walking at a snails pace for very short periods of time. Yes, for the record, my trainer was on my case about that immediately. Slowly working daily life, and modifying chores was a challenge.  Listening to my body, and what the doctors were telling me to do, I was able to go back to work two and a half weeks post surgery. 

Over the course of the past two and a half years of working with my trainer, Ryan Rose, I have learned how important it is to listen to our bodies.  We live with ourselves, and have to learn to distinguish between soreness and pain.  This is something I am getting better at.  Also learning to distinguish the difference in my body being ready for something too soon, or if mentally, its something I want to do.  It is a struggle sometimes mentally staying behind when my body is not ready, or when mentally I am not sure I am ready for something my body is longing for. 

Post surgery, mentally, it has been a huge struggle.  I have a huge incision across my entire hip and pelvic region that goes from one ass cheek to the next.  Mentally, I think of it like a zipper.  Where I laid down one day, and my fat suit  came off.  In my mind, I fell asleep a fat girl, and woke up an active, thin, healthy girl.  I am trying to get to know the girl in this body again and what she is capable of doing. 

One of the hardest parts for me about this whole process for me, is the attention that I have received from the weight loss.  Like a lot of people, I have a Facebook account and like to post photos of the races that I do or just whatever.  Races, being active are part of my life now, they are no longer part of a weight loss journey.  It is my lifestyle, something that is a hobby and I enjoy. 

I have become  very reluctant to post photos on Facebook anymore.  I hate people making comments about my size still, and that I look beautiful and wonderful.  Many times, it makes me feel very insecure and bad about my old life, because it makes me feel like everyone thought I was ugly, just because I was fat before.  Though I am happy that people are nice to me and treat me like a human now, it should not be because I am thin, active and healthy.  Society should treat people, the same, regardless of what size we are.  Honestly, at both sizes, then and now, I still feel lonely at times and unsure of myself as I go through these growing pains. Yes, I do go see a therapist to help me see somebody so I can get to know the new me better.

I realize that somebody else's opinion of me is none of my business and is only a reflection of themselves.  However, it is frustrating at times, as I try to understand where the person is coming from, before I say anything to them about what may be a well intended comment. 

Adjusting to a life and a body I never had before is hard, and I know I will get through it.  I am thankful that my trainer, Ryan Rose, as been with me through this entire process.  I will admit, he and I do go through rough, painful growing pains.  However, I could have been paired with a more perfect person, and I am blessed by his presence in my life.  Thankful that my friend Casey has stood by my side in this as well.  With out the two of them, I am not sure I would have made it as far as I have in the process. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Loving My Body

One of the things I have been thinking a lot about being off, and recovering from surgery, is how important it is for us to love our bodies, to love ourselves for what and who we are.  Not to be ashamed or embarrassed by our flaws and imperfections. 

I have wondered often if I would love who I am at the end of this journey.  Be proud of the person I am and the accomplishments I have achieved.  The truth this, is that I have had to learn to be proud of myself in each moment, not just wait until the end of my journey.  The same is true for loving who I am.  There is no reason why we must wait to be proud of who we are.

Life is always changing and throwing us curve balls.  It never goes as planned.  So, each day, I have had to choose to love who I am in each moment and accept the daily challenges that come up. 

Post surgery, as I look at my body, and see how I appear to have mis-matched parts, from my perspective.  However, I have worked hard to get to this point in my life. Yes, I still have extra skin on my legs and on some of my upper body.  Will I get it removed?  Only time will tell at this point. I am not a vain person.  I want to love my body as it is.  To have a healthy life, both mentally and physically and accepting it, all of it.  Perfections and flaws. 

There are times I think of Tina Fey.  She is a beautiful, talented comedian and actress.  She also has scars on her face from a childhood experience.  Despite this scar, she has not allowed it to stop her from pursuing a career in the limelight, and has done well in the public eye. 

I was talking to a friend one night.  I was telling her, that sometimes when I have wanted to give up, quit or thinking of posting something negative about myself on social media, I stop and think of her daughter. At no time, would I want my friends daughter to think that its okay to feel bad about herself,  to always view herself in a negative manner or give up.  

We should all be our own best friend.  Talk to ourselves like we would our best friend. We should always improve ourselves, yet do it in a positive and constructive manner.  Not being afraid to highlight our flaws while improving them to be better.

Yes, there are flaws I need to work on.  That is okay.  Admitting I need to improve is always important.  It is also important that they are not denied or left undone. 

It is important to embrace who we are and love ourselves.  Even though my thighs are bigger than what I would like because of the excess skin, I am learning to love that.  Its a battle scar of what I have over come the last few years.  At no time, do I want to get to the point where I am doing things out of vanity.  Its always going to be about my health first, and what is right for my body.  I am just an average girl, on a quest to be a better person in all aspects. 

I don't need a super models body to be perfect and happy.  I just need a body that I am happy and comfortable in.  One that I can life my life in and be okay with it. It is okay to showcase those battle scars and tell the world, "Hey, this is my life, and I am happy with who I am despite my battles."

Monday, June 20, 2016

Believing in Yourself


For much of my adult life, I have lived in Sandusky, Ohio.  Living so close to Cleveland, I learned to love and appreciate the Cleveland sports team.  As I sit here, I am still processing the fact that the Cleveland Cavs have won the NBA Championship! Such an amazing accomplishment!

Those who live in, or near Cleveland, call it Believeland!  It is very fitting because we were all believing that one day, our teams would break the curse and bring home championships to our city.  Well, tonight, it finally happened.

It is amazing what happens when we have faith and believe in our dreams and passions in life.  It also takes a lot of work, effort, dedication and commitment to go after our dreams and reach them, often times going much further than we ever imagined. 

This Championship series with the Cavs bringing home the cities first trophy in over 50 years, is very fitting for what is going on in my life right now. 

After returning to Sandusky after my sister's graduation in 2013, I  started to get serious about getting healthy.  It was time that I was putting effort in to my life so I could just  start living life instead of just existing.  I wanted to enjoy life again and make memories for myself and with others.  I knew the time was right, and the time is going to pass any way.  I had to put the effort in to put my health first.

Its late on Sunday night.  I am tired and should have been in bed hours ago, but wanted to watch my team play.  I have also been preparing for my upcoming surgery on Tuesday.  I have not been keeping it secret from those I see routinely or those that I am close with.  I have, for the most part, tried keeping it off of social media until I knew for sure that it was going to happen, and that it was real.

On Tuesday morning, I am getting a hernia repaired.  In the process, as part of this surgery, a plastic surgeon will be doing the second half of my surgeon removing my pannus, or my "apron" from my body.  So, I can officially say that I am having skin removal surgery on Tuesday. This particular surgery, the panniculectomy, is only removing the skin below the belt, and is not doing anything with the ab muscles and tighten them back up.  It is not taking the skin from my legs, arms or upper body either.  My main concern all along was the skin that hangs past my hip and pelvic region.

Yes, I realize I mislead some of you, and had to lie to some of you to keep it secret while going through the process.  For that I apologize, but I had to do what was right for me in the long run in case the insurance denied the whole thing as it is hard to get this approved and covered.  The hernia had to get fixed, the rest of it was all I had to focus on in getting it approved and doing exactly what was told and following the guidelines given to me.

This long process is finally starting to come to an end for me.  The healing from the surgery will be slow, and painful at times.  However, I have faith that my life will be greatly improved by this.  Finally feeling good about myself mentally and physically feels really good, and it feels amazing to finally accomplish a goal I have worked so hard for. 

I can also say, that I have never been more blessed to have had direct help from my trainer/coach/friend Ryan Rose.  Ryan, as always, thank you for all you have ever done for me.  I love you to infinity and beyond.  You truly have been a joy to work with and such a bright spot in my life.  I am so incredibly proud of you and love to brag about you often with what you do to help others.  You inspire me greatly to be a better person, and to help others be better versions of themselves.

My work and church families, I love you all greatly as well.  Thank you for all sticking behind me and supporting me on a very public journey, and keeping me level headed and grounded.  You all are wonderful to me and am blessed you all are in my life. 

When you believe in yourself, your dreams and life will take you further than you can ever imagine. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. This is something we all hear often through out our lives.  We either go back to toxic people, jobs or what ever situation there is, hoping for different results.  Sometimes, all we need to do is just remove ourselves from the situation and just take the advice of others, or watch others and  try to learn from their mistakes.  Perhaps even try to improve our game plan if we are still going after the dream or goal.

Most of my adult life, I have tried my best to do a lot of things on my own, without consulting a lot of people or seeking advice.  I just lived life the best way I saw fit, not really considering how it was going to affect my life down the road.  Making decisions that I never considered would be needed until now, like ever getting my drivers license.  In all honestly, I don't mind walking, and never thought driving was necessary for me to get around.  To me, its more of an inconvenience to learn at this point.

In the next few weeks I will be under strict doctors care and will be out of work for a couple of weeks. This quite frankly, scares the living hell out of me.  To the point that I was in my managers office crying to him yesterday.  Yes, I was crying in front of somebody.  A man at that, with the door shut.  I was not proud that I was letting myself breakdown in front of him.  However, at the same time, I thought it was necessary to be honest upfront that he know my concerns so that he could guide me in the right direction in the proper steps to take. 

For me to be alone with him in an office was a huge step for me, because seldom allow that to happen with anyone.  Crying, well that is unheard of from me.  To the point that my good friend tells me a lot that I need to learn how to be a female and just break down and cry.   That its okay to let it all go. My manager said that I should not worry about the after math of the surgery, that things will work out the way that they are supposed to, and to reach out to those around me if I need help. 

Reaching out to others for help has been a struggle for me.  Its a pride thing.  It makes me feel weak if I need to admit that I need help or that I cry.  It is hard for me.  Its one of the reasons why I have remained single for so long, because I don't want to feel like I need a man to take care of me, or that I need to be the stereotypical housewife who caters to their husband and gets.  Yes, I would possible want to marry one day if the right person came along.  However, it would be a respectable relationship where we take care of each others needs and love one another. Yes, for the record, there are guys I have been interested in.  However, life works out the way it is supposed and lessons have to be learned in our own time, and our own way. 

The last few years have been a learning experience for me, and I hope to continue to grow and learn many more life lessons along the way.  New ways to learn and reach out to others to help them, and possibly seek help for myself. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Breaking Out Of My Bubble

Over the last two and a half years, I have felt like I have lived in a bubble.  Not really paying attention to the outside world, except when and where needed for my necessary involvement.  Even now, I am still living in my own selfish world as I strive to make vast improvements to better my life and surroundings.

One of my favorite quotes is "Why fit in when your born to stand out?" Dr. Seuss.   It is fitting for what I have been feeling for most of my life.  For most of my life, I have just wanted to fit in with groups of people, and feel accepted for who I was as a person.  The more I tried to fit in with others, the more isolated and alone I felt, and detached from others.  It was very heartbreaking for me. 

Starting in high school, the more I tried to fit in and feel accepted, the more I turned to food for comfort.  It was just in small doses at first.  It started out so small that back then, I did not know the damage that I was causing by turning to food for comfort.  Food is a necessary for us to live by, yet it is not supposed to comfort us emotionally and mentally. To the point I was considering suicide.

When I got the spot to participate in the FIT Challenge in 2014, it literally saved my life in many ways.  I was ready for a change in my life physically.  Thinking I would be happier if I lost weight, I put myself out there to get help, not knowing how drastically my life would change by blindly going into something the scared the living hell out of me. 

One of the things that I have learned over the last few years, that the only acceptance that I needed was from myself.  That once I learned to love and accept myself, all of me and my flaws, the better my life would become.  The people that are meant to be in my life will be with me regardless of what happens.  Rather from a distance or close by, these people are there no  matter what.

Over time, as I lost the weight, I noticed that I was interacting with more and more people.  Not always so much socializing with all of them and going out, but talking to people in my everyday life.  Rather it was while shopping, at the grocery store or just chatting with somebody at work or the gym.  The shy, quiet girl is still within me, and I still feel her presence ever so often in my life.

However, it is hard to tell, on my part, if others are "real" friends or those who are just curious about my weight loss because I have been so willing to share my experience with the public as I have done the unthinkable and made a very private struggle a public one.  It has made me wonder who cares truly about me as a person, and who just wants something to talk about to their friends.  Because of the past experiences I have had in the past with others, I question every ones motives. 

I am so unsure of the intentions of guys so often when they ask me out, that often times in the course of my conversations with them, at some point, I start to shut down, unintentionally and misunderstand what they are saying, or stop paying attention.  I do this to protect myself to keep from being hurt.  Most recently, I turned down a dinner invite with someone I had wanted to spend time with, replying that I needed to run.  Seriously, who the hell does that?  I could have ran after dinner. However, not fully listening to what was being said, I missed a great opportunity to spend time with someone instead of trying to protect my heart from heartbreak.

Learning to live life and experience all the different types of things normal people do is an adjustment.  I need to know how the good kinds of heartbreak, and know what I like to do with others, instead of living a life where I am always alone.  Some moments in life are meant to be shared, regardless of if that person remains in our life or not down the road.

There is one person in my life at this point, that I am not sure if they will remain, or fade into the background.  This person, I can honestly say, I have loved dearly with my whole life, and am forever grateful for their presence in my life.  I can say I have never felt the same love or bond like I have with this person.

Though I am learning, in this process to accept love and respect from myself, and that from others as I follow my heart into the unknown.  God gives us the people and experiences we need for ourselves, and those who may need us later in life.  I am thankful for had happened to this point in my life.  I have learned so much in such a short time that I never thought I could have. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Make the most of detours

Through out life, we are always changing course. We get a lot of road blocks, detours if you will.  We choose how to deal with them when life doesn't go as planned.  Do we sit and wait for the road to clear? Go around or climb over it?  There are many options regardless of if we see it or not.

Back in September when I was in Dayton for the marathon, I spent time at the expo seeing the different races I could do for this year.  In my head, I had planned on staying on track with competing to stay healthy. It kept me focused.  So far this year, I've done one 5k,and afterward decided to pull out of all future races I planned on attending.

Life would have other plans for me.  Having not done a marathon before, I ran a great portion of the race not knowing I was injured.  I just assumed the pain and soreness would go away and was part of running a long distance.  Plus my body was still adjusting to a significant weight loss. Essentially, since September, my body has been saying, "Girl, let me heal!"  There are a lot of days, especially lately, I'm in pain.

During this time, I'm learning to live a normal life. Getting in touch with myself, and those I love the most. Reconnecting with family and friends I have not spent time with in years because I was ashamed of myself. Also taking time to get healthy from a medical stand point. Getting in touch with doctors to get excess skin removed and relief from other issues I'm facing.

I'm forever blessed that I have such a great support system. My trainer has kept me focused through the entire process and I'm thankful for that as he strives to keep me comfortable through the pain as we move forward to better living.  He's become a good friend and my biggest supporter in this.  The other members of the gym, I am grateful for their friendships as well and ability to make me laugh and give hugs.

This gym and trainer are by far the best fit for me as life gives me detours to deal with.