Weight Lost, Hope Gained…by Emily

Sharing the Hope found after WLS!

Am I Normal? Really? April 10, 2011

Filed under: Inspiration,Motivation,My Story....ever changing! — Weight Lost Hope Gained @ 9:22 PM

Wow! I can’t believe I am about to officially be a mother to a 13 yr. old, Cheerleader and Volleyball player! My Baby Girl is growing up, I swear just the other day I was changing her diapers! So with all the sports that are headed our way next school year, we had to go to the Dr. the other day and get the physical done. NOT her favorite part but I *gently* reminded her (in the midst of the dramatic ramblings of a tween GIRL) that it had to be done if she wanted to cheer or play volleyball, it was up to her. She quickly digressed and in came the Dr.

Mekayla is tall and super slender for her age…all legs (just like me at the ripe ol age of 12) and is a bottomless pit when it comes to food. She can put. it. away. Looking back, I could too and had nothing to worry about! It scares me for her because she is my daughter and I don’t want a repeat of my life where she is Dr. Matin’s patient one day just like her Momma was. So I am trying to nip a “repeat” in the bud and really encourage alot of physical activity NOW. She is super excited about next year, so am I, I hope she has a blast with everything and I will feel good knowing that she is MOVING and staying active all the while growing up WAY to fast!!!!

Gave ya a little background now I am going to get to the meat of this post. They called us back and got all of her vitals and recorded them on that chart that says what percentile for her age she is in. She is in the 50% percentile for her weight (perfect) and 50-75% for her height, meaning she is taller than she is heavy. The Dr. looked at her and said “Mekayla, I know that your friends at school are all shapes and sizes, but I am here to tell you that you are exactly where you need to be. You are spot on normal on this chart here. Don’t ever let anybody tell you otherwise.” (not that Mekayla has had that problem, she hasn’t, she was just reassuring her before it even happens. I hope it never does.) I know that this made Mekayla happy and me too as her Mom for getting such a good report on my Baby Girl. Then the Dr. said something that really jogged my mind, she went on to say…”You are built just like your Mother here, and since that is the case I don’t see you ever having a problem with your weight since it hasn’t been a problem for her.” Really?!?! This made me confused for a minute because she has no idea where I have come from or what my journey is, she has no idea of the struggles I face daily. I was not angry with her just confused and thought I needed to clarify her image of me right then and there. I felt like I needed to explain myself to her and “clear the air”, she obviously needed to be corrected in her assumption of me.

Then it hit me….No, she didn’t. She didn’t need to be corrected, she was clearly stating what she saw. All my life I have felt as if I had to explain myself, but really they were excuses most of the time. I didn’t need to “justify” her comment with the “truth” of what I have been through. The TRUTH is I had surgery to be normal, I am now, so that is JUSTIFICATION in, and of itself! I don’t need to tell everybody that I come in contact with that I have had surgery, trust me I have been known the tell the check out person at Target…true story. I was given a tool that has helped me, I have worked hard to get where I am at, my hard work and dedication to being healthy as a whole has paid off for me. It’s about time that I give myself some recognition too, not just my tool, having said that I will never forget or denounce what has helped me get here. It has been so hard to wrap my little brain around that word “normal” being associated with ME. At times I pinch myself, but I am so glad that I am finally coming to grips with the reality that I have tried so hard to NOT believe about myself.

To go a bit further, not only did I not say anything to the Dr. about her assumption of me. It felt good inside to know that I was normal from the outside, beautiful on the inside, and I held a nugget of information to my self that would have blown her out. of. the. water. It wasn’t about me and my journey for a moment. It was about all the hard work that got me to being normal again. It was about others seeing me as I want to be seen. When I had surgery, I just wanted to lose my weight, be healthy, and not be stared at in disgust when people looked at me. For once, I can say, I am there.

I don’t want this post to come off as shallow or sounding like what others think of me is what defines me because that can’t be farther from the truth. I know who I am, what I am, and who I am becoming. I don’t know where I am going on my journey but I am headed in the right direction, a good direction. The purpose of this post was to finally be able to say that I am comfortable and pleased with what others have to say about me AND with what I see in the mirror looking back at me. It feels good, real good.

Finish Well,

Emi

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Meet Duke. March 20, 2011

Filed under: Inspiration,Motivation,My Story....ever changing! — Weight Lost Hope Gained @ 1:54 PM

He is such a patient horse I tell ya!

This is Duke. My friend Rhonda is his Momma and he is such a pretty animal. The problem is I am very afraid of him. You are probably wondering why?

Well, when I was younger I was riding a female horse and a family friend was on a male horse. We rode way out into the pasture, the day was beautiful wind blowing through my hair, I felt like I was on top of the world! That is until is happened and happened so quickly. Much to my unknowing, my female horse was in heat and the male decided (WAY out in the pasture) that he wanted to “play”. She wanted NO part of that and so they started circling each other, well more so she was trying to get away from him. Jared told me to get off of the horse and I did exactly what he said because I knew and still know nothing about horses. I jumped off and got out-of-the-way before he even finished his sentence I think! I stood there as the huge animals started rearing up at each other and neying (I’m not sure if that really is a word. Haha!) really loud, I tell you that female wanted NO part of that male that was chasing her tail! They somehow got tied up in each others reigns so Jared was trying to get them undone and before you know it, the male kicked him right above his elbow shattering the bone. I am watching this in awe and don’t know what to do. I run (for an eternity) back to the house to get someone to help us leaving the horses to hash out whatever they had going on. Needless to say, that has scared me and although I will pet horses, I am very afraid of riding.

I just gave up on every getting on one again and resolved myself to the fact that it was not a good idea because the horse would sense my nervousness and that is a recipe for disaster. Not to mention I have no idea how to the use the reigns and tell the horse what I want him to do, leaving him to think….what is wrong with this idiot on my back?!?

Well like my last post mentioned, I working on my Bucket List as a part of my “finding myself”. I put riding a horse on it because I have realized I really have nothing to be afraid of riding a horse. I should be more afraid of my poor choices in what I chose to eat, think, and feel about myself. I should also not compare what happened when I was younger to what riding a horse would be like for me now. Just like we as WLS patients should not compare other people and their stories to our story or MAKE their story our story. So with knowing that I realized I had no excuse to not do this.

I called up Rhonda and said “I am ready to conquer this unrealistic fear, can I ride Duke?” “Of course you can, when do you want to go out to the stable?” I’m thinking Uhhhh, NEVER! No, that is not the way to think so we made plans to go out last weekend. She was nice in letting my children come out and ride Duke as well. I was so glad to have them with me because, as their mother, I knew I had to be strong for them. They also showed me what it was like to be fearless and I needed that more than anything in that moment. They groomed (I wasn’t too sure about it, so I just watched) Duke and got him already to put the saddle on. He is such a neat horse, he is what they call “mouthy”, when you stick your hand out flat he will rub his upper lip on your hand, so sweet! The kids loved it when he did that.

Rhonda and the kids grooming Duke and getting him ready to ride!

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We walked out to the riding area and I had Mekayla go first so I could watch and learn from her. She jumped right up there and was having the time of her life. Mario was a little nervous just like me so he rode with Rhonda. Having two nervous people on the back of a horse is NOT a good idea!

Then it was my turn, my heart was racing as I put on the helmet, I kept telling myself, you CAN do this Emily! Get up there and DO IT!! I wanted to just give the helmet back to Mekayla and watch her ride, I would have been just fine sitting in the chair and playing with Sox (the farm cat, he was a lovable little guy too!) But then I had an ephipany….I wasn’t fine with being 270 pounds with a plethora of health issues so I did something about it. Why would I be fine with living in fear of riding this horse? So, there you have it, I got up on that horse. Hear still racing, breathing heavy, and with a death grip on the saddle—forget the reigns, I didn’t have time for those—He started to walk as Rhonda walked right beside him to guide him. He walked very slow and never got spooked. I soon realized that everything was ok in my world while I was ON THE BACK OF A HORSE! How could that be?!?! I would look down at his beautiful mane in awe of the fact that I was actually doing it!! It was quite emotional I must say. Rhonda was just as amazing as Duke, like Mother like Son, 😉 She kept talking to me and reassuring me that I was doing good and everything was fine. We walked around in a circle for a few minutes then I needed to get off and rest, I wore myself out from being so wound up! Mekayla got back on and trotted around some more as did Mario. Rhonda asked me if I wanted to go again, and I must say that the 2nd time was easier but (in the words of Rhonda) I cannot and am not claiming Everest over this fear after only the first ride. That is so true. I will say though, it has prompted me to THINK about MAYBE taking riding lessons which was never a thought that crossed my mind. This time last year I would have said “Yeah, right! You’re crazy!”

As you can see here, Rhonda is talking to me and trying to calm me down. She was amazing and so was Duke!


Duke and I being friends here. This was the second ride, I grabbed the reigns but only for a minute. 😉

This experience taught me some new and pretty cool stuff about myself. It taught me to really evaluate what I should be scared of and what I should not be scared of. It taught me get out of my comfort zone and try new things. It taught me be more trusting of myself and emotions. I need to trust that I have it in me to do and try new things. The most important thing of all that it taught me was to BELIEVE IN MYSELF!

This experience was brought on all because of my WLS. Two and half years ago, I had no idea who I was or what my purpose was, nor was I on a mission to find out either. My only mission in life was to find the next drive thru, gorge myself, and exist. I am truly learning what it means to LIVE and LOVE myself through the rest of my life here on earth. I urge you to do the same thing! It is rewarding, I am here to tell you there is WAY MORE power in this reward than the sucky VERY brief reward we get from food or other self sabotaging things we engage in. Life a journey NOT a destination, and I am proud to say that my Journey has begun and I can’t wait to see all that is ahead of me during my travels!

This experience was also brought on all because of my WLS due to the fact that I have gained a new friendship in Rhonda that other wise I would have never been blessed with. I trust her with everything, even my fears, You see what she did with this one, she helped me overcome it, and I honestly don’t think the outcome would have been as rewarding with anyone else guiding me! She gets me. She grounds me. She loves me and all my imperfections. She believes in me. She is there to be my #1 Cheerleader and she is also there when she knows she just needs to listen. She is one of my best friends with so many qualities I admire and adore. She sees the good in everyone when sometimes my mind is clouded by hurt. I am so humbled by her friendship and honored to call her my friend. Love ya Girl!! 😉 Thank you so much for this opportunity and I wouldn’t have wanted anybody else by my side!

Rhonda and Duke. The two beautiful souls that made a difference in my life that day! Love you both!!

I just wanted to leave this blog post with a good quote I found….

“Plant seeds of expectation in your mind; cultivate thoughts that anticipate achievement. Believe in yourself as being capable of overcoming all obstacles and weaknesses.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

Until next time….

Finish Well,

Emi

 

I need a Rubber Ball, please? March 7, 2011

Filed under: Inspiration,My Story....ever changing! — Weight Lost Hope Gained @ 10:51 AM

Recently I sat through another enlightening therapy session with Valette. One that hurt, was pretty disappointing, BUT put a name with all that I have struggled with for a long time. It was validating to finally have the AH-HAH! moment and I am ready to move forward and share that with you all! I have found out through this process that I am hugely egotistical with little to no self-esteem since losing my surgery and living in the maintenance phase now. Absurd you say?!?! Well so did I until it was explained to me and it makes total sense and is SO true. Let me explain.

I live in a glass (egotistical) ball. The bottom is hollow and wide open. I constantly need praise and affirmation for doing the right thing to keep it filled up, when it gets low—-I self medicate by what I have done best my whole life….EAT. I don’t take criticism well and when I get it my little ball crushes around me and so I self medicate again. I received all the praise and affirmations ten fold during my weight loss journey, I was on a mission as the pounds were flying off of me. I was a poster child for my WLS center with my face plastered on Billboards, commercials, and brochures. I am a patient advisor and speak monthly at the hospital with my surgeon. The scale gave me daily affirmation in continuously going down, down, down. My friends and family were constantly telling me how good I was doing. I was feeling great! Well, guess what? I’m done losing weight and I have maintained my loss. I feel great and I had my surgery to get my health back which I have now more than ever, BUT I also had my surgery to start living. Well you ARE living Emily you say!?!?!Yes and no. Yes, I run and play with my kids and have amazing chemistry with my husband since I feel better about myself but looking back over my life, my WLS is REALLY the only thing I have done and been successful at that really sets me apart and now that the weight loss part is over, I need to stop living through my WLS and move on to things in life that will help me to find my place in this world. If I don’t then it is a recipe for disaster.

You see, I have struggled lately with grazing even if it be on the “good stuff”, I am eating way too much of it, BUT only at certain times of the month. I do really good at the end of each month and the beginning of the next month. Why? You ask? Because I have my Bariatric Care Counsel meeting on the last Wednesday of each month, I speak with my surgeon the first Wednesday of each month, and have Support Group the second Tuesday of each month. With that schedule, it keeps me in the loop and my little glass (hollowed out at the bottom) egotistical ball is full and happy. But what about the rest of the time that I am not being stimulated? I graze. Yes, I have a great support group here online that I am so thankful for. But I can’t spend as much time on here as I would like with a young family at home. So without constant interaction and accountability, I stumble and that is NOT ok! We must fix that ASAP! Thank goodness for therapy!

Here is my eye-opening conversation with my therapist….

“What makes you unique?” I said, “Well, I am a mother, friend, wife and daughter.” She stopped in middle sentence and said “That is great but those are roles, WHAT makes you unique?” I said, “I am outgoing, honest, caring, funny (I like to think), compassionate, etc.” She stopped me again and said, “That’s great but those are attributes, WHAT makes YOU unique?” I quickly responded with “I guess I am not sure what you are asking me?” She says, “Do you speak a foreign language, do you paint, have you traveled the world? What makes you unique?”As I sat there and pondered the question at hand, I realized that I really couldn’t answer her question, there really isn’t anything that makes me truly unique other than one thing…..my WLS surgery. I am not discrediting my surgery by any means, I don’t want this post to sound like that in any way shape form or fashion because I wouldn’t be finding my true WHOLE self if is wasn’t for my tool. I will be forever grateful for it.

I am on a mission to find my rubber (self-esteem) ball. People that live in a rubber ball know who they are, they stand for what they believe in (those that know me know that I have a hard time believing in myself and my story), they will defend it to its death. They are the people who when talking to them, you ask them how they are doing and they will say, “I am fine, let’s talk about you!”, I have to say that this is probably the only self-esteem trait I have. I really and truly find pleasure in hearing about other people instead of talking about myself. That is probably in part due to the fact that all I have to talk about is my WLS! Rubber Ball people also take criticism well, when they are faced with it, it bounces off (NOT crush) their little ball and has not effect on them because they know who they are and what they believe in. They know what defines them and makes them unique. They know what truly makes them happy. I always thought that if I believed in myself, it was boasting and THAT was egotistical when in fact I have it all wrong…IT’S CALLED SELF ESTEEM! So I am on a mission with a “Bucket List” being made of things that I want to do, I am scared to do but need too as part of learning who I am and who I want to be, and finding my inner self and connecting once and for all! I want to find my uniqueness!!

Bucket List coming in another post….stay tuned.

Finish Well,

Emily

 

Oh, the many things I am Thankful for… November 25, 2010

Filed under: My Story....ever changing! — Weight Lost Hope Gained @ 5:09 PM

I wrote this in a note on Facebook in March of this year and found it fitting for today as the many things I am thankful for! I hope you enjoy it!

Just wanted to share my heart with you all.

I thank God each day for making me fat. I thank God everyday for making me 270 pounds, with joint problems, acid reflux, shortness of breath when I walked to the end of the drive way to get my mail, and high blood pressure. I thank God everyday for my snoring at night that led to restless leg syndrome…that led to anxiety and depression….and a HANDFUL of pills that had to be popped everyday of my life just to keep going. I thank God everyday for my low self-esteem that plagued my life for most of my life. I thank God for the fact that I couldn’t sit like a lady because my legs wouldn’t cross over one another. I thank God for the fact that I could barely reach my butt to wipe (my arms are only so long). I thank God for every stretch mark on my thighs and stomach due to being fat.

You are probably wondering why I would thank God for all of that?? Well I can tell you why. If it wasn’t for ALL the things mentioned above I wouldn’t have had surgery, I wouldn’t have you all, and I wouldn’t have this blog. I wouldn’t have been able to be blessed beyond measure DAILY by your friendships. I wouldn’t have made the decision to have surgery. I wouldn’t have been able to truly learn who I am as a person. I wouldn’t have learned how to truly live life to the fullest with the BEST friends anyone could ever have. I wouldn’t have learned what it truly means to Live and NOT just exist. Each and every one of you have taught me something new about myself that I never knew before. Some of you have held my hand through tears and lent me a shoulder to cry on. Some of you have talked me off the ledge when I want to eat my kitchen (yes I struggle with that too). Some of you have been there for me for my life outside of my Bariatric life. You all have inspired me to be a better person. I truly thank God everyday for ALL the ugly that I have been through because I have you all and the new friendships I am forming everyday. I am a perfect of example of the fact that we may not understand God’s reasoning for things in our lives but if we be still and know that He is worthy and able to do great things in our lives we WILL BE BLESSED BEYOND WORDS just as I have been! I love you all from the bottom of my heart!

I hope everybody has had a blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends.

In HIS Grip,

Emily

 

Just an EXTRAordinary Girl…. November 16, 2010

Filed under: Motivation,My Story....ever changing! — Weight Lost Hope Gained @ 10:16 PM

Good ‘ol Webster’s definition of Extraordinary ~ going beyond what is usual, regular, or customary.

When I think of my life since WLS I think this is a good word to describe it. I mean NOTHING about this life is usual, regular, or customary! But wait…I am getting ahead of myself and need to back up and give you background into my decision to become an EXTRAordinary girl.

In my Adolescence I never really struggled with my weight, it did not become an issue until I got pregnant with my Daughter Mekayla and “Blossomed” into a person I didn’t know. I packed on 70 pounds during the pregnancy and it stuck to me like glue from there on out. In fact it invited some friends along to come and hang out too! That was one of the happiest times in my life and also one of the saddest as well. Here I was a Mother at 20 yrs. old and forced to grow up QUICKLY….gosh how I wished she would have come with an instruction packet!…and also rejected at the same time and found myself to be a 20 yr old SINGLE Mother! This along with other things in my life sent me spiraling out of control and finding comfort in food. I have to say that looking back on that chapter in my life, it was very short lived because when Mekayla was 2 yrs old this Angel came into our lives….His name is Edwin and Daddy. He came into my mess of a life and cleaned it up without a second thought. He saw me for who I was on the inside NOT the outward apperance that everybody stared at all the time with their noses turned up! We got married when Mekayla was 5 yrs. old and I was almost at my heaviest. I continued to pack on the pounds but this time it was different….It was because I was happy and had someone that loved me for me (and the dozen of Krispy Kreme donuts I would pound EVERY weekend!) We were married for a year and then started trying to have another child…well there wasn’t much trying we got it on the 2nd try ;-)…so with my son Mario’s pregnancy came MORE weight on top of the “baby weight” from my *Baby* that was now 7 yrs. old. Now we have offically entered the time I got to be the HEAVIEST I ever was, weighing in at a whopping 270 pounds.

Several years went by…along with ALOT of pictures with me BEHIND the camera….that I continued existing and not living. I developed High Blood Pressure, was Pre Diabetic, Depression/Anxiety, Restless Leg Syndrome from lack of sleep, Obstructed Sleep Apnea, Acid Reflux, and Joint and Back Pain…**obviously all of these Co-Morbidities did not just fall into my lap all at once, they started in my 20’s, it seemed I would get a new one every year for my Birthday!** I was taking a handfull of pills a day just to stay “vertical”. I *knew* that if I didn’t do something about my weight I was literally going to die at the grasp of one of my Co-Morbidities and/or obesity. However with all of this said, I was not in the right mindset to succeed at having WLS. I continued to sabatoge my self esteem and health with a very UNhealthy bond with food.

I had to be ready mentally to take on WLS and I wasn’t until I had a “wake up call” from my Husband one day. He looked at me genuinely concerned for me and my health and said “If you don’t do something about your weight, I feel that I am going to be raising our kids on my own.”…..WOW….THAT slapped me across the face real hard and WOKE ME UP! Right then I realized that I was being selfish and not giving my family the wife and mother they so much deserved. THAT is when I made the choice to go to a WLS Seminar at the Hospital (the very same one that I speak at once a month with my surgeon….funny how that happens when you are COMMITTED to doing the right thing) in August of 2008 and started my Pre Op process in September 2008 and had surgery January 2009….I HAVEN’T LOOKED BACK SINCE THAT DAY!!!

In future blogs I will talk about the WHAT’S AND HOW’S I have been successful with my tool…I have to save something for later….I have to keep telling myself that because I tend to be long winded can’t cha tell 😉

This is my story in a TINY nutshell. More will be revealed in the future. Thanks so much for walkin’ this road with me. We will skip and dance sometimes, sometimes we will have to hurdle pot holes, and sometimes we may fall in those pot holes but we will always have each other to lend a hand to. I thank you so much for your friendship and for believing in me when at times I struggle with believing in myself….I’ll get into that later too!….OK! enough already I am giving away all my future stuff! Before I go I want to leave some “Food for Thought” that I live by and helps me through my journey and I hope you can find comfort in it too.

“Remember that WLS is merely a tool. It works however YOU use it.”

“Obesity is a disease that each one of has. HOWEVER YOU can chose to feed that disease or chose to take your life and health back from the disease.”

“What I thought was Freedom with food was actually bondage…..THIS is Freedom!”

Well this concludes my very FIRST post, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Finish Well,

Emily