Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Disco anyone?

I blame Lane Bryant.  The store caters to big girls..one of which would be me.  I have always loved the store in the past.  It is the only place that I can be.....wait for it....a size 1!  I know what you're thinking....she does know that it's not really a size one....doesn't she?  Yes I do, but humor me.  It's most likely the only time I will ever hit a single digit in my lifetime.  I was a size 7 for a brief period after Christopher was born.  Then I got pregnant with Tommy....and Matt...and my hips have never been the same.

Back to Lane Bryant.  They are an illusion.  You walk in to their store and are surrounded by big girl clothes that are stylish and beautiful.  This may be after you have just hit three department stores and realized that their big girl section holds a grey sweater and a pair of sweat pants.  They sort of combine it with the big boys section and end up with an overall androgynous big peoples section...somewhere next to the flannel gowns and minimizers...or possibly plumbing supplies.  The point is that most departments stores have a sorry little big girls section because they believe that you should be sorry for being big.  I'm wandering, aren't I?  OK, back to Lane Bryant.  You walk in and are surrounded by clothes that don't make you think that you should hide in a tent or dress like you are an 80 year old grandmother...of 30 cats. 

 You revel in the thought that you can wear something somewhat attractive and fun.  This is where you head down a dangerous path.  It leads you to the outfit that will become your nightmare when you view your company Christmas party pictures....
Now it could be the fact that I have my mouth wide open that makes this picture even worse.  I can't tell if I'm saying...."STOP!"  or if I'm getting ready to place a piece of cheese in my mouth (notice the left hand).  Eric is either choking or anticipating his piece of cheese also...it was really good cheese.  Either way, I'm struck by the fact the I resemble a mobile disco ball.....or maybe a mackerel.  Those appear to either be shiny sequins or...maybe...scales.

Now this would be me dancing the Electric Slide...or possibly accepting my fate as a disco ball and shining my glorious light on everyone else dancing!  Notice the shiny fabric...covering my oversized midsection....something like a Christmas ornament!   I am now swearing off of silver sequins.  I have learned an important lesson.  Just because it is for sale does not mean that you should buy it.....just because they make it doesn't mean it will look good on you....and just because you want to look cute does not mean that everything will look cute on you.  To confirm this point, I will let you know that Lane Bryant also sells "skinny" jeans for big girls.  Skinny jeans on a big girl makes one look like an ice cream cone....it's not attractive.
So....my lesson is learned.  I don't trust Lane Bryant anymore.  I'll still shop there....the options are pretty slim....but I will take off my rose colored glasses before purchasing.  You know...the ones that make me think I really am a size 1! 
Love to you all!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Day Three - I Can't Believe I Walked the Whole Thing!

Day Three began at 5am from our warm hotel beds.  We started with inspection of our feet and prep for another day of walking.  One of my staff members had supplied me with what turned into the perfect blister guards....nipple shields.  Cut up and placed on the blister, they provided a waxy barrier when wrapped with Tegaderm.  I wrapped my left foot and Loree's more damaged foot and then we both worked on our opposite feet.  I had developed a blister running across the ball of my right foot, under my toes.  I used a blister bandage, and then a regular bandage and we both finished up our feet with.....pink duct tape.  We have developed more uses for duct tape than I could ever imagine....Socks, shoes and we were ready to go!

Eric picked us up at 6am and we were off to the camp.  I headed over to help Cyndi pack up while everyone else headed to the breakfast tent.  Cyndi and I  joined and we were soon on the road walking out of the camp.  Sunday turned into the day that we spent the most time together as a team.  We stuck together for the most part and all kept a watchful eye on each other.  We nursed bad knees, blisters and some just plain awkward gaits at times...but we kept on walking.  We were treated to a group of Stalkers making a human bridge for us to walk under.  We waited for one of our party to run to the restroom off the beaten path and were able to witness a group of the PD, walkers and stalkers all dancing together....To the left....to the left....to the right....to right....Very cool!

Sunday was a time to look up and take notice of the single file line going over the bridge of the Spillway - pink abounded. It was still raining but after our second day, this seemed like a breeze.   When we reached Old Town, the rain stopped and one restaurant was passing out Quesadillas.  I don't think I've ever had one taste so good!  One more pit stop at the bottom of Juan Street and we were soon heading uphill again.  Poor Cyndi had to witness my bobbing again at the bottom of the hill.....Can we leave now....how about now...are you ready now?  There was a hill to conquer!  She, of course, was actually being a good nurse and trying to talk a fellow walker into hitting the medical tent.  I didn't actually see the injury...just the bloody gauze next to her foot.  The walker was adamant that she was good so off we went.....

Here we go again....walk and wheeze....up the hill....for the delightful surprise of chips and salsa at the top.  Have I mentioned that there is evidently no way to loose weight on this walk?   I think I gained four pounds! We headed from Old Town towards Balboa Park.  Loree jumped on a Sweep Van a few miles from lunch to have her knee wrapped - little did she know that she was going to tour the entire walk before they dropped her off!  She did make it ahead of us, fortunately, and was walking better when we arrived. 

And then....the rain came again.  We headed out once more towards Downtown knowing that there was only three miles left.   We had a little setback when a walker tried to go around several of us and jump back onto the path - she slipped and came down on her face right in front of us.   I did confirm that none of us tripped her - I promise this was not due to my impatience!  (Although I really couldn't feel my feet at that point so....).  We helped her up to see that she had a split lip - not a ton of blood but we all knew that she had hit hard.  We tried to talk her into sitting down but to no avail.   She clearly stated that she just wanted ice and needed to keep walking....at this point, who's going to stop?

 Eric was already on the path at that point and I know Loree and Stacy's families were close by.  We seemed to walk quicker knowing that the end was coming.  The only downside of walking Downtown is the stopping at almost every street corner to allow for traffic.  Once again, however, Komen was well prepared with crossing guards and PD ensuring that everyone was safe.  Cyndi became lost in thought at one point and walked right into the arms of a Police Officer as he kept her from stepping into the street.   Looked like a good hug!  As closing ceremonies were not starting until 4pm, we hit up the first Starbucks that we saw (along with about 50 other walkers!) and again....it tasted marvelous! 

We were able to find Eric, and Loree's kids on the way in.  Loree was in tears as her kids gave her flowers and told them how proud they were of her.  We were all pretty proud of ourselves!  We walked into the holding area doing high fives with a line of hundreds of other walkers, grabbed our shirts and waited for the ceremony to begin.  As we walked in together, amongst cheers and hugs, my favorite moment was when the survivors walked in.   Gloria, our team captain and the one who started this all for us, was wearing her pink survivor shirt among a group of about a hundred others.  As tradition would dictate, we all removed one shoe and held it in the air to welcome them in....

The walk was finished.  Everyone found their loved ones and we headed out  to our car.  Goria and I warily looked at the three flights of stairs before us that would lead us to Eric's car.  I think she almost ran up them, again, cheered on by a few community members beside her!   We headed home, sore, blistered and on a high that can only come from doing something that you weren't sure you could do....only to find that you are much stronger than you thought.  Would I do it again....you bet! 

Love to you all and thank you for your support on this incredible journey!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day Two - Where's the Ark?

Day two began with Loree confirming that I was delusional.  I know that many of you are asking yourselves why she needed a confirmation….you have known that for years!  I did not sleep well in the tent…or so I thought.  When Loree woke up, I tiredly informed her that I did not sleep at all…It was pouring allllllll night long!  It was horrible…the rain was coming down and I’m surprised that we didn’t blow away!  It may have been the worst storm of all time….except that….as we exited the tent…the ground was dry!  Our little door matt was equally dry leading her to comment…”maybe you slept better than you think you did!”. Hmmmm…..maybe!

Now one of the things that I forgot to tell my team is that I have a little impatience problem.  As everyone was gathering their supplies for the day, my head started to bob.  Then my whole body….can we go now? How about now?  Can we go now?  I decided at that point that this was a character building adventure for me and that God was going to teach me patience if it killed me.  Better to just go along with it!  I';ve tried avoiding lessons like this before....the end result is never pleasant!

We received bad news for Loree – the medical tent advised her (not actually the tent advised her but the medical professionals inside the tent…) to keep her foot dry.  She had some very serious blisters that were tunneling towards her bone.  She decided to start out with a plan to take the Sweep van if needed.  We bundled up and headed out of camp….and the rain began. ..with a vengeance.  Loree made the wise decision to grab the Sweep – there was going to be no way to keep anything dry from the looks of things.  Before she left us however, she made a phone call to her son.  Her son that works for a hotel….her son that could save us from a rain filled night in a tent…and not just the rain from my delusions!

We armed ourselves with our little plastic rain cover and headed out.  I’m not even sure if I can tell you where all we went.  I can only tell you that I felt like I was in a hurricane.  But there again….at every turn….were the Walker Stalkers.  Like dear old friends, they toughed out the rain with us.

Now, this day was particularly bad for me aside from the rain….I had made the mistake of putting on cotton socks over my wicking socks so my feet felt like they were submerged in two little lakes and I was wearing a pair of Capri’s that became low-riders every time I stretched.   Argh!   Why….would I do that to myself, you ask? I guess things just weren’t quite bad enough with just the rain!  So at every opportunity to stretch, I was the one trying to keep one hand on my shorts.   I didn’t want to ruin anyone else’s day by having them yell….My eyes! My eyes! as I flashed them!

Lunch was 13.4 miles in….Komen arranged for us to eat in buses and have a dry place to check our feet and change our socks.  My left foot had a spot running between my toes and a blister on my small toe.  We kept reminding ourselves that this was still nothing like having chemo and charged back into the rain and wind.  At least there was only five miles to go until we got back to the camp.  I phoned my husband, who agreed to pick us up and take us to the hotel.  I don’t think I have ever loved him more!
I was doing great up until the last two miles…then Cyndi saw my dark side.  She cheerfully kept trying to involve me in conversation as I just focused on putting one foot in front of the other.  At one point, she looked over at a young surfer holding a huge kite on the sand.  She looked at me…”what do you think he’s doing?” I answered honestly. “I don’t care.”  I still need to give her a hug and an apology for that one!

We arrived at camp and gathered our bags.  Loree informed us that our tents had blown about ten feet and that many campers were heading out to hotels.  We started hefting bags up to Eric’s car and were immediately surrounded by Camp workers who started grabbing bags to help.  I love them.  They were another highlight to the week – always willing to serve and out in the rain with us.  When we got everything settled, off to the hotel we went. Ahhhhhhhh…..

We drove up to realize that it’s not the walking that causes muscle pain….it’s the stopping!  We all emerged from the car like 90 year old women.  I’m sure people were wondering where we had left our walkers!  Eric asked as he handed us our bags…”how are you getting back to camp tomorrow…?”  “Hmmmm”….I responded…..”about that…… can you be back here at 5:45am tomorrow?”  He didn’t even blink an eye….he’s a saint.

After getting our bags upstairs and realizing that we would each have our own bed, the celebration began.  We headed to the managers reception for a few drinks and hit up PF Changs for dinner.  Thank you Loree for making the walk over there….I think I would have just grabbed the pretzels from my pack if I had to go! During dinner, one of us spilled a drink and I ‘jumped up’ to get a towel.  Several minutes later, as I was still slowly trying to make my way back to the table from the bathroom, Loree called out… “I think it’s dry!”  I can only tell you that I was out when my head hit the pillow.  No delusions…no dreams….just sweet, dry sleep!

Day One – Walk on!

After mooooving out of the bull pen, we headed out of Del Mar and walked through the neighborhood.  We became experts at scouting at bathrooms off the beaten path.  This became increasingly important when we realized that a wait at the Port-a-Potties could waste 30 minutes and potentially cause a very embarrassing accident!  We were soon on our way to Torrey Pines.  Torrey Pines could be considered my arch-nemesis. The Torrey Pines hill is well known for being steep…and long.  Have I mentioned that I have exercise-induced Asthma?  Actually, it should be correctly diagnoses as incline-induced asthma.  I only feel it on the way up a hill.  Flat ground is my friend.  Just as we all develop coping skills to deal with our “issues”, I have developed mine.  On a hill, I am very focused….I don’t talk….I only step and breath or maybe that is step and wheeze…and Lord help anyone that gets in my way.  I heard several times from my teammates…..”Do you want to stop?” Nope…..keep going…. “Did you bring an inhaler? “  Nope…what do I look like….a nurse?  Oh yeah……I am.  But we know from past experience that on the 13.5 mile train walk, I was also the one that forgot the sunscreen, a hat and to drink consistently.  This would be the embarrassing day that I almost passed out on the way to the car.  So is it any surprise that I forgot the inhaler?   Nope!   Did I make it up the hill?   Yep!   Every day…and in the same manner….walk and wheeze all the way, baby!

I could have done the over-40 white woman dance at the top but I was surrounded by 4000 of my best friends and my hips can become a lethal weapon when not controlled effectively.  I have to say that there is something powerful about seeing a solid line of people in front of you and behind you.  It was amazing.  Even more amazing were the people on the side lines….everywhere…and many of them for the full three days.  We picked up chocolate, Twizzlers, mints and other tasty treats from the ever present community members that cheered us on.  People of all ages and cultures were out in packs – we affectionately called them the Walker Stalkers.  God love them!  They yelled, whooped and overall kept the mood happy and light.

We were also surrounded by the San Jose Police and SD Police – all in bunny ears and pink tutu’s. They rode their bikes next to us, playing music and joking with everyone.  Some of them men had baskets full of feminine hygiene products…just in case.  One of my favorite moments was when one officer ran down the row of Port-a-Potties yelling “San Diego PD…Open up!”  We got to see them dance with the Cheering groups and give a struggling walker a hug at a tough moment.  The trip would not have been the same without them. 

We stopped for lunch at La Jolla Shores…11.5 miles in.  A quick sandwich and change of socks and we were back on the trail to see the Seals, the community of Bird Rock and eventually….the camp.  As we drew close, one of our 3Day crossing guards let us know that we were within 2 miles of being done.  I cheerfully stated…”Well, heck….let’s just run it!” Eight faces turned towards me in disbelief!  I wish I would have had a camera!

We returned to camp to pick up our luggage and our little pink tent.  Two boy scouts wandering past offered to help – we kept them within close reach lest they be hijacked by another walker!  Since only one of us was a camper, tent construction promised to be very challenging without some outside help.  We ended up with beach front property at the end of the row!  Fabulous and a wonderful view in the morning.  We grabbed dinner and hit the showers – very interesting, I must add, to shower in a semi-truck.  Hot water and privacy….I would have never thought it was possible!  Bedtime came quickly – fortunately at the same time that the Karaoke ended.  We were very close to the dining tent and I’m assuming that the final singers were just tired….or were only able to sing when alcohol is involved!  Our heads hit the pillow and day 1 was complete!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Komen 3Day - Day One - The Journey Begins!

I survived!  As a matter of fact, just like the Kaiser commercial, I thrived!  I remember thinking last week some time that this would be the one and only time that I would do this.  Apparently, walking the 3-Day is just like having a baby - at the end, you forget the pain, the endorphins kick in and you know that you will, in fact, do this again at some point.  I know now why some people return year after year.  This is an opportunity to see people at their very best....I believe it can be addicting.

Before I talk about the first day, I must talk about the last few weeks.  My biggest stress in this whole experience was the fundraising.  I don't know about you but $2300.00 is a huge chunk of change for me.  To walk, you must guarantee the funds....with your own credit card....EEEEEKKKK!  I went out on faith and gingerly punched in my number.  I must say that people have come out of the woodwork to help.  Gloria's school had a fundraiser and raised $1000.00 that she split between Loree and I.  My amazing staff sold cupcakes and nachos raising an additional $400.00.  I don't think people had the heart to turn them away as the went cubicle to cubicle with cupcakes - many of my coworkers donated $20.00 at a time for a cookie - now that's love!  I am waiting for my company's matching donation and I will be done!  Yeah!  Thank you everyone!

Thursday night, I went home and got my bag packed.  One bag filled with a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, clothes and supplies, all wrapped in plastic.  The weekend held many predictions of rain and we were told that the tents were too small to hold us and our bags so they would need to be outside during the night.  I had two pairs of shoes, nine pairs of socks and lots and lots of pink.  I've never been partial to this color before with my red hair but what the heck - I'm not going to be the one in green in a sea of 4000 pinkies.  Did I have all of the essentials?  Excedrin migraine....check!   500 bandages of various sizes and shapes....check!  A miraculous fanny pack that we have decided could hold a couch if we needed it to.....check!  All ready....4am came very early!

Eric drove the four of us to Del Mar (Gloria, Stacy, Loree and me)....Five adults and four very large bags.  No amount of pushing would allow them to fit in the trunk.  The girls had to hold one of them in their  lap during the drive.  I know know that i should have tried to get it into my fanny pack....It is apparently like the tent in Harry Potter....small on the outside but as big as a palace on the inside.

We realized after talking that we all had various ailments - together we were made up of a UTI, cramps, a bad knee, varicose veins and a blistered foot.  (Eric truly enjoyed that conversation....I think his eyes glazed over and at one point seemed to consider jumping out the window!).  He dropped us off and our bags and drove away...in his warm car....at 5:15am.  We dropped off our bags and immediately headed to the restroom...one of our teammates let us know that she would most likely need to stop about every ten feet to go again.  And so the day began!

We proudly put on our bunny ears supplied by Energizer and walked into the holding area.  Cyndi, our fifth adopted teammate made her way in as we huddled together.  We were given an inspirational speech and watched the raising of the flags with the names of those taken by Breast Cancer.  Very emotional....very inspiring.  And then.....what we were in became increasing clearer....we were in a cow pen.  As the gate opened, 4000 people moved forward in baby steps for their turn to get into the long gated pathway to begin the walk.  Loree looked at me and very insightfully stated...."Moo".  I was grateful to see that once again....as always....we were on the same page! 

I'll write more tonight - so much to tell and laugh about.  Love to you all!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

D-Day aproaches....or is that B (Breast) Day?

It is October 19th today....one month until D-day for the Breast Cancer walk!  Four more weeks of training....four more weeks of fundraising...I'm hoping that this whole experience isn't anti-climactic from all of the build up for the past six months. It's hard to believe that we started training in April.  Have I trained enough?  Absolutely not!  Will I survive?  I'm pretty sure I will due to one thing only....I have an internal tracking device that focuses on only one thing during any walk.  Once you release me from the car, I have only one goal....to get back to the car.  I will walk until I find it....I'm not even sure if I'm truly conscious during the whole time....I'm more like a racehorse running back to the stable. 

Eric and I walked 6 miles to get breakfast on Saturday.  We walked from our house off of Pepper Drive in El Cajon to the Omelet Factory which is on the far side of Santee.  It was actually a great walk....full of time to talk on the way there.  Once we ate and started back, Eric noticed a small and subtle difference.  I don't talk as much....and I walk faster!  Why?  I'm pointed towards home....my mind becomes settled on one goal and one goal only....when do I get to stop?  It may be a weird and disturbing quirk...but I'm counting on it getting me through the three days.  My goal will then, of course, have to change to....where is my tent? 

I also have another weird quirk when it comes to hills... I don't talk at all.  I'm only thinking two things...      a) breathe and b) take the next step.  I can walk for miles upon miles on flat ground.  Hills kick my butt...still.  I sound like an asthmatic on the way up.  I become a great listener...or at least have the appearance of a great listener.  I'm not really listening.   My mind is just reciting...breath...and take...the... next...step.  Loree has accepted this about me and doesn't tell me anything on hills that she wants me to comment on.  This is the sign of a true friend.  She accepts me for who I am...a lousy conversationalist at a 45 degree angle.  Thank God for good friends!

I'm excited to take on this journey with several good friends - Loree, Gloria, and Stacy are a great support system and a continual source of encouragement.  This walk has brought us closer.  Loree and I will be even closer still since we will be sharing a tent.  Once again... she is a good friend.  She already knows that I snore.  Even if she hadn't shared a room with me before, remember that she was next to me at my last Yoga class.  I haven't done a corpse pose since....

Life is good....I was a little down during my last post.  I think I've recovered.  I will most likely struggle with my weight my entire life.  We all have our crosses to bear.   I wear mine on my sleeve...or in my pants size, I guess.  It could be worse.  Dogs and children could hate me....(Loree, no comment here.  That kid has grown up and you no longer have that dog!).  I could be friendless...something I have never experienced.  God has blessed me with an abundance of amazing people to spend time with.  All in all, in spite of my ever present battle with weight, I have a great life.  And heck....if I ever get down to size...what will I write about?

 Love you all!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gimme the Easy Button!

Five weeks have passed since my last post.  Enough time has passed for me to have yet another paper due...the paper related to my last post.  You know, the one about my fabulous weight loss....or lack of, as it seems.  Have I mentioned that I'm a stress eater?  Have I also mentioned that I'm in two classes, one of which is Nursing Research?  The Nursing Research class requires me to find two research articles a week, critique them and add an amazingly brilliant comment to six classmates posts.  My other class is a Community Health class - this would be the one that I wrote my weight loss paper for.  Now....I am supposed to write a synopsis of my past four weeks...and how I did on my goals....  I'm not sure if I go with an honest "I stink and will be fat forever" or something more like "I realized that my goals were very ambitious and chose to rewrite them to state that I will do a daily search of the most successful appetite suppressant" which I must add.... I would have met!

It's funny how we all want an easy pill...something akin to the easy button!  I wrote in a post today that if we could liquefy motivation and put it in a capsule, we would be rich!  Take a pill and you will suddenly be self-disciplined and able to make any change that you desire!  Hand it over, bud....I'll pay a months salary for it!  But the pills that I researched all came with either horrible side effects (think....Anal leakage!) or a list of reviews telling how much money they had lost on an ineffective product!  Regardless of what products abound, motivation still must come from within.  Mine is buried deep inside me...somewhere under a chocolate cookie and Taco Bell burrito, I'm sure. 

Tommy has decided that we should do P90X.  According to the infomercial, in 90 days I will have the cut, hard body of a 20 year old.  Apparently this product effects gravity and time travel!  Unfortunately, in my 20's, I was not a hard body....I was more of a fluffy body.  Not fat by any means but more voluptuous and curvy.  I am still voluptuous and curvy...or is it more....bumpy?  I went from curvy in the right places to where in the heck did that roll come from?  Soooo....with P90X, I will loose my 20 excess curves and become fit, healthy and slim.  Ahhh...then comes the catch....you know there always is one!  I have to actually do the exercises....not just watch the video...Not looking as likely!

I am continuing my training for the 3Day walk although I need to kick it up a notch.  I'm heading out today to buy some new shoes....I have learned that you don't go cheap when you're walking 60 miles.  Cheap shoes do many blisters and painful feet make.  I am also continuing with my fundraising which I think is part of my eating issues.  I've never been good at asking for money regardless of the cause.    So, I throw it out, get no response and eat a cookie.  Apparently, now my weight issues are the fault of Susan G Komen.  And we all thought she was this incredible, intelligent women that has raised awareness and funds for an incredibly worthy cause...

So what are your thoughts?  What has worked for you?  I no longer trust Internet reviews as for every negative review, there is a product developer writing a positive one right underneath!  I do...however...trust you!  Since I can't find the Easy Button, help me find the "with some effort, it may work" button.  I know that I have it in me somewhere....I have been here before and temporarily conquered the fat women inside me.  My thin person has seen the light of day at least three times in the past ten years....before my fat side swallowed her up again.  She's in there....I need to get her out before she disappears all together!  Life is good....fat or thin...but in the end, I'd rather be thin!  

Love to you all!

Monday, September 6, 2010

My worlds collide....

I have my life very compartmentalized.  I have my work....my family....my school....my never ending struggle with my body.  It's all very separate....until now.   One of my classes is Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in a Diverse Community.  I am on Unit 2 and apparently the Diverse Community is....me.   My paper that is due tomorrow requires me to make a Wellness contract outlining some health issue that I am promising to change in the next four weeks.  OK...you know me....what the heck else could I choose?  You got it....I chose my weight.  Why not...I'm an expert in how to discuss...write about...and contemplate weight loss.  Now apparently my instructor would like me to go to the next level...you know....actually loose some weight.  Is there a grade on this?

I needed to have my Contract signed by someone....I chose my husband.  Why not?  He has seen my unclothed...there is no hiding my weight problem from him.  I do appreciate that he only let a small smirk show while he signed the contract.   He then turned around and didn't comment....smart man.  I believe that part of his smirk relates to his knowing my type A personality with school and my Type D personality with my weight loss.  I think he backed up to avoid getting caught up in the implosion.

How does my work become involved?   I have been hit and miss at the gym the last few weeks.  I work out with Joy when I'm there - she is my own personal trainer....and personal motivator.  No more hit and miss now....I have to be there.  Again...there may be a grade on the line!  Wow...I should have thought of this earlier.  Joy is great at pushing me when I need it.  I will also need to up my walking from my weekend walks to more during the week.  Hey...I may need to take a vacation since I don't see any time to work fitting in here!

So....I will let you know how it goes.  I'm going back to what has worked before....Weight Watchers.  I have the point system and know my goal.  I have to keep a goal diary for four weeks.  It would be quite lovely if I could actually keep it up for....say....the next four years instead....or the next forty if I live that long.  I know I need lifelong changes.  Forgo the snackage.  See food as a means of survival rather than a comforting friend in times of stress.  It really is pretty two faced as a friend anyway....when I'm not looking, it hits me in the pants size.  Not a sign of a good friend. 

I'll check in next week and let you know how its going.   I'll be praying to convert my weight loss personality into a type A....there has to be a reset button on me somewhere.  It's time I find it. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Zipping down the Zipline!

Aha!  Another milestone!  I broke out of my big girl bondage to take the Flightline at Wild Animal Park.   My Breast Cancer 3 Day team decided to take the trip together.  Gloria, Loree and I spent the morning at the Breast Cancer 3-Day Expo (which was amazing since we met and recruited our fourth team member!) and then hustled to Escondido for our adventure.  It was a fantastic trip...well worth the several, although subtle, reminders of my big girl status. The Flightline experience begins with.....wow....getting weighed.  There are strict stipulations regarding weight.  You must weight between 75 and 250 pounds.  I assume that the decision to actually weigh everyone came from the frightening thought of arguing with a large woman who swears that she is under 250 but is most obviously in the 300 pound range.  Would you want to take that on?  Yeah...me either.  As a fat girl, I can tell you.....we get very cranky when our weight comes up. 

So...on the scale I go.  Its a huge metal square actually in the ground.  I looked around for a neon light above me bellowing my weight to everyone around.  The attendant was good...he didn't even blink an eye.  He just stamped my hand and handed me some forms.  Yeah!  I passed the first test!  As I was walking to the next check point, I glanced at my forms.  What is that..number..in...the...bottom...corner?  Oh....that looks oddly familiar....and wow....that's...my...weight...in...writing....!  I quickly turned it over and handed it to the next attendant.  No such luck.  He flipped it right back and reached behind him for a harness.  A big one.  Hey...in the grand scheme of things...at least there was one that fit!

We got a quick class on putting the harness on.  Ties, buckles, clips everywhere.  This is good, since they would be responsible for keeping us safe 60 feet above the ground.  We also learned the difference between the flight position (arms bent and pulling the straps to the shoulders) and the landing position (arms straight and laying back into the sling).  After the harness is on, we walked up a ramp to the Fledgling run.  It is small and only about six feet off the ground.  The attendant, who I must comment weights about 90 pounds, sizes us up.  She picks four of us....we all notice that size is definitely a factor since we are all bigger than the other four remaining visitors.  This is a bit depressing since out of eight people, I was chosen second.  No problem.  I can take it.  She explains that on this run, the brakes can only be set as a group.  The next run can be set individually so we can go with whoever we want.  Good, I think.   Little did I know....

We get strapped onto the line and hover for a few moments, swinging in the air.  The attendant reminds us again to keep our legs apart.  No problem...my knees haven't been able to touch in years.  I get into flight position and she releases the brake.  Fast...fast...fast....soaring towards some very calm gentlemen on the opposing platform.  He has two orange sticks up in the air signaling me to stay in flight position.  As he moves the sticks downward to signal the landing position, I suddenly hit a series of brakes designed to slow me down.  BAM....BAM....BAM....Very loud...vary jarring.....Very effective!  I stopped....and before he had to jump out of the way!   Fifteen seconds and it was over.  Thank Goodness that this is the short run.  I swayed for a few moments and then he brought me over a step ladder to stand on while he disconnected me.   Loree and I watched the remainder of the group take their trip and then jumped aboard a truck to take us to the Mainline. 

The Mainline starts on a platform 60 feet above the ground.  It looks more like 160 feet.  You can't even see the wires for a few minutes.  It looks like you will sailing off into....nowhere!  Gloria, Loree and I were all going first.  Our guide began telling us what number we would be.  I was number 3.  I was reminded of the whole "independent brake" issue when I heard our guide on the radio.   We have a R on line 2, a F on line 3 and a W on line 4.  I'm assuming that meant Regular for Loree, Wispy for Gloria and Fat Girl for me.  This was later confirmed when we heard the responding radio later say...."We can't take a F on line 1.....the brakes won't take it!"  In the end, do I want the Fat Brakes?  You bet....Forget my pride....I don't want to have the little girl brakes and end up on the other side of the platform...falling into the lions den!  Don't think that they weren't looking up and sizing me....a meal fit for the whole pride!

The ride was great.  Two minutes of soaring like a Condor, as the add states!  The animals were running around beneath us....most likely thinking...Wow...That's one well fed Condor!  Eventually the other platform came into view with the attendant holding the orange sticks.  Down they go - I push into landing position.  Here we go again.... BAM...BAM...BAM...BAM....I stop....and then slowly start moving backward....off of the platform....hanging in the air....I start flapping like a Condor...trying to get back above the platform.  I must have looked ridiculous since the attendant yelled...."It's OK....you'll come back!"   I did...and then swayed in the air while Loree and Gloria joined me.  Each of us got unhooked and walked back to the gate to complete our journey. 

It was a great day.  One I will most likely repeat.  I'm almost ready to do the sky diving but since that requires me to make some stranger strap up with me, I think it's more socially conscious to wait.   I can't decide if I want a 250 pound guy that will at least absorb some of my weight or some 150 pound guy that will make us less likely to fall like a rock!   Sooooo....that may still be a distant goal at this point.  But...that's OK!  I'm still going to live right now in other ways.  I'm still focusing on taking the weight off, but plan on just living while I'm doing it.  I started reading a book by Loretta LaRoche called "Lighten Up!".  To give you an idea of what she writes, she has another book titled "Life is Short-Wear Your Party Pants".  I'm enjoying her point of view.  Eat less...exercise more....and stop perseverating about it.  I may just be able to make this work!

Love to you all!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Candy is sweet....but victory is sweeter!

Victory!!!!  Victory is mine...I did the Kick Boxing class again and did not...a) pass out, b) throw up or c) leave at the 30 minute mark.  Joy and I did leave a few minutes early but only to get ready for work.  I believe I actually had an asthma attack with an audible wheeze at some point , but the music was so loud that I figured that no one could hear me anyway.  Actually, at one point, I couldn't tell if I was getting my beat from the bass in the music or from my carotid arteries pounding in my ears.  I believe I actually went past "red faced" and reached a new shade of periwinkle...red from the blood pounding in my head and blue from the fact that I was still getting no oxygen in.  Joy came over twice to whisper.."are you OK?"  I smiled and gasped...."Yeah...great....why?"  It may have been the fact that those three words took about 3 minutes and several gasps of air each to get out.  But who cares.......I didn't leave!!!!!!!!!

I still believe that the teacher is some form of animal.  She asked us twice to try to kick her as she walked by.  "Kick with force...try to get me in the head when I come by...."   I can kick high.  It was tempting.  She was very encouraging as she passed though and even waved when we left.  I think she was relieved.  She looked a little disturbed when she first came in like she was thinking....great, the wimpy fat girl is back.  I felt a little more respected when I left.  My kicks may not have been as high and I may have been jabbing when others were upper cutting but overall, I was moving....fast....hard....blue...but still....moving! 

Have you ever seen the Nutrigrain commercial in which the woman grabs a breakfast bar instead of a donut and this spurs on a full day of good choices?  I won't say that I made every great choice today but I did not hit the candy jar even once.  Nope.....I was not going to waste one back kick....one upper jab or one step of that infernal jump rope on refined sweets.  I needed to prove something to myself today.  It worked....I was on a high all day.  It took about two hours for my face to return to normal...I was walking around looking like a radiation victim for quite a while.  Again....who cares!!!!  I didn't leave!!!!!!

Soooo.....I will be heading for bed in a few minutes so that I can resume my healthy habit of waking at 4am and hitting the gym at 5am.  I feel good today....I had a brief glimpse of why people can get addicted to exercise.  I don't really think it's that actual exercise that does it....it's making it to the end and saying...Hey!  I did it!  So while this may seem like a very small accomplishment....I will relish it and let it carry me through to another day...and another.  Life is good.....

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Breaking the Big Girl Bonds

Eric and I took a hike today at Seltzer park.  He made a comment that I have heard several times before...."boy, you walk fast".  The last time that I heard this was on a 6 1/2 mile walk around Mission Hills.  Now, that time, my friend phrased it as "For someone who says that she doesn't walk alot, you sure do walk fast".  I think she was actually thinking something else....something akin to "for a big girl, you sure do move quicker than I would think you could!".  She's a good friend though, so I appreciate her choice of wording!  I DO walk fast.   I explained to her that whenever we get started on a walk, I am only thinking of one thing....when will we be done?  I am like a horse charging towards the stables....although I begin my charge from the moment that we start.  I decided not to even try changing it.  It seems to be working for me.

I break one other big girl fallacy....I actually do have some rhythm.  I know I have said that I am true to my Kentucky roots but I actually can find the beat in a song.  I've had people gasp in amazement that I can stay in time to music....I can only think that people think when you gain weight, you loose all sense of balance.  I won't argue that fact since we all know that I fell in the hallway a few weeks ago.  I think, overall, however, that my size 10 feet help the balance thing alot.  Either way, I can actually keep time and it's kind of enjoyable to see everyones surprise when the music is playing.  Now, I won't say that it's pretty...just in time with the music. 

This was my revelation during my hike - that we all have preconceived notions of how people should act.  Fat people should be slow and have no rhythm.  Thin people should be fast and be able to dance up a storm.  In then end, we are all still who we are, regardless of what our outside looks like.  I think that brings me comfort.  I think many times I am trying to fit into a mold of what I think others are expecting....and in the end, I don't think anyone else actually even cares! 

There are so many things that I am holding off of in life because of my weight.  I want to go skydiving and go on the Zip line at the Wild Animal Park.  I am thinking that dropping a few pounds may make both of these activities safer and more enjoyable.  Since skydiving for beginners is only done in tandem, I am not relishing the idea of being strapped to some 150 pound guy that is crossing himself and wondering  "Why me?"  I'm sure also, that we would fall like a rock and the trip may be a bit slower if I was a bit smaller.  But.....how long do I wait?  How much more do I miss?  I don't even go swimming anymore because I hate getting into a swimsuit.  Several summers have come and gone and I haven't been to a beach or anywhere where I would be expected to be in swimwear.  Maybe it's time to let go, still work on my weight, but not let it consume my life so much. 

Let me know your thoughts.  Loree and I are planning on doing the Zip line in August.  I am hoping that they don't weigh you first....but I also know that I don't want to "weight" anymore.  Life is short.  I had a friend pass away a few weeks ago and I learned several things from his passing.  The most important one was...Don't waste time...He never seemed to waste any time on anger, regret or feeling sorry for himself.  He died of very painful pancreatic cancer and was making jokes up until the last days of his life.  How cool is that?

I leave you with a quote from Erma Bombeck.  "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming—Wow!—What a ride!"...zip line, here I come!

Love to you all!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blame it on the Students

It is 12:45am and I am still up.  Why....why....why?  I just finished this weeks paper that is due tomorrow - 21 hours early....I seem to be making strides.  This class has been a great learning experience although it is requiring much more time than I've become accustomed to.  The instructor is wonderful and provides great examples of each project.  This, of course, does increase her expectations, I'm sure.  I can't even feign ignorance...

I have decided to blame part of my weight problem....on my students.  My students and the fact that we have a new term every four weeks.  Final exam days have become classroom pot luck days....every four weeks....and I oversee 473 students in 13 on campus classes and 4-6 clinical classes.   I would be fine if I just locked myself in my office every four weeks....but the staff typically bring all the left overs back into our shared work space.  I'm not talking, either, about food that is easy to resist.   We have what rivals a UN meeting in each classroom.  Foods from the Philippines, Mexico, Italy, and the good old US are laid out in metal trays, most of it home cooked.  What is not home cooked is the ever present tin of hot wings, pizza or from today, Brownie bites.  I have been assaulted with smells of lumpia, tamales, ceviche and home made lasagna.  Today I even tried bringing my lunch to decrease my appetite.  I ate it....along with everything else. 
This was not a great plan.

Whats even worse is if I visit the classroom.  In that case, how can you resist a student saying..."You need to try this...I made it..." or even worse, "my mom made it....".  How can I insult someones mother?  It's a sacrifice but if me eating my weight in various foods will make someones mama feel better, I don't see any way out.  I think I'm going to start taking my vacation days on Finals day each month.  Life without lumpia is a bit depressing, I must say, but I know is the better choice for me overall.

So....I think I'll try getting some sleep.  We have lab demo day tomorrow and a three hour course in reading ICD-10 codes.  I guess I could catch up on my sleep there but I'm not thinking that is setting the best example for the staff.  I hope you all have a great day....I will be the one with my eyes propped open, gnawing on a leftover hot wing.  Have a great day!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Is there a trash can nearby?

OK...I did it....I went to the kick boxing class....and...it kicked my butt.  I should have known that I was in trouble when she said, "we're going to kick it up a notch today and use the Step...." Kick it up a notch? Are you kidding?   It was an hour long class....I made it 30 minutes.

At the half-way mark, I had three choices.
1.  Throw up on the floor (and mind you, I was in the front row)
2.  Pass out
3.  Casually excuse myself to go find a cylinder of oxygen.

I decided to go with number 3...it seemed the least disruptive to the class.  Joy stayed and made it the full 60 minutes...and I mean, 60 minutes.  I think she actually went 63 minutes. I did 30 minutes of the elliptical for penance. 

 If you read my party analogy in the last post, now I feel like the unpopular kid that tripped and fell in the middle of the party that my mother got me an invitation to.  But truly, the only thing that is wounded is...my pride...my dignity...and believe it or not, even in the 30 minutes....my arms, shoulders and thighs.  This teacher is an animal...One in really good shape that can move like a machine for 60 minutes and not even breathe hard.

So...I'm whipped...I'm embarrassed....I'm slightly sick to my stomach....and unfortunately, I ran out of BP meds about three days ago so my blood pressure is elevated.  So...tomorrow, I will be hitting up the pharmacy.  I know...I know...I give lectures on this stuff.  Stupid for me to let it run out.  Feel free to yell at me...I would be yelling at you if you did it.   I am attributing my Kick Boxing experience to my elevated blood pressure...sounds good, doesn't it?  I'll be testing my theory, however.  I'm taking that stinking class again on Tuesday...and Thursday...and Tuesday again.  I am going to make it through the whole class if it kills me (which it might!).  I have something to prove to myself.  I AM NOT THE UNPOPULAR KID AT THE CHEERLEADERS PARTY!!!!  I am a successful, intelligent woman that happens to have a weight problem and almost throws up in kickboxing class.....hmmmm....not sounding much better!

So...again....if you have ever been the one who tripped...or fell...or had to leave an exercise class half way through, please share.   I would love to have someone to commiserate with! 

Love to you all!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Would you like a towel?

I'm making strides....at the gym.  Not with my weight...oh no, that has not budged.  But with my confidence level.  Today, my friend Joy wasn't there and I actually spoke to someone else.  This may not seem like a big deal but it was a huge accomplishment for me.  You have to understand that I feel incredibly out of place at the gym....like one of the unpopular kids that finds herself at a cheerleaders party because your Mom's know each other.  I go...I work out...but I pretty much stick to myself if Joy isn't there. 

Today, after working out, two women were discussing the Kick Boxing class.  Now, I am an old TaiBo fan - I love to kick things (Remember, I have three boys!).  This sounded intriguing....so finally I spoke. 
"hmmmm - is the class very advanced?  I mean, could a beginner keep up?"
"It's pretty hard", she replied, "but you should try it...you could always modify it.". 
We continued to talk about the class until another woman joined in and convinced me to go tomorrow.  She was my size so I had an immediate trust in her. 

And....the first woman was buck naked.  Well, she wasn't buck naked when we started talking....but she stripped completely down in a period of two sentences, the whole time looking me right in the eye.  I felt like a was playing some weird game of strip poker...and I was frantically trying to get rid of all of my aces.  This was not a game that I wanted to win!  What made this even more uncomfortable was that this woman has been the recipient of some plastic surgery.....in the chest area...and they were very.....hmmmm.... perky.    I'm sure that she thought I had some impairment since I was literally staring into her eyes...anywhere else held visuals that I don't have of my best friends.  I tried to close up the conversation quickly since she seemed in no hurry to a)grab a towel or b) head to the shower.  When she did head to shower, it was still sans towel....she just casually walked with her naked self across the bathroom and stepped into a stall.  I guess I'm glad for her that she is that comfortable with herself....she just hasn't realized that we are not quite that comfortable with herself...

In spite of the interesting delivery of information, I am glad that I asked.  I plan on doing some imaginary butt kicking tomorrow in the kick boxing class.  Hopefully I will not end up on my rear.  Hopefully, my new friend will feel the need to do another workout afterward so we don't bump into each other in the locker room again.  I'm not thinking that this will happen since she seems to have a similar work schedule to mine and Joys.  Lucky us.....

I'll let you know how it goes...Hopefully, I will come out unscathed...and will find a way to avoid gaining any more "knowledge" of my fellow gym members.  I'm sure they are all nice....I just want them to be nice with clothes on!  Hope you have a great day!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cherry Head

My son graduated last week.  After viewing the graduation pictures, I now see part of my body image problem.  First of all, in the race to see who can be the biggest, I think my stomach finally caught up with my chest.  This is not good.  I am now a full fledged apple.  To make this even more awkward, my head is the size of a pin....well, maybe more like a cherry...on top of a cantaloupe.  The saving grace is that I keep thinking that my little head means that I'm meant to be a little person....somehow the little person that I'm meant to be was eaten by the ravenous fat lady show in the picture.  I'm going to find a way to let her out...I think she's lonely in there.

Please tell me that this was just a weird angle....I don't think Tommy got my good side...you know the one showing me from the chin up. This picture may be going on my refrigerator...and every potential piece of food that could go into my mouth.  I actually think I look kind of scary....

I did do another 30 minutes on the elliptical this morning and walked five miles yesterday at Mission Hills...in my pajamas. These were not just any pajamas...they were pink pajamas with sock monkeys on them....and contrasting purple flower trim. Very...very....sexy. I will say that the coordinators of the Breast Cancer Three Day come up with new and creative ways on a daily basis to test your commitment level! Loree, Gloria and I bought matching pajamas to walk in - I must admit that it was very fun. The walk was great and we pretty much had individual attention since we were the only walkers that showed up. I'm not sure if everyone else thought that 4pm was a little early for nightwear...most of them walked at 8am that morning. It didn't matter...we proudly sported our monkeys and took to the hills. 

I am not seeing the gym in my future for tomorrow...sorry, Joy.  It is now 2am and I haven't been to bed yet.  I have a 7:30am meeting with a student.  I'm trying not to think long and hard about that being in 5 1/2 hours.  I spent most of the evening at the IMCU with Matthew.  He did further damage to his already damaged right knee and was in a significant amount of pain.  We couldnt' get through to his orthopedic surgeon so the Kaiser nurse recommended the IMCU as a good alternative.  It worked well, I must admit.  Other than our MA had the personality of a rock...a rather mean and pointy one.  She spent several minutes lecturing rather than teaching and made us feel several times that we were a big inconvenience to her.  On a bad night, I would have made some comments.  Tonight, I just went with it...and figured that she was having a bad night...or a bad life...or a severely poor career choice.  No sweat...we got what we came for...a new brace and some pain meds.  Fortunately, the rest of the staff was great.  Maybe she had eaten her thin person, too, and it was causing her indigestion. 

OK...I'm off to bed now.  My Statistics paper is done and turned in.  I finished a few outstanding projects at work today...and by outstanding, I don't mean applause worthy, I mean late....Overall, it's been a very productive day.  Tomorrow is another day....well...actually tomorrow is here.  Please pray that I sleep fast.  Have a good day!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

How fat do I need to be?

I think I'm going to try something different.  I'm at the point where I need to either find $5000.00 for a lap-band, get my jaw re-wired or start drinking Epicac chasers.  I actually went to a informational meeting once about weight loss surgery.  First, I must say, if you ever want to feel thinner, attend one of these meetings.  I looked like a size 6!  That unfortunately, however, was a problem.  I was told afterwards..."you're just not fat enough or unhealthy enough for this surgery..."  Really?  Heck, give me a year and a goal and I bet I can reach it.  How fat and unhealthy do I need to be?

I know that Weight Watchers works but for some reason, I want to eat everything in sight lately.  I have been working out at least three days a week between walking and the gym but am seeing no results because of my ravenous appetite.  Please don't leave any small children around me...especially if they have have any candy drippings on them.  I did have some medication changes lately, so that could be part of the problem.  The changes have been positive for the most part, but I didn't expect a ten pound weight gain as a side effect.  Ahhhh....I'm on my way to "fat enough"!  I also know that kicking my coffee habit is making for some daily issues at around 2:30pm.  If I can't use caffeine...then I'll use sugar.  Something has got to keep me going in the afternoon.  I'm open to suggestions....!  It just has to be non-harmful and hopefully, legal. 

One of my students has been to a hypnotist for weight loss. She has lost 80 pounds.  I went in for a consultation.  It actually looked somewhat promising.  Holistic - no medications involved.  I do have a slight trust issue, here, however.  What if she puts in some weird code word that makes me strip down and prance like a pony in the hallway?  I guess if I loose weight it would be worth the risk but I like where I work and would hate to have to find employment elsewhere when the students starting screaming and running out the doors!  Maybe I'll find a good friend to do it with me.....Loree?  Not that you have weight to loose but at least one of us could keep an eye open during the process.

I had a patient once that tried Liposuction on herself....with a Kirby.  I'm not kidding.  Cut a hole in her abdomen and put the hose in.  In case your considering it, I will say....it was pretty ugly.  I still can't figure our how she thought she would achieve overall weight loss with this method....What she did loose was some skin...health....her dignity.....!  People are desperate to loose weight.  Willing to do anything...anything....except...eat less.  We all know what to do...don't we?  It just never seems to be as easy as it sounds. 

So, as I consider my options, say a prayer for me.  I met a woman last night that did the Iron Man at age 53.  One of my best friends ran a marathon a few weeks ago...her 50th birthday party was last night.  I am looking at having one foot in the grave at 50 and the other foot in an Alzhimers unit.  I'm not sure which foot will win out!!  I'll let you know if the Hypnotist pans out.  If you discover my code word, be kind...!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Fathers Day!

It is Sunday Night....the weekend is winding down.  The bills are paid, the laundry...done...mostly...and the dishes are drying.  I have been on my hands and knees scrubbing our white tile floor (curses, you previous owners!) and my homework is done.  I spent individual time with two of my boys this weekend and all five of us had time together for Fathers Day today.  The weekend has been great...but...alas...Monday is coming. It comes like a freight train speeding in from the horizon and I am powerless to stop it.  Oh, if we could only stop time for just a little while on Sunday evenings....but I know if I had the power, I would never hit go again!

I spent some time looking at old pictures this weekend.  Time has passed so quickly.  Eighteen years ago, I was a pregnant single mother with two young boys in tow.  Odd details plague me...such as...why did I favor that blue and black Where's Waldo sweater while I was nine months pregnant?  I looked like a huge bumble bee with a bruise.   Why did I buy a black Nissan Sentra with no air conditioning?  Neither of these questions really matter, obviously, but it's interesting to look back at who were were...and how it relates to who we are now.  Now I know not to wear stripes...especially since I weigh now about what I did then...while I was nine months pregnant....It's hard to blame the baby fat on your baby when he's about to graduate from high school....but I'll keep trying.  Now I know that cars must have air conditioning if you are going to live in El Cajon.  It's too bad I didn't learn that before we bought our house. 

The boys and I were together alone for ten years.  For the first couple of years, we didn't have a car.  I remember the day that the black Nissan Sentra with no air conditioning was repossessed.  It was obvious that I couldn't make the payments.  When they called to tell me that they were taking it back, I told them to come get it.  The poor man that came to pick it up couldn't look me in the eye.  I walked him out to show him the car followed by two boys under the age of four and a newborn in my arms.  I think he drove the car in and then hit a bar on the way home.  He seemed much more traumatized than we were. 

Fast forward ten years.  Eric and I met while I was on a date with someone else...it was one of those dates that you think will never end.   We ended up in a little coffee shop in Lakeside that played live music.  It was very...very...hot inside!  Lots of people and very little air.  When we walked outside, we met Eric trying to get some air also. We invited him to church and two years later we were married.  He had no idea what he was getting into - poor man.  I think he spent the first year of our marriage in a haze wondering what he was paying penance for.  One night, I think he truly thought he had entered some weird Alice inWonderland alternate universe.  Matthew was sick and was prone to febrile hallucinations.  The boys and I were used to it.  As his fever went up, I could here his anxiety increasing.  I sat with him telling him that I was there while I tried to get his fever down.  He started saying...
"There's someone else here..." 
"Honey, it's me...I'm right here..." 
There's someone behind you..." 
"Who do you see, honey....it's just me...."

Dramatic scream and then....."It's...the...Devil!"

At this point, I saw Eric drop to his knees and realize that it wasn't just Alice in Wonderland but he had somehow entered the Sixth Sense. Matt's typical hallucination was seeing children playing ring-around-the-Rosie around him. This one was much more intense than normal. Remarkably, Eric is still with us ten years later!

Tuesday is Matt's graduation from high school.  Eighteen years could not possibly have passed.  We will be joined at his graduation by Eric, David (his 1st Dad) and Rudy (his grandfather).   My boys have been blessed to have many men in their lives to look up to.  Some people worry that boys will be sissy's if raised by single mothers.  Dont' believe a word of it.  My boys are exactly that....all boy.  I know that from the time that Tommy flooded the school bathroom from putting rocks in the toilets...to Matt trying to skateboard off the roof and chipping his front teeth...from Christopher doing backflips off the neighbors wall.  From finding a rattlesnake in my freezer after the boys went hiking and living with three pet rats...to discovering that any new posters probably meant that there was a hole in the wall.  It was all part of raising boys and while I was called a single mom....I really wasn't one.  I may have been single but I was anything but doing this job alone.  We were surrounded by male college students from our church who spent time with the kids.  I had friends husbands that would take them out along with their own kids.  I can only say that we have been truly blessed....and I am grateful for all of the men, fathers or not, who had a hand in helping my boys become the men that they are. 

As I look back over our lives, I have so much to be grateful for.  If you had any hand in helping my kids grow...if you have ever told them "I love you"...if you have spent time with them in any way....then thank you.  They are really good men.  I love them....but even more than that....I like who they are becoming.  To my boys, I say "I am proud of you".  To my friends and family, I say, "I couldn't have done it without you!"  To my husband, I say, "Your time is coming...we're almost there!  Thank you for the last ten years and all you have done for our family". 

Love to you all!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Memories of the Pumpkinhead

What the heck is going on with me?  I want to eat everything in sight!  I think my body has a comfort zone that it likes to stay in....that zone would be....fat.  I start working out and my eating increases.   I just bought 2 large bunches of celery.  I figured if I must snack on something, at least celery has negative calories.  (You know the theory....it takes more calories to chew it than it actually contains!).  I'm thinking about having my jaw redone just so I can have it banded shut again! 

If you didn't know me then, here is a brief synopsis.  I had my overbite corrected about three years ago.  My overbite was pretty substantial - I had no chin.  It sort of blended into my neck.  I was also missing several permanent teeth so as my baby teeth came out, my remaining set become very crooked.  One of my teeth in the bottom front is a baby tooth and a bit pointy - it came in when I was four days old.  My mother was thrilled.  So.....in my early 40's, I opted to get braces.  Not the cool Invisiline....not even the clear brackets...nope...I had full on metal braces on my teeth.....for about three years.  Followed by jaw surgery...and more braces.  I will recap my learning experience for you...
1.  All Orthodontists lie - when they say that your problem will be corrected in 18 months, don't believe them.
2.  The face is very vascular and jaw surgery causes you to look like Charlie Brown for about a week.
3.  Ensure looses all palatability on day three.
I saved my emails from that time period and decided to post them for nostalgia's sake.  I hope you enjoy....

Subject: Living with a pumpkin head

Good morning all! It's Sunday morning at 4:30 am and although my verbal skills have left me, my insomnia has not. Thought I would give everyone an update as to my post surgical status. Over the past three days, I have had much time to deliberate "what the heck have I done!" I keep telling myself that this will all make sense in a few weeks but right now, I am questioning every judgment that I have ever made. For those of you that have seen me, you know why! My face has taken on the shape of Charlie Brown. Yes, its true, I have become a cartoon character. The pain has not been bad so that is one positive. My focus, however, is another story. I can't seem to sleep all night so I exist on short naps over a 24 hour period. If I feel asleep in the middle of our conversations, I apologize!

I had a victory last night when I relearned how to drink from a cup. Small thing though it might seem, my lips have taken on the appearance of someone who got about five doses too much of collagen and they have no sensation. My teeth are banded shut and my cheeks and neck are swollen. If you can paint that picture, suddenly drinking from a cup is up there with winning the Nobel peace prize. My diet has been very limited so I am sure that I am loosing weight. Why my tummy bulge is still here, I don't know. I was expecting to be a size eight after five days. Life just isn't fair.

I miss you all and will be on yahoo more often now so please write to me. Written communication is my only form now so I do cherish it. I use a white board at home. You can still yell if you use all caps. My husband has been absolutely wonderful and the boys have been about as helpful as I had expected. They will do anything I ask as long as I can get the white board in front of them before they avert their eyes. I also am using sign language. When Tommy turned the heater way up last night, a few loud grunts and pointing to the thermostat seemed to do the trick.

Thanks so much for those of you that brought food. The kids and Eric have enjoyed it. I know that it took one thing off of Eric's plate that has made this easier for both of us.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers! I look forward to writing to you again soon. My bands come off next Friday so hopefully then I'll be able to attempt some talking. Have a good remainder of the weekend!


Subject: Part Two - Now I'm just a Squash

Hi Everyone! Thought I would update you to how things are going this week. I am no longer a Pumpkin Head. Now I'm just a squash. You remember the cute baby on the Gerber bottles? The one with the chubby little cheeks - so cute? It's not so cute when you're 43. No amount of hair styling can take away those cheeks. I haven’t tried makeup because eventually I would get to my mouth and I don't have that much lipstick available! I did realize yesterday that when you stop plucking your eyebrows for a week, you actually grow a second set. My eyes are warm.

I have achieved several milestones this week.

I am able to get up and perform some household duties. Dishes are fine, laundry is fine...vacuuming and mopping wears me out. Hmmm - that’s right - hated those before the surgery! That’s OK - that’s what boys are for!

I wore jeans instead of sweats for the first time yesterday. They were looser! Well - I couldn't actually tell if they were clean or if I had worn them prior and my helpful husband had just folded them. But, heck, for the moment, life was sweet!

I completed my Professional Development Plan for my class. It was a little depressing. The class is very big on being active in nursing community. Had a whole section of "Political affiliations - None" "Community Service - none" "Committee meetings - none". Let’s see how that one gets graded!

I get my bands off on Friday. Thank you Lord because the inside of my mouth is starting to feel like something off the set of the Titanic - the part where it's finally found in the ocean after years of growing barnacles. Warm salt water only does so much.

OK - back to doing my favorite activity this week - Napping. Kids really don't appreciate what they have. I think we should all get to do it every day!

Love you all!


Subject: Part Three: Ensure Forever

Well - it's Friday....I had my doctors appointment today. You know, the one that would end in my bands coming off. Welllllllll - It's Friday. The bands are still on. I didn't see my doctor. I saw another doctor. Another doctor that believes that the splint and bands need to stay on for two weeks. I'm sure he's a very good doctor. I hate him. Well - dislike him very strongly. The only thing I did hear from him today? You need to keep your mouth cleaner. I frantically wrote...what would you like me to add to my daily agenda of warm salt water swishes, mouth wash and band brushing? He said...I know it’s hard. Well - that helps. This is why I like nurses. At least they would have said "Try this...or this..."

Oh well - I'm going to buy a scale tomorrow. If I haven't lost any weight, you may want to stay away from me for a while. I feel like I'm going to be on Ensure forever - it had better result in smaller hips.

The swelling has gone way down. I am now able to go out in public. Loree was my awesome chauffeur today. After the doctors, we went to Albertsons. All went well even when we got up to the checkout. The clerk was chatty. Good for her. She has a movable jaw. Loree saved the day by saying "she had surgery". The clerk made some comment about "yeah, I saw her smiling..." What does that mean? "She was smiling like a senseless deaf mute?" Or was it simply "i noticed that her front teeth are covered with elastic?"....I'm getting grumpy.

I’m getting hormonal. Not a good combination with jaw wiring. Fortunately, Ensure comes in chocolate. I've had two this evening. Don't worry...that takes my calorie consumption for the day up to 750 calories. I'm still good. I think I'll get a box of See's tomorrow and melt them over the stove.

I'm no longer on pain medication. I'm pretty much pain free other than some minor annoyances here and there. After the surgery, I read that my bottom lip and chin could be numb for up to 12 months. Didn't catch that one before they severed my nerve endings.... It's really not that big of a deal actually. When I need to drink, it's very easy to move my bottom lip under the rim of the cup...most of the time. Other times that needs to be done manually. You know...with my hand. On a positive note, my lips feel like they could rival Angelina Jolie's. All this without collagen. My chin is perpetually cold unless it’s really warm in the house. Which is really helpful if you think about it. I have a barometer on my face. Who else can say that?

Overall I am still happy that I did the surgery. I think the end effect will be good. Hopefully I will end up with a nice profile and a smaller waist. And I am enjoying being home. Next week, though, my excuses for not cleaning the house may be gone. Wait...I'm feeling woozy again....

I love you all and thanks so much for your support during this experience! I feel like you all have been going though it with me...well except the whole thing of you not actually be silly enough to get your jaw broken. But no one told me I was nuts. Even if you thought it...you didn't say it. Thank you for that.

You are all good friends....

I'm off to Tommy's Volley Ball game. Have a good night and I will "talk" to you all again soon!


Subject: Part Four: Adventures in Eating

Hello ladies! My sixteen days of oral prison are over! I am not bandless and splintless but....I am able to open my mouth about an inch! My really, really, really tight bands were replaced with looser bands that enable some jaw movement...not much but.....ENOUGH TO TALK!!! Yes, it's true - I am verbal once again. Hallelujah! Well, verbal with a very pronounced lisp but verbal just the same. Life is sweet!

I went to eat right after being released from my rubber band cage. My father and I went to Denny's. I ordered the only thing on the menu that looked like I could eat it without chewing - eggs and grits. Yes, I am a country girl at heart. Eating is an interesting experience when you can open you mouth only an inch and have no sensation in your bottom lip. Interesting is another word for messy. It took me twenty minutes to successfully get about four bites of eggs and a small bowel of grits consumed. Where did the rest of the eggs go? Well - I'm glad they had a vacuum. My breakfast came with bacon also. My dad asked me "aren't you going to eat that?" I contemplated how to eat bacon without chewing and decided that sucking on it would be a bit inappropriate in the restaurant. I just pushed the plate over to him. He told me "good honey, I don't want you to overeat." Not much chance of that Dad - for me to overeat, we would have to be committed to at least another six hours here.

I had a few revelations while I was banded that I thought I would share. A major thing is that you never know how much you need a tongue until you don't have access to one. Some situations that arose....

1..You are going to the store and offer to pick up some tea for a dear friend. You realize that not only your lips are very dry but the inside of your cheeks as well. What do you do....? Well, what you would do is lick you lips. What I do? Hijack the tea and beg for forgiveness later.

2. You go to do an ATM deposit. You sign the back of your checks. You fill out the deposit slip. You add with your typical mathematical genius. You complete the deposit envelope, put everything inside and then read the five words that strike terror in your heart "please seal envelope before depositing". You look frantically inside your bag to see if the kitchen sponge fell in there by accident. You look in the car to see if they hijacked tea is still there. And then...you quietly look around, and rub your finger inside your cheek several times and wipe it on the envelope. Disgusting? And what... you think actually "licking" the envelope is sanitary?

I am still banded so I still do not have full access to my tongue. It's more like I have visiting rights. I have four bands and a splint that keep my jaw in place. I will be learning exercises tomorrow to begin to loosen the muscles and enable me to open further. I can't tell how my family feels about this. My guess is that they enjoyed the silence.

I am back at work for six hours a day this week. Everyone has been very supportive. They keep telling me not to talk. I don't think that has anything to do with my recovery. I think they enjoy the silence also.

It's been quite a ride. I have lost sixteen pounds and one pants size so far. I am hoping to continue with this trend. I have been able to cook dinner and no longer will 'taste' as I go. Since I can't put it on my tongue, I would have to wipe it on my cheek. Its already covered in envelope glue. I don't like mixing tastes.

So.....have a good night. It's been great to get responses back from everyone. Thanks for all the support! Love ya dearly!


Friday, June 4, 2010

Back From the Time Warp

Where in the heck did the past three weeks go?  I swear I've been in a time warp.  I took on teaching 20 hours a week for the past two weeks and I am embarrassed to tell you how much time it was taking me to prep.  I was teaching a Rehab Aid class....let me remind you that I am a nurse and not a Physical Therapist.  This would help explain why I was up at 2am every morning studying the bones, ligaments, tendons and joints of the upper and lower extremities.  I can now tell you the four muscles in the Rotator Cuff and which joint allows you to pronate your ankle.  Now, I knew this all before....when I took Anatomy and Physiology...in 1992.  You know...back when my brain was an eager sponge instead of a block of swiss cheese.  I have since blocked it out.  I must say, however, that I truly enjoyed the class.  They were engaged, interested and didn't make too much fun of me when I answered questions with...."that will be a great question for Mr. Manning when he gets back..."  I do really enjoy being in the classroom.  The bonding is very different from just seeing the students for a few minutes here and there. 

This class was a bit of bad timing as I also had my final paper due for my MSN class.  You know...the one that was 10 pages with 8 articles referenced.  I did get it done...about 12 hours before it was due. That may have been a record for me.  I ended up with 300/300 points.  I'm not sure if she even read it but decided to just take the A and not question.  There are times to stand up for the work that you've done and times to just shut up and count your blessings. 

I also began exercising again....in full force.  I have teamed up with another Director at work and we meet at the YMCA at 5:30am.  I have not quite made it five days a week but am well on my way.  Wednesday, we hit up the elliptical for 55 minutes.  Today it was 35 minutes of elliptical and 25 minutes of weights and stretching.  My biggest adjustment has been getting comfortable with getting dressed for work at the gym.  I am used to coming home and showering.  I bought a really, really big beach towel.  It pretty much covers me from neck to my ankles.  There is much comfort in terry-cloth.  I also am seeing that I will save money in makeup.  I no longer need blush.  I am bright red when I finish.  My face looks like I went crazy with bronzer on my forehead, cheeks and neck.  I had some concern about my carotid arteries a while ago....no worries now.  They are working fine. 

Now the big question...have I lost weight?  Maybe about two pounds (depending on how I lean on the scale!).  That's OK - its a slow process.  I have stopped attacking my candy jar again.  That in itself will make a huge difference.  I can't stop buying the chocolate - I actually see it as a business expense.  Conversations are much more pleasant when people are eating a Kit-Kat.  Try it...you'll see. 

My kick off training for the Breast Cancer walk is next week.  Then I have to get really serious about that training as well.  I usually walk on the weekends now.  I walked four miles at Harbor Island last Sunday.  Beautiful walk with a good friend and well worth the drive.  This weekend will most likely be back at Lake Murray.  Cheer me on, please.  I think this walk will be much easier if I drop 50 pounds first.  It will be like putting down a Costco sized bag of Sugar before I start....!  So...words of encouragement are appreciated...I will write them on sticky notes and put them on my computer to remind me of those cheering me on!  They will most likely get mixed up in the 50 other sticky notes on my desk but will be a welcome surprise when I'm looking for someones phone number.

Love to you all!!!!