Saturday, August 22, 2009

Humble thyself . . . . .

As many of you know, I have recently undergone a gastric bypass. I know many of you may have been surprised at the numerous health issues my life had been complicated by with this horrible disease, as they were not 'visible' characteristics. I do truly believe that people do not become obese simply because they are lazy, there unfortunately are many factors which contribute to this disease which the public is not aware of. Understand that I do not look for anyone's pity, I only wish to share my experience with you that hopefully it may be inspirational enough to be able to help someone else. So, please, take a moment and let me share with you . . . . .

When did this start for me? I honestly believe it started in my early childhood and pre-teen years, as a result of experiencing many years of untreated depression. Yes, at that early age! First off, I want to preface this that in no way, do I or have I ever felt that any of my immediate family, especially my Mom, was responsible for this. Imagine coming from an alcoholic family, and being abused by numerous men in many different ways. I mean, my God! What kind of impression it leaves on a child when the primary male figure in your life told you frequently how "stupid, fat, and ugly" you were. Even though that figure has been void from my life for over 30 years, those words still echo in my mind to this very day. It has taken me a very long time to realize that although I may be fat, I am not stupid, nor ugly. Another heart breaking moment for me was when one of my nephews asked me many years ago, "Aunt Julie, why are you so fat?" OMG! Talk about out of the mouths of babes, because I know he does not remember saying this to me, but wow, did that EVER hit home!!!

I was not 'obese' during my teenage years, 10 pounds over my ideal weight - yes, but obese, no. Those feelings of depression only continued beyond my high school years, when whom I thought was my one and only true love moved away. I found comfort and solace in food. Yes, I had tried going to counselors, but never 'clicked' with one that was able to help me and provide me with the tools I needed to cope and deal with my experiences and feelings. Only in the late 1990's had I finally connected with a counselor who was able to help me tremendously and I was able to move forward.

My only regrets are not taking my health condition as seriously as I should have a long, long time ago and that my Mom did not get the chance to see me finally take the initiative to take control of my life the way she wanted and literally begged me to for so many years. In recent years, my Mom would tell me as she cried, "It breaks my heart to see you and watch you leave because I never know if it's going to be the last time I'll see you alive." They say that good things come from devastating experiences, I just wish it didn't have to be my Mom's passing that got me to wake up and finally live my life!

Rest assured, I am now happily married to a wonderful man. He is one of the most beautiful persons I have ever met. Who ever thought that this city girl would marry a true country boy! We put the "opposite" in "opposites attract"! He comes from a long line of northeastern Missouri farmers, so now my 'family time' is spent literally on the farm! God is soooooooooooo good and I have been so blessed!!! I honestly do not know how I would live day to day without Sean, he is my rock. He keeps me grounded and has been my saving grace through my weight loss surgery journey.

I realize begging is not a pretty site, but PLEASE, help me to help others. I do not want another person to experience the many hurts I have --- physically, mentally, or emotionally. I will be helping the ASMBS Foundation (American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery) and Obesity Action Coalition fight one of the nation's leading causes of death and disability at the Walk from Obesity and would like to invite you to participate.

If you cannot participate, your donation will help in the fight against obesity by providing much needed funding to support our efforts. The obesity crisis is an epidemic and your support will help make important advances against the diease of obesity.

My personal fundraising goal is $100 and with your help I can get there!

I cannot thank each and every one of you enough for sharing your love with me. Before surgery, I considered not going through with it, simply because since my Mom's passing, I have felt so alone. All I've heard is how it takes such a 'strong' person to undergo this new way of life I have chosen. Funny, I never thought of myself of being a 'strong' person! However, through the use of this wonderful "world wide web", emails, facebook, etc., I have been shown how much people really do care and that I am not alone. Again, thank you for all your love and support. Please help me make a difference for others and continue to show people that God does work in mysterious ways!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 5 . . . . .

Okay, it's only day 5 and I promised myself I'm not going to get on the pity pot, but things are pretty cruddy here. I called the doctor today to have him call in a refill for the pain medicine. I seem to have developed an upper respiratory infection and UTI (from the catheter put in during surgery), in addition to the severe aches and pains of having MAJOR surgery. I saw a posting on a message board I've been following described it pretty accurately . . . . . "you had it done laproscopically, it may look like 5 little wounds on the outside, but INSIDE you had your stomach cut in half and your intestinal tract completely rearranged. It will take time to heal. After all the anesthesia and hormonal surges post surgery, the blues are totally normal." After reading the many posts, I finally realized that the terrible couple days I've had this week were pretty much the norm, except mine were exaggerated even more by the upper respiratory and urine infections even more so. I know this is nothing compared to the pain I've endured all these years being so dang fat and it's absolutely minute when you look at others and the pain they experience on a daily basis, but man oh man, I didn't imagine it to be like this. It's definitely one of those things which you must experience on your own to truly know what it is like. Kind of like childbirth and kidney stones, huh?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tomorrow --- my "rebirth day"!!!

Some of you may or may not realize, but my childhood experiences were those of a very negative background, those which left their lasting impression on me. I have always believed we do the best with what we've been given. Well, I did what I could on my own, but now it's time for me to do better. After so many ups and downs, years of yo-yo dieting, and experiencing severe anxiety and depression, I had reached an unforgivable weight. As of January 1st this year my insurance began covering weight loss surgery, after completing a six month medically supervised diet. Well, WOO HOO! I DID IT! I lost more than the required amount of weight, despite having a broken arm, and being successful at meeting the very intense requirements of the SSM DePaul Weight Loss Institute. Believe me, none of this would have been possible without lots of prayers, the love and support of so many of you (you know who you are!)!!!

This diet and the weight I have lost has been such a challenging experience, the most difficult thing I have ever done --- second to nursing school. Thanks to Facebook, I know some of you which I have been blessed by getting back in touch with after 15 years, can definitely relate to the daily challenges of nursing school. I feel like tomorrow is my "rebirth" day. I feel like I have truly been given a second chance at life! Tomorrow I am having a gastric bypass at DePaul Hospital, which will include two nights in the hospital. WOW! It is so different being on this side, being the patient instead of reading patient medical records and bills!!!

I am looking forward to the new experiences this 'change' will bring. Some may ask, "Is Sean ready for it?". That's a different story! No, really, he has been very supportive. He has been such a great help with everything, I cannot begin to imagine where I would be today without him. I love him so deeply with my heart and soul, he truly is my guardian angel. I can tell you we both are more than ready for the positive changes in our lives this will bring. For example, my nightly prayers used to consist of begging, pleading, and bargaining with God to not let me wake up the next morning. Now my prayers are that of a much more positive tone, as I express my gratefulness for waking each and every day. It has taken me 43 years to realize that "HE" has a plan for me, a good one too. I may not know what "HE" has in mind for me, but I will eventually see it and experience it . . . . . in HIS time, not mine. Garth Brooks says it very well, "Thank God for unanswered prayers."

So, stay tuned. I hope you will follow along with me on this next part of my journey. I promise it will be fun and exciting! I also will post pics showing my progress, some which I am not proud of, but it will be a constant reminder of how important good health truly is. Again, thank you each and every one of your for your love, prayers and support. I love you more than you will ever know.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bring it on!

Oh, dear Lord, please hear my prayers. I pray to you here and now on my knees, please help my family to heal as we prepare to bury another dear sister. As we recently buried my Mom on September 30th, now, my dearest "Aunt Cookie". OMG, what a woman she was! Talk about an almighty woman of God! The strength I saw in her so many days for so many years, a long marriage and raising eight of the most beautiful children you could ever imagine!!! "Aunt Cookie" was one of those women I always wished I would become some day when I grew up. Fortunately for me, I honestly believe there are numerous qualities I did actually inherit from her.

With my Dad's passing so many years ago, my Mom and "Aunt Cookie" had grown really very close over the years. They had a lot in common with regards to their favorite pasttimes --- crafts and sewing!!! It seems only natural that they both would pass within approximately 6 weeks of each other. They both were strong women in their own rite. Some of the things both of them had to deal with and over come one would not wish on their worst enemy!

Over the years in my 'old' age, I have learned that the Lord does not present us with anything that we cannot handle. It is and will be a very long, long road without our mothers, learning to have them in our lives in a more deep and spiritual way. She is always with us. Is this the best you have Lord? Then, bring it on! We were raised by such strong women, we're much stronger than this.

Love, hugs, prayers and peace to you, my dear cousins, as I truly "feel your pain".

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Be sure to cast your vote!!!

We need your votes!!! Come and help us decide who should move on to Round #2 of YMBD's "So You Think You Can Scrap" Contest!

Click or copy and paste the link below to view the submissions and cast your vote!!!


Monday, September 15, 2008

It's my "Honey Bunny's" birthday today!!!

No, my "honey bunny" is not Sean. It's my oldest brother, Paul. How old is he? Well, actually I lost track a long time ago. Paul is the most AWESOME Sports Director (aka Apostolate) for the St. Louis Catholic Archdiocese. What can one say about Paul? He is outrageously fun, some times quiet, used to be shy, quite the character really. He's the one his siblings love to tell the "bean up the nose" story about. With our dad passing at an early age, Paul is the one who stepped in and assumed the 'father figure' role for me at the ripe young age of 12. I cannot tell you how many volleyball practices he dragged me with him to at the old Vogt School in Ferguson or how many volleyball tournaments he LET me help him work. I mean, so many that his numerous volleyball teammates seemed more like an extended family of big brothers. I mean, they all watched out for me - some more than Paul ever knew about (ha, ha)!. Luckily, only one of them I grew a teenage crush on (wink, wink Paul - you know who that was).

Paul is the bestest older brother anyone could ever have, want, need, or ask for. He walked me down the aisle at my wedding. Paul has been there so many times and in so many ways for me that I don't dare try to count them. I hope one day I can express to him how much he means to me. I don't know what I would have ever done or do without him.

I love you honey bunny. Happy Birthday!