Friday, August 30, 2013

Me And Mini

Me and my beautiful little Mini Me

I remember a day when I hated taking pictures, and today I had a flash of how I used to feel when my daughter wanted to take a pic for her "snap chat".  I told her to send it to me, fully anticipating hating it and feeling like the proverbial cow.  After she sent it, and I cringed a little while I took the time to unlock my phone and open it, I was pleasantly surprised.  Yes, although my hair and makeup aren't done and I look like a bit of  zombie in that area, I do not look fat.  I am actually starting to look how I want to look -- healthy.  And, in case you were wondering what I used to look like, and why I became camera-phobic for a while, here is a "before" picture taken at my heaviest weight -- ever:

Yup, this is me, at my heaviest (2009) 215 pounds
It's hard to believe I was ever even that big, considering I've always been a bit of a health nut and exercise fiend.  After I got sick I lost myself for a while and simply didn't care.  I felt so restricted because of my disability, that I got a mad case of the fuck-its and decided I would eat and drink whatever I wanted.  Nothing else, and nobody else, was going to tell me otherwise -- no matter how many times the "dryer shrunk my clothes". 

I remember how difficult everything was back then.  How, even just doing laundry or getting in and out of my car were major chores.  I mean, I was carrying around 80 extra pounds, it's no wonder!  And on a body that barely works in the first place!  That is just not something I am willing to do for very long, and not the kind of person I've ever really been (even if I did slip a little for a while).

For those of you who are curious, this is what I'm used to looking like and the kind of person I've always actually been:

Before GBS (1996)  145 pounds

One year after GBS (1999) 155 pounds
I would be happy with the 155 weight, if that's where I end up after working out and eating right (and after my surgery, of course).  I'm not far from there now considering how much extra I'm carrying in my uterus right now.  I actually really want the 145 weight.  That's when I was at my peak physically.  I was fit and strong.  I actually ate food and never, ever starved myself.  That was a good time in my life and I plan to get that back.
Never Give Up

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Difference Between Skinny And Healthy

Yes, there is a difference between skinny and healthy.  It angers me when people confuse the two.  We have been fed so much propaganda and falsities throughout our whole lives, that most people really don't understand the difference. 
I just had to rant about this a little bit since I'm currently on a weight-loss path of my own.  I would like to clarify that I'm not trying to get "skinny", but rather I want to get "healthy".  No, it is not healthy to carry too much body fat.  Whether or not it is aesthetically pleasing is not the issue.  The issue is simply your health.  Too much body fat wreaks havoc with every bodily function.  It creates health issues that otherwise wouldn't be there; i.e., diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.  I mean, the list goes on and on, but I think you get the point (or at least I hope you do).  Wanting to be "skinny" can also lead to health issues, especially when someone does it in an improper way, such as eating disorders.
Speaking of eating disorders.  I came across this on Pinterest today and it absolutely enraged me:
The sad part is it's true.  It's not just Demi Lovato, it's everyone.  If you gain a little weight, you're criticized.  If you're too skinny, you're criticized.  If you have muscle and you're a woman, then you look too much like a man.  It's unreal how people treat one another.  The finger pointing has got to stop.  And, the real kicker of it all, especially for me, is that most people who are doing the finger pointing have issues of their own that they could stand to do something about.  How about instead of focusing so much on what others should be doing with their bodies/lives, why don't we take the time to make ourselves better, for ourselves.  Now there's an idea!
While I'm at it, I might as well tell you that I absolutely cannot stand the phrase "nothing tastes as good as thin feels".  I used to say that to myself all the time, but I have since revised it.  It should go like this; "nothing tastes as good as healthy feels".  End of story.
I would never want to be skinny.  I don't want to be a skeleton with skin hanging on it.  I want to have muscle and be strong and fit and healthy.  I want to lower the amount of fat on my body so that I am healthy and can live a long life (God willing).  I just want to increase my chances of living healthy, and lower my chances of illness and fat-related health issues.  Let's face it people, unhealthy eating makes you unhealthy (not just fat).  Healthy eating makes you healthy, and it's a hell of a lot harder to become overweight when you're eating healthy and paying attention to what you put in your body.
Can't we all just try to be healthy inside and out?
Never Give Up

A New And Improved Me: Day 5

So, surgery has officially been rescheduled for September 16.  I am ecstatic!

Now I have three full weeks to really get healthy and clean.  I want to get my skin as youthful and healthy as I can so that everything goes well with healing.  I want my body to be as healthy and ready as possible so nothing goes wrong during surgery and I recover well afterward.  Three weeks is a good amount of time to be able to accomplish those things.  The body is so adaptable, it's actually quite amazing what we can do in just three weeks!

If you're just now tuning in, you can read about my surgery and why I'm having it here

I know it seems odd for someone to be so excited to have surgery, but considering I'm carrying around a bowling ball in my uterus that is obviously getting bigger, I think most women can probably get on board with me.  And men, you can stop reading here if you want, but with a tumor that big, my periods aren't exactly a day at the beach either.  In fact, they are downright horrible.

Ok guys, that's over.

I am also going to try to lose as much weight as I can before surgery.  I will be doing this the healthiest way possible, of course, but it stands to reason that the healthier my weight is, the better off I will be both with the actual surgery itself, and when I come home.  It will be much easier to move around with a healing wound if I'm lighter and there's less of me to haul.

So, I suppose I can take you along for that journey and share my ups and downs with you.  Here are my stats as of today:

Height: 6'
Weight: 180
Goal Weight: 145

Chest: 36
Waist: 35
Hips: 42 1/2

Now, in regard to the seemingly enormous waistline, that is such an incorrect measurement right now I can't even begin to tell you.  My waist was that big around when I was over 200 pounds, so it's safe to assume the tumor is causing this expansion in both my waist and my hips.  My hips should not be that big around right now either, and I can't wait to see what the new measurements are after everything is taken out.  I would also deduct 5 pounds of water bloat from it being that time of the month, and at least 5 pounds for tumor and uterus weight that will be gone after September 16, but those are my actual weights and measurements nonetheless.  It will be fun to watch them change over the coming months.  I have three weeks to surgery, and then 4-6 weeks of recovery.  I can't wait to report my new weight and measurements along the way.  Should be interesting.

I added a few highlights to my hair today since I can't stand it being all one color.  I will add a new post later on after it is styled for you to see, because I will be changing it again and again.  Just another thing that will be fun to see the finished product :)

Never Give Up

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A New And Improved Me: Day 4

So far, so good.  I'm keeping on track with clean eating and an attempt to detox my body before the big surgery.  I still am not sure when that's going to be, but it will be soon, and I will call my doc tomorrow morning to find out for sure.

I'm on a hair and makeup kick lately, and I've been spending a LOT of time on Pinterest looking at different hair colors and styles.  I'm getting rather creative with some ideas of what I want to do with my hair color.  I just went back to my traditional medium brown, but I get so bored with just one color, so I'm going to play around a bit and see what I come up with.  Yes, I will share my results, good or bad (eeks, no pressure).

All in all I'm staying on track, and it's not hard to do knowing I have a goal set.  Even when I get cravings for bad things, it's a lot easier to put them out of my mind when I remind myself of how healthy I want to be when I go under the knife.  I'm scared enough the way it is, so at least I can ease my mind a bit knowing I've done all I can to make sure all goes well.

I'm really excited to start trying some detox smoothies, but I have to buy a blender first!  I know, it's 2013 and I don't have a blender.  I don't have a microwave either!  Although, the microwave thing is just by choice.  I don't like them.  I think they are harmful to you, and I think they create more opportunities to get fat.  At least I know they do for me.  Besides all that, I love to cook, and when I say cook, I mean cook!  The good old fashioned way of cooking.  Like, from scratch. 

So, once I manage to get out and buy my blender, (Friday, I hope) I am going to start trying out smoothie recipes and I'll let you know how they turn out, how they taste, and which ones I'll be drinking on the regular and which ones I'll be pouring down the drain and never visiting again. ;-)

Never Give Up

The Butterfly Mom: Inspiration

I've been spending a lot of time on Pinterest lately.  Since my new health issues, I can't do much physical work, so I have turned to either laying on the couch watching TV (which I HATE), or sitting in my chair going through Pinterest (which I have come to love).  In between those two things I try to get as much done as I can in the way of chores.  (I can assure you the first thing I'll be doing when I recover from surgery is a top-to-bottom cleaning of my apartment!)

Anyway, while browsing through Pinterest, I came across a pin I really liked, and decided to do a little more digging into the person who pinned it.  After looking through some of her boards, I then visited her blog, and boy was I hooked.  I love her writing style, but I also couldn't help but be drawn to her, as a person.  After a little more reading, I came across her cancer story.  Wow.  What a champion.

I just wanted to share this awesome blog with you.  Her name is Brittney, and her blog is The Butterfly Mom.  If you're looking for some interesting reading, or good tips and tricks about just about everything, then pay her a visit.  Just from reading her blog, I can tell she has the kind of personality of someone I would enjoy being around.  She's a tough little fighter, and from what I can tell, a great mom.  She's in remission from her bout with skin cancer, and I hope and pray it stays that way.

After just going through the biopsy process and cancer scare, I am constantly grateful that I didn't get the phone call that she did.  The one where the doctor gives you their personal cell number and home number, and you just know that it's going to be bad.  I got very, very lucky, and I'm very, very grateful.

Never Give Up

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Healthy Oatmeal

Oatmeal, bananas, cinnamon and unsweetened vanilla almond milk.  So good you'll think it's bad for you! 

New And Improved Me: Day 3

I had a little slip today and ate sugar (candy) on the way to my doctor's appointment, but I knew better than to let myself get that hungry.  I was in a time crunch, but still, no excuses.  I didn't go too crazy, but now I will have to endure those three days of cravings again before that goes away and I could care less about sugar.  I always feel so much better when I just avoid sugar all together.  Yesterday, I did very well.  I ate a lot of bananas because for some reason or another I was craving them, and I had a very healthy salad and some oatmeal with honey, cinnamon and a little almond milk.  I've grown to LOVE almond milk, and I actually like the unsweetened version much better than the sweetened, not to mention it's less than half the calories at only 30 calories per serving.  Plus, it's low carb and very good for you!  Can't go wrong there.

So, I saw the Endocrinologist today and he says my thyroid levels are fine to proceed with surgery.  Yay!  Now, I will call my other doctor tomorrow morning and find out when we can get me on the table and get this devil baby out of me!  I'm guessing it's going to be September 9th, or at least I'm hoping!  He only does surgeries on Monday, and this coming Monday is Labor Day.  I'm really looking forward to the relief and a new chapter in my life.  I will be sans uterus, sans giant tumor, and thyroid on the level.  I will feel like a new woman!

I just keep telling myself that everything I put in my body from now on is going to affect my health and recovery.  I also keep repeating to myself that I want the body that can wear anything again.  I loved that feeling.  Most of my life I was skinny and able to wear whatever I wanted and look good in it.  I want that again.  I'm tired of my "fat" clothes, and I'm tired of not having any sort of fashion in my life because I was too busy hiding behind whatever was big enough to cover me.  And, I'm just tired of being tired all the time.  Even just this extra 20 pounds I have left is enough to drag me down, especially since my lower half is already limited. 

Pinterest keeps me motivated as well.  Whenever I get a craving or want to eat the wrong things, I go to the health and fitness category and look at all the beautiful and fit bodies and remind myself that can be me.  I have to start with mostly diet right now since my body is limited with tumor, stiffness and pain, but once I'm healed up I'll be back on a fitness regimen in no time!

Follow Me on Pinterest 

Never Give Up

Sunday, August 25, 2013

New And Improved Me: Day 1

So today is day 1 of my new and improved me plan, and so far I've done quite well.  I'm sticking to healthy and clean eating (aside from those few small spoons full of my homemade baked beans), and I've managed to squeeze in some "me" improvements like dying my greys away and clipping my nails and toe nails.  I think as women, we tend to forget the importance of the little things that just make us feel good, and when we feel good, we want to continue to do things to make ourselves feel, and look, even better.  Whenever I dye my hair, paint my nails, give myself a full body scrub and then lotion; I always manage to eat better as well.  I figure if I'm going to take the time to do the outer physical improvements, then I should do it right and take the time for the inner improvements as well.

As a single mother, I know I tend to let my needs go by the wayside in lieu of taking care of my child's needs first.  Now that I'm getting older, and so is she, I am realizing how much I have neglected myself over the years!  Although I'll never stop being a mom, no matter how old she gets, it's time to start taking better care of myself.  Afterall, if I'm ok, she'll be ok. So, with this pending surgery will come a new found respect for myself and some more steps in creating a new and even better "me".

On the agenda for the rest of my day will be eating a healthy supper; most likely oatmeal with unsweetened almond milk, sliced bananas, cinnamon, and stevia for sweetener.  I know that doesn't sound like a "normal" supper, but it's what I'm craving and it's certainly healthy and low cal so I'm going for it.  Once I've eaten I can take my supplements which include an Omega 3 fish oil, Vitamin C made from Rose Hips, Zinc, Vitamin E, and half a multi-vitamin.  If I get snacky later I will turn to a banana.  Once my food digests a little, I will try to squeeze in a couple yoga poses for some light stretching, and to see what I am capable of doing.

It will be nice to start off my Monday on the right foot.

Never Give Up

A New And Improved Me

Today is the first day of another new "me".  With a pending surgery, I am already on a path of body cleansing and weight loss, and today is just another day on that path, but my resolve is just that much stronger. 

I have a doctor's appointment this Tuesday (August 27, 2013) with the Endocrinologist to see how my thyroid is functioning.  That appointment will determine whether we can move forward with surgery, or whether we have to wait a bit longer until my thyroid gets under control.  Either way, I'm on a mission to be as prepared as possible for surgery.

Besides eating cleaner, eating less, drinking more water, and attempting to detox, I am also taking supplements in hopes that I can boost my immune system and healing capabilities so that I'm not only in tip-top shape for the surgery itself, but so that I can heal up in the best and healthiest way afterward.  I would like to come away from this surgery feeling energized and refreshed.  Considering I will be losing a giant tumor, among other smaller tumors within my uterus, and my uterus itself, I am pretty sure I'll be feeling lighter and healthier just by that alone.  So, if I'm as healthy and light as I can be by then, I will just be walking on air when I get home.  I'm sure losing the organ and the tumors will most likely shed 10 pounds, maybe more, maybe less.  No matter what the poundage, it's certainly going to relieve all this pressure and pain in that area.

So, now that I've mastered homemade baked beans, I will put the unhealthier creative cooking aside and work on healthy creative cooking for now.  With Fall and the holidays coming, I will have plenty of chances to satisfy my desire for cooking all things bad for me :)  At least then I can share them with friends and family and get them out of my kitchen so I'm not tempted.  Maybe by then I'll be in good enough shape that I can indulge a bit as well. 

I'm thinking I also need to start stretching more to gain a bit more flexibility, but also to relieve some of the pain in my lower half that I am sure is cause by tension and tightness of the muscles and ligaments.  I've been browsing Pinterest for Yoga positions and the like in hopes that I can find at least a few that I am actually capable of doing.  It's really sad that there aren't more Pins, or just information in general, available to those of us who can't do the "normal" Yoga poses and are limited to just a few.  Maybe that should become my next project?  Create a Yoga plan for disabled people.  Maybe I will.  After all the effort I will be putting in to finding poses and stretches that I can actually do, I might as well share my findings with others.

Never Give Up

Be Strong

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Right Way To Cook Bacon For a BLT

With a full package of bacon, cut the strips in half with a kitchen shears.
Now, weave size slices together like a basket to make a square.
Put in the oven on a wire rack and cookie sheet at 400 for about 20 minutes. Fat drips off. No splattery mess!
Now you have a nice tidy square that stays on the sandwhich and there's bacon in every bite.
(mine has avocado in place of tomato since I don't like tomatoes)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Honey White Bread

Courtesy of Ina Garten.  Recipe found here at 
Very delicious and about to become an even more delicious BLT sandwich!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Historic East Cabin

Plan to rent this one day.
Itasca State Park, Mn.


More changing leaves.
Wilderness Drive, Itasca State Park, Mn.


Itasca State Park, Mn.


Itasca State Park

Near the Mississippi headwaters where the river begins.

Future Son-In-Law

Itasca State Park, Mn.


My daughter and little doggie on their first camping trip.

Itasca State Park, Mn.


Itasca State Park, Mn.

Lake Itasca

Itasca State Park, Mn.

Great Red Pine

Itasca State Park, Mn.

Fall Is Fast Approaching

The leaves are beginning to change.

Itasca State Park, Mn.

Great White Pine

Itasca State Park, Mn.

Itasca State Park

Enjoying a family reunion/picnic at Itasca State Park.

Kind Words and Uplifting Encouragement

A while back, I came across a man who was walking across America.  He was featured on Yahoo! news, and I became a little obsessed with his blog for a while.  As I've explained to him, I experience such joy when I see people using their able bodies, and that is what drew me to him, and his story.  I commented on a few of his amazing photos, and also emailed him to share a little of my story and let him know I thought what he was doing was great.  Since then, we have emailed a few times back and forth, with quite a long while in between that we didn't communicate, until just recently he sent me a mail out of the blue just to say hi and give his regards. 

It's so wonderful when people you have never even met in real life come out of the woodwork just to say "Hello" and give you words of encouragement and praise.  Matt has informed me that he has a new appreciation for the struggle I have been going through, and he just wanted me to know that.  It's unfortunate that he had to experience a tragedy to see it, but it's so wonderful to me that he thinks of me and applies my struggle to situations in his own life.  I always strive to inspire anyone I can, and although Matt didn't need any inspiration from anyone, he uses it anyway to keep going.

Matt is an ambitious walker.  He does the very thing I struggle to do again, and he does it every single day to the fullest extent that he can.  Matt simply walks.  Simply probably isn't the right word to use there, but I'm using it anyway because it truly is a "simple" act until you are unable to do it anymore and you realize how much actually goes into walking.  Even standing isn't as "simple" as one might think.  It takes over 300 muscles just for the body to be able to stand and balance upright.  Most people go through their lives never knowing what truly goes into being able bodied, and that's great, I don't wish hardship on anyone, but I do enjoy nothing more than seeing someone use their abilities as best they know how.

Thank you, Matt.  You have inspired me, encouraged me, and given me strength.

Never Give Up

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Brookie Cake

My daughter made me a Brownie/ Cookie cake. Yum!

Happy Birthday, Me!

Yup, the big day is here.  I'm 38... woo hoo!  Yes, I am excited to be 38.  I'm excited to be alive.  Excited to not have cancer.  No, I'm absolutely ELATED to not have cancer!

Not doing much today, just going to relax and continue to enjoy life.  Maybe I'll get really ambitious and do some cleaning.  Woo hoo, big crazy plans.  :)

Thanks once again to all that have emailed to wish me well.  Each and every email I get brings me such joy and comfort... so, thank you!

Never Give Up

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Health Update August 14

Hello all,

Here is the latest update on the giant tumor in my belly:

I have had a battery of tests, including a biopsy of my uterus, all of which have come back normal!  Thank God, <taking a moment to actually thank Him>.  It is not cancer, and that makes me grateful beyond grateful.  I can handle anything with a smile on my face knowing I'm not battling the dreaded 'C' word.

Surgery to have a full hysterectomy and remove the tumor/tumors and my uterus was scheduled for this coming Monday, August 19th, but upon further testing, that has been postponed because my thyroid levels are dangerously low, and with good reason, my doctor will not perform the surgery until that is under control.  So, a tiny little pill every day to sort that out is all I have to do, and once I'm back to "normal" we will reschedule the surgery.

I am very excited to have this surgery.  I have wanted my uterus gone for many years.  These fibroid tumors run in my family, and I have known I have at least two for some time now, so I figured one day it would be a good idea to just have it taken out.  That day has come. 

It's nice to fully understand why I've been feeling so awful these past couple of years.  The weakness is explained by the tumor and my severe hypothyroidism.  Actually, all of my recent symptoms are explained away by both of these issues, and it's really great knowing that will be fixed.  My doctor is also referring me to a neurologist after my surgery to take a look at my condition and see if there is any way we can fix that too :)))

All in all, this is a good development in my life.  I have a lot to do, and will have some recovery time after the surgery, but that's a walk in the park compared to what it could have been.  I wake every morning with a smile on my face and thank God for sparing me.  I'm not done being a mommy to my beautiful daughter yet, and I want to see my grand babies and do a lot more in this life -- whether I can walk normal or not.

Thank you to all of you who have already sent me well wishes!  I appreciate it so much, and it's so nice to know there are so many wonderfully caring people in this world!

Never Give Up

Saturday, August 3, 2013

It All Makes Sense Now

All of my dizzy spells, weakness, lack of energy, sugar cravings, back pain, wacky periods; it all adds up to this giant parasite in my body.  I've been carrying around this thing for God knows how long, and it's taking all my energy. It's draining the life right out of me.

I can't wait for it to be gone. I hope it's in my uterus and they take that too. I've wanted that gone for a couple years now. I feel like it just doesn't need to be there. I'm too old to have more babies, and my body too broken. So, let's pray this is a fybroid tumor in my uterus and they can just take out the whole kit and caboodle!

Never Give Up

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Meet My New Friend

This is a picture of my abdominal area while laying flat on my back. That bulge you see is not fat; that is a tumor the size of my head. It was discovered by ultrasound and CT scan yesterday and was labeled more than once, and by more than one person and machine, as a "huge pelvic mass".
You know it's gonna be a long road ahead when the doctor examining you feels this bowling ball in your stomach and actually says, "holy shit". 
It's so big they were unable to get a clear enough picture to determine which organ, or organs, it's actually possessing, so they will have to open me up and go from there. Fun.
So, I will keep you all posted on this latest attempted hostile takeover of my body, and my subsequent fight to the death! ;-)
Never Give Up