Thursday, October 31, 2013


It's interesting to find out who notices when you suddenly “disappear” for a couple days. One would generally expect close friends to notice, and maybe a good acquaintance. I've been MIA since Monday afternoon, having my first “contact” with my phone and computer earlier this evening. There was a text message from my boss, a couple voicemails (a good friend and my coworker) and some emails. On Facebook I had five messages waiting, three were expected.

As I am not currently in any frame of mind to repeat myself multiple times, I decided to address my disappearance in this way. I've never hidden the facts of my life from anyone, and now is no time to start. This may come across as blunt, and possibly cold, but it is all I have right now.

Sunday night I began a very rapid decline in emotional stability. I didn't go to bed until 4:00a and even then my thoughts only stopped racing long enough to let me sleep about 4 hours. I stayed home Monday. I continued to decline. I mapped out a plan. I got a box cutter, the bottle of Jameson and the new 90-days supply bottle of antidepressant. I sat down on the sofa. Initially I tried to cut my left wrist, but I was having difficulty cutting deep enough to do damage. So I started taking swigs of Jameson. Figured it would help me along. Planned to take some of the pills with the Jameson as well.

The last thing I remember seeing was around 4:35 when I read a text from a dear friend. When he came into my house about 30 minutes later I was virtually gone. I was physically numb all the way down my body and could barely respond to anything he said. He called 911. I was taken to the local ER, where I remained until about 12:30a. At that time I was transferred to another hospital with a behavioral health unit (the politically correct term for psychiatric ward).

I saw the psychiatrist each day, participated in group therapy, did a lot of journaling and talking... and agreed that my medicine dose should be increased. I have an appointment already scheduled with a psychiatrist for next week, and am still going to make an appointment with a psychologist as well.

I am not 100%. I may still be somewhat scarce. I am better. If I weren't better I would not have agreed to be released. I just ask that you bear with me while I readjust and continue to heal.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The On-Going Journey

Just over five years ago I experienced a life-changing event. My father died suddenly. I realized with my family history that I needed to turn my life around and get healthy.

Fast forward to this evening. I was going through a box of papers to determined what needed to be saved, shredded or tossed. I came across my first Weight Watchers membership book. On September 13, 2008 I joined Weight Watchers (for the first time ever) with two of my friends. That morning I weighed-in at 329 lbs. This book has my weights for the first 14 weeks of my Weight Watchers journey (they then changed formats and I have no clue where that one is). On week 14 (December 9, 2008) I weighed 311.8 lbs.

Today is almost 5 years since I joined Weight Watchers. I stuck with WW for just over a year. I regained the weight I lost. It wasn't working for me. In September 2009 I went to a weight loss surgery seminar with the same two friends. One already knew she wanted gastric bypass. I was there to support her. I left with an appointment for a consultation. January 26, 2010 I had gastric bypass surgery. I don't regret it for a moment, but it hasn't always been smooth sailing.

Today I looked at some numbers after finding that little WW book. Five years ago I weighed 329 lbs. Today I weighed-in at 192.6 lbs. That is a difference of 136.4 lbs! I have not quite made it back to my lowest post-op weight (190), but I am close. I am also proof that hard work and determination will pay off. I got myself back on track six months ago. I went back to tracking my food, and got my butt to the gym on a regular basis (generally 3 times a week). In the past six months I have reduced my weight by 20 lbs! I went from wearing a size 26/28 five years ago to currently wearing a 14/16 on the bottom half and 12/14/L on the top half. Wow!

I am beyond thrilled with my progress. My clothes are getting looser (again) and people comment regularly that they can tell I've lost more weight. I see the difference more by how my clothes fit than by the number on the scale. However, there are some numbers that do make me very happy: a blood pressure reading that is almost low and normal cholesterol. I am thrilled to feel healthy and I plan to maintain my healthy lifestyle.

I take the time to share my story (in different manners) in order to inspire others. Am I saying weight loss surgery is for every person? No. But living a healthy lifestyle is right for everyone. I am well past the phase where I would be “easily” dropping pounds, so I am proof that hard work and determination can and will pay off.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

An Open Letter of Thanks

Dear “Donor”,

I am writing and posting this on my blog in hopes that you will read this. I'm sure we have never met, and perhaps our paths have never crossed at all. However, I am thankful for your generosity towards a dear friend of mine.

Earlier today I had a voicemail message from my dear friend, Suzanne. I was driving at the time she called and never heard my phone ring, only the chime notifying me of a voicemail. When I reached my destination I listened to her message. She was adamant that I needed to either log onto Facebook and read her status or call her. As soon as possible. I pulled up Facebook, and honestly I could not contain my tears of joy as I read her status: an anonymous donor (someone she knows) is providing $50,000 so she can have the very necessary reconstructive surgery she needs (that her insurance has denied). This generous individual asked for nothing in return other than Susanne pay it forward in the way she does best: by sharing her friendship and emotional support with others.

Suzanne and I have never met in person, but she is one of the dearest souls in my life. She is like an older sister to me. I was supposed to be in North Carolina visiting her this weekend and had to cancel due to my own financial situation. Getting this news today made me happier than I've been in a long time.

My faith in humankind is restored. I truly believe there are angels among us. I cannot thank you enough for the gift you have given Suzanne. I will be forever grateful to the “anonymous donor” who is making my dear friend's life more bearable.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ten Years

There are periods during our lives it feels as if time is either creeping along or flying by too quickly.  For some people a ten years mark can signify happiness:  a school reunion, an anniversary of a relationship, being clean/sober.  For others it can also be a reminder of loss.

Ten years ago my cousin Danny died.  It was unexpected.  It is still painful.  He was only 24 at the time of his death; he was taken from us far too young.  Every year on this day my family grieves anew.  They same time eases the pain.  It does, to some extent, but the pain never goes away.

Danny, today is for you.  I love you.  I miss you.

Friday, April 26, 2013

What A Month

It’s strange how in the blink of an eye our lives can change for better or for worse.  Sometimes when the change happens we don’t know which it is, other times it is glaringly clear.  A month ago yesterday my life changed drastically.  I’m still not sure why, or the reason.  I know many of those who are closest to me say it was for the best, but deep down inside I can’t bring myself to believe it.

A month ago today was the last time I saw someone very dear to me.  I’m beginning to think it may have truly been the last time ever.  That hurts more than the fact that he chose not to have a relationship with me.  We had a bond that doesn’t happen often, and even more rarely as quickly as it did, so to have him almost totally out of my life is leaving a huge void within me.  I remember the morning very clearly.  There were a lot of tears from us both.  He was hugging me and telling me he had to go to work, but he wouldn’t let go.  I can still see the pain in his eyes.  That’s my final memory.  Not exactly a happy one.  Over the past month I’ve tried to be patient.  I’ve stepped back several times.  Yes, I’ve been very upset at times and let my anger fly.  That is expected.  My real issue now is that I need a form of personal closure, and I am not able to achieve that without discussing a few things with him.  He isn’t ready to talk.  So I feel like I’m stuck in limbo or no man’s land.  I’d like to have that closure so I can begin to truly move forward.  I’d really rather not wait 15 years for closure this time.

During the past month I’ve started focusing on myself more.  This doesn’t mean I’ve pushed my friends away when they have a problem, or are having a rough day.  It just means that I come first.  It isn’t easy.  I haven’t put myself first in many years.  A big change I’ve made is focusing on my health again.  I’ve adjusted my eating habits so they are more of what I should have been eating for the past three years, and I’ve dedicated myself to exercise.  I go to the gym at least three times each week, and on the days I don’t go I do my best to walk during my break at work (I even have a pair of sneakers at my desk).  As of this morning I only have 11.2 lbs to go to reach my previous lowest weight.  I am very proud of that accomplishment.  I will reach my first short-term goal sooner than I’d expected.

Another huge thing I’ve done for myself happened yesterday.  I decided to stop hemming and hawing over whether or not to go back to school and finish my Bachelor’s Degree.  I spoke to the Assistant Dean of Admissions at University of Mary Washington to find out what I need to do in order be at “active” status again and to re-enter my old program/major.  He was very helpful and told me that even though it’s late I could still be eligible for financial aid for the Fall term.  So yesterday I submitted everything I needed to, including my FAFSA for the Fall term.  I’m nervous, and excited.  Other than my closest friends many might not understand why going back to school is such a big deal to me.  Simply put:  the last day of my last class was the day my father died.  I lost all desire to finish my degree.  So, yes it is a big deal.  The even bigger deal?  The fact that I might add a minor.  I just have to see how things progress.

One of my friends likes to say that we’re works in progress.  I have to keep reminding myself of that as I continue on this roller coaster life has dealt me.  I think the key in the phrase is progress.  Regressing is not an option.  Things take time, and sometimes they take more time than I want.  That’s life.  It can’t be changed.

I will leave you with this quote a friend posted on Facebook last night (I’m all about inspirational quotes and stuff lately).  I hope you take something positive from it.

“In the blink of an eye, everything can change.
So forgive often and love with all your heart.
You may never know when you may not have that chance again.”

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Who Am I?

No, the answer is not Jean Valjean.

This is very valid question, however.  One that I probably don't ask myself often enough.  This morning I'm asking because of a video that has been circulating online this week.  It was posted on YouTube by Dove on Monday and it shows how different women perceive themselves versus how others perceive them.  It is not entirely eye-opening to me as I know I view myself far more skewed than others do.  I am my worst critic and enemy.  I always have been.  However, realizing that I am not alone and that there are many other women who view themselves as harshly as I view myself, that is a bit eye-opening.

When I look at myself in the mirror most of the time I will see the flaws.  It is rare that I see a beautiful woman looking back at me.  I have moments where I see her, and others where I see a "pretty" fact looking back.  But generally I see imperfections that I would like to have fixed.  I am told by those who know me and care for me that I am beautiful.  I hear them, and I do try to believe them but it is difficult.  It is a constant battle.  I am starting to get to the point where I do believe it, and I am trying to embrace it so I can be that beautiful woman everyone sees.  The truth is I cannot be truly beautiful unless I believe it myself.

Over the past weeks I have been forced, yet again to realize how strong a person I am.  I have been told for years that I am strong, but again it isn't something I truly see in myself.  Despite a few moments of true despair and the need to be weak for a bit, I know I am strong.  I have been through a great deal in my life, and everything I have encountered has shaped me into the woman I am today.  I have no regrets and would not change any decision I have made at any point in my life.  To change anything would mean that I not only wouldn't be the woman I am, but that I may not have met some of the people who influence my life greatly.

Before I answer my own question, I would like to ask everyone who is reading one question:  Will you take 3 minutes of your day to watch the video?  Please do.  As for who I am?  I am a strong, beautiful woman.  Yes, I have flaws but they do not define me.  They help make me who I am.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Responsibility Acceptance Regret

I know what you’re thinking:  Oh no.  She’s at it again.  Maybe I am.  You’ll just have to read on in order to find out.  Today isn’t so much a bad/negative blog, it’s meant to be more eye-opening.  As adults we are supposed to be responsible and mature.  Many refuse to act as such.  Instead there are a large number of adults who prefer to place the blame on others for things that have gone wrong in their lives.  They are not willing to accept their own decisions and own them, regardless of the consequences.

For as long as I can remember I have always owned up to my choices and their outcomes.  I have no one to “blame” but myself.  Have all the choices I’ve made in my life led to positive outcomes?  No.  Some of them eventually did, but some never did.  I personally cannot fathom blaming another person for the outcome of a decision I’ve made, and quite honestly it irks me when others do so.  I realize they have a right to live their lives as they desire, but sometimes in laying that blame on others it then affects that person’s life as well.  And that is uncalled for.

Yesterday I was thinking about some recent changes in my life, and some decisions that I’ve made.  I thought to myself that I might honestly have my first regret in this life.  That was huge for me because I have never regretted any choice I’ve made.  So, I thought on it a bit more.  I realize that I do not regret that decision.  Was it poorly timed?  Yes.  But I don’t regret it.  Every choice I’ve made has brought me to where I am today.  They have shaped me into the person I am.  Right now with things that have been happening in my life it would be incredibly easy to blame someone for the pain I’ve been feeling, but it’s not his fault.  I made my own choices, and I own up to them.  I will continue to make my choices:  good, bad or otherwise.  If someone doesn’t agree with them, that is their problem.  It is my choice to do as I please, and I try to make choices that will not cause harm to another.

I believe as adults we have the RESPONSIBILITY to not only own our decisions/mistakes but to ACCEPT them.  And ultimately I believe we should live without REGRET.  Regret gets us nowhere.  It is a form of self-pity.  Self-pity can lead to self-destruction.  Neither is a positive option for anyone.  So I ask you, dear readers, to analyze your lives.  To truly think on choices you’ve made and whether or not you have owned them, or if you’ve chosen to place the blame on another.  If you own up to them, bravo!  If you find you place the blame elsewhere more often than not, then perhaps you should question yourself as to why.  The road to acceptance begins within.  I believe we all owe it to ourselves to be the best person we can, and not just only to others but mostly to ourselves.