Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday, SUNday, SON-DAY!

Gosh, I just love Sundays!  My church is awesome.  And when I say, “my church”, I mean EVERYONE who helps me strengthen and continuously renew my faith on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis.

Sure, I go to this AMAZING building each week (sometimes multiple times a week), but it’s the people and the love that is contained in it (and always outpours from it) that IS the church.

If I haven’t before, I’d like to take the opportunity…RIGHT NOW – To invite you to church.  Any church.  Anywhere.  Any day of the week.  If you are struggling with the lies and mundane in and out of the day to day and are missing hope…try Jesus.  I know it sounds way beyond corny, but maybe this time is THE time for you to fit in.  If not at my church (Hub City Vineyard), then at a church…any church.  Here’s a few “myths” (lies) and my version of their correlating truths:

Myth:  All Christians are hypocrites. 
Truth:  Yep.  We are.  But so is EVERYONE, right?!  That’s why we NEED to stop judging each other and just LOVE.

Myth:  I don’t need church if I’m spiritual. 
Truth:  Church is community.  Jesus hand-picked 12 normal guys to start up a community so that they could keep each other accountable and encourage one another.  I know I need that…Don’t you?

Myth:  Church is a waste of time. 
Truth:  Never once has going to church been a waste of time for me.  No matter who is speaking, no matter what mood I’m in, no matter anything – God cares enough for me…for all of us to give us SOMETHING from any service. 

Myth:  No one in church will accept me because of my past/present. 
Truth:  Try us.  There’s a saying that if everyone threw all of their problems into a pile, everyone would choose their own back than anyone else’s.  No, I may not understand EXACTLY what you have gone or are going through, but I can empathize with and pray for you.

Please, if you have any questions, reach out, I’d be happy to answer them.  If I don’t know the answer, then I’ll let you know and will work on finding that answer for you.

Hub City Vineyard services are at 9:15 am & 11 am every Sunday morning. 

Also, if you don’t have plans for Thanksgiving, please come over to our house.  We’ll have plenty of food and would love to have you join us.

Have a blessed Holiday week no matter where you are!


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Quality, not Quantity...right?!

Whoops!  Almost 4 months have gone by since I’ve blogged.  Whew, I’m not so hot at keeping this ma-bob updated!

SO…since my last COMPLETELY TMI, in retrospect, post, things have been fairly AWESOME!  Don and some sweet friends have just wrapped up my final 30th birthday celebrations over the course of this weekend and I feel better entering this year, decade, whatever than I have any that I can remember!  In 20.5 short weeks, I’ve dropped 99 pounds!  I was pushing a 30/32 dress size and am now comfortable in a 14/16 or 18/20 depending on cut and fit.  Something that I continue to find amazing is the amount of support and enthusiasm that surrounds my progress.  I’ve met some amazing new people through different groups centered around WLS.  These people are as dear to me as some of my closest and longest standing friends.

Enjoy the same comparison shots you’ve already seen if we’re Facebook friends:
10.5 weeks post-op:  60.8 pounds down!

16.5 weeks post-op:  86.6 pounds down!

20 weeks post-op:  99 pounds down!

In other, non-weight related news, the kids are great (at a new daycare with an amazing lady whom we all adore), Don is amazing (could be reminiscent of the birthday celebrations) and I feel like I’m in a great place in so many areas thanks to the sweet words given to me by all of the birthday cards and also some extensive prayer time with some sisters in faith a couple of weeks ago. 

I’m also working diligently on group fundraising for this year’s HCV Nicaragua trip!  If you’re a 31 fan, please check out the 12 Days of Thanksgiving that we’ve got going on right now!  Also, if you’re interested in a Chick-Fil-ACowlendar, let me know!  They’re only $6 each and make GREAT stocking stuffers!

Praying that this finds you well and at peace!

Monday, July 29, 2013

I'm full of it.

Well – maybe not currently, but I have been off and on far too much over the past week or so.  Post-op for gastric bypass isn’t all sunshine, rainbows and dancing unicorns.  Sometimes it’s more like playing leap frog with a unicorn.  Also known as, not so pleasant.

Just like everything, there is a cycle to doing what you need to do after surgery.  IF you can get in your fluids and protein, this cycle can be pleasant and happy.  If not, and you struggle, things become…well, stopped up.  Little known fact:  constipation causes all sorts of other health issues.  I wasn’t able to drink or eat without severe pain & nausea and when you aren’t eating or drinking, nothing is happening on the flip side.

Thankfully through prayer and a little medical assistance (enter Phenergan, Colace & Milk of Magnesia), things are going much better.  On top of that, I had an incision pop open after the other had finally stopped draining.  I know, I know…gross.  Sorry, just being honest and I feel like it’s my doody duty to document this for myself when memory puts fog and glitter on everything that’s happened and also for those that are thinking of doing this. 

That being said, I wouldn’t change much.  I would have taken the medical assistance sooner and let my husband coax me to take just one more sip or try just one more protein this or that. 

Overall, I’ve been feeling great!  I fit into my smaller clothes from the other closet and even some of those are a little loose!  I’m not scared to sit in a booth, my car fits better (if that makes sense) and I’m ready to start working out as soon as I have the release from the Dr. on Thursday.

The one thing that I’m really looking forward to is picking up my kids again.  I miss being able to comfort them when and how they need.

I’ve been taking progress photos every other week and they really show my progress, but I’m not sure how I feel about sharing them.  I thought that it would be most reflective of change if I were just in my skivvies, but therein lies the problem.  Maybe in another 6 months or a year and after some toning happens on my part…  I think I’m most self-conscious because even though there’s definite change, I still look so much like the “before” picture.  Here’s a face comparison from April to July:

And for those of you that that like rough data and charts…here’s a little progress chart that I’ve been putting together:

Hope this finds you all well and loving life!

Love always,

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A week ago today…

Well, by this time a week ago, I was sitting up comfortably in my hospital chair, my gastric bypass a reported success.  However, there was a lot leading up to that.  Let me go back for a minute.  Way back.  To Christmas of 2011.  Here we are - 
this was one of the only photos that I allowed to even show myself in.  The truth of it, I wish I could have been holding the tree to hide myself better.

I was 6 months out after having our 2nd beautiful child.  I hadn’t lost a single pound of my “baby” weight – 20 pounds.  Nor had I lost any of the weight that I’d gained between pregnancies – 50 pounds.  Nor had I lost any of the weight that I’d put on since mine & Don’s wedding until I was pregnant with EJ – 20 pounds.  Prior to the wedding, I’d worked out, eaten right/starved myself, and taken pills to lose 40 pounds to get into a wedding dress that wasn’t a size 20.

That Christmas, I was miserable.  I realized that I was at my biggest and yet lowest point in life.  I was unable to sit on the floor with my kids for a long time because one or both of my legs would fall asleep because of my weight.  I huffed every time I went up my own stairs.  I was surrounded by people who loved me for me, but I couldn’t honestly say that I loved myself.  Don and I talked.  It was time to change something, but I didn’t know where to start.  I had friends that had been through gastric bypass, but I was so stubborn thinking that it was a “cop-out” and that I would be giving up on my own ability to lose weight if I took that route.

I talked to my doctor about the pills I had been on previously.  She had a serious talk with me about short-term versus long-term weight loss and the permanent effects of keeping this weight on my body and the also permanent effects of getting on and staying on a prescription weight loss drug.  I cried, we talked options, and she referred me to the Weight Loss Center.
I had my first appointment in March 2012 where I met with some of the nicest medical professionals I’ve ever known.  Dr. Small went through all of my options and assured me that at any point in time in the process I could say “no”.  I met with the nutritionist each month for 6 months per my insurance requirements.  That brought us to an approval for the surgery in November, but we didn’t have the money for the 10% copay at that time.  Then it was Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years.  On New Year’s Day 2013 I announced that I was going to Nicaragua in March.  Between raising funds for that and daily life, the weight loss surgery was on a back burner for my schedule and our finances. 

Then it was tax time.  It appears that refund time was bypass time!  So, I called the WLC and told them we had the money!  Sign me up for the surgery!  WELL, I had to be re-approved because of how long it had been.  Honestly, at this point in time I was daily lifting my hands and saying, “Really, Lord?!”  BUT, as always, He had a much better plan for me.  I went to Nicaragua and came home a changed person.  I had looked around a 3rd world country and seen their hardships and questioned myself and ALL I had back home. 

Within 2 weeks of my return to American soil, I received my approval letter from my insurance company!  Then it was off to a gallbladder ultrasound, an EGD and a final appointment with the Dr. and nutritionist between then and 3 weeks ago.  Everything was set and last Wednesday I walked into the hospital at 5 am laughing with my husband and in amazing spirits ready for this change.  I took every opportunity to make a joke at one thing or another with everyone I encountered.  I know, very unlike my normal behavior.  I don’t really remember saying goodbye to Don or giving him a kiss, but I know without a doubt that it happened before they wheeled me back.

The first thing I remember coming out of surgery was pure pain and pressure on my chest.  I couldn’t catch my breath because it hurt and it hurt to try and catch my breath.  I had a bit of a panic attack, but they just upped my happy meds for a bit and I was back out.  I was released Friday, suffered through clear liquids over the weekend and am now almost halfway through my full liquids week.  (MUCH better than clear, but I dream about mashed potatoes, cottage cheese and the like).  My energy has been great the past couple of days because I’m hitting my protein requirements and I’m just a little more sore in the evenings and at night than during the day, but am determined to be off of pain meds altogether by the end of the weekend.

The one piece of advice that I’ve held onto throughout this entire process is, “Every day gets easier”.  Truly it does.  It’s been a blessing to have those that have gone before me for guidance, those that are going through it with me for moral support and those that will follow, possibly for inspiration.

Hoping this finds you all loving life and yourself no matter where you’re at or at what size.

Love always,

Thursday, June 6, 2013

3 Step Process to Being a Cheerleader

As I sit here on the exact evening 20 days prior to my surgery, I look back at all of the love, support and encouragement that I’ve received since announcing that I would be undergoing gastric bypass surgery.  I am yet again astounded and overwhelmed by the quality of friends that I have been blessed with in this life.  I have a gigantic cheering section and am beyond grateful for each and every one of you holding a ‘Chandra’ pom-pom, pennant, #1 finger and yelling my name at the top of your lungs! 
As we all know, for every 100 positive responses that you get from anything, there is 1 (or 3 – not that I’m counting) ‘not-all’ positive responses.  While I don’t think that any one of the not so positive responses that I’ve received were meant to be negative or vindictive in the slightest, it is still one of those things that make you go, “Hmm…”  I won’t go into any detail as this isn’t really a rant or call-out session, but if someone gives you news of their lives that you may not be in 100% agreement with, try to just smile, give them a hug and say, “Good for you.”  Sweet, simple & non-committal.  I’m still working on a witty comeback for those that choose to “go above & beyond” in the not-so-supportive-comment section.
You see, this isn’t a process that someone can go into lightly (BAHAHA – pun TOTALLY intended).  Gastric bypass (or any other type of weight loss surgical procedure) has a very lengthy and time consuming checklist and set of tricky hoops that one must navigate through in order for surgeon to qualify, nutritionist to inspect, and insurance to approve.  This is something that I have been actively working towards since January 2012.  Next (& last) up on my to-do list pre-surgery is next Wednesday - my final meeting the surgeon and a 2 hour class with the nutritionist to go over EVERYTHING that I'll need to do pre & post-op in order to be a success.
Also, I am the proud owner of a Planet Fitness membership now, have been trying to make as many Heart Power Boot Camp sessions as possible and have been meeting with (and even taking pictures of) my health coach, mentor and new friend.  Along with these steps, watching my diet & portion sizes; my general good health will hopefully put me in a great position for successful recovery and weight loss results.
In other news, we are still fighting with EJ on potty training and he BIT someone at daycare yesterday.  Really struggling with communication, boundaries and discipline.  Evie is becoming more and more feisty and we are trying to help her communicate so that we are setting her up to be successful.  She DID pee on the potty yesterday and is showing more and more interest.  Ms. Michele (daycare lady) is going to start working with her more once school is out.  AND - Don was in a car accident today.  :(  Praise Jesus that he sustained no injuries (nor did the teen who t-boned him).  Also, (ironically) thank God that he wasn’t in his own vehicle, but a friend’s borrowed truck.
Instead of this:

It could have been this:

We’re home, friendship with the truck owner still stands and Don is just now starting to be sore from today’s events.  Thank you Jesus for protecting my husband and father to our children today.

Love you all, hold someone a little extra close today.  You just never know.