Monday, January 14, 2013


I have lost a tremendous amount of weight in this first 1.5 weeks of doing Weight Watchers, and that is because I had been carrying alot of water weight. Tonight is my first official weigh in at WW, and I will start using their measurements as my official weight.  It will also allow me to see how their scale's readings compare to mine here at home. My home scale says I have lost 15 pounds already. Now it should slow down, since I seriously believe that was just getting excess water weight off.

The following is what I wrote on my Weight Watchers blog today:

When I was a child, I was chunky, but I was strong and fast. I played soccer for years and loved almost every minute of it! I could run faster and kick the ball farther than most, and I was respected for it. I still got called names for being overweight, but never on a soccer field. I loved running, riding my bicycle and generally moving. May have had something to do with hyperactivity, but I won't really go there...

Fast forward 30-something years. I am still strong in some ways, but I am afraid physically is not one of them anymore. I still can't believe I allowed this to happen. Sure, I can blame it on something. Years of intense pain. Injuries from car accidents. Herniated discs. Fibromyalgia. Anemia. Insomnia. WHATEVER - I still allowed it to happen. I really want to turn around now, so my youngest child and I have taken on walking together. She is 10 years old and quite precious. She loves this time with me, and I love my time with her. We have been walking briskly for 30 minutes at a time, several times a week, for two weeks now, and we are going to work it up to an hour soon. I think this is the longest she has stuck with something like this. I desperately want to make walking in the outdoors a lifelong habit! We fully intend to lengthen the amount of time we spend walking as well.

Today we tried something new (to us.) I downloaded a Couch to 5K app to see if there was any way possible I could learn to run again. You see, all of this weight has changed me. My once-strong legs are not so muscular anymore. My knees and ankles have felt weak. Oh, and there's the quick breathlessness that a sedentary lifestyle endows upon you... I have been literally afraid to try to run! (Part of that is because of the herniated discs in my lower back, so I really do need to be very cautious...) The course today was simple. It would be a 30-minute session. The first 5 minutes are spent warming up by walking, then you start alternating periods of jogging and walking.

After the first full minute of jogging, I thought I was going to pass out. Then it suddenly occurred to me that I had finished that full minute when I had thought I wouldn't make it past 5 steps!!! I do believe the first hurdle has been overcome! My daughter stuck it out with me. We'd finish a 1-minute period of jogging and both say we didn't think we could possibly do another, but when the time came to start jogging again, we did it! We jogged every single time the command was given. VICTORY!!!!!

I have to be honest and admit that I wondered how utterly ridiculous I must have looked on many occasions. I have to admit that I probably could walk faster than I ran. I have to admit that is was so hard to keep going.

But I kept going.

Is it silly or stupid for a grown woman to rejoice because she jogged a total of one-half of a mile and walked another 1.6? I don't care if it is. I count it a personal victory and I celebrate it! I need to determine how often I am supposed to do this. I would love to get out and walk every day. I guess I will have to figure out how to accomplish this when it is 20 degrees outside, too. I hear it is supposed to actually get cold soon... Any tips appreciated!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Feeling Good

What a journey!

This week is starting off at a hefty pace. Yesterday was Stephen's MRI, so that meant we traveled. And traveled. And traveled... Stephen's doctors are at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC. We live about 90 miles away, so it can take us anywhere from 1 hour 45 minutes to 4 hours to get there. Yesterday it took 3 hours. The appointment was in the evening, so we had already had a busy day before we even left. We left just after 3PM, but due to crazy traffic issues, we got there a few minutes after the scan was supposed to have started. (I did call them on the way and let them know what was going on.) 

Scan days are hard on Stevie, because he HATES getting shots and IV lines. There is the traveling, which he usually sleeps through, but he also has to have an IV for the contrast administration during the scan. It has been so heartbreaking in the past to deal with this, knowing it is coming, trying to encourage him to not fight it. For the first time, he did REALLY well getting the IV started! This scan was unique in that they did his scan in a machine that had a really neat video system integrated into it, so he watched Pirates of the Caribbean while the scan was running. It is really important to stay perfectly still during this time, and this was the first time he succeeded! We got out of there at about 8:30 and got home around 11.

We will go back next week for follow up with his doctors. 

On a different topic, we started Weight Watchers here this week. It has filled us with excitement, and we are doing well. I have already lost 10 lb, and I think that is because of the sheer volume of water I have been drinking each day. It's really exciting!!! Jon has lost 11 lbs already. That's my baby!!! I will be attending meetings with Rachel on Monday evenings and we are all encouraging each other on this road. We have GOT to get healthier!!! I was excited tonight because my daily points allowance actually went down! WHOOT!!! It did remind me, though, that as I lose weight I need to be sure my thyroid meds are adjusted appropriately. I gained so much weight after surgery and treatment that I am sure I have not been getting enough lately. I have had signs saying so... But I hope to be back down to that weight in a few weeks and look forward to actually having the dose adjusted downward!

It's late. Jon is home, boys are back from Scouts, everybody is in a great mood. I think we are going to go sit together for a while. This is good. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Beginnings

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

-Lamentations 3:22-24, NKJV

Every day I thank God for new beginnings. Scripture says that God's mercies and compassions are "new every morning." How encouraging it is to know that the mistakes, shortcomings and disappointments of yesterday do not rule my today, nor do they necessarily predict my tomorrow! New beginnings are possible each day, and they are possible spiritually and physically. Today marks a wonderful new beginning for me!

Several years ago I had an encounter with God concerning my health. I was absolutely miserable... fibromyalgia and many other ailments had debilitated me. I was on so many medications... at one point the count was 14 concurrent meds! That was ridiculous, and needed to change. I went to God about it and He directed me to write down the events of the past year. I started writing, and as I went on it became clear that He had never left my side. He had carried me through the hardest times, led me around some traps, held my hand and fed me through His Word. He had been there, and was not the cause of my pain. He pointed out to me that He could continue to heal me over and over, but I was bringing myself back into sickness by the way I was eating. So after research and prayer, I decided to cut animal products completely out of my diet. 

How wonderful that change was! It was not as hard to do as I had imagine, and the results were amazing. My pain was completely gone after a very short time. I had more energy, my skin and hair were better, I lost some weight (not a whole lot, but any was a great help...) and I learned so much about how much priority I had given my appetite in my life. That was changing, and it was a good change. I lived the mostly-raw vegan lifestyle for three years, and for the most part it has served me very well.

This past year had a few challenges of its own... I discovered I had thyroid cancer, so I had it all removed. My mother's family has an unbelievable rate of thyroid disease and cancers... After the surgery I had the radioactive iodine treatment and have been taking thyroid replacement medication ever since. I know the cancer is dealt with. Right about the same time that I was going through that, though, it was determined that my son had a recurrence of cancer in his spinal cord. It was quite a whirlwind, so much happening at once. (Spoiler: the tumor has grown very slowly, and at this time Stephen has still not had to undergo new treatment for it. He will have his next MRI on Monday and if there is any new growth, they'll decide treatment at that time. They are talking surgery and radiation. I'll post the results when I know them. Our Faithful God has taken care of him this far, I trust Him completely with my son!) 

We have had to make so many trips into Washington, DC for Stevie's tests and to meet with radiation oncologists. Unfortunately, those trips in addition to the cost of my surgery and radiation treatment have made it nearly impossible for me to continue to eat a strictly vegan diet when no-one else in my family has any part of it. Since I could not afford to buy the quantity of vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds and nuts that I needed, I discovered I was starving myself in order to feed the rest of the family. I didn't even realize I was doing it... I didn't have enough for myself and was not going to eat what the rest of them were eating, so I just didn't eat much. My health began to suffer again. So, with a cautious heart I have put the veganness on hold for now. I am focusing on providing a single, "healthy" menu that will serve the whole family. 

The downside of this dietary change and thyroid changes are that I now weigh more than I ever have. So in an effort to make good changes and form great culinary and lifestyle habits, I have decided to go through Weight Watchers to help me relearn it all. My daughter, Rachel, is doing it with me, so I have an accountability partner in the process. My husband, son-in-law and children are all going to be making these changes and I have HOPE that good changes are coming.

The most difficult person to feed in this family is my son, Stephen, The chemotherapy he went through when he was 3 caused changes in his tastes, and the boy just refuses to eat anything that is good for him. I am praying that this will work for him. His diet will not be restricted, like mine will, but will present him with many more healthy options to the few things he likes to eat. (Read that as Oodles of Noodles, Oodles of Noodles, and, oh yeah! OODLES OF NOODLES.)

So here we are, starting on a journey together. When Stephen was rediagnosed with cancer earlier this year, I felt very impressed to journal this trip. I totally forgot about my blog (I guess that is obvious...) but I think this will be a great way to document both his healing and our family's dietary changes and improved health. I purpose to write, even if no one will ever read it. I purpose to change my eating and activity levels, even how food is brought into the house and stored! I purpose to give food, eating, and appetite in its proper place and teach good habits to my kids. I purpose to encourage my husband in his own effort to lose weight and regain his own health. So, here's to New Beginnings! I greet you with hope and love and great expectation!