Holding my "before" favorite shirt after losing 125 pounds on my journey to better health.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

My Friend, My Hero.

I have so many people that I admire and consider my friends but today I want to share about someone who lifts me up every time I see her.  This hero is a women who is close to 65 years young.  She is someone I met at a group meeting of WW (formerly Weight Watchers)  One day as I walked into meeting she had tears streaming down her cheeks as she shared that she had just gotten the results from her recent blood work, test, and scans. She had Pancreatic Cancer.  She said that it was advance and she had about a year to live. That there could be treatment options and it would prolong her life but with some very strong side affects.  We talked about how she felt about treatment and how her family felt.  She had decided to pass up on treatment and settle her affairs and live as fully and vibrantly as she could.   I did not see her for a week or so but when I did she was just exiting a Yoga class at the local gym.  I asked her how she was doing and she said that she was going to do all she could each day and live a life of joy!  Her comments really hit me hard as I was so reluctant to go exercise that day and she was calling it "joyful?" I visit with her often at the gym and she always tells me to never give up! To enjoy my workouts and find the joy in them.  As I talked to her this past week she expressed that she decided to have treatment now  and that she was unable to chew or hardly eat for 5 days of the week because of the terrible blisters her medication causes in her mouth. She then said with a chuckle that she sure made up for it on the two days she could eat. She also told me about a great posture class that I should try with her. Always lifting and encouraging others even when she is hurting.  She just won't give up and give into cancer.  She is my Hero.  I have never seen her at any time before or since this diagnosis to be down and out about anything. As I listen and learn from her I want to soak up that positive attitude and live my life full of joy. She makes those she is around want to do better and more as they see her example.  We need more hero's like her. Those who quietly and with example teach us that each day we can have a life of joy.  I am lucky to call her my friend.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Swampy slump.

 I have had a lot running through my mind the past few months. Wondering If It was time to stop blogging. I write for me and hope that I can help you as I write about how I am feeling and doing. On a recent trip I had an interesting experience. I was traveling through an airport and heard an excited voice exclaim! " Is that Mrs. Dodge?  Yes it is!  I am so excited to meet you Mrs. Dodge!" "You are a huge inspiration to my wife and I!"  As we visited more he explained that he and his wife read my blog and it helps them! This was not something I expected to hear at 6:00 AM in the airport.  This is not something I expect to hear at any time so it was quite precious to me.  Let me explain.

I lost my weight to regain my health. I never in my wildest dream thought I would be able to help others to become the best they could be. It just happened. I reclaimed my life and began to share it. You all began sharing with me your success and your frustrations but you also gave me your encouragement and support.  You give me hope and drive to continue on. I think of the things you post on my blog and I am so thankful to be able to hear that I am helping in some small way.

I have been in a slump as far as exercise and eating well.  I know that it will always be a struggle to keep my health and weight in line. I have fought and struggled with my self for quite some time but the past few weeks I've been starting to slowly crawl out of the slump.  It feels good to take control again and start to move.  I have to move or my fibro begins screaming in my ears that I hurt. I began by walking slowly and have been able to pick that back up pretty easily. (our bodies are so forgiving of being neglected!)  It feels good to be out and moving along. I then signed myself up for a program at our local hospital that I am really enjoying.  It is in the Live Well center.  I went in for an evaluation and spend about 3 hours going over my eating habits, sleeping habits, and especially my mobility.  They even put me in a bod pod and measured my "fat."  During one part of the evaluation I was required to do a lot of balance and strength tests.  The physical therapist doing the assessment shook his head and said he didn't know what to do with me as far as the type of exercises I needed to be doing.   I tested in all of the levels as a much younger person. He said there were two usual sets of exercises, one for younger people and one for older.  He decided to do my exercises as a "younger" person staring with strength training so I go and lift weights and work on resistance machines twice a week.  They are starting me low on all areas because they do not want to cause injury to my already blown wrists. I wear weight training gloves that are shocking pink and that gives all the trainers a chuckle. There are 2-3 trainers in working with a group of 10 of us. I have been sore but it is a good sore.  It is a sore that says I am working to strengthen my back, hips, and shoulders. My frozen shoulder is loving that it has free movement again. It feels good to be taking care of me.

I hope that if you are in a slump that you try to get yourself going. Its hard. I know but once you have done some form of exercises for a few days the slump begins to lift.  I think of so many of you when I walk and wonder how you are doing. Or what I can say to get you to begin your healthy journey. It is really hard at times but it is really worth it.  Let's end this year on a "high" instead of sinking into the swampy slump.  Thanks for picking me up and carrying me when I have needed your help

Sunday, June 4, 2017

My Grands youtube channel

My grand likes to put videos onto youtube.  They are pretty funny. Here is a link if you want to see his videos

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Tale of Two Babies

This post is a tribute to my daughter and the two little baby boys who have impacted our families lives in the last two years. My daughter has struggled for a few years with the health issues that plague a lot of people who have excess weight. I say this with great love as a mother. She had forgotten how to take care of her own health as she helped take care of her family and work a full time job.  She found out that she was expecting a baby and we were cautiously  excited as we knew the risk of her carrying a healthy baby to term with diabetes and high blood pressure.  She was really struggling with her diabetes and had to begin insulin injections very early on. She never felt good and seemed to catch a lot of infections.  Because she was over 40 she was encouraged by her Dr. to have genetic testing and she agreed.  At that time she was told that there were two genetic conditions that would make the baby unable to survive. That they were very rare and the Dr. had only had two babies with either condition  in his many years as a high risk Dr. One day she got a call from the Dr's office that she needed to come in right away. She asked me to go with her as we knew there must be a problem  As we sat in the Dr's personal office we talked about what we thought it could be and the challenges of raising a special needs baby but she felt she would be a great mom to such a baby.  The Dr. came in very solemnly and said I am very saddened to tell you that your baby boy has Trisomy 18 one of the  genetic conditions that a baby will not survive.  We sat there stunned. This had to be a mistake. He said before we repeat the test we will do an ultrasound to confirm.  She was immediately taken into the ultrasound room and there we saw that this little baby would not survive. The tears flowed and my heart broke as I watch my little girl tremble and sob as she looked at the images up on the screen. We have talked a few times about that day and the images of that special baby will be forever in both our hearts.  Several days later he was delivered and all we have of him are the prints from his tiny feet.
After this my daughter functioned and did what she needed to do but seemed to just survive. Any mother who has lost a baby and dreams of the future know this terrible time of mourning.  She began to feel better and started taking some interest in her health. Going through this had made her realize that her health needed to improve greatly . I am so grateful for this little boy and the motivation he gave to his mama to fight for her health and her life.

I now want to share with you about the second little boy.  My daughter was once again expecting and of course the concern was high. The pregnancy was going well and as perfect as could be.  She was  following all the guideline for healthy eating. I can not imagine how many finger pokes she endured while pregnant to keep a close tab on her diabetes.  It has to be in the hundreds if not thousands. She kept in close contact with her doctors, visited with diabetes specialists, and followed their guidelines. Each month as she went into her OBGYN her doctor would say everything was "gorgeous!" Her diabetes, blood pressure, and weight were in good control.  In mid December she woke up one morning to a gush of blood.  After contacting the Dr. and being evaluated by an ultrasound it was confirmed that the baby was fine. She was sent home to bed rest. She had 4 more months to go.  I can't imagine the fear that was in her heart. Put on bedrest during the holidays, having to step down from her teaching job and the impact that would cause to the family finances. But she did as she was told and settled in for the long haul.  She began having contractions frequently and that added to her concern.  She had two genetic tests to see if all was well with the baby and those came up "No Results." Apparently if a baby and mother are close in DNA markers it will not show if there is a genetic change.  Also heavier mothers often get "No Results." The high risk specialist did several diagnostic ultra sounds to try to determine if there would be any genetic conditions that would affect the baby at delivery.  Every ultrasound came back that the baby fine. About 3 weeks ago she began having symptoms of early birth and pre eclampsia. Her blood pressure was going up and she was retaining water. She spent a weekend in the hospital while the tests were all completed and she was given through an IV the medication that would help the baby's lungs develop and function if he was born so early.  She went home on continued bed rest and at that time had to start doing frequent finger sticks and give herself injections of insulin to keep her blood sugars in line. She was seen every other day by a high risk Dr.  At one of those visits it was determined that she needed to deliver as her blood pressure was going to high for her safety. That she had fought the fight to hold onto this little boy for as long as was medically possible. Her baby boy was born and rushed away to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit.  He needed assistance with his breathing.  He had many of the issues that premature babies have. She went home and left him in the care of the specialists. She has healed rapidly and been able to go in and spend time with her little "miracle." One of the things she has been most proud of herself for accomplishing is that she is almost 15 pounds less than she was when she got pregnant. That is very impressive as most mom's gain 25-40 pounds with a pregnancy. That shows how determined she was to be healthy and give this little boy the best start possible.  Her little boy continues to grow stronger and will soon be leaving the hospital to go home and join his brothers.  He just has to work a little more on learning how to eat. I want to say how proud I am of my daughter. She was given a second chance and she did everything in her power to have this great outcome. Her 3 sons and husband worked together and did all they could to make sure this little brother had the best chance possible.  Miracles do happen!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

13 year old teacher!

I have a 13 year old girl who attends one of my Weight watcher meetings with her grandma.  The beautiful thing about this is she comes with her grandma and her other grandma is there saving them a seat. The love that is demonstrated as I see this young teen flanked on each side by a loving and caring grandma is just beautiful  Her mother is unable to attend that meeting so comes to one I lead during the week so she can reinforce what the young teen is learning.  She is attending with the approval of her Doctor and is coming to learn about healthy eating habits, balance in what she eats, increasing her activity, and serving sizes. She is quiet and shy and usually does not participate vocally in the meeting. A couple of weeks ago she raised her hand and said she wanted to tell us about a book she had read. She was very animated and excited about the book. She explained that it was on the list of recommended books for her grade to read.  She described the book about a teenage girl who weighed 300 pounds and about her journey to learn to love herself.  The book is titled "Skinny." The Author is Donna Cooner. I decided that I would get the book and see just why this teen was so impressed to share with us.  I read the book in about 3 days.  It is written for the teen crowd but I really enjoyed it.  "Skinny" is what the girl in the book named that "voice" that she had in her head.  That voice we all have in our head.  The voice that talks to us and tells us we are not good enough, or pretty enough, or strong enough etc.... I was surprised at how I could relate and appreciate the lessons  in this book.  We all have that voice that whisper to us. Often that voice prevents us from doing something that we want because of the doubt it creates. We all have that voice but we all have the choice to listen to it and let it stop us or go on with a new voice that tells us positive things.  I am so glad I listened to that quiet teen as she shared a very important message. I hope the Author knows how important her message is to not just the teenage readers but to this oldster too.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Slamming The Door.

I haven't been feeling  great the past few weeks.   I have let up a little on the things I need to do to feel good. I have stopped walking because I don't seem to have the energy which then backlashes me to not feel good mentally.  It just seems to be a constant battle.  Exercise(don't want to)  Eat better(Oh! Just one cookies? Right!!!) Take care of yourself(to tired.) Sound familiar?
When I feel good I forget(almost) that I have Fibromyalgia. It is always worse in our summer months. The heat and monsoon storms seem to let the Fibro loose for a while.  I experience the aches and pains that come along with it. The tiredness just makes me feel like I am wrapped in concrete. The brain FOG.  Oh, I hate that!  I go along for a few weeks not really realizing that my old enemy is trying to move back in. I have a friend who has been going through awful Fibro flares. I have heard of her struggle and hope. Then it dawns on me! Fibro is once again knocking at the door wanting to come in.  If I just open it a little more then Fibro can slip in and stay.  Now I recognize this I know what to do to slam that door for now.  I have done this before and I can do it again.  Fibro is not welcome to live in my body. So... the fight begins. To get walking and get in the pool. To start eating the way my body responds the best. I know how to do this! I know how my body responds. I want to feel better, stronger, and mentally sharper. So for now!!! Watch our Fibro!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

I love my Job

I am often asked why I work for Weight watchers? I first want to say that I am not promoting WW. I am not trying to talk anyone into joining. It worked for me. Plan and simple it helped me to continue losing weight on my healthy journey.  I believe that there are many ways to lose weight that are healthy.  I was able to lose my first 50 pounds following the diabetic diet. I quit eating all white foods and  learned to love the brown breads, rice, etc. I had to learn to eat and like fresh fruits and veggies.  Yes I count my points but it is not burdensome to me.  It was a game to see if I could do it each day. A challenge!  I like challenges. I loved the support I received from others at the meetings.  When I lost to my goal weight I was asked if I would like to work for WW. I didn't hesitate and started training the next day.   I am so lucky to be with others who are seriously working on weight loss.  Working on increasing exercise and really investing in taking care of themselves.  I have to say that I love my job.  I can share in the triumph of other peoples accomplishments.  Most important I get reminded each day I work of where I was and where I am now.  I sit and listen with a full heart to men and women who say they do not like themselves. They hurt both mentally and physically as they talk about the weight gain.  Some do not know how much it hurts to have excess weight.  Hips, back, knees, shoulders, joints all seem to scream as you move. Each step is a challenge for some of the members. I think of the rashes I would get from skin rubbing on skin as I listen and can relate to a member talking about such a personal problem. Bladder leakage? Yes, I know about that.  I look at the members who come to the meeting and I can still see the marks left by their cpap straps that have been pressing into their faces.  I am reminded that I would get up very early so that the lines would be gone if I had to go out somewhere. I remember the tangle of the oxygen tube and the hum/hiss of the oxygen concentrator  hooked up in my laundry room. Having to take spare oxygen tanks with me when I left home.  I look at their slip on shoes and the elastic wasted pants. The clothing worn to be comfortable. I am reminded I was always on the look out for clothes that might fit and slip on shoes that would fit on swollen feet.  I watch as they wipe sweat off their faces from the effort to come. So many things that my thin friends will never experience.  As they are talking and pouring their hearts out to me I like to look them in the eyes and say. I know! I care! I did it! You can too!  I have watched many of them lose and improve their health. I have watched some leave that were not ready. It is hard! It is long! It is work! It is dedication! It is something that is possible! I also notice when someone stops coming. I would love to see everyone be able to reach their goals but I also understand that there is so much involved and maybe they were not ready right then. I have had others tell me they are going to stop and try something else. I am glad they are continuing taking care of themselves  I always look forward to going to work. I work with such appreciative people. I really appreciate them as they help me along the way on my healthy journey. I hope they know that they are my greatest support team.  They keep me keepin' on.  I Love My Job!!