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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sticks and Stones

As I write this blog I think of all of you reading about my crazy life. You are helping me so much just knowing you are there and you care about me. I wish I could give you the answer to how to find your own healthy you. I had to find that for myself. I had to get the fire in my heart that I wanted to do this so bad that I had to do it.  I have shared a lot of what I had to go through to get to that point. I guess with death knocking at my door I had to make that choice. I know how you feel because I have felt those feelings too. It is hard to go out that door and walk when you feel so heavy and sad. I know how really hard it is to put  on that swimming suit and worry about what someone will say.  I think I shock my kids sometimes when they say something about what will someone think about this or that. I tell them THAT is not their problem it is the other persons  problem. Let them think what  they want, let them say what they want. My mom use to tell me a little saying when I was little and had hurt feelings. "Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me." The only way words can hurt me is if I let them. You all know what I mean.  Just know that there are many people out there wanting the same things you want and are cheering you all on in your journey for healthy living. Thanks for cheering me on.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

New Journey

I started training for a new job yesterday. I can't believe I would ever work again. I have been going to weight watchers for the past six months and one day as I was weighing the leader said. "Come work for us." I said okay not really thinking they were serious. They were!!!!!!! I will train this week and if all goes well I will be a receptionist for a couple of meetings a week.  Not much but enough that it will let me be with others who are working on a healthy journey and keep myself going. I remember when I had to give up my nursing licenses and all the training and work I had put into that career seemed lost. I don't know why that was a lot of my self worth, but it was. I have struggled with that for a long time. I have been asked why I don't try to return to nursing but I have very little sensation in my hands and arms. I could not do what a nurse needs to do. I don't know if my fibromyagia would cooperate either. I have new doors to open and new hope for opportunities. I know that all the things I have had to fight through have had a reason. Sometimes I just wonder why it had to be so hard? I go on a new journey and excited for it.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Dogtown 5K

We did it. My daughter, son, and I completed the dogtown 5K this weekend. I finished 5th in my age division (out of 5 that had registered.)  I guess you could say I came in last again.  It was a lot of fun doing it with my son and daughter this year.  She is doing really great in her healthy journey. Has had a few bumps in the road but picks herself up and keeps on going. Just wanted to let you know how it went.  I am so grateful for the strength that I have been given to do the activities that I wanted to do for so many years. I am amazed at the miracles I have been given.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


  A few years ago I went to a Transformer movie with my little red headed grandson.  At one point in the movie this little creepy mumbling robot comes crawling out. I physically shivered and "red" said, " are you okay granny?"  I clenched my fists and continued watching the movie but told him later that "frenzy" really freaked me out.  A few years later when I was at the rehab I received a package from my family and there was a little tiny frenzy toy packed in there from red.  I began carrying that around and realized that he and I had both recognized some feeling that I had when looking at frenzy. At the time I first saw frenzy my  life was a real frenzy. My mind, my health, my pain and my pain pill addiction.  I was out of control and on a fast track to death.  As I continued with my rehab I would get letters and little packages often and always tucked inside somewhere was a picture of frenzy. I studied him long and hard trying to figure out why he bothered me so much. I came to the realization that I felt just like that inside.  I didn't like what inside looked like or how I felt. It was just not good at all.  I made a little necklace that the frenzy toy hangs on and wore it for a long time as a reminder that I never want to feel or look like that inside again. I use a lot of little tools like frenzy to help me keep on track. I am so grateful for that little boy and the sensitivity and fun he provided for me in a very frenzied time of my life.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Cousin Mark and two half marathons.

My son and my friend crossing the finish line with me.
I have lost about 70 lbs. since this photo. 
I read a post by my cousin Mark one day in Sept of 2011. He was throwing out the challenge for family and friends to walk with him in a Half Marathon. The date for this event was the middle of Jan. 2012. Many years ago I had helped the runners of our towns annual marathon and had always had great admiration for the work it took for them to be ready for the event. So I got my mind going. What if I just try? What if I can't finish? What if I can? Can I train and walk over 13 miles in the time allowed of 3 and a half hours? I decided to start walking. I printed out a schedule from the Internet and began following it. I walked through September, October, November, and December. Each week going a little longer on my distance. Finally the big day was here and It was pouring rain and sleet. I was NOT going to let the weather stop me, so off I went. I was able to cross the finish line 3:30 and 32 seconds. Not quite under the time limit but oh so close. I  then decided that since I was conditioned I should do the 1/2 marathon that is held in our neighboring town that is in Feb. so I kept walking. I was able to cross that finish line before the deadline and I am proud to say I hold the record for finishing last!!!! At least I have something that is unique. It was a lot of hard work and a lot of time but I won so much during my training. I did not lose any weight which I had hoped for but I  won the beauty of nature. I won the fresh air and the singing birds. I won the blue sky and the cool breezes. I won the knowledge that I can do anything when I really put my mind to it and take it a day at a time with little steps. I won knowing that my body could do much more when I gently coaxed it along. My knees were stronger and did not hurt. My hips felt better. I was stronger. I am so grateful that Mark threw me that challenge and I caught it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dancing Queens

Linda and I can shake it up!!!
I had an acquaintance who became a dear friend. Her name is Linda. When I started going to the gym I realized that she was going there also. Linda was on her own healthy journey and had done wonderful things with diet and exercise. She lost a lot of weight and gained a lot of health. She is one of my faithful cheerleaders. We decided that we wanted to try out a Zumba class. We KNEW that we would probably be the oldest ones there and I knew I was going to be the biggest. We went and placed ourselves in the very back. We tried and we stumbled and we laughed at ourselves and each other a lot. We keep trying and eventually decided that to make it more fun we wanted to wear the little Zumba skirts over our work out clothes. The ones like belly dancers wear that have all the little jingling coins on them. We knew we would probably feel like fools but we did it anyway. We wore those skirts and we shook our hips.  Much to our surprise we found out that we were getting a better work out with the skirts as we would move our hips more to make the coins jingle. Eventually there were 7 or 8 gals that wore those skirts and we had a lot of fun with that. I have been told many times that someone had looked in the window at us and thought, "if they can do it I am going  to try." I have since that time tried many of the classes. Some I love and some are not for me. I have had  to find that out by trying. Linda has had to miss the gym for some time with a terrible wrist break but she was back by my side the other night doing Aqua Zumba. She has some catching up to do for her healthy journey but she is there working hard and doing it.  Love ya Linda.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Blogging for a month!

I  have been writing this blog for a month. I am so surprised by the many, many people who have looked at my blog. People from all over the world. The U.S., United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, India, S. Korea, France, Greece, Italy, Malaysia, China, Switzerland,  Greenland,  Netherlands,  New Zealand,  Czech Republic, Turkey, Brazil, and Japan to just list a few. I guess wanting to be healthy is a world wide desire. I just have one wish and that is that you have taken the time to love yourself.  To find healthy foods and begin moving.  Thank you for the many wonderful comments and messages of love you have sent to me. We are in this journey together and I need you to keep me going on this healthy way of life. Thank you again.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Favorite shirt.

Have you ever had a favorite shirt? You know the one you love and never want to part with. I found mine at a little place on Whiskey Row in Prescott AZ.  Not what you would expect to find in an old western town but there is was... Men's 3X and professionally tie dyed. Not the material they have now but the real thing. I had to have it and I loved it. It fit me just right. A little snug on the belly but that was how all my clothes fit. I wore that shirt with great pride to and felt beautiful in it. It was a little long and had long sleeves so I had my neighbor who is a Tailor fix the length and cut off the sleeves. I loved that shirt and still love it. I can't part with it and wanted to share it with all of you. I guess you could say I have grown out of it.  Time to get out my tie dye equipment and make a new favorite shirt.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Jumping off the Plateau.

I had lost 50 lbs when this was taken.
I was thinking about my weight loss journey and remembered some of the frustrations I had with my wt. loss. At first the weight seemed to come off pretty fast but I eventually ended up sitting on the edge of a Plateau.  I was very careful with my eating and exercise and  the scales kept saying the same thing. I even changed the batteries in them once thinking that maybe they were broke. My body settled into a pattern that was pretty strange. I would plateau for about 6 weeks then drop 5 to 6 pounds over 2 days. Pretty strange and terribly frustrating. That went on for about 6 months then I ended up on an even higher plateau.  I keep thinking that I was just doing my 6 week trick but no.  Two months, four months, yes even six months went by.  I finally decided that what I was doing was not working for me any more. At that time I decided to join Weight Watchers to see if maybe I was not doing what I needed to do as far as my healthy eating. Well guess what? I started dropping the weight but this time weekly not like I did before. I had lost about 51  pounds doing my own food adjustments and I had lightened up on myself and was slowly adding a little more food into my day. I am lucky I did not gain weight at that time. I guess the exercises helped me to maintain. Since I have joined Weight Watchers  I have lost 69 more pounds since the middle of July. A total of 120.  I know how frustrating it is to stand on those scales and expect a loss. I know how heartbreaking it is to gain a pound or two. But I know that as I continued with my healthy eating and exercise that eventually I lost the weight. I have also learned that my weight is a number. I have so many other things that reward me with my healthy life. I have energy. I have muscles that don't hurt with Fibromyalgia. I am stronger. I am happier. I feel good. I can now climb the beautiful Plateaus in my area and not get winded. And guess what...I don't mind sitting on THOSE plateaus for a while.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


No man (or woman) is an island. A very important part of my Journey were the people who I like to call my cheerleaders. You know the family and friends who give you the encouragement to keep going. The journey of personal health is just that, personal. I can't do it for you and you can't do it for anyone else. It is just you doing it for you. But there can be a lot of support and guidance given from many cheerleaders along the way. It might just be a smile saying I am glad to see you or it can be a "Oh my gosh you look great." It can be a phone call asking you to go on a walk or you making that call to someone else. This is a hard journey and I needed all the help I could get along the way. I asked questions and tried new foods, classes, and exercise routines. I did computer research on nutrition and printed off training guides to get me ready to be able to build up and endure walking 2 Half Marathons last year. (More about this in a later post.) I learned about clothing and shoes that would help me to feel more comfortable in my movement. Did you know that a good pair of shoes is good for about 500 miles? I didn't know that. There are clothes that can keep you warm, and don't show the sweat. I would ask about different things at the gym. About protein and resistance to build muscles and aerobic exercise to get my heart rate up. About interval training and core strength. All these things I had never though about and some never even heard could help me. I would then come home and research to make sure that what I heard was correct and safe. I have never been made to feel like I was dumb for  asking these questions. But I always check it out. There are some people that can become a little extreme in training etc. and I guard my new found health like a big bag of million dollar bills and I will not risk doing something that could send me be down that dark path again. I try to be a cheerleaders for others as I know how much it has helped me. If you are struggling with someone who is not to great at giving support find someone who is.  Be proud of your progress. Share your accomplishments. I am not talking about weight loss I am talking about walking a little farther, swimming one more lap, being able to dance through 1 song. Lifting a small weight through a whole set of commercials on TV, or making a better choice in the way you eat. You will be surprised at how proud of you the cheerleaders in your life will be. And how proud you will be of those that you cheer on in their journey of life. So Okay cheerleaders let's GO!!!! Give me an H. Give me an E. Give me a A. Give me a L. Give me a T.  Give me an H. What does it spell?   HEALTH.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Oxygen Tank Tango!!

Before I  went to the wellness center I was getting weaker and more depressed.  I went to a sleep center and had all the tests and found out that I had sleep apnea.  I was instructed on how to use a VPAP. It is a machine just like the CPAP but it forces puffs of air into  your lungs at a regular rhythm.  Meaning I was not breathing on my own much. I was told that I should never ever sleep with out the machine not even for a short nap. I did not know how bad I was until that same day the man came to set up my machine and told me that I was also to be on Oxygen during sleep and most the time during the day. He then gave me a long tube that would reach through my house and still reach the concentrator that would deliver the oxygen.  I was given little portable tanks to put on a little cart and wheel with me when I went out and some emergency cylinders for if the power went out.  I  would walk through my house dragging my  new hose along and would constantly get tangled. I was struggling to wear the mask at night and the rubber seal that goes around your mouth and nose would irritate the bridge of my nose. I would put tape or bandages on the sore parts then they would tear off my skin when I removed them.  I tried multiple masks until I did find something that worked. People would say it was the best thing they ever found when they finally got use to their machine and would get great sleep..I would just look at them and think. REALLY????  Not long after I started using this  "new friend" my family decided we should still go on our annual camping trip to the cabin in Bear Valley. Well, I had a little problem. At one time we considered taking a generator and  concentrator and running it all night for the VPAP and O2. I knew no one would sleep with both the generator and concentrator running.  I then decided to go without the VPAP for the night and only take O2 in the cylinders.  The cylinders would supply me for 4-5 hours so would have to get up in the night to change that.  We have a cabin that we usually save for the grands to sleep in because it is much, much warmer and we can fire up the stove to help keep them warm.  So my husband and I were out in a tent with me tucked in next to my oxygen tank which had it own sleeping bag to keep it warm..... About 2 A.M. after not sleeping because I was worried about running out of  O2 and worrying I would stop breathing in my sleep it came time to change that tank. Bear Valley is well known for how COLD it gets after the sun goes down.  We were trying to change that tank being very quiet to not wake the others in tents around us and freezing our butts off. The flash light was not doing a great job of lighting up what we needed to see. I was crying hard at causing such a problem.  We woke everyone up with our struggles. Lets just say it is a night I nor my husband will ever forget.  It was that next summer after I was able to get off the narcotic medications that I asked for another sleep study.  My sleep specialist said he had never seen nor heard of such improvement in a person as sick as I was. He acknowledged that narcotics can cause breathing problems but was very surprised at the improvement I had made.  Off the O2 at that time and the VPAP was changed to a CPAP with very low pressure for assistance.  Then I began to get very serious about healthy eating and exercise and now I do not even need  the CPAP.  I look back at some of these things and wonder how I lived through it. I am so glad that I listened to that little whispering in my head that would say, "what if it is the pain medication? what if?" I should not be here and I am grateful for everyday that I have and for the many many people who have helped me battle back from the edge of death.

Friday, February 1, 2013


I love butter. It loves me too. It loves me so much that it wants to live on my hips. I would eat butter on everything.  Funny thing is that my cholesterol was so good the Dr. told me he would love to trade me. My body makes a lot of HDL and little of the LDL.  I had to give up butter when I finally decided to get serious. I got rid of the white bread but continued to pile the butter on my multi grain breads. How can anyone eat vegtables with out butter my mind was telling me.  I can not have it in the house. I went for a long time without any butter at all then I figured out a way to have a small amount of it now and then. My local grocery store has a big beautiful salad bar. They have rolls and butter you can buy along with your salad. When I decide to have a roll with a meal I now buy my one multi grain roll for me and a sourdough roll for my husband. I then go to the salad bar and get a little container and put in several pats of butter. When I go to pay they weigh my little container of butter but most often they just give it to me for the cost of my roll. It is my way of having something I really love and not going crazy and eating a ton.  So now I can love butter and have it too. I have had to find other ways to make myself stay in control. I do eat my favorite food. Just not the whole box, bag, or carton like I use to.  I have learned that if I have my favorites in the house then it is a lost cause. I tried and tried to control myself but I just couldn't. So...the solution that works for me (yes it is more money) when I get those cravings that we all do. I go and buy ONE. 1 cupcake. 1 cookie. 1 snack size bag of chips. 1 tiny carton of ice cream. If it is something that you can't find in a single serving size then I count out a serving put it in a baggie and have even had my husband hide the rest from me. I also learned that some of those little tiny bags of goodies are more than one serving. So I read labels. It is more money and takes more time. Sometimes I have found that I can talk myself out of it if I have to make the effort to go get it. I have a quote that I keep where I can see it to remind me. I do not know who said it but it reminds me that I need to constantly evaluate myself.  It is: Transformation is a present activity.... I need to work on me every day. I need to show up, put in the work, and fuel my body with healthy foods. But I will also enjoy a little treat now and then.