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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Loving the Bad with the Good

Self Portrait Challenge! A reminder to not let the negatives in life drag you down! Be nice to yourself, love yourself for who you are. This has always been a challenge for me to love myself whole heartedly, as I am, flaws and all! I've been working on stopping the negative auto response when someone tells me something positive about me. Instead of the instant rolling of the eyes and accusing them of just being nice or lying to me, maybe I can accept it as the truth because MAYBE that's what it is!! It's hard for me to look in the mirror and like the person I see but in the last few years I've actually made myself look at me and it's starting to happen, noticing the positives instead of the instant find a million and one things I hate about what I see! I may never be able to fix the broken in my brain, the old recordings, programming, but I can stop them and replace them with the truth! The truth is...I'm beautiful, talented, loving, kind, worthy, smart and I deserve every happiness and every wonderful blessing I've received in life!
I find it's natural to pick apart and find every flaw we see when we look at a reflection or picture of ourselves! We even find ones that don't exist but only in our heads! I've begun telling myself one positive every time I pass by my reflection. I'm on the road to loving who I am as a person, flaws and all! I'm not perfect...I'm perfectly imperfect and that's OK for me! God loves me just as I am and created me to be me and I'm coming to terms with and really starting to find a peace about the version of ME I'm becoming...the BEST version! We'll never reach perfection and it's not something we should strive to be! Who wants perfect? What fun would life be if we were all perfect? We are who we are because of the broken, cracked, smudged and glued back together pieces of ourselves! It's what gives us character, depth, personality and even though we see the flaws we're still beautiful to more people than we ever realize!

Obsessing over…

Diapers, baby clothes, labor...all the things that are filling my life and my mind as I prepare for the birth of my first child!

Working on…
Remaining calm and trusting my natural ability and confidence in myself to be a good mother!

Thinking about…
The reality that is about to consume my life! I've spent years thinking about it, praying for it, hoping, wishing, crying and wondering what it's going to be like and now that it's really happening I'm scared out of my mind!
Wondering what it's going to be like to give birth and what those first moments will reveal about me as a person and his mommy!

The Big life changes happening! Having a baby, holding him for the first time, looking into his eyes, embracing and taking in every moment of this little life that we've created!

Listening to…

Classical music and the dog chewing on a toy



Wishing the next few weeks will go by smoothly and wishing I could sleep or do anything in a more comfortable manner! Wishing the aching and swelling would go away so I can walk!

Go to her blog and take the challenge! Love yourself and who you are because both the good and the bad side are beautiful!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

What I do will forever impact and affect someone else!

Another new year is upon us and January is almost over! I've spent much of this month reflecting, thinking, observing everything around me. I think about all the resolutions I've made and not kept, all the things I've wanted to accomplish in the year and haven't and I've finally decided to resolve not to make resolutions! I make them, break them, then go on beating myself up for not doing what I set out to do for whatever reason. It's occurred to me that shifting my thinking, how I treat myself and others would probably be more productive. Forgiving myself and accepting the fact that I'm human and imperfect but I'm still valuable! As I look at my life and where I am today, where I've wanted to be, what I've wanted to accomplish it's become VERY clear that I'm exactly where I should be and I'm OK with that! I've noticed I've spent far to many years wishing and hoping for a different existence, a better existence. So much so that I've missed so much of what was in front of me. It hasn't been easy but it's all brought me to where I am now, made me the person I am at this moment and I'm finally starting to really like, maybe even love who that person is!

Anyone who knows me knows that my mind doesn't operate at normal speed! It's on overdrive 99.999% of the time with a million different thoughts, feelings, ideas and my husband often comments on how I can cover 10 different subjects in the same conversation switching from one to the next like it's nothing! I've been really trying to stop my brain and take on one thought at a time because I find I get anxious and often become very panicked and overwhelmed and then I over worry about everything! If I take on right now, this moment, things going on in my head one at a time it's more manageable and I'm able to cope and deal with what's in front of me so much better!
As I get closer to D day I've had a lot on my mind! Although I know it's VERY real and it is happening I still find myself surprised that I am having a baby! I've always watched as others had kids and I've held them wishing and praying for one of my own, thinking of how great it would be to be a mom! Now that it's happening I half expect to wake up from this dream. Why do I have such a hard time believing that these things are actually happening to me? I guess when you spend your life believing such blessings won't happen that when they do it takes you by surprise. But you know what? I DO deserve this life! I deserve the husband I've been blessed with who loves me unconditionally and who's shown me that I can have and am worth more! I do deserve the happiness that I feel when I look at my life and what I have! I'm really focusing on changing the what if thinking because it doesn't serve a purpose and keeps me from believing that maybe just maybe things will work out and be OK!
Being faced with a major life change it's got me really processing my priorities and what matters most in my life. I've taken on some big changes over the last two years but none as big as becoming a parent! A change that isn't about me so much as it is about this life my husband and I are bringing into this world! It's a HUGE reality to process when you come to realize everything you do from the moment you discover you're pregnant on will affect someone else for the rest of their life! WOW, no pressure right? Every overwhelming thought, question, doubt, fear, hope, dream you think of and how all of it will impact this little person. I'm no longer just living this life for me! God has given me a bigger purpose, a bigger reason for waking up every day and I realize that every decision I make now I have to think about my son! It's really got me understanding that I have to pay attention and be aware of what I do because it's up to me to shape him into the person he's going to grow up to be. What is it that I want him to learn? How do I want him to treat others? What kind of person do I hope to help him become? Kids are a product of their environment and they learn and absorb everything they see the adults in their life do and those things will stay with them throughout their entire lives! I've finally gotten to a place where I'm OK with the fact that I won't be a perfect parent but I will do my best to be present and be the best mom I can be by giving my son the best of me!
I've heard the comment "how can you love someone you've never met" from new moms and I've been thinking about that a lot recently. For me it doesn't seem so unbelievable that one could love someone so much before they even take their first breath! From the moment I saw those two lines I knew my heart wasn't mine anymore! Sharing the same space for 9 months, seeing him for the first time, seeing the little flicker and hearing his heartbeat, seeing and feeling him move, kick, reposition, can I not love him? It's crazy when I think about how much this little guy has impacted my life already and how much more he'll impact my life for the rest of my life! I look forward to his first breath, words, steps, and all the firsts he'll experience in his life! He has no idea how much of a difference he's already made and is going to make in so many lives! He's loved beyond words by so many and I'm so grateful and incredibly happy knowing my Son will get to know what unconditional love is, he'll have people around him who want the best of what life has to offer for him, who will pick him up when he falls and assure him that he's capable and deserving of the best in life!!

We're getting down to the final weeks and it seems overnight I've gone from looking kinda pregnant to OMG I'm pregnant!!   Drs say everything is good, his growth is right where it should be and we're planning on a vaginal birth with epidural. As of right now he's flipped from breech and is now head down getting ready to come! My blood pressure has been perfect so we're hoping for a stress free and pleasant birthing experience with the reality that it could change in a heartbeat! I trust my Drs and know that they'll do what's best for the health and safety of my son and myself! We're finishing the last of our birthing classes and learning about the stages of labor and some of the things to expect. They go over a lot of different situations because every woman's different and things happen so being aware of them all is good in case the one you're planning for ends up being different! You want to be prepared for that possibility! We've learned a lot with the books, Cd's, classes, information and knowledge given!
Physically I'm struggling with a lot of increased pain! Dealing with chronic pain, a back injury, fibromyalgia and other issues I knew what I was in for, just didn't know it would be like this! All at once, every pregnancy discomfort...I Feel x 10!! I don't walk anymore, I waddle, I'm up every 2 hours to pee and change positions, and I'm just plain uncomfortable! Regardless of all of this I'm grateful! I'm grateful he's growing and everything is good with him, when he moves, when I hear his heartbeat, and I'm grateful to be experiencing this blessing! I am aware of and my heart breaks for those who have suffered loss and who have struggled or can't have children. It's truly a gift that regardless of how difficult it is I'm incredibly fortunate to be receiving! Never give up hope and know that miracles come in many different pictures! God's plan is always bigger than our own and his blessings come just when we need them to most!!
What/who has made the biggest, life changing impact in your journey?
I could name a few! God for one! When I allowed God into my life and began my journey of faith I was jaded, bitter and wanted nothing to do with God because of what I was taught and told about him growing up. Since choosing to come to know God I've found he's nothing like they say and everything I've ever believed in my heart of hearts he was! He's impacted my life and shown me grace! That although I'm not perfect, I'm broken, messy, flawed that he still sees me as priceless, valuable, his child!
My husband has made a major impact on my life! When I met him my self esteem was lower than it's ever been. I had allowed myself to be surrounded by people who hurt me, didn't have my best interests at heart and I didn't think much if anything of myself when I met him. Somehow God intercepted and brought us together and in the 9 years we've been together he's patiently worked with me, loved me unconditionally, told me over and over that I'm worth having more, that I can be happy, that all the old programs that play over and over were wrong!! He's impacted me as a person and has impacted who I've become by believing in my power, my worth, my talents, my heart, my ability to affect change in others, help people through my life situations!
There are many others who have impacted my life in one way or another and for them I'm grateful!
Now It's my turn to impact some one's life! I get the blessing and privilege to impact my son's life, to show him what God's purpose for him is, to teach him his worth, talents, abilities and help him grow into the fine young man I know he'll become!
I challenge you to make an impact! Change a life, do something, anything to make even the smallest of difference in some one's life! It can be a hug, a smile, a hello, a word of prayer or doesn't have to look a certain way! Our value as a human being, as a Child of God changes within us when we see how small acts of LOVE can affect great things!!

34 weeks pregnant bare belly.

34 week belly

Saturday, December 31, 2011

I have a choice and I choose.....

I wanted to sit down and catch up with what's been going on in life since my last blog. I admit it, I've been one of those bloggers I though I would never become! One who wrote for a while then  vanished into the unknown, putting the blog on the back burner, ignoring the importance of why I started this blog to begin with!
Well, Here I am admitting this is life and I've failed at it for quite a while but I'm somehow getting life back in order, finding my footing and I have a million and 10 thoughts, ideas, experiences that need to be shared so here it is! I'll try to not overstimulate and dump it all in one post! I'd rather thin it out and have some direction, purpose, reason for each posting!
Leaving off from the last blog I had revealed that Ted and I are expecting our first child! We found out on July 3rd of 2011 and it came as a complete and total shock to both Ted and I! After trying for the most of 9 years with no positive results I had begun to resign that it just wasn't in the cards for me to be a mother! Maybe it wasn't in God's plan! When thinking about that I'd break down and ball because as long as I can remember I've wanted to be a mommy, to love a child the way I know a child deserves to be loved, to give the best life possible and to watch them grow up happy, healthy, and safe!!
When I got the two VERY clear pink lines on the First Response test after putting it off for as long as possible, because who was I kidding...I NEVER get a positive test, why would I now? I freaked out, double, triple checked, screamed for my husband who thought I was hurt so he came barreling down the stairs. He comes into the bathroom and I was standing as far away from the counter as I could possibly get (why I don't know) and asked him to look at the test saying"What is that?". He did, picked it up, turned around and smiled! "We're pregnant?"  I said um YEA, read it again, as if this is going to change the outcome right? 6 tests later all of them positive it started to sink in that I was in fact pregnant! I know how it happens but how does it happen for me, when I'm told it would probably never happen because of PCOS, hormone issues, being super morbidly obese, and the fact that I had never ovulated and my uterus had developed a lining far to thick to safely harbor an implanted egg?
Weight loss was our last option before heading into series of drugs and medical interventions to achieve this dream we've wanted for SO long!! I had weight loss surgery for a few specific reasons.
1. To be healthy~ I wanted off the two blood pressure medications that still couldn't keep my blood pressure from being dangerously high. I wanted to be able to breath/sleep without dying! My husband and my friends have told me MANY times I snore VERY loudly and I stop breathing when I sleep which led to a sleep apnea diagnosis. I have suffered from GERD for a VERY long time and was on a high dose of a medication to treat it that wasn't affective at all!
I wanted to walk without a cane, bathe myself properly, clean myself properly and just be healthy for once in my life!!
2. Have Kids~ I wanted to be healthy enough and have my body respond and function like it should in order for this to happen! All the times in my life I should've ended up with a baby, I haven't and I could never understand why. My weight, pcos, hormone imbalance all kept that dream far far away from me! Reading the research and talking to people who have had weight loss surgery and similar problems with getting pregnant going on to have healthy, full term pregnancies when the odds all told them it wouldn't happen!! Maybe it would help me too!
3. I was a ticking time bomb! ~ Not realizing just how sick I was and finally getting it that I wasn't far from an early grave if I didn't do something NOW!!
It was never so much about being skinny or weighing xxx or fitting into xxx size! Where I was it was more about my health and getting healthy enough to possibly get pregnant and be as healthy as I could be for baby and myself!!
After talking to my Surgeon he gave me clearance to go ahead and start trying to get pregnant. We put it off for Ted's surgery in April and needed to make sure we were both able to really enjoy this journey instead of making it a chore!
We made some transitions, moved into a smaller place to better live within our means so we could best prepare for baby. Ted got a promotion at work which has really been a blessing! His new district manager adores him and instead of transferring him into the same position at a different store like he had wanted, she decided she wanted him to stay where he's at but give him more because he's been an amazing asset to the company for the last 6 yrs and she felt he deserved the change! Sometimes I'm amazed at God's timing and how he lets things happen that make NO sense to us! In October Ted ended up in the ER with right side pain and had to have his gallbladder removed. It was inflamed, infected and full of stones so after 3 days in the hospital and a week at home recovering he finally got back on his feet. We lost vacation time we had planned to use when the baby gets here but we'll work something out!
OK, about baby!! It's been a very scary, up and down pregnancy that's kept us on our toes! My last blog was written just after we found out and as I write this I'm 31 weeks with less than 8 weeks to go! At 8 weeks we went to our first appointments and got an ultrasound and right away you see this lil blob and in the center a flicker which was an amazing thing to see! She turns on the speakers and this strong, amazing rhythm is something you never get over, something that never gets old!

8 weeks

I was sent to a High Risk Maternal Fetal specialist because of a blood clot I had just after my Gastric Bypass surgery and because of my mental health status and the medications I'd been taking for chronic pain.
Had to have blood work done and was told that I have a rare blood clotting abnormality in my genetics that could be fatal for me or baby. This scared me because my younger sister lost twins at 26 weeks because of a blood clotting issue. My Dr. assured me that with extra folic acid and blood thinner injections late in pregnancy and after birth would keep both baby and I safe!
At 12 weeks I had some bleeding which put me in the ER and I was given a Rogham shot because my O- blood type and got another at 28 weeks! They did an ultrasound and baby was fine and VERY active earning it the nickname "monkey"
We're having a Boy and naming him John Lewis after my father John and Ted's grandfather Lewis! He wasn't shy about showing up he was in fact a boy! Ted is completely in love with his lil boy! He's very involved and over the moon excited about becoming a daddy! His face lights up when he hears his heartbeat, sees ultrasound pictures and feels him move! He talks to my belly a lot and recently the baby has started responding! When Ted talks to him, he starts moving like crazy. We're starting to prepare our space for his arrival. We put it off for a while because we wanted to be sure we were going to be OK in case something were to happen.
In regards to my mental health issues, it's been surprisingly well! There was a lot of uncertainty about how pregnancy would affect my bipolar, anxiety, depression, PTSD and how I would respond to not being on medications that manage these issues. I see my therapist once a week who's been such a great asset in helping me cope with the ups and downs.
I worry about how my mental health and my physical limitations will affect how I am as a mother. I don't handle some simple stressors and I worry about how I'm going to handle the stress of being a first time new mom! Will depression and anxiety affect how I'm able to function and take care of my son? Physically can I cope with the demands parenting will put on my body? Will the pain I'm in constantly and the meds I need to take damage how capable I am or keep me from being the best mother for him? All these things run through my head! As I get further along in my pregnancy, the pain gets worse to the point I can barely walk, sleeping is broken by pain which then triggers panic and depression. It seems my PTSD has surfaced and is triggering a lot of bad dreams, memories, responses to certain things like music, driving, or anything that is in any way associated with a lifetime of trauma, stress, injury!
Something that hit me like a ton of bricks and caught me off guard was this deep longing for a maternal connection and guidance....something I didn't have! My mother wasn't the mother I needed and how do I go to her for maternal guidance when it's been made clear that she wishes she'd never had kids? Our relationship is beyond damaged and I made a choice that as much as I love my mother, I don't deserve the conditional love that comes with being part of her life! She's made the choice and it saddens me that those choices have kept her from having healthy relationships with her kids and now grand kids.
Still, something inside me needed that connection! As I become a mother, I think about the kind of mother I want to be, I'm going to be and how her being or not being a mother will affect how I am with my son! Do I take this new beginning in my life as a step towards trying again to rebuild a relationship with her? Part of me wanted to believe she's made serious changes and was at a different place in her life and had let go of the past and wanted to be a healthy part of her children's and grand children's lives! After an incident with my younger sister it became VERY clear that again whatever changes she had been working towards making meant nothing and she was still hung up on manipulation, control, hurt, guilt.....turning everything into a dramatic "there all against me, everyone wants to hurt me, it's all their fault" circus! No accountability and turning into the victim she's very comfortable with being. It broke my heart because not only did it hurt my sister and her kids but again she refuses to allow herself to be genuinely  happy! As I'm considering moving beyond the past, letting go, moving forward so my child and his grandmother can have a relationship I'm saddened that realistically that may never happen!
All this reeling in my mind, I'm flooded with a million thoughts, emotions, fears about what's to come! Doubting my ability to handle being a mother, will my past issues affect the kind of parent I am, will I be a bad mother because I didn't have and don't know what a good mother is like? After talking to some close friends, my therapist, it becomes amazingly CLEAR that I have a choice!! I have a choice to stop the cycle, to be a better parent, to not let my past or the mother I had become my future or the mother I'll be! I get to choose to be a better parent and I don't have to allow the cycles and mistakes that have haunted me all my life become the defining factor in my life! I choose to love my son unconditionally, give him the best of me, encourage him, see the best in him, keep him safe, be proactive in his life and raise him knowing he's smart enough, good enough and no matter what he's worth EVERYTHING!!
She had a choice! She could've chosen to be better, do better for her kids, to let go of the past, break the cycle of dysfunction! She's taught me a lot about what kind of parent I don't want to be and what not to do! Will I be perfect? NO! Will I make many many mistakes? Probably! Will I always make the best choices? Probably not....BUT If I do nothing else right I will try my hardest to make sure my Son knows how much he's loved, wanted, cherished, worth!
I'm overcome by a sense of peace about it! It got pretty bad and I've been really worried, terrified that I'm going to fail as a mother, I'm not good enough to be a good mother, I won't be able to handle it, everything that's wrong with me will be passed on to him.....and all of this really had me doubting myself!
What if I'm not all these things? What if I am a good mother? What if I can give him what he needs to be healthy and happy? What if he changes my life for the better?
WOW, imagine a good mother? With all the negative affirmations I've heard replayed in my mind over and over, I REALLY need to replace those with positive affirmations of truth about who I am as a person, what I've accomplished despite my past and others telling I'd never be good enough at anything!

It's a LOT to process and part of me feels like I'm whining or complaining when I want to share my struggles. I know that those who love me want to help carry these burdens, lighten my emotional load but still part of me feels like I'm intruding or in the way because others have lives, jobs, school, families and their own stuff going on. So, I keep it to myself, share it with my paper journal but I know I need to reach out more! Apparently God thinks I'll be a good mother! It's all very surreal and as we get closer everything I've seen, read, thought, dreamed about is now about to be my reality and that scares me!

I turned 30 on the 16th which brought a little anxiety but not nearly as much as I thought it would! Looking back through pictures of my late teens and throughout my 20s it was VERY clear how unhappy and sick I was! Going into 30 I feel better than I did my entire 20s and the blessings I have in my life now at 30 I wouldn't trade for the world! Finally at a place in my life where I'm happy, healthy and everything that I had hoped my life would be is and I couldn't ask for more! I have a husband who's my best friend, who takes care of me, loves me unconditionally, shows me what I'm worth and reminds me every day how much I mean to him! I couldn't ask for a better father for my son and I know that God brought him to me for a reason! He's going to make an amazing father and will be everything our Son needs and more! I'm a mother about to bring a life into this world! Yea I thought it would've happened by now but who am I to question God's timing? It's happening at the right time! So in the first year of my 30s I'm healthier than ever and I'm blessed with my own little family! Going places and doing things I've never done before! My life has become much richer! It's not about me anymore! I get to share my love, my life with others who deserve all the love I have to give! The realization that I get to choose what my life becomes is a liberating thing! I've been so afraid that I was doomed to be a product of my past, of the cycle that's plagued my family for so long! I choose what I allow to affect my life and how it affects me! We all have a choice and I'm finally seeing that I deserve more and I'm choosing to be happy, to have more than I've settled for!
30 weeks

4D 30 weeks

30th birthday

Friday, July 8, 2011

Big changes and big blessings!

So there's been a lot going on lately. Life has been a roller coaster ride the last few months. Hubby recovered from his surgery really well and is now down over 70 pounds! I'm so proud of him for everything he does. It hasn't been easy for him as he's had some problems adjusting to post op eating. We get so Ed to eating a certain way that it takes a while to adapt to all the new changes! Reminding himself to chew well, not knowing when he's full and eating a little to much, not being able to eat some of his favorite foods. For a few weeks he has trouble keeping food down. It seemed to get stuck and it was hard to pinpoint whether it's eating to fast, to much, not chewing enough or the possibility of a stricture. He had to have an upper endoscopy and dilation because the outlet to his pouch had healed to tightly not allowing foods to pass through. He's doing much better since that procedure and is still learning to gauge and really pay attention to his eating.
Being that we're both post op patients who require vitamins and protein and with other medical stuff that's come up we've realized we were struggling financially and something needed to change so that we weren't chasing our tales and digging a deeper hole.
We are moving out of our current house and into something smaller and less expensive. Our rent is really high and other bills are climbing making it harder to keep up with everything. It's frustrating because when we moved in it was in our budget and something we were able to do, but life happens! Realizing that we don't need a big fancy house in the best neighorhood to be happy and living within our means was a healthier choice to make.
As all of this is going on I discover last weekend that I'm pregnant! It's something we've been trying for but this came out of nowhere in the middle of this financial crisis. This new discovery has made us realize the best choice was to be in a place that's more within our budget and that will allow us to save money for baby.
I never thought I'd be able to get pregnant! I was diagnosed with PCOS which causes infertility and other issues that keep me from conceiving. One of the main reasons I chose to have weight loss surgery was to hopefully someday be able to get pregnant. It's known that weight loss surgery improves the symptoms of PCOS and many women have gone on to have babies. Since March of 2010 my periods have been normal for the first time in my life and that gave me hope! We've been trying to conceive since March when I passed my one year surgery mark and got clearance from my Dr. To start trying. I felt that I needed to make sure I charted my cycles and did everything I could to ensure getting pregnant which was causing more stress and every negative pregnancy test my heart would sink and I would get depressed. After years and years of negatives it was really starting to make me feel hopeless! Then I decided that I would just let it go and allow it to happen naturally if it was going to happen. I had to trust that if I was meant to be a mom God would take care of it on his time, not mine. Its hard to do but I couldn't keep stressing about it and I couldn't make it happen when I wanted to.
I've been feeling sick the last few weeks but thought it was a combination of the antibiotics I was taking and a flare up of the fibromyalgia. I was a few days late for my period so reluctanly I went and bought the pregnancy test. Now usually when I do that my period starts and that's what I was expecting. Sunday came around and I had put it off long enough and figured I'd just get it over with. I glanced over at the test and was completely shocked to see two clear pink lines. I screamed for my husband which scarred him, he thought I was hurt or that I saw a spider. 4 tests later it was pretty clear that I was in fact pregnant! It's very surreal and it's just starting to sink in. There are moments where I feel like it's just a dream and I keep going back to the picture of the test. This is huge! Hubby is excited and can't wait to be a daddy! Im excited, scared and every other feeling and emotion out there!
It's one thing to talk, think, dream about it but when it becomes reality it's a totally different thing!
I'm not sure how pregnancy will affect me or my medical conditions! I deal with chronic pain, fibromyalgia, back injury and I am also dealing with a lot of psychological issues as well and had to stop taking certain meds that have kept me stable for years. I knew that pregnancy woldnt be easy for me and I'm still unsure of what the next 7 1/2 months holds for me in regards to my health. As scary as it is, I'm blessed to be pregnant and I know that the end result will be worth it. I just have to trust that God will get me through this and with the love and support of my husband,family and friends I'll be ok!
There are lots of changes going on in life right now and I feel a bit overwhelmed buts it's temporary and I know we'll get through this!
So as I embark on the next part of my journey I'm excited and hopeful that I'll continue to grow and become a stronger, better person. There's been so many changes the last year and everyday I'm reminded of how far I've come and how far I still have to go!
God's been doing amazing things in my life and there's no doubt he will continue to do so! Life isn't always easy, nothing worth having is!
Weight loss surgery has not only saved my life but it's been an amazing tool that's helped make so many dreams come true for me!
I'm going to be a mommy!! WOW! Just thinking about that is amazing!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Being on the other side!

So on April 1st (no joke) my husband had Gastric Bypass Surgery. The same surgery I had a little over a year ago. Now it was my turn to take care of him, support him and help him along a very similar journey that he's supported me on for the last year. I thought I was prepared and ready to be on the other side of it but boy was I WRONG! I was more anxious than he was going into it and as we made our way to pre op area it began to get more real for both of us. My mind reeling with all kinds of thoughts wondering what he's thinking, is he scared and just not showing it so that I don't stress, what if something happens during surgery?...and all the other crazy thoughts and scenerios my mind could come up with. Even as he's getting ready to go into surgery he's trying to protect me like he always does. If he can do something to keep me from being upset or worried he'll do it, it's just how he works. As they wheeled him into surgery I felt panic set in. I knew he was in good hands, from the Surgeon, nurses, even the anesthesiologist were people who had all taken part in my care so I knew they'd take good care of him. A few good friends of mine were kind enough to sit with me while he was in surgery which helped a great deal in calming my nerves. His surgery went fine and there were no complications whiched made me feel better and as I made my way up to his room I thought the worst part is over..WRONG again! When they brought him in, he was white as the paint on the walls and looked so helpless, so weak. I wasn't ready for that! In the 8+ years that we've been together I've never seen him in such a way. Sure I've seen him sick, cry, and at other low points but this was something that caught me completely off gaurd! I was told that one day our roles would be reversed and I would have to be the one taking care of him. I guess it's another step in our journey together, being in different roles. He had some post op sickness being this was his first surgery and though the nurses were assuring me he'd be fine It scared me. I'm so grateful for those who were able to help calm me down. Later in the evening once he was more responsive and getting some of his color back I was able to relax and know that he was ok. He rebounded really well and wasn't in much pain at all. We are greatful for those who stopped by and for the amazing love and support that surrounded us that weekend and for all the nurses and Drs who took great care of him. He's a very stubborn person and is so used to being the one doing the taking care of, for him to set his pride aside and allow himself to be taken care of is a major step for him. He's done so well and has progressed nicely. It's been a major learning experience for me because I went from being the patient to being the coach. Helping him, guiding him, supporting him through these first few weeks where it can be the most challenging. I have had to go back and remember what it was like in those first few weeks and it's reminded me that I am an example for him and it's helped keep me in line with remembering to make better choices and try not to revert back to old habits. I'm sure there are moments he questions his decision, after a year I still have moments where I question my decision but one thing we both agree on is the overall goal of health and a better life is worth the risks it takes to get there. I'm proud of my husband and how far he's come! It's not an easy choice to admit you can't do something alone and in the few weeks he's been on this journey he's already learned so much! It's weird being on the other side of this journey and as I see it in a whole different way I've learned that much more about myself and my relationship! I've watched friends go through the weight loss surgery journey but I've learned it's so different when your spouse is the one making that journey. I'm excited to watch as he finds himself and gains the confidence he longs for. I already see such a change in his attitude and it makes my heart so happy to see my husband come to life again!

Monday, March 28, 2011

One year later!

WOW!! I can't believe it's already been a year since having Weight Loss Surgery! This last year has gone by a lot quicker than I thought it would! It hasn't been easy at all and as I look back on this past year I'm grateful for all the changes! I've grown in so many ways while shrinking at the same time! As I sit here and reflect on where my life is and where it's headed I get an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and love! I couldn't have gotten where I am today without God's grace and the love and support of the amazing people in my life both in my inner circles and the online communities! I've learned so much about who I am and who I want to be and although it's a daily struggle to move beyond years of mental conditioning, I have faith that I'll always be where I need to be because I'm not alone! Some would say that I took the easy way out and to them I say unless you've lived this life, you have NO idea! It's been rewarding sure, but it's also been the biggest fight of my 29 yr existance. I'm really learning to love myself for the first time and I'm really starting to believe that I deserve all the happiness God has in store for my life. I look at myself in the mirror and am beginning to see someone worth while, someone who deserves to be healthy, someone who has the passion and the desire to live life the way I'm supposed to live life. I've always had an internal hunger for more in my life but never felt like I was strong enough or good enough to go after and achieve more. Always standing on the outside looking in, dreaming, wishing life could be something greater than what I had settled for. I've been given a second chance at life, the opportunity to step up and move, live life instead of watching it pass me by. I've always had this deep feeling that God had more in store for me, I just wasn't letting him show me what it was! I've said it before, this is SO much more than a physical journey! Every fiber of my being has been shaken to the core and it's downright uncomfortable at times because I'm somewhere I've never been before and that scares the shit out of me! Fighting those old comfortable feelings, thoughts, habits and pushing beyond my personal comfort zone is absolutely a struggle, but the more I push beyond those feelings and thoughts the more I long to keep pushing, even when they push back. I've been seeing a therapist for a while as I adjust to the changes and face head on the issues that have in the past held me back. It's raw, it's uncomfortable, but I know that I can't grow unless I clear out the junk that's holding me back, keeping me from growing like I should be. I've been through a lot in my life and God's gotten me through some really serious struggles and I have faith and trust that as I continue my journey God's going to be right there along with my wonderful husband and amazing family and friends! As I celebrate a year since my life was saved I get to be there as my husband begins his journey to better health and a better life! I get to take care of him as he has taken care of me since the day we met! God only knows what's next and I'm anxious and excited to see where he leads us. We are planning on starting our family soon and as we both continue on the journey to better overall wellbeing, I see great things happening! Today I will challenge myself to look in the mirror and see myself as God sees me, love myself as God and others love me! I'm perfectly imperfect and I'm starting to think that's perfectly OK!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Give up trying to be anything but YOU!!!!

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Who are you? No really Who are you? We're all given a name when we enter this world, it's as we grow that we begin this ongoing quest to find out who we are. I'm 29 yrs old and I still don't fully know who Amanda Jolyn Matthews is. We live in a society that tells us we have to aspire to be something else. They tell us to be smarter, taller, skinnier, change our hair color, eye color, weight, boob size and THEN we'll be who we want to be right? WRONG! We grow up in a world that's constantly telling us that in order to be worth anything we have to change everything and be this way or that way and only then will we be good enough for...what?
We've allowed society to dictate how we look at ourselves and as we see this false image of "perfection" that we'll never obtain we beat ourselves up for not being a certain way. We take it as truth that we are in some way less of a person because we don't fit into this absurd mold that we've come to expect ourselves and others to fit. We're sent the message that we're not lovable as we are and we need to do XYZ and then we'll be lovable, but when we don't achieve XYZ we beat ourselves up and convince ourselves we're never going to be good enough.
As I go through this change physically I'm beginning to feel more insecure about myself. I was insecure about myself at 450 pounds, why am I more so at 263? I look at myself and although I should be happy with what I see, my mind goes and picks out all my flaws and tries to convince me that because I have saggy skin and stretch marks I'm still not beautiful!  I wish for one day I could see myself as my husband does, as God does. On my worst day, hair a mess, wearing yesterdays tshirt my husband will tell me I'm beautiful and often I respond by rolling my eyes or saying "whatever, you need your eyes checked" and he tends to get upset if I say something negative about myself. I try to tell myself he's just being nice, but in reality does he love me just as I am? Truth is he does! I often doubt God's love in the same way. How can someone who's as broken, messed up, and imperfect as me deserve to be loved unconditionally, as I am, serious baggage and all?
Last week began the lent season and I never really thought about it until this year when I read a friend's blog post on instead of giving up something like coffee or soda why not try loving yourself as you are? Giving up trying to make yourself different or trying to be what society tells you that you should be? This friend of mine gave up a hair straightener, which to some may seem odd, but it's a big deal when you've spent much of your life trying to live up to everyone Else's standards as to who and what you should be! We are the only version of us that we have, why not embrace it? We're all different, flawed, scarred but we all deserve to be loved just the same! As I continue on this journey to a healthier me, I'm doing a lot of work on the psychological aspect of who I am, who I've been and who I really want to be.  Focusing on letting go of those preconceived ideas that I have to be a certain way or do a certain thing in order to be worth something in this world! What would happen if we ignored all the in your face garbage about how this item or that item or changing everything about you will make you prettier, more "socially" deserving? Whether it's freckles, curly hair, glasses, intelligence level, your weight, choices you make or anything else, you are just as beautiful and just as deserving as anyone else! Don't let anyone tell you you're worth less than everything!!
I challenge all of you to spend some time thinking about the good qualities you have and focusing on loving yourself AS YOU ARE! Write down a list of things that make you amazing and see yourself the way you truly are! It's easier to believe the negative self talk, it's so easy to believe the bad things that have been drummed into our heads most of our lives. As we go on this journey of growing and learning who we truly are it's important to love ourselves because we're worth it! As my friend Lindsay says "be a self love warrior!" There's an affirmation I used to have that says "Never be afraid to be outrageously YOU"

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”~ Ralph Waldo Emerson