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Friday, December 31, 2010

Let Go of the Old, Celebrate the New!!

So it's the last day of 2010 and I'm sure all of us are reflecting on this past year to some degree. I think about where I was Dec. 31, 2009, what were my thoughts and hopes? I honestly don't remember and in my wildest dreams couldn't have imagined life going where it has this last year. If I were to use one word to explain 2010 is would be WOW! This year has proven that I'm not in control and what I mean by that is that as much as I try to be the navigator and controller of my life and my journey, again and again I'm reminded that life doesn't go as planned and where you thought you'd aren't! The feeling about this year is similar to the one I had when I sat in the front seat of Space Mountain, it being the first time I'd ever been on that ride, no one warned me it was a roller coaster..IN THE DARK!!! Sitting there in the front seat of that ride and being so sure that I was going to go plummeting into the dark below. I didn't of course and as I look back on this year I see those moments where I've been looking into black oblivion not knowing which way is which or when it would end. It's been that kind of year with so many ups and downs and twists and turns and here I sit, my head spinning trying to make sense and absorb all of it.
My year started with a hope and a determination to have some kind of a break through in my life. Every year we begin by making our resolutions and we're so sure that that year would be the one when our lives would change in awesome ways. Every year since I can remember I'd write in my journal about what I was certain I was going to do and every year like the one before most of what I had said I was going to do, was a distant thought or a lingering regret. I don't know what it was that finally lit a serious fire under my ass to stop talking and thinking about making changes and actually be intentional about really making them!! Sometimes it takes a serious wake up call for us to "GET" it that change needs to happen and soon. I had NO clue as to how much needed to and would change over the year and how much different I as a person would be. I risked everything to take a chance on something that could either kill me or be the help I needed to save myself from death! That one choice put in motion something that I can't even begin to explain. It started with my health than became so much more about me as a person, how I felt about myself and all the freight my life came with had to be dealt with! So with the support of my wonderful husband, amazing friends and others who have entered my life I made the choice to let go of what was, step outside of the world I was so comfortable in all my life and take on life head on without hiding. Scary stuff really, it's like the dream we all have going to school/work and realizing you're naked, completely vulnerable and exposed! I'm used to closing up and receding into isolation because that's my comfortable, safe place to be. God may not always give me what I want, but he has never failed to give me what I need. Of course as human as I am, I ignored all the in your face signs and concerns, I figured I'd be able to handle it...WRONG! As I began to lose weight after WLS things I had pushed so far down were starting to come up and I was beginning to feel exposed and vulnerable. The difference is, when the feelings of fear, failure, and doubt came up this time, something in me became angry at how I'd let those feeling control me for so long! I let it keep me from having the life I'd dreamed of and prayed for. God had bigger plans for me than I've had for myself. 2010 I became a new person both inside and out! I've finally taken back my power and allowed myself to be who I deserve to be. It's a scary thing to let go of the protection we hold so tightly to. I just turned 29 and I feel better than I did at 19!! As this year ends I look at the journey I've been on this year and how so many different emotions and feelings have showed up, testing and shaking every fiber of my being! I'm reminded how lucky I am to have been given a second chance at life and how so many people don't get that. I look at where I am and I'm grateful for all that I have been blessed with! So, I end this year 146 pounds lighter, a whole lot healthier, a lot smarter, stronger, and determined to break the chains that will no longer define me or who I am! I'm learning not to take life so seriously, to love with all I have, to live everyday to the fullest and to smile and know that I'm beautiful! So here's to letting go of what was and embracing this moment and loving each other with all we have and remembering what matters most in this life! I'm excited for what the New Year holds and look forward to living every moment of it with passion and love!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A LOT to be Thankful for!

I have so much to be thankful for today and I'm on the verge of tears because of how blessed I feel! This year has been an amazing, scary, challenging year and it's been one heck of a ride!  Today I reached a milestone goal! I'm no longer 300 pounds!! I couldn't be more thankful for that!! I'm thankful for my husband who's loved me unconditionally and stood by me through it all and who continues to support and love me like crazy! I'm thankful for life, for the chance to get to live it, for my health which continues to improve every day, for the journey that has changed me as a person and made me so much stronger and brought out who I deserve to be! For all the love and support I have in my life, all the people who surround me and lift me up and encourage me daily! For the beautiful home that I get to share with those that I love. It's easy to get caught up in the mess that is life but we need to stop, take a deep breath and remember all the little things in life that we take for granted every day! I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving! 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Soul Shaking Changes!

It's been a bit since my last blog. Life has it's way of keeping me busy or maybe I'm intentionally busy because for the first time I feel like doing more than nothing at all. I'm working on getting a normal sleep schedule which seems to be working pretty well for the time being. I've always been a night person and suffer from chronic insomnia most of the time. I have to take medication to help me sleep or I just don't. I wish it wasn't so and I've tried many many things but none have worked so I take the meds and am able to sleep at night. We just moved into a beautiful home, it's finally a place I can feel proud of and make a home instead of just a place we happen to keep our stuff at. It's close enough to everything yet it's far enough away that it's quiet and calm.  I'm purging and getting rid of things in my life that serve no purpose. Starting over and it feels so good to be able to do that!  The last 7 weeks or so I've been on a spiritual, mental, emotional journey that ties into the physical changes I'm going through. The church I go through does a series once a year called Pathways and it's geared toward really looking at life and being intentional about living the life you deserve to live. This year I really got involved with it because I felt that during this time in my life where I was making major changes in my physical health, my spiritual and mental health needed attention and I really needed to evaluate where I was in my path and where I wanted to go. Every week was something different, something that challenged me to think and to focus on my holistic self as well as my physical self. It's really opened my eyes and brought me out of the shell I've been in for years. In 2003 I fell and injured my back, this changed everything! I lost a lot of my independence, my mobility decreased and physically and mentally it was the beginning of a long spiral which was clearly leading to an early grave. I became agoraphobic, afraid of people, afraid of ANY social situations. I wasn't able to work anymore and that took a toll on me in so many ways. I can remember having these recurring dreams that I was going back to work but I couldn't do my job right or I kept messing up or something would keep me from doing what I was supposed to do! This dream would happen over and over again and it was depressing. It was during this time that I discovered that I was Bipolar. Traumatic events can bring about dormant issues and looking back a lot of things make more sense now. I became very depressed, anxious, secluded, moody and didn't know how to deal with any of it. There were Dr's and even family members who told me it was all in my head and that I just wanted attention or to be the victim. I was on more medication than anyone my age should ever have to be on and I was sick and miserable. I was desperate for any way out, anything that would help and I didn't know where to look or who to turn to. It wasn't until 3 years ago that I started really thinking about what my life had become and how much I was missing out on. Thanks to a dear friend I found what I needed....Faith!!
My story is far from over and I'm finally at a place where my soul is at peace and I feel so much better than I ever have. As I become closer to God, my husband, my friends and as I emerge as the woman I've always wanted to be I can't help but smile and wonder what's next. Whatever it is, I know that I'll get through it and I'll be a stronger, better person!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Second chances

It's not very often that you get a second chance at life.I've always been a dreamer ever since I can remember, my mind would wander and I would think about the life I wanted and how I wished things we so different. I always wanted more out of life but at the same time I went through it thinking there was nothing I could do to change it or make it what it was in my mind supposed to be. This past Sunday marked 6 months since I decided to have bariatric surgery to help save my life. On Saturday my husband showed me a picture in his phone that he had taken a long time ago and I was and still am shocked at the person I saw in that picture. That picture was of me probably taken early this year or late last year. As I looked at the picture I couldn't help but remember what I was living just 6 short months ago. I can't help but feel extremely grateful that I was given a second chance at life, I made the choice to change my life and make it what I've always dreamed it could be. My husband asked me if I'd do it again even with the complications I've had and without hesitation I said YES! To think that my husband would have been burying his wife long before he should breaks my heart. My husband, my family and those that I love deserve a healthy, happy, ALIVE me! There's no doubt that this has changed every aspect of my life, every fiber of my being! I look at things so differently and I sit back and really start to see what's important in life. The challenges that I've faced in the last 6 months pale in comparison to the challenges I faced before and would more than likely continue to face had I not made the choice to have surgery. If my journey can help someone else realize that changing your life is possible and that they are worth having the best life has to offer than I'd do it a million times. Seeing how others are inspired by the journey of those who have been where they are at makes this journey so fulfilling. Cleaning out my closets I found a pair of pants I wore pre op and was floored when I saw how much my body has changed. It's things like this and the picture my husband showed me this weekend that makes it very real and reminds me that even though I have a long ways to go, I've already come so far! My husband has made the choice to also embark on the WLS journey. It hasn't been an easy choice for him although a lot of people assumed that because I did, he would. He has given up so much to make sure that I'm taken care of so I'm happy that I get the chance to be his cheerleader as he betters himself and takes back his life not only for him but for the family we have and will have in the future! I'm so proud of him and very excited to see what God has planned for us!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Living life with intention!

I've often wondered why I was put on the path that I've been put on. When I was younger I couldn't understand why life had given me what I felt was a crappy hand. As I get older I begin to understand and really come to terms with my life and where it's led me. A few years ago I desperately wanted something more in life, I seemed to be floundering and simply just existing. Lost and hurting not knowing where I was supposed to be or where my life was headed. I was as low as low could get, consumed with depression and pain both physically and emotionally I couldn't see a way out but wanted one more than anything. It was then that one of my best friends invited me to join her at Church. I spent most of my life running from "church" and God in general. In my heart I believed but the experiences that I'd had led me to feel like I wouldn't belong. Being open minded I went with her and from the moment I walked in to the building I felt an overwhelming sense of acceptance and warmth. I had found a place that has allowed me, the broken, messy sinner to have a very personal relationship with God. I didn't have to fit a "mold" or be a certain way and that became very freeing and really changed my thinking about faith. This is really where I actively started my journey towards reclaiming my life, my health and changing what I believed I deserved. I was given the name Amanda because of what it means, "worthy to be loved" but to be honest I didn't feel worthy. I gave away my power and my worth because I didn't think I deserved them. There was this thinking that if I made myself  "ugly" than no one would want me and if they didn't want me, they couldn't hurt me. Boy was I wrong! It wasn't until I met my husband that I began to change how I felt and how I thought about who I was. He's helped me truly believe that I am worthy of being loved, he's taught me that I should never settle for less than what God has planned for my life. I began a long, sometimes painful journey of self discovery, moving through my past and my pain and realizing that my life is valuable.  As I go through this process of improving my health, I realized that this journey is also about reviving my soul, finding out who I am and reclaiming the power that I've given away time and time again. We all have the choice to simply exist and watch life pass us by or we can choose to be proactive and intentional about our lives. I had enough of watching everything I dreamed for and wanted pass me by. I purged my life of the toxic poison that held me back from having the life I deserved and decided to surround myself with the genuine, supportive, unconditional love that everyone should have. My pastor said something  that really made sense to me, "When we say yes to something good, we are saying No to something great" It made me think about all the times in life where we settle because we think either we won't find anything better or that we don't deserve better so we just accept what is. When we are intentional about life every aspect of our being is affected and we start becoming the person we're meant to be. I'm no longer going to live in guilt, let my past dictate who I am or who I deserve to be, and I'm no longer going to sit in the back round hiding from my true worth! As I continue on my path to becoming the person God intended me to be, I open my heart and my mind to allow myself to change, grow and become mentally, physically and spiritually stronger.

Monday, August 30, 2010

What a difference 5 months makes!

In just 5 short months there's been a transformation happening that words can't describe. Not just a physical transformation but a spiritual one as well. For the first time in a VERY long time my soul is alive! I want to dance, I want to sing, I want to celebrate this life and the renewed hope I've been given. Instead of just simply existing, I want to live life and I finally truly believe that I deserve to! I find myself walking a little taller, smiling bigger and stepping out of my comfort zone and participating in life instead of watching it pass by being to afraid to do anything. One of my greatest wishes in life is to inspire and encourage others through my journey and help them in theirs. Every day I wake up less afraid of what life has in store for me and more excited and grateful that I get to look forward to and be excited about what's to come. I know that what God has planned for my life is far greater than anything I could imagine and that thrills me! I'm really getting to the place where I want to allow these things to happen and I want to let all the good things in. I take and keep pictures of my progress as I go through this journey to become a healthier, happier version of me. The difference in not only the physical but in my eyes is mind blowing. I look into my own eyes and see how bright they are, how happy they are. I finally see the person who's been trying to get out for SO long and I love who I see in the mirror!

Morning of Surgery

Last night

Friday, August 27, 2010

24, 102, and 14!!

What do these numbers mean? A lot actually! 24 is the number of pounds until I'm no longer in the 300s, 102 is the number of pounds I've lost in the last 5 months, and 14 is the points my BMI has dropped! It's hard to wrap my mind around all of this. I've lost the equivalent of a small horse! How much of a difference that much weight gone has impacted my body and my life. On my wedding day in May of 09 I could barely stand for my ceremony and to think if I did it again today I'd have A LOT less of a problem standing there the whole time. I can't remember a time in my adult life that I didn't weigh over 300 pounds. I'm sure there was a time(probably over 8 years ago) but I NEVER got on a scale. My journey started a LONG time ago but it wasn't until May of 2009 that I really started taking back control over my life and allowing myself to be the person I deserve to be. I began to eliminate toxins from my life and make my health, my marriage, and my faith a priority. The emotional freedom that has happened has been amazing. So many doors have been opened and I no longer feel hopeless, lost, unhappy or undeserving of the amazing life God has planned for me. I spent so much time hiding and afraid that I never let my true potential, my true self worth show. I'm proud to no longer be afraid to take that journey, no longer afraid to succeed because I know that even if I fall I'm strong enough to get back up and keep going after the life I want. I want to celebrate life now which is not something I really wanted to do in recent years. We're all faced with the challenges that are life and sometimes they will kick you in the gut and test every fiber of your being. It's our job to get up and know that we are worth more than our challenges, we deserve more than the garbage that life hurls our way. Don't be afraid to want more out of life because life has SO much better for us than we settle for. I'm beyond excited for what's next. Every day I see more and more of my true self coming back and it reflects on every aspect of my life and my relationships. It goes much further than the number on a scale, it's the realization that I CAN and WILL overcome anything life throws at me and with the grace of God I will be everything in life that I'm meant to be.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Life has a way of being completely unexpected and crazy! It's been just over 4 months since I had surgery and it's amazing how much changes in such a short time. A week and a half ago I had my gallbladder taken out, it was quite painful but I'm recovering well and feeling a lot better. I've lost 84 pounds since surgery and that alone is very surreal to me. I'm at a weight I haven't been at in over 4 years. For the first time in over 5 years my blood pressure is NORMAL, I've never seen it this low which makes me AND my Dr. very happy. Since my blood pressure has lowered I'm noticing my headaches aren't as bad as they were. I deal with Chronic pain and get really bad headaches often and They've gotten a lot better as my health has improved. It's encouraging to be able to walk into a store and not have to search for the biggest clothes possible or to have to special order my clothes online. Before surgery my mobility and basic ability to simply care for myself was greatly limited. I can now stand when I take a shower and not feel like my legs are going to give out on me, I'm able to care for myself on a much better, healthier level and am more comfortable doing the simple things that most people don't think about that I've always had to think about and try so much harder to do. We went to the movie theater last week and I climbed to the top of the theater stairs and wasn't winded at all! I've been told that people can see it in my eyes that I'm so much more comfortable and healthy. I don't look like I'm in pain and completely miserable all the time. I've never been good at hiding how I feel so it's nice to know that I'm feeling better and it shows in my face. I have a lower back injury so walking, standing has been really hard for me for a very long time and as I got heavier it got worse. I'm thrilled to be able to stand longer, walk further, move easier than in almost 7 years. I think the biggest change is in my attitude and how I view life now. Instead of just surviving each day I actually look forward to what life has in store. It's changed my relationship with my husband in such a positive way as he's getting back the woman he fell in love with. The woman who is excited about life, happy, outgoing, and fun to be around. He's seen me with drawl from life and go into a shell and change from a social, fun person to someone who was miserable all the time, someone who avoided every social situation possible and who just wasn't happy with life. It makes my heart smile and makes me VERY happy to give my husband what he deserves. It's been a mental, emotional change as well as a physical change and it's great to have hope and to know that the life I've always dreamed about is becoming very much a reality for me. I look in the mirror now and I like the person that I see and I don't look away when I pass a mirror anymore. I know I have a long way to go, but I've come a long way in such a short time and to look at myself and see the transformation is amazing!
This is just the beginning of my journey and I'm so excited for what's next.

Monday, July 5, 2010

What's been going on

I haven't posted here in a while and I need to more often so I can share my progress with those in my life. Since my last post a lot has happened and a lot has changed. On March 26, 2010 I had Gastric Bypass surgery. It was a choice that took a lot of thinking, research, prayer, and strength! I am now 3 months out from surgery and can honestly say that this choice was the best choice for me. Since I was about 10 years old I've been overweight and I've spent my adult life continuing to gain. No matter what I did I continued to gain and it became not only frustrating but dangerous health wise. After hurting my back in 2003 and Being on medication that made losing VERY difficult I became worried that I would never be able to lose what I needed to in order to live the life I wanted. I used to think that if I had surgery to help me lose weight, I wasn't strong enough to do it any other way. Now that I've been through this process I know that's not true. It takes a really strong person to come to this choice, to admit that they need help in order to save their life. The changes since surgery are drastic and amazing. I'm no longer on high blood pressure medication, I'm able to stand longer, walk further, move better than I have in a VERY long time. Watching my clothes fit better and even get to big has been such an experience. I've lost 76 pounds and am at a weight I haven't been in almost 4 years! I fit better in chairs, I feel more confident and am starting to come out of my shell for the first time since before I hurt my back. The last few years I became very depressed and secluded myself from society for many reasons. I didn't leave the house but on a few occasions and I spent most of my time in pain and uncomfortable. I notice I smile at people more, I make eye contact and don't look down or away as much. I've had a few minor complications in the past three months, but it's nothing that I haven't been able to deal with. This is a learning experience and a complete life changing process. There are people who tend to think that Surgery is the "easy" way out and that couldn't be further from the truth! I've had to relearn my relationship with food, my body, my thinking and it's challenged me in every way possible. I meet with my surgeon this week for my 3 month follow up appointment as well as to address the issues I'm having with my gallbladder. This could and more than likely will result in another surgery to remove my gallbladder. Over all I don't regret my choice to have surgery and I know that my quality of life and my health will be better than they have been for many many years. I'm excited for what the future holds and for all the changes that are happening. I'm attaching a link to my update blog on so that those who read this can look at the progress and my thoughts in the last three months. If you click on the title of this post it will take you there, or you can copy and paste the following link.