Crash

Have I not published this??? Wha…?

This was 2012, the night before I was diagnosed with heart failure. Before all of my surgeries. Before gastric bypass. I was over 513 lbs. at the time. ❤


I’m at the pool. Again. I haven’t started swimming yet, but I’m here. I hate walking to the pool from the locker room. I can feel everyone’s eyes on my body. Fat shifting, legs jiggling, bright white flesh, unforgiving florescent lights, bathing suit from the 1920s. Ah, the ‘20s, when horizontal stripes were all the rage. When a woman could feel confident about her swimsuit choices. When covering her thighs was an option. You were encouraged to wear a dress into the ocean. I would need a burka to feel confident about bathing suit season. I could rock a burka. Whoosh. I’m in.

I look at the children splashing in my lane. They’re the excuse I give to postpone what I came for. Where are the parents? These kids are related. Same curly hair. Same features. Their careless parents rely on the apathetic lifeguard who is more concerned about how his towel is folded under his Speedo than rescuing either of these sputtering, flailing novices who are in over their heads. Boys. Rough-housing. Slapping the water, slapping each other. The bigger boy is holding the smaller boy under the water. I’m hoping one of them will seriously injure the other. The lifeguard blows his whistle. The big boy lets go. They settle. They look at the guard and then at me. Either the sharp tweet or my intense stare has sent them splashing in another direction. Wait. Don’t go.

10 minutes. I’ve been swimming for 10 minutes. I can stop now. At least I did something. There are other swimmers who want the lane. I look ridiculous. I’m not even doing this right. I’m not burning any calories. I’m so slow. My breathing is terrible. I can’t breathe. I’m tired. I could take a break. I don’t want to do this anymore.

No. You are fighting for your life here. Focus on your heart. Your strained, stressed-out heart. I haven’t been able to breathe very well for almost two months. I start thinking about how every stroke, every paddle, is strengthening my poor old heart.

And then, when I change my thinking, when I choose to fight, I start to swim. This is a race. And I’m going to win. Now I love my body. I love everything that I’m doing. I focus on the water moving over my arms and my pale, slick legs. Slowly, I am washing away the food, and the fat, and the failure. I am washing away all the hurt I’ve done to myself for all these years. I begin to move with determination and calm, embracing my power and submitting to the task. This is spiritual. I submit. And I swim for 30 minutes, not just 10.

The next morning, I am admitted to the hospital for heart failure. Crash.

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I Heart You

Science book illustrations taught me that the heart doesn’t look like the symbol we all
know and draw. It looks like a wadded up dish rag. A fist-shaped muscle, an engine valve on a sports car. But it actually does look like that candy box of chocolate, sometimes.
It looks like a heart when it contracts. It squishes down and forms that cutesy, homemade Valentine’s Day card.
That’s when the heart is empty. No blood. Well, very little.
It squeezes in and squirts out all the juice. So basically, the heart has to work to look like a heart.
If it just lays there and doesn’t do anything, it just looks like a big pile of silly putty.
My heart wasn’t working. It was tired. I abused it. I was dying. August 2012, I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure at the age of 39.

I could blame everyone else. I could. But I’m the one who starved it. Beat it up. Ignored the fading pulse of life.


So we put the heart in place of love, right? Mary loves John. ❤

We put a heart there. So you wanna know my theory regarding love?
You can only know what love looks like when you actually use your heart. Take a risk. Go out on a limb. Love someone first. Flex that muscle.
We can’t know love until we lay our heart on the line. Our heart isn’t alive until we use it.
A heartbeat. EKG. Charted heartbeats on graph paper. Highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Up and down and everywhere in between. Sharp waves of life beeping out over a loud machined monitor.
And what does it look like when there’s no more breath or blood? A flat line.
Nothing’s happening. You’re dead.
I would rather have the high peaks and low valleys. Rather than dead. Rather than flat, silent space.
A heart at rest can’t do anything. You can’t love passively. A heart in action gives life. A big, pumping, flesh-and-blood organ races at the sight of food, flesh, fear. Love. Beauty.

A heart on fire makes things happen.


My heart is getting stronger. Every day.

200!

Thank you!! (Welcome to my year-long highlights reel!)

I’ve been sloggin’ and bloggin’ for almost a year and I finally just broke 200 views for one post! Thank you!

This entire year, only one post reached 146 views and all the others received only a smattering of eyeballs. That one post? It was about my weight problem.

I’ve realized over the past year, my most powerful voice is the advocate for help and change regarding health and well-being. My posts about weight loss and PTSD were some of the most effective and well-read.

I’ve been writing most of my life. Bad poetry and plays when I was young. (Packed away thankfully) Sharing my hairy, scary story since I landed in the hospital for heart failure. I wrote a tiny book and published on Amazon. I’ve been clogging up Facebook for years with my oversized posts. I’ve started and abandoned more short stories and books than I care to admit.

It was frustrating to start my blog without much attention. However, I determined near the beginning of this process that I was going to write and have a voice even if it was never heard.

But I am heard. I am found.

Thank you so very much!! Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas! My thoughts and prayers go out to those who need them. Let me know how I can help, in person or online. 🙂

I’ve already got my present for the holiday-200 views! (201 technically lol)

UPDATE: my weight this morning is 434 WOOT!

This Might Break the Internet.

Deep breath. Go ahead. Laugh. Giggle. Look away. Throw up in your mouth a little. It’s okay. I get it. This is a very crazy picture. But I’m posting for myself. This is the most courageous, the bravest thing I have ever done and I know I’m being open, vulnerable and some would say reckless by posting this on the Internets. But–I have to post this. I know the people who love me will not misuse or harass me. And those who don’t love me, I couldn’t really give two sh!ts about what they think. So. THIS is the before pic. I covered all the bikini parts.

Today, I am 435 lbs. Almost 2 weeks ago, I was over 455. I wanted to take a pic before I lost any more weight. I’ve been on a high-protein diet and dropped about 20 lbs. very quickly. I’ve been here before. I was down to 412 on my own, but then my thyroid went full-on kamikaze and blew up with cancer. I gained back about 40 of the 100 lbs. I lost before my thyroidectomy. (I started at about 513 when I entered the hospital in 2012 for heart failure. See full health journey here.)

There is shame in that. I’ve wallowed in shame most of my life in big amounts and small amounts. For things inside of my control, and out. I don’t like this feeling of shame all the time. I’ve gained and lost hundreds of pounds and suffered with hypothyroidism for years. What I would like? To cast off that shame once and for all by doing things that scare me, doing things that take guts. Proverbial guts. 🙂

Honestly, I posted this pic with all its flaws in full-out authenticity to the world and to myself (this photo has only been cropped) to show what I look like. When we see before pics, this is what we want to see, right? How bad was it? How big was that gut? How flabby were those arms?? Well, there’s no hiding in this photo. This is me. This is real.

This is 43 years of tragedy, abuse, obesity, bullying, birth-giving, overeating, thyroid-cancer-having, heart-clogging, sleep-apnea snoring. (Those saggy boobs fed a human being.) But this is also 43 years of never giving up on trying to level up and be the best possible person I can be. Never giving up on losing weight. Never giving up on being healthy! NeverEVER giving up on my dreams. I am the strongest person you’ll ever know and the fattest person you might ever see in their skivvies. Take a good, long look. I dare ya. If you look close enough?

You’ll see an excited smile for what’s about to come. My weight loss surgery is going to change my life. I’m ready for born-again salvation and transcendence in the celebration of new body and new mind. Deep breath!