December 11th, 1992

The day I lost my dad. 25 years ago, yesterday.


I am kneeling beside my father. He’s dead.

I look at him for a long time. I’ve never seen a dead body before.

I want to memorize his face and hands before he is in the ground.

His mouth is open. His eyes are fixed and wide. He is frozen with a look of surprise. I reach out to touch the back of his neck. My fingers barely land when I feel the prickle of shorn hair and cold, firm flesh.

I immediately withdraw my hand.

I am devastated that he’s gone. I never thought I would feel bad on this day.

My face is numb and tight from the departed tears that I didn’t bother to stop, catch or dry.

His hair is stiff and sharp. It’s cut so close and damaged from the radiation. It’s seems almost burnt.

His nose is pronounced and pointed. When he was healthy, it was round and red, but he’s lost so much weight. It’s chiseled bare.

His cheeks are waxy, melting mounds. Smooth and brown.

His hands are large; dangerous. They are still, yet frightening. The monster strength is gone, but they summon the fear of what was possible, what was done.

He is a mechanic. But he has the cleanest, longest nails I’ve ever seen on a man. The palms are soft and tender, amazingly so.

My hands are close to his. The backs of my hands are rough, pale and dry. White with flakes. My nails are short and torn. Red and sore like my eyes.

I can sense that whatever lights the eye and warms the blood is gone from him. There is no recognition, not even a grimace.

His spirit has sighed away and what is left is just a heap of tumors, bones and bile. He will never talk, kiss, threaten, smoke, curse, drink, hit, hate, love, work, sacrifice, shame or wrestle on this earth again. He can’t hurt any more, but he also can’t fix a thing.

I have lost him. I. Am. Lost.


I love you. I forgive you. I miss you. Still.

Advertisements

Gratitude

November has officially become a month-long thankful pack of sticky notes on Facebook. That’s great. Truly. But what about the other 11 months? 🙂

So I hesitate to join, but. I will.

I am thankful for so much. But this Thanksgiving, I am deep-down, toes-to-tassel thankful for my life.

Since 2012, and really before that, I have been sick. Heart failure. Twice. Thyroid cancer. Gastric bypass. Gallbladder failure.

And now, 226 lbs lighter, I feel better than I’ve ever felt in my entire life. Even when I was young. Mainly because I also feel emotionally better. It feels like all the sickness is finally gone. I can just tell.

For years I struggled with a failing GB. Probably a decade, in hindsight. Also, I probably had a thyroid issue my entire life because I have been overweight from a young age.

Mom always said, “You were born hungry.” A mother knows. Just wish she could have told or shown the doctors where to look. Nonetheless, this was my destiny.

I am thankful for my trouble. It has taught me endurance.

James 1:2-4 NASB

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

(Perhaps missing/lacking a few organs, but otherwise, lacking in nothing. LOL)

It has also taught me humility. Patience. Joy. Peace. Understanding. Wisdom. Tolerance. So many things.

Under any other circumstances, would I be the person I have finally come to love entirely? I don’t know. God didn’t do this to me. But he knew how far I could go. He knew the traps. He knew the joys. He knew how strong I could be with him.

I truly did not think it was possible. To see 287.6 lbs again. That’s what I was yesterday afternoon, on the scale. I did not think it was possible to live past the age of 50. I did not think it was possible to ever feel right again. Out of pain. Able to walk. Able to work.

One year ago, I was preparing for surgery. High-protein diet to shrink my liver. Thanksgiving was the last day I could eat. I savored it. Thinking it might be my last tasty morsel before a lifetime of bland, tiny meals. Or worse. My last meal before operation table disaster. Dying.

But I made it. I made it to the next Thanksgiving. How wonderful to be on the other side. Maybe that’s what it’s like to go to Heaven. Thankful to be done and home at last.

Home again, home again, jiggity jig.

Maybe this is what I needed for this ultra-thick head. Maybe this was my come-to-Jesus moment. Maybe this was my “fall on my knees because I have nothing left.”

I’m by no means done. I am just beginning again. And I am so thankful just to be alive. And 287. 🙂


Only 87 lbs to goal!!! 😀

12 Days of Driving

I drive for a living. I love my job. It’s so easy and the pay is great. The hours are amazing. Plus, I have the best boss. THE best boss I’ve ever had. Such a nice guy. So easy-going.

I pick up labs (body fluids, of course contained) and take them to the main downtown hospital super lab. Easy-peasy, liquid squeezy.

The other day, I arrived at one of the clinics. The staff have a strange penchant for feeding stray cats (and by accident, raccoons and vultures) in the back-of-the-strip-mall parking lot just behind their clinic. It’s sort of like Grey Gardens without the elaborate outfits and dilapidated old house. This is where I park before I enter their facility.

There’s usually at least one cat in the lot. Waiting around for scraps. But the other day it was like Black Friday at Wal-mart or a new version of The Twelve Days of Christmas:
3 trash pandas
2 mangy vultures
AAAAAND 1 gray and white alley caaaaaat!

I’d never seen so many scavengers in one place, even at Dr. Doolittle’s. They all sat waiting just outside a vast clump of bushes. Wonder what was in those bushes? I really don’t wanna find out.

Food? Dead animal? Dead body?? EEEK! I just grabbed my labs and split!

Happy Holidays! Try singing The Twelve Days of Trash Panda. 🙂 LOL

Mini Canvas Shell Art

So, on my medical courier route, I met this really nice young woman. She’s a lab tech/nurse. She has a family, husband, young daughter, possibly more than one child. I don’t know her that well, but she’s been one of the kindest people I’ve met in Florida. Her birthday was earlier this month, but I just found out. She mentioned it in passing on another topic.

So. I made this for her.

mini canvas shell art.jpg

Do you think she’ll like it?

The size is only like 2″ x 2″. So those are tiny little shells.

I bought the frame for under $5? Possibly even $1. I don’t remember. Had it forever. And I found the shells on our beach. Painted the picture black (because it was hideous little, weird cacti in orange and green and brown, and not the good kind, gag!), epoxy’d shells to the canvas/cardboard insert backing thingie, and made a button hanger for the top. So this project was $5 or less. Crafty Beaver on the loose!

I hope my new acquaintance likes this small gesture and I hope I make a new friend! 🙂

Even if she is just my nicest route client (and we are never friend-friends), it’s nice to be nice to nice people.

How could you not want me as a friend? When I make cool stuff and give it to you? LOL 😉

Hope everyone has a great day and a great weekend!! Love you, Friends!

299.4

Welcome to Loozers Lounge!! LOL I’m the biggest loser.

I broke 300.

I did not think this was possible! So excited. only 99 lbs until skin surgery. 😀 Better find a surgeon. Wish I had my weight loss surgeon. He’s the best. But I have to afford the surgery first. Flying back to KC would cost even more.

Who cares! I weigh 299!!! Woot!

Total loss=214 lbs!!!!!

This is good news.  This has been a tough week full of sadness and setbacks. Welcome, Good News! I needed you.

December 11th, 1992

The day I lost my dad.


I am kneeling beside my father. He’s dead.

I look at him for a long time. I’ve never seen a dead body before.

I want to memorize his face and hands before he is in the ground.

His mouth is open. His eyes are fixed and wide. He is frozen with a look of surprise. I reach out to touch the back of his neck. My fingers barely land when I feel the prickle of shorn hair and cold, firm flesh.

I immediately withdraw my hand.

I am devastated that he’s gone. I never thought I would feel bad on this day.

My face is numb and tight from the departed tears that I didn’t bother to stop, catch or dry.

His hair is stiff and sharp. It’s cut so close and damaged from the radiation. It’s seems almost burnt.

His nose is pronounced and pointed. When he was healthy, it was round and red, but he’s lost so much weight. It’s chiseled bare.

His cheeks are waxy melting mounds. Smooth and brown.

His hands are large; dangerous. They are still, yet frightening. The monster strength is gone, but they summon the fear of what was possible, what was done.

He is a mechanic. But he has the cleanest, longest nails I’ve ever seen on a man. The palms are soft and tender, amazingly so.

My hands are close to his. The backs of my hands are rough, pale and dry. White with flakes. My nails are short and torn. Red and sore like my eyes.

I can sense that whatever lights the eye and warms the blood is gone from him. There is no recognition, not even a grimace.

His spirit has sighed away and what is left is just a heap of tumors, bones and bile. He will never talk, kiss, threaten, smoke, curse, drink, hit, hate, love, work, sacrifice, shame or wrestle on this earth again. He can’t hurt any more, but he also can’t fix a thing.

I have lost him. I. Am. Lost.

302.8!

I am down to 302.8 today! I am less than 3 lbs away from the 200s! That’s amazing.

So that is a total of 211 lbs lost from my heaviest. 😀

For you that have chosen to go through gastric bypass or are in the early stages after surgery, you will hit plateaus! People don’t really talk about this. I have hit 2 major plateaus. Otherwise, it falls off.

I hit a plateau at 380 and one at 320. I seem to be through and back to losing now, but those sticky points are tough. Don’t lose faith. Always go back to the basics and you’ll come through it okay. Don’t worry, it’s only temporary.

I feel great today except for some unrelated jaw pain. I feel energized and alive. My activity level is getting higher and higher. My stamina is back and I can walk, work and even ride my bike.

I used to have to take short naps during the day or limit my chores/work/exercise. But no more! I’m awake all day, working, walking, riding, enjoying life again. 🙂 I hit the hay pretty hard at the end of it all, but that’s what you’re supposed to do!

Good luck to anyone contemplating surgery. It is totally worth it. And in some cases, the only cure.

I am, in fact, employable.

I got a job. Finally.

After months of looking and trying different things, I found a job. A good one. It’s only part-time, but it’s a start.

I’m driving for a medical courier company. Locally owned company and super friendly people to work with, even at the medical facilities.

I rode for the first time yesterday and everyone seems nice. You basically pick up bodily fluids (blood, urine, what have you!) from the doctor’s office and deliver them to a main lab, downtown, at a hospital. I won’t mention names since it’s confidential. And everything is sealed, bagged and kept in a cooler, so totally safe.

I’m not thrilled about being in a job that uses so much plastic, non-reusable bags and gas-powered vehicles, but this is the job. It’s super easy, flexible and pays well. I wish I had an electric car, then it would be even more lucrative and better for the environment. Maybe in the future I can afford a gasless car. That would be great.

But in spite of the impact on the environment, I am providing an essential service for patients. I can’t believe there isn’t a better way to transport lab work, but I don’t know enough about the industry yet to say. It’s 2017 though. Where’s the jetpack lab service we’ve all been dreaming about? Or on-the-spot blood and urine analysis with micro-biobots? Is that a dream everyone’s been having?? LOL

It’s something to pay the bills, get us by, and not have my soul slowly sucked out of my body in a mindless corporate atmosphere.

Plus, I start tax school in just a few weeks and that I’m looking forward to. I don’t support the current tax structure, but it’s what we have and I can’t wait to understand it better. I can still attend the school for free and it fits with my new schedule. Awesome!

And, of course, I’m going to still try and get Crafty B Designs off the ground again, start my party planning adventures, write my socks off. 🙂

It feels good to be productive again. To have my brain and body back. To find my determination and exuberance as well. I had them in my 20s. I missed you, Life.

I do have some really bad ear and jaw pain right now, but not enough to slow me down. I have a doctor’s appointment September 28th to rule out thyroid cancer residual nodules in my lymphnodes or such. Fingers crossed. Hopefully it’s just some weird sinus/ear tube thingie that’s easily treatable yet annoying as heck. And hopefully they won’t require a lab sample! LOL They would make me take it to the lab myself, I’m guessing.

So I’m no longer Taxi Beaver for people, just their fluids. ;D

308.2

Dropped 1.4 lbs today! I weigh 308.2. That’s good news. Feeling strong. Looking slimmer. 🙂 I may have deflated, saggy water wings (old lady upper arm flaps), but that just means I’ve lost a ton of weight. Those are my angel wings! Skin surgery will zip that right up! The important thing is I’m healthy! If you don’t like it, don’t wanna look at it, you can kiss my bicep. 😉

Haters Gon’ Hate

It’s hard to dance with the devil on your back. So shake it out.–Florence and the Machine

Haters gon’ hate, hate, hate, hate, hate…Shake it off. Shake it off. Ah, ah.–Taylor Swift

Thank you, Taylor.


Feeling a bit uneasy this morning, which is rare these days, but not extinct. Mainly because I thought of one particular hater from just last year.

Just before my weight loss surgery, I announced on Facebook my intention to get gastric bypass. Everyone supported me. Some even wondered why I had waited so long to go for it.

My yearly struggle to drop pounds for my heart health concerned many. Since May 2012, I had been seriously, aggressively trying to get healthy. I was diagnosed with heart failure in August 2012. I had a slew of friends and family encouraging me to work out and eat right. Everyone accepted me for me: what I looked like, how much I weighed. I never felt pressured to undergo surgery. Especially those closest to me accepted me–my husband and my daughter. I felt safe.

So when I finally decided on weight loss surgery, it was my decision. No one prompted me to get it. It was a choice 11 years in the making. I had considered some form of weight loss surgery since 2005.

Things conspired to put off the surgery. Insurance coverage. Being a mom. Going back to school. Many things. But last year, it was finally right. And then one person challenged me.

This person was also extremely overweight. Super morbidly obese. She was a self-proclaimed fat advocate.

Everyone should accept all fat people, no matter what. Doctors should never treat anyone for obesity or blame symptoms on obesity. Fat people have rights.

I had started down this path years earlier. (Of course fat people have rights. Not debating that.) I even wrote a play about it. Won an award for that play. Synopsis: working through all of my eating disorder issues, I’m fat. If you have a problem with my being fat, get the f— over it! But that was not the solution. For me. This was not my path for long.

This person even saw my play. That’s how we met.

She knew about my heart failure. In fact, we were supposed to meet the Tuesday after I went into the hospital. We had made plans earlier in the month and just before our friend date, I wind up in the ER. So obvs, I didn’t keep our meeting. I’m glad.

When I announced my gastric bypass, she came out strongly against it. She was the only one.

She told me to wait. Try other things. Try different foods. Accept myself and fight for my rights with doctors and others. Did she not follow me on Facebook?

I had been actively posting for 5 or more years about my weight loss/gain, thyroid cancer, heart failure, un-diagnose-able gastro-gall bladder pain, arthritis, diet, exercise, health trouble/struggle.

Where has this bitch been?? I asked myself. Sorry. LOL But really.

I tried to reason with her. Explain. Counter. Inform. Be patient. Be neutral. Ignore. But she hounded me.

“Don’t do it!” was her repeated harp.

I finally blocked her. I had to move forward without her negativity. I knew the decision for weight loss surgery was a serious one, but right for me. It was time. And I didn’t need someone telling me otherwise. Doubting me. Doubting my ability to make an informed decision or to calculate risk. It was well beyond time for surgical intervention.

Sometimes, you just have to shake it off. Shake off doubt. Shake off negativity. Shuffle off people, attitudes and bad energy just to move forward on your own path.

I am so thankful for my surgery. So very blessed to have my life back. Able to ride, swim, live, serve, love. WORK! Not be a drain on my family, friends or society. I’m at 309.6 as of yesterday. That’s 147 lbs since surgery. 204 lbs since heart failure in 2012. I am confident, if I hadn’t had surgery, I’d be dead in the next 5 years. Absolutely.

So who on Earth would want to kill me? Deny me my life? Encourage me to accept less than a healthy, full life to appease their own view of fairness or health? Not a friend. I can tell you that.

Get behind me, Devil. I won’t give in to fear. I won’t give in to hate. No more doubt, negativity, criticism. I won’t give in to dwelling on past hurt or slights either. I’ve got too much living to do. Watch me dance.