Thursday, November 10, 2016

Nov 10th Surgery All Over.... NOT!!!

Hi guys. I’m alive and kicking. But struggling to have a good attitude. It has been a grueling 3 days, and an emotional roller coaster. Honestly, I just want to cry.



My surgery was canceled. I am home now. I was ON THE OPERATING TABLE, they were getting to put me under. I was all set to either wake up to see the face of Jesus, or wake up to see my Sweetie’s face. Either way would have been a good thing.

Then, I went into AFib. That is a heart on overdrive, like a runaway train. It hit 170 before they got meds into me; brought down to the 130’s, then 120’s, but wouldn’t go lower.

They did an ekg, tried sedatives, etc etc. Wouldn’t budge for hours. Obviously, the operation was canceled. I was sent home to take meds and “get better”. Come back when it’s “safer”.

Well gee… it’s not like this is elective cosmetic surgery!! It's for cancer. Which is progressive!!

I’ve been all over the map emotionally; mostly down. I thought this “diet” was over. I thought the surgery would be over. I thought the pressure to perform, weight wise, was over. 

I was so confused, frustrated, angry and depressed. The anger, which I had to face that I had, was because of all the mistakes that were made. Like… my records from THREE different docs down here were never faxed up north, and it took hours to find them. The cardiologist who saw me after the event never bothered to look at my medical records, and prescribed a med for me that would have been harmful to me. Duh! I had to catch it myself, and call my regular provider once I was home to get it changed.

I won’t bore you with the rest of the screw ups. Suffice to say, this "good little girl" actually does NOT feel bad for having anger over the mess ups. That is one positive. 

But the bottomline… I feel exhausted. Emotionally, physically, even spiritually. I need me some serious Recovery time. As in extended vacation time. From life. From stress. From disappointments. 

I called my Pastor this evening, and since he himself went thru cancer surgery last year, he understood the situation. Basically, he said I may never know WHY my surgery was “interupped” at the last minute. But I am to focus on the positives. And that is this: if the AFib had hit DURING surgery, the doctors had said I would either be dead, or had a stroke or heart attack. 

Period. 

This is real life. This is how it is. At one point, I even felt like saying "Oh screw it", and just eat and eat and eat and eat....

As I looked at the vending machine full of candy at the hospital (!!) I said to my hubby "Oh, I'd give anything for some M&M's!!

And he asked: "Even your life?"

Riiiggghhhtttt. I quickly moved myself far away from said vending machine.

So... the journey to wellness continues. Life goes on. And I want to regain an attitude of gratitude. Not there yet... but it's getting closer.

Life is precious. Life is short. Love one another.


Retta



Sunday, November 6, 2016

Nov 6th Gratitude, Service & Surgery

Still studying the book from Dr Marty Lerner I talked about in this post. 

It's short, more of a booklet. But packed with years of experience and wisdom. I've been stuck on this sentence in Chapter 3:

"The true nature of the problem, especially with respect to addictions has to do with almost total self-absorption and self-consciousness."

And: "...most of our struggles have to do with repetitive and obsessive self-centered thoughts".

I used to call it navel watching... remembering the old cartoon of the guy sitting and staring at his own belly button. And I've actually wondered at times if continuing long term with my blog was navel watching! Or, as Dr Lerner more eloquently puts it: self-absorption and self-consciousness.


Four statues of satyrs in the Louvre, depicting omphaloskepsis - navel gazing -  as an aid to meditation

I mean... I know all the "how it got started in my life" stuff. I've made peace with it. It's not about blame. Rather, it's about understanding. 

I've found a way of eating that is healthy and I can do for life: low carb, sugar free.

Now I am left with just one thing, according to Dr Lerner: DO IT. Do the next right thing. Focus on recovery, not weight loss. And the weight loss will follow as I DO the right things. What's left to talk about??

Shortly after I read this page in Dr Lerner's book about all this self-absorption, I read a blog post from Sean Anderson. In passing at the end, he mentioned Gratitude and Service. And those words lit up in neon for me! 

Gratitude and Service. I had used this phrase for years as a reminder: Love God, love others. It's truth, yet somehow it seemed a little bit lofty or esoteric. But if you put feet to it, action to it... it turns into Gratitude and Service!

Now it's no longer just "I am grateful to God for....". Me, me, me. I, I, I.... Yes, I am totally grateful, and want to be aware and express that gratitude. But now it doesn't stop with ME. As in that self-absorption and self-centered thoughts. (Now please don't go and misinterpret that; having a gratitude journal is life changing, and highly recommended!!!! I'm talking about MY hang-ups here).

But for me, now adding Service to the equation takes my thoughts beyond myself, and the arrows are not stuck constantly INWARD. I want to learn to get them to aim OUTward. I can ask myself how I can be of Service? Is there a gift I have been given that can be used as a blessing to others? To be of Service?

The day before all these thoughts hit me, I read something about Benjamin Franklin. He began each day with this question: "What good shall I do this day?" 

And he ended the day with "What good have I done this day?" He obviously had a heart to be of Service.

So... that's what I have been studying. That's where my journey is taking me. Some of it can feel uncomfortable. But I feel good about the direction.

Still on the journey,

Retta

A Big PS: I didn't want to make a huge post about medical stuff, making it into a big deal. But thought it would not be very courteous to just disappear without explanation. I'm not God. I can't predict the future, or when it's my turn to die and go to Heaven. But I was recently diagnosed with Endometrial Cancer. It's still only Stage 1; the prognosis is excellent, and my surgery is on Wednesday, Nov 9th. 

The doctors are still fretting over my weight. It does not count how much I have lost; it counts what I am NOW to them. I was 310 this morning, and that still puts me in the high risk category. But quite a few things have been happening in my favor the last couple of months that make me feel like God is looking out for me, and encouraging and reassuring me. So... I am hopeful. If you are so inclined, I would appreciate prayers. Thanks ya'll, and see you in a few weeks! =^..^=


Kitty for Nancy 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Sept 19th Dandelions and A New Focus

Having seriously contemplated my own mortality lately I have noticed some things.

Now, when I think a nice thing about someone I am with, I want to I tell them.

Now, when I think of someone, I try to call them.

Now, I try to bite my tongue when tempted to be snippy, and instead appreciate and love my Sweetie. Let go of the unimportant, and cherish the important.

Now, I notice little joys around me. Like colors, flowers, cerulean blue skies, white puffy clouds, the way my Pup plays and laughs and barks with joy… for no reason other than the sheer joy of being alive.

Last Thursday I went to the hospital for a test. I’ve been there several times over the years. For various tests, or visiting others. 

This time, I NOTICED that in the middle of the parking lot, was a beautiful little park!! Fir trees, Pines, Blue Spruce; tall blooming pink flowers, deep red large blossoms, lowly green ground cover, a large green lawn with wrought iron benches circling the lawn to sit under the tall shade tree, and shrubbery leaves turning into vivid fall colors. 

And right there, amidst all the manicured loveliness: a small herd of Dandelion puffballs, defiantly waving in the breeze! I LOVED IT!



No matter what, they won’t be denied. They will bloom and not just survive, but THRIVE. I was cheering on those little plants that most folks call weeds. They chose to bloom where they were planted, in spite of what anyone else wanted. Yay for the Dandelions of the world. :-D

In the support group A Better Weigh that I joined a few months ago, often people share how awareness and feelings are different now that they aren’t numbed up with food. It took me awhile, but I think I get it now.

Before Recovery, food was the great “mood shifter”:

Bored? Eat
Mad? Eat
Lonely? Eat
Tired? Eat
Disappointed? Eat
Scared? Eat
Just… uneasy? Eat

The more intense the feelings, the more I ate. Until I was numb.

Food would dampen those feelings, allowing escape from uncomfortable sensations.

Now I am learning not to focus on weight loss. On another diet. I am learning to focus on Recovery. Recovery from that whole mis-use and abuse of food.

After starting Recovery, I am learning to really believe (not just head knowledge) that feelings won’t kill me. I must feel and deal. It’s a part of life, the ups and downs. And to not fear feelings and bury them under a mountain of food. 

It’s scary sometimes. For me, at times the feelings seem stronger now. Like… my anger can feel like RAGE. Or, my sadness like horrible grief and regret. But the joys are also more clear and pure, and feel precious, and seem to touch me more deeply.

I’m wondering if this “food sobriety” is allowing me to notice those things now I have been missing. Methinks… yes.

Still on the Journey,

Retta
=^..^=


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Aug 31st A Turning Point & Why I Was Wrong

Sorry in advance this will be long. It feels like I’ve turned a corner, and I want to get it down here.

I’m 65 years young. Put on my first diet at age 10. Fought this wt thing all my dang life.

(can click to enlarge)

I tried to do everything “they” told me to do. Spent thousands over the years, including going into debt from a hospital based Dr/nutritionist program in the 80’s. Liquid fast of 400 calories a day. Ended up in hospital with mini-stroke and gallstone attack. You get the idea. Only reason I never did wt loss surgery was my insurance refused to cover it. 

I believe “they” meant well. Most just gave some form of “eat less, move more” advice. But nothing worked for this food addict. I finally discovered, that FOR ME, I needed to let go of sugar. I went low carb and sugar free several years ago, which finally released me from the physical food cravings.

Yet… the emotional part was still there. A lifetime of using food to “mood shift”, to try to fix feelings. That ingrained habit persisted.

Over the years I’ve tried about every book/CD/video/course out there. Secular, Christian, psychology, behavior modification, power of positive thinking with all it’s various offshoots. Private counseling, various alternative herbal, alternative therapies. Investigated rational emotive therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and some I can’t even spell.  

I still think there is merit in some of that. But…

I think now, I was wrong. For some issues, all that is great. For this food addict… it didn’t work. Believe me, I sincerely tried. I wasn’t playing around. I would plunge in and give it my all, with high hopes. Only to be painfully disappointed when I eventually crashed once more.

Through the private support and accountability group A Better Weigh, I was introduce to the little free e-book from Dr Marty Lerner. He has run an in-patient addiction recovery clinic for many years, and knows a few things. I’ve been studying his book for weeks. I had to be teachable, since a lot of what he says is the opposite of other stuff I’ve read! Yet as I read, then re-read, thought about it, prayed about it… I finally understood some of it.

Thank you, Dr Lerner, for showing me why I was wrong. Why I had the “cart before the horse”. I sincerely believed what “they” all said: Change your thinking, change your life. That was the whole premise of my former approach. I mean, all the big name writers/teachers said so, each in their own way. 

Yet, for the food addict… there it is again. For the addict, Dr Lerner says that approach doesn’t work, in his years of experience.

And he explains why that is BACKWARDS for the addict. His approach finally, finally has penetrated this hard head. In a nutshell, he says to obtain recovery from an addiction (in my case, using food as my drug of choice) one must DO the right thing regardless of how one feels. In his words:

“Recovery is about transcending our  need to fix how we feel and doing the next right thing no matter what we’re feeling.”

“The cart is placed before the horse when we get it backwards by insisting we fix our feelings first. Believing our feelings and thoughts must be changed before we’re able to change our behavior can be a very costly mistake.”

I still believe in the truths about the power of our words; of what we choose to consistently think upon… all that. But thanks to Dr Lerners explanations, I can see that for this food addict to obtained and KEEP recovery, the answer lies first in the DOING, regardless of feelings. AFTER recovery is when those therapies have merit. I had the cart before the horse.

Feeling very thankful today. 

If you would like to read Dr Lerner’s e-book, he is generously offering it free online HERE. Just put in your first name and email addy, and they will send you the link. Truly, it’s life changing.

Still on the Journey,


Retta


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Aug 24th Uh oh...Another Gift Arrived

It's been a busy summer. Ups, downs and progress, albeit slow. Had another dental surgery, and healing up nicely. Only one more to go, yay!

I'm still enjoying my weekly Tai Chi class, and have gotten my little backyard therapy pool going for water aerobics about 5 times a week. Loving that!

I'm still involved with the support and accountability group called A Better Weigh, that I originally found through Sean Anderson, from The Daily Diary of a Winning Loser.

 This is new to me, being accountable this way, and it goes against my independent tendency. But submitting to that kind of accountability and receiving and offering caring support in return has been tremendous. These "strangers" have turned out to be kind and caring people on the same journey to health as I am. Very powerful!



For those who don’t know me well: I live in a powerchair. All waking hours. My overall goal is to regain health, strength and mobility. To walk again. I have a muscle/joint/connective tissue thing with blown knees, and the added weight makes walking impossible. So, weight loss is a prerequisite for walking again. I started at 460, and am now at 325. I NEED to continue. I still have dreams and goals, and need mobility to realize them.

Yesterday another Gift arrived, all wrapped up in a painful experience. My powerchair broke down. My Sweetie couldn't fix it this time, and it will take months navigating the Medicare/insurance "system" to get another one. When I ask the people I'm dealing with to get a new one what I'm supposed to do in the meantime, they just shrug. Sorry, that's the system.

Anyway, this loss of my ONLY way to get around, my powerchair breaking down, was devastating. And this morning I realized it was a Gift.

The Gift is a stark, clear look at what my future WILL absolutely be, if I fail at obtaining Recovery from food addiction. It felt like I time traveled to my future. I mean, intellectually, I knew this. But… now I’ve experienced it. It was not only physically painful, but terrifying. Waiting for help to get a drink of water. Waiting for help to get into the bathroom. Waiting for help to get to the computer... etc etc etc. It is not living, just existing. 

So I accept and embrace this gift of motivation. This gift of seeing crystal clear what my future could be - both ways, good and bad. And the powerful KNOWING that I can choose which direction I go. I guess that’s the real Gift: knowing and BELIEVING that I can choose my future by my choices, by what I DO. I'm very grateful for this Gift. I'm now sure it's an answer to prayer.



My book quote for today: "...the person who forgets the ultimate is a slave to the immediate." --John C Maxwell, How Successful People Think

My verse for today: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

My quote for today: "...eating disorders tend to have in common the relentless attempt to control how we feel... the point is we often engage in potentially compulsive or addictive behaviors in a misguided attempt to 'manage' unpleasant feelings."


Retta

=^..^=

Edited 8/27 to add: All phone calls fell on deaf/uncaring ears. UNTIL we found a repairman who let me use his loaner powerchair without charge. And it "just happened" to be large enough to accommodate me (we previously have checked into renting one, and no one around here had one that was rated over 250 lbs). He will work mine into his repair schedule, and though I must pay out of pocket, he has a reconditioned part he can use (saving me several hundred dollars), and assures me it will last the several months it will take to get a new powerchair. Yay! Another answer to prayers. Feeling grateful today.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

July 13th I Finally Did It!

I did it! I stepped outside of my comfort zone, and joined a Tai Chi class. And I LOVE it! I started yesterday, and am already hooked.




"Take care of yourself." 

This is something my Tai Chi instructor said in class yesterday. There were new people in the back rows who could not see her. She saw this, and tried to move back and forth; then suggested they move until they had a clear view. 

Then she STOPPED trying to do this for everyone, paused, and just said to everyone: “Take CARE of yourself.”

We need to not be victims. To wait for someone else to take care of us. To be pro-active and make healthy choices. 

To say NO when needed. 
To say YES when needed. 
To stand up for ourselves when needed. 
To let it go when needed.

To take care of ourselves.


My book quote for today: "So how do we keep ourselves from decaying? By changing the signals we send to our bodies. The keys to overriding the decay code are daily exercise, emotional commitment, reasonable nutrition and a real engagement with living. But it starts with exercise." -- Younger Next Year for Women, by Crowley and Lodge

My verse for today: "A cheerful heart is good medicine."

My quote for today: "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." --Neale Walsh

Enjoy the journey,

Retta

=^..^=

PS: for anyone interested in Tai Chi, here is a very nice demo on youtube.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Time for a Funeral

I did my usual first of the month weigh in thing: lost 7 lbs last month. Not exactly Rabbit speed, but a nice respectable Turtle. That much closer to regained health.

That makes 27 lbs since the beginning of Feb this year. In the past, I would dampen that joy with regrets:

I wish I had done this sooner.
Why did I re-gain?
I've been at the weight before.
Etc etc etc.

No more. I embrace the joy and hope.

Today I attend a funeral. I'm holding a ceremony, and saying goodbye to a presence that has been with me as long as I remember: 

Regrets. 

Today I lay them to rest.


Eulogy for My Lifelong Regrets

Today I say goodbye to My Lifelong Regrets. We’ve been together a long time, but now it’s time I let you go.

You taught me a lot.

You taught me about Humility, because my life didn’t turn out as I thought it would, yet I still have much for which to be thankful.

You taught me about Compassion, because I know how it feels to struggle and fail, repeatedly.

You taught me about Determination, because though I fell - a LOT - somehow by God’s grace, I got up again and kept going.

You taught me about Focus, because though there is pain in life, I can still choose to focus on the beauty, joy and goodness that is there also.

You taught me Gratitude, because though I didn’t get all I wanted, such as children and grandchildren, I got Love. 

But one thing you did not teach me was Brevity. 

No one is perfect. ;-)



Enjoying the journey, and letting go of regrets,

Retta


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