Saturday, September 23, 2017

Sept 23rd... Knocked Down Again, Gettin' Up Again


Yesterday was tough. I felt beat up, beat down, and ready to “accept” that this was the way it was. This was it.

I felt like I was becoming a professional patient, with 2 to 4 medical appointments a week. It drained all my energy just to keep up, with nothing left over for my hopes and dreams. 

I asked someone about it, and they gave me logic. Well, when you get older, this is just the way it is… that kind of thinking. I felt defeated and in tears.

This morning a thought hit me: but what does God say about it??

I thought of verses that say things like “He will renew your youth like the eagle”. And “You will bear fruit even in old age”. But the doubts… oh the doubts. Was this for me? Even me? In spite of all my screw ups?

I opened my email this morning, and saw my Daily Promise, a newsletter I get with a verse for each day of the year. Of all 365 days, guess what I got THIS day??

“I will enrich your life and renew your youth like the eagle’s.”

That’s just too much coincidence for me to ignore!

Then, I happened to stumble on article (some link to another link to another link…) that had me in tears. The good kind. Here is one paragraph:

“Life will never be flawless. It will often slap us with humility and failures.
It’s a series of ups and downs. Getting smacks and punches are inevitable.
However, the desire of getting up should be stronger than those jabs.”

Link to whole article:

It tells about people who overcame adversity, even older people who achieved their dreams in spite of everything.

And it encouraged me. Greatly. If you need a shot in the arm of Encouragement today, I’d highly recommend carving out about 10 minutes to read and absorb this wonderful article.


"A Hope and a Future"
by Retta Stephenson 

This journey to health is not a straight line graph. Mine, at least, has had lots of ups and down. I'm so ready for some ups!

Continuing the journey,

Retta


Monday, June 19, 2017

June 18th Finally Feeling a Little Hope

Don't have a lot to say. Still struggling with the medication side effects.

It's finally warm here in Oregon, and I've been able to do pool exercises almost every day in my little backyard therapy pool. Just that change alone has been very encouraging. Our trees are in bloom and the bees, bumblebees and butterflies are fun to watch while I exercise.



Was cleaning out some old files, and found this prayer from a 17th century Nun. It really tickled me, so I thought I'd pass it on, in the off chance that I'm not the only one that can relate to it. ;-)


Lord, Thou knowest better than I know myself, that I am growing older 
and will someday be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must
say something on every subject and every occasion. 

Release me from craving to straighten out everybody's affairs. 
Make me thoughtful but not moody; helpful but not bossy. 
With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, 
but Thou knowest Lord that I want few friends at the end. 

Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; 
give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips from aches and pains. 
They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter 
as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales 
of others' pains, but help me to endure them with patience.

I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a 
sureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. 
Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a saint - 
some of them are so hard to live with - but a sour old person 
is one of the crowning works of the devil.

Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, 
and talents in unexpected people. 
And give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so. 
Amen.


Still on the journey,
Retta



Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May 2nd Determined to Never Quit

Just a quick check in. Still alive an' kicking.  But also frustrated. Haven't figured out a work-around yet to the effects of this medication.

It's a hormone that suppresses tumor growth. But they warn you it... makes you gain weight. Say what?!!

I naively thought "Well, that won't happen to ME". All good intentions aside, it did. So now I'm back UP to where I was a year ago, at 337. 

I've decided not to play victim or make excuses. I'll keep experimenting, and looking for solutions. It will soon be warm enough here in Oregon to get my little outdoor therapy pool up and running. Maybe that will tip the balance in my favor, towards progress! One can hope. :-)




Hangin' in there,

Retta

=^..^=

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mar 22nd...One In A Million, Again!

Sometimes I think I need to go back and re-read my own posts! Like... a sentence from this post: 

In our own lives, this means "choosing to live your life intentionally and acting with purpose rather than mindlessly falling victim to whatever comes your way."

I just realized this morning that I have been doing exactly what that line says  NOT to do. Sheesh. It feels as though every time I get some traction going in this weight loss/health thing, along comes something to kick me to the curb.

How does that sound to my own ears?? Whine whine whine, excuse excuse excuse, victim victim victim.

Yet, sometimes we don't hear ourselves! A little while ago I was on the phone talking to my sweet, empathic Sister. She said something that really stopped me, and helped me very much. She said it sounded like I was allowing excuses to stop me from making progress. Ouch! But she was right. I just hadn't been listening to what I was saying. I really appreciated that truthful reminder said in love.



So, I'm going back to basics... again. And what was the first line that I read???!! This sentence from Dr Marty Lerners free booklet:

"I would encourage anyone with an eating disorder, 
or any addiction for that matter, to measure progress 
in terms of how one is doing rather than how one 
may be feeling at a given time."

Wow, how could I have forgotten that?!

Doing? Lousy. Inconsistent. Poor choices.
Feeling? Frustrated. Discouraged. Angry.

Why? I looked at circumstances, and fell victim "to whatever comes your way", as it said above.

My title for this blog post came from something a doctor told me years ago right before a medical procedure. "Oh, it's safe. It's one in a million that anything ever goes wrong."

Uh huh. That day I was that one in a million.

Back to present day. Went in for what was to be my LAST dental surgery. I was so excited to be at the end of a long process. And so what happened??

Again, I was that one in a million. Aaarrrgghhh!

They sliced open the upper gum and peeled it back to work on my brand new shiny implants, to get ready for my permanent dentures. Part of the work involved placing a tiny "torque test" tool inside the implant, to test how strongly it was bonded to the bone. I've had this little test done many times before. No biggee.

Except, this time it was a biggee. The tiny tool broke off INSIDE my implant!!!! It felt like they were pick-axing to China as they desperately tried to get it out. No go... wouldn't budge.

So they sewed me back up with the broken part still inside me!! That was last week. No teeth, no dentures, no chewing. Waiting for the manufacturer to send a special "retrieval" tool, and then I get to go back and repeat the whole surgery all over again.

I'm not mad at the dental surgeon at all. He's very skilled, and has been great these last couple of years. And he's refusing to even charge me for this go around (and he told me that BEFORE the fiasco). 

It's just these thoughts of... "Come on, now what??!!!" And "I can't believe this happened to me!"

And so I pouted and ate and complained and allowed stinkin' thinkin' to make me discouraged. Funny thing is... I had forgotten that when I can't chew anything, and it's all mushy or liquid, I don't seem to ever feel satisfied. Never full. Never satiated. Always want MORE. So I ate more. Now I weigh more. Sigh....

My action plan?? Back to basics. No huge changes, other than my thinking. Just DOING what I should be doing.

SERF

S = spirituality
E = exercise
R = rest
F = food plan

Plain. Simple. Doable. I dunno... there is something comforting in a simple plan. So that's what I'm DOING now. 

And the cancer surgery?? Still waiting. It's actually taken, literally, months to get appointments with the various specialists I've been told to see. Ooh la la, they are so elite and elusive. 

In the meantime... I'm off to go SERFing. :-}




Still on the Journey,


Retta




Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Jan 11th... Learning to Love this Process

Today I read a fascinating article by writer James Clear. He told the story of a German philosophy professor who had moved to Japan in the 1920's to learn Kyudo, which is the Japanese martial art of archery. 

The German man, Eugen Herrigel, also eventually learned Zanshin: a state of relaxed alertness. 

"Zanshin is being constantly aware of your body, mind, and surroundings without stressing yourself. It is an effortless vigilance."



In our own lives, this means "choosing to live your life intentionally and acting with purpose rather than mindlessly falling victim to whatever comes your way."

I LOVED that I read this article this morning! I had just finished trying to hammer out a new, simplified daily schedule. I need more hours in the day! I have goals and dreams, yet need to fulfill the daily practical chores and commitments. And for health's sake, that must include time for Spirituality, Exercise, Rest and a healthy Food Plan.

Later in this article (which I hope you'll read in full HERE) James Clear writes: 

"The point is not to worry about hitting the target. The point is to fall in love with the boredom of doing the work  and embrace each piece of the process. The point is to take that moment of zanshin, that moment of complete awareness and focus, and carry it with you everywhere in life."

For me, I would re-word one part this way: To fall in love with the process. His sentence about that struck me hard. I absolutely LOVE the process of imagining, planning, researching and creating a new painting. Love it!

Yet, have I applied that to the PROCESS of getting healthy?? Uh, I don't think so. I'm pretty sure I usually have the final goal in mind! As in... lose this weight, get all health-i-fied, and get on with the rest of my life!

In fact I was just complaining this very morning to MyGuy that I needed to simplify. It's just getting too darn complicated! 

In addition to tracking calories, I was trying to keep up with grams of protein, carbs and fat; exercise; supplements; prescriptions; doctors appointments; support group meetings; and now per the doctors, the micrograms of Vitamin K in every bite, and to eat those same micrograms each day. Yeesh!! Tooooo much!



Ummmm.... I need to change my attitude.

I plan to re-read this article, and see how I can do that. How I can apply "effortless vigilance" - Zanshin -  to this process of gaining Health.

My book quote for today: "People don't fall off track because they do the wrong exercises at the gym. They fall off track because they stop going, just for a day or two, and then never go back. I've worked on this with thousands of patients, and it's the habit and routine of exercise that leads to success." --Younger Next Year for Women, by Crowley & Lodge

My verse for today: "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!" from Isaiah 43


Enjoy the journey... which I finally realize means to fall in love with the process!!!!

Retta
=^..^=



Thursday, December 22, 2016

Dec 22nd Ending the Year with Hope & Peace


So many changes, so much to feel thankful about. 
Very busy, like everyone else. :-)

I'm feeling encouraged and hopeful. Lots to think about, lots to learn, lots to do.

Do.

That's the key. Consistently do.

I'm still working on my SERF practices. That stands for Spiritual, Exercise, Rest, and Food Plan. Simple, yes, but easy for me to remember.

In case anyone missed it, I wanted to offer a Christmas present to ya'll: 
a free e-book from Dr Marty Lerner (link below). 

It's the one that I feel God used to show me some pieces to the puzzle that I had been missing. It's not just a bunch of theory. Anyone on this journey to health very long has had it up to HERE with theory, yes?!

It's action oriented. Short. Practical. Sure... work on the Whys all you want. But in the meantime, DO. That's the book in a nutshell. In fact, in his 30-ish years of running an addiction clinic (Milestones in Recovery), Dr Lerner has been convinced that until we get our behinds fully into DO mode, we will be side-tracked and stuck forever in the WHY mode. That we will have the cart before the horse. 

So his solution: DO. Then once rolling in the right direction, we can work on the other stuff.

Highly recommended. Here is the link to the free ebook, no strings attached. 

Merry Christmas!






My book quote for today: "You make a daily choice in how the rest of your life goes, and it can be great. The rules are straightforward: exercise hard and you will grow younger. Care about other people and you will grow happier. Build a life that you think means something and you will grow richer." --Crowley and Lodge, Younger Next Year for Women

My verse for today: "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."

My quote for today:"Be like the bird who, pausing in her flight on limb too slight, feel it give way beneath her, yet sings, knowing she hath wings." --Victor Hugo



Retta

=^..^=



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



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