“Oh the weather outside is frightful…” and it certainly is! mid-March and I’m staring out the window at a blur of white as far as my eyes can see! But, my heart is NOT singing “let it snow, let it snow, let it snow”! I’m more of the the “winter you had your chance and blew it – move along now!” mind set. Frankly, that’s not even true. Honestly, I’m more of a “winter if I never, ever have to see you as long as I live, except in other people’s pictures, I’d be perfectly happy” kind of person! So, no, I’m not one of those disgustingly cheerful people on Facebook today posting “yippee, snow” pictures and taking their kids and grandkids out to play in the piles of frigid fluff. I’ll just sit here at my computer with my cup of tea, my blanket and my Morkie, groaning mournfully each time I look out the window and dream of Spring!
It’s hard to believe that 18 months have passed now since my surgery. A year and a half! And where has that year and a half left us? Well, my body seems to have settled on 86 lbs. lost, which is way more than I ever expected! This has exceeded the goal I set with my nutritionist by 14 lbs! I’m thrilled with what my body has been able to do and beyond thankful that God led me down this path… and for once in my life I was smart enough to listen! But, that’s the good news…
We just came through some of the scariest times of the year for anyone watching their weight – the HOLIDAYS! From Halloween through New Year it seems to be a constant barrage of foodie temptations everywhere you look! Candy, cookies, turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, rolls, cakes… you name it, pick your weakness and it’s probably going to rear it’s beautiful, delicious, sweet smelling head during those four months. Still, I came through all of that twinkling like a little star! Yay me! But, watch out, lest I break my arm patting myself on the back because by mid-January my twinkling star had definitely burnt out! Two months of some serious deep pit struggling were about to begin!
THE JUGGLING ACT BEGINS
What brought all this on you might ask? Well, if any of you are anything like me, you know that if Satan throws one little thing at you, you can usually pull yourself up by your bootstraps and rally on. Some of you super multi-tasking-type A’ers can even manage two crisis’ at a time! But, when he starts flinging things at us left and right… we’re like a novice juggler trying to keep all those oranges in the air at one time – sooner or later we’re going to end up with juice on our face!
It started with a natural change that takes place after weight loss surgery – my appetite increased. Not a gigantic jump, just a small increase, but I noticed. I knew this would happen. But, I wasn’t prepared for the sense of “panic” I felt. What if I started eating waaaayyy too much? What if I didn’t know when to stop? What if? What if? What if? (You know what your mind does!) That was juggling orange #1.
Then the depression hit. We’ve talked about this before. I’ve struggled with depression just about my whole life, and this was bad. It hadn’t been this bad in a long time. Some of it was “text book” stuff that they tell Bariatric patients may come up post surgery, but some of it was just my old chemical imbalance nemesis and he was hitting VERY hard at my door. Orange #2. (This may count as several oranges. Anyone who’s dealt with depression understands this.)
In among all of this my fibromyalgia had been gradually increasing and increasing – the pain, the chronic fatigue, the brain fog. (Orange #3) My doctor and I were waiting to see if it was a weather or stress related increase, or if my med needed an increase, when we learned that my med, the first that had really helped my pain in years, would not be covered by insurance and I was going to lose it altogether (which I since have). (Orange #4)
Now add in the little minutia of life Satan loves to throw in just for spice – family stresses, migraines, back problems etc. and I lost hold of my oranges, had juice on my face and this translated into major struggling with my eating. Suddenly you’re grabbing a cookie here or there or letting yourself have a piece of cinnamon bread – things I never would have done before. Things that only made me angry with myself and sick to my stomach – literally – but, was so ingrained in my psyche as a way to deal with my pain, both physical and emotional, that it would happen almost before I even knew it was happening. It seems every time I think I have this “emotional eating thing” beaten, it comes back stronger and harder than before!
Thankfully, despite the pain, I REFUSED to allow myself to stop my workouts, though I sometimes found myself gritting my teeth through them, and it did not affect my weight negatively.
I wish I could say – now here is the sunshine and happiness ending to how I’ve pulled it all together and everything’s coming up roses. But, that’s not reality. Truth is, I am doing better, but I’m still fighting. I’m fighting for each day. The fibro is still getting worse. I’m almost back where I was pre-surgery. This is a little scary for me. No, that’s not honest, it’s a lot scary for me. I still have considerably more flexibility and I have more endurance – I can push through the pain more than I use to be able to – but, the pain and fatigue are back full force! And the depression is still a daily battle. I have to continually remind myself of the things to keep myself out of that pit – where I have to keep my eyes, where I have to keep my ears, where I have to keep my heart and my hope.
So, what you may ask, Ronnie, is the point of all this? Aren’t you suppose to be encouraging us with positive words of how great you’re doing and all your victories so we know we can do this too?! What’s up with that?! Let me answer that by telling you about my friend, Suzy, and a “gift” she gave me some 20 odd years ago. I was a single mom with 4 small children, 7 yrs. and under, who barely felt like I was keeping my head above water most of the time. Suzy was a stay-at-home mom with about a million kids (not really, but it seemed like it at the time) who home schooled. She frequently had the kids and I over and let our kids play or swim, which gave me a little break. Her house was always spotless. She did 30 day make ahead meals for her freezer. Her kids ground wheat and made bread and sold for projects. Those of you who have some home schooling family friends like this know where I’m coming from – they’re perfect! They do it all! And they’re very intimidating! I thought the world of Suzy! One morning out of the blue, Suzy called for a play/swim day for the kids and I quickly accepted. When I arrived, there were piles of unfolded laundry on the floor and couch and half eaten peanut butter and jelly on the coffee table. There were unwashed dishes in the sink and the floor hadn’t been picked up or vacuumed and at least one child was still in their pajamas. In other words – it looked like my house! I didn’t say a word, just let my kids loose, but after the kids all disappeared Suzy turned to me. She said, “You might have noticed how different the house looks than usual.” I hesitantly agreed. She continued, “I did this for you. I could see that you were putting me up on a pedestal, comparing yourself to me. But, what you were seeing – that wasn’t my reality. THIS is our reality. I always went to a lot of work to get the house ready for you to come before. But, I struggle just like you do. Life is hard. Parenting is hard and you’re doing it as a single mom. It’s ok to struggle and not be perfect.”
That was one of the nicest, kindest things anyone has ever done for me – let me see their house a mess! And that’s what I’m telling those of you that are struggling with your weight loss – or your depression – or your spiritual life – Yes, I’ve lost the 86 pounds, but sometimes I have days when I’m angry or lonely or frustrated or depressed and I still don’t know how to deal with it except to shove a cookie in my mouth. And then I get angry because I shoved a cookie in my mouth, so I shove another cookie in my mouth! How’s that for logic?!
So, here it is for everyone to see – my messy house – my emotional eating, my fibro pain, my depression – my daily struggle. Whatever your “messy house” is… you are not alone. Someone somewhere is struggling, too. We all are. And whatever your mess is, whatever it is you’re juggling and losing hold of, lay it down. You were never meant to carry it anyway. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28