Life

Life can be complicated… ugly, beautiful, slow, fast, unknown…

Before having surgery last month I was so so so proud of myself for getting to a good place mentally and emotionally… I had dealt with the injury for 4 months already… I had gotten my finances on track… I was feeling good about myself…

Then I had surgery… week one and two were ok… then I started to realize how much weight I gained… then people started to go back to their lives (can’t blame them) and I found my days working from home extremely lonely… I realized how much energy it took to get up for a glass of water… and then I got the blood clot… and I had to change meds all around… and who knows how much of this spiral is due to that alone..

I’m afraid I’ll never walk right again or never be allowed to run again… I’m afraid I won’t be able to get the weight back off again… and I’m terrified because I never thought I’d feel this low ever again… And anytime I try to explain it to people they say well it’s only 12 more days, or it could be worse… And I just want to scream because at this point there are no words in my vocabulary to explain how I feel… and the thought of talking to someone about it gives me anxiety because I feel so STUPID that I let this happen…

I haven’t slept well in weeks, I feel completely trapped in my house and on my couch for that matter… I’ve completely lost my appetite and I feel like I’m constantly pushing off a pending migraine…

I don’t want to be like this but I have absolutely no idea in the world where to start to fix it… All I honestly want is my Dad… I would give the world to have him here right now…

The change in the tide

4 months ago I was broken… Life had gotten the better of me and grief had become my every day…

4 months ago I hit the lowest of my lows… and I faced them and admitted them…

4 months ago I realized that life will never stop because you’re out of control…

The low stayed low for a while… Around Christmas I just got mad… mad that I let myself crumble the way I did and that I had lost who I was…

Shortly after writing my last blog post I decided to fill my house up with some life again… I adopted a senior dog from a rescue… She’s been a saving grace… Gave me a routine again, helped me see my own self worth again… She sleeps in bed next to me… even burrows under the  covers occasionally…

I truly stopped caring that I was single, realizing that I just needed to learn how to love myself again after everything that had happened…

I opened myself up the the wonderous possibilities that life has in all ways… and I said, if something great comes along just say yes to it… What came along was finding me again..

I’ve begun to heal my relationship with food… I’ll never be 100% ok with all of that but I’m getting there… I get a sound breakfast in my system in the morning… I pack enough snacks and small munchies to make sure if I get hungry during the day at work I have something to eat… and I try to get a decent dinner in before too late at night…

I’ve now lost 65 lbs total… My goal is to lose another 15 by July 4th.  Totally doable in my opinion but I don’t obsess over it… It’s become an observation I’m embedded in.  I track my weight to see what foods impact me and how and I don’t get bent out of shape if I see a number bounce occasionally…

And I can do things I never thought I could… like hike a damn mountain…

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When the New Year came around… I was with a friend who is just a wonderful person… and I realize that I have good people around me now… and I entered the new year with no expectations… I want to be happy, healthy and peaceful… Content… Anything more than that is a bonus… I survived 2015… I’m going to be just fine…

Time to be honest with myself

Yesterday I posted to all the social medias that I had hit 50 lbs lost…. I hit that number 2 1/2 years ago too… then I gained 20-25 lbs back… and now it’s off again…. not in the right way though… and today I was down over another lb…

My life has turned into the biggest cluster I can’t even begin to put it into words… When I turned 30 in January sitting on the beach in Tortola I was so confident that this was going to be my year… I was going to own this… I knew I had a promotion coming, I thought that my personal, professional, emotional lives were all coming together and that it finally was making sense…

And then I started getting hit with the curve balls… I had a tough time with the anniversary of my dad’s death for some reason and it’s just been down hill from there… Minnie died… unexpectedly and suddenly… I had no time to grieve, just went through the motions… My relationship fell apart and I checked out, on vacation none the less… my promotion didn’t turn out like I had expected and all of the sudden I was unsure of the career I had been building towards for the last few years… Then the summer of the migraine set in… 2 months… pretty much non stop… a day where I’d be ok and then 3-4 where I just would want to go home and sleep… I continue to have some lingering health things that have me wondering if I need to be tested for some other things… another story for another day…

So I got tested for food sensitivities because it had to be something… and what I greatly feared was true… gluten, dairy, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes… all had to be cut… and then the reality of my addiction reared it’s ugly head…

For my entire life I’ve coped with food… you don’t get to 280lbs because you just like to eat… When my parent’s marriage fell apart I ate, when I was assaulted in HS I ate and ate and ate and when college kicked my ass I ate and when relationship after relationship failed I ate…

Now… Every food I binged on… Every food I over ate on the regular was what was making me neurologically ill… At first I was like it’s ok, I can do this… I found some great meals and rolled with it… and then stress settled in… my brain took over… and when at night all I wanted was a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs or a cheese burger, I would shut down… instead of finding something to sub out I’d eat nothing… some days lunch is a banana and dinner is a glass of wine…

Mentally I’m completely broken… My blood pressure is out of control – ironic since one of my migraine preventative meds is a beta blocker because my blood pressure is actually LOW usually and so a side effect of the beta blocker is that it helps the migraines… I don’t sleep… I’m an emotional wreck… I force myself to go out and do things because I don’t want to admit that my depression is as severe as it is… Put on the face – don’t let people know you feel like you’re going to shatter inside…

I’m hearing “well if you weren’t so negative you could turn yourself around… and you have to look at things positively” and oh god I want to believe me I want to… I pray every night when I’m laying in bed wide awake… I remind myself that all of this will make sense that all of this is meant for a bigger reason… I am willing to accept medication… I have tried every holistic approach I can think of… and yet I feel like one giant disgusting sink hole sucking the life out of myself… and the next day I wake up and I go through the motions until I can go home and break down again…

I have amazing friends who continue to stand by me and yet I can’t help but feel so beyond alone every time I walk into my house… which is empty and hollow these days… I feel like I’ve lost my soul… to work so hard to overcome so much… to be in such a great place and now to feel like you have forgot how to cope with reality… I don’t want to put all of this out there… no one wants to make themselves vulnerable like that… but sometimes  you have to force yourself to be honest with yourself… I’m so disappointed in myself and ultimately what I’ve become this year… I feel like a fraud… this isn’t what 30 was supposed to be…

When you have no words

When I wrote the post Saturday night – my letter to Minnie I struggled to find words for everything I wanted to say.  To be honest I don’t remember much about Saturday other than the 4am phone call, being at the ER and a lot of other just blury things, phone calls from friends and family, packing for my conference, fitful naps…

All week the support has been amazing. Friends family coworkers all reaching out to see if things are ok… All, quite surprising to me, so aware of what Minnie meant to me… And sensitive to the void left in my life…

I’m so touched and so greatful for it all, so blessed that the love that surrounded Minnie was so incredibly expansive and that she touched so many lives… That in her short life she was able to impact so many and teach us so much… 

I will now have to relearn how to live my life… No more schedule based on medications or when she has to be out or adapting to an unexpected seizure… It’s going to be a hard transition… I’m going home today to an empty house… I’m not ready… But I’ve got to face the music… Life happens and with life comes loss… I was so blessed to have spent six years loving and being loved by Minnie and nothing can ever take that away…

  
  

A letter to Minnie

  

Six years ago I let Bob talk me into looking at adopting a Great Dane.  When I went on the adoption page and saw your photo, all stretched out on a couch with a bunch of toys in your mouth I said “her – I want her”. A few weeks later he showed up with you in the back car and my life would never be the same. 

I was convinced we’d change your name but when you climbed into the recliner – all 100 lbs of you we knew Minnie would stick.  Later that year when Bob and I decided we would split up I had a tough decision to make and I’ll never regret it for a minute.  I said you can take anything in the house.  I’m keeping Minnie and the TV.  And we slept on a futon mattress on the floor for a week but I had you and that was what mattered.

   

 

I’m sorry that I chose to have someone in our lives who didn’t love you like you deserved but I hope during those couple of years I loved you enough to make up for it.  And once again I never regret making him leave after you had your first seizure and he said he wish you wouldn’t have made it.  I’m sorry it took me so long to see it.

I’m so glad you had a chance to be loved by so many people, Melissa, Valerie, Bayley, Emily, Rob, Jody… The list goes on… I’m glad you had a grandma that spoiled you silly and a great grandma that called me today so sad that she didn’t get to say goodbye… I’m happy in the end that you had a Dad there that loved you more than you can imagine… That would have done anything for you… That was there with you to say goodbye…  

   

  

And you were a great sister to the brother you let sit on your face  

You were so smart, and a bit of a trouble maker… Bananas, really? Spatulas? I mean you chewed through a child lock once… When you wanted something there was no stopping you…

   

  

You taught me what it was like to love unconditionally again… You saved my life more than once… I would say I have to keep going Minnie needs me…  

You frustrated me at times but ultimately you taught me patience… You were there when I came through the door every day and every moment I got to spend with you was a blessing… Life will not be the same… I plan to bury your ashes outside under the bleeding heart plant that you never failed to roll over at some point each summer… And we’ll it’s a bleeding heart flower it doesn’t get much more fitting than that… You are and always will be my angel… Love you baby girl

  

   

           

Driven

Before I get to the driven part…

I have to share this little bit of crazy… My mom, as anyone who knows me and her is well aware, is a bit eccentric… I love her but she’s, well she’s unique… and yesterday she came in for a visit and she was flying high and told me to have a seat because she had gone to see a medium on her way in…

I’m sure my face was priceless…

I’ll give her this – the lady pulled out some stuff that makes you go oooooook maybe this stuff isn’t totally hokey…  Just some weird things about my dad and me… apparently kept telling my mom something about tea and me – well I don’t drink tea – like at all, but a couple months ago I because obsessed with chai lattes which my mom bought on accident thinking they were coffee… a little weird…

And then she asked my mom if my dad had taken his own life… and my mom told the woman no… and I will say I stopped for a minute when my mom told me that because after he died there was major drama – my step mother accused me of trying to help my dad try to commit suicide (which NEVER happened) but it was a huge blow up that I kept pretty quiet because I was 18 and that whole thing was just ridiculous.  I never did even think if the suicide attempt was real… I just knew I had nothing to do with anything of the sort… But seriously that was quite the random factoid…

There were lots of other strange little things that came up too but I guess that final message that came from it all was that supposedly wherever he is, there are still things he is hoping to ease…

Ok so enough of that… and onto how STRONG I feel lately….

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I’ve really made the decision to dedicate myself to this journey this time.  And it’s paying off.  I’ve broken down more times than I’d like to admit.  I’ve cursed myself and my body and the designer of the challenge I joined and everyone and everything in between but I am not stopping.

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Basically the filling of a lettuce wrap over pasta – soooo good

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shopping trip! including what I needed for family dinner night – southwestern chicken “cupcakes” this week made with wonton wrappers.

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premade frozen smoothie kits with frozen greek yogurt cubes and frozen spinach cubes

I’m eating awesome foods (I feel like all I do is eat).

And I push myself until I feel like I might break

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Last night after my hour or so work out when I realized that jumping jacks are not fun and when I made it through all of my planks without dropping out of any of them I ended up on the floor like this….

IMG_5930I keep saying that the last time I devoted myself to something with this much gusto it was to my education and my career and I think that paid off with mighty rewards.  I’ve been really successful I think and I’ve done well for myself… now why can’t I do that same thing with my health and fitness.  My mom watched me workout yesterday and said she was so impressed seeing me push through and not give up.

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I just have to keep reminding myself that when I start to over think things that I have the power to stop it, that I am in control.  I can decide what weight I want to lift and how fast I want to run and I can decide if I want to let other people’s opinions get to me or if I want to be strong and stand up tall on my own.

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I have an amazing life ahead of me. I plan to be fit and in shape so that I can enjoy it.  An hour of sweat and tears and struggle each night followed by being sore the next day is totally worth knowing that I’m getting stronger each day.  That tomorrow walking that flight of stairs won’t put me out of breath, that I will jump at the chance to be out and about for an entire day and that I’ll get excited to put on new clothes…

And it’s not like I’m giving anything up to devote this time to my health – in fact Monday I went and saw and amazing band – The Beauty Slap perform at the first happy hour sponsored by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust where Pittsburgh Artist and friend of mine Baron Batch was painting.  I had a couple drinks and some nibbles and I came home and did over an hour of leg day… and collapsed afterwards… but damn if I didn’t do what I needed to do..IMG_5912

I’m not going to let things bring me down right now – I didn’t get the Matthew Mayfield house show and you know what that’s ok – his music still inspires me… but I get to write my own story moving forward… I get to write my own album and my own music… I control this destiny… bring it on…

Challenges make us great

Our lives are really just one big challenge right?  Sure there are days where we are on auto pilot.  We go through the motions and get done what we need to.  There are days that are exciting where we are on the highest of highs but they are often then balanced out by those where we struggle to remember why we started the journeys that we did.

I’ve talked often about getting back on the right path with my weight loss.  I spent some time today looking back on photos from when I was at my highest weight in 2011-2012 and when I was at my lowest recent weight in spring of 2013.  And then the ups and downs since then.  I wondered why, when I looked so happy when I was losing the weight why I couldn’t keep it up, why I stumbled and fell.  I didn’t have an answer.  I don’t remember what happened to make me slip up.

What I do know is that sometimes your tool box is really only half full of all the tools you need to complete the job at hand.  Sometimes you just don’t have all the knowlege you need or you didn’t get all of the parts you needed to build your final project.  Way back in 2008 when I got down to my lowest adult weight I had cut a ton of sodium out of my diet.  I was also working 3 jobs, under extreme stress, probably not eating much period at all and when all of that let up I put all of the weight back on and then some.

But I still know how to look for and avoid high sodium foods if I make the effort, and it impacts my migraines.  Then in 2012 I started working out, focusing on portion control… I was determined to be a runner.  I kept trying to be a running up until last summer when I realized I don’t want to run, it’s not for me, my body isn’t built for it and you know what that’s fine.  And I was hungry… all. of. the. time.  I saw progress but the moment I stop counting I was back up again.  The moment I stopped working out progress slacked.

But I know the basics at the gym, I know how to use equipment and free weights, just not in the most efficient manner.  I have some of the tools for the kitchen just not what was best for my body.

So recently I started using instagram as inspiration and began following Macey Phillips who has lost tremendous weight in less than a year through weight training and HIT and HIIT as well as IIFYM (If it fits your macros) meal plan.  And wouldn’t you know she opened up a fitness challenge that started monday.  I signed up immediately.  She’s put a ton of work into the 8 week program, customizing Macros plans which let me tell you I eat alllllll day. IMG_5760

IMG_5780There are also work out routines that at first glance you’re like I got this, that is until you feel like you’re going to die during circut two of the HIT segment.IMG_5810

3 days in and I’m down 3 lbs… maybe some is water weight but remember I was back on this fitness thing for the last few weeks…. so I’m thinking well maybe this is real progress…

Other things that I’ve been able to find joy in now that I feel like I have control over my life again – because when you feel like you can control yourself you feel like you can control everything…

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More time outside with Minnie – including visitng her friend Carlos down the road

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You can’t tell me that her selfie game isn’t on point!

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Realizing I don’t hate how I look – I can make this work, it can only get better from here if I work for it.

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Getting back to this place in a few weeks… my summer home…

And I just may have applied to host Matthew Mayfield for a house show – though with Minnie, I was lucky to have a good friend offer space at his local establishment for the event… I’m just sitting here freaking out now like a fangirl waiting to hear if I win the bid…

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This is one of those moments when life is good… it’s a snapshot in time but I’ll take it… and I wanted to make sure that I documented it because the next time one of those huge obstacles hits or when I feel like I can’t do it and just am over everything I can reflect on this and realize that nope, the strength is there.  Just have to tap into it and remember when we can flex our muscles and when we control what we can we get to enjoy that which we can’t.