I think I should have kept up my blog a bit so that I wouldn't have so much to write~
WHAT A YEAR!!
I had to go back and read my one year post to see where I left off.
Physically this past year has been a year of transformation as well. I believe my body has FINALLY settled down and said "Okay Sal, this is where you need to be" - I bounce between 157 and 165 all the time. 168 is my "OH SHIT" number. LOL - that just made me giggle. Even though I have never had a number goal except for being a healthy under 200lb woman I had to set an OH SHIT number or else I believe I'd let myself creep up and up and up and start that STUPID CYCLE again.
In the beginning of 2010 I had many scares with breast lumps. I had four biopsies within 3 months. All came back as hormonal disorders. Since the "girls" lost so much volume and "plumpness" we'll call it during the weight loss phase having lumps the size of golf balls and eggs not only could I feel them I could SEE them and it was like they grew over night and it was very scary. My family is riddled with breast, ovarian and prostate cancer on both sides and the BRCA 1 & 2 Gene causes these cancers. SO, approx. 5 years ago my sister had an elective double mastectomy with reconstruction. After my scares which turned out to be Hormonal Breast Disorders (no cancer) I decided I was really sick and tired of being scared and just waiting for the cancer to finally choose me. December 21st 2010 I had an elective double mastectomy. My plastic surgeon Dr. Ruebeck with Midwest Plastic Surgery in Edina MN is FLIPPIN' A-MAZING!!!
When I met with him the first time we talked about the different type of reconstruction methods. Because I had so much extra abdominal tissue I was able to have the DIEP/SIEP reconstruction where they used my lower tummy tissue to rebuild "the girls". Anyway - as he was looking/touching my tissue he asked me what size I was before my weight loss, I was a double d. He asked what I was now and I said this $50 bra is helping me fake a healthy B because I was down to a very small B - but man there are some FANTASTIC bra's out there!! He asked what I wanted to be and I said a healthy C. He looked up at me and said I don't know if you have "enough" to get that but I'll try. I laughed right out loud standing there fully exposed and said "DO you realize you are the first person in my life to ever tell me that I didn't have enough fat to work with?" - it really lightened the mood and we had a good laugh about it.
So with my reconstruction I got a mini tummy tuck. They can't tighten my muscles because that would have put too much pressure on my healing chest. Hey - I took what I could out of the deal
Because of the type of reconstruction I had this changed my body shape. I am no longer an APPLE with two little legs coming out of the bottom of it. I am a full fledged WOMAN - hear me ROAR!!! Amazing what this has done to my shape - I've actually GOT A SHAPE, I've got hips well kindof because I never had a rear end before but now since everything else is smaller you can actually see it - it's so cute!! LOL - that just made me giggle too. So now because I have a shape I am wearing a 5/6 jean as I have to get them over my hips to my smaller tummy. Who would have thought you take two "boobies" size C from my tummy and I go up a jean size? This totally boggles my mind but I honestly don't give a hoot what size jean I wear.
I am doing a little research on these breast disorders because they were hormonal based. My thought is this - most estrogen is stored in fat cells. Did my massive weight loss create a FLOOD of estrogen in my body which then created this disorder? I don't know I have yet to find any one else who has had this happen to them.
Anyway - I left off in my one year entry with the sale of my farm that was supposed to happen in June. It did not go through which caused a huge financial burden on me and I had to rent it out again to keep it. I did and ended up renting to a nice young man who I will be friends with for life. What a great guy and a great family - I'll get back to this!
Sooooo the summer/fall of 2010 was filled with fun activities. I finally got back on a motorcycle. I had gotten scared once really badly and then I was so heavy so I shyed away from them - NOW I can't STAY away from them. I've been on several bike runs, met some great people and it IS SO MUCH FUN to be the babe on the back of a bike in leather. Who would have EVER thunk I'd wear leather chaps!!!! Dangit it's been such a fun experience and I feel very comfortable on the bike and I love them.
I also went skydiving. I would have NEVER done this when I was heavy for fear the chute wouldn't of held me and plus I think there is a weight limit. I did it and it was one of the most beautiful personal experiences I've EVER EVER had. Pure joy and bliss - I don't know really how else to describe it.
Playing softball has been a lot of fun being able to actually run - I'm quick like a bunny now and it's such a great experience for me to feel the wind in my hair from running so fast.
I did eventually sell the farm and it closed December 15th 2010. Because I was so attached to it in my heart I thought I would have a bit of a sob - it is April 30th, 2011 today and I haven't cried :) - I think I had so much time to prepare to let it go that I've done all the crying I needed to do. The day of closing it was like any other day really, put the check in the bank and went back to work. The difference of that day though was FREEDOM!!!! The finacial weight of the world was FINALLY off my shoulders and I was FREE. What a COOL but SCARY thing!!!! Complete freedom - this is scary because a person could honestly do some hefty damage with that freedom.
During my recovery at home I was at complete peace with myself and my situation and I was able to recover stress free which I believe helped me keep my oh so possitive attitude! It annoys some people and that is actually kind of fun! I've kept a list this year of words that have been used to describe me by someone else to my face. Good words of course - but I keep this list on my night stand to remind me ESPECIALLY when I'm having a BLAH day that I am living my dream.
I've had a dream for a long long time to really affect peoples lives in a possitive way. I've had a dream to help that young overweight teenager feel loved and special. I've had a dream to let that lonely overweight woman sitting by herself in a shopping mall or cafe feel like she matters. I've had a dream to show that 20 something overweight man that he is handsom and a good catch. I've had a dream to touch people in their hearts and to help them change their own lives whether that means smiling at them, giving them a hug, sitting down and listening to them and actually HEARING them or simply just being there.
This list that I am keeping has these words on it......Infectious, Contagious, A Blessing, Addicting, A Rare Treasure, Inspiring, Inspiration, Amazing, Beautiful, Sweet, Kind, Gentle Soul............
In my last blog entry I talked a little about humility. Humility can be hard to keep when the words above have been spoken about you or too you but it is and will also be a goal and a must to remain humble in my success. My father who has been sober for 33 years said it best about success is recovery. Be VERY VERY careful when celebrating your own successes, the alcoholic is just ONE SIP away from falling off the pedestal they've put themselves on, the financially rich person is JUST ONE cut or layoff away from instant financial stress or poverty. The gambler is just one scratch off away from their addiction swollowing them up again. The food addict is just one grocery store purchase away from saying "oh this little bit won't hurt"
When a person celebrates publicly, outrageously they also FALL publicly!!! I keep this at the forefront of my mind at all times because it has been a fear to fail with my tool - I am working on this fear. But if we fail in utilizing this amazing gift we've been given we fail VERY PUBLICLY because our successes and failures are shown and seen in our physical bodies. I really really do NOT want to do that!!
So anyway - back to my dream, thanks for hanging on through that detour!
While recovering I knew I needed to get myself back into school so that I could get certification so that employers would take me seriously about my mission to help the obese community. I am enrolled in a program to become a Certified Therapeutic Life Coach. I also had this amazing opportunity come from above when I met a woman at a support group for weight loss surgery patients who was starting up a new bariatric center. I thought she was there just gathering thoughts and ideas for that program. We exchanged cards so that she could keep in touch with me and let me know when the support group was. She called a few weeks later and asked if I'd sit down with her and tell her my story. Sure, why not right? I did and in a no holds bar way. I'm from the country and have worked in construction the last 9 1/2 years - my vocabulary could use some polishing and I don't mean maybe!!!
Two weeks after our meeting she sent me a link to apply for a job with the new Bariatric program. I jumped at the chance to do this (I'm thinking in my head - Sal - this is your dream GRAB HOLD) - when I was applying I asked if I could use her as a reference since she pretty much knew my entire story now. She said well that would be a conflict of interest I think since I am going to be doing the interviewing since I am the director of the program - INSERT FOOT INTO MOUTH HERE!!! I guess it says a lot that she saw my raw passion to help others through my foul language and saw vision in my eyes even though clouded at times with hurtful memories that I shared with her. I believe she is an angel because I am now her assistant and the Clinical Services Assistant for Ridgeview Medical Center's Bariatric and Weightloss Program.
PINCHING MYSELF!!!!!!!!!!!! Is this really happening so quickly? Yup - it sure is.
I've got one week under my belt with the program, school begins in May and yup I'm still LOVING my tool - although I was grumpy at it when I wanted to take a big ole gulp of juice the other day and it didn't let me!!
I am still healing and still have some procedures to go through to finish the girls up. Exercising has gone out the window since my surgery in December - it kind of hurt a bit and I need to get back on track with that and I don't mean maybe. I haven't been perfect in this journey AT ALL! I do however take my vitamins religiously, that's probably the one thing I haven't slipped up on. I still love my quote from my mom that she gave me a few weeks before surgery. "Failure is not in the falling off of the wagon, it's in failing to get back on!" - this has stuck with me because this helped me stop the evil cycle of beating myself up if I faulter in my new life program. This tool has brought that wagon down so that it's so darn easy to just step right back on the wagon.
Keep up the good works people - thank you for reading the blog and being inspired by my journey!!!
(I will get back to that great guy and great family I met that I will call friends for life - you'll like that story! Stay tuned)