Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Simply a Good Marriage...

I've encountered a few questions here and there in the past year related to my surgery. Most are easy to answer...others make me stop and think a moment or two.

The one question I've been asked time and again is "How's your marriage? Is it better or worse?" Even my therapist has asked me that same question at least twice (is she trying to trip me up and get a different answer?)

I'll be glad to answer that question.

My marriage is amazing.

It is better than amazing. It's simply over the moon.

Nope. I'm not lying. Hand on the Bible. (and we all know how I love me some Jesus) I am telling the honest full complete truth.

I would have never had this surgery if I didn't have the support of my husband behind me 110%. Sure, it was ultimately my decision to make, but I needed him to be standing beside me every step of the way. And he has. He went to the seminars with me, doctor's appointments, pre-op appointments, and he was there when they wheeled me back to surgery and was waiting when I got back to the room. He knows as much as I do about the post-op life and keeps a loving eye on me when I eat to make sure I'm okay. He doesn't hover over me, but I know he's watching and when the food addiction wants to take control again, he's there to help me get a handle on that raging monster.

Many marriages don't survive a spouse having a drastic weight loss. Insecurities rise to the surface and the marriage can drown. Many WLS* patients who are in unhappy marriages pre-op find confidence that was deeply hidden after the weight loss and will spread their wings. My wings were never clipped so I never worried about my marriage drowning in the aftermath.

We have taken this walk together. I'm about 35 lbs smaller than when we met and started dating. Oh yeah....this man is loving the new and improved Miss Hope. I've rediscovered confidence I forgot existed. Then again, I'm paranoid and very reluctant to wear more fitted clothing. So many times I put an outfit on and critique it in the mirror (usually on Sunday mornings before church) and when I'm an inch away from changing into something else....he reassures me that it's fine and I believe him. He has ALWAYS called me "Beautiful", even when I didn't believe him because I knew what I looked like in the mirror. I don't know if I've mentioned this, but one day we were going on base/post and I looked at my military I.D. and then I put it beside my face and said, "Wow! Look at this!" He glanced over and did a double take. He then said the most memorable thing. He said..."Ya know, I never saw you like that. I just saw my beautiful wife."

Please, don't think we're not a normal couple. We disagree on occasion. I backseat drive better than anyone I know and it gets me lots of sideways eye rolls and huffs of exasperation. I also PMS like nobody's business once a month, and still he stays. I tend to nag when I ask for something to be done and weeks later I'm still waiting. Yet, here he stays.

Tomorrow is our 9 year wedding anniversary. We joke all the time that we've known each other 11 years total and STILL LIKE EACH OTHER! I can't imagine my life without him. I want to grow old with this man. I want to finish raising our kids, spoil grankids, and travel in our golden years with this man.

I am grateful my husband had an amazing upbringing with wonderful parents. I love his parents with all my heart and wish we lived closer to each other all the time. Anyone who knows my in-law's can testify I'm telling the truth. Neighbor Debbie and I share custody of them at times and she claims them for her own, too. I know I'm blessed to have such a loving relationship with my mother and father in-law. I cherish it and hold it close. They did an amazing job raising my husband (although my FIL would be glad to tell you a few stories about raising The Man that would make you think a little different!) and they love their grandchildren fully and completely. My children know the love of grandparents even though distance separates them. Thank you, Mrs. M and Mr. C!!! I owe you a debt of gratitude!

Raising kids isn't easy, either. This Man has been the most amazing father to my three babies. He may butt heads with the oldest at least once a week, but that gal knows her Daddy loves her. In fact, she'll text him quicker than she will me! The middle child is comfortable and confident in his love. They give each other a hard time and pick like crazy on each other, but she's quick to sit on his lap like she's still 2 years old when she needs a Daddy moment. Oh, that boy of ours. He is quite the handful, but that boy loves his Dad and his favorite time is when they go every three weeks to get a haircut and stop at the Waffle House for breakfast. It's their time and it's special. I thank God all the time for letting this man be the Father he is to these incredible people we've been blessed to raise.

I appreciate every single time he opens a door for me. I appreciate how he never fails to tell me I look nice/good/beautiful when we go somewhere. I appreciate how when we're sitting in the evenings watching t.v. and I look over at him and say..."Hey, I'll give you a dollar if you fix me something to drink (usually coffee)." and he will get up and do it. (I probably owe him a few hundred bucks by now.) I appreciate how he loves me and accepts me as I am....even when I can't.

Happy Anniversary, Honey. I look forward to many many more with you. There's nothing better than being able to tell you I love you every single day and mean it from the bottom of my heart.

*WLS-Weight Loss Surgery

Monday, September 10, 2012

New All the Way Around School Year

I am aware my younger two have been back in school a month. My College Kid has been walking the campus for a few weeks now. I didn't do the annual back to school picture of the youngest two as I wanted to include the oldest in on the post, too. Add in the fact that when the younger two started, I was wide open getting the oldest prepared to leave the nest. Holy cow! Preparing a kid to have their own place is expensive! I kept thinking of things I felt she would need and we had the Tahoe packed to the limit and her car when we took her that big Friday.

Of course, I took pictures to share with you all. I thought I'd share some and explain as we go. Kind of like an Edge Show and Tell post. Won't you come along for our first day pictures?

First day of 8th grade. For the first time since she was three years old, she has bangs. Granted, she was still learning how to make them work, but she loves them. I can't believe this tiny kid will be in high school next year!!

Yeah, she has personality. 

 When we went school shopping, this boy took off in the store after asking his size and did a little shopping of his own. I was kind of impressed. This is the shirt he picked out for his first day and I think he did pretty good. Man, that's a good looking guy!!

He picked out his backpack. I have to laugh at him wearing camouflage shorts. He is the exact opposite of a boy who wears camo. He loves those shorts, but I find it hard to match a shirt! I know. I know. Everything is supposed to go with camouflage. Not in my mind, people.

 We had the third row of seats down and this vehicle was packed to the limits that Friday morning. I told my husband that if we got hit on the road, we would literally explode.

 See this small amount of stuff? When we were checking Paige in to get her keys, I stayed in the truck with The Boy. This young kid pulled up in a small beater pickup truck beside us. He had an old bicycle thrown in the back and in his truck was a garbage bag, a blanket, a pillow, and cardboard box. That's it. All his worldly goods he thought important. I started laughing because I know that's how boys roll. That kid had less stuff than this pile right here.

We stopped for breakfast on the way. We laughed. We drank coffee. I enjoyed every single second I had with my girl. Yes, her siblings went with us. The Boy's psychiatrist felt it might be a good thing to take him to see where Sissy was going to live. It gives him a picture in his mind and it truly helped with the initial separation. It was definitely a family affair.

I may have texted my child more than a few times to beg for a first day of school picture. I threw the whole "I have one since you were in 3k so pleeeeeaaaaasssseeeee". She's a good girl and Mama got her picture. Look at my girl all growed up!!
It's been an adjustment all the way around. Third grade now has real grades! (Don't get me started over the past two years where he simply got S's). I admit I was nervous about the real grades and we worked in a 3rd grade workbook all summer and talked about grades and how important they are. I am THRILLED to say he got his interim report last week and has 100 averages thus far. Also, his teacher called to tell me he's been moved to a higher math level class. Chances are he'll be tested for gifted in the Spring. Who's bustin' buttons right now? This Mama!! Homework is a different story. It looks like the ADHD meds are wearing off earlier due to him taking them earlier in the day. He may have to take a "piggyback" medication in the afternoons so he can focus on homework and have calmer evenings. We're still contemplating this.
Eighth grade is what my Makenna loves. She has every single class with her best friend. Projects are the norm every single week and she never complains. Chorus is her passion and she's trying out for all-state this year. She's already researching fine art degrees. What?? I just tell her she can succeed greatly at whatever she decides. I love how this kid has a great group of friends and she's finally getting a little social on the weekends. She's always been content to sit at home, but now she's wanting to do sleep overs and go places! YaY....I think.
College has been an eye opener for Paige. First thing she realized is that there is much walking to be done. She's finding her way and we text quite a bit. I send her pictures of Prissy and her siblings on a regular basis. She even got a picture of her brother's first interim report. I have vowed to keep her involved in their lives and vice versa. She's had her car towed with a call full of panic to her Daddy. God bless the man because he can figure it all out over the phone and she had it back within the hour. She's making friends and exploring her new area. This past weekend, the air conditioner went out in her room/dorm/apartment. My child is not one to sweat so she got busy finding out how to fix her air. Suffice it to say, they will be getting a new motor in their A/C today. She was put out that her room mates were just going to sit there and swelter and suffer. I told her that's why I've made her do the things I did while she was growing up. You have to prepare these kids to take care of themselves! Another example to show you is the first week, she was taking the garbage out and chatted with the maintenance man. He was disgusted that the first night, there were a half dozen calls to come plunge toilets. The kids had no idea how to plunge a toilet. Paige blinked and informed him she's been plunging toilets since she was tall enough to do so. In fact, her Mama bought one and it was sitting beside her toilet at that moment. He was thrilled to hear this. I miss that girl with every fiber of my being, but I am so proud that she's out there and taking care of herself and having fun.
It's been interesting the past month for sure. I'm hanging in there and watching my kids grow at the speed of light. It feels like I'm going to blink and it will be Christmas morning!

Monday, August 20, 2012

One Blessed Year Later.....

(image courtesy of google images)
Well, hello!! Welcome to my celebration! Yes, my friends, it's been ONE year since my surgery. August 18, 2011 happened to be one serious life changing day for this ol' gal. 

Some people in the weight loss community call this a Surgiversary. I'm cool with that. I don't really remember being in the world much this time last year. Little did I know just how much life would be changing for me.

Since my last post wasn't the greatest in being positive, I have deemed my celebration post to be all positive.

Being positive will allow me to tell you about some of the NSV's I've experienced in the past twelve months. An NSV is a Non-Scale Victory. It's those little and big things that are not related to the scale. I've had a few that have made me happy, cry a little, and just plain out do a happy dance.

I think my favorite one is being able to cross my legs. You read that right. I love being able to cross my legs like a lady and not hurt. I was able to do this comfortably a few months ago and every single time I do it, I grin on the inside.

I've lost 8 sizes in clothes. Think about that a minute. Women's clothes go by 2's, you know (2,4,6, and etc). Suffice it to say, I was on the high end of the plus size spectrum. I now shop in the misses department with ease. Ha. No, I don't. The first time I went in the misses section was ....well, it was hard. My husband and I went to a store after supper out with the friends one night. I needed some pants. All of mine were falling off. He did a pit stop at the bathroom and I headed on to see to what I could find. I automatically went to the plus size section. When I got there, I realized the clothes were too big. I just stood there a minute. I walked over to the misses section and just stood there again. When my husband found me, I was literally about in tears because I was so overwhelmed and didn't know where to start. The choices! The styles! Oh my!! It's funny now, but it sure wasn't funny then. It's been 14 years since I've been able to shop in a section where the tags read small, medium, and large.

My fingers are thinner now. Since ring sizes go by half sizes, we can safely say the size 10.5 I wore before can't compare with the size 7 I can wear now. Yes, another eight sizes lost in the hands. Just within the past couple of weeks I had to go buy a simple wedding band. My original rings fell off long ago and the ring of my Mama's was too loose for me to feel safe wearing.

Let's talk about shoe sizes, too, shall we? I've worn a size 10 since I was ten years old. No joke. Firm foundation is what my Daddy has always called it. When I lost a hundred pounds fifteen years ago, I got down to a size 9. (I still miss those shoes!) Giving birth twice after that weight loss plus putting on a massive amount of weight, I've flirted with some size 11 shoes in the past couple of years. I've got plenty of size 10's, but some 11's have snuck into my closet. Lately, I've been buying size 9.5 shoes.

While on the subject of shoes, guess who has some sassy  heels? Yeah, baby, this GIRL has some heels. And you know what?? I can wear them without dying!! They are actually comfortable! And I feel awesome wearing them, too!

I am off of my cholesterol medication. That was HUGE for me. Having to take that medication scared me. In my mind, that was flirting with danger right there. My family doctor took me off of that medication within a couple months of the surgery and I've had blood tests to check for it every three months since then. I am officially off of it and not worried about it now.

My blood pressure blows my mind. I was an inch away from being put on medication before surgery. I was going to be just like my Mama and on blood pressure medication when I hit my 40's. Well, lo and behold, that stupid pressure has gone the opposite direction! Now, I have low blood pressure and get the dizzies when I stand up. My pulse is lower and I honestly don't feel like my body is struggling like it was 13 months ago.

What about sweat? Anyone who is overweight knows sweat intimately. It's what happens all the time no matter what the weather is like. Summer time is hard, especially in The South. There's nothing like trying to put on a little makeup during the summer and it basically starts melting off before you hit the front door. Lord help when you hit the humidity. There goes the rest of it down the drain. It has been wonderful not sweating all the time. In fact, I stay cold in buildings and keep coats in the trunk of the car. I feel sure I will be wearing thermal underwear this winter as my core temperature struggles to regulate. I read that may be problem for a year or two while my body adjusts. I'm perfectly fine with that.

I'm in therapy now. Can I just say I just love me some good therapy? I have no shame in admitting I need help with figuring out the root of my food addiction. I want to fix it. If I can't fix it, I want to understand it and have better tools in my arsenal to fight that demon that lives inside of me. I am very blessed that a renowned psychologist who specializes in addictions and treating WLS patients lives in this area. We're really digging into my psyche and I may fall apart before all is said and done, but if I do? Putting the pieces back together to make a better Miss Hope is worth it.

Pain is not a constant in my life anymore. I think I do have a tad bit of arthritis in my left hip, but years of being overweight and three pregnancies are big contributing factors with that issue. Before, just standing at the washing machine killed my back. Standing at the stove crippled my back with pain. Walking long distances (like simple grocery shopping throughout a grocery store) would almost put me in tears. I have none of those issues now. I can shop like a champ, walk the mall, and wash clothes all day long.

These are just a few NSV's that I wanted to share. I'm sure there are more, but I don't want to bore you all too much. You've been too patient with me like it is. I'm excited to experience more this upcoming year.

I...uh...went through my pictures trying to figure out what to share with you. I am ashamed of how bad I looked before surgery. Recently, a friend asked how much weight I had lost and I told them I was almost embarrassed to say because it meant I came from a bad place. I need to stop that. I made some poor choices with my food, health, and body. I stepped up and am now trying my best to work with this amazing tool I've been given so as to improve my food choices, my health, and my body. Yes, it was bad. Now it's not so much.

Thank you for hanging with me the past year. So many of you have supported me and I am forever grateful. The battle hasn't been won, but it's been a heck of a fight.

One year after surgery (give or take a day because you really don't start losing until the week after because of surgery and such).........

I HAVE LOST 140 LBS !!!!!!!!

(clicking on the collage should make it bigger for you to see. My computer guru is at college now and I had to muddle my way through this thing. Sorry!)

 This was me in January of 2011 during a visit for Neighbor Greg's Military Retirement. Silly me thought if the picture was from the neck up, you couldn't see the bad part. Yeah.

This was in the past month. Neighbor Debbie gave me that lovely necklace for my birthday and when I wore it to church, I took a picture for her as proof I loved it.

I went this morning for my one year visit with the surgeon. He said he declares me a success thus far. So do I. All my nutrition levels are good and I am to keep doing what I'm doing. I do believe I shall. I'm having a few issues with the gall bladder and it will probably have to come out sooner rather than later. Eh, that's pretty standard for WLS kids.  (For some reason, the gall bladder surgery TERRIFIES me.) He also said my coffee addiction love is okay, too.

I'm feeling pretty decent, Internets. Yep...pretty dang decent.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Preparing for Big Kid School

I'm pretty sure people are tired of my Book of Faces status updates talking about my kid going to college this Friday.

I was unprepared for how involved a person can get trying to make sure their child is going to have what they need when they are away from home.

It literally looks like Dorms R Us exploded in my living room. I have under bed containers (3) lined up with different things in them. I have smaller containers lined up waiting to be filled. I have, really... BAGS of stuff lined up full to the brim. There are bags in the kitchen and another under bed container already full of dried goods, spices, oh you name it.

The Man says he feels like an ATM machine. He now dreads when I head out to run errands because I'm texting him every hour with how much I spent at what store. (He has a nifty budget program he's using for us and he likes to input every single thing so I bombard him with texts stating stores and amounts all the time.)

Today is bonding day for The Man and the College Kid. They took her car first thing to the dealer to have it thoroughly checked out. I am already cringing because I feel sure two new tires will be required. They get to go to two doctor appointments for the kid, fill prescriptions on base/post for The Man, and to top the day off? They get to sit at the I.D. place on base/post for a few hours to update her military I.D. and insurance information.

Guess what I get to do while they do all that fun stuff? I get to stay home and do the mountains of laundry that are sitting in my hallway. Last night, my girl decided doing some laundry to have clean clothes to take with her would be a grand idea. Ya think? I feel for her future spouse. I hope they know how to do laundry because that sister will put it off until the last a month later if she can help it.

To top it all off? For a whole year I have waited and waited for a fever blister to appear. I've had those stupid things since high school and have never gone more than a few months without battling one. I was SURE I would have to fight them after my surgery because of the stress, compromised immune system, and all that goes with triggering fever blisters. Nope. Haven't had a one the whole year.

Until yesterday.

Apparently, having a child go off to college is a fantastic trigger for the ol' fever blister. It's been so long since I've had one, I almost had a mild panic attack because I couldn't remember where the cream was I'm supposed to use. Good thing I out smarted myself because it was in the basket that holds mine and Paige's medicines. Crisis averted.

Three days.

I can make it three days.

I can pack this incredibly huge pile of stuff in two vehicles and take my child to Big Kid School and leave her there.

I can do this.

Some times?

There's just not enough coffee.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Hi. I just finished writing this post and, it's long. Apologies if you're bored, but I'm keeping it real. You might want to fix a fresh beverage or pack a snack before reading. And as always....your comments and feedback are appreciated.

How's everyone doing this fine hot summer? We're tooling right along here in the extremely hot Southeast USA. I had an outing this weekend with some ladies and while eating supper, they asked many questions about my surgery and how things are going. One made the comment that I needed to blog about my experiences more than I have. So, I figured I would take a minute to talk a little bit more about myself and what's been going down in the life of Miss Hope.

Next month is my one year anniversary since the change of my life. I will take that time to tell you all about the good side and how much better my health is and blah blah and etc. Right now, I'll tell you how consumed I am and may be just a tad overwhelmed at times.

Before surgery, I never worried about eating. That's kind of obvious because I was what is called SMO (super morbid obese). *shudder* I hate that I let my body get to that term in my medical files. How can I put this to explain what I'm trying to say?

Let's try this. How many of you really worry about what you're going to eat for your next meal? You eat breakfast, lunch, supper, and maybe a snack or two. Not much thought goes into it unless you're cooking a big meal and need prior preparation. Before surgery, I ate what I wanted for breakfast, if I even ate breakfast. No joke. I am not a breakfast eater and couldn't understand why on earth I got so big when I wasn't eating twenty four hours a day. I never ate a super huge lunch, either. Sandwich and chips were fine or just the sandwich alone. I always tried to fix a good hearty supper (I am Southern so think of hearty in capital letters) for the family and I took full advantage of that meal. It was nothing for me to ask the hubby to bake up some peanut butter cookies maybe every other month and sit and eat a plate straight from the oven.

If I thought about food, it was along the lines of  "hmm, I just finished lunch, wonder what I can whip up for supper or where can we go eat?" You think about food, but it brings warm fuzzies because you just adore it.

All that changed on August 18, 2011.

I wasn't prepared.

I wasn't prepared for how my world would change so drastically on that day.

I had some serious buyer's remorse in the few weeks after surgery. I know now that having that feeling is normal and common. I cried to my husband as I smelled all this wonderful stuff I couldn't eat. I wailed to my family, "What have I done to myself? How could I do this?? I will never eat agaaaaaaaainnnnn!!!"

Yeah, it got ugly, people.

Little did I know that we store estrogen in our fat cells and Miss Hope had fat cells popping left and right so the hormones were going off like a ticker tape parade that wouldn't end. I was a big pot of a hot mess. (Apologies if I've mentioned this in a previous post, but if I could prepare one person going to have this surgery about anything afterwards, this is it right here.)

My cycle went completely bonkers on me, because yet again....hormones being released at a crazy rate into my system. At my six week post-op visit, I told the smug acting doctor who replaced my amazing surgeon that he really needed to warn women about this because I thought I was dying. Seriously. I went to my family doctor just knowing I was dying and she calmed me down and assured me that I was totally normal and what was going on was normal, too. Just to let you know, I did try to convince the wonderful Dr. C to remove my uterus while he was doing the gastric bypass and he said, "1. I don't mess with girly parts. (yes, he said that) and 2. I want to take as little time as possible with surgery for your sake." I remember looking at him and saying, "Surely, you got a golf buddy who is an ob/gyn who could slip in beside you?" Yeah, I wish I had pushed that a little harder.

I still have my gall bladder, too. Most surgeons will go ahead and remove a gall bladder during WLS (weight loss surgery) because chances are you will have it removed within 18 months or less due to massive and quick weight loss. I think I had an issue with it a few months ago and went in to see Dr. Smug. He told me he believes in yanking it out and taking a look around while inside. BEHOLD! I felt immediately better! It was a miracle! I kid you not. I haven't had any issues since, but I've tried to watch what I eat so as not to aggravate it further. Miss Hope doesn't feel like going under again any time soon.

Now to address the eating part.


Before surgery, I would eat what I wanted. Now? I eat to stay alive. Big difference.

And it's hard. Harder than I thought it would be. Impossible? Not at all. Just different than my life had been up until that point.

I am told that I need to get in 60-80 grams of protein a day. 64 or more ounces of fluid that has no sugar is required.

People, that is hard to do. Count one day as you eat and see for yourself. I really don't want this post to turn into a long boring piece about what I eat day by day, so suffice it to say it is not easy. I can only eat around 3/4 to one cup of food per sitting. Some days my system is grouchy and I'm lucky to get in a 1/2 cup of food. If you don't eat enough protein, you won't lose weight. True story. Your body will hang onto every single thing you ingest because it believes you are trying to starve yourself. Talk about messing with your mind!

I have become consumed with food. I hate that part. I hate that before I loved food and never worried about fat, protein and carb content. I hate that now I am obsessed with making sure I give my body what it needs to survive and lose what it needs to lose. I hate that I end up talking about it with Neighbor Debbie and Sherry Lou so much because I know they're bored senseless with my ramblings. God bless 'em, though, because they have been such amazing support and never act like I'm bugging them. They listen. They make suggestions. They keep me sane. I would literally be locked up by now if it wasn't for my husband, children (they police me "have you had enough to drink, Mama? Have you had enough protein today?"), Neighbor Debbie, Neighbor Greg, Big J and Sherry Lou. These people are on my Christmas List from now on and forever.

I can't have rice, breads, pastas, or sweets. You know, all that is Southern and good. It will cause the dumping episode. (posted the dumping link before but it helps you understand better) I am scared of the dumping syndrome. I've had it happen a couple of times because of crazy reasons. I didn't do it intentionally, but sugar/carbs hide in food that you don't know about and I've been caught unawares. I miss these foods. Wait, let me see if I can make you understand. I MISS THESE FOODS. With every fiber of my being.

Addiction much? Many WLS patients scoff when you mention food addiction. I believe it exists and I have it. Let me ask you this. Why do we have pity and label someone who is an alcoholic or hooked on drugs an addict and we're all "Let's help them! Put them in rehab! Let's get them straight!" They tell the addict to avoid the situations where alcohol is involved. Get away from that former life. Hey, Drug Addict, you need to avoid the "friends" you had before and get away from that former life, too! Uh...where do I go? I can't avoid my family. I love them. I can't avoid food. I kinda need it to live. I have triggers just like the alcoholic. If I were to eat a helping of pasta, I would want more. Even if it made me sick as a dog from dumping syndrome.

So, what do I do? I watch others eat what I can't have. I console myself with the fact that I've had enough of these foods in my life time to last five life times. Will I ever be able to eat them again? Probably. The further out from surgery you get, the more you are able to tolerate. I don't want to, though. I watched my Grandaddy be an alcoholic until I was six years old (yes, I remember his drinking) and after that, he was a recovering alcoholic until his death ten years ago. I hope and pray I can be as strong as he was and just put the bad away and concentrate on the good.

A few weeks ago, I didn't feel like cooking supper one night. I had some frozen pizzas in the freezer for a time such as this and I told The Man to cook 'em up for himself and the kids. For the first time since surgery, I was affected. Those pizzas smelled so good cooking, I couldn't hardly stand it. You know the cartoons where the subject is literally lifted off of the ground and lured somewhere by the aroma of something good? That's what I felt like. I stayed in the living room while they ate supper and sipped a protein shake. The Man went to run an errand and while he was gone, I walked in the kitchen. Big mistake. HUGE mistake. I just stood there and looked at that pizza with such longing. They had cooked a really thin crust cheese pizza for my son. I picked up a piece. I took a bite. I took another bite. I ate the whole piece. It wasn't a big piece, but I ate it. Then I went into panic mode and waiting for the dumping syndrome to begin. It didn't. Crap. What did I do? I ate another small piece. Son of a gun. What on earth was wrong with me??? I did feel a tad yucky but not a full fledged gonna die episode. (Had to tell you this after proofreading. When The Man got home, I told him I had a confession and then told him about the pizza. His response? "We'll have to work hard to make sure it doesn't happen again." We. He said "we". That's how he rolls. We're in this together. I loved him so good in that moment.)

I got scared. No, I was terrified. I ate something I wasn't supposed to eat.

The next morning, I called the therapist associated with my surgeon's office to make an appointment. She had a cancellation that week and I snatched it up. When I went into that appointment, I was a woman on a mission. I had been working on my body for almost 11 months at that time but never really worked on my head. It was time. Now, I want to go in my brain and find out the root of this addiction and see if I can find a way to control it. She was thrilled that I was terrified after eating the pizza. It meant I was aware and ready to fix the upstairs portion to match the downstairs. I believe that will be the best call I've made in a long time.

I've done much better since then. I have too much to lose, Literally and figuratively. I don't want to go through the surgery to reroute my insides, only to out eat all that hard work. I want to succeed with all my heart, mind, and soul.

I've said this before and I'll say it again and again. Weight loss surgery is NOT the easy way out. It's the last resort. I've lost so much weight over the years and regained. I was a foodaholic that kept falling off of the wagon over and over again. Will I fall again? I don't know. If I do, I will get up off my considerably smaller butt and run like crazy to jump back on that wagon. I have to, people. I owe it to myself first and my family and friends second to do what I can to be around for a while, God willing.

I admit that most days I am mad that I have to be consumed to my eyebrows with making sure I get enough protein and fluids in my system. I almost got dehydrated last week for the first time. I was busy and time got away from me and when I started getting sick, I realized I hadn't been drinking for two days like I was supposed to be doing. Now, I have Neighbor Debbie pointing her finger at me and saying "You drinking enough?"  when we're out and about.

I truly hope you don't think this is a negative post. It's really not how I intend to come across to my peeps. It's a new lifestyle I've been trying to adjust to while the world keeps going around me with so many distractions. I'm looking forward to my one year post where I tell you all the amazing NSV's (non-scale victories) I've had since last August. There will be pictures, of course.

I am asking that you do your level best to keep from judging those who have had to have weight loss surgery. The obese world is a hard world to live in..especially in society today. Trust me, we are hard enough on ourselves. We don't need unkind words, snickers, or asinine opinions from those who haven't had a weight problem of this magnitude. Just know we are properly jealous of those of you who can wear the cute clothes and eat whatever you want. We only want to be accepted and for you to get to know how cool we are on the inside.

Be kind to one another. Please.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Postive Thoughts on my Daughter Going to College

This evening we leave for college orientation! It's going to be a busy two days filled with lots of walking, meetings, and scoping out the campus where my child will go live come August.

Update for those who aren't friends with me on the book of faces. After clicking on quite a few "contact us" links and sending those emails, I received a phone call from the university Friday. This incredible woman sat on the phone with me and answered any and all questions I could come up with in my mind. I wanted to write everything down so I could share it with The Man and my daughter so I had her repeat until I finally grasped everything she was saying. She was patient and kind and I thanked her profusely over and over for being so awesome. By the time I got off of the phone, I felt better prepared to handle the orientation this week and was much calmer. (I think the anti-anxiety pills were kicking in- I may never quit taking them again. Ever.)

Yesterday, the girl child didn't go to work until the evening, so she went to church with us. A casual conversation between us made me realize she really didn't have anything to wear this week. Poor kid. She wears jeans and the restaurant tshirt to work and hasn't really had need for anything for summer up until this point. We did a quick run after church and Sunday dinner to see if we could find something quick before she had to head to work. We found cute knit skorts that are comfy and stylish. Add in a tie-dye'd tshirt in her school's dominant color and she is set for the all day session Tuesday! She feels good about having the cute outfit and I'm happy she's has something new and comfy to wear.

So, I've been thinking about the positive aspects of my child being on her own. What have I done, as a parent, to prepare her for the world? I've been working on a list that I will add to when I think of things, but here are a few I've come up with thus far.

1. She can cook. She has cooked for the family the past couple of years when I've been sick (or recovering from surgery) and has really done a wonderful job. If she can get to a grocery store, she can cook. This may come in handy for fellow students who are her friends.

2. She can do laundry. All three of my kids can do laundry. Yes, even the eight year old. He operates the washing machine better than his Dad or sisters. Doing laundry is important because I have laid down the law that she is not to bring home huge bags of dirty laundry unless she is planning to wash them here at home.  I have a feeling that many of these college freshmen will have no idea how to clean their clothes and she has potential to make some money if she charges to do it for them, right?

3. She can take care of business. Literally. Paige has had a bank account since she was fifteen with a debit card. She is not afraid to walk in the bank and deal with her business and handle what needs to be done. At first, she was hesitant, but I've told her the only way to learn is to just do it. Now? She's a pro.

4. My child can stand up for herself. Now, she may get a little mouthy at times and I chalk that up to age and that sooner or later she will learn to temper it and be a little more calm. As it stands now, she will not tolerate being mistreated or having those around her mistreated. She may only be 5' 2" (and a half....Lord, don't forget the HALF), but she's a firecracker when she gets angry.

These few things are comforting the Mama in me. Sure, there are more things that make her great and somewhat ready to head out into the world, I just feel good about these at the moment.

I have to share a laugh I had at her expense with you (because we're all close  friends and it's not like the world will see this, right?) On the orientation schedule, it's broken down to student activities and parent activities. On hers, it states that tomorrow night after walking and touring and meeting all day, they are doing some great stuff tomorrow night. You know, stuff like swimming, Wii, karaoke....busy exciting things! That's fine and dandy, but we read they won't leave to do that until 9:00 p.m. That makes my child blink because Grandma likes her sleep and will go to bed shortly after that time. She's already stated she'll see the bus off because she's not about all that activity that late at night. We all know better, of course, and so does she. She will be in the middle of everything and I feel sure she'll own the karaoke singing since she has an amazing voice. I also have a feeling she'll sleep all the way home Wednesday afternoon until she has to go to work Thursday. Grandma needs her rest, you know. (We've always called her Grandma because even as a small child, she has never gotten in a hurry over anything. Nothing. The child leaves for work almost an hour early (we live about 15-20 minutes away) so she doesn't have to hurry so get my drift?)

So, there you go. I am finding comfort where I can over letting my child leave home and get busy with her life. I've taught her what I can (and feel sure there will be many phone calls where I give crash course lessons on life) and she should survive pretty decently while she finds her footing in her new life.

I miss her already.....

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Summer Miss Hope Went Crazy

People, I am losing my entire mind over here. No joke. After surgery, I quit all prescription medications while healing and the anti-anxiety pill was one of those. I never started it back because I thought I was cool and handling this thing called life pretty good.

Yeah, I started those bad boys back last night.

Two months until college.


Next week, The Man and I are taking our Baby Girl (a.k.a The High School Graduate and/or  The Legal Adult(am reminded of this on a regular basis)) to orientation at her university.

To say I am overwhelmed is a tiny little massive understatement. We have no clue where we have to go or what we have to do. I finally had my child pull up some kind of link on the computer with an itinerary of sorts.

Looking at it made me blink really really hard. It was confusing and of course they split us up from our child because *cue club music* she gets to go experience college and see how fun it is(!) and how cool life is going to be (!) while my husband and I get to do the adult fun stuff. What?? We get to go to a financial aid seminar while she has small group and gets a SOUVENIR!! (My sarcasm level is so high right now, you should be glad you can't hear my tone of voice.)

Now Miss Hope is a good person. If you're my friend? I got your back. I can take a lot and keep truckin'.

My truck ran out of gas right at that moment.

What did I do?

I clicked on many "contact us" links and I started emailing.

I mainly told them that there's nothing like dropping a few hundred bucks to go walk their campus and not knowing how to get to the flippin' campus. I also stated that we're not paying for college so how come we're attending the financial aid seminar?? (Hold your britches now. -okay, now go back and re-read that word. It's Southern for pants- We are helping her with expenses and such, we just can't whip out the checkbook and write a check for cool ten grand or more.)

I sent those emails last night when the anxiety was high and, therefore, I may have been a tiny bit  obnoxious, verbose, and not so nice. (I wasn't UN-nice....I was Southern Belle pissed off nice- there's a difference, you know.) Kudos to the university because I've already received two responses and methinks I may know a little more than I did last night by the end of the day.

I am a first time college student parent here. They need to recognize my need for communication and need for knowledge on how much debt they're going to give my child. You know, the kid that started out at 3 lbs 7 oz and right now? I just can't get past the whole watching her lay in the incubator deal thinking she would never grow up.

Medication, oh how I need thee.

Of course, my actions make my child roll her eyes and count down to the minute when she leaves this house and my froot loop acting self. *sigh* When do we stop being our kid's strongest advocate? I obviously didn't receive that instruction upon her birth and so now I don't know when to just let her do her thang.

You need to feel sorry for Makenna, too. Every road block we hit or what have you, I turn to her and point my finger and tell her she's not to do this or do that or she WILL do this and she WILL do that. Bless her laid back heart. She simply agrees with the Crazy Mama and goes about her business.

I hope and pray that the anti-anxiety medication won't take long to work in my system. That's another thing there. I don't know how the new plumbing inside of me will react, so it's a wait and see kind of deal. Hopefully, my system will say, "Hey, Celexa!! Where ya been? Welcome home, friend!" and open its arms and give it a big ol' hug and let it start where it left off ten months ago. I think my family is praying harder than I am at this point.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Paige's Graduation 2012

I woke up in January and went into panic mode. It was 2012 and it was officially the year my oldest child was going to graduate high school. Immediately, I went into planning mode because at my age, five months were going to fly by and the Big Day would be here before I knew it.

We decided to have the after party here at our home so that meant many things had to be done. There were walls that needed to be painted, curtains to be purchased, menus to plan, rooms to clean. From January up until the day everyone started arriving, we were working on this house of ours. I didn't quite get to do all I wanted, but it was sufficient and I was happy with the end results. That's one of the main reasons I suppose I've neglected The Edge in the past five months. I have had to promise others that this won't happen now because there's many things I need to update you all on and I would almost have to write every day to get caught up.

For now, this post is dedicated to my kid.

I got a little emotional around March at random times. The cap and gown hanging on a doorway would make me teary. All the correspondence from colleges would make me shake my head in denial. Finally, I think I reconciled myself that she was going to graduate no matter how badly I want her to be a little girl and need me forever. I found some kind of inner peace and made it my mission to make sure she had a day to remember.

I love how a couple of weeks before graduation, Paige and I seemed to trade emotional places. We would sit on the back porch while Prissy did her business and my girl would get teary eye'd her own self as the enormity of the situation hit her. She was leaving high school. Time to face the big bad world was upon her. I would smile and listen as I remembered thinking those same things when I was in her shoes.

I wondered how I would feel when I saw her walk across the stage to receive her diploma and would I be able to hold the tears at bay so I could truly see her face and expression. Lots of emotions rolling around in the ol' heart right there, friends.

The Friday before The Big Day, family and friends started rolling in. We had family and friends come from near and far to share the weekend and I am here to tell you, my house looked like the Walton's lived here. We had every room filled and even a few kids spread around in the living room "roughing it". It was simply amazing and good times and late nights were ours for the taking. Everyone got along and all pitched in to make sure things ran smoothly. I refused to stress over the small stuff and kept meals simple. We had the after party catered and that in itself was worth the moon. Go to ceremony, come home and VOILA! the food was here and waiting (Neighbor Debbie took over that job and supervised the delivery and set up.)

We had around twenty people go to the graduation ceremony and another twenty or so come to the party afterwards. Suffice it to say, the yard was filled with kids playing and inside was filled with people enjoying good food and company.

Paige was the Belle of the Ball. Normally, she doesn't like being the center of attention in  certain situations. This was one of them. I told her to smile and enjoy the day to the fullest because it was all hers. She was gracious and did her best to spend a few minutes with everyone she could. She opened gifts in front of thirty plus people and even stood at the end to give a very well spoken speech of thanks and gratitude. I may have bust a few buttons over how well she did the whole day.

I think my favorite moment of the day was when the graduates were walking in. They were all so adorable in their cap and gowns...trying very hard to act all proper and grown up. We were at an arena so it was a big place and parents, friends, and family, were scanning the line to see their kid. I saw my girl walk in and I admit the tears threatened, but I held them back. When they were all told to sit, I saw her looking through the crowd. When she spotted me, she started waving like a kid and then stopped and started fanning herself. She told me later that they were told to be dignified and solemn for the occasion but when she saw me, it was like she was in first grade again looking for her Mama and then when she saw me, she was that first grader waving like crazy because, "THERE'S MY MAMA!! HEY, MAMA!!" She said at that moment she almost burst into tears and had to look away. I want to squeeze her every time I think of that moment.

I am overwhelmed by the love and support that has been shown to my child. So many from near and far have shown great love for her with driving to be here, sending gifts that are just amazing and humbling, and amazing words of support and love. Of course, I think my kid is pretty dang special, but it's just a beautiful moment to my heart when I realize so many others believe that to be true, too.

Paige, you are such a special light in this world. You have made the world a brighter and much more beautiful place for me since the moment you were born. I see myself in you and I see this incredible unique person that I am proud to know and call my daughter. You have the greatest potential in life just in your smile and kind and gracious heart. Add in your gifted brain, and the world is yours for the taking. I don't know what your future holds, but I want to be there to see it with you. I want to still look around me and tell everyone in earshot "That's MY baby right there!!" while clapping like a loon. I just love you, Baby Girl. More than words can ever say...more than life itself. When I take you to college and cry when I have to leave, just hug me a little tighter and I'll make it through. And as always.....LYMI!!!!

*grabs tissue*

Okay, now I get to share a few pictures with you. Many took pictures and I haven't gathered them up yet so all I have are the ones from my camera. They may be a little out of order, but you get the "picture".  Hope you enjoy sharing the day this way....

I did this first thing day of graduation and sent it by picture message upstairs to the sleeping graduate. Woke her right up!

This was before we left for the ceremony.

This was at midnight the night before. I had The Man and Derrick outside putting up the coolest banner EVAH. She had no idea I had this for her.
Love this! I may have left this up for a few days because the world needed to know she was on the way!


The foyer coming into the house.
Michelle (USS Retired) took this. Ha ha. Uh...we also know the hat is on backwards. She had it fixed before walking out. I promise.

The MiMi and the Poppies. Two incredibly proud grandparents.
The Mama and the Daddy...
Aunt Lu and Uncle Chris
After the ceremony. One proud man right there, people.
Walking across the stage...feeling emotional just looking at this picture.
Aunt Cindy and Galyn. Can you tell these people are related?

Paige and Faryn. These two love each other to pieces and Faryn was a surprise guest that came for the weekend. These were two happy people to see each other!

Just to show how big the place was. It was a madhouse!


Miss Arlington Paige
Class of 2012

I'm missing a few pictures. I hope someone got one with her and her siblings because I can't find one! All in all, I believe the day to be successful and I am so glad my kids are five years apart. My poor heart couldn't take it if they were closer together! Please note that on the second picture and the last...she cut all her hair off! I made her promise to wait until senior pictures were taken. Two days before graduation, she went to the salon and told our stylist that she was "starting a new life" and needed something fresh. Of course, it looks fantastic on her.

Thank you all again who helped make this day so amazing and memorable for my child and our family. Your love and support mean so much to us and we will always be grateful. 

Thursday, May 03, 2012

This stuff around my house

Every where I go in my home, I see....this stuff. It won't go away and some times I smile when I see it and other times I just stop and look at it. I may get a little sad or a little excited or a little anxious. It's all a mood thing, you see.

Sixteen days.

May as well be tomorrow.....

Yeah..that's my feet. At least they're a lot thinner than they used to be!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

1994 Was Just Yesterday...

I met my first child 18 years ago today. She was a day and a half old. See, there was this whole deal with me having preeclampsia and going eclampsic with three or four seizures. Then, I woke up in the SICU (surgical intensive care)  to my Mama calling my name and not knowing I had had a baby. When I finally got to a room, the NICU (neonatal intensive care)  brought my six weeks premature baby to see me in her isolette. I was allowed to hold her for about five minutes before they whisked her back to that nursery with the locked doors. My fingers were so swollen I couldn't bend them good to hold her but I could stroke her tiny cheek that didn't have time to fill out before being born. She was 3 lbs. and 7 oz.
I spent many hours in front of that closed isolette of hers just watching her sleep. The hormones had me literally laying across it bawling as  I couldn't hold her because she was busy working on holding her core temperature so she could gain weight. She was an amazingly healthy baby with no breathing issues. She was just teeny tiny and needed to grow some before I could take her home. I remember taking a pain pill right before driving to the hospital because I had had an emergency c-section and the only vehicle I had was a stick shift. I would take that pain pill, drive the 10 minutes to the hospital and stay there in a rocking chair by her bed for hours until it wore off and I could drive home to take a small break. See, life went on for family and friends who had to work and go to school and it was hard for them to be able to chauffeur me around. At age 22, you feel pretty invincible anyway, and I would get fussed at greatly by NICU nurses for driving myself.

The other day I was talking to Neighbor Debbie and I told her how at one point and time sitting by my little girl's bed in that NICU, I started counting the number of years until she would turn 16, then graduate high school, then leave me. I would laugh to myself because 18 years seemed like a lifetime away from that moment and that tiny baby laying there so sweetly.

Then I woke up yesterday and it happened. She was 18. And here I was, 40 years old and not expecting it to feel like this. When I was 22, being 40 seemed OLD. Uh...I am not old. Not at all. I lay in bed and thought of the past 18 years and that girl of mine.

Now I'm scared. Scared to absolute death. She's ready to fly. She's ready to spread her wings and see this world and what it's all about. Without me. How can I protect her from the big bad world now? I still need her to need me and want to be with me. I want her never to leave me but she is going to do just that. And she will do it sooner than I will ever be ready.

By the same token, I am so proud of her I can't hardly stand it. I've raised her the best I can. She has impeccable manners, a good work ethic, and an amazing mind to go with her personality. She started a job two weeks ago. I didn't want her to go work. She doesn't need to work. Yet, she has been determined to find a job for a year now so as to make her own money and be her own person. She finally accomplished that goal and works quite a bit as a hostess for a nice restaurant. Again, a goal was set and she made it happen. Just this morning, we paid the reservation fee for her dorm at college for the Fall semester. I was kind of forcing her to go to her Senior Prom until she finally told me she really and truly didn't want to go. I was informed that spending that much money for one night is just stupid. She had valid arguments (she always does) and I finally gave in and told her that she didn't have to go if she didn't want. The relief that came over her was just crazy. I was projecting my own selfish ideas upon her and she was going to go for my sake and finally spoke up. She doesn't like high school because she's been an old soul since birth. She's so excited to get these last weeks of her Senior year done so she can get busy with the rest of her life. She won't look back when she crosses that stage to receive that diploma and I think I will go bawl in a corner now.

Paige, I have done birthday posts for you since I started blogging many years ago. So many times I've told you how proud I am of you and how much I love you. I meant it every single time. I mean it now. I also meant it today when I hugged you and said, "My baby is 18 and is all grown up but Mama is still in charge."

I can't express in words what you have done for me. How you taught this young woman who had a baby to love something more than herself. I never truly understood how one person could die for another until I had you. I would lay my life down at your feet if need be without hesitation. I will always be your biggest fan, cheerleader, advocate, supporter, and Mama. I will always want your happiness above my own because your smile of happiness makes me complete.

The world isn't in the best shape right now, Baby Girl. Lots of drama and craziness out there where no one has control and the autopilot is broken. You have so much inside of you to share with that world and I have full and complete faith that you will be able to fix your corner of that world with style and finesse.

You will break my heart when you fly. This particular break will heal because I know no matter where you go and no matter what you love your Mama as your Mama loves you.

Paige, I love you. With all my heart. Happy Birthday, Baby Girl.

Just a simple cake this year. Paige didn't want a fuss but this Mama doesn't let a birthday go by without a cake! It was so good (I ate a tiny bite just to taste).

We saved the cake for today as she asked to sleep in late yesterday for her birthday and had to go to work in the afternoon. So, I fixed us a good Sunday meal and we had cake and ice cream before she went to work this afternoon.

I love this picture because she's laughing after blowing out the candles. Her laugh is infectious and it makes me laugh when she gets tickled.

We went out to supper for her birthday Friday night (this kid had a full weekend of celebrating going on!). While we were waiting, she and her siblings took some pictures.

These two love each other so good. And it makes me jealous some times because I don't have a blood sister. I have those I've picked as heart sisters, but I'm sure having a blood sister can be an awesome thing. And, yes, that is The Tiara that the ladies of the house wear on their day. Every lady should have a spare one laying around for special  occasions.

If I were to ever see a picture with all three perfectly posed, I might would faint. This is real. These are my kids. I love them.

Go ahead and say it. I did when I saw it. "AWWWWWWWWWWWWWE". Yeah, we may need therapy for these two when college comes.

We tried to take one of the two of us at the restaurant the other night and this was the least blurry. I have to have my picture with my birthday baby.

I forgot to post when the braces came off back in mid-March. I believe the metal was worth every penney we paid and day she wore them. I am constantly amazed at how photogenic this child is with self portraits.

Because I am the Mama and I think my child is beautiful (even if she doesn't believe it herself).

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hello Number 8!!

Last week around Monday, my boy turned 8 years old. I have to blink because it seems like I just took his chubby cheeked self to 3K with Miss Kerry just last week.

It was a low key kind of birthday for the kid. Spring Break had just started here and we were planning to hit the road bright and early Tuesday morning to head to South Carolina for a few days with Nana and Papa. I put off our trip until Tuesday so The Man would be able to participate in the festivities. The Man missed his first two birthdays, thankyouverymuchNavy. I shall do my best to make sure that doesn't happen again if it is in my power.

Rule around The Edge is that you get to choose where to go for your Birthday Supper. At first, he was dead set on going to Golden Corral. Nothing against the G.C., but Miss Hope doesn't visit those establishments anymore since the surgery. I just can't justify spending that much money for a half cup of food and how on earth can you choose from all of that and only eat half of a cup?? You get me here? After he and I had a small talk explaining why Mama couldn't go there anymore, he decided that Red Robin would do. For the third straight birthday.

Carla Girl let her son Jace come for a sleepover the night before and those boys had the best time. We both are amazed at how well they play together and get along. There are no fights and lots of laughing when those two hang out. Jace decided he would accompany us to supper that evening and we surely didn't mind.

When Dad got home and before hitting the Robin, The Boy got to open his gifts. Yeah, good times. He got upgraded to a DS 3D. It was a last minute decision and I'm pretty glad we did. He takes care of his games and that little deal will save my sanity in tight situations when he needs distraction. We had the pleasure of cousins Cristin and Travis plus friends Sherry and James join us for supper. It was a full table with plenty of laughing and eating going on.

Boy of mine, I absolutely adore you. You make me laugh with your crazy sense of humor. I love how you want building kits and you tackle them with complete concentration and they always turn out amazing. I could some times live without  your play by play commentary when you're playing a game because you tend to get louder and louder. Those are the times I could use a volume button for sure. I love your compassion and sympathy when I can't eat a certain food and how you pay attention and remind me when I can't do something. School and all its wonderful structure makes you happy, but you dig a day of wearing pajamas, too. I am touched at the fact that you and your Sissy have already promised skype dates when she goes to college in the Fall and I'm even more touched when you two have "sleepovers" when there's a bad storm because the two of you hate storms at night. I love watching you grow and it's a privilege to be your Mama.

I had to get the whole birthday kid with presents shot, of course.

This is the kid I was telling to smile, but he wouldn't because I was making him wear shoes he didn't want to wear. I do believe he won't get another wear out of the birthday shirt. At least we were able to get three years out of it! He may be pouting, but he's still cute as can be!

The two buddies, Jace and Vitt. Truly a good pair of kids together.

We took the cake and the staff at Red Robin were amazing. They brought it out with candles blazing and singing loud. It was a great time and I can't help but wonder what he was thinking at this moment.

Yeah, this is my boy. I love him so good.