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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

When Common Sense Isn't So Common

So for those of you who have followed my journey on this blog, you will know that I have had Crohn's disease for most of my life.  In 1994 was when the diagnosis was made upon a visit to emerg where they removed 18 inches of my bowel.  Since that time, I have been lucky enough to live a somewhat normal life, free of the dreaded predisone and other types of meds.  However, 20 years is a very long time to go without any repercussions.

Several months ago I had a colonoscopy which had determined that over time, the area which was resected had strictured to a mere 3 cms.  Which is not very big.  As wide as 3 dimes stacked.  So I have been seeing a very wonderful and knowledgeable gastroenterologist who has gone over several options with me as to how to proceed.  Such a stricture can make digestion well, difficult.  So with that, we determined that I would begin Remicade infusions monthly, so if I have surgery, the healing process will have already begun.

Now comes the fun part.  Remicade isn't cheap.  It's $6,000 a pop.  However, that being said, I have coverage through my work, thank God.  Except they don't want to pay for the drug.  This after I have already had 3 going on 4 infusions.  I have bloodwork done monthly and my inflammation markers have gone down quite a bit since on this drug, so to me, it is working.  Why would you not want to continue this?

Because insurance companies are greedy, heartless bastards that's why.  Companies pay HUGELY into these plans so when people need coverage they have it, right?  Wrong.  They want to cheap out and put me through 3 months of Imuran, which is an immunosuppresant.  It also carries a small risk for developing cancer.  Yeah, that's all I need.....but that's ok, Great West Life.  You just cheap out on my treatments to save a few million dollars.  Perfectly understandable *insert sarcasm*.

So tomorrow I start on the Immuran for the next 3 months.  It's not going to work.  But we have to play the game.  At the expense of my health.  Well played, Great West Life.  Well played.

Monday, January 5, 2015


Wow, it has been over a year since I made my last blog post.  Where the heck does the time go?  I have thought about writing so many times, but for some reason, I have not put my thoughts down.  

Since we talked last, lots of things have happened in my life.  In September 2013, I met the man of my dreams.  My best friend.  The person who loves me like no one else has ever loved me.  His name is Ken and he has filled my heart with so much love, at times I thought I was going to burst.  Here I was 40 years old, failed marriage, 5,000 kms from my home and family, living alone, but filling that void with going to the gym and not much else.

I was doing so good.  Down to 196 lbs for the first time in forever.  And now here I sit.  Bigger than ever.  I have no one to blame but myself.  I let myself slip out of that routine of going to the gym and eating healthy, and becoming so comfortable with the one I was with that I have turned into a blob of jelly.

Now I will state a few things for the record.  In the last year plus, I have had some medical issues with my Crohn's disease which have thrown a wrench of some sort into my routine.  After visiting a gastroenterologist and having a colonoscopy, it was discovered that since my bowel resection 20 years ago, the resected area has narrowed to a mere 3 mm.  Which is about the thickness of 3 dimes.  I eat, it goes down so far, and sits.  Like food stuck in a food processor without any blades.  My stomach gets swollen and bloated and I feel like crap.  I go to the bathroom with vehement force, and then am hungry minutes later.

The Dr. then decided to start me on monthly Remicade infusions.  I have had 3 already with the 4th coming up the end of this month if my insurance company ever decides that they want to pay the $6,000 a pop to cover it.  Don't even get me started on that.  WTF do you pay premiums for if they aren't going to cover it?  

I have also had numerous issues with food sensitives and in-tolerances.  A blood test determined that I had an egg allergy, which pisses me off, because breakfast was eggs for me.  Scrambled, hard boiled, omelettes...ugh.  Avacado is another one.  Bent over, stomach bloating, feel-like-your-belly-is-gonna-explode type of pain,  Same with spaghetti squash.  I have eaten these things many times before, but for some reason, my body is putting up the road blocks and not wanting to deal with them.

It is becoming increasingly maddening, to say the least.   I wish that I could find the person who could sit down and figure out what the heck I could eat that would please my hypothyroidism, Lupus and Crohn's all in one fell swoop.  Like invent some kind of magic "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" type of pill.

I truly love to cook and eat well.  I really do.  And for the first time in 2 years of living in this town, I have an apartment with a REAL STOVE!!!!  Do you know how challenging it has been to cook on a two burner cooktop and a toaster oven?  

Remicade has also left me extremely fatigued and playing havoc with my bladder.  When you got to pee, there's no holding back.  It also has reduced my already shite immune system, which left me sick with some nasty sinus/viral infection for 15 days over Christmas.

So here we are, January 4th, 2015.  Back to square one.  I feel like a yo-yo.  I have a lot of support from my family and friends and my sweet fiance.  But when it comes down to it, the oneness is on me and me only.  I need to push through the pain and fatigue and hunger and illness.

The gym bag is packed and by the door for tomorrow.  God help me.

Monday, December 30, 2013


This 7 letter word is something that possesses more power than one can, well, imagine.

Ever since I was a small child, my parents always told me I had an active imagination.  But picture a world without wonder.  A world that does not allow us to fathom things beyond our comprehension.  To put ourselves in someone else's shoes......

When I moved to Alberta in October of 2012, little did I realize what was in store for me.  Armed with only two suitcases and no plan, I had left my little crab shell of a life that I had known for most of my life.  It is not until one is alone, is there mind free to embrace the realm of possibilities and ponder what is in store for each one of us.  I was in a new place, surrounded by strangers.  A world very different from the one I left. 

That first Christmas here, I was alone.  I had come across a group on Facebook for volunteers for an annual community Christmas dinner for those who were alone or less fortunate.  I felt the need to go and lend a hand.  What I witnessed is something I will never forget.  At 12 o'clock, people started making their way into the basement of the church, where tables were set up ready to feed the masses.  Men, women and children filed into their seats, some looking around, almost in awe at what stood before them.  The volunteers stood in a line in front of the buffet area, until everyone was seated.  It was everything I could do to hold back the tears watching the crowd seated, waiting for their meal.
After the minister said grace, the most beautiful thing happened.  One by one, they lined up waiting to be served.  I was manning one of the food stations, and with each one that went by, I made sure to look them in the eye and give them a warm "Merry Christmas" blessing.  I did not look at them with judgement or prejudice.  But with compassion.  These people are someone's children, mother, father, aunt or uncle, grandmother or grandfather.  How they came to be at this point in their lives is more than one might care to know.  But just for a minute......stop.  And imagine what it would be like to be without a home.  A car.  A warm bed to sleep in each night.  A place to go to the bathroom.  No hot shower.  It is really hard to comprehend such a thing.

So many people just pass by day after day, like they are invisible.  The longer I am here, the more aware I am becoming that homelessness in this city is indeed a reality.  It weighs on my mind every day.  I drive the streets and see people lying in the snow, trying to find shelter in these bitter winter conditions, wearing the familiar blue and yellow jackets handed out to them by goodwill. They trudge along the sidewalks, heads down, seemingly embarrassed.  They line the walls outside the casino, liquor stores, hoping for someone to spare some change.  I know a lot of you have the same mentality when it comes to giving money to them. "Well they'll only spend it on booze anyhow."  My question to you is can you blame them? Imagine having nothing in your personal belongings, rummaging through trash cans outside of restaurants to find your next meal, being afraid to close your eyes at night for fear of someone beating you up, every day being a living hell.  A real life Groundhog Day.  If a $5 bottle of booze will help ease that pain for even a short while, I would probably drink too.

I know not everyone is going to share my views on this.  But that's ok.  We are all entitled to our own thoughts and opinions.  The message I am trying to relay is this:  Take a look around you.  Take stock of everything you own and love.  Now close your eyes and imagine it all being gone.  Imagine being cold and hungry and alone.  People are sometimes victims of circumstance.  Anyone of us could be there in the blink of an eye.  These people are just that......people.  They all have a story.  One that I would personally like to hear.  Maybe then, just then, we can stop judging others and do like my tattoo above says.....Imagine.

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Saturday, February 9, 2013

I've Got The Power............

This is a story about control.
My control.
Control of what I say.
Control of what I do.
And this time I'm gonna do it my way.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.
Are we ready?
I am.
'Cause it's all about control.
And I've got lots of it.

Control was not something I ever thought I possessed..... until now.  I'm not just talking about food.  Control pertaining to all aspects of my life.  Who I am friends with, the choices I make, what I want long term.....I have the power.  I control what I say, I control what I do.  I never before in my life have felt more sure of things.  When you believe that you have the power to do things, anything is possible.  Did I ever think that I could reach this milestone of 75 lbs. lost?  In the beginning, hell no.  It was like standing at the bottom of Mount Everest and looking up and wondering how in the name of Pete am I going to get up to the top.  But here I am....mind you I'm not at the top yet, but I have my crampons dug firmly into the side of that mountain and am slowing making my way to the top.

This whole experience is changing my life....not only phyically, but spiritually, mentally, emotionally.  The person who once stood before me in the mirror is slowing fading and the new me is breaking out of the cocoon.  During my Skype conversation with my sister, Wendy last night, I told her it amazes me when I take a progress pic and I sometimes have to look at it twice because I really TRULY find it hard to believe that is me.  I am not taking pics and posting them on my FB wall for anyone but me.  I think I have earned bragging rights, so if that makes me conceited, so be it...Haters gonna hate.  It is friggen hard ass work dedicating yourself to go to the gym 6 days a week.  I have no regrets.  My hope is that other people will see what I am doing and realize they have the power to change themselves too. 

I honestly give props to anyone who makes the sacrifice to do it.  Because it's about control.  You control your choice to go to the gym or out for drinks and wings after work on Friday night.  You control whether or not to have the packet of salad dressing with almost as much fat as a Big Mac, or skip the dressing this time. It does get easier after time.  I don't get swayed easily anymore by the cheesecake slice in the dessert case.  Why?  Because I know that I am gonna have to move my ass 10 times harder at the gym.  Not saying I am never not going to have a piece of cheesecake, but when I do, it is going to be a special occasion and I am going to enjoy it.  Fine china, elegant silverware.....savoring every bite....not just hoovering it and end up eating another piece.  Controlllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll......

Which brings me to my newest is totally about control.  Breathing, balance, letting go of shit that doesn't matter.....It is one of the smartest things I have ever done.  I am in loveeeeeeeeeee......When I leave class, I feel energized, collected and and renewed.  I can see this becoming a true passion of mine.  It is also a great compliment to my gym routine which consists of a lot of weight lifting.  The stretch it gives your body is amazing.  I totally recommend it to anyone.  Balanced Body Yoga is where I go on Saturday mornings for anyone in the Fort Mac area who wants to check it out.

Just believe in yourself that you have the power to change.  It isn't going to happen overnight and I honestly believe that this is a journey that I will be on the rest of my life.  And I am excited about that.  Watching your body transform, seeing muscles gain definition, and stamina increase is an amazing experience.  I am not doing this for anyone else but ME.  Why?  Because I. AM. WORTH. IT.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

You've Come A Long Way Baby.....

I have just hit a monumental point in my weight loss journey..........the transition from the two's to the one's.....I cannot tell you the elation that I felt the other day when I stepped on the scale and saw those magical numbers staring back at me.

It has been 12 years since I have seen a "1" in front of my weight.  My sister tells me not to obsess over the number on the scale, but for me this was a huge hurdle that I was trying to get over.  I feel like I can now focus on the rest of my weight loss journey with a sense of freedom that I have now hit the 70 pound weight loss mark.

For those of you who can't visualize how much this weighs, perhaps this might help:  

x 14

x 70

To everyone who has sent me encouraging messages and in boxes, commented on my blog posts, emails, and Facebook posts, THANK YOU!  You cannot know how much they all mean to me.  

To anyone who says they can't do it, I am living proof that it can be done.  Granted, nothing comes without hard work and perseverance.  And it is about a lifestyle change and learning what program works best for you.  But don't be afraid to ask questions and do research.  

Just a little refresher of where I started 70 lbs ago:

And this was me on weigh in day:

I don't remember the last time I bought a pair of jeans in the regular size section of any store.


Life is just getting better each day and I want to be around to enjoy it!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Farewell to Nova Scotia.....

Farewell to Nova Scotia - Sons of Maxwell

So the time has come to say farewell, au revoir, adios....well you get my drift.  Farewell to Nova Scotia.  For the meantime at least.  Not to say that I will never return, but it is time for a change.  A lot has transpired in the last year and few months.  It's amazing how a year can change your perspective on life.  This time last year, well things weren't looking so bright.  But that't the past.  Let's talk about now and the future.

I believe I am destined for great things.  I'm not talking about winning the Nobel Peace Prize for my research on the effects of the full moon which produce strange effects such as the Crocodile Death Spin, causing bouts of sleeplessness, rampant house cleaning binges, and other such phenomenon.  I am talking about doing something meaningful each day, something that affirms why I was brought into this world, something that I can honestly say I love.

Living in small town Antigonish, albeit a wonderful, safe place to live, is missing something for me.  I will miss the late night walks in town, early morning trips to the Landing, seeing familiar faces and the sights and sounds of the Highland Heart.  But I will make new friends, new memories, see new places and experience new things. We have "One Life" and I am going to try and make the rest of mine the best it can possibly be.

I have finally started to take control of my life and put myself first - a concept that was always foreign to me.  I am getting in shape, learning how to fuel my body, and regaining my self confidence.  All I can say, is Alberta better watch out....Hurricane Wan is on the way....

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mirror, Mirror on the wall.....

Who is the fairest of them all? Oh how I wish it was me.....

Body image is how we perceive ourselves and how we think that others perceive us. It is the age old battle that we wage against ourselves to try and find happiness in our appearance.

Society is largely to blame, in my opinion, for the negative self-images we inflict upon ourselves. We are constantly plagued by advertisements, tv and magazines telling us blatantly (perhaps even subliminally) that we are socially unacceptable unless we have long hair or sleek thighs or a toned midriff. For the average woman like myself, this can be sheer torture. Finding self love is almost impossible. There are many a day that I feel so out of place with society. Embarrassed to exist even.  Being fat sucks.

Since my newfound relationship status in July of last year, I have started to re-enter the world of men and dating. What a scary place. The young, fit, confident me that existed 18 years ago has been buried deep within my core. I now have to deal with finding someone who can look past the physical to get to the real me. This is a very hard pill for me to swallow as I feel so trapped in this big old body of mine that the real me can not shine through. I feel like I am limited in my options of who will want me because in my mind, no man wants a fat chick. It is a double edged sword, if you will. Here I am on one hand preaching that we shouldn't be judged on our appearance and yet here I am judging myself. Anyone have the phone number for a good therapist? Cripes.