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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.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I. Am. Passion.

As we approach Valentine's Day, I cringe.....there will be no flowers this year, no sappy "I Will Love You to the Depths of Eternity" cards, no chocolates, stuffed bears or other miscellaneous paraphernalia.  And it makes me sad.  This will be the first time in 17 years that I have not had someone to kiss and say "I love you" to.

But even though those years are gone, the passion still remains deep within me.  I am determined not to let my flame be extinguished.  I have so much love to give, it lives in my every pore.  Surely someday, I will find someone who will love me back the way that I DESERVE to be loved.

So for now until that day arrives, I am harnessing a different type of passion.  A passion for re-discovering myself.  Embracing what I have been dealt and moving forward.  Sometimes to do this, we must re-arrange our lives to be able to see more clearly.  I am looking out for myself now, and myself only.  It may seem selfish to some people, but if I don't do it, no one else will.  

So for those of you who have someone to love and hold on this upcoming Valentine's Day, unleash your passion.  Take a good look at the person in your life and appreciate them, because life is too short to not have passion it it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


That's right...the title of this post is not a typo.  I am talking about soul.  And solitude.

Being alone for the last 7 months, I have learned a lot about myself.  Things that I thought I once was not capable of are now within arms reach.  I am looking at myself with new eyes now.  Re-assessing my life, my goals, my dreams. 

I have always been somewhat of an independent person.  I never really felt the need to have a gaggle of friends around me at any given time.  Call me weird, but I enjoy my alone time.  The world is so hectic at times, that it is easy to get lost in the day to day obligations of life.  For my own mental & physical well being, I need to make myself do things, even though I may not feel like doing them.  Like the Will Do List I made for 2012, who my friend, Yvonne encouraged me to make.  One of the things on my list is to do at least 30 minutes of exercise.  Every. Single. Day.  This is my one chance, no matter what I have going on in my life, that I can be alone and just breathe.  It amazes me how something so small can be so wonderful for our minds.  And usually, I will walk longer than the 30 minutes, because even though I was hesitant to go outside when it is 10 below zero, I am now out and bundled up and I feel so good!  The endorphins are flowing and life is good!

Another aspect of my life that has changed since my new-found singleness, is re-discovering my passion for food (which I have previous blogged about in the post Food Porn).  I am looking at food in a whole different way now.  Something has made me get to the weight I am, and now I am aware of  what I am putting into by body every day.  I have to be.  Instead of living to eat, I am eating to live.  It isn't too late to change my habits as I hope to live a long life, so the change begins NOW.

I am also trying to weed the negativity out of my life.  This can be something as simple as keeping my house clean to the people that I associate with.  I need to be around people who bring out the best in me, and although there may be the Negative Nellies in the world who are prepared to suck the life blood from your existence, you must learn to brush them off and look past them.  Those people are just miserable in their own life, and they live to make other people the same way.

I am beginning to live my life from my heart and soul.  I am trying to banish the thoughts that I was a bad wife, that I wasn't worthy of love, that I was too big for someone to love me.  I hope someday that I will find someone who will love me for who I am and not for who I once was.  This is me.  Embrace me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Teensy Weensie Thyroid

In 1998, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid).  And for the last 14 years, it has been the proverbial thorn in my side.

For those of you who don't know what your thyroid is or what it does, it is a small butterfly-shaped gland in the base of your throat that stimulates your metabolism. The problem with mine is that it isn't getting enough stimulation.....**crickets chirping**

I have been on Synthroid, which is a synthetic hormone replacement, for the last 14 years.  I have to go regularly for bloodwork as my thyroid gland is smaller than average (this was discovered during a scan in which I swallowed a small radiation pill and they took x-rays of my thyroid) and this causes my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels to fluctuate from low to high periodically.

It is no picnic having a thyroid disorder.  It makes it VERYYYYYY difficult to function at times.  Anyone who has hypothyroidism can vouch for this.  

Symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • weight gain
  • tiredness
  • cold intolerance
  • muscle cramps
  • joint pain
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • decreased sweating
  • brittle hair and nails
  • constipation
  • low heart rate
I found this great analogy to get a better idea of what I am talking about:

For a helpful analogy, think of the thyroid gland as a furnace and TSH as a thermostat. If the furnace (thyroid gland) is underactive or "cold" (hypothyroidism), the TSH level rises to increase thyroid hormone secretion and restore balance. If the thyroid gland is overactive or "hot" (hyperthyroidism), TSH levels drop to decrease thyroid hormone secretion. That's why low TSH levels indicate hyperthyroidism, and high TSH levels indicate hypothyroidism.  

It's just one of many things I have had to learn to live with over the years.  I just hope someday that they will be able to permanently fix the problem.  Until then, I will take a pill every day and even though I may not have the strength or stamina, I will live up to my Will Do List that I made for 2012 and do at least 30 mins of exercise each day.  And on the days that I have more energy, I will do more.

Never. Give. Up.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Food Porn

Click to watch Sweet Potato Love

I remember the first time I saw this commercial for sweet potato fries, I roared.  But the funny thing is how sensual our relationship can be with food.  I have changed the way I look at eating now in this new year.  Instead of eating for just the hell of it, I am creating a pièce de résistance each time I cook.  Why you might say?  Well I say, why not?  Cooking for one now gives me the freedom to experiment and play around with new recipes.  I am living on the proverbial edge, if you may.

Last night's visit to the grocery store was an exciting one!  It was like I was looking at the produce section with new found eyes.  The colors and textures were tantalizing my senses - how had I not seen these creatures of beauty before?  I walk over to the mangoes and pick one up.  I hold it in my hand, bringing the firm flesh to my face, softly caressing it's smooth skin.  A shiver of excitement runs down my spine.....I envision my chef's knife sliding easily over it's surface, revealing the vibrant colors that hide beneath the skin.  Slicing and dicing the sweet, juicy pieces into perfectly shaped cubes.  I imagine how these will feel in my mouth and imagine my tongue running over each piece, fondling them, while my taste buds explode with pleasure..........

***insert needle scratching across record noise***  Back to reality now.  ;)

Ok, so you get my drift. But do you see how cooking can be such a wonderful experience?  The next time you cook, look at your ingredients with fresh eyes.  Take the time to prepare a masterpiece.  Undress it with your eyes.  As they say on the Food Network, we eat with our eyes first.  Savor each beautiful morsel, let your senses take you away to far away places.  You will be glad you listened to me!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Awake the Sleeping Giant

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012 - It's A New Dawn, It's A New Day, It's A New Life For Me.....

And I'm feeling good!

Michael Buble couldn't have said it any better.  I have found myself at a turning point in my life.  One which I may not have wished to have had bestowed upon me, but I have put on my big girl panties (or thongs, whichever you prefer) and have decided to take the bull by the horns.  With all these new changes in my life, what better time to re-evaluate my situation and make plans for a new, healthy me.

I have no doubt that this journey will be a difficult one, as it has been in the past.  But I have to say a huge THANK YOU to every one of you who have taken the time thus far to write to me.  You cannot know how meaningful and surreal it is to read the replies.  I am truly touched and honored to have you all following me on this road to the new me.  You have ignited a spark in me and I hope that you will continue to be my fuel source.

I am going into uncharted waters starting off this new year with a concept called Clean Eating.  In my first 7 days, I have lost 6.2 lbs!  I seriously had to do a double take on the scale.  I didn't even need the scale to tell that I had lost some.  I felt just....well.....different.  Not bloated or heavy like I usually was after eating a steak or carb-laden pasta dish.  I even tried two new dishes!  And they rocked the Casbah!

To track my calorie intake and monitor my fitness goals, I have been using  This is a fantastic website to log your food entries, track your water intake and creates exercise programs for you.  My sister, Wendy, introduced me to this site back some time ago, and I have stuck with it.  I NEED to write things down so I can be accountable.  It is too easy to get off track.  Weight Watchers used this method years ago when I attended, and at that point I had lost 50 lbs, so it goes to show that it does work.

To get my 8 glasses of water a day, I have been filling up my 8 cup measuring cup and leaving it on the counter.  I find that room temperature water is much easier going down the gullet than cold water.  Drinking water has never been my strongpoint, but am trying to replace the diet soda.  My poor kidneys honestly don't know what's hit them.  They have never gotten such a workout.

And lastly, I have been faithful thus far in doing my 30 minutes of exercise a day.  I use my iphone to track my mileage.  I am looking forward to next week's weigh in!!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2008 - Living on a Prayer

Coming into another leap year, I cannot help but think of the events that played out on February 29, 2008.  I was working as a merchandiser with Procter & Gamble at the time, which involved a lot of highway driving.  It was a clear but cold sunny winter's day.  Finishing at my last store in town, I was heading to Westville to set up the new Lawton's drug store with their Covergirl fixtures.  Today was also the last day of the two-for-one steak sale at Mother Webb's so I called Pierre's mom and told her not to cook supper tonight that we were going for steak.  It was nearing lunchtime, so I disconnected the call and started making my way West.

As I neared Sutherland's River, there is a point on the highway, as there are many between New Glasgow and Cape Breton, that have turning in arrows where people sit and wait like ducks to turn across the oncoming traffic to access side roads.  As I approached this particular section of the highway, I had noticed a small red car stopped waiting until I passed to cross the highway.  Just as I got up to the car, BOOM!!!!!!!!  They cut directly in front of me.  With only seconds to respond, I slammed both feet on the brakes and prepared for the impact.  I had no choice but to hit them.  The sound was sickening.  When I came to, I couldn't breathe as there was smoke in the car.  My left thumb was dislocated and I was trying to get the driver's door open to get air.  I was choking vehemently, the air burning my lungs with every breath.  Just then the door was flung open and I gasped a huge breath of fresh air.  Someone was standing beside me telling me not to move.  I was trying to get out as I thought the car was on fire as there was smoke.  They calmly assured me that I was in no danger and the smoke I was seeing and inhaling was the powder from the air bag.  I could not move my neck or back, but remember how cold I was and shaking uncontrollably.  I looked out the front window and saw someone running ahead of the car to their own to get a blanket from the back seat to cover me with.  They instructed me not to move until help arrived.  My head was racing.  Where was the other car I was sure I had hit?  My eyes darted around furiously, looking for it.  The person beside me assured me that people in the other vehicle were fine, when we collided, their car had spun off to one side of the road.

Minutes later, I heard the ambulance arriving.  They put a brace on my neck and extricated me (with no great feat, I tell you being almost 250 lbs.) from the car with a backboard as they were unsure of the extent of my injuries.  How could this happen?  It was such a beautiful sunny winter day?  Life was going good. We were going for steak tonight.  Honestly, a million thoughts went through my mind.

Upon arriving at the hospital, I was examined, scanned, x-rayed, and evaluated for hours.  I am sure they did about 50 x-rays alone on my neck and back.  If any of you have ever been on a backboard for any amount of time, it is one of the most uncomfortable things ever.  I would have gladly traded it for Chinese water torture.  Six hours I remained on the backboard.  I kept squirming to try and find comfort and I had to urinate so bad, I was delirious.  The nurse came and inserted a catheter.  The pain was immense but the nurses were hesitant to give me anything for the pain.  I begged and pleaded and they finally came with a shot of Morphine which instantly made me sick.  I remained in hospital overnight and the next morning was advised by the Dr. that I had a compression fracture of my T11 vertebrae and sustained injury to my right shoulder and arm.

That was almost 4 years ago.  I still do not have full sensation in my right arm.  I may never.  Physiotherapy and massage alleviate the symptomatic pain somewhat, but I can't live in a Phyiotherapist's office for the rest of my life.  I found alternative employment where I didn't have to do heavy lifting, but I am still plagued with issues.  Mentally, I freeze driving on the highway.  And driving with someone else is near impossible.  There are very few people I feel safe traveling with.

So you see, now not only medical issues impede my weight loss, I also suffer from physical limitations as well.  But by God, I am determined that I will find the strength from within and from all of you who are reading this.  We'll just have to say that I am Living on a Prayer.

Up and Down Like a Hookers Panties

Growing up I was a normal kid.  I never had an issue with weight.  I played sports in school, rode my bike, skipped rope, all the things that regular kids do.  But something changed in 1995.  The weight started slowly going on.  I would have been 22 at the time.  My bowel resection was a year ago, and things that I had to stop eating due to the Crohn's disease were slowly making their way back into my digestive tract.  I remember that fall, I moved to Slave Lake, Alberta and one of my husbands friends, who was an older man, said to me when I got off the plane, "Well you're more of a woman that I thought you'd be."  My interpretation - You're fat.  It is funny how comments like that never leave you.  At that time, I would have been around 160 lbs or so.  God, to only see that number now in 2012.  I could only be so lucky.

Over the years, I would also get comments from people.  Some very blatant - "My God you've put on weight, Wanda."  Well no shit.  I'm not blind.  I really don't need people telling me I am fat.  I could never imagine having the audacity to say something that hurtful to someone, even if I DID notice that they put on weight.  Those people, I figure, have an unhappy life and get pleasure out of the demise of others.  Others would make comments like, "You have more chins than a Chinese phone book" or "your arms are the size of a sumo wrestlers."  I would laugh and joke along, too, but they may as well have been lashing me with a cat-o-nine-tails and rubbing salt in my wounds.  Who says the old nursery rhyme "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me" is true?  A person's tongue can be a vicious weapon.  More hurtful than an open fist I assure you.

August 14, 2000.  My first Weight Watchers meeting.  Weighing in at 207.6 lbs, my initial goal was to lose 20 lbs or 10% of my body weight.  I didn't figure I could ever do it.  It had been 6 years since I had my bowel resection and the weight had piled on.  Almost 70 lbs. worth.  How had I let myself get to be this big?  Well, there are the regular excuses - no time to exercise, life is too busy, it's faster to eat out..blah, blah, blah.  Fact is, I was this size and I was ready to do something about it.  I was determined that this was not going to get the best of me.  So each week I weighed in and paid my weekly fee to stand on the scale, excitedly anticipating my new number.  I kept my daily food journal, weighed and measured my food, read labels, even started taking a Tai Bo/Step class taught by my friend, Liz.  Each week, the weight would be coming off.  This was what I had dreamed of.  In my third week, I hit the 100's.  That would be the last time in 12 years I would ever see that number again.  By December I had lost 31.6 lbs!   I continued my weight loss journey until I had lost 50 lbs and received my special pin from Weight Watchers.

That next February, my sister Kim invited me along on their family trip to Disney World!  I was super stoked!  I could actually wear a bikini!   So off to Florida we went.  I was living life!  Sun, pool, being able to wear shorts. Sadly, I think this is the last time I was truly happy.  No one knows unless you have ever been overweight the shame and burden that you bear for such a wonderful pleasure as going to visit the ocean. 

Me and my sister Kim on Daytona Beach in 2001

Now, there isn't much laughing and carrying on when you are the biggest person on the beach.  Skinny people don't have to worry about wearing long shorts and a men's XXL t-shirt to hide their embarrassing figure, or having their wet thighs rub together and get chafed. People shouldn't have to worry about these things.  So I just stopped going.  It's sad you know.  Growing up, I spent many a day at the beach with my best friend, Laura-Lee.  We would go down in the morning, come back at suppertime.  We had no worries or cares.  It seems when you are skinny, you don't.  We would lay on the beach, covered in our Hawaiian Tropic dark tanning oil, smoke cigarettes, and laugh all day.  Life.  Was. Good.

It is funny as I sit here writing this, how exhausted I have become.  Writing is a way to materialize our feelings and emotions, and the last few days of my writing, I have experienced something.  Therapeutic or what, I am not sure.  It is like I am re-living these moments all over again.  With each word I type, the feeling of sickness and sadness wash over me.  So I must sign off for now, but I will return with more of my story soon as there is more to tell.

For those of you who are following, I thank you for the feedback and emails I have been receiving.  You cannot know what it means to me that you are taking this journey with me.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2005-06 The Year That Almost Ended My Life

It was June 2005.  I got up and went to work like any other day.  During the day, I noticed these little red welts appearing on my body.  I never really thought anything of them and continued on with my day.  The next day, the same thing.  And the next, and the next and so on.  I made an appointment to see my family doctor, who told me they were hives and just told me to keep taking Benadryl.  Well, the Benadryl only worked for so long.  Then my lips and eyes would start puffing up for no reason at all.  

I tried keeping a journal, as I was sure I was having an allergic reaction to something.  I went over things in my head like "did I change laundry soap, shampoo, deodorant?".  I hadn't done anything of the sort so then I turned to what I was eating.  After months of doing this and still not finding the reason for the hives, I started doing research on hives and liver function.

What drew me to look in this direction is I had visited Dr. Kumar Biswas, a Naturopathic Doctor a couple years prior to this event.  While doing his evaluation, he told me I had liver issues.  Thinking it was hogwash, I paid my $300+ bill, took a few of his pills with me, and went on my merry way.

Now it was November of 2005 and the hives were getting worse.  My body was completely covered with them.  I had been off work since July as I was going crazy not being able to control the symptoms.  If you have ever had hives, I am sure you will be able to relate.

It was getting so bad, that I was going to bed at night with cold, wet towels on me to try and get relief.  I felt like I was going crazy.  The itching was beyond anything you could ever imagine.  What the frustrating part is my doctor wasn't listening to what I was telling her, and she said "Just keep taking Benadryl".  Well that was doing frig all.  I was eating them like Smarties, and they were doing jack shit.

One night, I couldn't take it anymore.  I went up to outpatients where I was seen by Dr. Menard.  She prescribed Prednisone for me and off I went to get it filled.  I woke up the next morning, and I swear to God, not one hive.  I could not believe it.  I had suffered for 6 months like this NEEDLESSLY........and all it took was a simple pill to fix the problem.  Of course, I know that Prednisone isn't a drug anyone wants to be on for any amount of time as it has some pretty nasty repercussions of long-term use, but I was so happy that I was hive-free, I didn't care.

A couple days later, I called Dr. Menard's office and explained the situation to the receptionist and BEGGED her to have Dr. Menard take me on as a patient.  She said she wasn't taking any new patients, but after much bawling and pleading, conceded and I was on the list!  I continued to take the Prednisone for about 60 days and eventually was weaned off of it.

Not long after New Years, I started feeling ill.  Again, my resource back to the internet, as I had lost all faith in Doctor's, even my new one, to give me a proper diagnosis.  I started getting these small red dots on my legs.  And it kind of burned.  I would try to put lotion on them, but everything just burned like crazy.  After a trip to the Doctor yet again, I was diagnosed with folliculitis - inflammation of the follicles, given a topical cream and sent on my way.  I had also noticed that my hair was falling out, more than usual having hypothyroidism which I had been diagnosed with in 1998.  I would wake up in the morning, and my pillow would be covered with hair.  Again to the internet for more research.  I was getting good at this.

A couple of months later, this continued on and one day, my sister Annette was here with me.  I was so weak that I was passing out.  We went into the Dr.'s office where I was examined and then taken up the hospital.  The "follicultis" at this point had spread into a body-wide rash.  I looked like a reptile that had been shellaqued.  Trust me, this picture does no justice.

I couldn't eat, I couldn't drink - even Ensure would feel like fire in my mouth.  No one could seem to explain what in the world was going on with my body.  They put me in an isolation unit at St. Martha's until they could figure out what to do with me.  I was nearing insanity at this point.  Every hour, the lab tech would be in to draw vials of blood.  Nothing topical they could put on me would soothe the itch and burn.  Annette went and bought all kinds of stuff for sensitive skin like Aveeno products.  I could use none of it.  No one knows the utter hell I went through in the weeks that I was in the hospital.  I was sure that I was going to die and almost wish I would.  I had skin biopsies, bloodwork upon bloodwork, and a Telehealth session with a specialist in Halifax.  No one could seem to figure me out.  This is the end.  I may as well face it.  Even my dear friend, Sauscha, brought in my dog, Copper to visit me.  She had convinced the nurses to let her in with my 85 lb. dog.  I was so happy but so sad thinking I might never see him again.

It was several weeks of this, and I was moved around to different floors of the hospital, but not really being treated as they had no idea what they were treating.  In hindsight, I don't know why the hell I wasn't taken to Halifax at that point.  But I will get there.  Eventually.

The symptoms seemed to go away after time, and I became well enough to come home.  About 2 months later, I started feeling ill again.  Only this time, I couldn't eat.  Everything that went down came back up.  I had lost 30 lbs in a month and just was feeling very ill.

On this one particular day, I was shopping at Reitmans and one of the clerks asked me if I had been down south.  I said, "No, why?"  She said, "You look tanned."  I never thought anything more of it until I went down to pick up a refill at Shoppers.  The Pharmacist looked at me and said, "Wanda, you are jaundiced.  You're eyes are yellow."  I immediately went home and started Googling everything to do with jaundice, hives, weight loss, vomiting....and it all came back to my liver.

My family was very concerned and made a phone call to our cousin who is a Dr. in the Military in Halifax.  I told her all of what I had been through in the last 8 months.  She told me I need to get to the QEII immediately.  It was the next night, a Friday, that Dad drove me up to Halifax where we waited 8 hours in outpatients to see the Doctor.  I was so weak and ill, I didn't know if I was going to make it.  When I was finally seen around 3 am, the Dr. took one look at me and knew it was my liver.  They took vials and vials of blood.  The next morning, when the blood work was processed, the Dr. came in and told me if I hadn't come in when I did, I could have died of liver failure.  My liver enzymes were in the 900's.  A normal person's were supposed to be 40-50.  I was yellow, sick, and not sure how much else I was going to be able to take.

I was admitted immediately and stayed in the QEII for several weeks, where I had more tests, ultrasounds, and a liver biopsy. Dr. Gina Lacuesta had diagnosed me with what she thought was Autoimmune Hepatitis.  They couldn't give it a definite yes, as the liver is so big, and the biopsy was a hit or miss type of test, so I was told.  So again, I was left feeling let down that I had no concrete answer.  Again, the symptoms eventually subsided and life as I knew it had resumed for the present time.  The Doctors all claimed I was a "medical mystery".  Not a reassuring statement you want to hear from a panel of specialists.  But the events that would unfold in the next few years would give me the answers that I waited so long to hear.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

1994 - The Beginning

1994 was a year of both good and bad.  I met my husband, Pierre in my final year of Community College, graduated early with high marks, got my first real job and moved to Antigonish.  That is when things started going not so great. 

Let's rewind a bit back to my childhood.  I was always the sickly one.  Forever had the cold, faithfully got strep throat each year (and still do to this day), and as I got older, I started having these stomach pains that I never could quite explain.  Now I was born in 1973, so in the early 80's, if you told the Doctor that you were having stomach pains, they just simply told you that you were just growing and sent you on your way.  I remember as a child always eating a lot, because it seemed that I was never satisfied.  However, at that point in my life, my metabolism was still good, and I never had an issue with weight.  As the years went on, the pains started getting worse.  During college, I started smoking and drinking coffee.  My bathroom trips became more and more frequent and the pain started to get more severe.  It was like I was having contractions.  I would curl up into a ball when the pain came on, it would last for several minutes, then subside.  Going to the bathroom was agony.  I would sit there and rock back and forth, praying for it to be over.

Not long after I started my new job, I came to work on this particular day, and the pain was immense.  Not wanting to let on to anyone that I was in sheer torture, I went out back and nearly blacked out.  I was sweating profusely at this point and I remember driving myself to the doctor's office to be checked out.  Dr. Steeves examined me and said, "you have ovarian cysts" and was immediately taken to the hospital for surgery.  I faintly remember signing the consent form.  When I awoke, Dr. Sers, my surgeon, was standing over me, along with my parents, telling me I just had a foot and a half section removed from my bowel. I lifted up the bed sheet and I was cut horizontally where they went in thinking that they were going to find ovarian cysts, but upon opening me up, found nothing wrong, so they proceeded with a vertical incision up to my bellybutton, where he explained that he never saw such an ulcerated mess.  They were sending away the section for analysis.  I spent a couple weeks in the hospital after the surgery, in great agony.  I couldn't stand up, couldn't use the bathroom, couldn't eat any solids.  Prunes were my new best friend.

Now I DO have to tell you this funny story about the young hottie that came into the hospital to hook up the cable in my room.  After my surgery, my stomach was bloated beyond with gas and, well not being able to move around much to release it, I was like Mount Vesuvius ready to erupt.  As he was hooking up the cable, it was in that moment of silence, after 3 days of pent up gas, that my bowels decided NOW was a good time to let it all go.  I am sure it was a good minute and a half this went on....kind of like when you blow up a balloon, then hold open the mouth and let the air escape.  The poor guy was MORTIFIED.  Me, on the other hand, not so much.  I simply looked at him and said, "I'm sorry, but I've waited 3 days to do that."  He wasn't long evacuating the premises after that.

A few days later, my biopsies had come back.  I had been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease.  I didn't know much, if anything, about this strange disease.  All I knew that it was going to change my life. 

The Chair

So here we are.  January 1, 2012.  After a long period of deliberation, I have decided to tell you the story of my battle with weight loss, health issues, and other areas of my life.  It may not mean anything to some of you, but to me, it will be a form of therapy to put my thoughts down on paper (theoretically speaking).

You are probably wondering what in the world the title of my blog is all about?  Well for me, it is a pivotal point in my life, and one that I cringe to think about even to this day.  We will start from this jumping off point.

About 3 years ago, I was tipping the scales at 267 lbs.  I was at the point in my life that I was about ready to give up on everything.  I didn't want to go out of the house, dress, shower, or be in public.  I secretly wished I could disappear forever and never come back to this place.

One Sunday afternoon, I was invited to a baby shower.  I thought of every possible excuse not to go, but someone strong-armed me into going.  After an hour of rifling through my closet of limited possibilities, I donned an inconspicuous outfit of all black (to give me the illusion of skinniness, well at least in MY mind anyway) and off I went to the shower.

When I got there, ladies were mingling around.  The table was set with all kinds of yummy goodies, sweets, dips, a vast array of temptations.  The party was centered around the kitchen mostly, as are most Maritime functions.  People were chatting idly and I felt sooooooo out of place.  Here I was, big as a house, trying to look and feel small in a kitchen full of skinnies.  My eyes darted around for some corner I could skulk off to, unnoticed, and that is when the sheer terror hit me.  All of the chairs that were placed around the kitchen were the wooden folding variety.  You probably know the kind I mean.  Slatted seats, very wobbly, might hold a 120 lb. person easily enough, but there was no way in H.E. double hockey sticks that the chair was going support my 267 lb. ass.  I could feel the shit-waves going through me, wondering how on earth I was going to escape this.

Time came for everyone to take their seats as the festivities started.  I grabbed a chair with sweaty hands and shoved it to the back of the kitchen.  With trembling legs, I gingerly eased my way down, almost hovering, over the seat of the rickety chair.  Just as I put my full weight onto the seat, it happened.  That unmistakeable CRACK!  The chair broke and I fell on the floor.  I was MORTIFIED.  At that moment, I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me whole.  The hostess ran over to make sure I was ok, but my face was so red from embarrassment.  People just looked at me then away, not wanting to make eye contact. "Fatty broke the chair", I was sure they were thinking.  "Perhaps she should lay off the Deely Bobs", I could hear them saying in my head.  The hostess returned shortly with another chair, this one much more sturdy, where I sat, quiet as a mouse, for the remainder of the party.  It was at that point that I vowed to myself never to get myself into this situation again.

That was 3 years ago, and I have thought of it every time I go somewhere and have to sit.  "Am I going to break the chair?" These are things that I shouldn't have to worry about.  I have enough stress in my life at the moment without having to worry if I am going to be flossing my ass with someones chair splinters.

At the end of my weight loss journey, I want to be able to say, "No thanks, I'll stand" when offered a chair.  Not because I am scared I will break it, but because I know that finally I can stand on my own. Two.  Feet.