The Fatted Calf II

Me BlogI have always wanted to post on my blog with that title and this weekend I came up with this brilliant idea.  My husband was feeling a bit down on himself because of his age, looks, etc.  I told him that we have to look where we were to where we are now and be proud of who we are and what we want to become.  So, I saw this photo of myself and I thought…wow, I have come a long way.

When I first got sick, I went to a rheumatologist and was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Osteroarthritis.  I ended up taking tons of pills for a couple of years and then just stopped them all, because none seemed to be working.  What I ddidn’t realize at that time is that Hashimoto’s Disease is an autoimmune disease and my thyroid was being killed by my body, thus my pain and my weight gain.  I usually am not forthright about my weight, but I really want this to be an inspirational post.

At my highest, I weight somewhere above 393 pounds.  I say somewhere above, because I have no idea.  The scale would give me an error message.  Dr. Cohn took about two years to get my hormones to the correct level.  My thyroid level got there quickly, but I also had several other endocrine issues that she and my gynecologist had to work together to medicate.  Since that time, I have lost weight.  I have actually lost weight at every medical visit to my endo’s office since I had cancer.  I have joined weight watchers this year, because the weight was coming off on a snail’s pace.  Dr. Cohn stated that I should be very happy, because I am so healthy and because it took me many years to get this heavy and it will take years to get it off.  She also said that my weight was not my fault.  How many doctors are going to be honest as that with you?  Most, want to blame you for the weight and suggest you quit eating so much.  I digress, but today I have lost at least 65 pounds.  I have gone down three pants sizes since last summer.  I think that my muscle is being built back up and I am getting some of my abilities back.  I may not be thin.  I weighed 328 at Sunday’s weigh in, but I am healthy and I am trying one step at a time.  My next goal is 322 pounds set by weight watchers.  I then have a personal goal just to be below 300.  I don’t have to be skinny, but I do want to just feel good about me again.

How is this inspirational?  Many, many people have weight issues.  I hear people tell others all of the time that they are heavy or they need to lose twenty pounds or ten pounds.  My comment is always think about your health.  Don’t make your weight your health and vice versa.  If you begin to think about your health, your weight will come down.  My challenege for you is to make a list of three goals for the months of July and August.  Just try to reach those three goals.  Here are mine:

1) No sweetened pop or tea – just sweet n low or splenda

2) No fried foods

3) Eat breakfast every day

The picture before this post is when I was at my heaviest and this photo is from two weeks ago.  Each pound counts, each step towards health counts.

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Summer Days

I was listening to some Country music and thinking about things from my childhood that I would love to do with my children.  I have lived so many places and experienced things that many of my friends haven’t been able to.  Honestly, which of them can say they ate turtle soup?  Which can say that they swam in Pigeon Roost Creek (okay, maybe John), which of them can say that they smuggled Doritos into Canada.  Silly little things like that.  I have been snorkeling in the Caribbean and sledding on sand.  I have skated to Good ol Rockytop music and swam with a school of fish in the ocean.  This year began and I just thought I wanted to get my joy back.  Joy from the thrill of life.  Joy from being alive and feeling well.

Joy is something that money cannot buy and status cannot earn.  Joy flows from the embers of God’s love in your heart and rushes through your soul like a river of cool water.

This week I had my cancer check.  I was diagnosed with cancer four-year ago in 2009.  In June of 2009, I had nuclear radiation to kill the thyroid cancer and then have had appointments every three months since then.  I am a brave and strong individual, but there is something about laying on the machine with the thing right on your face that makes me whine like a baby and want to run and hide.  I endured though and ended up freaking out when I saw how badly my stomach glowed.  (Glowing is a sign of cancer, but in the stomach, bladder and colon it is usually normal uptake).  I find out next week what the test said, I expect good news.  BUT, the little thought shake your hand and stick around, even though I try my best to refute them.  I will not allow the past to rob me of my joy for the future.  I expect good things this coming week.  God wants to prosper me and make me whole.  God wants me to have that ever elusive joy.

Guard your heart….

Have you ever had one of those days that you just know was meant to be?  You wake up and there is nothing spectacular planned, but in the end it turns out to be a turning point in your life.  When I was young, I always told my sisters that I would adopt and name my baby Toby.  I don’t know if it would be a boy or a girl, but in my heart its name would be Toby.  I went to college, got my career started and met a guy I seemed to think God chose for me.  We married and after a few years of no children, I went to a specialist.  We tried medication and it didn’t work.

Ultimately, I was told that I could not have children.  Something about the fact that I don’t ovulate.  Personal information that I do not mind sharing, because it’s a fact and I am not ashamed to be barren.  Although, my friend Alice (from Kenya) told me that because I am overweight I would be worth twenty cows, but then she found out I couldn’t have kids and told me the village would cast me out.

 

I digress, but on the day the doctor told me I couldn’t have children we drove toward our apartment on Nile Avenue and it was raining.  I was crying, because I really wanted children.  I recall looking up into the sky and seeing the most beautiful rainbow.  I cannot explain it, but I just felt right with God and that everything would be okay.

So my husband and I traveled along and we adopted three boys.  I won’t go into the story, but you just need to know that we adopted three boys.  Our middle son not only has learning disabilities, but also severe mental health problems.  Over the past six years, I think he has been hospitalized at least thirty times.  Currently, he is court ordered to the State Hospital to try three months of intensive treatment.

We go and see him twice monthly, because he needs time away from home to concentrate on his problems and we need time to heal from the pain that his emotional illness has brought upon our life.  Our family has been through a lot through the years, but his mental health needs are like a gaping wound festering and bursting open monthly.  Our faith has taken a beating.  Our hope has been shattered and honestly, my heart is jaded.  Do I love my son?  Without fail!  Am I saddened by his inability to cope with the smallest life events?  Yes.  Is my cup empty and unable to pour into a well that is so dry and parched it takes constant pouring and reassurance of love?  Yes.

So, it brings us to today.  We got up and were running late again.  I googled a church we might go to in San Antonio where he is at.  My husband and I needed some spiritual revelation.  If you have ever been to a mental hospital, you know why.  If you have not, thank God.  Anyway, we headed up there to get him.  He looked and sounded good to me.  But, my first thought was – the last time we were here, he punched a nurse that night.  I wonder what will happen today.

I said hello and stayed quiet as we drove to church.  My heart is closed, a bit jaded and sluggish in love for him.  Do I take care of him?  Do I advocate for him?  Yes.  I guess my heart is sluggish in outward manifestations of what humans see as love.  We arrived to church and sat down.  My heart was happy to be in the house of the Lord.  Happy for water to quench my heart’s thirst.  Luckily for us, we took communion.  Another reminder of God’s awesome love.

But that isn’t the most beautiful thing of the day.  My son accepted Christ as his Savior.  He finally was stable enough at a moment when it seemed right to accept him and ask him to transform his life.  He was pleased and looked to me for confirmation that it was a good thing.  We went to ask a Deacon to pray for him and his current state of affairs.  He did.  He said God was asking him to pray for generational curses.  I believe in generational curses.  Jesse felt lighter.  He told the Deacon that it felt like the devil left.  The devil left Jesse on a rainy day in San Antonio.

Did my hope immediately return?  No.  But after our long day of visiting I was driving home.  My other son and husband were asleep in the car.  I saw a beautiful rainbow off to the side.  I smiled to myself and thought about God’s promise that first day when I was told I could not have children.  I felt hope blossom into my heart.  As I drove miles and miles, the rainbow got bigger and brighter until it became a full rainbow.  My eyes took in the glory of the arc of its’ beauty and the depth of the colors.  My hope began to beat a rythm in my heart.  I drove further and my rainbow disappeared.  I still sang songs of worship with the radio.

Nearer to my town, another rainbow appeared in all of its’ glory.  I viewed it as another reminder that God is with me.  I look over again and now there are two rainbows side by side and I know God is standing with me in the fight against a jaded heart.  I have asked him to open the veins that run deep within my soul and fill them with his Holy Spirit.  I may never know why I was unable to have children, but I forever will know why I adopted my three sons.