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The Grace Period

It seems I’ve been very absent on this blog in the last couple of years. My family and I still try to go along with our new normal and deal with life after my husband’s stroke 2 years ago. Jason has mostly good days. He goes to work several times a week, though he would say he doesn’t feel useful. I’m sure he is more than useful. It’s just hard for stroke victims to resume their pre-stroke life when their brain has been injured. Sometimes he feels “less” than before and I understand. Every once in a while we have a not so great day. That’s usually when the “fog” sets in and Jason feels overly tired and physically and mentally drained. But- when the bad days happen, we just keep reminding ourselves that things could be so much worse. They WERE worse. I prayed for more days with him when we thought they were numbered. The bad days are important to make us realize how blessed we are. He’s still a walking, living miracle in my eyes!

I didn’t write about it at the time, but my youngest daughter has had quite a time of it these last few months. Last summer, Stinkerbell and I were blessed to have gone to Cancun together. It was a trip sponsored by my employer. A quota-club type trip. It was her first time on a plane! We had a fantastic time together and we’d love to go back soon.

When we returned from the trip, she mentioned around late June that she’d felt “off” but couldn’t really explain why. Haley complained of a constant headache and said something so peculiar to me one night. “Mom, you know how restaurants and bars sometimes have a neon light in the window and it has a buzzing or humming sound against the window? That’s how my brain feels.”

We continued to monitor her and finally took her to the ER, where they gave her fluids and a migraine cocktail. They didn’t see a need for a CT scan because she seemed to improve after fluids and migraine meds. My inner mommy voice questioned the ER doctor but she nicely said she really felt nothing urgent was wrong. Oh, how I wish I’d listened to my inner voice and pushed for the brain scan. Because 24 hours later, Haley had a full blown seizure, complete with arms and legs flailing about, foaming at the mouth and complete loss of verbal communication.

We’d soon learn that she had a cerebral veinous sinus thrombosis. She had a blood clot in a vein over her left eye. And we’d later learn that the culprit was birth control pills that she’d started taking 3 weeks prior. I’d encouraged her to take it to help with the excruciating pain she endures each month when Aunt Flo comes to visit. You can imagine that I felt like mother of the century. The child could have had a stroke during the seizure. Or worse- had the blood clot gotten any bigger, she could have died. Haley spent 3 days in ICU. I remember nearly every hour , yet she only remembers select moments.

After she was discharged, she spent 2 months pretty much home bound with me because she wasn’t able to drive. Hematology appointments, MRI visits, Neurologist visits … it was all such a change in our quiet life. During that time. She felt lost. Confused. Sad. Depressed. And who could blame her? We missed the enrollment for her college classes in August because of all that happened and because she still didn’t feel “all there.”

That child has been through more crap than should be allowed. She’s the type one diabetic I often write about. So add all of the blood clot stuff to the existing Diabetes and you have one exhausted girl and overwhelmed parents. But like always, Jesus answered my prayers- again. Haley made a complete recovery. While she was in the hospital getting the CT that would reveal the clot, I again said ” the ” prayer. You know the one, especially if you’ve got kids. It’s the prayer I prayed at Duke when Jason had the stroke. And it’s the same I prayed for my mom a year and a half ago when she battled breast cancer for the second time in her life. (And by God’s Grace, she beat cancer again!)

It’s the kind of prayer where you fall to your knees. And it doesn’t matter who sees or hears. And it doesn’t matter that the hospital floor is ridden with dirt and germs. All that matters is laying all of the burden off your tired soul and you ask for Grace. And for reasons I can’t explain, He heard me and answered me with favorable health for my loved ones.

I wish I could tell you I haven’t had to say that prayer since last July when Haley was in ICU. She actually was in the hospital right after Christmas. Her new glucometer sensor was faulty. She’d worn the sensor for about 4 days and kept telling me how great her blood sugars were. Unfortunately her sugars were well over 400-500 while her meter would indicate 170-200. Haley has been in DKA before but this was bad. Profuse abs constant vomiting. Confusion. Severe dehydration. Again I prayed. Again she recovered. And all the time I am aware of how completely blessed we are.

While all of this happened over the summer, my oldest daughter was experiencing the lowest of emotional lows and had a difficult few weeks trying to pull herself out of a personal hell. She did- but not unscathed in the process. I’m always surprised that my girls are as strong as they are. I mean this girls are freaking warriors. They can’t possibly get this from me. But wherever the source of their bad-assery, I’m thankful!

During the last 2 years, I’ve gained back nearly every pound I lost with weight loss surgery in 2016. I’m embarrassed to say that but it’s true. I never thought I’d find myself as one of the failure stories. VSG didn’t fail ME. I failed at using the tool. I’ll be honest- taking care of myself did not seem like a priority. Even now that all is eerily quiet and well, I struggle to make myself a priority. I gave up. Some friends of mine who know what my family has been through often say well damn, Dawn… you’ve all been through so much! Extend yourself a bit of grace. Grace…

In my professional life, I work for a technology company with offices throughout the country. I work on a team of 7 fantastic women and we primarily manage maintenance renewal contracts for various technology giants. Small example… You know that antivirus software icon at the bottom left of your computer screen? Somebody at McAfee, Norton, etc knows you’ve got a renewal date coming up. You might get a phone call or email from a renewals rep asking you to renew your contract. It might annoy you but you know you have to protect your computer from viruses. So you pay them. Now imagine that scenario on a much larger scale where clients pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to ensure their hardware and software is protected from harm. That’s what we do. Only we are not annoying 😊 and we are really good at what we do. Sometimes customers don’t renew on time and unfortunately bad stuff can happen. But luckily they usually have a 30 day window … a grace period before all the bad shit happens.

I feel I’ve had a really long grace period and need to get my health back as a priority. Mentally and physically. But it’s all so depressing when I think how far gone I am. I get zero exercise. I eat the wrong things. I drink too much. I’m sad too often. I sleep either too much or too little. It was just 5 years ago I was an avid kick boxer and lost 80 pounds. Nowadays the only exercise I get is walking the short walk to the mailbox. I feel weak physically. I feel exhausted emotionally. And constantly fearful that something terrible will happen with my daughters or husband if I’m not available for them 24/7.

The grace period has to be over now. I must renew my faith in ME. I just need a little push. It’s simply putting one foot in front of the other. I must find that hell-bent woman who knew who she was and felt good in her own skin.

I’m gonna find her. The grace period is OVER. I’m not too old and it’s not too late.

You’ve traveled down this road with me before. I hope you’ll come with me again. Plus, wouldn’t you rather me write about my hot mess express gym shitshow episodes than these sad crazy stories?!?!

🙏❤️🙏❤️

Dawn

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My favorite singer

SO, it’s been a hot minute, right?
Only here for a minute to share some audio from my favorite of all singers…

Attaching an audio clip from my favorite singer, who also happens to be my beautifully gifted daughter. I’m not familiar with the original artist, Dermot Kennedy. The song is called After Rain. She’s playing on a $200 Ovation guitar we gave her several years back. Though she has other newer, nicer guitars, her Ovation seems to be her favorite. Enjoy Hollyann’s version ❤️

Hollyann After Rain

 

low carb, recovery, stroke, Syncope, T1d, Uncategorized, VSG, weight loss

This episode of Dawn’s Sh*tshow life brought to you by the letter “S”

Hi Friends,

Warning: this is a LONG post. Got lots to say. 

I haven’t been AS active on social media as I typically am because I’ve spent the last week or so recovering from a concussion.   I am fine now, but feel the need to explain why/how it happened to my friends and loved ones so that it does not happen to those I care about.  It is both an embarrassing, yet eye opening experience for me and feel I need to share.  I live my life pretty transparently.  I am pretty much an open book.

All my unfortunate or funny stories about my life typically start with: “So there I was, minding my own business…”  And I was!  Teresa (my sister) and I have recently decided that my life could easily be a sit-com and we’ve nicknamed my episodes “Dawn’s Shitshow Life.” This episode is brought to you by the letter “S”

Friday the 12th, I traveled to Charlotte with my sister and nephew and stayed the night.  They had tickets to a basketball game and planned to pick up their new puppy the following morning.  I was happy to tag along because I have friends that live in Charlotte, and planned to have dinner with them Friday night.

While Teresa and Robbie went to the game, I met my friends Heather and Mindy for dinner.  (BTW- Nellie’s Southern Kitchen in the Belmont area of Charlotte is FANTASTIC!)

While at Nellie’s, I had a great (keto-friendly) meal, and had wine with my dinner.  I had 4 glasses of wine – sounds like a lot but they were small pours…maybe 4-5 oz each.  And if you know me at all, you know I love wine.  And over the course of 2-2.5 hours I was at dinner, that’s not a huge amount.

Mindy took me back to my hotel about 10-10:30.  I was in bed by 11.

At 3:30 I woke up to go to the restroom.  That’s when the world went black-literally.

While in the bathroom, I stood up and immediately fell to the ground.  I don’t remember actually falling, but remember waking up on the cold floor, shivering, with my back to the bathtub and my face toward the toilet.  I got up, reached for the door, and immediately fell again.  Teresa asked from the other side of the door if I was alright, because she’d heard the commotion both times I fell.  I answered with no urgency that I was fine.  I didn’t feel badly…Did I think it was odd that I passed out?  Yep.  But I couldn’t verbally tell her.  I walked to the bed and this time she SAW me fall.  It’s as if my legs just gave out from under me.  Down I went again, hitting the furniture on the way down.  “DAWN MARIE!!! ARE YOU ALRIGHT?” The urgency in her voice was bone chilling.    AGAIN- I said that I was fine, and why was she asking?  She explained that I’d fallen.  I asked ….”Teresa, Am I on the floor again?” Indeed I was.

I am going to tell you that I’ve witnessed scary shit happen to other people- but this is the most bizarre thing to ever happen to ME.  I felt weird.  I had a terrible headache and was kind of confused.  Because I suffered a head injury as an infant, because I suffered a concussion as a teenager, and because my husband had a concussion last year, I am very sensitive for anyone having head trauma. Teresa took me to the ER, which is the first time I’d ever heard the word “Syncope.” Syncope x 3 was what the ER personnel told the ER nurse as she wheeled me back to triage.  Hell if I knew what syncope was, but I was fixin’ to learn all about it.

Definition of syncope :1 : loss of consciousness resulting from insufficient blood flow to the brain : faint

I go through the events of the prior evening with the nurse and the ER doctor.  From triage, they do a chest scan and take lots of blood for testing.  On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst pain, I rated the headache about a 5.  I had an EKG and a CT Scan of my head.  The 30 minutes between the CT and the doctor coming to see me felt like HOURS.  I just KNEW by the pain I was in that he was gonna tell me I had cracked my head open…had a tumor, aneurism…somethin’ bad about to happen!  I just knew it.

Fortunately, I did not have ANY of those.  Just a concussion.  However, the ER doctor had some private questions for me and asked my sister and nephew to leave the room.  We all thought that was odd.  ER doctor listens to my heart, asks how I am feeling and asks if I have anything additional to tell him about the events the prior night.  I give him an odd look and sheepishly answer “no.”  He asked if I take Adderall or any other amphetamine. I answer NO.  He asks if perhaps I did street drugs last night?  I answered HELL NO?! He explained that I tested positive for amphetamines. 

WHAT.THE.ACTUAL.HELL?

I only take one prescription and have been taking it for years.  I did however, start taking a weight loss supplement about 2.5 weeks prior.  I show him what it is – nothing in it screams bad contents.  He explains that I was dehydrated and was a little low on potassium.  Our care plan is to give me some fluids via IV and some potassium.  They want to keep me for observation and have an echocardiogram.  By this time, I sent my sister and Robbie to pick up their puppy. Jason and Haley will come and stay with me and take me home Sunday.  When they arrived, I sweet talked the nurse into letting me go home with them Saturday afternoon if I promise to be a good girl and get an echo Monday.  They agreed that I was out of immediate danger and let me go.

We left there thinking my body just had created the perfect little shit storm: already dehydrated+ stimulant in the supplement+ tannins in the wine= syncope.  That was the diagnosis.  But I wasn’t buying it.  I have fainted in the past.  I have had bottles of wine in the past and never lost consciousness. I suspected something different happened.

What I failed to mention to the doctor didn’t seem important at the time.  But it turned out to be VERY important.  From the time Mindy dropped me off at the hotel to the time I met up with my sister and nephew, I was alone in the hotel’s street-level bar for about 15-20 minutes.  It was warm that day, so the side doors were open.  It was Uptown Charlotte on a Friday night, so it was really busy. I ordered a beer and saw the bartender open it. BUT- I turned my back to the bar to watch the band that was playing.  My back was turned to the beer, the side doors.  LOTS of foot traffic around me.  Rarely am I ever in a bar alone.  I did not practice good self-defense., as I was looking at my phone, looking at the band and drank about half the beer.

I met my sister and Robbie in the bar entrance and was fine.  How do you go from walking, talking, and functioning at 10-11pm to losing consciousness 3 times just hours later? My answer is that I think someone put something in my drink. I didn’t really think about it until the next day when I mentioned it to my sister, and then to my husband.  He thought there was no way it was possible.  But my sister, like me- suspected that it happened because she SAW the state I was in.  Imagine walking into an invisible wall and just falling with all of your body weight to the ground.

My back is covered with black and blue bruises from mid-section to my tailbone.  My neck felt like invisible hands were wrapped around me, as if to strangle me.  My head hurt all last week from the impact.  The confusion lasted for a couple of days.  And any screen time, whether it was from my computer or phone, seemed to make the headache return.  I couldn’t read spreadsheets.  I couldn’t bear to watch TV.  All I could do was sleep and do minor things in my house. No driving, either.

I should also mention that when I returned home, I visited my family doctor.  I showed her the packaging of the supplement I was taking. She also agreed that most of the ingredients were plant based. There were some natural stimulants, but nothing in it screamed to her that it was bad. So 2 doctors agreed that the supplement was not likely the culprit, and my dehydration levels were not SO low that they should have knocked me on my behind. Let’s say your dehydration levels are 1-5.  Mine was a 3.7.  Not terrible.

SO- the moral of this episode of Dawn’s Shitshow Life is:

  • Don’t take supplements that your doctor doesn’t know about- JUST in case they are bad for you. Why was I taking them to being with, you may ask…especially since I have had weight loss surgery?  Because GUILT! Guilt of gaining 25 pounds since last March is such a heavy burden.  I had a “Come to Jesus” talk with myself while in the ER.  Weight Loss Surgery is the pinnacle of choices when it comes to weight loss.  I made that choice and PAID for that choice out of pocket.  My husband tells me to stop letting the guilt get to me and who cares about the money?  The money is not important.  My health is important.  I often say I  have reasons for the gain.  But they are often excuses.  I keep 3 humans in my home alive each day.  And I am not exaggerating when I say sometimes that is a real chore.  A type 1 diabetic who is lazy about checking her sugars, a stroke patient who is still finding his way back to good health…and me…a WLS patient who needs to remember rules instead of breaking them!
  • Drink all the water! I already drink at least 80oz of water a day. But when I am doing low carb, I require more water.  And if I am having any kind of wine or beer, I now order a water to go with it.  So what if I spend more time in the restroom!  And I am not taking that supplement anymore.  And I will never take another one.  I promised Jason I would not go back to a low carb diet until after my physical/ blood work comes back.
  • BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS IN A BAR!  Bar, restaurant, wherever beverages are being served. Especially if you are a woman and especially if you are alone!  If this can happen to a 49 year old woman, it can happen to ANYONE!  Did you know Charlotte is the human trafficking capital in North Carolina?  What if my sister hadn’t come to meet me at the bar and walk back to my room with me?  The “what if’s” haunt me each time I lay my head down at night.  I keep repeating the events in my head. The waking up after each fall is startling to me.  I hate that I am so naive sometimes.  I am so trusting.  Now, when I go out with my husband, or even to lunch/dinner with friends, I find myself studying the room.  I take my drink, even if it is water, with me. Or I will ask my friend to keep their eyes on it while I am in the restroom.  I hate this distrust that I all of a sudden feel. 

Please use my experience to help you going forward.  I am lucky I didn’t really hurt myself.  I am really lucky my sister was with me and was able to help me.  While we waited for the results of that CT scan last Saturday morning, I prayed those big prayers.  Like the one I prayed when Haley was in the hospital with her T1D diagnosis.  The one where I prayed with all my might for my mother to fight breast cancer- and she did.  And the one where I got down on my knees in a dirty hospital floor and begged Jesus to help my husband recover from his stroke…and again, my prayers were answered.  I prayed Saturday to please let it not be anything serious.  And it wasn’t.  I feel incredibly blessed for His mercies.  And if you’re reading, I feel blessed to have your attention on this post so that this does not happen to YOU.

Feeling especially blessed and in God’s favor,

Dawn

Uncategorized

Little bit of life update

WOW! I haven’t written since last APRIL?   Nine months of nothing written.  But you know me, between then and now, I’ve got plenty to say…I just haven’t had the time to write it down.  We are currently “snowed in” here in the Raleigh area with a whopping 2 inches of snow.  That’s right, friends…2 inches of snow can turn a bustling town into a ghost town, especially when the town is small and live outside the city limits.  Snow plows don’t come out our way all that often.  Classes in our local schools and universities were closed today and will be tomorrow.  So for now, we are just going to enjoy the winter weather, which will be gone in a couple of days.

Since last April, so much has happened! Lots of good, good things. And lots of things that are not bad, but not the best, either.

First- my husband, Jason is doing very well! I use words like “amazing” and “remarkable” because those are words that come to mind easily when I describe his progress from the debilitating stroke he suffered over a year ago.  Though he’s fairly independent with many things, and for the most part, he is healthy- we have some struggles, still.

Last April when I wrote, I mentioned he was back to work on a therapeutic level.  At the time, it was important for him to return to an environment he used to function in on a daily basis to help him remember his former life and responsibilities.  He’d go 2-3 times a week to hang around and re-acclimate himself with his team, his office, customers, tasks, things like that.  It was going well until about the first week of May.  We’d gone out to an early movie at a shopping center nearby.  During our walk from the car to the theater, Jason unfortunately got tripped up in one of those outdoor rubber mats outside of a restaurant and did a full on face plant into the sidewalk.  His right side was affected by the stroke, and to date, he still walks with kind of a lag, or lazy leg on that side.  That foot got tangled up in the outdoor mat and he took a dive and hit his head.  Messed up his brand new glasses, scuffed up his nose and forehead and blood spilled everywhere.  He hit his forehead directly on the sidewalk.  And of course, I begged to take him to the E/R and of course, he refused.  He didn’t feel dizzy and wasn’t in pain.  And I monitored him periodically that night for fear that he had a concussion.  I’d wake him every couple of hours to make sure he could still communicate with me, and he could.  During the following days, he still was trucking along like usual.  But then we noticed changes in his demeanor and his level of effort.  All of a sudden, it was like the light we had happily seen return in his eyes was diminishing.  He could no longer sleep well.  He was fatigued, irritated and in a kind of fog for weeks.  That lasted until about July.  We had all kinds of tests run from bloodwork to a sleep study.  The CAT scan showed no injury to the brain, but to date, we still think he suffered a concussion and it just took time to heal itself.  July and August brought us back to him flourishing once more.  But those months from May to July were not fun ones.  He was really down and I kept wondering how to motivate him without pushing too hard.  Eventually he found his balance and started working again. Coincidentally, during   this time, we had a freak thing happen with his pacemaker.  He’d been using his weed eater in our back yard and got overheated.  His pacemaker shocked him 3 times within about 5 minutes.  We thought for sure he’d had a full blown heart attack.  After another trip to the ER, we learned that we needed a bit of tweaking to his ICD to increase the  beats per minute threshold.  The meds he’d been taking make his heart beat too fast.  It was a fluke thing and was fixed almost immediately, but damn, what a scary event to happen as he was still healing from the fall.

Over the summer, he continued to resume his former life.  And to date, he is at work most days.  Sometimes I think he wanted to go so often to get away from our house:)  We spent A LOT of time together.  A LOT.  LOL.  He needed to see his co-workers and be outside of the confines of 5745 Stone Crystal:)   We started resuming fun things, too…like visiting our favorite restaurants and breweries.  I have often said that we have spent the last several months celebrating Jason’s return to good health while I sabotage my own. The last time I wrote, I hadn’t really gained a lot of weight, but I hadn’t put in much effort to lose, either.

By the time Jason returned home in February, I was doing really well with my diet. But once the running around from appointment to appointment stopped and my body was no longer in crisis mode, it’s like a night and day flip of a switch.  And not a good one.  Of the 60 pounds I’d managed to lose, I have gained about 25 back because I am eating and drinking all my feelings.  My life has been a big ball of stress for a year now.  That is a valid reason.  It’s not really an excuse, but it’s really no reason for me to abandon my previous path to wellness, either.  So, friends…I sit here tonight talking to y’all while resuming watching my carb intake and trying to force myself to exercise again.  I’d be a big liar if I said I want to eat right and exercise.  What I really want is an endless supply of margaritas and loaded nachos.  But in reality, I need some water with Crystal Light and some celery:)  A couple of friends of mine who had WLS in the past told me that once they started resuming drinking beer, that is when their weight gain started.  At the time I didn’t drink beer.  But over the last few months, I’d experiment with one light beer, then another time a heavier beer and more frequently.  Please- if you are reading this and you have had bariatric surgery- let me tell you – DO NOT be so naive to think you cannot gain  weight back simply because your stomach can’t hold as much.  I am living proof that it can happen the MINUTE you let your guard down.  Once your guard is down, it keeps sinking lower.  It’s harder to raise yourself back up and make good food choices again!  

I seem to do better with exercise if I have something to train for, and I do.  On March 18th, I am going to do the Tobacco Road Half Marathon.  Again.  I did it in 2013 and had intended to do it in 2014 but had Achilles surgery that year and couldn’t do it.  I had actually registered to do it last year, but couldn’t because of Jason’s stroke and recovery.  This particular race is important to me because #JDRF is one of the benefactors of the race, and as y’all know, my teenage daughter is a type 1 diabetic.  I also have a T1D cousin.  The money raised for this goes to research.  My kid needs a cure. If you’d like to read about the special TID’s in my life, you can visit here: http://www2.jdrf.org/site/TR?px=2186927&fr_id=7312&pg=personal

I started my training last week and will continue as much as possible.  I don’t love to run, and will likely have to walk/jog a good part of the race.  But it feels good to return to exercise and quite frankly, it’s something I can do and clear my head for a while. I’ve been running around like a crazy woman for a year and finally, life is slowing down in some ways.  I am thankful for the change.  Honestly, I am thankful that Jason has recovered so much that he feels confident in spending a little bit of time without me.

These last few months have been filled with pure joy with huge highsBut also filled with valleys of debilitating depression.  I don’t want to dwell on those “down” moments too much, but I have never been reminded more of God’s love for me or my family than I have this past year.  The power of prayer and that my family has received has been so overwhelming.  Even during the depressive episodes that seemed to last from moments to weeks at a time, I always knew there was hope for Jason and for myself.

I have a new appreciation for caregivers.  Lord Jesus…the patience one must have.  The worry that we aren’t doing a good job with our patient, or at our “real” jobs.  Because while I was away being Caregiver, someone on my team had to fill in for me. The worry that all the attention we give to our patient diverts the attention we used to give to our kids, or ourselves.  The worry that we aren’t doing enough.  And also, trying to motivate without seeming pushy.  I’d try to urge Jason to write with his affected hand, or do a word search puzzle for activity.  Read aloud to me, and let me read to him.  Digging our heels in and saying NO when it’s needed.  Listening to their frustrations but also enjoying their victories.  Guilt in knowing you need some “me” time, but there’s really no time for that! Learning to communicate all over again was exhilarating and heartbreaking at the same time. At times Jason would say things that he didn’t mean to say.  I would find them hurtful and intentionally said.  But I’d learn quickly that aphasia is still very much a thing, and just because he says something does not mean I should take it the way it sounds.  He still gets words turned around.  His vocabulary is great and most of the time what he says makes perfect sense.  But I also find that he has no filter:) And that is not a bad thing.  What comes up just seems to come out in whatever way he feels at the time.

Since I wrote last year, some great things happened with my daughters, too.   My oldest, who is 26, graduated from Culinary Schools with honors! She’s worked in the food industry since she was 15.  Hollyann has a passion for all things art and food is a passion for her.  She works in banquets and catering for a prominent country club nearby.  She works her little butt off!  She’s decided she’s found “the one” she wants to make a life with, too.  I am proud of her work ethic and desire to pursue her passion.

My youngest, Haley, graduated from high school last June.  Given the trying Senior year she had, her graduation was a huge milestone.  Though it was Jason who physically had the stroke, it was Haley who suffered the most, I think.  She spent a lot of time home.  Alone.  She struggled already with anxiety and depression prior to the stroke.  So when the stroke happened, the anxiety heightened and the depression became more severe.  It is fortunate and UNfortunate for me that I know how that felt.  Though our depression situation is individually different, the way we learn and heal from it has been similar.  Together, we’ve seen a wonderful therapist who is helping us through the dark times.  Our code word is “sunshine.”  We will often ask each other, “Is there any sunshine today?”  Sometimes our answers are “no”, ” partly cloudy” or ” it’s a sunny day” or sometimes we just give each other “the look” …like don’t even ask.  Thankfully there are more sunny days than there used to be.  I am proud of her diligence to find the sun.  She starts a 2 year college transfer program at a local community college this month.  While she figures out what she wants to do, she’s taking college classes at a slower pace so we don’t find ourselves overwhelmed and cause her anxiety to worsen. The older she gets, the more she reminds me of myself at that age.

Haley, Jason and I were able to join our ‘Framily” from West Virginia last September for our annual beachreunion!  We were so thrilled to go.  We stayed the entire week and enjoyed every minute of it.  It was Jason’s first time being on vacation since the stroke.  He jokingly said he’d been on a vacation from December to February while in the hospital.  I reminded him that was no vacation! He was working hard on his recovery during that time.  He deserved some time away that did not include any hospitals, doctor visits or talking about INR testing or co-pays:)  The group of friends we go with are true friends who’ve had my back prior to this- but long before this, as well.  (Shout out to my favorite mermaids! I love you girls!)

We enjoyed our Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, too!  Realizing that we spent Christmas and the New Year in ICU and then rehab last year made this year even more of a celebration.  I was glad to see 2017 go.  2018 brings more promise and hope for my family.  I have never been as thankful as I have been this last year.

So there you have it..I’m including a few pictures from the past year.  I can’t figure out why they are posting at the top of the post, as opposed to where I really want them.  But ain’t nobody got time to figure it out!

I hope you – whoever is reading this in my little corner of blogging  world, have a wonderful and healthy 2018.  Thank you for reading.  You are a blessing<3

 

Hugs all around!
DMG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fuquay Traffic

I don’t know the creator/author of Fuquay Memes, but he/she and I simply MUST be friends!

Anonymous Adventures in Fuquay

Let me just start this blog off by saying I grew up in The Big ATL Atlanta suburbs. I understand traffic, I learned to drive in traffic, I ran my 1997 Honda Civic into the back of a big rig in traffic, and once I had to pee in a cooler because I was stuck in traffic for seven hours trying to make a 3.5 hour journey home AND I HAD NO OTHER OPTION, JUDGE ALL YOU WANT. 

The point is, traffic isn’t new to me. It’s not like I moved here from Erwin. For me to bitch about traffic, it’s really got to suck. Back in 1998 I got out of a parking lot full of stoners at Turner Field after a Dave Matthews Band concert, and EVEN THAT can’t compare to the dark feelings that come with trying to turn left out of the Fuquay post office.

We’ve…

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diet, love, low carb, recovery, Sleeve, stroke, Surgery, Uncategorized, VERTICAL SLEEVE GASTRECTOMY, VSG, weight loss

rain. 

Good afternoon, y’all! It’s been a while… I’d start by apologizing for being a slacker about my blog, but if you’ve been reading these last few entries, you know that my life has been a wee bit overwhelming.  Let’s review😃

First and most importantly, my husband DID come home from rehab on February 4th! Just in time for our daughter’s 18th birthday! Haley received wonderful birthday gifts from her family, but the greatest was having her Daddy home to celebrate with us.  We did kind of a low key celebration. Jason and I took Haley and her BFF to the Cheesecake Factory. It’s kind of becoming a tradition since she chose the exact same thing last year. We celebrated her entrance into adulthood, and also celebrated Jason’s Independence Day!  He was in the rehab hospital from 12/23 to 2/4, (due to his stroke) and was in ICU at Duke for a week before that. Each day was filled with 3 different types of therapy. Five days a week. Jason went from almost complete paralysis on his right side to walking out of that hospital just weeks later!  His progress has been a miracle. That same weekend, he was able to enjoy watching the Super Bowl from the comfort of his couch, rather than a drab and dreary hospital!

Each week since then, he’s gained more and more mobility, confidence, and strength. We started going to outpatient therapy 3x per week in February and have recently cut it back to 2x a week. His physical strength is improving. He’s really focused on occupational and speech therapies now. He’s been back to work a couple of days a week, though not at his former position. He’s not ready for emails, conference calls and spreadsheets. But each day he goes, he reminds his brain of duties he’s done in the past.  I tend to think of it as reopening a path that once went a particular direction but got suddenly,closed off when he had the stroke. But he’s trying to find a new path to the same distinction.  It’s wonderful to witness, but it’s not without challenges.

Now that Jason  home, I’d estimate he’s about 95% physically independent. He needs help getting shoes and socks on most days.  Getting showered and dressing himself is an effort for him that takes about an hour from start to finish.  It’s an exhausting process for him.  His right arm, hand, leg and foot are all still swollen, which we are told is normal.  He experiences significant discomfort in the nerves in the shoulder and leg. It is often difficult for him to sleep. His right arm kind of has a mind of its own and kind of floats about at times.  But all in all, he continues to surprise and amaze us with his fantastic recovery.  We continue to work on his communication abilities, which suffer more than the physical abilities.  Jason speaks very clearly…it’s just his brain telling his mouth what to say.  Sometimes it comes out backwards.  Sometimes he needs more time to process what he wants to say.  But all the while, he remains positive about his speech therapy and looks forward to strengthening his verbal and written communication.

Update on my mom-  I requested prayers and again, they were answered.  The recurrence of breast cancer was caught in time and did not spread to her lymph nodes! I feel very blessed to have made the call for prayers and to have them answered.  Mom is well.  THANK YOU to anyone who thought of her and prayed for her!

With these issues and their progression, I still am surprised by all of the people who have been touched by Jason’s story…my mom’s, too.  I am asked each day about one or both of them.  “How can I help?”  “What do you need?” are all questions I receive on an every day basis.

Friends of Jason’s, as well as friends of mine have followed our “story” on Facebook, since that is where I tend to post most of my updates.   All of this support from so many places feels like it’s raining on us…rain makes things grow.  And Jason continues to grow healthier each day.  We are showered each day with prayer, love, and guidance.  It is hard to describe, to be honest.  It’s a comfort.  Kind of like the rain you hear from the comfort of your warm bed on a day when you don’t have to rise early.  More than a drizzle, but less than a storm…the kind of rain that makes it easier for us to drift back to sleep.  That’s how I’ve felt these last few months.  And I am happy for the rain.

But there’s another rain I am also feeling at times.  The kind that makes you dread getting out of bed on a Monday.  Rain on a Monday morning tends to make us rushed to get out of the house. We end up dropping our laptop bag in the driveway en route to the car…or spill our coffee on a newly ironed white blouse in order to avoid getting wet. It’s a hard rain and the windshield wipers can’t seem to swish back and forth fast enough to make things visible. Unfortunately, it’s been raining at my house.  A lot. Haley (my 18 year old) and I have a code for this type of feeling.  We both experience bouts of depression at times. We will ask the other “Is there any sunshine today?”.  It could be sunny outside, but we may not be feeling the sunshine.  That’s where the depression finds us.  Cloudy days.   75% of the time, we both feel pretty good! But there days where the clouds are heavy and we just need to let it rain. And then we hope the next morning is really sunny.

I am kinda known for sugar coating things- or have been known that way in the past.  I’d rather not say something at all if it’s gonna be ugly.  Or if it’s gonna hurt another.  I find a way to deliver bad news but with good news somehow.  But since this has all happened, I find that I have no time to sugar coat and just blurt out what needs to be said.  That’s a surprise to my inner peacekeeper.  I am not going to lie, y’all….Even with the blessings abound, this season in our life is difficult for us.  The constant running here and there to appointments each week can sometimes be overwhelming.  Jason goes to his office a couple of times a week for therapeutic reasons.  I work from home on most days, so my environment changes very little.  When/if he returns to work on a more regular basis, perhaps I too, will get out of the house and return to my office.   There are so many unanswered questions about Jason’s recovery and our future.  Insurance will only pay for so many occupational and speech therapies, and we’re more than halfway through, but we feel he’ll need more of them.  We’ll likely have to pay for them out of pocket.  We’ll find a way.  What if the pain he feels in his right shoulder never goes away?  There are nights it is so painful that he cannot sleep.  And not sleeping makes everything that is already running a muck even more complicated. It is hard for his brain to “Wake” some days.  And on those days, I feel the bad/Monday rain.  I find I pray a lot more.  We didn’t get through this ordeal to not celebrate and thank the Lord for his Mercy and Grace. It seems every “little” thing is not so little to me or unimportant. Personally, my eyesight is terrible…but this life I live lately- is like seeing things with new eyes. As if our lives together have much more color and vibrancy  than before.

Thankfully,  most days, I feel the good rain. Because PEOPLE are good and they seem to know when I need a good dousing of friendship. A couple of weeks ago, our very good friend Chuck arranged a party at Jason’s favorite brewery to celebrate his health and recovery.  There were a couple of hundred people there.  Not all of them were there for the party, but a good number of them were! Even some from Jason’s childhood, which was amazing to see! Chuck arranged for an awesome rockabilly band (The Rusted Rails!)  to play, and the weather was magnificent! I don’t think Jason realized how many lives he’s impacted over the years.  He is a laid-back, very quiet, kinda shy person.  I don’t think he envisioned his circle of friends to be as large as it really is.  To have all of those kind, giving people in one room, to celebrate his “homecoming” was an amazing experience that neither of us will forget.  Whether you were there in spirit, or there in person, THANK YOU for your thoughts and well wishes.

Now I am just rambling, so I probably need to wrap this up.  Last thing- some have asked about how my weight loss journey is going now that I’ve surpassed the first year after weight loss surgery (VSG). I wish I could tell you I’ve progressed more, but I have not.  I find it is hard to care for yourself when someone you love needs a different kind of care- a more valid, more prolific care.  I’ve not given up, but have not been exercising enough and making “pour”  habits.  (See what I did there?!) Now that Jason can enjoy a beer here and there without it messing up his INR checks, I find that I will enjoy a glass of wine with him.  Wine is not out of the question after VSG, but for months I didn’t really indulge that often.  We’re not talking “she has a problem” indulgence, but more so a “maybe you should go to the gym more even though you pass 2 breweries and 2 taverns along the way.” LOL. I am still stuck around 165-170.  My goal was/is 145-150.  I am out of plus-sized clothing and have been for some time now.  The best lifestyle for me is a ketogenic diet, which is very low carb/high fat….but I fall off the wagon too often to say I am following any diet except the see-food diet. And I know it’s partially because of my time constraints and sometimes depression.  But I also know when the time is right for me, I will pick it back up and hit the goal. I mean…if only 20 pounds separates me from my life long goal, it would be silly for me to stop!

There you have it, folks.  After reading all of that, you likely think I am a little loco.  And I don’t mind it because life is loco for me right now.  But I’d take a little crazy over the alternative any day of the week.

Thanks for stopping by to read.  We are incredibly blessed and have never been more certain of how GOOD our GOD IS.

Love Much,

DMG

Uncategorized

Bread and Water

Hi:) I know I owe an update here on my family…and I have another post I have tried to write, re-write and write again to capture ALL. THE. THINGS.  (My mom is fine, thank the good Lord!) My husband continues to progress (Thank the good Lord again!) and I gave in on that DIY floor project and hired somebody to lay laminate prior to Jason’s homecoming:)  There.  That’s the update:)

It’s probably pretty clear to anyone who’s been reading these last few months, or even years, that some of my blog posts are related to song titles.  This one is no different. Bread and Water is an old song written and sung by Gary Morris.  If you knew me in  high school, you know I was (still am) a huge Gary Morris fan and went to see him in concert many, many times throughout the WV/OH, VA/NC states from 1985-ish to the early 1990’s.  My mom even let me out of school early once while I was in high school so I could go stake my claim in line at the NC State Fair where he was performing.  I owned every cassette he ever released.  (Cassette, people!LOL).  I wanted so badly to learn to play this on my guitar back then, but it is a tricky song, full of chords I didn’t know and was too busy with boyfriend/school/work/life to teach myself.  Then I became a sorta-kinda adult and definitely had no time to learn.  Bread and Water was a song I always loved and pretty much figured I’d find that someone in my life for whom I’d be willing to give up bread and water.

I did meet him.  And then I married him.  We’ve been married for 20 years.  That’s a very long time and is not typical for these times we live in, so I am thankful.  I am thankful that we didn’t give up when I know there were times each of us may have wanted to.  I am glad we decided that through all of the trials of raising kids, and growing up ourselves, that we decided we were worth it. And I am more than happy to say that we are still evolving as a married couple and realizing what’s important and what isn’t.  Nothing seals the deal like your spouse having a near death experience, leaving you to learn what matters in this life.  It’s not money.  It’s not possessions.  We live in a 1150 square foot house that was intended to be our “starter” house.  But 20 years later, we are still here.  A bigger house does not equate to happiness.  When Jason was in rehab to recover from his stroke, these tiny 1150 square feet of house felt like a huge, empty shell of a building and not a home at all. Having a loved one threatened by an illness, injury, disease, etc…presents obstacles I never thought I’d address in my late 40’s.  Needing to get affairs in order for Power of Attorney to make medical and financial decisions. Inquiring about burial plots for the two of us seems extremely strange, though I don’t want my daughters to have to decide.  Forgoing expensive outings or things so that we can save up for co-pays and things insurance doesn’t cover….saving for the “what-ifs” because they very well can happen.  The WHAT IF?  Did happen.  And we are blessed to  tell it and have to re-calibrate things in our lives.

Truth is, I’d give up damn near anything to keep him healthy. (My daughters, too.) Because the house is not important.  The life and memories inside it are important. I am so thankful to God’s mercies for us to celebrate our 20 years together and for all the additional years we enjoy together.  Our vehicles… (my beloved Jeep!)…the “stuff” we deem important…the luxuries we have in our daily lives…we don’t need any of them.

We just need each other…shelter of some form…and bread and water to live.

Sooooo- though the video is ancient (from 1991) if you really listen to the words of the song, it pretty much sums it all up.  I used to get teary-eyed listening to this in my teens and early 20’s, presumably because I longed to feel this way.  And I still get teary-eyed now because I have been blessed to have felt this way for 20 years.  And even though the stroke situation completely sucked, it made me realize what matters.  The man upstairs with the Good Book, Jason, me, our kids…and bread and water.

Take my pride, take my dignity, last of all take my memories
With what’s left of me I’d say…
with my final breath I’d pray

For bread and water and you.And I’d tell you what I’d do, I’d give it all and more it’s true
Even bread and water for you…

 

Seldom do I get to tell you
this moment always slips away
Lock the door cause it’s time to
turn the lights down and listen to what I say.

I’m gonna tell you what you
mean to me and when
I’m done I hope you’ll see.

That they can take the romance from a lovers moon
Take the warmth from a sunrise in June, take a melody
Yet take that tune and I’d still get by
Take the magic from children’s hearts take the sounds
Of laughter just leave me bread and water and you.

They can put me out on the street take my money
Take the shoes off my feet, place my head on a rock
Lay me down to sleep and I’d still get by
Take the shirt off my back if they want
Leave me naked and cold if they must
But don’t take my bread and water or you.

I’d give my hopes and I’d give my dreams
If they’d have to have it all
there’s just three things I need.

Take my pride, take my dignity, last of all take my memories
With what’s left of me I’d say with my final breath I’d pray
For bread and water and you.

And I’d tell you what I’d do, I’d give it all and more it’s true
Even bread and water for you…

Uncategorized

As if my life were not crazy enough already…

I am embarking on a DIY project.  If you are not already aware, I am the very LAST person one would expect to be starting such a journey.  There is not one artsy-fartsy, tool-savy, project-patient bone in my body.  But YA’LL…my husband in rehab )recovering following a stroke) comes home in about five weeks and I want to makeover our bedroom.  Yes.  ME. While working full time, while mothering full time, while burning up the highway between home and rehab.  C-R-A-Z-Y!

Why, you ask?  Welp…before the stroke, Jason and I had been talking about updating our bedroom.  We have lived in our house for 20 years this May.  We have made other improvements to other rooms in the house but our room has  never been updated.  We still have nasty, disgusting once-was-beige-but-now-is-poop-colored-brown carpet.  Same carpet that babies have puked on and puppies have peed/pooped on. We’ve cleaned the bedroom carpet several times each year that we’ve lived here.  It is no longer cleanable or salvageable.

With Jason coming home in a few weeks, he is going to have a walker.  A walker is easier to use on flat surfaces.  Our room is the only room that has carpet.  New flooring will make it easier for Jason to be mobile, so of course, it HAS TO GO!

Before the new flooring can come, I need to get our furniture out of there.  And then rip up carpet.  Then paint. Then do the flooring.  I am going to do the paper flooring.  If you’ve never heard of it, google Paper Bag Flooring.  It’s actually craft/contractor paper, stain, glue and polyurethane. It’s a fraction of the cost of laminate or hardwoods.  It just takes a lot of time.  I am hoping to take a few days off work while I do this.  My friend Christine has offered to help me paint:) And I am sure I will need to enlist in the help of my DIY extraordinaire friend, Beverly, to help me with the flooring.  Or at least come down to my house and tell me if she thinks it looks like crap or not:)

SOOOO!  Today I am starting to take out the drawers of the dressers and take them to the garage.  I made a pile of clothes that will stay in the house with me, what’s going to Good Will, and what’s seasonal and can live in the garage.

OH! And I am doing this without Jason knowing!!! I want him to be surprised! So if you’re reading and are friends with him, don’t tell him! SHHHHH! 

I will try to take pictures along the way:) Wish me luck.  I am gonna need it! My man’s coming home in a few weeks and I want him to have something MORE to look forward to ❤

Choosing Joy, even though I am tired as hell,

Dawn

recovery, stroke, Uncategorized

I come to the well…

When I think of going to a well, I view a place of peace and healing.  A deep body of water full of spirituality and hope.  I draw strength from pulling up the bucket from the well and cupping its healing waters in my hands and splashing it on my  face, or even taking a drink from the well water to rejuvenate and energize my body and soul.  I also see the well as a place where prayers float, and at times, we have to also cup them in our hands and secure those prayers close to our hearts for mending.

Last month, I came to the well for healing.

I posted on my Facebook page a request for prayers for my husband, who at the time, had a procedure on his heart called an Ablation.  It was to help cure ventricular tachycardia.  And as far as we know, the procedure, which is slightly risky, but also very common, was a success.  Jason’s chances of have VT again have decreased by as much as 80-90%.  That was the good news.  The bad news came in the form of a stroke he had during the surgery and/or in recovery.  Once he woke from the anesthesia, the Duke staff noticed that he couldn’t speak and wasn’t moving the right side of his body.  Within an hour of his ablation procedure being over, he was headed to get a CT scan of his brain, where 2 clots were spotted.  The Neurosciences team performed surgery on my husband and retrieved 2 clots from his brain.  There was a third clot in his left ventricle that is still there, but has decreased with the use of blood thinner Coumadin.  That clot will settle somewhere in his ventricle but *shouldn’t*  pose a threat since it has decreased in size.

I  found myself coming  to the “well”  for prayer and for guidance.  Don’t we all go searching when we need a wish or a prayer?

I closed my eyes, knelt on the ICU floor and prayed the biggest, hardest, most important prayer of my married life.  The next morning, I posted an urgent plea for prayers and so many of my beautiful friends and family answered my plea.  The same people added Jason (and me) to their personal prayer lists and those of their churches. This was happening all over the world! I We immediately felt the power of those prayers!

After a week at Duke (4 of those nights in ICU), Jason was moved to an acute rehab facility at WakeMed.  He was admitted on 12/23. We celebrated Christmas in the hospital.  We celebrated the New Year in the hospital and we were happy to be able to do it.  Any time spent with Jason was time well loved and well spent.

Now, three + weeks living in the rehab hospital, Jason is WOW-ing us with his progress! Jason went from having no movement on the right side of his body a month ago, to today being able to WALK a few steps on a treadmill!  He went from having the ability to say only 5-10 words to now being able to carry on a conversation.  He still has trouble finding the words.  He knows what he WANTS to say, but sometimes he has to search for the word and causes a delay.  It’s called Aphasia. Each day when I see him, it seems he has a new trick to show me.  It is really amazing to witness!

I have no doubt Jason is recovering because of his faith, perseverance, support of his family and friends, God’s love and ALL the prayers! All of this “good” is just overwhelming at times. To date, I have never felt more thankful or blessed.  I came to the well feeling broken.  I still visit the well at times for strength and hope for what lies ahead for my family. When Jason comes home, I’ll be his caregiver until the next chapter in his recovery.  I draw whatever strength I have in me now from that well.  The well is full of the prayers and love sent from close friends and also complete strangers.

Unfortunately, I am coming to the well once more for a different reason, although just as urgent and important.  And I feel guilty for asking for more prayers because I feel I used up my biggest prayer for my husband’s healing.  I know there is no prayer too small or too big to ask of Jesus.  I had a huge prayer last month and I have a big one now.It’s for my sweet Mama.

She came by Monday night. I should have known by the time of evening it was when my she  visited that something was wrong. She is often in her jammies by 7pm so for her to visit after 8pm was odd.  I had just gotten back home from seeing Jason, which is often my new normal schedule.  She needed to tell me something really important and the only way to tell me was to sit me down in person at a time when I could actually SIT down.

With tears in her eyes,  she apologized for having to “burden” me with another issue- and let me know that after 30 something years of remission, her breast cancer had returned.

If that wasn’t enough, she had known for a couple of weeks before she could pin me down long enough to tell me. My sister, Teresa, is also a busy mother, as she often works as a volunteer to support her son’s marching band.  Her weekends are filled with volunteering so that she can help pay for the band dues each year.  Rarely does she have free time, so Mama had to deliver this to my sister on the phone- so there was no chance of a hug in person for them to console one another.

Together, they  had planned to tell me because they figured I wouldn’t flip my shit. (sorry!) But they didn’t get the opportunity because that particular day I was a hot mess consumed with a busy work day, an upcoming snowstorm, trying to visit Jason before evening and get myself home to be with Haley so she would be safe from the storm.  It was not a good day and they didn’t want to add to the lunacy of it.

So at that point, my sister knew and was having to carry this burden without me. All because I was too wrapped up in my own life.  I was unapproachable. Too consumed with my new duties as caregiver and household duties that were once Jason’s, but now are mine.  I could have carved out some time…

I went from elation from visiting my husband Monday and once again witnessing his awesome progression to the sound of my sweet  Mama telling me that a routine mammogram turned into 3 more…and then later 2 sonograms.  She knew something was wrong and had to go through all the tests to confirm.

The guilt I feel for being unavailable for them is hard for me to deal with right now.  My sweet Mama has breast cancer again in her early 70’s. And my younger sister had to endure the pain of knowing without me.  Man, do I feel awful. Selfish. To say I am having a hard time with this is an understatement.  It kind of takes me back to the time Mom had breast cancer the first time when she was in her 40’s. I was a new mother to an infant and consumed with that. My sister was a typical teenager, consumed with crap teenagers do. My Mom and Dad were together, but Dad worked and was not a lot of help to her during the Chemo process.  Mom was in pain and was sick from Chemo.  She had a mastectomy. She couldn’t hold her sweet granddaughter. Her movement was limited.   She pretty much recovered from the hardest thing she had ever been through by herself.

But she will not be alone this time! She has a lumpectomy  scheduled in a couple of weeks. My sister and I plan to be with her for the procedure, and to care for her afterward.  We’ll be with her when she gets the results. Mom has already stated that if the Cancer has spread to her lymph nodes, she will consider radiation, but will not consider Chemo. Chemo in her 40’s was unbearable.  Chemo in her 70’s is just not an option.

So here I am at the well again…begging for more healing.  Please let it not be in the lymph nodes! Please let doctors heal Mom’s body and get that nasty cancer out of her! 

I can’t lose her.  My sister can’t lose her. We lost our dad too soon. I just can’t imagine her not being here to see Haley and Hollyann grow as women.  Or to watch the magnificent young man my nephew, Robbie will become.  The cancer has to go! She’s gotta be here to watch Jason regain his life because she prayed just as hard for him and for me.  She’s kept me going this past month and I need her strength to push me harder!  And she needs my new found strength to share with her during this season of her life. I just need more time to be a better daughter.  I need her so much.  And now, she needs her daughters.

If you’re reading and  don’t mind sending up a prayer for my Mom, I would appreciate it SO MUCH.  Her name is Linda.

If I can reciprocate in prayer for you or your family, please just say the word.  I am happy to do it.  As you might imagine, I am chatting with the Lord on an hourly basis these days. I’ll be glad to add you or your loved one to our chats.  And as many prayers I drew from the well, I will gladly refill for you.  For each of you who sent us prayers, a text, email, cards, letters,  who visited, sent flowers, gift baskets,  everything- THANK YOU for your kindness.  I am so grateful for your generosity!

Below is a link to one of my favorite Casting Crowns songs.  I hope you enjoy.

As always, thank you for reading.  You are a blessing.

XOXOXO,

Dawn

 

The Well- by Casting Crowns

Leave it all behind.

Leave it all behind,

Leave it all behind.

I have what you need,

But you keep on searchin,

I’ve done all the work,

But you keep on workin,

When you’re runnin on empty,

And you can’t find the remedy,

Just come to the well.

You can spend your whole life,

Chasin what’s missing,

But that empty inside,

It just ain’t gonna listen.

When nothing can satisfy,

And the world leaves you high and dry,

Just come to the well

CHORUS:

And all who thirst will thirst no more,

And all who search will find what their souls long for,

The world will try, but it can never fill,

So leave it all behind, and come to the well

So bring me your heart

No matter how broken,

Just come as you are,

When your last prayer is spoken,

Just rest in my arms a while,

You’ll feel the change my child,

When you come to the well

CHORUS:

And all who thirst will thirst no more,

And all who search will find what their souls long for,

The world will try, but it can never fill,

So leave it all behind, and come to the well

Yeah

Leave it all behind

The world will try, but it can never fill

Leave it all behind

And now that you’re full,

Of love beyond measure,

Your joy’s gonna flow,

Like a stream in the desert,

Soon all the world will see, living water is found in me,

Cuz you’ve come to the well

CHORUS:

And all who thirst will thirst no more,

And all who search will find what their souls long for,

The world will try, but it can never fill,

So leave it all behind, and come to the well

Leave it all behind and come to the well

Leave it all behind, leave it all behind, leave it all behind

 

 

Uncategorized

Almost 10 months after VSG

Hi❤️ 2017 is here! 

Most of 2016 didn’t suck. The last 2 weeks have been a challenge with my husband’s stroke. But the year held good things for me. #vsg surgery last March has helped me lose nearly 60 pounds. I’m a reallllllly slow loser already. Add in ” the change” of a woman’s life, plus the current stress of life with my Love in rehab post stroke, and you get a painfully slow metabolism and a scale that doesn’t move. I have to use pictures as encouragement. The jeans size progression here helps. I started this journey in a snug 22 (the jeans in top of pic). I’m currently in a 14 and hoping to be in the 12 (bottom of pic) by March 3, which is my one year surgiversary. Then what?! Who knows? Maybe. 10?!?!  After VSG,  most weight loss is within the first 12 months.  My clock is ticking. March 3 will be my one year.  With my current situation, I’m finding zero time for exercise but really need to find a way to build it in my day. I work from my home office each day until 3pm and then go to the hospital ( with my laptop and work until 5) to visit my husband until 7-8 each evening. Then I go home to do household stuff… Dinner/laundry/ feed animals and my teenager 😃

 I’m not looking for a specific size. I’m looking for how “healthy and strong”  looks and feels on me. The lowest weight ever on me happened in 2013 when I hit 160. I’m about 10-11 pounds from there now. I felt fearless, strong and confident. I’d like to know what 150 feels like on my 5’3″ frame. That’s “only” 20 pounds. I say only because unlike many VSG’ers, this journey as been slow going. I’ve been pulling slow numbers from the beginning. But I can do it! 

Wishing you a very happy, healthy 2017! 

 #bariatricbabe #verticalsleevegastrectomy