2021 Update on my weight loss/chronic illness journey

When I started my weight loss process, I was 152 lbs. For my 5′ nuthin’ frame and child sized appendages, that’s a LOT! I tried every diet known to mankind with zero results and I couldn’t do too much exercise being so tired I had to rest after taking a shower!

My mom said she plateaued before she was able to lose all her menopause weight and I found I had plateaued at 148 or so. That’s where I was for some time when (as you may remember) I had asked my doctor, who is trained in nutrition, what I should do. She suggested I limit myself to 1200 calories/day and was already at 900-1000 just eating what I usually ate. So, THAT didn’t help.

That’s when I got a health coach. She helped me tweak my eating and taught me how and what to eat for optimal weight loss (tailored to my own weird body along the way) and I was finally able to lose the weight.

My original goal was to reach my pre menopause weight of 115, but when I got there, I decided to see if I could try to get down a bit more. I’m currently maintaining a weight of about 112! I literally NEVER thought I’d see that number again on a scale I was standing on! But here I am!

I went from a size 8 to a size 2! My blood pressure went back down to my normal reading of just a tiny bit below the normal reading from being almost too high for my doctor’s comfort!

I went from taking three naps a day to NONE! And from having to rest after taking a shower and having to sit on a chair to blow dry my hair to not have a problem at all with this kind of task!

Turns out that not carrying around an extra 34 lbs makes a HUGE difference in my energy level! I had NO IDEA it would make that much of a difference. NONE! But it did!

Some other little odd victories:
1. I fit back into my daughter’s size 10/12 children’s t-shirt!

2. My engagement ring on my right ring finger spins around and the diamond is pointing to my palm most of the time. Something I had forgotten happened all the time in the winter. It’s sized correctly. It’s just that my knuckles are much thicker than the space under it for the ring. So it swings.

3. My wedding ring, which was always just a tad too big in the winter, again flies off at times.

One of the most difficult things about being this thin again is that it’s almost impossible to find size two pants in extra short! But what a lovely problem to have!

Overall, I’d have to say that I’m so excited to enter 2021 with less of me than I entered 2020 with! It not only makes me feel good to see myself in the mirror, but it makes me feel GOOD because I’m so much less fatigued!

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Christmas Makeover!

We had a special kind of fun this Christmas! Check this out!

So, after I lost a good portion of my menopause weight, my husband decided to give it a try.

He’s been overweight just about all his life. He’s tried a lot of things over the years, but nothing really worked long enough to make much difference and, as he got older, he had some trouble doing a lot of the exercises that had at least helped him when he was young.

I helped him to lose 56 pounds! Doesn’t he look fabulous?! I’ve known him for 39 years (since college) and this is the first time I’ve EVER seen him this thin!!!

So, we decided to have some fun on Christmas Day and recreated a picture of him from many years ago! (Last picture) 🥰

We gave ourselves the gift of health and fitness this Christmas. 🎄Our blood pressure is down and we have more energy. (Yes, even chronic illness me!)

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JoJo: A Space Oddity

I probably have over 2001 ways in which my life is odd. If the previous blog posts on how things work on my planet and living the weird life haven’t convinced you, I have three more areas of my life in which to express, JoJo: A Space Oddity, and it’s on the topics of exercise, parenting, and my testimony.

Again, my intention is to let you all know that it’s ok not to be like everyone else. It’s ok if your chronic issue doesn’t manifest itself in the same way as most others or you have a different way of dealing with it because you are a unique child of God. It’s ok to be you, even if most people don’t understand!

Exercise Weirdness:
One of the things that has always gotten in the way of my losing weight is what I came to find is called Exercise Intolerance. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t like to exercise but I don’t. Almost nobody does. What I’m talking about is the weird reaction of my body that even if I start slow and build slower, instead of the exercise getting easier (because my body adjusts or gets used to it or gets more in shape), the way it works on my planet is that it gets harder and harder for me to complete until I can no longer do what was fairly easy for me at the beginning.

Now, I know this makes no sense whatsoever, but it is true. I’ve tried it many times in my life. And lest you think this is something that is a result of years of a sedentary lifestyle, I have to tell you that the first time I noticed this was when I was about 17 years old and a senior in high school. Yup, you read that right. At the age of 17 walking about a mile or so to school and back, I would come home from school and be absolutely exhausted. It never got better.

During this time, as I mentioned previously, I was put on The Pill and gained 30lbs in a month. I decided to do two back-to-back aerobics tv shows before school in an attempt to lose that weight. It started out ok. I was able to finish the workout and felt alright afterward, but by the eighth month, I couldn’t get up off the floor to take a shower and get to school. That’s when I had to quit…and I never lost an ounce!

In the following forty years, I tried countless exercise routines that all resulted in the same pattern. It was a bit difficult at the start, but as time went on, I found the very same exercise more and more exhausting until I was forced to quit. After reading a few articles on Fibro, I found the term Exercise Intolerance associated with some Fibro patients. Most of the Fibro folks I know don’t have this, but they do understand having days when working out or even walking was too much.

Parenting Oddities:
This area of my life is what my father would call “wackadinghoy” and is actually three parts of the parenting equation. To be fair, two of them are much more unusual than the third, but the third is still not mainstream.

Parenting begins with birth and what describes both of mine is, of course, the word weird. When I was pregnant with my first child, I was expecting everything to go according to plan and, for the most part, the pregnancy was nothing that deviated from my expectations. However, the birth was slightly more dramatic than I was anticipating.

I was told my first child would be marked by my body’s unfamiliarity with the birth process and so a slow, long (maybe 18-20 hour) labor was expected. I got to the hospital when my contractions were getting closer but they were never five minutes apart. They went from more “occasional” to two minutes apart. When I got there, I was told that the doctor was called and was on her way. However, my expected 20 hours of labor turned out to be only nine hours long. When it came time for my daughter’s arrival, the doctor hadn’t arrived yet. The nurse had left the room and told my husband to call her when I felt the urge to push.

Well, as soon as she disappeared down the hall, I felt that urge only the nurse didn’t believe my husband when he told her. I reiterated my feelings with a bit more force than I had the first time and she came back in the room to find I was dilated and almost ready to go. Long story short, the doctor arrived JUST in time to do her part and catch my daughter on the way into the world.

For several years thereafter, I was certain I was pregnant several times only to find that I probably had a miscarriage. Five years after my daughter, I had a horrible miscarriage. I won’t go into the details here, but it was my only confirmed miscarriage and the details of that miscarriage were odd in ways I don’t want to go into in print.

When I was pregnant with my son, I began having similar symptoms as with my miscarriage and was ordered bed rest for several weeks. I prayed that this child would be born healthy. I was washing up one day looking into the mirror and noticed something different about what the doctors called a “birthmark” on my right cheek.

It originally made its appearance when I was pregnant with my daughter and was supposed to have disappeared after she was born, but it never did. The one on my left cheek was much smaller (I think because that child miscarried and it didn’t have enough time to grow larger as the pregnancy progressed). What hit me was that the one on the right was MUCH bigger than it had been before.

I felt God speak peace to me that day. I felt that the right side was the RIGHT side. The children whose mark was on the right side were to live and I had a peace come over me knowing that somehow this child would be okay.

My son was born more than nine years after my daughter. As a second time mom that far apart, I was told that my body wouldn’t remember what to do and it was more than likely that I would be in labor for about 20 hours. This time, though, we lived quite a ways from the hospital and in rush hour traffic that translated to my son almost being born on the freeway.

I got into my gown and the hospital bed just when he was about to make his arrival, but there was no available doctor in the entire hospital. Fortunately, nurses are amazing! He was born only halfway when labor just stopped. They found baby’s first poop all over his face, in his mouth and nose. This meant that, if he was born the rest of the way and began to take a breath, he would likely either be sickly all his life or could even die.

Nurses worked quickly to get all of it out of his mouth and nose before the Lord saw fit to have his other half delivered and he took his first breath. And he’s amazingly healthy to this day! He was the talk of the hospital on our way out as my entire labor with him was three hours and fifteen minutes!

Having two only-children is somewhat odd. I’d arrive with my daughter, nine, and my son, newborn, and people would automatically think that this was my child from a second marriage or that I had other children at home. When my daughter would hold him for me, she was met with stares and one particular woman who felt the need to chastise her for being an unwed mother! …She was NINE!

Another rather unusual parental discussion we made was about vaccinations. Our daughter was vaccinated because we didn’t feel we had enough information to decide not to do so at the time (though she didn’t have any booster shots). We did more research and felt strongly that we shouldn’t vaccinate our son. Talking about this subject usually requires a bit of explanation because of the next part of our childrens’ stories.

Both of our children are exceptionally bright. Our daughter learned to read quite young and used to read the dictionary for fun. Our son taught himself to read at the age of three using Jump Start Third Grade on the computer. While my daughter’s intelligence manifested as having different interests than most of her friends, my son’s intelligence was tempered with several sensory issues that we later found was due to a form of Autism that used to be called Asperger’s.

Another parental issue we dealt with was a direct result of the intelligence of our kids. We chose to homeschool my daughter after her 4th-grade year in a private school in order to better teach to her advanced educational needs. Later we found that our son’s educational needs included movement that wouldn’t work in a traditional classroom.

I have so many funny and poignant stories about our homeschooling experiences, but I would love to share a short story of a time when we lived in California and a cable guy came who didn’t believe homeschooling was legal or a real choice. His wife was a public school teacher and he began quizzing my daughter. He fired questions at her and she answered each one with ease and a tad of smugness until the third question or so when she fired back the answer to a math question that even he didn’t know the answer to!

My Testimony:
One last way in which my life is a bit odd is the way in which I came to the saving knowledge of Jesus. Mine is another long story, but here’s the reader’s digest version: I was born to Atheist parents of Jewish heritage, but I never believed there was no God. I married a nonpracticing Catholic and became a non-denominational Christian due, in part, to some Amway meetings and a Jehovah’s Witness that came to my door.

I always thought everyone had a Come to Jesus moment and that it happened like this: Bob was a drug addict and reached his lowest point when someone told him about Jesus. Light from heaven came down upon him, God spoke, and, in the blink of an eye: BAM! Bob’s life was changed! That’s the way it seemed to happen in the movies anyway.

I was more of a goody-two-shoes. I never did drugs, didn’t drink, didn’t skip school. I just always felt there was more to life. Even before I was told about Jesus, I always felt there was someone watching over me. I couldn’t really explain it and I never really told anyone, but I did ask everyone I knew what they believed about God and why.

One day Grace came to my door and asked me about life after this world. I was intrigued and she kept coming back. One day she asked me if she could come in and talk and I said sure. That went on for weeks or months until she asked me to come to her Kingdom Hall. I declined as some of what she believed made sense to me but other things didn’t.

As I began to share this with my husband, we decided to attend a Calvery Chappel church in our area that was pastored by Raul Reis, and, in a short time, both of us accepted Jesus as our personal Savoir.

Anyone else relate to my any of this? Any other unusual birth stories? Homeschool stories? Do you have an unusual Come to Jesus Moment? If you didn’t find something you related to so far, I have some more weirdities coming your way next week!

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Chronic Illness New Year’s Resolutions – Part 2

There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.” -Proverbs 19:21

While it can be difficult to make plans while struggling with chronic illness, I shared last week that these goals, or resolutions if you like, don’t need to be grandiose. Last time, I talked about health goals. This week, I’d like to share some ideas for business goals or resolutions if you prefer.

Part 2: Business
So many with chronic illness no longer have a job let alone a career. After all, pain and zero energy is a tough way to make a living. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t earn money. While it’s difficult to get to a job every day, it’s becoming more common for companies to allow employees to work from home. It’s also possible to make money by doing creative things at home due to a little discovery called the world wide web.

If you’ve had to leave a job you either loved or hated, you can make a resolution to find another way of earning a living or contributing to your household finances with any marketable skills and talents you may have. The first thing you’ll need to do is to take inventory of your skills, talents, and interests. What do you like to do? Is it something that you could sell on eBay, Amazon, or on your own website?

The first resolution you can make in 2020 is to discover what talent you have that you might be able to earn from. Next, make a date by which you’ll be done with your soul searching and information gathering. Then, take baby steps to bring that about.

Do you crochet? Sew? Craft? Paint? I’m a writer. I love to put words to story and I love it when what I write can move people. I can write any time I have the energy. I can do it online in my blog or put a book together which is one of my resolutions for 2020.

I know a woman who wrote instrumental songs that expressed how she felt about the Lord. She planned to put them all on a recording and offer the album for sale. I knew a few writers who make a decent living and some editors who do as well.

There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.” -Proverbs 19:21

What’s a talent that God gave you? How can you use it to make an extra income or a living? I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’ll be back next week to talk about the third area of our lives that we can plan for.

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Chronic Illness New Year’s Resolutions-Part 1

Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit[a] your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.” – Psalm 37:4-5

Everyone else is out there making big plans and calling them New Year’s Resolutions. I’m here just trying to see if this new medication is going to help me with one of my issues. But that’s okay because I’m not like everyone else. I have chronic illness.

Chronic issues make lots of things difficult. It’s hard enough to commit to attending a party because you never know how much energy you’ll have at that point or how much pain you’ll be in, but at this time of year, it’s especially hard to make plans for your future. That being said, if you look at it differently, you can do just that.

Who says New Year’s Resolutions need to be grandiose? There’s no law that says you’re a failure if you don’t invent time travel or discover a cure for cancer. You might notice that most “normal” people aren’t planning to rule the world. While you may not be able to plan for perfect health or wealth, you can plan to take a step toward a realistic goal or to something new you have wanted to try.

There are four aspects of our lives I’d like to talk about in this series and the first one is rather obvious for those of us with chronic illness: health.

Part 1: Health
The most common New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight…x number of pounds by such and such a date. At the time I’m writing this, I’d love to lose 50lbs! I’m a short woman (5′ Nuthin’) with small bones so the charts say I should weigh 100lbs. Now, before you all have time to think that this is unrealistic for any woman (even my height or lack thereof), I spent most of my adult life at 103lbs and was quite comfortable at that weight.

While I’d love to be even 103 pounds again, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the monumental task of losing that much weight since I’ve gained so much after menopause and haven’t been able to lose any in the three years post-hysterectomy. Most of the challenge in losing weight for those of us who are chronically ill is the fatigue. It’s hard enough to have the energy to take a shower much less to exercise enough to keep 50lbs off!

But I can resolve to walk a certain number of days per week. I might set a goal to lose 10 or 20 or 30 pounds. Baby steps. They say even if you travel at the rate of a turtle, you’re still moving forward. Moving forward in our goals is a BIG thing for us chronic illness warriors because it’s a much greater accomplishment than anything we ever did as a healthy person. It takes a lot more commitment and strength. Don’t ever discount small accomplishments! Those baby steps add up to giant leaps after a while.

Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit[a] your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.” – Psalm 37:4-5

Some goals can’t be cut in pieces. Some things need preliminary actions in order to come to pass. So, another way to go is to resolve to eat better, learn about any supplements that may help your chronic issues, or sleep better.

They say that it’s not really a goal until there is something tangible to measure and has a date by which you’ll accomplish it. However, that measure doesn’t have to be a number of pounds and that date doesn’t have to be when it’s all lost. It can simply be that you eat better this year or that you spend a few hours a week researching supplements that can help you.

What’s a health goal you’d like to set that you will resolve to work on in 2020? Leave a comment here with your thoughts. Next week, I’ll be back to discuss one of the other four areas of life that we can make a resolution to improve this year. I hope you join me!

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