Monday, October 26, 2009

Five Years Ago Tonight

First an apology as this is going to be LONG.

At almost exactly this time 5 years ago tonight, I was sitting in Applebee's in Lawrenceville enjoying dinner with my family. I remember the booth and what I was eating. I was headed to a meeting at church, where I was to make a presentation about volunteerism in the church as it related to our annual Stewardship campaign. My cell phone rings and it is my sister. My heart stopped a beat as I instinctively knew why she was calling.

"You need to come to Augusta. Mama is in liver failure. Actually, everything is shutting down and she might not make it through the night."

I leave the restaurant to talk to her. "I'm headed to a meeting," I say. I can't believe I said those words, but I did. She said, "We need you to come tonight." I said I would, but needed to run home for a few things and I'd call her once I was on the road.

I head to the church to see the pastor and tell him why I can't stay - he understands. His father had died just 6 weeks before.

Usually, I play music on these drives. Not that night - that would just be too painful. Plus I don't feel well and have a cold. I pray the whole drive, "please don't leave before I get there." It felt surreal. It still does.

The whole year had been unreal for us. I had been very sick - diagnosed with the same chronic illness that my mother had neglected. The neglect turned her into a diabetic heart patient, wheelchair bound and in chronic pain and depressed. She had become unrecognizable as the lovable, fun, laughing, singing mother I once had. She was never a really easy person to live with - and now I know why - it was that blasted illness she ignored. Through a series of unfortunate events, the house my parents lived in was forclosed on as their landlord quit paying his mortgage, despite the fact they continued to pay their rent.

A rapid purchase of a house, an infection in a leg that would not heal, an amputation which was too late, and ultimately her death happened in a matter of months. The infection had been many months in the making.

When I got to the hospital after visiting hours, I found a warm welcome from a nurse who had been told I was coming. She had moved an extra sofa bed into Mama's room so my sister and I could stay. The doctor had approved us staying with her in her final hours. Natalie and I stayed up through the night when we found a M.A.S.H. marathon on the TV. It seemed appropriate. We used to watch M.A.S.H. with Mama as well as many old shows in the middle of the night. Mama never slept well.

We talked to her and told her it was okay to go, that her mama (my Big Mama) and brother and sister and daddy were waiting on her. She shook her head "no." I thought surely it was involuntary, but apparently she was still aware enough to respond to us. The next day her college roommate visited and held her hand and told stories on her - she also responded to those. I was amazed at her resolve to do this on her own terms. Probably the most stubborn person I've ever met.

During the day she began lifting both arms and then they would fall down. She had not been able to lift her arms in weeks, she was so weak. We made a connection - when music played, she lifted her arms. She directed choirs for most of her adult life - maybe she was directing? We won't know until we get to heaven I guess.

I got a hotel room across the street and decided to stay over there some during the day. On October 28th, we decided we all needed to leave the hospital and maybe that would help her relax about leaving us. So, after lunch, we came back and my cousin was there, singing hymns to her. Her arms were raising and dropping.

I was so tired. The nurse did a pulse-ox on her and showed me alone that it showed 0%. I knew exactly what it meant and went to the hall to get my Daddy. "Daddy, it's time." We gathered around her bed and watched her take her final breath. It was one of the most peaceful events I had ever witnessed. If you knew my mother, you would know she was NOT a peaceful person. Again, it was surreal. We began making calls and my sister and I went to the funeral home to make some decisions. Daddy & I had already gone and picked her urn for her cremains. He wanted one big enough to hold his as well, so we did that.

After a dinner of fried flounder (Mama's favorite) I went back to the hotel to try to sleep. I was amazed to be able to sleep at all, but God provided rest. The next day I was packing, getting ready to head to Vidalia, pondering all that had happened. I was remembering how unhappy she had been for about 5 years. She rarely laughed, had little sense of humor and never sang anymore. I wondered what she was doing, and then I heard laughter. HER LAUGHTER. I ran to the door and saw no one. In fact, the only car I saw was my own. I thanked the Lord for giving me a glimpse into what she was doing. I know she was and is filled with joy at being with her Savior and with her family.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this post, but my mother was the person in my life who had the most influence on me. Some was positive. Some was negative. But it all helped shape me. There are times when I get really angry at her because some of the negative is so hard to get over, but God has helped me to learn from her mistakes. Now, I make my own mistakes, but He's still working on those, too.

I'm not sure who reads my blog anymore - I write so seldom. But if you stuck through this, thank you. There's more to come over the next few days and weeks.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

FIFTY ONE!!!!!!!

Wow. After 55 weeks on weight watchers, I have lost 51 pounds. I still 30+ to go, but that decision will be made as I approach that goal. It has been one of the best and hardest things I have ever done.

It is good for me to go back and look at old pictures and see where I was. I am not happy with that woman I see from a year ago. I loved her and she was mostly happy. But she was not healthy and not being disciplined and self-controlled. But I do not dwell on that time. It is time to continue moving forward on this journey towards health. I still have a LOT to learn. I can do more for myself, but it is taking baby steps.

On another note, also health related, I'm not feeling so great.
The manufacturer of one of my thyroid meds changed the formulation by changing the fillers and thousands of patients on this thyroid medicine are becoming ill again. Fortunately, I am on two medications for my thyroid, so I don't have such severe effects, but this is the medication that completes the package for me and helps me focus mentally and gives me energy. I knew I needed a tweaking back in the spring and early summer because my voice is giving me problems, but then I got some of the "new" medicine and then crashed. Then got wired. Now I'm heading towards another crash.

What gets me is that this medication was reformulated and the manufacturer told NO ONE. It took patients calling and complaining for them to say, Oh, we just changed the composition of the fillers. Well, freaking yay. Look Mr. Manufacturer your brilliant decision is making people sick. Fiber and this med don't mix and messes with the absorption of it... they DOUBLED the cellulose. Yup. Fiber. GRRRR.

Okay I'm going to post a gratuitous after 51 pound picture now. Thanks for letting me vent and supporting me on this journey.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Post campmeeting thoughts

I love campmeeting - outdoor church with the church family and dynamic speaking and inspiring music. I love it.

I love campmeeting food - fried chicken and corn pudding and cake and cookies and brownies and and and... But I didn't eat any of that. I had lean meat, green beans, salad, some great shredded zucchini with spinach thingie (oh so yummy) and the occasional brownie and ice cream (thanks Robin). Oh and I still lost 0.4 pounds :)

It was proof to me that one bite of things like corn pudding and hash brown casserole are enough for me to feel like I've had campmeeting food. Proof to me that I have learned how to eat healthy. Proof to me that God has given me more strength than I thought I had.

I still haven't reach my elusive 50 pounds lost. Only 2.2 pounds to go for that and then another 30 or so after that. I readjusted my loss time line and I'm really okay with it. It took me well over 2 years to gain all this week, so I believe getting to goal in 2 years is pretty wonderful. The fact is this: I am more healthy now than I have been in the last 10 years. My 16 year old daughter is proud of me - how awesome is that! My husband is proud of me - even more awesome. My 13 year old son is clueless .... HAHAHA. I'd like to think my Mama is applauding me in heaven and that I have inspired someone to care about their own health.

In 2 weeks I will celebrate (yes, celebrate) a year on this journey. I don't know how I will celebrate but I know it will include a manicure, no cake, and probably something delicious made with spinach :)

Life is good. I am blessed.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What you've all been waiting for...

Now that I have your attention, I don't really have anything!!

Weight Watcher is going well and I have switched to the Simply Filling Technique, where I do not count points but focus on my satisfaction when I eat. Certain foods I do not have to count points for if they are fruits, veggies, lean protein and healthy oils. It is a very clean way to eat, with no processed foods, and I've been doing this for 2 weeks and it hasn't been hard.

I think I really needed to just shake things up a little.

My last picture was when I lost 45 pounds, and I haven't lost significantly more than that, but when I hit 50 I promise more pictures. I am anxious to be "finished" but I will never be able to go back to the way I used to be and eat. I would gain every pound back and more and I want so much to be healthy forever and to be the first generation to avoid the diabetes curse.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


So I haven't posted in a heap long time. Sorry bout that.

Well, I'm continuing to be a loser... although a smaller loser... but losing still.
As of last Saturday it was 45 pounds, hopefully this Saturday will show more for me.

DH and I took a little trip to NC during Spring Break and I've got a couple of head shots. You can really see the loss in my face now. I look quite different.

Well I hope you enjoyed this edition of "Sarah is shrinking."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Half way done...

I saw a former student on Thursday who almost didn't recognize me. That was so cool. Down 42.8 pounds... I'm going through clothes like crazy. And loving the shopping thing.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

This is no secret... so shout it loud

I have lost 42 pounds since August! I have 43 more to go, so I'm almost half way done.

I'm adding the picture to my slide show that you can find in the margin here but I thought I'd do a little before and after...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Be Careful What You Pray For

You may just get it.

I prayed for a challenge musically... and I got it yesterday. Out of my comfort zone and I think out of my musical range (note - I didn't say vocal). I've got my work cut out for me.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I've spent my day off being utterly lazy but reading the blogs of people on the same journey I am on - namely weight loss.

Some of them are pretty depressing, actually. But our stories aren't so different. Some of us have a genetic predisposition for gaining weight, having inherited sorry metabolisms from our grandmothers and mothers - hello, diabetes? You are NOT invited to my house. Thanks, and buh-bye.

But also connected to our stories is how we have perpetuated our own demise, weight-wise, by continuing the bad habits taught to us by our fore-mothers. Interesting that fathers never come up in these stories? The only food I ever connect with my Daddy was his overly burnt barbeque chicken he always made. I thought it was mighty tasty but definitely not the comfort food my maternal grandmother (a diabetic) made. Oh how I miss her chicken and dumplings. And her, too. I miss her. But I digress.

There is also a turning point (hence the name of this blog) where we truly see ourselves in our completely unhealthy lives and know something has to give. I have been praying to lose weight for years. Then I got sick - with a metabolic chronic illness and gained even more weight. 35 pounds over the course of almost 4 years. You know what? At least 20 of those I put on myself through my own stupidity. Then my prayers changed - "heal me" what ever form that is and a transformation began.

First it began in my heart. I developed compassion for those with chronic illness, including my diabetic mother. To understand her, I needed to walk her path (or at least part of it).

I learned what real, unabating pain was like. It goes beneath the physical into your emotions, into your soul.

Then I began completely trusting God for my healing. Yes, I still take my medication and see the chiropractor for my pain, because He provided those for me so I can live a complete and whole life. BAM! Blessings began to pour out on my head. And I continued to gain weight.

When I became obvious that this was the last part of my healing - I prayed once again. Show me the way and I can't do this by myself. On that day, after much overindulgence, I marched myself to this laptop and signed up for Weight Watchers online. No meetings! I can do it in the comfort of my own home and on my own scale. So for 5 1/2 months I have been following this lifestyle.

Lifestyle, you say? Yes. This is not a diet. This is a live-it. I will need to live like this the rest of my life. And I am so happy to do it. I had to accept that when I get to my goal I will need to modify this live-it to maintain my weight, but I can never go back to the way I was. Why not? Because it was killing me. God made me for a higher purpose than that. My husband deserves it. My kids deserve it. And I deserve it.

My daily prayer? "Lord Jesus I need you today to help me make the right choices." It goes beyond food. But food is part of it. With His help, I will make it and I will honor Him while I do it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Finally made it to 35 pounds off!!

23 weeks ago this was me

This is me now

Okay so let me apologize in advance for the au naturale appearance of my face. I'm having a lazy day and didn't want to fool with much makeup. :)

Today I reached a mini-goal of sorts. This is where the last 50 pounds and the hardest part of this battle begins. I cannot remember the last time I was at this weight - I've got to believe that it is somewhere around 8 years. I know that is has been more than five.

But I feel good and I am happy and I know that I am honoring God with the way I am treating my body. And being down 35 pounds definitely doesn't hurt!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Not 35 pounds yet... but very soon.

I'll be posting pictures when I get there in my fat pants and then in a new outfit.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bad Little Blogger :)

That's me.
So no update in a while but I've got a very good excuse.
Well, actually I don't... haha

Still doing the weight watchers thing. Honestly, the holidays were very difficult to stay on top of and I did manage to escape relatively unscathed. I don't have any new pictures right now because I don't look much different that I did before.

I think when I hit 35 pounds, which I'm pretty close to, I'll do it then. I'm glad to be back in the school routine because it really helps. It also helps that my DH bought me a small frig and microwave for my classroom and I can keep good stuff in it for meals and snacks. Isn't he THE BEST??

The new year brings a new perspective for me. I am healthier. I am happier. I am beginning to enjoy what I see in the mirror - but I still have a long way to go. But at least I am going.