If you don’t love yourself…

The EA Sports Complex Red Poker Room.

Image via Wikipedia

…how the hell you gonna love somebody else? Can I get an amen? ( – RuPaul, at the end of every Drag Race episode)

I think that quote is so true.

And it’s taken me a lotta years to come to grips with the fact that I absolutely HATED myself for a long time. A LONG TIME.

I hated who I was. I hated what I did. I hated who I was with. I hated what kind of parent I was to poor Short Stack.

That’s a lot of hate for one person. It eats you alive, consumes your whole being and causes everything around you to be coloured with a little bit of “WHY AM I DOING THIS??” And it’s probably the worst thing I can admit out loud….that I couldn’t stand my own self for most of my life.

And after a lot of work, a mini-fight with cancer, another baby and a SUPER SUPPORTIVE set of family and friends, I can honestly say I think I’m pretty awesome.

Now I just have to work on the outside to match the inside.

So here I continue on my journey to a healthier me. One that can wear jeans, and chase the kids and coach soccer and not have to take a nap halfway through the day because story time wiped me out.

SO! Goals for this week?

  1. Keep not smoking. (I fell down a couple of times on this one in the past few days, but I recognize my triggers and when I’m more susceptible to WANTING to smoke, and am carrying gum. Gum is my secret weapon.
  2. More water. (I would like to say I’ve rocked this one, but again, I fell down. I’m picking myself up and dusting myself off, and continuing with this one. 40oz today so far!)
  3. Less junk food. (I had McDonald’s on Thursday. It sucked. No more. I’ve been keeping away from junky foods and have been buying more fruits. Even started making myself a morning smoothie! WOOT)
  4. NEW - Move. (Even if it’s walking down the street to the mailbox and back, it’s movement. I have the EA Sports and a stationary bike, so 20 minutes daily of walking or exercise video or what have you is my goal.)

Mamavation question of the week:  How do you encourage your children to contribute to your family’s healthy lifestyle?

Chuck (at 16 months) is too tiny to contribute right now. But chasing after her and saving her from breaking the house is keeping me busy.

Short Stack (11yrs) is a little more helpful. He is not a big sweets fan (he just likes Reese’s Pieces and peppermint ice cream) so he’s keeping me honest when I see him. He’s the healthiest one out of anyone in our family – big fan of sports and loves to run around and has a “green smoothie” (with this powder, a banana and some milk) every morning.

So I guess Chuck keeps me moving and Short Stack keeps me on track nutritionally :) And I hope I can begin to inspire them to not spend a giant chunk of their lives sitting on the couch watching reality television.

This post is sponsored by Mamavation and I’m writing this to be entered into a giveaway.

Thank you for (not) Smoking.

"For MENTAL and PHYSICAL exercise... play...

Image by TheeErin via Flickr

So I joined a pretty awesome group of ladies. Super supportive and great cheerleaders, without being scary and perky and waving pompoms at you while you’re trying to wallow in your own self-pity.

And I’ve decided to start making small changes to make myself a healthier me. The healthiest me that I can be.

I am starting small because I have tried MANY MANY times before (anybody remember #tweightloss?) to make too many big changes at a time. And this time, I’m not in it for the quick weightloss. I don’t have a time limit on when I need to lose this weight by. (i.e. I need to lose weight by next week because I will be photographed and seen by a whole lot of people who saw me last year at this time when I weighed almost 40 pounds less.) I want a PERMANENT change!

SO! Small steps. This week, my small steps were:

  1. Smoke less.
  2. More water.
  3. Less junk food.

And with the small exception of yesterday, I stuck to it. I smoked two or less cigarettes a day (down from almost a whole pack.) I drank no less than 50 ounces of water per day. I cut back on my sodas. I only ate fast food once this week, and it tasted so weird that I don’t think I will be doing that again any time soon.

So for next week, I’ll add one or two more goals. And eventually, I will be able to drop the first one or two as “goals”, because they’ll have become habits.

And one small step at a time, I’ll become a healthier person.

On a semi-related note: I found this Grooveshark thing on someone else’s blog, and I like it. I like sharing music and I like hearing about other people’s favorites. So let me know what you think, and tell me if you’ve got someone I should be listening to :)

http://listen.grooveshark.com/widget.swf

Laying It All On The Table (Mamavation Monday)

happiness

Image via Wikipedia

I think “laying it all on the table” has something to do with poker.

Which has nothing to do with this post, but “My 6 Years Spent Standing On a Scale In Pursuit of Happiness” doesn’t really fit as a post title. But would be appropriate.

(as usual, since I don’t have any good visual aids, I am picking the photo that WordPress suggested that has the least to do with the subject matter. I like to keep y’all on your toes. Also, I am not a hairy man. Just so you know.)

Also, this is a super long post. Go to the bathroom first, grab a (healthy) snack and a drink. It’s gonna take a while.

I used to be anorexic.

There, I said it. It wasn’t that I thought I was fat (but I totally did, because I was teased a lot about having “junk in my trunk”), but I was so busy in high school (and my one year of college) that I didn’t have TIME to eat.

When I did, it was total crap. McDonald’s, chips, sodas, ice cream, whatever struck my fancy in the 15 minutes I would take to eat, that’s what would go in my face.

And unfortunately, that eating habit stuck.

I moved my body a lot back in the day; I was on the track team and I worked with the football team and I walked a lot and the weight would stay off because my “junk in the trunk” was not adhered to the couch.

Now it’s adhered to the couch.

After my son was born in 1999, I realized I had gained 100 pounds while I was pregnant with him. Nobody said anything to me about it, not even my doctor. I was a whale…went from 112 on my 20th birthday to 222 the day Short Stack was born (9 months later).

I was depressed. I didn’t know what to do, and I was afraid if I exercised incorrectly, I would injure my baby. I don’t know why I couldn’t get it together.

But I didn’t. And 100 pounds in 8 months is a lot to haul around.

So after he was born, I got back to moving my body. I would walk with him, play with him at the playground…I got out and got moving. Mostly to keep my brain from dwelling on the horrible breakup I had just gone through and the custody battle that ensued, but also because I couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror with that much extra weight.

So I avoided mirrors and purchasing new clothes at all costs. I dropped to 165 pounds.

A few years later after another pretty horrible breakup, I went back to the anorexic thing because it was comfortable (and cheaper), and I was tipping the scales at about 190. I wanted to stay out of the “2 bills” range because I couldn’t stand the idea of letting my recent ex know that I was falling apart.

And I started running.

After my son would go to bed, my roommate would watch him and I would run around our neighborhood until I couldn’t move. I wanted to punish myself for being who I was. I wanted to run away from what I had to deal with.

I would run until I threw up, and then I would run another mile.

I ran until I couldn’t figure out where I was anymore.

I ran until I stopped crying because I was so dehydrated.

It was not a healthy place for me.

Fast forward 3 more years and I’m in the middle of another terrible breakup (bad things come in threes, right?). I’m hovering around 170 because the most recent ex told me I wasn’t allowed to be heavier.

I switched to an all-vegan diet for almost a year after that. Was no need to run because I was working for the Evil Empire, who kept me so busy and running everywhere that I had no time to use the free gym membership that came from being a slave to the Empire an employee of the lovely company.

I just didn’t want to eat anything that reminded me of the abusive bullshit he had put me through. Which was pretty much anything that wasn’t green….so I ate all green.

I felt amazing. I felt like I was alive for the first time in my life and I didn’t have to sleep for 10 hours a day and wake up tired. I didn’t have to smoke. I didn’t feel like drinking. I stopped being a mess.

Eventually I got off the vegan diet (during massage school, it was hard to stay on it when I didn’t know when I was getting a break to eat…excuses, excuses.) and I started dating a man who didn’t suck.

Towards the end of my schooling, I started getting really sick. Every morning. And then certain smells started making me nauseous. And then I took a pregnancy test.

Pregnant with my second baby, I vowed to make it different this time. I wouldn’t gain another 100 pounds, because I COULD NOT afford to be over 300 pounds.

Then came the hyperemisis gravidarum. Translation: I literally spent the next 4 months not eating, or not being able to keep anything but Gatorade and a bit of pasta down.

I lost 35 pounds and my midwives worried I was going to lose the baby.

So they told me to eat.

And eat I did. I weighed 244 the day I walked into the hospital to have Chuck, and 247 carrying her out to the car the next morning.

I excercised my butt off after she was born. I got all the way down to 220 in 5 months. I was so proud of myself! I stuck to something for a long period of time, and within 3 weeks of giving birth to my precious hellion, I could fit in (AND BUTTON!) my pre-pregnancy jeans.

Then came this.

I kind of stood around for a week, staring. Not knowing what to do and being in a rather large case of limbo until that 2nd opinion came back.

CANCER.

Cancer is a big word. A big scary word. A word that requires a lot of testing, and a lot of “pelvic rest” (no sex, no strenuous exercise and no other stuff) and after 7 months of being cut into, and then recovering just in time to be cut into again, I am finally in the clear.

I got the heads up from my doctor on Friday that I can start light exercise, and by March 1st, I’ll be cleared for anything I want to do.

So I’m going to start small. And build on that. Because I know that works for me, and this time, I’m not f*cking around. I’m done being this size.

I haven’t worn jeans in…um….well, I think the very last time I wore jeans was to the “Cancer Announcement” appointment. I don’t even think I could FIT in those jeans anymore, and they were my fat jeans.

I’m bloody tired of wearing yoga pants. I have a whole closet-full of gorgeous clothes that I can’t wear.

So here’s my plan:

  1. Quit smoking. (I’m down to 4 a day. From a full pack a month ago. So I’m breathing so much easier.)
  2. More veggies.
  3. Less crap. (I’ve been keeping away from the fast food and myriad snacks the Overlord keeps around the house, and I’ve been cooking more!)

That’s my small plan for now, and for the last week, I’ve been kicking my plan’s butt. I’d like to say I’ve lost some weight, but I can’t lie…I gained a pound. (Here’s hoping it’s muscle!)

I’ve been through so many crazy weightloss periods (and weight gain periods) that I think I can really help the Sistahood. I can see when people are starting to deviate from their goals, and I like to encourage people to stick to them.

I would love to have a group of women like the awesome chicks on Mamavation (AND all of you blog readers and Twitter followers!) to support me in the same way!

Cheers :)

In Which I Go To the Hospital. 3 Times.

Looney Tunes

Image via Wikipedia

WARNING: This entire post is pretty much TMI. I usually don’t talk about bodily functions (my momma taught me that wasn’t ladylike and for some reason it stuck) but I figured I would make an exception to tell you guys how it goes to have surgery. For me, at least.

For those of you just joining us, Here’s the Cliff Notes:

  • I have cervical cancer. (This, Stage III to be specific. Carcinoma In Situ, I believe the technical term is.)
  • It sucks.
  • I’m just about done with people camping out in my nether regions and making hemming and hawing noises and then giving me bad news.
  • I had one of these on February 1st, and have been informed that I will no longer need to have a hysterectomy, as the biopsy results came back with clean edges. (Translation: all the bad crap is gone.)

The morning of the procedure, I was the tiny dog in the old Looney Tunes commercials, hopping around Chef as he slowly got ready. I had had approximately 3 hours of fitful sleep in our lovely SCCA housing room, as I was battling the tail end of a cold and was super worried I was going to die because they told me the day before in our pre-op appointments that a cough was really bad and I could go into bronchospasms and that would be bad and I usually have all of the bad stuff they describe in the medical journals happen to me.

Plus a dead dismembered bird fell out of the sky on our car the day before surgery and I was pretty sure that was a bad omen.

So I finally get all of our stuff out of the room (hi, chronic over-packer here! Packed a full duffle bag for an overnight for two people!) and into the car and we show up an hour early for my surgery.

So I have plenty of time to talk myself into hysterics that I am going to die and the last thing I had said to my mom may or may not have been rude.

Aside: Chef deserves a party, a parade, the key to the city and possibly his own holiday for putting up with me during this.

So when they finally roll me back into the pre-op rooms, I am in a full-blown panic. Chef’s eyes are permanently stuck up in his skull from rolling them at me for a full hour and I’m pretty sure everyone thinks we’re total freaks because I’m hysterically crying and hyperventilating.

Awesome way to start out.

Luckily, my gyn-oncologist is one of the more patient and amazing people on the planet, and came in within 5 minutes of me getting settled into a bed and told me that they would give me Valium. (They never actually gave me any, unless that came after the mind-erasing drugs.)

After she left came a parade of nurses (one of them was a former roller derby girl!) and 3 anesthesiologists (2 residents and a doctor? It’s a teaching hospital. I had a lot of 12 year olds peeking at my lady parts. Awesome.) and the only part I really remember before we got into the OR was that my drug doctor knew my BFF (they went to school together) and it took SIX STABS to get a freaking IV in.

Also, I would shut up, so they gave me Versed and also I had a spinal block so I wouldn’t go into bronchospasms and die.

Versed is quite lovely. I apparently talked all the way through my surgery, which made my gyn-onc laugh pretty hard.

So after the surgery, Chef and I got to sit around in the post-op area (a bunch of curtained-off rooms) to wait for my spinal to wear off so I could pee and go home. (Those were my word-for-word instructions. Walk, then pee, then we can leave.)

We sat there for SIX HOURS.

I couldn’t have my cell phone in our tiny curtained prison, and Chef had only brought the one book…but at least he could walk out and go get food or play on the computer.

Six hours. And three attempts, one where I took out my tiny nurse who thought I was “not that big”. (Honey, I’m 100 pounds overweight. I’m “that big”.)

So after I wobbled my way to the restroom and did my business, they wheeled my happy butt out to the car for our 2+ hour drive home. I vaguely recall asking Chef to stop at a rest stop so I could stretch my legs and I fell over, but I slept most of the way home.

I was fine (read: stoned on painkillers) for three days, and then I decided to be macho and wean myself off the pills. I even drove myself (PERFECTLY SOBER) to deliver a cake to a friend’s birthday party in Seattle (90 minutes away) while trying to breathe through the pain (and stopping to throw up every 15 minutes).

I am not smart sometimes.

So Wednesday of last week, I had gotten to the point that the painkillers weren’t working. I was lying on the floor in the bathroom, dry heaving on Wednesday morning and Chef crouched down next to me, looked me in the eye and just said “Really?”

So someone (I can’t honestly remember who) drove me to the hospital and they decided that my bleeding (sorry, TMI) was their primary concern. They gave me some Dilaudid, a prescription for more painkillers, and said “Call your gynocologist in the morning”.

So they totally didn’t listen.

The Dialudid helped. Until about 10am the next morning, when I accidentally (read: on purpose, because I am an idiot) skipped a painkiller. And the pain came back and all I could do is speak in beeps, because I’m censoring myself in front of Chuck and try not to curse because I don’t want her doing what Short Stack did and saying “Fuck” in church at the age of 2.

Anyway.

So trip #3 to the hospital. 22 needle sticks later (including one in my THUMB for an IV…you’re welcome for that visual..and one in my NECK for a blood draw), 4 shots of Dilaudid later and one very impatient doctor, who I may/may not have informed I would beat him into submission with the watch he kept checking while I was talking, they finally figured it out.

The headache I assumed was caused by a 4 hour wait (in excruciating pain, not wholly unlike childbirth, except constant, not in waves like contractions) on the hard chairs in the ER waiting room….was actually the key.

I had a spinal fluid leak.

So they pulled some blood from my neck (the only place left they could find a vein) and jabbed it in my back (where the fluid was leaking from the spinal block they gave me for the original surgery) and voila! Less pain.

A LOT less pain. HOORAY!

Then I burned my hand on Valentine’s Day, but that’s a story for another time.

All images, ideas and text here is property of Mia Cupcake/Bruises in the Frosting, unless otherwise noted. Please do not copy without express permission from blog author.
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