Tag Archives: weight loss

Five Years And A Thousand Words

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My own personal D-Day…

Today, June 6, 2017, is the 5th anniversary of my weight loss surgery.  I kept a blog chronicling my journey from the initial consultation with my surgeon on October 25, 2011, through the 2-year anniversary of the surgery itself, writing the final post on June 6, 2014.  Those stories, trials and tribulations still live in Cyberspace at:

http://www.incredibleshrinkingdiva.blogspot.com

I hope people still stumble across that blog and gain some insight, inspiration, information and humor from it.  For numerous reasons, I did not include photographs in that blog.  It just was not part of the journey I felt like sharing at the time.  However, I admit there is truth in the adage that, “a picture is worth a thousand words”.  So on this, my 5-year-Surg-I-Versary, I am posting some before-and-after pictures…with some caveats.

I have bounced back from my lowest weight, more than I would like.  And I am working on shaving some of those pounds away.  It is a lifelong journey and my weight will always be something of a struggle.  That is all part and parcel of this process.  Even with my bounceback, I am profoundly grateful that I am not where I started.  I am stronger and healthier than before surgery and I am free from the hip and ankle pain that drove me to pursue surgical intervention after having exhausted every other means available to me.  Weight loss surgery is a true last resort and should only be considered when all other measures have failed.  Knowing all that I know now, I would make the same decision.  For me, it was what I needed, when I needed it.

So, here are some pictures.

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With my longtime friend Mary K. Briggs, April 2010 and March 2017

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With my husband, Sweet Pea aka Jeff Cutshaw, August 2010 and April 2016

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With friend and singing partner Marc Hampton, November 2011 and April 2017

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With mentor in music and weight loss Eric Thorson, November 2010 and December 2017

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With Delta Omicron sisters and friends Allison Hendrix and Ann Jones, July 2009 and July 2015

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Me.  Just plain old me.  July 2009 and April 2017.

I’m not where I want to be, but thanks be to God, I’m not where I used to be.  Life is good and I’m healthy.  I am blessed and greatly loved.  I am thankful.

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My Hundred Pound Present

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A reminder of the miracles of weight loss…

For anyone who may not be aware, I underwent weight loss surgery on June 6, 2012.  The process for this was a long and arduous one, filled with moments of both humility and humiliation.  As I wrote elsewhere, the hardest part of the whole thing was making the decision to do it, because I had to “suck it up and get humble for a minute”.  Admitting that I needed help was a difficult thing, but, as most weight loss surgery patients will agree, it really was my last resort.  After battling my weight for decades and finally deciding one last time to begin exercising and eating more wisely, I started that process only to lose 9 pounds before getting stuck and then injuring my “good” ankle (the “bad” one having been broken years before and then surgically reassembled).  Weight bearing exercise was impossible and I realized I needed a drastic intervention to help me reclaim my health.

Surgery prep happened during the same period I was completing an extended unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at our local teaching hospital.  The timing was totally a God thing, and I am convinced that each effort enhanced the other.  My unit of CPE placed me in a peer group of strangers who poured unconditional acceptance and support into me throughout both my hospital experience and the concurrent surgery preparation, becoming treasured friends and chosen family by unit’s end.

My hundredth pound came off on January 6, 2013, which in the church calendar is Epiphany.  That’s one sure way I’ll always remember the date, because it was an epiphany indeed!  It was also my 7-month surg-i-versary.  More pounds came off in the months that followed, and I was grateful for every one of them.  I still am, even though I have experienced some “bounce-back”, as many weight loss patients do.  I am working to get the pounds I want rid of to go away once more.  It’ll be a lifelong process, as will blood tests for nutrient levels and tweaking my nutrition.  I knew going in that these things would be part of The New Normal.

I decided I wanted to treat myself to a Hundred Pound present, to commemorate my journey and to have a tangible reminder of God’s faithfulness along the way.  So the search began for my chosen symbol, a small diamond cross pendant.  I knew what I wanted, and as a lifelong jewelry horse, I was a pretty savvy shopper.  It took a while to find just the right thing…but, like losing that hundredth pound, it was worth waiting for.

The thing is, I’ve never been one to wear a cross.  For a long time, I just couldn’t bring myself to wear the symbol of crucifixion.  I realized over the years, though, that the cross is a symbol of faith, hope and new life, not just a picture of Christ’s torture and death.  What better symbol could I choose to remind me of my own hope and new life than that?  And what possible symbol could be a better reminder of God’s constant companionship, comfort and help along the way as I adjusted to The New Normal?  What better reminder of second chances and redemption?

Because, for me, the weight loss journey has been very much a spiritual odyssey.  There has been a lot of prayer, especially during those early days after surgery, when my recovery took longer and involved a lot more pain than I had anticipated.  There have been many long nights of the soul when I cried and leaned into God because I had come to the end of myself.  And as I have experienced bounce-back and regained a few of the pounds I had lost, there is renewed prayer that God will help me minute by minute to make wise choices, and that He will comfort the hurting places that I want to feed with unhealthy foods.

I wear my cross often, usually paired with a diamond heart that Sweet Pea gave me for our 15th wedding anniversary.  My fingers find their way to my charms throughout the day, touching them and remembering the love, comfort and hope they represent.  Thanks be to God for second chances!

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Good Days

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The blessings of being refreshed…

Yesterday was an epically great day.  It was fabtacular!  It was, in fact, blogworthy, for several reasons.  So I want to share my day with anyone who might happen to read this post.

The day started with a simple pleasure, a sweet-smelling bubble bath.  I had won an eBay auction on some shower gel in a favorite scent that has been discontinued, and my bottle of aromatherapy had arrived in the mail on Monday.  My nose, skin and mood were pampered by this simple indulgence, so the day started off great and only got better.

Yesterday was also the much-anticipated day of the Alton Brown Edible Inevitable concert tour stop in Knoxville at The Historic Tennessee Theatre.  I looked forward to this for months.  Not only did he do his show, he announced a “flash signing” at the venue in the afternoon.  I was able to go, get him to sign my Granddad’s antique butcher’s apron and have a photo made and a chat.  He seems to be a genuinely nice guy.

I am a huge fan of Alton Brown, Food Network fixture, creator of the program “Good Eats”, chef, author, food scientist, TV show host and Peabody Award winner.  He also plays guitar and is quite the comedian.  His live shows have received great buzz on social media with good reason.  They are hilarious!

The tickets went on sale the day after my chorus and I arrived in New York City last June for our Carnegie Hall performance, which I wrote about in previous posts.  At breakfast in the diner before our first rehearsal, I was freaking out and melting down because I was unable either by phone or on the Web to get through to any site or venue to purchase show tickets.  A flurry of texts and e-mails to Sweet Pea followed, and with some effort, he was able to procure tickets, FINALLY.  So I was able to relax and enjoy the rest of the New York trip and focus on the music and memories being made there, while anticipating the Alton Brown show coming in the fall.

I had met Mr. Brown 4 years ago when he was on-site at work for that year’s United Way kickoff.  I still can’t believe that whoever planned the event managed to keep it quiet until he was actually on the premises.  I had the chance to meet him and chat, and have a photo with him.  The one I am sharing here is from my boss’s Blackberry.

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Ensuing years brought, among other things, weight loss surgery for me, as well as lots of other changes, including menopause, deaths of loved ones and hitting the big 5-0.  So I approached yesterday’s photo-ops with gratitude, and a little trepidation because looking older is not a prospect that brings me joy.  Fortunately, I think the pictures turned out all right.  (Believe me, I’d never share them otherwise!)

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It was also manicure and haircut day.  Again, simple indulgences that can do wonders for a girl’s mood, self-esteem and sense of well-being.  My friend, “Queen” Elizabeth, introduced me to the place I now go to get my nails done, and as it happened, yesterday she had an appointment scheduled not long after mine.  So visiting with her was an unexpected treat as we both had our hands transformed by the experts at the nail salon.  Elizabeth is a source of wonderful positive reinforcement and a bubbly friend, a joy to be around.  Seeing her yesterday was a sweet surprise.

From there it was haircut time with Brianna, who always gives me cute hair and makes me feel good about myself.  I think a good hair person is as important as a good doctor, and for many of the same reasons.  They fix a problem and make me feel better.

After the haircut I had a little time before the show, so I was able to go by Lola’s and check on the house.  I’ve been going by there about once a week just to make sure things are OK.  When I got out of my car, I saw a small downy feather floating down across her front yard just a few yards away from me.  I was rooted to the spot as I watched its slow-motion descent to the ground instead of chasing it.  Once it landed and I was able to snap out of my haze, I did try to find the feather on the ground, but I wasn’t able to.  I think it might have been Lola’s way of letting me know she was with me, because I felt her presence as I watched that feather floating through the air.

From there I went to Pizza Palace for spaghetti and a t-shirt (the shirt is something I’ve been trying to get for almost 2 years and has eluded me for whatever reasons!) I picked up one for me and one to take to Alton Brown as a souvenir of his stop in Knoxville.  He seemed happy to receive it and asked me where his pizza was!

The show was hilarious and I laughed until my face and throat were sore.  Today I’ve been able to rest and enjoy a quiet day snuggling with Our Boy Roy, listening to gentle rain and reading.  In the mail today I received a wonderful surprise, a “mailable hug” from my talented friend Katie Jo.  She has started a campaign of sharing hugs via the mail and social media.  I am sharing my hug here and in every other way I can.

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Share this hug with everyone you know.

#thehugproject

#spreadhugsnothate

I told Sweet Pea last night that I almost felt guilty for having such a great day and enjoying it so much. He looked at me and said, “You’ve been through some @#$%.  You deserve a great day.”

I think we ALL deserve a great day.