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Sunday, August 31, 2014

So it's been a year. In some ways it seems that it can't possibly have been that long but mostly it just seems like it has to have been longer. Not in a bad way... in a "this is just how I live and completely normal" kinda way. I can't imagine not eating this way. Yesterday my 18 year old, Harmoni, saw some horrible food advertised on tv and said, "I sometimes wonder why we ever wanted to start eating like that to begin with. Now it feels like I should have always wanted to just surround myself with fruit and salad and juice. Why would I NOT?!" Made me a proud and happy mom, I'll tell you that. (You should hear her go OFF when pharmaceutical commercials come on. LOL)

So on my one year anniversary I completed a 5K with my gorgeous and amazing oldest daughter, Bonni. It was literally surreal. This was me, Natalie, at a 5K in the late August heat! I won't go all into just how sick and in pain I was one year ago, I described that pretty thoroughly in my early posts. We all know I was headed for a wheelchair and an amputation and not long for the world the way I was headed last year. This post is my victory song. This post is about JOY. But standing there in the heat, waiting in line for my packet for about 2 hours, the old Natalie couldn't have even been outside on a day like that much less on my feet the whole time. A year ago my main focus when out in public was to remain as invisible as possible. I didn't want to subject anyone to noticing me any more than necessary. As you can see, that doesn't exactly describe me now;)

The little glow tubes we made our glasses and necklaces out of came in our packets but they were duds. No glowing:( So I bought the dreads and the bracelet and got my face painted. We then had another hour to wait in 95 degree heat in a big park for them to start lining people up for the start of the race. So we go looking for someplace to get some water. Well, no luck. They only sold beer. At the 5K. In AUGUST. No joke. I am thinking of writing to them about that because that is dangerous. Most of us brought a bottle of water but only one. We assumed water would be available at a 5K! That is not only foolish but dangerous. Thankfully I am very conscientious about staying well hydrated. The only water available that entire hot afternoon and evening (nearly 5 hours altogether) was one 12 oz bottle at the halfway point and one at the finish line. And many people stayed for the after party as well so even longer for them with, I'm sure, plenty of beer:/ But enough griping about that. Once it got dark, they lined everyone up at the starting gate and boy were there a LOT of people! They had people start in waves and since I'm pretty slow compared to most of these youngsters, we joined the last wave - wave 6. So that means we stood in line for another half hour. LOL In my old life I was extremely claustrophobic and a bit agoraphobic and really, really needed my personal space. I couldn't stand to be in big crowds; couldn't stand to be bumped and jostled. I would have full blown panic attacks. But there I stood in the middle of the road with hundreds of people crowding up to the starting line and all I could do was thank God for bringing me there. For allowing me to fulfill the dream that began a couple of years ago when my Bonni took up running and, one day after watching the Biggest Loser, she said to me, "Wouldn't it be cool if we could do one together some day?" Inwardly I wept because I fully believed that it would never be possible. I knew how rapidly I was declining but I hadn't told my children. It would become obvious to them soon enough. But my God wasn't done with me yet. And when he placed the way before me, I took it without hesitation and guess what...

There you have it. My celebration of my rebirth. My declaration to the world that I am back. That August day in 2013 when Fat Sick and Nearly Dead popped up on my suggestions in Netflix, I knew immediately that everything was about to change. I NEVER EVER took pictures of myself. But I took one that day. I had my kids help me out to the yard and I took a picture. I knew I would need the proof one day of how far I had come. I knew I would need to remind myself from time to time of just how bad off I was. I usually didn't write doom and gloom in my journal but I had written very openly of my despair just the week before. God knew I would need to remember just how far I had sunk into that despair. The way was prepared before me in so many big and small ways. It is really amazing to look back on.

I still have a long way to go. Anyone want to put money on how far I will go by next August? I'll be riding horses again on a regular basis I can promise you that. I'll be completing more 5Ks with and even without my daughter and this time I will run them the whole way. Me with the tore up, bone-on-bone knees and the leg with damaged circulation that would need to be amputated and TWO crippling bone diseases in my back WILL be running 5K. Running is actually starting to feel good to me now so I know I'll get there. I feel like I have probably lost about half the weight I will eventually need to but I know that as long as I keep my tunnel vision locked on my health that the weight will take care of itself. Over the past few months there have been periods where I maintained my weight loss for a while and then got into "reboot mode" and lost some more and then maintained for a while again. How fantastic and liberating to know that I have the tools I need to do both. To lose and to maintain.

I knew I would need to put together a new progress picture when I hit one year. My last one was done at about 9 months I believe. I was a bit worried I would feel let down as would my friends and family since I haven't lost all that much weight in the last 3 months. I don't know exactly how much since my scale quit working and I'm not going to replace it for a while. I need to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak, and focus on health and joy instead of numbers on a scale. But I dutifully went into the bathroom to take my progress picture. As I was taking it I thought, "I should probably change into some nice tight jeans to hold that gut in.... except my jeans are all baggy so I'd have to borrow some from my daughter, Gini. ... Oh ugh that double chin is just never going to go away... Wow my hair has gotten long!" And then I looked at the picture. I pulled up the picture next to that one I took last year and I wept. I look like me again. I am excited about losing more weight, sure. Big time! But I really have to stop under-valuing what I have already done. A few observations... my hair has NEVER grown very fast. I couldn't believe how much it had grown in that year. And because of hypothyroidism, I didn't have any outer eyebrows at all and now they are coming back! And best of all... sorry if this is TMI, my boobs stick out further than my gut again! Been a long while for that!! LOL

So even though I had intended for that to be a test run and I would fix my hair and put on cuter clothes and then take the one I would share with people, I just used that one. It's real. It's me. And for today I'm 100% happy with that. Now bring on year number 2! Life is good on da juice!!!
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