Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Time Marches On...Are You Marching or Standing Still?

This is a blog post I wrote for my weight loss blog, Bloggin The Bugg. However, I have decided to cross post this on this blog, as it's not just a story about weight loss, but about life. I hope you enjoy.....

A year ago I was, quite frankly, a mess. I was a complete wreck...physically and emotionally. Everything came to a head one night after hitting the wine trail with some friends. A great old friend...had come along as my "date". After departing the drunk bus, we headed to McDonald's for some grub before heading home. She was staying the night to avoid the drive home, so we knew we'd have some good "girlfriend gab" time. It was just what I needed.

See, I think you have some friends that are surface friends. They see what's on the surface and don't dig any deeper. If you say you're fine...then you're fine and everyone moves on. Then there are those "below the surface" friends. Those are the ones that hear "I'm a friggin mess" when you say "I'm fine" and they DIG...they dig deep baby, 'cause that's the kind of friend they are, and they WANT to help.

Debbie is a "below the surface" friend. We've seen each other through job changes, births, marriage troubles, family troubles, death, and just about any other miserable thing one can endure. Let me say...for the record...Debbie isn't my only "below the surface" friend. I am blessed to have several. But, she was there that night, and she did the digging that led to my return to life.

We started talking about the past 8-9 months. So much had happened in my life...Schuyler (my nephew) was killed in Mom died unexpectedly...physically I was a mess on a whole other level. My weight had increased to probably the highest it had ever been. I was severaly depressed but hadn't admitted it to myself. But Debbie asked...she asked how I was.

"Fine...doing ok."

"No, are you DOING?" (this is digging deeper)

I thought about that and ended up breaking down completely. I lost it. I was not fine and it was time to face that.

Debbie and I talked at length that night. Maybe it was having a trusted friend...maybe it was the wine...maybe it was just time...or maybe it was a combination of all of these. But this would end up being the night that changed everything. Debbie encouraged me to talk to someone about medication. She got me to admit that I was depressed...really, really depressed. And she got me to realize that it wasn't getting any better as time went on, but actually getting progressively worse. She helped me realize that I needed help in getting out of the fog.

So, I ended up taking Lexapro to help me deal with the depression. Thankfully that worked really well for me and helped me climb out of the hole that I was stuck in. I made it through the holidays...those first holidays without Schuyler and Mom. I made it to January 2010...a new year and hopefully a happier year.

And what a happier year it's been. Life isn't without sadness...nobody should expect that. But, I have found that HOW you deal with those disappointing or sad times makes a world of difference. I'm not the eternal optimist, but I do try to see something good even in the most difficult of situations. I am trying to look at the simple things in my life that bring me happiness. The year after Schuyler and Mom died there was a LOT of family time...LOTS and LOTS....and those were really happy, really comforting times. The 6 hour drive to visit "home" isn't such a "task" anymore, but a destination where fun times and memories are being made.

Mid-January I decided that my mental health was on the right track so it was time to get my physical heath in check as well. I started this "Fit By Forty" journey, and honestly, I would NEVER have imagined I would be where I am today. In January I weighed 265 pounds. I was wearing a 22/24 and XXL shirt. I THOUGHT I felt pretty good. Then I started losing the weight. Initially I set small 265 my goal was to be in the 250's. At 259, my goal was to be in the 240's...and so on.

Here I am...the end of September and beating down the door to under 200! I am at 203 as of this morning. I am wearing a 16 jean comfortably, and a 14 is button-able and zippable, but not comfortable! YET. I buy Large shirts. My shoe size has even gotten smaller! From a 9.5 EE to a 8.5 B.

But, the best thing about all this isn't the numbers. It is how I FEEL. I feel energized. I want to go DO something...not just lay low. I am active...I am happy...I am fit.

Life is good.

So, this brings me to the title..."Time Marches On...Are You Marching or Standing Still?".

I was totally standing still in 2009. But 2010? Oh, in 2010 I'm Marching...I'm leading-the-band marching....and it feels GREAT.

Life is hard...nobody should expect it not to be. But how you deal with those curve balls you're thrown will make a HUGE difference in whether or not you march or stand still.

Maybe life is like living in the jungle...the weak, injured animal that stays still is going to be the one to get eaten by the mighty lion. It's OK to be weak and injured, just don't stay still for too long so that the lion has to go elsewhere for his dinner.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Reason...A Season...A Lifetime...

Maybe you've seen the e-mail hundreds of times, and maybe you've even stopped to read it. The passage is trying to explain why people come into your lives and what you get out of it. Everyone comes for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

I want to talk tonight about someone who was in my life for a reason. The passage says that when someone comes into your life for a reason, it's usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Then, without any wrong doing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die.

Albus Dumbledog was in my life for a reason...let me tell you about him.

The odds were stacked against Albus from the get go. Someone dumped him on the side of the road....quite possibly along with his litter mates. Somehow, against odds, he made his way to the side of the JUST the right time. He made it there just before my beautiful friend Carolyn drove by.

And against even more odds, Carolyn managed to notice him. And Carolyn, being Carolyn stopped and picked up his tiny, dehydrated, seed tick infested body.....and took him home. There she spent many hours picking the seed ticks off of him and nursing him back to health. But, staying with Carolyn was not in the plan for Albus. Albus had another job.

Now, it also just happens that the first day of PreK for my Avery falls at this time. Avery attends PreK with Jack, Carolyn's son. So it is decided that since Carolyn may have some issues leaving her youngest at PreK, I will take her out to breakfast where we will manage to leave our babes for that 2 hours and 45 minutes until we pick them up!

Carolyn and I head to Panera where we drink coffee and talk about things to keep our minds off of having just left the kids at the big kid school! The discussion moves to how Carolyn's hubby isn't too happy with her, as she's picked up a stray and he thinks they are over their pet quota. Well, being a good friend I ask to see a picture of the new pup...Carolyn in her infinite wisdom tells me this is probably not a good idea, because she's pretty sure one look and I'll be hooked.

THAT is how Albus Dumbledog came to be adopted by the Martin family. That was approximately one year ago. Albus came to us at a very difficult time in my life. I had suffered the loss of my nephew, Schuyler in Afghanistan in February. Then on July 4 my Mom suddenly passed away. Depression was weighing heavy on me and I was generally a mess. I probably needed to add a puppy to the mix like I needed a hole in my head....but really, I DID.

Albus needed someone to get up and take him out in the morning. He didn't care if I'd rather sleep until noon...he had to pee. So, it's get your lazy ass outta bed or I'm gonna pee on your shoe.

I usually got up.

Albus needed to be played with. He didn't care if I was depressed and feeling bad. He needed to play. And who, seriously WHO, can not find even a small amount of joy when tossing a ball over and over and over for a faithful dog that keeps bringing it back and seems as excited the 38th time as he was the first time you tossed it?

So, as Albus aged, I got better. And so begins the "here for a reason" explaination. The depression cloud lifted little by little. I couldn't allow myself the luxury of going back to bed every day...I had to get up and keep going. I started working out again...I started getting healthier. I kept feeling better and better.

Before Schuyler was killed we would "talk" on instant messenger. He would ask me about my workout progress and joke about how we could go for a run when he was home on leave. At that point I wouldn't have been able to run to the freezer for ice cream, let alone go for a run with someone. But, Schuyler being Schuyler would bring it up every time we IM'ed. So, after losing him and losing my Mom and then finally getting back on track with exercising, I tried running. It's not pretty, but I do enjoy it.

I think about them a lot when I run, and I think about what their reaction would be to the changes in me. Because of his influence in my exercise I decided that I would register for the 4 mile run in our hometown of Kewanee over Labor Day weekend. To me, that was kinda like coming full circle...

.....I would do that run in Kewanee, where I would've run with Schuyler

.....I feel like my grief process has come full circle and I am finally able to deal with the situation on my own, without any medication to help keep me from getting sucked down into the hole of depression; my final pills would be taken the week before the race

So I went to the race with one goal in mind...finish the race in under an hour. I finished in 46 minutes and some odd seconds. I did it...I ran with Schuyler in Kewanee. I had come full circle and not let that depression take me out of the game.

That was Saturday. On Sunday, I got the phone call.

Albus had gotten loose and gotten hit by a car.

He was gone.

Suddenly, coming full circle was so clear to truly was full circle, and the thing that came into my life to assist me through a difficulty, to aid me physically and emotionally, was gone. Albus had fulfilled his reason.

And just like that...he was gone.

So now begins another grieving process for my family. I miss that lil' bugger like crazy. I miss the wet kiss to the face at 6 am when he wanted to go out and pee. I miss the way he'd lay with the kids until they were asleep and then follow me around room to room waiting for me to go to bed...then...and only then would he go to sleep. I miss the way he "talked" to us. I miss looking out my kitchen window and seeing him running wild, playing with his friends in the neighbor's fenced in yard. I miss so many things about him, and yet I am not sad when I think of him.

I cannot be sad.

I am so thankful that Albus was in my life for that reason. He totally and completely fulfilled his duties. I'm sure he was entitled to a few extra treats upon his arrival home. He brought joy and laughter to our house in a time that I wondered if we'd ever really laugh again. He helped us see the beauty in surviving.

He was a great of the best, and I will miss him every day, but I will not be sad...I will only be thankful and grateful for having such a wonderful dog come into my life and do such an important duty. Thank you, Albus were a wonderful dog and I'll never forget you. Lassie's got nothing on you, little man.