Saturday, December 29, 2012

In the trenches...

In the past 5 weeks I have been through a abdominoplasty surgery to remove the excess skin from my stomach, a mastoplexy and augmentation mammaplasty done to reconstruct my breasts, large amounts of X-rays and abdominal CT scans (where you have to drink the contrast), emergency bowel obstruction resection surgery, large amounts of antibiotics to fight an infection from the bowel obstruction surgery, a tube that went up my nose and down my stomach to drain my intestines, 2 infected wounds on my incisions, a 13 day hospital stay away from my 2 sweet babies and husband, sponge baths, a few dark and depressing days, and a lot of pain.  I got to come home on November 29th and that is when my healing began. I am not writing this post for a pity party, but I am writing this post so that you know where some of my emotions that I want to express come from.

During my hospital visit I would ask the doctor when he thought I could go home.  His answer after a couple of times was, "Quit asking me that- no time soon."  That crushed me.  My husband was at home taking care of our kids, doing all the household duties, and working at his job.  It was heartbreaking to me to not be able to be there for my family and do what I am supposed to do.  It was very lonely and boring to be in that hospital bed.  I went through different stages of grief about my situation while I was in the hospital, but I cried a lot.  There was a tech that worked at nights and he would make me laugh so hard and cheer me up, I looked forward to seeing him.  At one point during my hospital stay, towards the end, they put a drain in my pelvis to drain fluid from my abdomen that was infected. It was so annoying to carry the whole arsenal that was attached to me to the restroom...  I had an IV pole with tons of bags hanging from it, my new drain, and 2 little drains from the 1st surgery... along with my gown that was spread wide open so that I could show everyone my business.  Going to the bathroom was a chore.  I am getting off subject...  the drain... The fluid that came from this drain went into this bag and the bag, of course, was clipped onto me and the fluid smelled AWFUL... worse than rotten eggs- and it was coming from inside my body!
Finally, one day the doctor came in and asked me if I wanted to go home.  I looked at him with disbelief like he was making a sick joke.  He repeated his question and I answered with attitude, "Well, Yeah."
He went on to tell me that he would send me home under the care of a home-care nurse, a PICC line, and IV antibiotics.  He also went on to tell me why he had kept me in the hospital for so long and told me how much my surgery and complications with the infection scared him.  I think that's pretty  bold for a great doctor to admit feelings like that.
So... I got to come home! It felt like getting released from prison.  Except, I don't know what that is like but I am sure it is similar.  I was highly emotional when I came home.  Happy to be alive, happy to hug my kids, happy to see my house...  through all this came a lot of feelings of being thankful.  My family relationships changed drastically for the better.  It is amazing how people react when death knocks on the door.

I am able to look at my kids and my family and be thankful for them and that I am still alive.  But I have not been able to go to God and thank Him personally for this yet.  You may be asking "WHY?!?!?" in utter shock like I did.  I went to counseling about this because it was making me have a lot of guilt inside and making me even more emotional.  The counselor pointed out that I have been through SO much physically and emotionally already.  Because I have such an intense relationship with God, that conversation that I have with Him will be intense as well and I am just emotionally not ready for it yet.  It doesn't mean that God is not there.  It doesn't mean that I do not love God with all my heart.  My brain is still processing the last 5-6 weeks and it is okay to take my time processing these things one by one.  What the counselor said made sense and I accepted it to ease my feelings about this.  I am not quite ready to have that deep conversation with God, but I know that I am starting to emotionally prepare for it. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Better Late than Never!

If you've been keeping up with this blog, then you know I have been healing from two different surgeries I had back to back in November.  My priorities have been on my health and family the past month or so.  BUT I am excited about filling you in on what I am going through and looking forward to you coming alongside me as we see what God wants me to take away from this horrible time.

I hope that you had an awesome Christmas full of love!  I had the best Christmas that I have had in a very long time.  My perspective was much different this year than it has been any other year.  I spent the day with my sweet family being thankful that I was alive, did not have any drains or lines attached to my body, and I wasn't in the hospital.  It was an awesome day and I hope everyone had a great Christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The girl behind this blog...

 I imagine that as you read this blog, it would be nice to have a visual of who you are reading about.  
This is me in 2009:

This is 2012:

Thank you Jesus for  the work you have done in me!
If you are new to this blog, I encourage you to read my profile/bio about how God has worked in my life.

Monday, November 26, 2012

God spoke...

I went in on November 12 and had abdominoplasty surgery to remove the excess skin from my stomach.  I also had a mastoplexy and augmentation mammaplasty done to my breasts.  When I went back in later that week for my postoperative appointment they sent me to the hospital because my stomach looked distended. I got admitted on November 16. My symptoms were different every hour, like A ROLLER COASTER RIDE. One hour I was joking around and feeling good and the next hour I would feel horrible.  My momma’s birthday was November 18 and I felt AWFUL that day.  I had the worst pain and I was in the hospital.  The surgeon that did my gastric bypass was the one who admitted me and I was his patient.  He had done X-rays and Cat scans with dye to try to figure out why I was so distended. He never got a good picture of what he should do with me.  I ended up having emergency bowel obstruction resection surgery that night. The surgeon ended up having to remove a whole foot of my small intestine that some scar tissue from my last C-section had literally choked and it was black and dead. If they had not found this I would have probably died is what I'm told so it’s a big deal.  When I woke up in the ICU after the surgery, my sweet husband was just a boo-hooing over my bed side.  He just kept telling me that I had been through so much and he was so sad.  God gave me a compassionate man. 
The next day when I saw the surgeon he was so pleased to see that I was alive (kind of in a disturbing way for me).  He explained to me that he had no good reason to open me up on the operating table by looking at my symptoms but “God told me to open you up!”.
WHOA! Goosebumps.
GOD told him to open me up and because he did he was able to save my life and give me more life on Earth.  I am floored by this.  God is not done with me.  I feel like I have some massive shoes to fill and I would love it if you would pray with me as I move forwards from this.
I begged the doctors to let me go home the day before thanksgiving but I ended up admitted back in the hospital the very next day because my intestine got aggravated and dilated and I am currently still in the hospital.  Please continue to pray for me and my healing as well as the burden on my family and I will continue to blog what God has put on my heart. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Prayers Please

I am going in this morning to have abdominoplasty surgery to remove the excess skin from my stomach.  I am also going to have a mastoplexy and augmentation mammaplasty done to my breasts.  This will be a 9 hour surgery.  I will be so glad to not have to worry about rashes on my body where the excess skin is and feel more confident as a woman.  I am SO nervous.  Please keep me, the doctor, and staff in your prayers.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Struggles happen for a reason.  It is when we are in our struggle that we cling to Christ the most and we glorify him when we come out of a struggle. I feel that losing weight in my life has been used to glorify God.  When I started the couch to 5K program I had a light bulb moment.  Something inside me clicked. And it was intense.  I remember thinking that this could be something great- greater than what I was making of it. I started running 30 seconds and walking 30 seconds for 20 minutes in the beginning.  That is not even week 1 on couch to 5K.  In week 1 of the program you run 60 seconds and then walk 90 seconds- that was not going to happen!  So I altered it to what I was capable of and then moved up from that. My goal was to be able to run a whole 5K and finish it without walking.

 I was trying to prove something to myself and failure was not an option.  During this exercise journey I started asking God to help me and give me strength and endurance. He did. It was the first time in my 26 years of life that I knew I could not be successful in this journey in my own strength.  In October of 2010 I ran my first 5K ever. My victory was so much more than that- I had completed a fitness goal. That was the first fitness goal that I had ever completed. I remember tears filling my eyes as I thought that a year ago from then I was not able to walk to the mailbox without feeling out of breath and now I could run 5Ks.  You can beat temptation with determination.

“Dear Lord, help us please.  Every single soul in this room needs you to fill them up. Help us to make the right choices and give us the determination to beat the temptations of this world. We will only be completely fulfilled with you and not the things of this world.  Thank you Lord for giving us options, but please give us the wisdom and clarity that we need to make wise choices. Amen.”

Monday, October 29, 2012

How Do You Eat An Elephant? ...One bite at a time!

Alright, I know some of you are sitting there thinking that what you just read sounds great and all… but how?!  I have a long road ahead of me you crazy lady.  One prayer for help won’t fix it.  You are right; one prayer will not fix it.  But a lot of prayer sure will go a long way! If you need a step by step then I can give you a step by step, or at least point out to you the steps that I took on my journey.  

How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  That is the mindset you need to approach this because if you do not then you will get overwhelmed, discouraged, and then you will quit before you get started.   

Step one would be to pray.  Ask God for Him to lift you up in his strength.  Admit to him that you cannot achieve this goal without him.  For me, I had to pray before I ate any food.  My prayer was that I would find satisfaction with this food on my plate and not be tempted with more after my portion was gone.  I would pray before I ran that God would bless me with stamina and endurance.  Beat temptation with determination.

Step two is to be accountable to yourself and write down every single thing you need to stick in your mouth.  Don’t cheat yourself.  When I first started working out with a personal trainer she asked me to write everything down in a food journal.  So I did… write down what I ate… but just the good things that I knew she would approve of.  By doing that, I was only cheating myself.  If I was too ashamed to write it down, then I should not have been eating it.  Hold yourself accountable with some sort of journal.  Beat temptation with determination.

Step three is to figure out your portion and listen to your body.  When I had to lose 20 pounds before my gastric bypass surgery I went on the South Beach Diet and my husband told me he would do it with me for support.  Great! Awesome idea!  I was like 290 something and my husband weighed 148.  The man did not need to be on any diet at all but maybe a healthy clean diet.  In the first part of the south beach diet they restrict your carbs for 2 weeks.  To like, no carbs at all.  I lost 15 pounds in 2 weeks.  My poor husband was getting dizzy and having headaches so he went to the doctor.  The doctor told him it was the south beach diet and that he needed carbs.  He started eating carbs and his headaches went away and he quit having dizzy spells.  Moral of the story, not every “diet” is for everyone.  Everybody is different.  Now to maintain my body weight I just try to eat clean- meaning I try to eat lots of fruits and vegetables and try to stay away from any foods that may have been changed in any way.  So I try to stay away from foods with additives, preservatives, and processed foods.  I eat lean meats, whole grains, and heart healthy fats.  I avoid saturated fats, sodas, and high calorie foods.  I drink tons of water every single day.  I don’t count calories. I try to stick to the portion of a dessert or bread plate and I eat about 4 times a day.  Listen to your body.  I try to eat everything in moderation.  If I am craving an Oreo… I eat an Oreo after I pray over that Oreo.  By forbidding foods I would resist and resist and resist until I couldn’t take it anymore and then the whole bag would be gone because by the time I let that temptation overcome me, praying about it was the furthest thing from my mind.  Beat temptation with determination.

Step four is to Get moving!  Get out and walk, walk, walk to get started.  When I started to exercise I started the couch to 5K program.  You can find it if you Google it.  It doesn’t matter what you choose to do as long as you are moving.  Beat temptation with determination.

Step five is my final step… Have fun.  Laugh at yourself because let’s just be honest, we might all cry if we don’t laugh at ourselves.  Try new things.  I recently wanted to spice my exercise routine up so I took a pole dancing class.  Yes, you heard me right, a pole dancing class.  Best arm workout that I have ever had in my life, it was fun, and it made me laugh at myself and allowed all the other girls in the class to laugh at me too.  I have also tried Zumba… let me tell you, things were shaking on my body that I didn’t know could shake.  I loved Zumba so much that I went and got certified to teach it!  Have fun while you beat temptation with determination.

The last thing I want you to do is to get overwhelmed by these 5 steps.  I would like to challenge you by taking 1 of these steps and apply it to your life this week.  The next week, while you are still applying the first step then add another step.  Do this until you have concurred all of them.   
Beat temptation with determination one bite at a time.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Feeling Weighted Down

Prayer works. Our Heavenly Father wants to help you; you just have to ask Him for help.  I am not going to lie, it is hard and it stinks.

I have to constantly check myself and my heart every single day.  The days when I try to resist temptation by myself, I fail miserably.  On the days when I seek God to help me resist temptation, I am pleasantly surprised that He is there!  It gets me every time too when I use the strength of Christ and I have a really great day with moderation and I have kept my diet in balance… it is the sweetest blessing!  I feel great about beating temptation with determination that I found in Christ.

By the time I decided to have gastric bypass, I felt like it really wasn’t an option- it was something I had to do if I didn’t want to die.  I was a busy mother of two babies that were under the age of two. I was weighted down. I never did anything for myself.  My existence was for my children.  I loved my children so much that I was willing to go through this life threatening surgery so that I could be around for them longer.  That was a totally awful mindset to have.  That mindset makes me understand the love God has for me and all of his children, but it was the wrong mindset.   

All of us, especially women, are so caught up with our lives and all the other people in it that we forget to do anything for ourselves… like being healthy.  Your excuse may be that you do not think you are worth it, you do not think you are good enough, or putting everyone else before yourself.  Well, you need to stop it.  You do it for yourself.  Why? Because you want to glorify God with the beautiful temple he has blessed you with.  Your love for the Lord will radiate from you and pour onto others.
Everyday we pile things on ourselves that keep us weighted down.  Some of us are working women who carry the stress of our everyday work problems, dishes, laundry, keeping the house clean, our husband and his needs, our children and their needs, keeping up with friends and neighbors, bible study, car pool, PTA, some of us may be getting a degree, feeding everybody and making sure they don’t famish- at my house that is a full time job in itself! Lastly, if you think like I do…  we add your issues and whatever they are.  Mine might be my temptation with food and wanting to over exercise.  You are so weighted down.

God loves you so much that he sent his only son to die for you so that you can have eternal life.  God loves you.  He thinks you are worth it and he wants you to be healthy so that you can live for him and be his legacy.  You are good enough and He wants to see you succeed at being healthy.  When I was finally able to realize what I meant to God and how deep his affection was for me, it changed the way I looked at myself in the mirror.  When God looked at me as his child, he didn’t see the overweight and ugly person that I was disgusted to look at in the mirror.  He saw his gorgeous, stunning, beautiful, and sweet daughter that He was absolutely crazy about.   When I finally wrapped my mind around God’s true feelings about me, I was able to realize that I am worth putting the effort into.  It didn’t happen overnight, but eventually I was able to look into the mirror and see what God sees when he looks at me.   
So while we are dealing with our worldly issues, let’s ask for Christ to strengthen us as we deal with the stress of work, home, friends, family, kids, husbands….  And I promise you, you will be pleasantly surprised at how successful you will be when you give your weights of the world to Him and find your strength in Christ.  Beat temptation with determination. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Over Eating

When I was morbidly obese I would over eat all day everyday.  Let me just tell you that gluttony is so horrible to me because it was a sin that I had to wear daily with my obesity.  It was such a shameful sin to wear.  There are many different reasons that we over eat.  One reason is because we are emotionally eating.  We are using food to fill the void that is meant for Jesus to fill.  Food made me feel better temporarily. There is tons of research that says it has to do with the feel good chemical reactions that come from eating certain foods. Foods that are rich in carbohydrates can release serotonin.  Dopamine is released when eating protein rich foods.  Phenylethamine is released when we eat chocolate.  Oh my goodness, I love to eat chocolate!  I could sit here and tell you about all the different hormones that are released that make us feel good when we eat certain foods, but the bottom line is that I needed those feel good hormones in my body to make me feel complete.  I was missing and seeking something.  Food would cure my emptiness, but only temporarily.  Food became my drug and I was addicted to it.

 Proverbs 25:28  says: 
“Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.”   

I know how that man feels when he is lacking self control: frantic, anxious, worried, desperate, distressed, distracted, susceptible, weak, helpless, defenseless, exposed, and vulnerable. 

The bible also says that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control and those fruits of the Spirit are in you.  

Did you get that? If you call yourself a Christian and realize that you have received your salvation from the blood of Jesus Christ, then the fruits of the spirit are IN YOU! If you are anything like me then you are wondering where it is in you...

One day I was talking to a lady from our church that home schooled all her children.  I told her I thought that was awesome that she home schooled her children and I just did not have enough patience to home school my kids.  She said, “Sarah, patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit and it is in you.  You should ask God to help you develop more patience.”

I used to joke about the levels of each fruit of the Spirit that I had in me and when it got to self-control I would show that I had a pinch and then laugh it off.  I quickly realized that I needed to ask God to make the fruit of self-control in me stronger and I did this through lots of prayer.
My advice to you about your food issues, or whatever temptation you struggle with is…. pray, pray, and then pray some more.   

He listens and He is faithful.