Surrender – I Hate It.

I hate words like surrender.  I hate actions like surrender.  I hate to surrender.  And what I hate I’m attempting.  And don’t like it.  It’s been two years and a few months living a jellyfish status.  A new me brought on by a total thyroidectomy February of 2015.  A self I have never known. 

Weak.

Sloppy walking. 

Buzzing head. 

Awkward.

Clumsy. 

Fumbling words. 

This past week I hit my limit.  That same day I heard a talk on the radio about a famous swimming champion Michael Phelps who kept a paper calendar.  Each day he swam, returned home and with red sharpie cut a line through the day.  He was determined to keep an unbroken chain of red marks on the calendar, and did so for many years.  His collection of medals show how effective his unbroken chain of swims had been. 

His story inspired me.  Inside I’m an athlete.  Yes, an athlete who never was, but still inside I house the drive and dreams and the planning of one who is driven by such things.  I have a hard time walking much at all these days.  Still, down in the bones I tear through brush to the top of grand mountains.  I run and run and run some more. Bike till I’m in shreds.  Swim till I’m gasping.  I want to be all that, and can’t.

And so this week, I decided to start an unbroken chain of movement.  I have moved plenty in the past 2 years, with no results.  This time I decided to take the advice of those who help people with my condition for gaining momentum.  I decided to force myself to not overdo.  What that looks like for me right now is to swim 20 minutes per day, six days a week, with one day of palates and hula and stretching, the other 6 days lap swimming.  Just 20 minutes. 

Kind of like eating 1/2 spoonful of ice-cream when my body wants the bucket.  Because although 20 minutes is all I am able to manage the first week, my core is screaming at me to swim that – times 20.  To push myself.  To count laps to a mile, two, and then three.  Kind of a strain-the-body junkie.  An acceptable addiction in this culture, but damaging, nonetheless. 

Which brings me to surrender.  Surrender what I want to do for what just might help me get my health back.  Surrender the fix for what heals.  Surrender looking lazy, old and lame for what my body needs.  I don’t care for surrender.  In fact I hate it.  Will following direction and doing what is best for me prove beneficial?  At this point, I’m 30 pounds over.  I sleep more than I would like.  Am foggy brained and weak and limited.  I’ll keep you posted as day after day my calendar takes on a sharpie mark.  I pray for an unbroken chain. For a stronger body.  And a newly discovered contrite spirit. 

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy,

to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,

holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world,

but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. 

Romans 12: 1 and 2 (a)

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Mind Fog

I’ve so missed writing.  Day after day I’ve tried.  No luck.  Today I’m writing anyway.  Although I can’t think of a meaningful thing to write. Because my mind is a fog.  Sometimes folks with mind fog have some medical reason for it.  Such as untreated thyroid issues.  In my case, that’s been checked.  All is well in that department.  Mind fog can belong to ADHD.  Ya, I already know I have that but can’t treat it as the medicine can cause the heart reaction (Vtac) that sometimes happens to me.  Mind fog is sometimes caused by peri-menopause… there seems to be no solutions to that one but for the hereafter.  Stress can cause mind fog.  That goes away when one moves to a remote island at someone else’s expense and spends the rest of life sipping water from a coconut.  I haven’t found my benefactor yet, so that’s out.  So instead of hit a brick wall, I thought I’d blather on inside the mind of fog with high hopes that as the ugly thing is found out, it will scuttle away into the shadows.  If any of you have successfully corrected mind fog, I’d love to hear how you did it

Lying Mocker: The Deceit of Shaming.

DSC_0298She’s Psycho

He’s a whistleblower

What a Bitch

The safety officer has arrived, I see.

What a Nerd.

A real Drama Queen

Rejection names.  Names given to a person finally able to speak the truth of a thing, unable to pretend anymore.  The name given to the one who says: Enough!

Here is what the word means according to www.dictonry.com and  Merriam-Webster.

Mocking:

1. to attack or treat with ridicule, contempt, or derision.

2. to ridicule by mimicry of action or speech; mimic derisively.

3. to mimic, imitate, or counterfeit.

4. to challenge; defy: His actions mock convention.

5. to deceive, delude, or disappoint.

verb (used without object)

6. to use ridicule or derision; scoff; jeer (often followed by at).

noun

7. a contemptuous or derisive imitative action or speech; mockery or derision.

It’s obvious that mocking is an attack using ridicule towards someone.  Most, however, do not realize that built into the definition of the word mock is “to deceive”.  That is exactly what happens when we mock.  The reason a person mocks is to fake out the one they mock.  The lie takes the attention off what should be heard or acknowledged or noticed. Minimizing what one has done or said that is worth respectfully acknowledging. It is a behavior for the avoidance of truthful discussion.  To harm another when I don’t like what you’re doing, or what you’re saying.  Rather than allow you to be who are are, and notice what you’ve noticed, or listen as you speak of what bothers you, in my discomfort I tell a lie by not honestly stating “I’m uncomfortable.  I’m afraid.  I’m ashamed when you talk about this, or do that.”  So rather than tell the truth, we make the choice to lie-mock. 

Mocking does what it’s intended to do.  It shuts the mocked one down from doing.  From being.  From noticing what needs noticing.  From saying what should be said.  If only the mocked one would remember that to be mocked is to be lied to.  The shame words might have less power.  We might take courage and do what needs done, despite disgust and disdain, because we know that the mock-lies are weak strands that hold back only those who will be chained by cover-ups.

Cancer is Not Cancer; The Agony of being Dependent.

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This was written when I was still quite sick a number of months ago.  I was too low at the time it was written to post it.  I’ve decided to post it now.  I  share it to truth-speak about how painful cancer can be. Sharing what it was for me, as a way of being a voice for those who have not words to share.  This rant of sorts is not an attack on any one person, but a broad-brushed painting of the reality of what it is to be sick and dependant on others.

Cancer is not cancer. It’s not breast cancer or thyroid cancer. It’s strokes, heart attack activity that isn’t, doctors treating you like a hypochondriac while functioning slips away.  It’s skin that peels, clothes that don’t fit anymore, potassium levels so low that legs throb through the night.  It’s not recognizing yourself in the mirror.  Foggy mind half the time not remembering what I’ve said, what you’ve said, what we were talking about.  It’s family sweet as can be, and condescending sometimes too.  It’s having to listen to people “Oh you look like you’re feeling better” while the entire left side of body is numbed out, can’t hear from the left ear, do laundry for five minutes before having chest pain and doctor saying “you’re heart is in great shape”.  It’s your little six year old daughter telling you that you get first place for being the meanest one in the family.  The mean mom that gets tired of the denigrating remarks when trying to get kids to do their chores, one by one the entire family decides they are going to be sicker than Mom today – until their pals come over and off they race across the yard, Nerf and laser guns a-blazing, and once again, when they return to the house, asked to pick up coat, or feed the dog, the sudden illness takes over and death is at the door. 

It’s the doctors passing their job off to another doctor.  Oh it’s the endocrinologists job, no the oncologists job, no the primary care, … .on it goes, while the mystery symptoms that take away my ability to take walks, swim, drive, to care for my kids get worse.  The computerized diagnosis is last word, with physical problems all hovering in the “rare” category, no one bothering to dig deeper while symptoms hold me in place, so much piling up around me, and I must be still. 

Cancer is having all the kind persons who have pitched in to help become judgmental of the way my life looks, judgmental of what happens in this house, condescending of who I am.  It’s having to receive help from others who don’t respect me because they are incapable of helping and empathizing at the same time.  The most empathetic person is the world can flip a switch when doing another a good turn.  It’s watching them lose respect by the day – each and every act of kindness they provide decreases the peer to peer relationship – me having no alternative but to receive it. 

Cancer is not a surgery and missing body part.  It’s the loss, week by weakening week of clients, and eventually a career.  The destruction of a business.  The death of a dream.  It’s not rosy and romantic.  It’s ugly – creepy … the stopper of life.  And I’m stuck between.  Alive and not at all.  Stuck receiving support, care, favors, errands, driving kids to school, with bitterness in the doer, irritation of the helper, and shame at being the taker. 

The part of cancer I can do quite well is walk into the hell hole of the chopping block.  I can tolerate physical pain.  I can usually manage being mangled.  I can’t handle the shame I feel receiving assistance – the baring all – the inside scoop on our junk, irritably of the one doing all the favors due to their superiority and my shame. 

Cancer could be the most ideal way to go if it weren’t for all that.  Known outcomes, time frames, managed symptoms until death.  What makes it awful is loss of dignity (relationship) with people I care about most due to my neediness at the end, and their inability to give and maintain respect for the person they are giving to.  A few of us can give without shaming – most of the time, a few can receive without feeling the shame, but most can not.  We call it being “stewards” of our time and money by nosing into others lives when a need arises.  ‘If she hadn’t let herself go, he’d have never looked elsewhere.”  “There are consequences to slacking on the job”.  “Live and learn”.  We have all said things like this – or thought them.  It’s obvious it’s wrong to give cash to a meth addict.  We take this reasoning further and do harm – judge – while extending a helping hand.  I tell you from the receiving end, it helps more to not help but maintain a relationship of respect then to help with judgment.

Most of us have ZERO BUSINESS being involved in another’s crisis, because crisis is a HOLY PLACE.  It’s where God hovers.  It is SACRED.  Anytime we have all the answers, we do harm.  Anytime we can’t give without judgment, we harm.  Anytime we get inside the disaster of each other’s life and can’t set judgment aside, we hurt each other.  I’m getting to feel it, first hand.  No one means to harm.  They just want the system to work better.  Just want routines in place that make things better, but that’s not how it feels to the one is on the receiving end.  If I ever get beyond this cancer mess, I vow to God and to others that I will NEVER HELP SOMEONE UNLESS I CAN HAVE A SOLID CHECK ON MY ATTITUDE. 

Do I resent helping my kids with things they need help with? 

How does that make them feel? 

Do I resent making supper. 

Giving a gift and resenting the giving DOES HARM. 

Do I resent helping a friend, I HAVE ZERO BUSINESS HELPING UNLESS I CAN HELP FROM A PLACE OF EMPATHY. 

Cancer is not cancer. 

Cancer is everything else – but one thing. 

Cancer is not Boss, God is. 

God is the only one out there I know what manages disasters and love all at the same time. 

If i’m well enough to work again, I’m working for Him.

What Race are the Kindest of Doctors?

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I had a doctor once, slight of stature, brown kind eyes, practical wash and wear hair, nothing fancy about her, and the one who sifted through mountains of charts – two separate charts belonging to one giant medical system.  One chart spelled with an “e”, the other spelled correctly without.  Both charts mine – and she found them.  Bent over her desk.  Diligent she was. 

Discovered, out of dozens of notes that I have 2 MTHFR gene mutations.  This information was not found where one might expect.  She found it anyway, because she worked on my case.   From this information she realized I must not take Tamoxifen, a medicine used for breast cancer patients who are found to be estrogen positive.  A medicine that can cause a stroke for those with my gene mutation.  She suggested I not take it.  Diligent hunt.  Diligent follow-through. 

I had 6 miscarriages before the gene mutation was looked for and identified. 

The gene mutation that caused the miscarriages. 

A number of doctors did not check, though they knew my history.

One did. 

Brown kind eyes he had, too.

Found it. 

Treated it. 

And Butterfly was born perfect and alive.

“Miscarriages are not unusual. 

They are nature’s way of discarding what is flawed”

say lazy doctors everywhere,

brown and blue eyed alike. 

Those doctors who do not see the value in learning the cause of a problem

before using one-liner’s to shush up the likes of me.

My PCP, always respectful of me, when I mentioned how heavy my sheets felt on my neck at night while laying on my back, immediately stepped out of the tiny examining room, hurried down the hall and ordered an ultrasound.  There it was, thyroid cancer. My endocrinologist who hand checked my neck each and every visit paid no attention when I told him the same story.  One doctor listened. On doctor didn’t.  Taking little stock in what the person that lives inside the body might know about herself.

After the thyroid cancer diagnosis, my husband and I asked my oncologist if thyroid cancer might have been related to the breast cancer I had months before.  She said “no”.  The next visit, the same oncologist brought in research showing us she had been wrong.  Said that it very well might have been related. 

She didn’t have to tell. 

Didn’t have to admit she had been wrong. 

There are doctors who are sloppy, lazy, don’t read the fine print. 

Make mistakes because they don’t listen,

don’t trust,

don’t respect. 

And then there are the doctor’s who do.

Thank God for the gene testing doctor’s of the world.

Doctor’s who don’t take it upon themselves to social engineer other people’s lives. 

Doctor’s who don’t minimize another person’s need when it causes them inconvenience.

For doctor’s that hunt and read and listen. 

The doctor’s who set aside ego, and act accordingly.   

I am alive because of some good ‘work hard for another’s sake’ sort-of doctor’s.

Women,

Men,

Asian,

Puerto Rican,

Jewish

Irish,

Tibetan,

Middle Eastern,

African American,

German,

a mix of them all. 

Each of these good doctors have more in common with each other than language and country of origin.  Hard-working kindness is a culture of it’s own.  A race of kind hearts, and kind eyes. 

I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin,

but by the content of their character.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Faded PJ’s

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This morning, through dawn light, sitting in the stillness of my early hour house, eyes yet to focus, I glance along the edging of my soft blue pajamas and I feel a smile creeping now.  Sleepy smile, I feel it spread about my heart and down into my bones.  The fade of pajamas blue hover about me all the day, and I whisper good things under my breath.  Hope that this newest pair of already faded pajamas will become faded, no, just straight ratty.  That they will grow very old until they are ribbons of happy nothing. 

Crisp new pajamas.  I’ve grown to not like them much.  They come to me to be placed in suitcase packed for a hospital every time.  Some of the hospital visits are beautiful.  Baby boy brought home, precious and perfect.  Pajamas that didn’t fit me before, and body too much a mess to wear after.  That pair stayed nice for years. To the hospital for another baby, this time, a perfect tiny daughter.  I’d not remembered to think of pajamas for me. She had arrived before I’d expected, a month early.  Hadn’t packed a thing.  Other than things for her.  Her cotton pink footie-pajamas were washed, folded, held close against my cheek, folded again.  Ready months before.  My friend had thought of me when I had forgotten.  She brought to the hospital a lovely nightgown of soft pink and white, smocked and pleated, buttons down front.  I loved that nightgown.  I wore it year after year.  Don’t remember whatever became of it.  I’m guessing it was loved into shreds and threads as I rocked and fed, made a lap for two babies, a lap for reading and holding and spit up and …. Another baby years later.  And another. Pajamas packed and used until they were no more. 

As of late, pajamas for the suitcase bound for harder hospital stays.  Visits of cuts and drains, blood draws, parts removed, another cancer, another procedure, another and another. 

New pajamas. 

No thank you. 

I want to see how long the fade will keep on fading. 

Will the blue of light seem more white than blue?  I’m hoping so.  I could buy new ones for no particular reason.  And then I wouldn’t be needing another special book for my son on how to build something from nothing.  I wouldn’t be needing running shoes for me, or another hydrangea for my gardener girl, wouldn’t need to save for a night out with my best friend. I’d be too cut off from life to be buying sheet of music to practice with my girls.  I’d be winding down to dead, and I don’t want that. 

I really love how faded these pajamas have gotten.  Their worn down look speaks to how long it’s been since I’ve made a visit to the chopping block.  Long enough to make new fabric old.  Long enough to grow some strength on the legs that wear these pajama pants.  Fabric fades faster than it use to, I think.  Or my machine has more gusto than it use to.  In any case, time has passed without another reason for new pajamas, and I’m hoping my healthy full life thins them down to nothing at all.  I’m hoping.    

The Grandma I Miss

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The one I miss.  The one I’ll know more of one day, the young one in these pictures.  The one that was old when I loved her, but still so young. Who wrote and read and talked of times I never knew.  So interested in the world, she was.  In governments, in plots and poetry, and not so much in whether her stockings stayed up leg or not.  She who let her clothes wear out so she could afford – fixed income of nothing, to buy me and my sisters a dress now and then.  A flight to come see us.  A phone call to see how we were doing. Stamps for the letters she wrote to tell us how she was.  Groceries she bought and always shared.  Tight with what didn’t matter, leaving ample for what did.    I miss her light blue eyes of sparkle, light in hew, bright in vigor, the sparkle with something that ‘hit a funny bone’, the spark when wheels were turning at the exploration of an idea.  Her eyes, they sparkled beyond the ability to see much at all.  Her mind wouldn’t give out, even when hearing, sight, strength and hope slipped away.

Grandma begged me not to leave her.  College was calling me.  I felt I could not stay.  I hate that I did not stay.  She passed just months after.  Somehow I think that though she wanted me to stay, she wanted me to go, too.  She was the one who talked of education, of opportunities of learning.  She would have been the one to thrive with a college education, not even an option for her as her father had abandoned the family, her salary was needed, so work she did.  Grandma was born in 1899.  There weren’t many in those years blessed with a way to attend college, Grandma was just one of the many unfortunate.  The education she did receive, she soaked into her core and kept with her the rest of her life. Large speeches and selections of poetry memorized, math done quick ‘in my head’. Writing skills she developed all her life.  We always said, as Grandma stood peeling apples for pie, listening to her expound on the rise and fall of every nation under the sun, and all the details that went along with their changes, that she should have been a history professor.  She was really very interesting to listen to.  Her vocal inflections, the lightness where lilt was called for, the laughter in her voice.  The serious sound of heartbreak, the solemn sound of sacrifice.  She didn’t miss a thing, from the way a country fell to pieces, to the happenings of her childhood and beyond, boys that loved her and she jilted, her memories working as a switchboard operator, memories of her Momma, hair pulled back tight, white apron over heavy ever-day dress, standing over hot stove baking 40 pies a day in the busy rivertown motel where they lived on the Missouri river.

0178bLast week at the pool, splotchy faced, just having pushed myself a bit too much, I made my way across the expanse of noisy kids to the hot tub.  Slipping beneath the bubbles I glanced up to eyes that nearly took my breath away.  So much like Grandma’s.  Twinkling. Lite blue.  Never have I seen eyes so much like Grandmas.  Not common eyes, but distinctive and beautiful.  Day after day I’ve seen the eyes and smiled.  Finally I mustered up the courage and fumbling for words blurted out “This is a crazy question, but do you happen to be Irish.” to which the lovely lady replied “I sure am.”  I then told her all about my Grandma, how much her eyes looked like Grandma’s eyes, and how much I still miss her, though she’s been gone since 1987.  Grandma’s look alike, she’s become my friend.  We talk at poolside most every day.  As her sparkling eyes tell me another tid-bit about life, I wish Grandma was still with me, even more.

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(Mom looks so much like our little Mary)

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0184-Muriel Edmondson, Andre Edmondson, Nona Edmondson

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Ridge of Remembering

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To be remembered.  It feels great.  Life has been hard this past year.  If I could point to one thing thyroid cancer has done to harm me the most, it’s been to make me believe I’m not me anymore.  That the me I have come to expect is gone.  The me that most the time could think a clear thought.  The me that knew how to eat so that my pants would fit.  The me that requires a certain amount of sleep.  The me that loves to push my body, and a body that thrives on being pushed. The me that takes good care of my kids.  The me that stays in touch with others.  What I love enjoying.

It’s been such a confusing year.  Who is this person called me, and how do I function?  Not a quest to find the me I’ve never known, but rather confusion as to where I might have disappeared to.  Months on end trying to find equilibrium.  The discouragement has been thick dark.  Fog that belongs to a January.  Getting out of bed.  Moving legs of led.  When I try to move, reactive body pushes back, with enough say-so to stop me from functioning altogether.  Demanding I slow to avoid left sided jaw pain, jaw numbing, left arm throb, shoulder pain and numbing, arm and hand pain and numbing.  Sometimes movements too fast bring stroke symptoms.  The whole body goes into left sided weakness, vision foggy, one eye that won’t dilate, slurred speech, and then I’m back in the hospital for more tests. 

The throbbing leg – another screen for cancer.  The mass on my spine, watching.  Good results this time around, until the next time?  Then what.  Watching the one remaining breast.  Blood tests, over and over, till my arm looks like I stick for an addicted high.  A look at kidneys, the throbbing leg might signal a broken kidney.  Not this time, comes back within normal range.  I slump into a relaxed state.  Then the OBGYN wants to test.  About the time I recover from that test, a call comes in saying another is over-due.  Oh, and don’t forget the colon.  Labs and tests, blood and MRI’s with contrast and without (Oh dear, no contrast for you.  Allergic to gadolinium), EEGS, CAT Scans, Mammograms, I am so lonely for what my life use to look like.  Carefree. Strong.

Once again shut inside dark and jarring tube, unable to move for 45 minutes, I start to dream.  I dream of a 20 mile ridge run that happens every year in Bozeman where my sister Becky lives.  Summer before, she and I spent a bit of time hiking along sides of mountains.  Another needle shoved into the vein that lies along my wrist “this is a good one!” they thread the iv in, fighting fog and throbbing pain, I dream.  I will find just the right shoes.  Re-adjusting needle, nausea rush as purple bubble balloons up onto the surface, the apologies as the white cloth mops up blood red, beads of sweat across brow I can’t wipe off, slip into the dream.  I decide through the pulsing jarring of the MRI that my clothes will be bright.  Maybe a salmon shirt, black shorts, colorful shoes, running shoes.  I will move between two sets of shoes while training.  Needle again, only this time for blood draw into vein always used, pain, I’m sick, dreaming how I will train for this run.  Big plans I have while strapped to to MRI table, blood pressure cuff right arm only, “no, you can’t use that one.  I had a mastectomy” I say.  “Oh, that’s right”, she says.  Test over, dizzy weak I make way from doctors room to a grey Seattle day, a darkened parking garage, fighting eyes that want to shut, wandering from one floor to the next, foggy minded, I eventually find the car.  Making way through traffic, I manage to get home, to lay flat, I’m out, sound asleep. 

Alarm jars me, time to get kids from school.  Fight to put feet on floor, body in deep sleep trying to wake up, I rouse my brain to images of a ridge run as a way of keeping mind awake long enough to get safely from home to school and back home only to lay down as soon as arriving, sound asleep while kids get themselves a bowl of cereal, make a burrito, in kitchen helping themselves while I sleep slumped onto brown couch cross the room.  Bed time is here when I wake up again.  Homework, has it been done?  I stumble around helping with bedtime ritual, tuck my babies in, head for bed myself, but first I stretch.  It’s the workout I can still do.  Stretch one leg, then the next, I dream of the stretch before the 20 mile run.

Will I make progress on taking off this 35 lbs. that has piled on with the removal of the thyroid?  After months of working toward a ridge run, I fb that I wished to run a 20 mile ridge in Bozeman come summertime.  One by one my cheering squad in the form of my cousins, friends and sisters tell me they will come run the ridge with me.  From this coping place a family reunion in Bozeman comes together.  Months of planning and training, stretching and trying.  But one thing missing.  The cooperation of my body.  It’s not as if I’ve never applied myself.  I biked the STP in 2007, and have pushed myself a variety of ways over the years.  This year between MRIs, EEGS, heart evals, test after test I tried to incorporate the things I know for finding my body again, to no avail.  Miles of walking, swimming, bike riding, stretching, eating mostly salads, nuts and protein.  So I’ve managed to lose about 10 lb., still 25 over, way too much extra for my body to tolerate running a ridge at 6 or 8 thousand feet let alone walk it.  The worse part, most of my muscle has wasted away, and building seems impossible. The summer arrives.  I spend a week packing for the trip, but shove aside the dream completely, ashamed I had wished for it in the first place, disgusted I had failed myself in this way.  It did not matter how hard I tried to get my health back, the sneer of thyroid cancer had all the say and I got none. 

The day before vacation a dear friend in her early 30s died of thyroid cancer.  The “best kind of cancer”  swept through her body – including her brain and lungs.  Her last fb message was “Pneumonia again and landed myself at Prov hotel.”  That was the 14th.  By the 22nd she had passed.  She didn’t expect it.  Her family didn’t expect it.  The girl we all knew was gone.

And I’m not gone.  OK, I should be thankful.  And still I have died to who I’ve always been.  So had my friend who just passed.  The same in every way, and also nothing of who she had been just years before.  I do not need to hear what I should be feeling right now.  Grateful.  Thankful.  This is the “new You”.  Underneath physical symptoms, medical tests, projections of what is coming next, am I even still here?  Although what i see in the mirror is a stranger to me, I need to know I’m still me. 

God noticed this need.  Heading up a mountain with a large group of family, we made our way to the top.  On top I realized I did not want to return through the woods.  Every nauseating needle gouging fantasy, EEG, MRI, CAT Scan, Heart Ultrasound, holter monitor, Mammogram could never came close to providing me a moment as grand as the beauty I found myself surrounded by on top that mountain.  My sister Marci said she’d go with me.  It was crazy, risky, stupid. We didn’t take water, snacks, brains.  Marci did have her phone, although weak and about to die.  The bright colored clothes were missing.  Wearing all black.  I wasn’t the fit body of solid muscle I had hoped for, rather fat and haggard and only able to run a very short distance, but on top that ridge I was reminded, covered in skin splotches, fat and awkward, legs of led, hair all a frizz, that I am still a ridge runner inside.  The external has me looking like another girl completely, but I’ll always be me, no matter the limitations.  Every hard moment this past year was noticed, and the year long dream to run a flower covered ridge.  Some say 7, others say 10.  No matter the distance, I won’t soon forget the flowers wild and bold, big sky blue, clouds slung about among the mountain tops, and a sister to experience it with.  I might have given up and pushed me aside, but Someone Else would not.

Weight Loss

Summer and Fall 2013 179
The writer and butterfly.

I use to be who I am now

Fat and covered in cellulite

Always hiding sloppy me

I didn’t the match the girl inside

And as I prayed and struggled on

Appeared, one day, just what to do

A friend I’d make

The one I hate

And over time

The change it came

Inch by inch

and

Size by size

I finally matched the girl inside

The years went by

most all was well

And then a cancer came to tare

And ripped the breast from off my chest

And choked my trust

And froze my bounce

And once again the hiding came

I didn’t match the girl inside

And still I prayed and struggled on

Appeared one day just what to do

A friend I’d make

The one I hate

And over time

The change it came

I grew to love

the one breast me

18 months of

all is well

And then a cancer came again

This time to claim

my thyroid gland

And spill around throughout my nodes

And throw my body balance off

I use to be who I am now

Fat and covered in cellulite

And now I know just what to do

A friend I’ll make

The one I hate

And over time

The change it comes

I grow to love

the one breast girl

fat and covered in cellulite

And as I friend away the shame

The outside me

it starts to

match

the girl I’ve always been

The Courage of Action

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Doing takes courage.  Doing anything but what’s expected.  Expected doings are, you know.

bed making

dish washing

floor sweeping

laundry

cutting grass

                etc…. 

Expected doings have to be done, and should be done. 

And then there are all the things not on the expected list that require a great deal of courage to do.  Let’s say that somebody needs to share Christ with an unbeliever.  And lets suppose that the best person to tell another about Jesus would be a faithful Jesus follower.  Immediately we have a problem, because although there are many Jesus followers, being of the human sort, there are very few if any truly faithful Jesus followers.  Humans tend to be unfaithful by nature, one way or another. 

Which brings us to the question.  Should an unfaithful Jesus follower tell others to be faithful to Jesus?  Should a landscape artist who has weeds in his yard create golf course beauty for his customer?  What about teacher who can’t get along with his own children?  Should he or she teach another’s child?  Should a scientist discover how important good fat is for the body while taking poor care of his own? 

Humans are a problem.  They are quick to point the finger and call another human a hypocrite because they can see the discrepancy between what is stated as idea and what is lived.  And most of the time, their call is right on.  Which is why we hold back from the tasks at hand.  Stop ourselves from doing what needs done because of fear of being seen as the hypocrite that we are. 

Pastors with poor relational skills. 

Health teachers carrying extra weight. 

Counselors who can’t keep their marriages together.

Shoe makers whose children have no shoes.

I have started providing marriage counseling.  Of the friends who have known my husband and I for the 26 years we’ve been married, they can attest it’s been a mix of happy love and no cake walk.  And still, the need is there for couples to work with a therapist who has been in the trenches in her marriage too, who at times is still in the trenches, but knows what works and what doesn’t, even if one step forward, two steps back.  Husband voice shouts from other end of the house, “IT IS PERFECT.  Because I said so!”

My niece joined the Marines.  She’s 18.  Anyone taking that risk is providing the perfect opportunity for the pointers to rub in where the Marine has been weak in the past.  And yet she’s the one who has decided to put herself out there.  To challenge herself.  To stretch what she’s capable of.  To serve God and Country, regardless of the risks of what others might throw back at her.

I have a friend who provides parenting plans in the courtroom for challenging divorce situations.  She has kids of her own.  Her parenting is not perfect.  Her kids struggle.  And still she has taken the risk to give back not withstanding her own doubt and frustration. 

One sister teaches life coaches and others how to manage chronic pain without pain meds.  Of course she risks not always managing her own chronic pain perfectly, but still she takes on the challenge and many are helped.

Another sister serves papers, teaches school, takes mission trips.  All risk taking activities.

I have a friend who keeps a blog alive for Adult Survivors of Religious Narcissistic Abuse.  So much misunderstanding speaking out on such a topic, and so many rotten tomatoes thrown her way, and still she continues to bless the broken hurting ones who are feeling known and seen because of the stories she shares, and the paintings she creates. 

My private practice work is for those who suffer with trauma, cancer, depression, grief, obesity, etc…  I’ve experienced it all at different times in my life, still have left-overs from each one, thought I was finished with obesity, along came thyroid cancer, adding weight that can not seem to be salad’ed, walked, biked, stretched away.  The vulnerability at meeting a new client first time on walking track with one breast and 35 lbs. extra nearly takes my breath away.  And still I know the risk of shame is worth knowing that I’m in the center of God’s will, doing what I’m suppose to do. 

What are you holding that another needs?  What are you hiding?  What do you fear?  Has God tugged you toward a work that would require courage?  Vulnerability?  Pride is a wall that separates us from life. Be courageous.  Do.

Jesus says it best:

“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.” ESV   Matthew 16:25