Yesterday a fellow parent remarked that she just couldn’t see me 50 lbs. heavier (see picture at the end of this blog-Yikes!!). That was definitely my happy thought of the day! I admit that I would look in the mirror then and say to myself, “Who is that?” My passion for life; home, school, and church; required the energy of a 5’4”, 130 lb. woman. Stubbornly I plowed through life paying attention to what needed to be done for each, but not for me. Even having gestational diabetes with both children did not slow me down enough to eat right, exercise, or sleep right. And stress??? Forgetaboutit!!!!!
So in July of 2008 I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I determined that at 37, I was too young to ignore this and had to get control of my health. I wanted to see my kids grow, learn, love, and live! And I didn’t want my health to sideline me. I wanted to participate in their lives. Having been on a diabetic diet with my pregnancy, I knew how to change my eating habits and got busy immediately. By the Christmas and New Year’s holiday, I felt confident enough to tell a parent/friend who is a personal trainer that I needed help getting busy exercising. I had lost 30 lbs at this point, but didn’t want to start until I got rid of a nagging pain in my back....here begins the medical chaos!!!
After going to my chiropractor and my medical doctor, no one could tell me WHY my back was hurting. I had a student teacher for the first time in 15 years and was struggling to keep up my work and professionalism. I even had a heating pad plugged in at my desk to relieve the pain while my students had work time or my student teacher was in charge. On Super Bowl Sunday, my husband took me to the hospital because I couldn’t stand the pain anymore. The doctor’s determined that I was having a gall bladder attack and scheduled me for a battery of scans to determine if I had any gall stones to remove before laparoscopic surgery to remove my gall bladder. The scans came back positive and I was scheduled for laparoscopic gall stone removal immediately. Waking up violently ill from the anesthesia was the least of my worries. The doctors informed me that they extracted almost all of the stones but one after draining an infection FOR AN ENTIRE HOUR!!! I was almost septic with NO FEVER! Calling Dr. House!!! The doctors readmitted me to the hospital for intravenous antibiotics and to recover. They also scheduled another laparoscopic surgery for the following week hoping that the swelling would decrease and release the stone. THEN they would schedule a laparoscopic gall bladder removal. Sounds simple right? (play gloomy music here!!!)
Nope! The next week, the doctor was unable to remove the stone and tore a hole in the bile duct trying to do so. Readmitted into the hospital for recovery again, the Dr. House joke was funny, but not so much so. I was referred to Dr. Parsons at Northwest Community Hospital. He is the guru and if he wasn’t in Arlington Heights, just down the highway, I would have been flying to wherever he lived to have this stone removed...all before ANOTHER surgery to remove my gall bladder.
Dr. Parsons told me I was #5. The fifth stone he could NOT get out! Out of the tens of thousands of successful procedures, I was the 5th failure. I don’t think EITHER of us was happy. The stone had burrowed through the bile duct wall near the head of my pancreas and the only way to remove it was to have an open, rather than laparoscopic, surgery. Amazingly (Thanks be to GOD!!), Dr. Parsons knew of a doctor, a pancreatic oncology surgeon, that had done this procedure before and was in the same hospital. This time I got to LEAVE the hospital and go home. I was prescribed rest and a liquid diet, and to call Dr. Bilimoria the following morning. Dr. Bilimoria’s office called me a half an hour before the office opened to schedule a consultation appointment. After another month and another emergency room visit, I went into surgery and came out with no gall stones or gall bladder, and a 7” scar down the middle of my abdomen.
If you ever think you feel helpless from a foot, leg, arm or hand injury; try losing your core muscles. You can’t sit up so you can’t get out of bed. You can’t catch a falling pencil. You can’t pull or push anything towards or away from you. Even stairs can be difficult. The first time I tried to walk, I made it down the hall two doors away before I had to head back and the nurse (Annie-bless her tough loving, “you’re a momma and your kiddies need you so let’s get busy!!!!” attitude) had to “catch” me with a harness twice. After 5 days, I went home to recover. And 1 day shy of 4 weeks of recovery, I went back to school. By Memorial Day weekend, I was FINALLY working out with Mark, my friend and parent who is a trainer.
After almost 2 months of a liquid diet, I had lost 25 more pounds and I had NO muscles. Not only were my core muscles effected, but my arms and legs were deteriorated because I had been on bed rest and not eaten enough protein to sustain muscle tone. So Mark, my friend/parent/trainer, got me busy and IN SHAPE! I did the Sears (ok ok!!! Willis) Towers Stair climb in November of 2009 and one day before my 39th birthday, I ran my first mile! Other than some hernia issues from the 7” incision which is common, I FEEL great! My overall health allows me to follow all the things that God asks me to do at home, school and church.
Now don’t get me wrong! It is HARD to stay disciplined and committed, but that is a whole other issue for another blog. My point is that becoming healthy was quite a trial and one that very few people have to experience to actually become healthy. It has changed my life in so many ways. I passionately want others to know how important their health really is.
While researching diabetes, I realized how many CHILDREN need to become healthy because so many are being diagnosed with diabetes NOW. And I thought I was young!! The causes and effects of our children’s lack of health is very diverse and complicated. Generally they are inappropriate levels of exercise, diet, sleep and other living habits. As Christians this also includes an inappropriate level of worship, Bible study, fellowship, prayer, and stewardship. This is why I want to share “Healthy for HIM!” with my students, their parents, and support systems.
Today my students and I watched Wall-E. Now I have a degree in English as well as education, so movies are a passion for me. This movie uses symbols VERY effectively. I have watched it a dozen times and see something new EVERY time (like the 700 year old Twinkie!). It makes the point of the evils of an excessive life whether the movie is realistic or not! And by the way, you can NOT lose bone density due to lack of gravity and there is gravity portrayed on the AXIOM spaceship. BUT I used this movie to talk to my students about living a life that keeps them “Healthy for HIM!”
This will be the introduction to what I want to achieve with the students this year. We will gradually be learning and adding to elements of the program. And I will be adding and reflecting on those elements and the process here.
Hope this finds you motivated and blessed by God!