A Time for Healing


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  170 comments   :  25,146 Views

Have you ever been afraid of something knocking you off of your healthy lifestyle track?  I'm a little scared now. Why?  I have a large hernia that needs to be dealt with, but the surgeons won't touch it. Why? I've lost 200 pounds now. There is enough loose skin hanging from my tummy to make it medically necessary that it be removed to proceed with the hernia surgery.  Luckily, they can do both in one surgery.  I have to get all of my ducks in a row medically for this, since my whole abdominal area will be open to infection at a VERY high risk, according to the doctors.
Now, you might think I would be jumping for joy at a chance for skin removal, but it scares me. I don't know why, except that they can't give me any idea what I will look like. They did say I might have a protruding area to work off. They can't attest to how much weight I will lose, but I was told 10 to 15 pounds in approximation. The hernia area has colon loops that come in and out, causing much pain. That makes a protrusion worthwhile, if they can fix that!
While I can't directly control all aspects of my life, I cling to the one area I can control: my SparkPeople lifestyle. Yes, that is the one thing I control-- my exercise and my will to do good for my body. Am I perfect right now? No. But I am much better than I could be. Each better choice I make for myself leads me to a healthier place.
Every player in life needs a game plan to get through the rough stages, I'm going to be cut from hip to hip and have drains inserted, taking months to recover. When the doctor gave me the list of things I couldn't do, I asked her for the things I could do. Sadly, she just said, "Walk."  I immediately told her I could arm bike and.... where she quickly cut me off and said my heart rate had to stay lower than 110 beats per minute and to just walk.
Since SparkPeople, I've been on a mission to prove that life gives second chances. Now it seems it is my time to heal for round two. Round two is going to start with maintaining my loss and building my strength back up. 
DING! Flashback to my round one:
I proved a 460-pound, bedridden, disabled woman COULD lose 200 pounds with SparkPeople.
I proved that same woman could:
-Get her walker out and train for a 5k.
-DO a 5k with her walker.
-Start having meetings in Indiana to get to know other Sparkers.
-Start having SparkPeople rallies to inspire people and ignite their Spark.
-Do yoga in public, including several components of the sun salutation.
-Buy a bathing suit when one first fit me and post my picture in it to promote body image.
-Learn and try new activities at the gym.
-Buy clothes at regular stores instead of specialty catalogs only.
-Use a seat belt.
-Fit in booths and theater chairs.
-Stand up for myself and others.
Those things did not come easily.  They took a lot of sweat and tears, pain and fears that I would never make it. But in each challenge to prove it could be done, I healed.  I stepped up to another challenge. Sometimes I would even say "I can't _____." just before I did it. Each success left me feeling like flinging open new doors in this brave new world of fitness.
It is very important to take time to heal, whether from surgery, grief, or any event that throws your life off track, but healing doesn't mean throwing your plan out. Healing may mean looking back at your past accomplishments and planning for new ones.  It could be making new friends.  It could be a very physical or emotional thing. During a healing time, you may just want to maintain your weight and do damage control if you feel overwhelmed.  I use my mantra "Lose, maintain, just don't gain." to keep me on track.  Another "Indyism" I use is "Tea and sympathy, not cake and apathy."
I'm a butterfly now.  I've almost emerged from my cocoon and the world looks a little scary, but I am so much different than I was as a caterpillar.  It's a brand new world... no wait, it's a brand new me.  So fears, be what you are, I will fly in the sun and the eyes of fear will be blinded by the light.
What fears to do have when it comes to your transformation? How do you deal with your fears?
Editor's Note: Remember the resistance chair that Beth reviewed awhile back? The company is offering free shipping and 2 free DVDs to SparkPeople members. Click here for more info

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    Excellent! - 2/22/2018   7:10:34 AM
  • 169
    One day your fears will have to face the God you know. This is a great story. thank you. - 9/29/2017   8:32:26 PM
  • 168
    Beth, you are amazing!! Best wishes!!!!! - 9/29/2017   7:56:32 PM
  • 167
    Beth, you are one amazing woman. I hope the surgery goes well for you. You can do this and you will be all the better for it. It might be slow progress after but you have so much resilience I know you will win through. Sending prayers to support you in your journey and looking forward to the "new Beth" back here on Sparks when you feel able. - 9/29/2017   3:15:33 AM
  • 166
    After having 13 surgeries I will personally attest to walking after such procedures. It will help you heal and deal with the limitations that are set upon you to heal. You are an inspiration to many sparkers, so spark on and do what you can to let your body heal.
    I did not check the date of your blog, I am sure by now this has all come to pass...
    God Bless and I will keep you in prayer.
    Jean - 3/3/2016   12:15:14 PM
  • 165
    I need to get back to reading your blogs regularly, Beth! What a true inspiration you are. I wish you complete health and healing with the upcoming surgery. You have given so much of yourself to your Spark friends! - 7/25/2015   4:24:43 PM
    Thanks for sharing. - 3/13/2014   2:28:50 AM
  • 163
    I love reading your blogs. They are always inspiring and uplifting. I missed this one when it first came out but enjoyed it tonight. - 10/25/2013   11:33:52 PM
  • 162
    I have found your story and your blogs so inspiring, I shared them with one of my coworkers today. She now wants to join me in trying to train for a 5k in October. Right now I am starting by doing the 5k walking plan. It is now week 3 and so far I am sticking with! Go me! - 5/4/2012   5:27:05 PM
  • 161
    Beth...you are amazing! You have come so far, and inspire me so very much. Thank you for your blog, and the reminder that we have to allow ourselves the flexibility to adapt to what life throws at us. You are in my prayers for a safe surgury and a smooth path of healing and recovery. You ARE a butterfly, soaring to new heights and sights..... - 4/28/2012   12:25:15 PM
  • 160
    A bump on the road, a step on the jpourney, a long detour...You can do whatever you need to do here. Our hearts are with you, dear. - 4/28/2012   6:33:12 AM
  • BEE171
    I love reading your blogs. They are always so uplifting. You are in my prayers as you face this scary decision. You have already overcome so much, as Winnie the Pooh says, "You are braver than you think." :-) - 4/25/2012   11:13:42 AM
  • 158
    Well written post, thank you for posting. Yes to tea and sympathy, not cake and apathy. - 4/25/2012   9:58:56 AM
    This is just another step in your journey. I know that God will be with through this step. You are so inspiring to all your spearkfriends, I enjoy all your blogs. Annette - 4/24/2012   12:46:28 PM
  • 156
    I don't know if you are a believer, but you are more than a conqueror in Christ. You are a true hero as evidenced by what you've already overcome. I can't even manage to SPARK up once a day, let alone allow the program to help me lose 200 lbs! You are awesome and eyes have not yet seen what you can become. All surgery is scary, but I have found that doctors most of the time give you the worst case scenario so that when you come through with flying colors it's more of a miracle. Hang in there, and have that surgery. Follow their orders so that you don't pull anything or get infected, and continue to be the inspiration us slackers need. - 4/24/2012   10:07:16 AM
  • 155
    You brought tears to my eyes, dear one. You are my hero, Beth.
    (((hugs))) - 4/23/2012   11:26:53 PM
  • 154
    Wow. what an inspiration! Very moving and touching blog. - 4/23/2012   1:59:30 PM
  • 153
    Beth, you can do this! I had a tummy tuck and while it wasn't a hernia, it did require me to lay off most exercise for several weeks. Just keep walking, and eventually everything will heal! - 4/23/2012   12:59:54 PM
    You are an inspiration and I truly wish the best for you at this difficult time of the journey! - 4/23/2012   12:34:20 PM
  • 151
    Hi Beth. First of all, congratulations on losing 200 lbs! That is amazing! Your tenacity and willpower are a testament to your character so I am sure that no matter what you face, surgery or otherwise, you will be successful.

    I would like to encourage you to not be discouraged by your doctor's recommendation to just walk. I had a lower body lift after losing 100lbs. I was literally cut in half! But I was back to work in three weeks, albeit at a bit slower pace than before. I learned to listen to my body and do as much as it would allow. Everyone is different and everyone heals differently. I recently had a total hysterectomy and am almost 5 weeks post op. I am struggling with lack of energy, but I am doing really well and feel that in a couple more weeks I'll be able to easily get back to my walking/elliptical and some light weights. I'm not quite ready for kickboxing or my Jillian Michaels workouts yet, but that will come in time.

    Listen to your body. Rest when you need to. You will have good days and bad days. On the bad days, remind yourself that this is just a speedbump on the road to full recovery. You will not go back to your old ways, because you have solidified your new lifestyle. Nothing will hold you back!

    I wish you all the best! Robin - 4/23/2012   11:02:01 AM
  • 150
    Beth, you are an amazing lady! I admire you and your accomplishments. My failed attempts seem so futile when looking at what you've accomplished. I am shamed. However, I find the inspiration of...you! I'm reaching out in courage to take those steps without fear of rejection. I like your mantra and I'm going to make a list of what I've accomplished so far and post it prominently to remind me. Thank you for sharing your amazing story. Good luck with your surgery. You are going to be fine. Stay strong. Your SP friend, Wendy - 4/23/2012   6:52:28 AM
  • 149
    Thinking of you. You have made it this far and you will continue to make your next goal!!! - 4/22/2012   11:01:27 PM
  • 148
    Your story is truly inspirational and very uplifting. Thank you for sharing it!! - 4/22/2012   8:12:57 PM
  • 147
    Wow, very inspirational blog! Best of luck with the surgery, but your attitude says you will be better than ever. - 4/22/2012   6:42:50 PM
  • 146
    Beth, you have done so much and you have so much more that you can do, and WE Sparkers know that you can do anything you put your mind to, except, maybe, being the starting point guard for the L.A. Lakers.

    My brother had major hernia surgery, and he too was limited to walking for exercise for what seemed to him to be a millennium. He is a retired Marine officer who has walked, run, swam, climbed mountains, worked out with fixed weights on a machine and free weights at home. He doesn't work out on Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas, but he exercises every other day.

    He acquired a hernia helping a couple of young marines lift a fallen tree out of the roadway.

    His hernia was not in the regular book of hernias, because when he had his surgery, the doctor placed a mesh screen made of Kevlar over and around the herniated area. I guess bullets Will now bounce off of him. One of his former Sargent-Majors described him as one of the physically and mentally toughest Marines he ever had the honor to work with.

    I'm sure that with the extra surgery for the removal of skin your surgery will be more extensive, so, because of my beliefs, I am going to add you to my prayers. I don't mean for this to be offensive, it's just my faith.

    After his surgery, my brother wasn't able to walk as much or as well as he had before the surgery, but he was able to start out with a quarter mile walk in his neighborhood, and he added one more house to his walk almost every day.

    He reached a half mile, then a mile, and by the time he had worked up to five miles a day (wogging?), his doctor was pleased enough at his progress that he gave him permission to start working out on a stationary bike.

    Mentally, he felt like he was dragging an emotional anchor, but he continued to improve.

    Because he stayed active and ate healthy, his doctor told him he was improving quicker than normal patients of "his age" (my brother was 57 at the time of the operation).

    By the end of the year, his doc had given him permission to resume all activities at his former level.

    A year ago, at age 64, I suffered a torn rotator cuff when I didn't sufficiently warm up to play softball with my granddaughter. My surgeon recommended I NOT have the surgery because men my age, 90% of the time, would not do therapy longer then the generally approved 6-8 weeks.

    I told him that I was one of the most stubborn old men he had ever met, and I had the surgery. Young baseball players who have this type of surgery usually take a full year to recover. Ten months later, I was again playing catch with my granddaughter. It did take another six months for me to regain the strength to get back to what I could do before, but I believe being able to narrowly focus on a goal you commit to in a positive manner can have only one result. I do strength exercise on both shoulder 6-7 days of the week.

    You will be a success.

    Agape - 4/22/2012   4:03:24 PM
  • 145
    Beth, I am SO inspired by you. Blessings upon you as you prepare for this next difficult step in your journey. - 4/22/2012   12:59:40 PM
  • 144
    Good luck with your surgery and healing time. I always enjoy your blogs and find them inspirational, even if I don't always post a comment. You are an inspiration to many people! - 4/22/2012   12:38:49 PM
  • 143
    Thank you for sharing. I'm currently grieving the loss of my baby. I was/have been eating badly but now I'm try to get through this by being healthier. - 4/22/2012   12:27:41 PM
  • 142
    You are doing fantastic, stay positive, you will get through this! Thank you for your inspiration, God bless you.
    ~ from another Beth - 4/22/2012   10:49:30 AM
  • 141
    You are so inspiring! Thanks for your story.

    - 4/22/2012   10:30:16 AM
  • 140
    You can do this, Beth. It's just one more step in unfurling your wings. We're all behind you! - 4/22/2012   8:40:19 AM
  • 139
    I have no doubt that you will get through it. You have shown such strength and courage to date. Allow yourself time to heal. Keep up your healthy eating plan and remember your own motto's. I quote you all the time. The - Lose, maintain, just don't gain." and "Tea and sympathy, not cake and apathy." are great ones for this occasion.

    The only experience I ever had similar but not even close was when I broke ligaments in my ankle and was not allowed to put weight on it for 12 weeks. I had to sit as much as possible with it elevated.

    Everyone expected me to put on lots of weight with tea and sympathy!! But funny that was when I embarked on this healthy eating. I actually lost weight as I did not indulge in the 'tea and sympathy'.

    So make sure that well meaning friends find more inventive ways to treat you than with food.

    While I know you can do it and have a great attitude it is perfectly ok to be scared and have weak moments so I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers and keep an eye on your blog to follow your progress. The world needs more inspiring people like you. - 4/22/2012   7:46:11 AM
  • 138
    What a fighter you are! Keep going. I know that you are going to succeed. Prayers for your recovery. - 4/22/2012   7:36:50 AM
  • 123ELAINE456
    A very inspirational blog. May God and his Angels surround you always and see you through the coming days. God Bless You and Have a Wonderful Week. - 4/22/2012   6:05:09 AM
    Dear Beth I love your outlook on life. I would like to give you a saying I learned over thirty years ago; "Fear knocked on the door. Faith answered and no one was there." - 4/22/2012   5:52:20 AM
    You are going to be in my prayers. I hope and pray that it all goes well. The healing Gods will be with you and your recovery. - 4/22/2012   4:54:52 AM
  • 134
    I have every confidence you will come through this just fine. Your courage is so strong, you've done everything right and your attitude is amazing. And all of us will be here to hold you up until you are healed. - 4/22/2012   2:34:50 AM
  • 133
    Blessings to you! I had back surgery last year which put me in chronic pain. I can hardly go anywhere. I stopped losing, but I haven't gained!! I need to count my blessings. Thanks for this! - 4/22/2012   1:39:24 AM
    I to wish you a speedy recovery. You will be in my prayers. You have no idea how wonderful and inspiring I think you are. YOU, my dear, are MY HERO! - 4/22/2012   12:33:18 AM
  • 131
    beth, i know you will come through this and heal !! i haven't read all the post, but when my nephew had his skin removal surgery, he donated his skin to the burn unit. it was used to help children who had been severely burned. it really helped him a lot in his recovery to know that he was helping children to heal and have a normal life. if you haven't considered this, i hope you will look into it and see if you can do this too. good luck and God bless !! - 4/21/2012   11:30:00 PM
  • 130
    I have no doubt that you will face this obstacle in your journey with the same fortitude, determination and courageyou've displayed so far. It's more than a little bump in the road but we all know you can handle it. I foresee even greater freedom and accomplishments for you following a successful surgery and recovery. All of Sparkdom is thinking of you. - 4/21/2012   8:39:55 PM
  • 129
    Beth you are such a strong women, you will come through this stage of rebuilding your life with God and all your Spark friends at your side.
    I certainly know about the fears we manifest about surgeries. I have had both knees replaced. Getting ready for hand surgery. The tummy tuck I need, for after losing 200 lbs, I have an excess of loose skin, is on hold till I finish my hand surgery. I need my hands, the tummy I an hide. But I also fear the tummy tuck for what it encompasses. But you have inspired me before , to put on a swim suit and face the public. I did and continue to do so.
    Walking a 5K in your walker. That was awesome.
    Beth I will be praying for you and a speedy recovery.
    Your life, your accomplishments are worthy of a book. Much more interesting than Ruby. You have over come so many obstacles You are a walking success story.
    And the journey is not over, this period of your life will be just a pit stop, you will be back on the road in no time.
    Stay positive.
    Tisha - 4/21/2012   8:29:36 PM
  • 128
    Beth....thinking of you, sending prayers. Thank you always for the wisdom you bring us. - 4/21/2012   8:23:20 PM
  • 127
    It sounds like the recovery process won't be fun, but you have already come through so much, that I'm sure you can handle this with your usual 'spark' and grace. Thanks for writing about it. I have been toying with the idea of a hip replacement for a long time..you are a huge inspiration to me and I think I will do it. - 4/21/2012   8:13:02 PM
  • 126
    I love your mantra - "Lose, maintain, just don't gain." - May I borrow it?
    You have done so much, I am very happy for you, I know how difficult it is to do! - 4/21/2012   8:05:46 PM
  • 125
    I always have the fear of doing something different. That I will mess up, be laughed at, or look stupid. Lately I have taken on new challenges of joining a health club and getting a personal trainer. I also have a fear of the unexpected by not knowing what the outcome will be. It's scary! I'll be praying for you. - 4/21/2012   7:28:09 PM
  • 124
    You never fail to inspire and I have every confidence that you will continue to meet life's challenges head on! - 4/21/2012   7:14:30 PM
  • 123
    Best wishes to you for a very successful surgery and a speedy recovery Beth. Your outlook is super, super positive and helps me put my little issues in perspective. Keep your wonderful, positive attitude - I'm sure you will. - 4/21/2012   7:06:41 PM
  • 122
    You are incredible. You will get through the next challenge. - 4/21/2012   7:05:49 PM
  • 121
    Beth, you continue to inspire me each and every time I read your blog. You are so strong, you've got this surgery! Stay positive, my friend! - 4/21/2012   6:54:10 PM

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