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Reflections on life and where I have evolved

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

This has been quite a year. I remember that a year ago on New Years Eve I read someone's blog who had said that she was going to use a one-word mantra to sum up what she wanted for the upcoming year. At the time, I had decided that my word was "Peace". That pretty much captured my ultimate desire, and every sub goal I had would always lead me there, to peaceful contentment.

My "Peace" became severely interrupted during the last 3 months of 2010 when my sister became ill, but I can't allow myself to fear the future. The circumstancesI find myself in have forced me to live in the present moment. That's the only time I feel that peace I so much desire. It's a constant practice of bringing myself back into the now whenever I drift my thoughts to nostalgia over past memories or drift towards fearful anticipation of what the future may bring.

A couple of weeks ago, I got out this treasured little box that contained every card I'd ever gotten from my sister...birthday cards, thank-you cards, holiday cards, all-occasion cards, cheer-me-up cards, encouagement cards. She always wrote something special in them. I sat there reading them all and sobbing so hard I thought I was going to be sick. My husband came in the room and asked me why I was doing that to myself. He was right. What good did it do to think about all that was. It truly did nothing positive for me. Living in the present is where your power and strength is - dwelling in the past depletes that power. I've decided that I have to toss out all those cards and just stay focused on today. One day at a time...step by step....one moment at a time.."yard by yard life is hard/inch by inch life's a cinch"...breathe in/breathe out and just be.

I stopped making resolutions several years ago. I used to make a list every New Year's Eve, and then I realized that the list was exactly the same each and every year. Losing weight was always at the top. Second was always to save more money.

One particular year, I switched from resolutions to intentions. That sounded better. I INTEND TO (fill in the blank). Action and results oriented. That would surely lead me to the actual achievement of mygoals. However, some of the best intentions also can go by the wayside when life happens and you find yourself spun around in another direction.

For 2011, I have no resolutions, no intentions, no lofty goals, no concrete expectations. Just an effort to keep myself in the present moment and dwelling in the confidence that I already possess all that I desire. Life is fluid and ever-changing. There are things that happen outside of our control. But we can control our thoughts, our feelings, and our reactions. We can get to exactly where we want to go by living our best self moment to moment.

One thing I want to get back to is meditation. I used to meditate daily several years ago and then got away from the practice. It did help me feel more calm and centered, which I need now. There is so much power in silence.

I feel more confident than ever that I can reach my health and weight goals this coming year. It's not even anything I strive or long for anymore...it's just the way it's going to be.

I'm ever grateful for the friends I've made here, some of whom are as dear to me as those friends I see often. All my best wishes go out to you for a great year ahead, filled with good health, love, happiness, peace, prosperity, and endless possibilities.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOV4WARD 12/29/2010 7:42PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticonMary, luv your thoughts and luv u... I know that you are torn by things beyond your control with your sister, and I think you are spot on to stay focused and present in the present. I also have found having some personal meditation time helpful... for gathering myself and setting the tone for the day. I like to do it first thing in the morning, and have found also that I slip into that also when I am doing strength exercises with weights & resistance bands... odd but it is also a time of concentration and focus that for some reason brings on a deep relaxation... never would have guessed that!

when I went through these things this year with gramps, it helped to make my personal self-care routines and prayers/meditations a daily priority... I'm not sure I would have made it as well without totally losing it and may have regressed to eating myself silly without restraints...

i also found so much comfort just knowing I had friends here, like you, who truly understood and supported me in my grief and suffering... i am glad we are sharing our journey... i know 2011 will be hard, like life can be hard, but it will be easier b/c we'll do it together.

(((hugs))) j

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SHERLYN-WILL 12/29/2010 12:17PM

    I think your thoughts are right where they need to be... and your plans to NOT make plans as the future does change so easily.

I THINK the being in the moment and SAVORING it completely will create such wonderful memories.... and even if the MEMORIES IT CREATES are sad ones too... you will still be so engaged and savoring them because THEY are your REAL LIFE! What a precious soul you and your sister both are!

GOD has sure blessed you all your lives WITH EACH OTHER and that in itself is a thought to savor!

GOD bless you and peace be with you as you face the new year!

Comment edited on: 12/29/2010 12:17:52 PM

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HEALTHY4ME 12/29/2010 7:10AM

    Mary as I replied earlier you have done so very well. However, I do agree with BurittaElita, save them put them away, cos in years to come you will say wonder where those cards are, wish I had a few. Yes sad stuff now cos you are fearing the future but memories later. I know from some of mums stuff I wish I had kept.
As for intentions ha you are right, they get lost as easy as resolutions and yea silly me, I have the same as you lose wt...... again for 30 years now anyway. So this year I am promissing myself that and allready am I getting nervous, mainly cos of my knee - my non operated one and the other sometimes. So have to fgiure what to do.
HUGS you are A GREAT spark buddy and sure wish we lived closer.


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MAZZYR 12/29/2010 6:39AM

    Oh Mary, I loved reading your reflections. I can relate to living in the present moment. The present moment has become my safe place.

Fond memories have always been a source of joy for me until this year when they caused me pain. I am learning to put limits on some memories for now and believe one day I can once again enjoy them.

For today, my focus is also on the present moment and feeling peaceful.

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BURRITAELITA 12/28/2010 9:18PM

    I'm going to offer an alternative viewpoint. I think it was a very good thing for you to reflect on the love in those cards and to have a good, hard cry. I think people need to grieve for some time during a major loss. It's part of our emotional makeup.

I would encourage you to save the cards, even if you have to put them in the attic. My dad's most prized possession after my mom passed are the love letters they wrote to each other during WWII. He has read and re-read them (all 500 of them) several times im recent years. He feels her presence when he reads them. They make him cry sometimes, but also laugh and feel all warm and happy inside, too.

Comment edited on: 12/28/2010 9:18:49 PM

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WILD4STARS 12/28/2010 9:00PM

    Getting back to regular meditation is a goal of mine this year. Let's keep each other posted on how that goes. My prayers are still with you as I know you are still needing some energy as you move into the New Year.

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MY_LIFE_NOW 12/28/2010 8:57PM

    Wow what a positive blog this was ..love the line you wrote .... "Living in the present is where your power and strength is - dwelling in the past depletes that power." this line was a wake up call because that has been exactly how i've been living in the pass unable to move forward..stuck and paralyzed emotionally..i feel so depleted and the more i fight it it seems the stronger the hold it has on me..but that one line gave me an "aha moment" thank you beautifully written.. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SUNNYH99 12/28/2010 8:46PM

    What an awakening, Mary! Good for you. I like those slogans, yard by yard, life is hard, inch by inch, life's an inch. How true! Meditation sounds like a really good idea. My DH gave me a Tibetan Singing Bowl for the holidays, something I'd wanted for myself and my clients. If you've never heard one, do see if you can hear one because they resonate with your soul! Very helpful sounds to facilitate meditation.

BTW, I commented on your WW blog but it got added to the one from the day before. Not sure what I did wrong, but that's what happened.

I'm glad you're not going to massage your pain by crying over those cards anymore.
emoticonLove, Sunny

Comment edited on: 12/28/2010 8:47:57 PM

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Year 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I started recording my weekly weight on my Spark Page on Jan. 3 of 2010. I'm going to 'clear the board' and start fresh this coming Jan. 3, but before I do, I decided to copy the info into a blog to keep as a reference.

As you can see, it was a slightly turbulent year (especially towards the end) but I did hang in there and I am proud of what I did accomplish.

I'm ready for a clean slate and a fresh start for 2011. I plan to reach my weight goal, achieve Lifetime Membership at Weight Watchers, and achieve the best of health and fitness throughout the coming years.

Year 2010

2010 has had a rocky start. I have felt in the poorest of health and just plain lousy for too long. I am determined to do what it takes to reach my goal.

01-03 210.0 - Start Wt; Goal Wt: 160 by 1-1-11
01-10 210.0 - 0.0 lost - was harder to begin than anticipated
01-17 210.0 - 0.0 lost - is the needle stuck or somethin'?
01-24 210.6 - 0.6 gained - ARRRGH!! Something is terribly wrong with my motivation...but I'm not giving up!
01-31 209.8 - 0.8 lost - felt like I didn't deserve it - still trying to find my motivation.
02-07 209.6 - 0.2 lost - need to be more consistent. I'm NOT giving up! I CAN do it!!!
02-14 211.4 - 1.8 GAINED. I am struggling but I am still in there. Some day this will fall into place for me, I know it will.
02-21 212.4 - 1.0 gained. I'm still determined to do this.
02-28 213.0 - 0.6 gained. This is not going well at all.
03-01 215.0 - joined WW Monday nights. It's Do or Die for me, literally. This is my official first WW WI (fully dressed, hence the 2 lb. gain, lol). It's only going to get better from here on out!
03-08 210.0 - 5.0 lost - Now THAT'S more like it! I did great last week and I'm proud of myself.
03-15 207.0 - 3.0 lost - I'm happy, I'm happy!
03-22 205.0 - 2.0 lost - This is so exciting!!!!
03-29 202.0 - 3.0 lost - The leader at WW says I'm on fire!!!!
04-05 - 200.0- 2.0 lost - I'm in shock! I didn't think I had a very good week eating-wise, but I did walk 4.6 mi/day.
04-12 - 198.0- 2.0 lost - ONEDERLAND!!!! Happy, Happy!
04-19 - 196.4 - 1.6 lost - SO amazed! This feels great :^)
04-26 - 194.4 - 2.0 lost - 20.6 total lbs. gone in 2 months!!!!!
05-03 - 190.2 - 4.2 lost - I'm speechless....
05-10 - 189.0 - 1.2 lost - 26 lbs. total!!!! Haven't seen the 180's since January 2008. Feeling awesome!
05-17 - 187.0 - 2.0 lost - I'm starting to really feel the difference. I have gone from size 18 to size 14. This is so wonderful!
05-24 - 185.0 - 2.0 lost - Wow, I was NOT expecting that at all...tough week last week and I still lost!
06-01 - 184.0 - 1.0 lost - No mtg Mon. 5-31 because of Memorial Day, so I went to the mtg. at another location on Tuesday (now THAT'S commitment!) and was blown away that I lost a pound. I thought I'd had a bad week and would be lucky to stay the same!
06-07 - 183.2 -0.8 lost - I'll take it!
06-14 - 182.6 -0.6 lost - things are slowing down because I'm not being as strict and I've been going over my points (including using up my activity pts. for food). Time to rein it in and get focused again on my goal.
06-21 - 180.6 - 2.0 lost - YIPPEEEEEE! Less than 1 lb. away from the 170's!
06-28 - 181.6 - 1.0 gained- Ooops!!! I had a stressful week baking 8 dozen cupcakes for grandson's graduation party last Saturday. I'm back on track as of this morning, and feeling positive about getting that pound off and then some next week.
07-05 - 179.6 - 2.0 lost - it feels SO much better to lose! I'm happy to say goodbye to the 180's.
07-12 - 179.4 - 0.2 lost - Another not-so-great week. I cheated a little and took my sandals off this time to weigh. I swear I'm gonn lick this and get back to steady losing!
07-19 - 177.2 - 2.2 lost - Had a week of heavy duty marathon cleaning that racked up a lot of activity points which paid off!
07-26 - 176.0 - 1.2 lost
08-02 - 174.8 - 1.2 lost :: 40.2 pounds total, YAY!
08-09 - 175.0 - 0.2 gained - ut oh, I see a pattern..the only other time I gained was when I had to bake 8 dozen cupcakes for grandson's grad party...last week I also had to bake 8 dozen cupcakes for grandson's second grad party! Deja Vu! No worries though, I'll get it off next week and I'm still down 40 lbs. total!
08-16 - 174.8 - 0.2 lost - starting to get sloppy, and my weightloss has stalled.
08-23 - ??? - had to miss my meeting and instead go to a clinic to get medication for the poison ivy all over my ear, neck, cheek, eyes, fingers, arms, even tummy!
08-30 - 177.2 - 2.4 gained - not happy about this - time to recommit, 'nuf said !!!
09-06 - Labor Day - no WW mtg.
09-13 - 176.8 - 0.4 lost - very happy since I haven't tracked food in two weeks. I'm ready to recommit, which means back to tracking...and doing it with a smile :^)
09-20 - 178.2 - 1.4 gained - ok, I did wear heavier pants...but still, I need to get my mojo back and start a downward trend again! note: did not track again this week.
09-27 - 178.6 - 0.4 gained - no excuses! I tracked only 2 out of 7 days...I need to face reality and realize that the reason I lost every single week in the beginning was that I tracked every single day, every single week. Tracking = awareness = weight loss!!!! I feel motivated and optimistic and ready to start a new losing streak!!
10-04 - 177.8 - 0.8 lost - started to track but fell off it by mid-week
10-11 - 177.4 - 0.4 lost - had the week from hell..my sister in hospital w/ serious health issue...motivates me even more to improve my eating habits. Didn't track and only got to walk 3 times last week.
10-18 - 180.8 - 3.4 gained - devastating! almost skipped my WW mtg. but decided I need to go now more than ever - still suffering from sadness & depression, but it's no excuse to throw everything I've accomplished away.
10-25 - 179.8 - 1.0 lost - even with going to Red Lobster for my birthday dinner - feeling motivated...I can do this!
11-01 - 179.0 - 0.8 lost - had a very emotional week, so I'm happy to have lost any amount.
11-08 - 179.4 - 0.4 gained - still trying to find my way back. I need to get back to tracking my food...it was a key factor when I was consistently losing every week. As much as I rebel against it, I realize that if I want to reach my goal, I'm going to have to do it, and do it joyfully.
11-15 - 178.4 - 1.0 lost - must've been all that hard yardwork I did Thurs-Sun.
11-22 - 177.6 - 0.8 lost - my doctor set my goal weight at 162, so I've just got 15.6 lbs. to go!!
11-29 - 179.4 - 1.8 gained - Thanksgiving week was a disaster. Tonight WW rolled out their new PointsPlus program. It's a fresh start for me and came at the perfect time. My intention is to get back to regular tracking and staying on plan - achieve my goal weight and get on Lifetime Maintenance.
12-06 - 177.2 - 2.2 lost - I feel like I'm getting my groove back!
12-13 - 181.3 - 4.1 gained - I didn't officially weigh in but I got on the scale at the end of the mtg. I knew it would be bad. I'm on an emotional rollercoaster because of my sister's terminal illness. Too busy to walk (plus the cold of winter has made it impossible to walk outside). Two lunches out w/friends and out to dinner w/ sis & BIL. Depressed beyond words and starting to do some binging. I can't let this take me over. I'll be able to cope so much better if I can eat moderately and continue to exercise. I must fight the urge to completely shut down. I will pray for help.
12-20 - 179.8 - 1.5 lost from last week, but 2.6 gained from my official WW weigh-in 2 weeks ago. At this point, I would be glad to stay the same until Jan. 3. It's been so rough emotionally and then the holidays...just too much going on!
12-27- 183.2 - 3.4 gained -Holidays were especially hard this year. I didn't want to go to WW and I'm proud I went and faced it. I'm still down a total of 31.8 lbs. for the year so I will take credit for that and contine onward to a successful 2011.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOV4WARD 12/29/2010 7:33PM

    emoticonwow Mary, thank you for sharing this. It shows such determination and growth as you resolved different issues, bringing you to the point where you say in your next blog that you just know you will make more progress, so much so that it just is. a non-issue even. You know, this is such a different place than when I met you and you were struggling to find your balance with eating and weight. You have sparked me, yet again, with hope that progress is possible and sustainable. I am happy for you :)

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SHERLYN-WILL 12/29/2010 12:20PM

    I think your week to week is good to put on a blog to refer back too.. IT is NOT JUST about the numbers at all... it is about the comments each week!

YOU are doing great... and I am rootin' for you!

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HEALTHY4ME 12/28/2010 7:30PM

    Mary you have done so super great!!! I can't tell you how happy, and proud I am for you and with all this otehr stuff going on you are still doing good.
Now we won't compare cos mine went up and has stayed up and if I want to blame...well lets blame my knees, surgery and not able to walk but like I say that is an excuse albeit today a darn good one as my R knee is so swollen cant bend it much -stiars are impossible.
hugs and hope you continue to persevere!!!

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MAZZYR 12/28/2010 5:48PM

    You did good!! Be proud!!

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MORERED 12/28/2010 4:11PM

    mary, congratulations on your achievements this year!! despite the most extreme of hardships you netted out in a good place with a positive attitude. Best wishes for a happy 2011!!!!! love, sosi

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learning to live in the moment

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Janet and I had planned to get together tomorrow (Thursday) to have a little Christmas celebration. Last Sunday I had made and frozen 6 dozen of my Mom's recipe of potato/cheese and sauerkraut/onion piroghies. I was planning on cooking some up for our lunch tomorrow. Janet never had any interest in learning to make them, but loves eating them. I remember the one Christmas that Mom taught me. I was a willing learner, but it was challenging because she didn't measure anything! She did it all by feel. After Mom passed, I gathered the courage one Christmas to attempt making them. It was a miraculous experience because they came out perfectly and the whole time I was making them I felt my Mom's presence.

Gifts for Janet were a bit of a challenge this year, but I was operating under inspiration and pleased with my choices. I got her a warm, soft, fuzzy throw blanket because she had said she's been getting chills at night. I bought a mustard-colored mid-sized bowl with lid and planned on making a fresh fruit salad...she doesn't eat much lately but mixed fruit seems to be one of her favorite things. I even bought a hand painted bowl that holds about 1 cup so she'd have something pretty to eat it out of. She hates plants because she doesn't like taking care of them; however, I bought a stunningly beautiful miniature red rose plant that's in full bloom. I come over every week, so I would water it and nurture it for her. Then in the early summer I plan to plant it in my perrenial garden in her honor. Last, but not least, I bought her a sentimental gift. It's these two little snow women holding up the letters M Y S I S T E R and inscribed on the bottom of one of the snow sisters is written 'my friend'. I took a picture of it because it's oh so cute!
She loves snowmen and has quite a collection of them she puts out during the winter months.

Having a delicious traditional lunch, giving thoughtful gifts, and spending the day together...sounds perfect, doesn't it?

Well, that's what I thought, but life has now taught me to not plan or think very far ahead. I got a call from my brother-in-law tonight. Janet's been admitted into the hospital because she has blood clots not only in her legs, but also in her lungs. The blood thinner shots she's been injecting into her stomach the past 7 days isn't doing the trick so they have to try another method. She had her husband call because he said she doesn't want to talk to anyone. I know her SO well, and know that she's feeling overwhelmed and sad.

I had a good cry, and now I'm just trying to accept that I have no control over what's going to happen next. This is what living in the moment is about. A quote that I have posted up on my bulletin board reads:

If I can stay present and not look forward or backwards, I can deal so much better. Thinking of the past brings remorse and grief because things will never be the same; anticipating the future brings fear and anxiety and most of what is imagined never happens that way anyway.

We'll reschedule our special day sometime after Christmas when she's feeling better, and that's okay. Right now, I'm just concerned with what she's going through at this moment. I'll feel better once she can talk to me on the phone and I can know that she's doing okay.

I'm trying so hard to be a trooper and learn to go with the flow and "let go, let God". But, it's been a gut wrenching experience and one of extreme lows and then fighting my way back up to normalcy. Just when I think I'm doing better, the bottom drops out again and I have to readjust my thinking and claim my peace once again.

Writing these blogs really helps me a lot to sort out my feelings and get a lot of emotions onto the page and thus out of my system. Your comments and support also help me more than I can express.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNYH99 12/28/2010 8:13PM

    Mary, I admire your courage to share all the details of your weight loss journey, and I salute your great attitude about any gains since your sis got sick. Keeping it all in perspective, you're doing your best to live a healthy way of life, and your weight loss is proof! Keep up the great attitude.

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SUNNYH99 12/23/2010 9:52PM

    I'm so sorry your sister is having this trouble and I hope the docs can get things righted very soon so she feels better, and you do too. This is tough.
emoticonLove, Sunny

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MY_LIFE_NOW 12/23/2010 10:53AM

    Hi, Just came across this blog ..and living in the moment caught my eye..so sorry to hear when i read this... my husband passed this last june from pancreatic cancer.. we got the news in march and by june he had passed... yes living in the moment is exactly what you need to do enjoy your time together and my thoughts and prayers are with you... Hugs

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BURRITAELITA 12/23/2010 8:13AM

    Taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do right now. Then you will be ready to be with her when she is ready for your visit. I'm sure that your sister is already aware of all the love and thoughtfulness that you have toward her. The gifts would have been just another proof of that. God bless you, and keep us posted. emoticon

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SHERLYN-WILL 12/23/2010 8:01AM

    God knows all your concerns all your worries.. he doesn't miss a single tear that falls from your eyes! I am so thankful she went in BEFORE she came to your house instead of DURING her visit with you. I know you feel her sadness right now and God has blessed you and her to "feel" each other like that! What a wonderful sister you both are to each other. (I love the snowmen by they way)

YOU have her such thoughtful gifts waiting! Your mom's recipe sounds delicious! Your mom must have been so proud of her babies being so close! Are there other siblings?

LOVE to you and many prayers for your family and especially your sister!

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MORERED 12/23/2010 7:32AM

    Dear Mary, sending over lots of positive energy and prayers for you and your sister. And a great big hug too. I hope you'll be able to talk with your sister soon and when you do, I know you'll be saying just the right thing to support her and bring her some joy. you always find just the right words....thinking of you during this difficult time....with love, sosi

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HEALTHY4ME 12/23/2010 5:21AM

    Oh Mary HUGS to you all. Your get together sounds great and just think she will have some strong days once they get this all figured out and you are right - you will have your day together. I hope you can stay strong and try to as you say live in the moment.
Not much to say in a sad situation especially at the holidays, just know I am thinking of you and HUGS.


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MAZZYR 12/23/2010 3:50AM

I always wanted a happy ending...
Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it without knowing what's going to happen next.
Delicious ambiguity.
-Gilda Radner

Oh Mary, you and your sister are in my thoughts and prayers.

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WILD4STARS 12/23/2010 3:04AM

    emoticon emoticonYou are staying so strong. I'm holding you both in my thoughts and prayers.

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MOV4WARD 12/22/2010 8:57PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticonoh, I'm so sorry to hear she was admitted, such a hard time of the year for these things. I wish you could just go, sit, watch a Christmas movie or something, hold her hand... perhaps a card & flowers... I'm sure she knows how dearly you love her, and sometimes it's just easier not to have company when we're hooked up with iv's & things...

Your lunch & the gifts you gathered sound perfect for her! I'm sure she'll smile in delight when you do have your lunch together.

Please let us know how she's doing, and she will be in our t&ps.

(hugs) j

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EDWINA172 12/22/2010 8:27PM

    My prayers are with you and your sister. This is a challenging time of year. It seems that memories are more bitter-sweet. I liked reading about your mom and her cooking. My mom did the same thing (cook by feel). I never paid much attention to her cooking. When she passed, I regretted it. Now that I'm older, I cook a lot. She would be proud of me. Next time I cook, I'm going to think about her watching over me. What a nice thought. I hope all works out with your sister. It is difficult to live in the moment when we are in the middle of a crisis. We get tunnel vision. Have a great week. Merry Christmas.

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Fighting the urge to shut down

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December has always been a difficult month for me. The holidays bring up a lot of sadness for me...not having children, missing my parents who I lost in 1996, not ever having the picture-perfect Christmas you sometimes see in movies, tv, and magazines. This year it's even harder with my sister undergoing chemo and the knowledge that this may be her last Christmas. It's almost too much to bear.

My house is a mess - I don't have the energy to clean. I don't ever feel like cooking; fortunately my husband understands and is a pretty good cook but I think he's wishing I would snap out of this. I hate to admit this publicly, but I don't even feel like showering. My hair's a mess everyday and I haven't worn make-up in weeks (mainly because I spend so much time crying I'd mess it up anyway). My doctor prescribed a low-dose valium for my anxiety and depression, but I've been reluctant to take it.

We did manage to finish our Christmas shopping yesterday and I wrapped everything last night. It's a simpler Christmas because the teenage grandchildren are getting cash (which they prefer). We also shopped for a new refrigerator, which perked me up because the one we've had for years is just too small. I have to practically stand on my head to fit everything in. We're 99% settled on one and will probably go and buy it today. It's 28 cu inch, French-door, bottom freezer - lots of room. Oh, and I bought myself some new eyeliner -now that's a step in the right direction.

I met a friend for lunch last Thursday. I spent the day with Janet Friday and stayed the night. Her, my brother-in-law and I went out to dinner Friday night and had a wonderful time because she was feeling well and it showed how happy she was to have me there. I met another friend for lunch on Saturday. All that eating out throws me off my plan. Add to that the fact that it's so bitter cold out that I can't walk outdoors (which is the one thing that I look forward to and what soothes my spirit). I managed to do a 4-mile indoor walk (with Leslie Sansone) one day, but the busyness of the week kept me from exercising the rest of the days. Throw the depression into the mix, and you have the perfect storm for not only falling off the wagon, but rolling a couple miles down into the ravene.

I wasn't going to go to my WW meeting last Monday night. I knew I had gained and I didn't want to face it. I finally talked myself into going last minute. Once I got there, I wished I hadn't. I couldn't stop crying. My leader and others were understanding, but no one could take away my pain. I didn't weigh in at the beginning, and I silently sat and listened to everyone talk...but I was miles away. After the meeting was over, I did get on the scale just to see what I already knew....I was up 4.1 pounds from last week.

Instead of feeling determined, I overate Monday night and most of Tuesday. This morning, as I got up early and looked at all the dust settling on the tables and floors, I told myself that I must gather up every ounce of strength I know I have within me, and pull myself up by the bootstraps. I must force myself to go through the house and clean today, then hop in the shower, fix my hair nicely, and put on some makeup. It's our 20th wedding anniversary today and we're going out for dinner. I have that to be grateful for. My husband is wonderful and he's been my rock over these past few months. I can't let my sadness over my sister overshadow the other parts of my life that are blessings.

Life does have it's ups and downs and sure tests our mettle. But somehow through it all we have to find the strength to focus on the goodness of life. I downloaded the song "Smile" by Charlie Chaplin, which is beautifully sung by the cast of Glee. The first frew times I listened, I couldn't stop crying. And then the message rang clear and it gave me hope and peace.

I added the Youtube link, and here are those beautiful words:
Tho' your heart is aching

Even tho' it's breaking

When there are clouds in the sky

You'll get by
If you
Smile through your fear and sorrow

Smile and maybe tomorrow

You'll see the sun come shining thru for you.

Light up your face with gladness

Hide ev'ry trace of sadness

Altho' a tear maybe ever so near

That's the time you must keep on trying

What's the use of crying

You'll find that life is stillworth while

If you'll just smile.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KIKIKIKIKIKI 12/16/2010 3:12AM

    Try to take the time to care for yourself before worrying about holiday cooking, or even cleaning. Be gentle with yourself right now, because you're not being lazy at all. Grief is genuinely HARD WORK and will take up a lot of your psychological (and even physical) endurance and resilience. Do what's going to make you feel well in the moment: eating and exercising for your body, not to meet outside goals. Goals are great to have, but don't pressure yourself too much on making constant progress. Re-gains happen to everyone, they are part of the overall process of change. emoticon

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MOV4WARD 12/15/2010 3:18PM

    emoticonHappy Anniversary Mary & Dh, and as you celebrate your 20 years together, i'm wishing you another 20!

(hugs~n~luvs) hands over a fresh pack of kleenix for Mary... life can be so precious & so bittersweet, but I am glad you have this time with your sis. thanks for the update, and just know you're all in our t&ps.

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MAZZYR 12/15/2010 1:53PM

    Oh Mary.

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NEVERMIND2010 12/15/2010 9:41AM

    I'm sorry you're dealing with so much. This time of year is difficult for a lot of people.

As far as your house goes, if you're not familiar with her, look up FlyLady (http://flylady.net). She has a great system that has helped a lot of people, including people struggling with depression.

Take care of yourself.

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WILD4STARS 12/15/2010 9:30AM

    I so wish I could take your pain away. I love your song "Smile." Please focus on that for a few days until you are feeling a bit better. Your sister would not want you to abandon your health while worrying about hers!! Your tribute to her will be to STAY healthy.

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CMWEST74 12/15/2010 9:10AM

  Keep fighting! Remember the happy times with your parents and draw on the strength of your close friends and family and keep fighting. That's my motto. LIke you, we have no children but I shower my close friends and siblings kids as if they were my own. It's hard and I feel that pain you have. Keep fighting!

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HEALTHY4ME 12/15/2010 9:01AM

    Oh Mary, I wish there was magic to stop the pain at this time for your sister and all of you. I do understand the depression and not wanting to take care of you.
I hope for you and hubby that you are able to get in the shower, cry in there, take a deep breath and think she wants me to live life everyday so today a special day for us two will be just that a special day. I can let myself be happy today, this evening.
HUGS and hope you have a good evening out.


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An update on my sister

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Thanks so much to all of you for your prayers and support since I disclosed of my sister's illness.

I don't want to talk about it at all to anyone because it's too painful. I think posting this blog will help me a little though.

Yesterday Janet went to see her oncologist. She starts chemo this Wednesday and will get it through IV once a week for 3 weeks plus take a daily pill. Then she's off one week and starts a second 3-week round. After that, the treatment is over. He said that's all he can do for her...shrink the tumor so that she's more comfortable, plus there are drugs available for pain. He was very frank with her and said that pancreatic cancer is one of the worst because it's silent until it's too late. Her cancer is in her lymph nodes, and she has spots on her liver and her lung. He told her that his experience is the treatment prolongs life 6-9 months; although he also said everyone is different and he has one man who is still going a year and a half after treatment.

I called my brother who lives in Georgia to let him know the latest. We are all in shock and just numb. I cried until there were no tears left....or so I thought until I got up this morning and cried again.

I know that staying present is the most important thing. Janet is still here and she will have good days mixed in with the bad ones. I need to hold tightly to those good days and be with her 100% - experience the joy of being able to talk and laugh with her, to hug her, to be able to tell her how much I love her.

She's my hero. She's got a good attitude and is not looking beyond the present. She's able to cry and I'm sure even get angry over all of this. But she has such a sweet nature and is upbeat most of the time. Even on the phone last night she was joking. She said that they went to the Red Lobster for dinner afterwards and she decided that "this lady deserves a mudslide" and that it was really good right to the last drop. She's never been in denial, but often says that it just doesn't seem possible that this is actually happening.

This Friday I'm going to spend the day with her and I hoping she'll be feeling okay that day. There's a movie she had wanted us to go see early this summer, "Ramona and Beezus", who are two sisters. We never did get to go and it left theatres pretty quickly. It's released on DVD, and I'm getting it this week from Netflix. She said she'd pop popcorn and we can have a fun movie day.

The blessing and lesson in this is to not wait until something catastrophic happens. Grab up all the joy of life every day - don't put off doing something/taking a risk... or saying something/mending fences/expressing how much you care....or even going on a lavish vacation /purchasing something you really really want. None of us knows how long we'll be here. My own faith tells me that there is so much more beyond our time here; but while we are here, life is meant to be fun...life is meant to be enjoyed. Appreciate the small and simple things. Get up every morning and be grateful for another day to experience wonderful things and be with people you love. Always be present and don't die while you're alive.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TWO-TOO-MUCH 12/9/2010 9:57AM

    First, I'm so sorry to hear about your sister's diagnosis -- I hope her treatments bring her relief and MUCH more time to spend with you and the rest of her loved ones.

I really needed to read your post this morning. I'd been pitching and moaning about all the work I need to do, about how the tree isn't up, and gifts aren't wrapped, and whine, whine, whine. Reading your post was the kick in the rear I needed...how dare I complain? So, instead, I will face this day with the joy you spoke so eloquently about and be grateful for my many blessings.

All the best to your sister, and to you as well.

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SUNNYH99 12/7/2010 8:10PM

    I'm so sorry about your sister's illness and the shock and distress it understandably brings. Somehow I hadn't known before today about her, and before I read your blog, I'd learned tonight about dear, brave Elizabeth Edwards losing her battle with breast cancer. She spoke so eloquently about living every moment while she was alive and I heard an interview with her tonight. I hear that same resolve to live passionately in what you wrote, both hers and yours for her. Let us now if we can help. Let me know, please.
emoticonSunny emoticon

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MAZZYR 12/7/2010 7:35PM

    Sisters are so special... enjoy your time together.

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55WALKER 12/7/2010 7:32PM

    Thank you for sharing the life lessons you are learning. We need to hear these things as much as you need to voice them...

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BURRITAELITA 12/7/2010 5:57PM

    You're doing just the right thing! Crying and loving and sharing times together. God bless you. emoticon

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HEALTHY4ME 12/7/2010 5:43PM

    HUGS dear Mary, I know you will have a super day and will be a memory you will cherish down the road, but as you say one day at a time. HUGS

I came to say I am afraid to order the tapes ( dh said he will get them for my birthday) cos I may not use them. But reading all this made me realize do it one day at a time and I will get the form down and tone at the same time.

Again HUGS.

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MOV4WARD 12/7/2010 3:20PM

    emoticonEnjoy the movie, sounds lovely. and thank you for the update, your sis, family & you all remain in our t&ps. j

(snagged pic, ty! :)

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MELANIEC. 12/7/2010 1:24PM


My prayers and thoughts go out to your family. Please know I will keep you in my prayers as she goes through her chemotherapy. You are so right about not waiting till something tragic happens. I lost my brother back in 2006. I never got to say goodbye and I didn't get to spend enough time with him because he lived across the country (as does my mom).

I know you will have a great day with your sister watching the movie. I'm glad you are getting to watch it with her and spend time with her. There is nothing more precious than the time we are with our loved ones.

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MORERED 12/7/2010 11:59AM

    It's these type of times where people's true colors come out and that's certainly the case with you and your sister. Through all the pain, I hope you can find comfort in the relationship that you have and the joy you bring each other. Enjoy your special day with her!!! My thoughts and prayers are with you both.


Comment edited on: 12/7/2010 11:59:40 AM

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WILD4STARS 12/7/2010 11:46AM

    I finished reading this with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. Your love for your sister shines in every line. My heart goes out to both of you. Have a fabulous day Friday, I 'll be thinking of you.

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