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    _RAMONA   27,849
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'BEFORE' Pictures (May 31, 2009 - September, 2011) & Continuing PROGRESS (February 2012)!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I'm starting this record with the first pictures ever that, once taken 6 months ago (July/September 2011), have continued to sit heavy on my heart, and which haunt the corners of my mind and pride... it doesn't help that my health at the point depicted is also at an all-time low.

However, the February 5, 2012 update pictures were harder to take and to post... I came up with all sorts of reasons to avoid it (wrong TOM - retaining water, need a haircut, allergies acting up - dark circles, no time right now - like there is ever really any time).

The truth is I worried that, though how I feel has vastly improved, there wouldn't be any discernable difference in the pictures... mostly because while I've lost 40 lbs. NOBODY in my 3D life seems to have noticed... at least they're not commenting (DH and MIL excepted). Conversely, my DH has lost 15 pounds and EVERYONE keeps ooing and ahing over his weight loss... I spend more time than I'd like managing my feelings about this... and I've been starting to think there really wasn't any visible change.

'Reasons' be d@mned, pushing past my anxieties about it and doing my pictures became important for my own well-being, and for maintaining my enthusiasm and motivation. In the end, I'm not disappointed.

Despite my anxieties, I'm also excited... this is the first time in four years I'm actually updating as per my commitment to do so. I feel a little taller for it... now if only THAT would show in the pictures, LOL!

So, without further ado, here's the beginning:




July 1, 2011 - The Divine Miss O's 7th Birthday Party
This picture is the moment I fully realized I was slowly dying, and I knew that my dying would be slow, painful, and a burden on my daughter. Every night I went to sleep (if/when sleep was even possible) wondering if I would wake up in the morning... my blood pressure was uncontrolled with a tendecy to spike erratically - my cholesterol numbers were insane - I had a debilitating headache all day, every day - I couldn't manage the simple maintenance of daily life - I hurt everywhere - I was beyond exhausted - I wore my hair in an unattractive pony tail because I couldn't hold my arms up long enough to do anything else - and I felt helpless to change any of it because everything I tried just made things worse.


July 1, 2011 - The Divine Miss O's 7th Birthday Party
My jeans look pretty much painted on, and my t-shirt doesn't 'hang' on me as it's supposed to (READ: at all).


Update: February 5, 2012
My jeans are hanging loose, and sort of falling off.


Update: February 5, 2012
My shirt is loose and hangs straight.




July 1, 2011 - The Divine Miss O's 7th Birthday Party
Note the strain on the side seams, and the buckling at the knee... these jeans stick to my body *everywhere*. You can also see how my belly pushes out further than my bust.


Update: February 5, 2012
Note the bagging under my butt, and that my bust now is edging forward from my belly.


Update: February 5, 2012
Though I have a long way to go, my clothes are now clinging in the 'right' places.




September 1, 2011 - The Divine Miss O's First Day of School
I felt elephantine and ungainly. My clothes grabbed at me every time I moved.


Update: February 5, 2012
The pants are now miraculously 3 inches longer and I can't feel any of these clothes actually touching my body.


Incidentally, the above pictures represent the first time I looked at photos of myself and acknowledged, "This has gone too far... you are truly BIG." I felt deeply, deeply sad for this woman (I no longer felt like 'me')... I no longer felt attractive in any way (though still not self-loathing as so many do... just not vibrant)... VERY different than how I felt here:

I have a confession...
www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
ge_public_journal_individu
al.asp?blog_id=2219765


...but things are NOW changing! :)



Me... June 4, 2012!
The circles under my eyes are still too dark, and my goitre is still too obvious, but I'm moving in the right direction. Don't you think?



...and now my original and 'back to the future' BEFORE picutures:



(May 31, 2009)December, 2011


Update: February 5, 2012
At first I didn't think I could see any difference between these two pictures, but I now can see that my neck is emerging... my shoulders seem to have 'dropped' and my neck is narrower than my head.


So here I finally am, everybody. Nice to meet you! LOL!

I know, I KNOW... it's taken me quite a while to do this (17 months to initially post pictures and 4 years to make progress)... pictures are an issue for me... taking them... having them taken. I am an 'in the moment' kind of gal. I store the moments and events of my life in my heart and soul with pictures painted in words of my choosing... the colours, depth, form and richness are derivative of how the experience shapes my thoughts and my feelings. I'm not even good at remembering to take pictures of people and happenings that are important to me (and I have a 7-year-old). It's not that I don't understand how important this sort of 'marking of time' is... even helpful in so many ways, it just isn't my first impulse. I find it annoying and distracting to my enjoyment of the moment, and often when I have made a point of taking pictures, I have trouble really remembering the event... I don't internalize a sense of having actually been there. All I have are the pictures in my hand... often insipid documentation... 'proof'... but of what, really... and I have trouble claiming the experience as my own.

Even here at SparkPeople I find pictures distracting at times. I am much more interested in considering of what people have taken pictures, and why, than I am in the pictures themselves. Now, if a picture makes me feel something or think beyond my own experience, that is a different matter entirely... and there are people here who use a camera lens the way I use words, and for those pictures I am deeply grateful... which brings me to this day.

For some time I have been in awe of many of my Spark friends, and their progress pictures. Experiencing these testimonies to courage, to enthusiasm, to hope and determination has been an evolutionary process for me. I initially viewed the pictures with a certain degree of anxiety... I couldn't imagine myself doing likewise. And if I'm being really honest here, I think at some level it's taken me all this time to be certain of my commitment to the process of eliminating fat. I didn't want anything up here mocking me should I not succeed. Now I am certain of my success (because I now know how I define success for myself), and over time... as I've rejoiced and celebrated with them my friends' transformations... I've become truly excited. I got to a day when it suddenly occurred to me to ask the question, "if I could feel this motivated and inspired by the pictures of others, how might I feel witnessing my own transformation in the same fashion?"

The truth is that I don't 'see' myself. I look at a picture of myself and I don't really know who that woman is... there is some sort of disconnect between how I look to myself in pictures, and how I feel... and it has nothing to do with my weight because I've always felt like this, no matter what my size or age... though the discrepancy seems to be lessening with years passing... almost as if my life is a very long journey to myself... yet I have discovered within myself a passionate connection to the documentation of change and transformation (which is probably why I at least take more than occasional pictures of my daughter). I delight in transformation!!! I revel... I wallow! I will come across someone's before/after pictures and will dance with excitement as I go off to do something good for myself. Transformation pictures create momentum and synergy... finally enough so, that I am ready to put up pictures of my own... and to move beyond them. I am at peace with this body... and looking forward to my own continued changes and 'becoming'.

Yet there is more to the story. I read something this week that resonated deeply within me. "Whenever a part of our reality changes we grieve." In a moment I realized just how complex this process is and that, even in rejoicing, there can be grief... and I realized that I feel some of that. Part of what has made it difficult for me to move forward at times, is that I am not unhappy where/as I am. Unlike many people at Spark, I feel no need to run away from myself as I am. I don't dislike my body as it is right now. This version of my body is more womanly... my breasts feel heavy and substantial, and they nursed my daughter by adoption (yes, you read that right)... though I can't bear children, my belly allows me feel what that could be like (I know... WEIRD). I understand how comforting it can be to nestle into a soft pillowy body, and I like that my husband and daughter can experience that with me... they like it, too. As I achieve my fitness goals, my breasts and belly will disappear. My husband, even now, wonders aloud at how much he might miss my hips... he's never known me slender (I've promised him they are still my most prominent feature). I wonder if my darling girl will like to cuddle just as much... will we still snuggle seamlessly, or will we both be a mass of angles fighting for a place to rest?

And this body still serves me so very well in so many ways... what if, because I am no longer the person I was when I was slender, the transformation leaves me with a hollow sense of achievement? My slender self NEVER wore a bathing suit because I really believed 'she' was 'fat', and I certainly would not have posted these pictures... IN A BATHING SUIT. My slender self never felt entirely visible, while at the same time I was excruciatingly self-aware. My goal weight body is very 'girlish'. I didn't always feel that I was given the respect I deserved just because of that. I felt as though I had to fight to claim space in the world. Worse yet, what if - like my body - my psyche fights to revert as well... as it has, to a degree, the times the weight has melted away of its own accord?

In this version of my body, I have experienced a sense of authority I'd never had before. I've had the courage to do things I couldn't seem to manage before... I married... I've become a mother... I stand up for myself... I am less self-conscious and I have a healthy degree of self-awareness... I am more adventurous... I laugh from my belly more... and with the transformation will come grief of another sort. I'm 20+ years older than when I was last slender. I doubt my body will appear as it did then. What do I do with that? And, I honestly don't find 'thin' for its own sake all that attractive... which is why I'm aiming for strong, and as muscular as I can manage... THIS I have not yet ever been. But how do I negotiate the rolling tides of my emotions? Some days I find it quite challenging. As it is, I've been here for 48+ months, and with one thing and another, visually I'm only now moving away from where I started. I hate that, and celebrate it all at the same time... at least I didn't mistakenly miss the opportunity to chronicle the 'beginning'... even though I feel (acutely at times) the pressure of 'I should have accomplished more'. Right now, I'm coping with this by already anticipating the updates in three months time.

I guess what I'm really trying to say here to myself, and to everyone who honours me by reading, that even good things/changes can have a sense of loss about them. Have goals and expectations, but don't expect to feel good about every aspect of every change that is overall desirable. It's not realistic, nor is the physical transformation most important in this process. Don't let the process of physical transformation seduce you away from whatever truly defines who you are, and don't let the less than positive feelings throw you off. Honour them, too. It's not fair to yourself to sell short all you have been in the body you are growing away from.

So, as you look at my pictures, please see more than the fat I am choosing to eliminate. Please see the strength this body already has. See the graciousness it represents. See the joy, love and courage it already expresses. See these things in yourself, too. This way, together, we can honour the steps that brought us here and celebrate the journey forward... as we then find the freedom to discover what it is we are running toward.

"I am beautiful as I am. I am the shape that was gifted. My breasts are no longer perky and upright like when I was a teenager. My hips are wider than that of a fashion model's. For this I am glad, for these are the signs of a life lived." CINDY OLSEN, co-owner of The Body Objective




(May 31, 2009)December, 2011


Update: February 5, 2012
I am once again approximately the size I was when I bought this bathing suit... four years ago. I've now effectively erased 4 years!


"The body is like an earth. It is a land unto itself. It is vulnerable to overbuilding, being carved into parcels, cut off, over-mined and shorn of its power as any landscape."




(May 31, 2009)December, 2011


Update: February 5, 2012
The differences here can't be seen in the pictures very well, but there is definition developing between just below my bust to the top of my hipbones. Also, now the bathing suit top covers substantially more of me.


"The breast in all its shapes has the function of feeling and feeding. Does it feel? Does it feed? It is a good breast."




(May 31, 2009)December, 2011


Update: February 5, 2012
This picture makes me feel the best... my bottoms are no longer painted on, my top sits over the waistband of my shorts as it should, and the legs fit like the shorts that they are. I actually can't believe these are the same bathing suit bottoms in both pictures!


"The hips, they are wide for a reason: inside them is a satiny cradle for a new life. A woman’s hips are the outriggers for the body above and below; they are portals, they are a lush cushion, the handholds for love, a place for children to hide behind."




(May 31, 2009)December, 2011


Update: February 5, 2012


"The legs, they are meant to take us, sometimes to propel us; they are pulleys that help us to lift, they are the anillo, the ring for encircling a lover. They cannot be too this or too that. They are what they are."




(May 31, 2009)December, 2011


Update: February 5, 2012
I don't see much difference in my arms, but I'm smaller across my back.


Update: February 5, 2012
The view I forgot to take the first time... my side view... I'm looking forward to seeing this change next picture day.


"There is no 'supposed to be' in bodies. The question is not size or shape or age, or even having two of everything, for some do not. The wild issue is, does this body feel, does it have a connection to pleasure, to heart, to soul, to the wild? Does it have happiness, joy? Can it, in its own way, move, dance, jiggle, sway and thrust? Nothing else matters."




(May 31, 2009)December, 2011


Update: February 5, 2012
This particular view hasn't changed nearly as much as I would like, but I expect greater things as time goes on.


The picture just above is the truest measure of why I am here. I'm not strong... I'm not flexible... and I'm not balanced... it took everything I had to stand still in this pose until my husband took the picture. It is obvious that my weight keeps me from physically living the joy and exuberance I feel inside.



(Marilyn Monroe)

When I first saw the above picture I did a double take... I didn't even reconize it as Marilyn Monroe - all I saw was JOY and VITALITY... it so perfectly matched how I feel inside and how I want to live. This is what I am aiming for... strong, flexible, balanced. Once I'm living my health and fitness goals to the full, this will be me... with *slightly* shorter legs... and maybe a tankini (I've been searching out vintage inspired suits... I love the narrow band around the legs on the suit above)! LOL!



NEW 'Before' pictures: I had my husband take these because I wanted to see more of the true shape of my limbs... I chose my bathing suit to 'conceal'... however, in looking at these pictures (the bathing suit views vs. the views below in a support tank and undies) I actually think that the more I tried to hide my size, the bigger I made myself look... something to ponder as I continue forward. What do you think?



February 5, 2012
I bought the tank in April, 2008 after my intial Spark success of a 20 pound loss. It fits me now just as it did then... THAT feels good!


February 5, 2012
This picture is difficult for me... it highlights just how crooked my body is, and everything that frustrates me about my physical self. I'm looking forward to seeing how my feelings may change as the process moves forward.


February 5, 2012
"My butt is big
and round like the letter C...
and ten thousand lunges
have made it rounder
but not smaller
and that's just fine....
...and those who might scorn it
are invited to kiss it."
NIKE: JUST DO IT!



here is what I have...
i have
big thighs
lil tits
&
so much love



May 23, 2009 - The Divine Miss O & her mom, Ramona


September 2011 - The Divine Miss O

"I WILL respond to my body, my relationships and my life with an attitude of simplicity and with gratitude for the abundance they already contain - remembering that they are sufficient unto themselves. I WILL hold on to TODAY as though it is a precious jewel and live, moment by moment, savouring and incorporating the riches, value and learning each has to offer me. I WILL speak with my own authentic voice, and that voice will resonate in my choices, in my actions, in my relationships, and in the fruits of my effort. I WILL live my life as though I cannot fail; a life defined by consistency of effort; a life shaped by my passions and inspirations. I WILL be the hero of my own life and, by my example, that of my daughter's life." _RAMONA



What I will look like at 'goal BMI' (plus 20 years, LOL!):




_RAMONA, 30 years old (size 9).... Proud Godmother at my nephew's Baptism... I can clearly remember how I feel in that suit... my first very expensive, classic cut, power suit a la 'The Good Wife'... I WILL wear one like it again (I don't think current fashion trends would forgive the cut of the blazer, LOL!) I can't believe that not all that long before this picture was taken, at the very same size, I believed myself to be 'fat' (and I was told I was)... that somehow I still needed to apologise for my body, and for the space I took up in the world.





_RAMONA, 30 years old (size 9).... This picture represents a time in my life when I felt fully empowered, STRONG, and well for the first time. It lasted about 4 years. The sweartshirt I'm wearing depicts a wolf... and I bought it because of the book I quote in the piece above. I haven't worn the earings I have on in the picture (they dangle and brush my shoulders)... which I still love... because they would no longer hang straight or dangle, and they would draw attention to my triple chin. I look forward to wearing them again!





(posted February 2012)

Pants comparison: the black pants are the dress slacks I am currently wearing. They are very forgiving... they stretch... but not so much that I was able to wear them this past summer (July - september 2011 - I couldn't do them up)... yet I wore them comfortably at Christmas (2011), though I was glad for the stretch. Now (February 2012), the waist is getting loose, and they are skimming freely over my butt and thighs... no stretch required. The red ones are lounge pants, and from the late 80's... generous in the hips and thighs (just like me, regardless of my weight or size) and tapering in the legs.... though not at all forgiving. These red pants were part of my wardrobe at age 30. What strikes me most about the two pair of pants is that there really isn't that much difference between the amount of fabric in a size 18 and of that in a size 7/9... but the difference in the body they will clothe is a transformation. Interesting to note: right now my thighs are the size my waist will be at goal weight/BMI. That little factoid fascinates me on so many levels.




(posted February 2012)

My new little almost black dress! For the last four years I've been daring to build a goal wardrobe. I know you're not 'supposed' to this, but to me it makes sense at this point, and I find it highly motivating.... Remember my ticker? I am most motivated by possibilities and the striving. I also haven't bought the clothes in what should be my goal weight size, but a bit bigger (a size I believe I can get to)... just in case I need some encouragement to keep going. If I'm in the mood, I puruse the sale racks and I've picked a few pieces I really LOVE for no more than $10 a piece (that's my rule)... one of the things that HAS always bugged me about my heavier weight is that it costs A LOT more to dress fashionably. It's always the 'tiny' sizes on the sale racks. My purchases represent my commitment to this jouney. The dress above is a Costco dress... wool... the right shape, and I can't wait to wear it next Fall (or sooner)! I also have a vintage-detailed green suede leather jacket, just the right proportion for my short-waisted frame; a couple of paisley soft cotton shirts that match the jacket (they'll look amazing with some great jeans); a flirty houndstooth skirt; a pair of firetruck red denim walking shorts; and a crisp white cotton blouse. Like the pants above, I love pulling these pieces out, admiring them, and laying them over whatever I am now wearing. It's great watching the pieces below 'shrink' underneath the clothes I'm aiming to wear. The success is tangible and I am so close to victory I can TOUCH it. When I get to my goal I don't want to wear my *old* clothes. I want to wear new pieces that reflect my transformation!



"The body you are given will be yours for the duration of your time here on earth. Love it or hate it or reject it, it is the only one you will receive in this lifetime. It will be with you from the moment you draw your first breath to the last beat of your heart. Since there is a no-refund, no-exchange policy on this body of yours, it is essential that you learn to transform your body from a mere vessel into a beloved partner and lifelong ally , the relationship between you and your body is the most fundamental and important relationship of your lifetime. It is the blueprint from which all your other relationships are built." CHERIE CARTER-SCOTT, PH.D



All quotations, unless otherwise noted, excerpted from:
'Women Who Run With the Wolves'
by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D.
www.amazon.ca/Women-Wolv
es-Clarissa-Pinkola-Estes/
dp/0345409876/ref=sr_1_1?i
e=UTF8&s=books&qid=1242174010&sr=8-1






Please, visit ONEAGLESWINGS blog and read:
'dismantling unhealthy bodily perfectionism'
www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
ge_public_journal.asp?id=O
NEAGLESWINGS


"Goals are great. They are energizing. But I must always evaluate them in light of what's most important in the light of eternity.... Keeping my physical aspirations in line with spiritual growth is key.... Along with loving myself through taking care of my physical body, am I challenging my spiritual growth as well by focusing on developing a richer quality of relating and loving others - encouraging others and adding value to others lives? When I'm on my deathbed, my peace of mind and heart won't be found in how "chiselled" I was able to make my body look... it will be found in a life lived with RELATIONSHIPS at the forefront - with my Lord, myself, and others - that will allow me to rest in the peace and contentment of a life lived well." ONEAGLESWINGS



Also, visit JODY22002's blog and read:
'What I miss from 140lbs ago'
www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
ge_public_journal_individu
al.asp?blog_id=4349864


"Who I am now is who I was before and who I was then, is who I still am. I find myself sometimes thinking of my former self as a separate person and the "new" me as a better person and that's not the truth.... [and] I sometimes read blogs where people say...."I don't even remember who I was when I was that girl(referring to their former, larger selves)." Like that's a good thing. Like that person didn't matter. It isn't and she did. She mattered then and she matters now. Who she was is who you still are. Being skinny doesn't make you a different or a better person because grass isn't greener on the other side.... I don't ever want to forget where I came from, or that I wasn't less because I was bigger. I am more because I walked that journey."



And, visit VEGGIE_GIRL28's blog and read:
'Perfection: My Opinion'
www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
ge_public_journal_individu
al.asp?blog_id=4711744


"Love yourself! You are HUMAN and you are PERFECT and those two attributes are one and the same! SPARK ON you beautiful, perfect human!"



Coach Nicole
The Secret to Loving Your Body Isn't Losing Weight
www.dailyspark.com/blog.
asp?post=the_secret_to_lov
ing_your_body_isnt_losing_weight












Measurements, Musings & Motivation to MOVE!
www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
ge_public_journal_individu
al.asp?blog_id=2108455

(UPDATED: February, 2012)


I've Reached My Goal Weight!!!!!!!
www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
ge_public_journal_individu
al.asp?blog_id=2108522

NOTE: My weight tracker is NOT a truthful representation of my weight. Instead, I am using it as a tool to help me visualize my goal as though it's already been achieved!
(Tom Venuto)


UNTIL. (My 'Just Do It' blog)
www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
ge_public_journal_individu
al.asp?blog_id=3541059



Leaving NORMAL
www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
ge_public_journal_individu
al.asp?blog_id=2232914






NOW... go take some pictures of your own!!!!!

The exercise is transforming... I couldn't help but see things I liked about my body in the midst of the things I want to change.... and if you can't see good, you know where you have to start. Begin by learning to love yourself.

Oh... and get a photographer who loves you to take your pictures... regardless of what the camera says, the loving words and compliments can work miracles... the boost I got from the look in my husband's eyes as he snapped away was more than I could ever hope to get from progress pictures!

Seriously... GO!!! Take some pictures!!!




Next UPDATE: February 2014!
(I should know better than to set a deadline... I don't have time for posing and snapping... too many other things need immediate attention to keep my now very busy LIFE RUNNING, LOL! I update whenever I feel the need... to either see for myself what feel like significant changes, or to encourage myself to keep the faith when I feel no change at all despite my efforts)



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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SEXYGAL2 6/1/2009 10:41AM

    You have an amazing, beautiful spirit. More power to you, and you reaching all your wonderful goals.

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SUZY6281 6/1/2009 10:18AM

    Beautifully written blog. With many insights that I have not taken into account on my own journey. Thank you so much for putting it (and yourself) out there. You are an inspiration.

suzy

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OMELYN 5/31/2009 8:39PM

    Ramona:
I was so happy to see your face when I opened this blog. I was immediately drawn to your gorgeous eyes and could imagine your full lips saying all the wonderful things you write.

I was awestruck when I saw the picture of you and your daugher so happy together with matching eyes and smile whether the likeness is biological or not.

Thanks for sharing, so happy you found it in yourself share your journey in what must be for you the most personal of ways.

I was thinking of the photos on my page in relation to your words. I had one of me at my heaviest almost accidentally. It was also when I was very happy, with a girlfriend I hadn't seen in over 10 years. (Me in stripes w/ friend on my page) All the pics on my page make me happy. I think that's why they're there. To share what makes me happy like your words do for you. Interesting...

Love and hugs my dear!
Lynn

Comment edited on: 5/31/2009 8:39:59 PM

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BAMATEACHER 5/31/2009 7:45PM

    Ramona,

It is so good to "see" you and to read your blog entries. Keep searching, finding, and applying what you know works for YOU.

Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

I can't wait to keep reading!

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YOYONOMORE1 5/31/2009 6:49PM

    You are one of those people who have a gift with words, this blog was great and I loved reading every word. What a wonderful outlook you have.

Hugs,
Shirl

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HOPEISHAPPENING 5/31/2009 11:41AM

    Way to go! Hope



Comment edited on: 5/31/2009 11:44:27 AM

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WANDAH3 5/31/2009 9:47AM

  You are a very talented writer...don't ever stop.

Hugs,
Wanda

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SKINNYINMYHEAD 5/31/2009 9:01AM

    WOW I'd type more but I can't see through the tears. WOW

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AGENTMNA 5/31/2009 5:08AM

    Fantastic blog! Fantastic photos! Congrats on having the courage to post your "before" pictures! Many (including myelf) haven't had the same courage! I recently posted my "before" pictures only after I had pictures of my current progress to post as well. So Kudos to you!
-Reese.

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TAMI1691 5/31/2009 3:45AM

    wow. How happy do you and your daughter look. Your pictures are great. You are an amazing lady and your after pictures will be amazing also. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Your words as always are an inspiration.

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KALISWALKER 5/31/2009 3:11AM

    emoticon

Your pictures are great! You and your daughter look very happy.


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