My Progress!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New Job, New Joys, New Challenges



Picture above taken this past Thursday at my new work. The mustaches were worn to surprise our trainer. Long story, but she's AMAZING and it was her birthday so we all wore her favorite color (pink) and wore the mustaches. Can't say this is very flattering, but I thought you guys might enjoy it.

First, I want to apologize to anyone who might have been worried about me. There are numerous reasons why I haven’t been posting. Some are good and some…not so good. Some of the things I will share with you and some will go with me to my grave lol…unless I ever get around to writing that book.

For the most part, things have been good. I am still hovering around 285 which is annoying the crap out of me, but I’m hoping to get back into my work out routine and hope to start seeing results. I have a vacation coming up in October (going to Florida for the Straight Spouse Network annual gathering..my first and I can’t wait). I’m going to stay focused on that and just challenge myself to try to have at least another 20 lbs off by the time I go.

Some of the good stuff: I have a new job! I got a job with a major online university and just finished my third week of training. I absolutely am LOVING it! I’m a bit nervous about starting for real on Monday, but I’m sure I can do this. I’ll be working as an enrollment advisor and handle the masters and PhD programs for most of their psychology/human services degrees. It was a substantial raise for me so making more money is sure going to be nice.

Because of the new job, Erik had to move back in. It was just too hard to figure out how we were going to juggle tanner with me working outside the home. We are considering moving, but at the moment, I’m still trying to catch up financially so may put this off a while.

Some other good things…I think I’ve managed to get over my fear of straight men. This could be a good or a bad thing depending on your perspective though lol. I’ve been dating quite a bit, had some interesting experiences, did a few things I thought I’d never do, but have no regrets so far. At the moment, I have a few people I’m dating somewhat regularly, but only one that I would really probably drop everything for. I just figured out some time after my last blog post that I just didn’t want to be tied down. I can’t explain it because I was always a one man woman, couldn’t see myself dating numerous people at one time, etc. Now, the thought of getting involved with just one person just makes me feel claustrophobic…like I can’t get air or something. So far, the guys I’m dating don’t have a problem with me seeing other people so it is working for now and honestly…I’m LOVING it lol.

Of course, the guy I think I could eventually convince me into an exclusive relationship at some point is the one that is the most unavailable. He is involved with a church here in SA and is pretty busy. Most of the time he is available, I’m working and vice versa. We had been chatting for several months, probably since January…off and on, very superficial because of how busy he was and I honestly thought he was just interested in friendship so no big deal. I joked about how I was eventually going to get him out and about socially, but usually anytime I tried to get him to go out, he had an event or something. We’d stop communicating and then a few weeks to a month later I’d hear from him again. Anyway, he contacted me several weeks ago just to see how I was doing and we started talking a bit more. I gave him my number again and after 2-3 days of virtually non-stop texting we decided to meet. All I can say is there is this mad, crazy chemistry with this guy on every possible level. He’s brilliant of course, has a lot of varied interests, eclectic in many ways, great taste in music and an amazing sense of humor that just plays naturally off mine. I just don’t know where its going to go. We had long text conversations about the chemistry and about the fact that his schedule wasn’t going to change and that meant it probably wasn’t going to be good for a serious sort of relationship, but neither one of us is really interested in anything too serious for the time being. We ultimately decided that we would continue to see each other when he was available and see where things went. I can continue to date others and he can too.

The night we met face to face we talked about our “pickers;” you know, the inner compass that leads you to individuals for romantic purposes? He mentioned that his counselor had told him he needed to not date for at least a year post divorce (he’s about midway through) because his picker was off. I asked him who he tended to pick and he said “girls that need to be rescued.” Now some of you might say his picker is still off lol, but I don’t think so. I can rescue myself and I have time and time again over the last several years. So, I told him that I didn’t fall into that category, that if I ever needed rescuing, I’d take care of it myself. Of course, he then asked me what was wrong with my picker. I had already told him about Erik because, being a youth minister, etc I wasn’t sure how he would take it all. I told him that I had a habit of picking gay men. His response was interesting; he said “Well, I can assure you I’m not gay, BUT I am fairly unavailable to you in other ways…you may need to think about that.” And he’s right…why is the guy who is most unavailable the one that is driving me crazy because I can’t get him out of my head? Why do we (I) chase the ones that keep us at a distance?

I’m going to start back with a counselor, so hopefully I can figure some of this out. Another guy I see now and then is another writer. He’s written one book and was working on another when his computer was stolen this week :(. He had talked about sending me what he’d written to review, but didn’t get around to doing it…I’m heart sick for him. I couldn’t imagine working that hard on something and then losing it. He is retired military and worked intel doing some kind of linguistics something or other for them, so yeah he’s pretty brilliant as well. I met him through some of the meetup stuff I go to and we have a ton of things in common. He has an autistic son about Tanner’s age and was a punker in high school as well so we have fun reminiscing about all the great music we loved as kids.

Another new friend is a real sweetheart. Has a 10 year old daughter that he dotes on, so I love that he enjoys his role as a dad so much. I’ve only been talking to him for a few weeks, but we can literally talk for hours on end without ever repeating ourselves. He works IT, but as I get to know him, I suspect he is one of those people that soaks up knowledge. We went to play pool the other night and he was explaining the physics of the game; like how to hit the ball where to get a certain kind of spin and why you needed to chalk your cue, the momentum of the ball, etc. Now that would probably bore the hell out of most people, but I EAT THAT SHIT UP! I know, I’m kind of weird that way, but when a guy starts getting all cerebral on me, my knees go weak, my heart melts, etc. Out of all the guys I’m dating, this one is probably the one I should invest more time in. He’s very attentive and thoughtful, hilarious too! Guess we’ll see where it goes.

Amid the semi-steadies, I’ve been out with several others. I was getting so many younger men, I finally figured “what the hell” and went out with a few of them. The youngest was 27 lol…is that nuts or what? He was really sweet, but I just could NOT get past the age thing. Another was 29 and super smart (had a degree in cultural anthropology and lost ME in conversation about what he studied lol) so I thought maybe that would offset the age difference…at least enough to have some fun with him. Nope…the immaturity was still there and I just couldn’t get past it. The only problem with him is I can’t seem to shake him loose! He isn’t stalking me, but he continues to contact me on a semi-regular basis. Another was 30 and finishing up his masters…he was total eye candy ya’ll; 6’5” and absolutely adorable. I still don’t get why he contacted me lol. Anyway, he was from Mexico so he had a pretty hot accent as well. We went out and had a great time, but it just kind of fizzled out eventually. It was fun though :)

Ultimately I decided that I don’t think I can go much below 35 when it comes to age. I’ll never say “never,” but I went out with enough younger men to realize that I’m just not into it.

Now on to some of the not so good stuff. The drinking. Yeah I’m still struggling with this guys. I’m not drinking every day, but I definitely have a problem when I start drinking. If I stop myself after a few glasses, I’m fine, but that usually doesn’t happen. I never used to understand why erik would drink and drink and drink until everything was gone. It used to drive me crazy. Now, I’m struggling with the same thing and …time for brutal honesty here…I’ve had a few nights where I didn’t really remember what happened beyond a certain point. I will get back on my computer to see chats with friends I didn’t know I had or on my phone, etc. That is kind of freaking me out. So yeah, I’ll be discussing this with my counselor as well. I am hoping now that I’m through the training for my new job, I’ll be able to exercise and that will help deal with some of the stress and anxiety. I know when I’m working out, I just don’t drink as much if at all.

Well, this is now 3 pages long so I’ll stop for now. I will do my best to post more. I have been meaning too, but there has just been so much going on, it overwhelmed me to think about getting on and updating you guys.

I hope all my bloggy friends are doing well. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sometimes you have to give up on the life you've planned, to have the life that is waiting for you


This is one of my favorite quotes because it is an idea I had to embrace after learning my husband was gay. My journey down this particular path started towards the end of 2002, just a few months before my mother passed away when I came across the first clues that he might be hiding something. I confronted him, but he was able to convince me that my fears were unfounded; probably because I wanted to believe him. I knew I would be losing my mom soon, had just lost my grandmother and my son had just had major surgery. I wasn’t exactly in the best place to embrace the fact that my marriage was a sham and that my husband would never love me the way I hoped and prayed he someday would.

When I came across additional evidence 5 years later in 2007, he didn’t even try to deny it. Well, he did to some extent actually. Part of him still tried to hold on to something that would keep him in a “safe” place; a place that wouldn’t find him singled out by society, by family members or even friends that couldn’t accept what he couldn’t change about himself. To say I was devastated goes without saying. My world was rocked to its very core and I honestly didn’t see how I could ever recover. I’d spent almost half my life with this man; woven a past, present and could see the pattern of our future laid out before us and then all of a sudden….it all just unraveled.

Most of you have heard this story before; especially those of you who have been with me a while. Recently, someone in my str8 network posted this story about the swan and the scorpion. I’ll cut and paste the story below:

"There was a Swan at the edge of a river and a scorpion approached asking the swan if she would kindly give him a ride to the other side of the river on her back. The swan said "no, you are a scorpion, you will sting me and I will die." The scorpion assured the swan that he wouldn't do that, all he wanted was a ride to the other side and he promised she was safe with him. So the swan gave in and allowed the scorpion to climb upon her back. She swan to the other side and just before reaching the shore the scorpion stung her and jumped to safety. As the swan was sinking, slowly dying from the poisons she asked the scorpion why he broke his promise and stung her. The scorpion said "I'm a scorpion, that is what I do."

Typically, most gay spouses tend to be incredibly narcissistic. It makes sense and I’ve always made the observation that only the worst sort of person would knowingly entrap someone in a faux marriage, make children and a life with someone just so that they could “have their cake and eat it too.” Erik didn’t really fall into this category entirely. I really believe he wanted more than anything to be able to be happy living the straight life. He never cheated on me and to this day I don’t know that he has even acted on his same sex attraction. We had our issues when he finally “came out” to me, but they were short lived and for the most part, he has been decent and assumed responsibility. Many str8 spouses are not so lucky. They have spouses who cheat on them their entire marriage, expose them to countless STDs, belittle them and project their own self hatred onto the str8 spouse. Even when disclosure comes, the gay spouse continues to manipulate and attempt to control the str8 spouse’s life. Believe me, I have heard HORROR stories.

The interesting thing about this story and the commentary on the blog on which it was posted was that so many of us str8s saw ourselves in this allegory. Basically, the point is that we tended to project our own good qualities onto our spouse which they were more than happy to own and exploit. I know I definitely did this in my marriage; put Erik on a pedestal. He is a decent guy, but looking back, I can definitely see that there were times when I would extol his wonderful qualities and while he wouldn’t necessarily OWN them, he wouldn’t refute what I was saying either and at some point on my journey from disclosure to now I would say those were the things that ate at me the most.

I honestly think I got a bit off track here, but I’m not going to edit myself. The whole point of me addressing this topic today was that I read the following post on a fellow str8s blog and wow, could I remember what it felt like to be in THAT moment; to want more than anything in the world to undo what was no longer undoable. Tiffany expresses herself in such a beautifully heartbreaking way that I remember SO well, but while reading it I realized: “I remember, but wow…I’m not that woman anymore.” I could remember the Michelle who ached for her husband to say he’d made a mistake and couldn’t live without her; that they could go on as before and grow old together and I can feel sad for her, but I realized that I am a different woman today so much happier for the Michelle I am today.

She didn’t know it then, but this event, disclosure, freed her in ways she wouldn’t realize for a few years. She was finally free of all the self doubt, the self loathing for never being what she needed to be to make her husband love her the way she craved. She was free to discover who she was apart from this disingenuous relationship, to seek out something real. She was free to rediscover all the things she had willingly given up (my choice, I’ll own that) in her pursuit to find the right magical combination of qualities that would make her what he needed her to be. So many things I put off, or did away with that I loved because he didn’t want to do them or didn’t value them the way I did. Again, it was MY choice to abdicate my own interests and passions, but I am now enjoying my life and enjoying being able to fill it up with what I love.

And yes, I believe that there is a special someone out there for me; someone who crossed my path several times over the last couple of decades, but for one reason or another we never actually connected until just the right time in our lives, or almost the right time lol. 

So yes, I’m grateful for that horrible moment 5 years ago when I felt the world crumble at my feet. Out of the detritus of yesterday’s shattered dreams I’ve realized an inner strength I wasn’t aware of. I’ve gone on to experience things (both wonderful and some not so wonderful) I might have otherwise missed and I can honestly say, I wouldn’t trade where I am today for where I might be had I not discovered my husband was gay and continued to live in ignorance. Fellow str8s just beginning this journey? Trust me, you will find your way here too eventually.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dating post edited

Those of you who read the post on dating revisited may note that there have been some changes. the overall content is the same, but I took out some of what I thought would be most painful for someone I've dated previously to read. He's promised not to read that particular post and I completely believe that he wouldn't, but just in case there is a moment of weakness, I thought some of what was in that particular paragraph would just be really hurtful so I edited it out. The gist of everything is the same and I still don't think the post is anything this particular person would want to read...just as I really wouldn't want to know the salacious details of his dating experiences, but just in case...

And if you happen to be reading this (you know who you are ;), please know that I do trust you, but sometimes I think our curiosity gets the better of us. I know I probably wouldn't have lasted an hour past being told there was a post on your blog I shouldn't read before heading over to read it. If you haven't read the last post, I still say it isn't recommended reading. Even though its been edited, I still don't think it is anything you really should need or want to read...just trust me on this.

And just to have some info for the rest of you lol....I'm at 290 as if this morning....280's watch out!!! Here I come :) 25 more pounds to go to hit 200 lb total loss. Anyone want to predict what day I'll hit goal?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dating Revisited...

So yeah, I made the decision to date. Nothing serious, just have some fun, get out and meet some people. Figure out what it is I really want, play the field a bit. To be honest, the attention has been kind of nice. I posted in my str8s forum the following:

“Ok, because I was posting so much about this recent breakup, etc I wanted to update a bit. I kind of decided just to date, nothing serious...get my feet wet so put my profile back up at (dating site 1) and (dating site 2). All of a sudden men coming out of the woodwork lmao! Who would have thunk? After years living with a gay husband who rejected me time and time again and made me feel like a nympho just because I wanted intimacy with my husband, it is nice to see that there ARE men out there who might not want to run in the other direction at the sight of me.
And no, I do not need the validation of a man because I feel pretty darn good about myself these days. Not just because of the way I look, but more so because of the way I am inside, who I'm becoming as I shed my armor and discover the woman of steel I've cultivated inside my body! It has happened because of all I've gone through (not just tgt) that has made me who I am right NOW.

So, those of you who are just starting the hellish journey down this path...just know that you will emerge at some point...battered, bruised but more resilient than you ever thought possible. Ready to take on the second half of your life with gusto and yeah...its going to be WAY awesome ;)”

I posted this for a few reasons. First and foremost, we have had a recent influx of newbie str8s due to some attention Dear Abby has focused on the topic. I remember what it was like to wake up the next day to find what you thought was a rock solid foundation beneath your feet in absolute shambles. I remember what it was like to go from taking for granted the fact that I would grow old with my best friend and soul mate and then wake up the morning after disclosure to find I had no idea who I’d been sleeping next to for the last decade. The pain in their stories is heartbreaking and ongoing. I’ve been there, I remember.

I have no illusions that what I had to offer in the above snippet really did much to ease that heartache. When the pain is fresh, simply imagining a time when you might be ok with moving on is often enough to twist that knife in your heart just a bit more; still, I think it is important to see that those that have gone before them can and do find their way.

So, yes I’ve decided to date. I’m not sure what that is going to look like honestly. So far, I have gone out with one man (well I had a few other dates that were duds…hell I even had a 24 year old soldier in the army chatting me up the other night lol…have to tell you guys about him another time…also need to tell you about the date from hell because it was hilarious). So where was I? Oh yeah ok, so this guy had actually chased me quite vigorously back in January before I met Greg, but because I was pretty sure he just wanted a hookup I politely declined. We started talking again recently and honestly…he is a very attractive guy. My life coach, aka “Nick” just came right out and said “Michelle, you keep running AWAY from these guys, the ones that scare you because they are not afraid to tell you exactly what they want. I think you need to just run TOWARDS them. You need a man who is going to take charge and give you what I think you really want (namely, a hot passionate romance…of course, the very thing that scares the hell out of me)” I cleaned that up a bit because Nick doesn’t really mince words lol.

Anyway, so I met up with this guy. We had talked on the phone, exchanged several texts and messages. The attraction was definitely there on both sides. When we finally got together, it was obvious the chemistry was there, but he was also up front about the fact that he didn’t have time for a girlfriend really. He has two daughters who live down at the coast and he said if he didn’t have time to see his girls, he didn’t have time for a girlfriend. I told him I actually respected that and explained that I wasn’t sure I was looking for a boyfriend, but that I liked him, he liked me. We could hang out, etc.

We actually had a very nice lengthy conversation about it all. I opened up about myself, he did the same. After an hour or two of just talking, I had some other friends to get to, so I got up to leave. I thanked him for meeting with me and out of nowhere he leaned in to kiss me. (original section edited to protect the feelings of someone who might be hurt to read what was originally here).

I honestly couldn’t stop smiling and I can’t tell you if it was because the kiss was so freaking amazing or because I kissed this hot blooded straight man who came on stronger than most men I had experienced and lived to tell about it…with a smile on my face no less. I realize this may not seem like a big deal to the average person, but for me, this was kind of huge.

Ok, now for the bad news: I haven’t heard from him since lol. There was no mistaking the mutual attraction, but meh…I’m learning that men can be just as weird as women. I have no idea why he decided not to pursue this further, but oh well. There are more straight men out there who I’m sure can kiss me like that again…at least I hope there are lol. He can’t have cornered the market on that right?
So, one thing discovered so far: I think Nick is right. I think I am shying away from the thing I want the most. The thing that scares me, is the thing I want deep down inside. So now I have to figure out how to get from point A to point B without self destructing lol. Any suggestions?

In closing, please don’t mistake this focus on dating as a frivolous diversion. I mean yeah, it can be fun. The attention is nice. Having an experience like that was pretty awesome, but ultimately it is more about me trying to tease out the knots in my emotional ball of yarn so that I can craft a beautiful warm, comforting blanket to wrap around myself at some point and have a healthy relationship with someone. It is about NOT running away this time literally or figuratively by sabotaging myself with food or booze or..whatever else I may choose to use to keep people at a distance. It’s part of hanging up my armor for good and relying on that steely inner core I talked about in my last post.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Update on Diagnosis and a big ol' head trip Michelle Style!


I saw my neurosurgeon monday and the news was not so good. Sorry its taken me so long to get this posted, I started writing it Monday and have just been busy with other things. Namely trying to figure out how to pay the rest of our bills after both our pay being short because of all the work I missed when I had the weeklong migraine from hell and the other aftershocks.

In a nutshell, apparently I failed the CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) flow study which is where they tried to determine how well the cerebrospinal fluid was flowing through the foramen magnum from my skull into the spinal column. The foramen magnum is the large opening at the base of the skull. Apparently, the lower portion of my skull is too small and the nodules at the base of the cerebellum (the cerebellar tonsils) protrude through the hole where normally they rest just at the rim of the hole. Because they extend through the hole, they make an already cramped space even more cramped and this is where they sometimes interfere with how well the CSF circulates from the skull into the spinal column.

From there, he went on to explain that this is what has caused my headaches for the last 20 years, why I tend to wake up with headaches (the position makes the circulation problem worse) and why I get the exertion headaches or headaches when I get overheated. All of the scenarios basically create more pressure in the skull which causes headaches if I’m lucky, vomiting, dizziness or worse when it gets really bad. For instance, the headache that started this last round of migraines was so bad and was impacting the pons which apparently controls body temperature, blood pressure, etc…which is why my body temperature was coming in at abnormally low temperatures and why my blood pressure was alarmingly high. This is the range of problems I can experience with this particular problem…anything from a minor headache to a less likely emergent situation where basic life functions (body temp regulation, blood pressure regulation, respiration, etc) are impacted.

The doctor went on to say that it was his recommendation that I have the surgery. I know I need the surgery, but part of me wants to hold off on it. I’m on such a roll when it comes to exercise; I appear to have broken the stall (this morning I am at 293) and I’ve continued to work in one to two miles a day walking in addition to taking a boot camp class and my water aerobics last week. My body is getting stronger by the day and I’m loving it. Just as I’ve enjoyed watching my shape come back (I actually have a waist now , I know I’m going to enjoy watching my muscles get more defined and my body firm up. I have this picture of me at about 21 laid out on this couch (it is on my blog somewhere I think, but heck, I’ll dig it up and post it below because I look awesome in it! As long as you ignore the fact that my hair needs its own zip code that is…lol) and I remember at the time I was working out like a fiend and while I know I was maybe 218-220 lbs at the time, I was so incredibly fit. I look at my calves and I can remember being so proud of how firm they were, how defined. I find myself looking forward to not just being thin, but being fit. And I feel like I’m finally hitting my stride when it comes to exercise and weight training; I don’t want to have this surgery and screw with that. I don’t want to impede the momentum I’ve got going now.

Speaking of momentum, I would also like to reassure you guys that I am finally emerging from my…whatever this last setback was. Sometimes it is almost like I need to have this sort of emotional/physical/spiritual breakdown so that I can sort things out, put the pieces back together and emerge just a little bit stronger than I was the last time. Those of you who have been with me for the long haul have probably noticed the pattern. In the middle of it, I often feel as if I’m losing it, like this is something different…that I won’t make it to the other side, but I always do. And when I get back on this side of things, I can see it for what it is…just my way of assimilating change, getting comfortable with whatever is new and different and finding my comfort level with it all.

The last 6 months has required me to assimilate quite a bit. Changes in eating, activity, my body. They’ve seen me tackle my first relationship since Erik. They’ve also seen me fail miserably in some areas and experience amazing success in others. Again, I’m reminded that with the pain of bad experiences also comes the joys of living life and experiencing all the wonderful parts too. Finding closeness and intimacy with someone special when you thought it was lost to you forever. Sharing yourself and being open and accepting of what someone else has to share with you. Discovering parts of yourself that still need work, but recognizing areas of strength you didn’t know you had. Finding your way back to the steel core of strength that was always there. Finding comfort in knowing it will always be there because it has been forged through the blood, sweat and tears of the sum of your life’s experiences. Note to self: you will always be a work in progress and that’s ok.

Yeah, I know I’m in my head way too often and sometimes it gets me into trouble. Sometimes though…it saves me.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Parenting Epiphanies on "fitting in"


I’m up tonight unable to sleep. I have so much going through my head; especially after a three hour conversation with one of my best friends, Nick. Son, honestly you need to go back to school and get a degree in psychology. I’m serious…I feel like I just had a power therapy session which is good because I had to put off my appointment with my therapist tomorrow. With all the work I missed while sick and the work Erik missed while I was sick, we are just feeling the pinch financially the most right now and I discovered that I still have a portion of my deductible to meet. The good news is that even with having to pay another $90.00 toward my deductible, the sessions should be much more affordable than what the other place was quoting me and honestly…while I’m still nervous, I’m also somewhat eager to get started again in therapy.

In the past few weeks I have vacillated between self loathing and self awareness on levels that surprised me at times. In regards to the self loathing, I was disappointed to discover that I could still sink to some surprisingly low levels. There were days when I could not quiet those voices in my head. There was no reasoning with them, bargaining with them…they insisted on echoing the voices of years ago; the ones that discounted any positive quality I might point to with at least three other negative qualities effectively canceling out any positive feelings I might be struggling to hold on to. Yeah, I’ve had some bad days.

But, I’ve also had days that, while not good exactly, allowed me moments of clarity I needed. Moments where I actually began to understand more about where I was at now as opposed to the me 20 years ago. While yes, I repeated many behavior patterns from years ago with Greg and in other areas of my life, I recognize that I was able to evaluate this behavior in ways I simply couldn’t do 20 years ago. I have a MUCH better understanding about where a lot of these feelings and behaviors come from and the awareness to PREFER time on my own to address them once and for all as opposed to trying to mask them or fill that void inside with a relationship or food or drinking or …whatever else I might choose to distract myself from the work I needed to do. When I’m thinking rationally, this is definitely something I can point to with pride; something that shows me I haven’t spent the last 20 years in some kind of emotional holding pattern. I KNOW better than this. I know that the woman I am today is so much stronger than the woman I was 20 years ago. The “me” today can say that last sentence and not feel the need/urge to discount it immediately whereas the 20-year-old Michelle would never have had the courage to say it out loud at all.

So, I’m going to try to get better about cutting myself the slack I’m always so easy to cut for everyone else. I’m not perfect, but I’m not entirely imperfect either.

Part of what prompted this post was an incident that happened with Tanner today. He had a horrible day at school. Apparently this whole week had not been all that great, but I had no clue. Sometimes, knowing how challenging it can be for parents who have children with severe behavioral/emotional disturbances, teachers will choose to keep what happens at school at school. Today, he had a complete meltdown though; the sort of meltdown that required two burly men to restrain him physically for over half an hour. This hasn’t happened in over three years. When he came home, I was shocked at how he looked. Dark circles under his eyes, marks on his face, a bandaid on his arm where he had bitten himself pretty good. The mother in me wanted to wrap him up because one look at his face told me that the inside was more broken than the outside.

He sat down and I asked him to tell me what happened. He began to talk, in the vacant voice he uses when he’s trying to avoid getting emotional. He just said that they made him mad. I explained that I understood he can’t help feeling mad, but he absolutely can NOT react the way he did today. It was then that his face just crumbled and he pretty much collapsed at my feet crying that he was a freak, he didn’t want to be deaf, he had no friends, nobody liked him, he wished he were dead…wished he had died when he was a baby and had meningitis. My own heart just shattered hearing him say this. He just looked so absolutely broken, exhausted from the day’s meltdown and broken spiritually and emotionally. I reached out and grabbed his hand, pulled him in for a hug and let him cry for a bit.

When I pulled away I told him he wasn’t a freak and asked him to think about all the deaf people he knew; the people he goes to see at Deaf Chat, the people he sees at church, his Big Brother Sam…where they freaks? Initially he said “yes,” but I told him that was ridiculous…that if he truly felt that way, he wouldn’t want to go to Deaf Chat or to church. He went because he liked them all and looked forward to seeing them.

I then reminded him of something I’ve told him from a very young age: “Not everyone is going to like you Tanner; and that’s ok.” Of course, like any teenager, he talked about wanting to be popular, wanting to have friends, wanting to “fit in.” I said “Ok so what, you are deaf…I’m fat…daddy was kind of a nerd…we ALL have something that makes us different, but in the end..that is what makes the world so interesting and beautiful.” I pointed out how boring it would be if everyone were the same. He insisted it would be great if everyone were the same, then they wouldn’t have to worry about fitting in. I again pointed out how boring it would be... if you were friends with someone, what motivation would we have to check out the person across the room if we knew they were going to be just like the person we were talking to…just like us for that matter. The exciting part of life is meeting new people, having new experiences, learning new things and then sharing those things, that knowledge with others.

I then started talking more about my high school experiences; how groups of boys would make earthquake noises as I walked down the hall or say the cruelest things right to my face just to get a laugh out of their friends. I told him how I would come home almost every day and cry into my pillow or on my mom’s shoulder because it hurt so bad. I told him I knew exactly what he was feeling. Then I said, “But you know what Tanner? My mom used to say this very thing to me when I was your age, but I would think ‘What does she know? She doesn’t understand.” “Now that I’m older, I can look back at that little girl and I can see all her amazing qualities…most of them still describe me today…I’m a good friend, my friends are my friends and they know that they can count on me through thick and thin. I’m also a very giving person. I’m funny and I’m fun to be around a lot of the time, etc. I then asked him if he agreed with all that, did he think that younger girl was a freak? He said “no.”

“I don’t either Tanner and you know what? You aren’t a freak. You are funny and charming and sweet and caring. Even with your challenges, you still have this amazing ability to endear yourself to people and that is a huge positive thing you have going for you sweetie. So, I think about teenage Michelle and I think ‘She wasn’t a freak and how sad that all those kids missed out on knowing her because they let the way she looked get in the way of them making a pretty terrific friend, don’t you agree?’” He did.

We talked about what a great guy his dad was, how funny he is and how much fun he can be; how special he is. I told him that in high school, he was painfully shy and withdrawn and a lot of people thought he was nerdy and uncool. Did he think dad was a freak? Of course he didn’t…he thinks dad is the greatest thing since sliced bread! Well, unfortunately there were people in high school that missed out on knowing the Erik we know and love, isn’t that sad? Tanner agreed.

I just looked at him and said “Well sweetie, that is exactly what I think about the unfortunate people who don’t take the time to get to know YOU, the Tanner I know and love. They will never ever know what it is like to laugh at your jokes or get a comforting hug or word from you. They’ll never understand what a good friend you can be or how thoughtful you are. I feel sorry for them because they missed out. But that is life tanner…not everyone is going to like you. If they have good reason not to like you, then you should work on changing those things, but if they dislike you for something that can’t be changed, for who you are, and they let that get in the way of getting to know you, well then…it’s their loss. I feel sorry for them."

By the time I was done, I could see that it was starting to sink in, that he was processing what I was saying and that it was really helping him. I don’t reiterate this here because I want kudos or a pat on the back. Some may not think I said the right things or would have handled the situation entirely different. I honestly can’t take credit for much of what I said. When I was telling Nick about it later, I told him…”This is one of those moments where I really think God was giving me the words Tanner needed to hear.” Something else I realized is that He was also speaking to me; giving me the words we BOTH needed to hear. In trying to help my son cope, I realized that I may have shortcomings, I may be imperfect, but I am not a freak. I am worthwhile regardless of my shell and yes, my inner self needs some work, but as long as I keep striving, keep trying to get there, that is all I can ask of myself.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

And I raaaan....



Ok, so I had this long introspective post about another topic. I was all ready to post it tonight and THEN I went to my first bootcamp class. Well at least my first at our local YMCA. OMG, it was exhausting, but I actually RAN yall! I probably looked like a monkey on crack and it felt as unnatural as anything I’ve ever done (I think the last time I ran was maybe in elementary school lol), but I actually ran lol!! Before you know it, I’m going to be doing the Boston marathon!

The only drawback was I was absolutely not wearing the right bra for the workout…pretty little lace number. Looks GREAT (if I must say so myself), but doesn’t keep the girls in one place when you are attempting your first sprint in several decades! Luckily, I remembered that I have two jog bras I paid a small fortune for, but could never wear because once I got them on, my ribcage would not expand to allow for respiration lol. That can be kind of a problem when you are trying to work out. I tried one on tonight and realized that it is almost too big :( but I think it will work much better than most of my other bras for at least the next few months.

So can you believe it??? Me! RUNNING!

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Migraine Brain


This has to be the third time I’ve started this post. I get more than halfway through it and just find myself bored silly so I think, “If I’m bored and it is MY life, how am I going to expect anyone else to spend the few minutes it will take to read through it.” I suppose there is something to say for having a few hum drum days. Sunday actually wasn’t so humdrum. I tried to visit the pool with Shannon. Incidentally she is having her surgery tomorrow, please keep her in your prayers. I’m so excited to see what this next year has in store for her :D! I had a great time, but left with the beginnings of what would become a horrendous migraine. I sort of spend most days with some kind of throbbing at the base of my skull/neck and I’ve just had to get to the point where I take my meds and continue with my life and hope whatever I do doesn’t exacerbate the problem. Occasionally, I wind up with the sort of migraine that sends me fetal for hours/days. This was one of those times, thankfully, it was just for the evening.

Erik ended up coming home at some point because I was so sick. He was so worried, he actually climbed into bed with me just to rub my head and try to offer some comfort…sweet, but strange too. I don’t think we’ve had a moment like that in a very long time. Totally platonic of course, it honestly felt like having my brother or uncle comfort me which was kind of a surprising revelation for me, but it was sweet nonetheless and just nice to feel as if someone cared that I was hurting.

By the next morning I was feeling better; still had a dull throb, but managed to get up and go for my morning walk which left me feeling relaxed and ready for the rest of the day. I’m finding that the morning walk is fast becoming my morning meditation period. I mostly have pretty chill music on my ipod so I sort of lose myself in the music…breathing in the cool morning air and exhaling in time with each step, feeling my calves and thighs begin to ache with the brisk pace I can now manage. I’ve mapped out a mile around my neighborhood and I’m managing to complete it in about 20-25 minutes. Today, I went for a second walk (the same distance) at lunch and then went to my water aerobics class this evening. I have to pick Erik up from work after midnight and I found myself considering one more walk around the neighborhood maybe before I go get him.

I know, I know…it sounds excessive. Maybe it is, but it relaxes me and, like I said, its almost like valium or something for me right now. I suppose a walk is better than a glass of wine or a hoho right? So, if I’m going to reach for some healthier coping mechanisms to manage the stress I’m under, I suppose exercise is better than other options as long as I’m careful and don’t injure myself. I’m being careful.

Oh! I almost forgot (part of migraine brain…I have moments where I can think very clearly and others where I stop and start a hundred times), I also realized something while I was fetal with Sunday’s migraine; part of some of the emotional upheaval and lability I’ve been experienced can also be contributed to my migraines resurfacing. It dawned on me that when I was having them like this years ago, I had the same problems. Living with the chronic pain is one thing, but it also plays with your normal routine, sleep cycle, ability to think clearly, attend to things, etc. I went from feeling on top of the world emotionally and physically to coping again with a chronic illness; I think that would depress the biggest optimist. So, I’m going to do my best to cut myself some slack and cut down on the negative self talk that seems to be on a loop in my head 24/7. I’m not blaming everything on the migraines, but I know that they are seriously affecting my ability to cope and address various issues in my life with any sort of success.

I had my last MRI and CSF flow study last Friday (did I mention that? See migraine brain) and I will see the neurosurgeon next Monday, the 23rd to see what he has to say. I predict he isn’t going to have much to offer. This last MRI was to see if I had developed any kind of cyst on my thoracic portion of the spinal cord; I guess they are common with people who have chiari malformation. From the report on the cervical MRI (the neck), I remember reading specifically that they didn’t see a cyst; I think they call it a “syrinx.” Anyway, as I type this I feel my neck stiffening up so I’m going to get away from the computer, take my meds and maybe just take it easy for the rest of the night

Hope you all are having an amazing week; take care xx

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Relaxing Night out in Austin



PhotobucketTook a night off and went to see Zoe Keating in Austin yesterday. I found myself really zoning out on the drive up; just letting my mind wander with the radio off. I hadn’t felt all that great earlier in the morning, but by the time I had to leave, I was feeling better thankfully…I had really been looking forward to seeing her and she definitely didn’t disappoint!

Photobucket I met a fellow str8 and we went for happy hour at Roaring Forks beforehand. I was very impressed; great food, really good service and surprisingly affordable. Wendy got the smoked salmon, which she shared with me and I selected the fried avocado (I also shared with Wendy) and drank a huckleberry margarita. Everything was delicious! The salmon just melted in your mouth and the fried avocado…I mean, doesn’t it just sound yummy? I only managed a tiny bit of salmon and one piece of avocado and even that was overdoing it; I felt stuffed by the time we left, but we had a nice walk from the restaurant up to where the concert was taking place. Photobucket




PhotobucketIt was such a beautiful day; not very hot, the slightest of breezes and just clear, sunny and gorgeous in general. We arrived at the church and were eventually allowed to go inside where we got front row seats. PhotobucketIf you aren’t familiar with Zoe, she is a cellist that uses sampling techniques and computers to build and layer her music. It is simply amazing to see first hand, but the cello has always been one of my favorite instruments so her music kind of marries my two favorite things in music: the cello and the use of technology to build these amazingly layered pieces. At the end she treated us to an improvisational piece that was just amazing to watch and listen to; true genius.

After the hectic pace of this week, it really was nice to unwind with someone who is becoming a good friend and then lose myself in the beauty of her music. I honestly didn’t want it to be over, but when it was, we actually got to spend a bit of time with her as she answered questions about what it was like to spend a 9 hour layover with a 15 month old to how she coordinates all of her computers and equipment while playing live. When I got an opportunity to talk to her and get a picture, I mentioned that I “discovered her” several years ago when she was touring with Imogen. She laughed and mentioned how amazing it was to have worked with her. Here’s me holding out hope that maybe they’ll collaborate on something in the future. I’d love to see them tour together again.Photobucket

So, batteries recharged to some extent. Working today and then heading to the pool with Shannon for a bit more recharging. Here’s hoping I can get a little sun and have some fun with her before her surgery. If I get brave I may post some pictures of our pool party later ;)

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Friday, May 13, 2011

I know you guys are probably as sick of hearing me talk about my love life or lack of one now as I am of talking about it. I wanted to address something though because I have had people in my life weighing in on whether or not they think I ought to “put myself back out there” as far as dating goes.

In the past couple of days, I’ve hidden and unhidden my profile at a few dating sites as I went back and forth between thinking maybe I shouldn’t give up on dating…"you can’t expect to get any better at it if you take a sabbatical" seems to be the consensus of people in the “you should continue dating” camp. So, I unhide my profile, start looking at a few profiles, have a few guys contact me, etc and in the middle of it all..all I can think is “what am I doing?” My heart just isn’t in it. I’m not the least bit interested meeting someone new right now. It felt like a chore to sign in, sift through profile after profile or make small talk with some random guy that ultimately gets around to wanting to hook up vs. really get to know me. I found myself literally feeling almost physically ill after about half an hour of it this evening.

So, I don’t know. Maybe the whole “I’m not dating for the next year” was a bit of an overreaction, maybe it wasn’t. All I know is that right now is not the right time. I don’t know if that will change anytime soon, but right now I’m just not interested and for once, I’m just going to go with my gut.

You guys will be happy to know that, despite being in my lowest funk since my surgery, I’m continuing to exercise and get out of the house. I’ve managed to get a walk in (at least one, but often two) at least every day and I’ve done the water aerobics twice this week. I’m really enjoying the walk in the morning. Shannon has been coming to walk with me at 6am and we do a mile around the neighborhood. I think it is a longer walk than what we walk at the park, but the walk at the park is a bit more strenuous as we are walking up slopes, etc. I just know I work a lot harder when we are on the trails at the park.

I’m still kind of maintaining. I got under 300, but now I’m back at 301. I’m not worrying about it too much. It could just be water retention, building muscle or something. I’ve been watching what I eat and while I have actually had a glass of wine a few nights this week, it was just the one glass and it wasn’t every night. All in all, I’m not doing anything that would really make me gain actual weight so I’m just going to assume it is just my body being weird.

Wednesday night I went out to a meetup happy hour which was nice. Made new friends and had a really great conversation with a few people in particular. There was this adorable guy there (adorable in the sense I want to fix him up with someone, not me…he was a youngun’) named Joe that was really nice to chat with. This particular group is just a really nice group of people usually, but the FIRST thing the leader of the group asked when I got there was “Where’s your husband?” lol…Greg attended the last one with me. I just smiled and explained that he had been my bf, not my husband and that we were no longer together. It would have been SO much fun to say “Oh no, that was my boyfriend, my husband is at home with my son!”
Speaking of husband…Erik and I are going downtown to finally get the paperwork to finalize our divorce. I want to get it filed asap. Once it is filed, it will be finalized in 60 days so by the end of the summer I could be a free woman. I’ll still be living with Erik unfortunately, but we are making progress. As far as that last statement…I don’t mean it in a bad way…I’m just really ready to truly start splitting our lives apart…I just feel guilty when I think about breaking up Tanner’s household when we aren’t really having a problem living together. Oh well, that is a decision for another day. Divorce first.

Going to an outdoor concert tonight with Tanner and a meetup group and tomorrow I will be in Austin attending a Zoe Keating concert with a fellow str8 spouse. I’m looking forward to it, I love Austin! I just wish I didn’t have to work the next morning :S That is going to be fun!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Prepare to Cringe: Getting Naked...


Note: No, I'm not actually getting physically naked for you all. You can thank me later. I do something even harder in today's post...expose a bit of the inner workings of my psyche...yeah I think it is even scarier than a picture of me in my birthday suit.

Hey guys, I’ve been dealing with migraine fog the last few days. I pretty much have some kind of headache 24/7. It is making exercising difficult because it seems to exacerbate the headache, but I’ve just decided to suck it up and do what I can to minimize the headache (drink plenty of water, not over exert myself, walk when it isn’t too hot, etc). Tuesday I took tanner to the pool at the YMCA and we took the water aerobic class and had a lot of fun. I really felt like I got a good workout too so I think that will become a regular thing. Unfortunately, it is raining cats and dogs here today so it will likely not happen tonight so I’m a bit bummed out about that. Hoping to at least get a walk in; if the weather is still crappy, maybe Tanner and I can just work on our Michael Jackson moves on the Kinect lol! That is always good for a laugh. I swear I’m going to have to borrow a video camera so I can share with you guys. It’s hiliarious.

I also got a bit of closure on the whole relationship thing too so that has helped. I think I can move on. Now I just need to get around to forgiving myself for even stupidly seeking out a relationship when I obviously was not ready for one. My biggest regret is that it was Greg that I had to screw things up with. At the very least, I think we would have made good friends so I almost wish I had met him under different circumstances. Meeting him on a dating site made it feel like our relationship was almost forced in that direction for some reason…I don’t know.

Anyway, I have an appointment with a therapist set up for next Friday and another one set up for the following Friday. I’m a little nervous about it, but know it is what I need to be doing. I actually spent some time talking to a good friend of mine last night. He has been one of my biggest cheerleaders through this whole weight loss journey and was the person who let me cry on his shoulder (virtually) when I was dealing with the whole gay thing coming out about Erik, etc. We were talking about what went wrong with this whole relationship adventure and why I ended up feeling like I was doing a repeat of what I went through the first time Erik and I got together. It was slightly different from that, but played out very similarly and I think that is what I was so upset about…that years later I was repeating the same behaviors. I’m only really talking about this here because I think I’m beginning to see that so much of all this is wrapped up in the weight issues, self esteem issues, etc.

The short version is this: Essentially, boy meets girl, boy shows interest in girl, girl…having only two speeds: brakes slammed to the floorboard OR overdrive, vacillates back and forth between liking the whole relationship thing and being scared to death of it. Boy eventually starts to catch on that this chick has some issues and starts to pull away, girl misinterprets this as him needing reassurance and becomes needier and clingier which of course pushes boy further and further away until boy finally runs screaming in the other direction. Sound like fun? Oh yeah, I’m sure it’s a blast for them.

Essentially, that is what happened. With Erik, I was truly and utterly in love with him when we got together so when he started pulling away (my neediness came from a different place emotionally then) I panicked and became this …sad sad sad person who couldn’t BREATHE without him 5 inches from me…uggh, painful to even remember, but that is how it was.

With this most recent relationship, I honestly thought that when he was saying he wanted to slow things down, instead of taking him at his word, I read WAY too much into things. I know this is partly just me over thinking things as usual and partly just being super inexperienced at this. So, instead of taking him at his word, I thought the following:

1. He needs reassurance (cue the excessive fawning, desire to be with him, etc)
2. Part of me actually realized last night that I thought he was maybe also using some reverse psychology because he knew I was going back and forth and scared and so I think I thought he was saying he wanted to go slow, but maybe it was just so I wouldn’t be so scared of him. I know this is absolutely ridiculous thinking, but …this is what prompted my behavior with him.

I also knew his self esteem wasn’t all that great and, wanting to prop him up a bit because I cared about him and wanted him to feel better about himself, would go overboard with the compliments. Anyway, putting it all down on “paper” I can see how I did everything, absolutely everything so freaking WRONG. You want to hear something really funny? I went back to read what I had written in my profile and I had some line that went something like this:

“I'm a nurturer, but don't worry, I'm not the smothering type. I want a man who has outside interests and pursuits. While I think it is important to spend time together, I also think it is important to have time for yourself.”

Can you say “False Advertising?” I guess that is the ME I want to be, but have a ways to go before I get there.

So back to my most recent relationship, instead of being true to myself, listening to my gut, I tried to become what I thought he wanted. I did the same thing with Erik. Why? Because I still don’t think, I don’t believe that I am enough. That Michelle, the person that I am is worthy of attention, affection, etc. I don’t believe that I deserve happiness or love because, fat aside, I don’t like who I am very much on the inside either. Trust me, it isn’t easy to be writing this down. I’m absolutely cringing inside every time I think about actually posting this blog because I feel like this is me basically standing naked in front of anyone who reads this. I don’t like feeling this damaged.

The realization that my main problem has to do with me not liking ME so much is the hardest because I can’t diet and exercise that part healthy. So where the hell does that leave me? At the beginning of a very long and painful journey…and that’s depressing; that I haven’t evolved much in the last 20 years and I’m going to be doing the work now that I should have done years ago. I'm exhausted and overwhelmed just thinking about it. I just want to skip it all and get to the good stuff. I want to be happy, I want to eventually find someone that I can love and that can love me without all this craziness. I don't want to have to work so damn hard to be happy...I just want to BE happy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Some days are harder than others...

I’m going to be honest, I’m having a hard time blogging today. I take that back…I’m not having a hard time blogging; I have four lengthy paragraphs written, but I don’t want to post what I’ve written because…I guess because right now, I’m not feeling as “ready to take on the day” as I was yesterday. I know it is to be expected and I’m not really beating myself up about it. Anybody who is dealing with a loss of some kind, no matter how small it might be in comparison to other things they’ve dealt with, understands that you are going to have moments where you are up and moments where you are knocked back down again. For the most part, I’d say I spend most of my time in a more positive mood and each day I can feel myself making gradual progress, but it is still frustrating to be blindsided now and then by renewed feelings of grief (?) no matter how short lived they might be.

I don’t want you to think this is all about the recent breakup with Greg. That is part of it I guess, but with that whole experience comes grief over the realization that I’m not quite as emotionally evolved as I thought I was. I think I’m grieving more over the fact that I wasn’t anywhere NEAR ready for a relationship with a man. It could have been any man…I don’t think I’m ready to pick the right person or cultivate a healthy relationship with the right person and I guess I thought I was further along on that path than I actually am. Ultimately, it leaves me wondering…will I ever be ready? Will I ever resolve my issues with straight men and overcome the fear I feel when they are merely expressing an interest in me? Am I doomed to continue to pick the same sort of man (gay, or at the least sexually ambiguous) because they are all I feel safe with? Will I ever overcome the beating my self esteem took being married to a gay man for all these years and be able to trust my judgement again? Sometimes I am optimistic that I will get there eventually and sometimes I feel like I will it will never happen.

I am working on getting some counseling set up with the local Archdiocese. I’m just waiting to hear back from them to see how much the visits are going to be. I think they will be able to work with me though; I’m hoping they will. Just thinking about beginning this work with a therapist is overwhelming and exhausting, but I know it has to be done. If I don’t begin to address these issues, I am positive that *something* is going to have to “give.” Either I will begin to gain the weight (my armor) back at some point, or I will transfer that addiction to something else in order to mask the issues causing me pain/frustration/etc.

I know all that may sound as if the emotional pendulum has swung the other way from the positivity of yesterday’s post. Really, it hasn’t so much. For the most part, I really am doing better. I’ve stuck to my diet and gotten in at least two walks a day (about a mile each for both) and I’m finding that I could easily get addicted to the morning walk. There is something about getting your blood pumping that early in the morning and then coming home to shower and start your day that is satisfying; perhaps it helps me start the day off feeling more relaxed?

I also haven’t had a drop to drink since Saturday evening when I went out to dinner with Tanner and Erik. I’m almost embarrassed that I can feel a sense of pride in that declaration; being proud that I’ve managed to go 2-3 days without a drink. I’m not going to lie; I miss my glass of wine at night. It helped me to relax and kind of “exhale” the stress of the day, but I’m finding that taking an evening walk is helping me de-stress and relax in a similar way. I still can’t believe that I can crave that glass of wine the way I used to crave food though. Up until this last year, I just couldn’t identify at all with whatever motivated some individuals to drink or turn to alcohol the way I turned to food.

This morning, my friend Shannon came and walked with me and it was nice just to have some time with her to talk. We went walking last night, but her daughter was with us so our conversation tends to stay pretty superficial. She’s actually going to be having her surgery next Wednesday and I’m so excited for her! She has 200 lbs to lose herself and I am excited to see her begin her own journey to greater mobility, less pain and better health. This will be an exciting year for her.

Well, I suppose I’ve managed to finish this post. I don’t like to feel like I’m editing myself or projecting a false “picture” of where I’m at, but I also don’t like feeling like I’m allowing myself to “wallow” in my problems either. Is there a difference between working through your problems and wallowing in them? At what point does it pass from constructive appraisal and reflection to something destructive? Looking back at my post Friday, I guess I feel that was more of the wallowing sort whereas today I’m truly trying to get a better understanding about where my head is at so that I can have an intelligent conversation with this therapist when I see him. With that said, I guess I’ve answered my own question.

Monday, May 9, 2011

I'm a Rock Star!



I got up this morning, got dressed, made coffee, grabbed my ipod and headed for my neighborhood street. As I turned on the ipod and selected “shuffle,” the big DJ in the sky greeted me with one of my favorite Kick-ass-and-take-no-prisoners song “So What” by Pink. It was giving me permission to thumb my nose at this last weekend and get on with my life.

Then Adele came on lol…that girl is awesome, but I warn you, if you are nursing a broken heart, lock up the razor blades. Ironically, I didn’t feel the ache I thought I would when I heard her again. I’ve had an entire weekend to get some perspective and I think I’m ok with where I am right now. Every day, I’m feeling exponentially better about a number of things. I realize that may sound crazy considering the Pit of Despair I was in Friday, but with my history I think one of the traits that has gotten me through (apart from my sense of humor) is my ability to shake off the dust fairly quickly (for the most part), assess the situation and form a game plan. I’m not saying I won’t revisit some of the feelings I was going through Friday, but I think I’m slowly sorting through the last 6 months or at least beginning to.

So what is my game plan? Here are some things I’ve thought about the last few days:

1. NO MORE WINE! If I go out, I may have a drink, but no more wine will come into this house. I may not be an alcoholic right this very second, but I’m easily teetering on the ledge. Over the weekend, I found myself self-medicating with alcohol. I had a cupcake or two as well, but for the most part, alcohol was my go-to mind-numbing agent of choice…I realize it, I’m acknowledging it, I’m kicking its ass to the curb. I refuse to trade morbid obesity for life as a wino :P
2. NO MORE RELATIONSHIPS: For the next year, I will not get into any relationships. I won’t seek them out for damn sure. No more dating sites, no more flirting when the situation presents itself. Even if I happen to meet someone that seems interesting or “interested” I’m not giving myself permission to date for at least the next year. I don’t think it is any coincidence that I not only have plateaued to some degree over the last 6 months, but actually went back and forth, gaining and losing the same 7 lbs. It was like my body was trying like hell to get that armor back on. Thank god I was able to keep it in check to some extent. Today I stepped on the scale to see “300” again. I’ll be back in the 200’s by this time next week.
3. NO MORE HALF ASSED ACCOUNTABILITY: Back to logging my food and tracking my exercise and back to blogging every day (of course because I’ve added that last part, you won’t hear from me for the next month). At the very least I will get on to account for what I did or didn’t do, even if I don’t have anything worthwhile to say.

So for now, three simple rules. I checked the calendar last night and I have exactly (well almost exactly) 8 weeks until my first surgiversary. I am currently 35 lbs from hitting the 200 lb total lost mark (465-300=165 lbs lost so far). I realize it is rather lofty to attempt to lose 35 lbs in 8 weeks, especially when I discussed revisiting my demons on Friday. One might be concerned that I was planning to starve myself, but one shouldn’t be. I’m going to cut down on how much I’m eating but only because I’ve been grazing too much which is why I think I’ve plateaued for so long. I’m going back to three meals a day and when I feel like it, replacing one of those meals with a protein shake. Yesterday I managed to do this. I wanted one of those chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes in the fridge, but I made it through the day without one so YAY me :) These are basically the guidelines my doctor gave me after the surgery so this isn’t about me punishing myself with deprivation (which was typically how the bulimic cycle would start).

I’m also going to kick up the exercise quite a bit. I got my walk in this morning and I really want to make my boot camp class tonight…geez I wish it was a bit earlier than 7pm though. I have to take Erik to work and pick him back up at 12:30 so I can have the car and then I get up at 6am for my morning walk. Here’s hoping that improving my diet will give me the energy I need to keep hauling my ass out of bed at 6 every morning.

Well, I suppose I should get to work now. I plan to be here same time tomorrow. Let’s see where I’m at by then :) And, in the words of Pink, my parting words for this past weekend are, "Ba da da da da da, ppphhhllbbb!" :P

Sunday, May 8, 2011

So I'll Keep Digging


Happy Mother’s Day. Tanner is currently at his weekly Yu Gi Oh tournament so I decided that I was going to take a walk after I got off work. My goal is to really step up the exercise this week. I’m hoping that it will help break this stall I’ve been holding for what seems like forever, but I’m also hoping it will help to channel some of my pent up frustrations with life lately into something positive. If nothing else, the activity will probably help with the stress and hopefully help drag me out of this funk I’m in.

I’m feeling a little bit better with each day and I have no doubt that in a few weeks I will be on my way to my usual positive self. I’m just having a rough patch and the other day it was a little difficult for me to get perspective considering everything that was going on in my head at the time. We all have those moments, but most don’t regurgitate it for mass consumption. I’m sure some are probably mortified by the things I share now and then. Honestly, sometimes I’M mortified at the things I’ve shared in this blog. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to remove Friday’s post almost immediately after posting it, but…it is part of my journey.

Don’t get me wrong, I try to make my writing as transparent as I can, but I don’t share EVERYTHING here (believe it or not, there are things I won’t share). Sometimes I’m asked why I put some of this “out there” and I don’t know that I have an honest answer for the people who have been brave enough to ask. All I know is that in some weird way, it is therapeutic for me. The therapy doesn’t just come with the writing though, it’s wrapped up in the sharing as well, but I couldn’t really tell you why. I think I’m still trying to figure that out for myself.

I read posts like this one (please do yourself a favor and go read this immediately) and yearn to be able to offer introspection and clarity like this. I sometimes have moments where I stumble upon realizations about myself or about my journey and for that brief period, it’s worth it. Times when the words just flow from my fingertips and organize themselves into thoughts that reflect perfectly where my mind is at that very moment; as if I am channeling the Me I want to become. The Michelle who always holds her head up, looks people in the eye and speaks confidently about where she is and where she’s going; the Michelle who will be able to embrace the bulimic Michelle of her 20’s, the morbidly obese Michelle in her 30’s and the work in progress Michelle of right now.

She’s in there somewhere, I just have to keep digging. So far I think I may be halfway to her, my hands are caked in dirt and sometimes I’m so tired I just want to give up, but deep down I know I can’t. I owe it to myself, the person I am now who has come so far over the last several years deserves to break through that last bit of soil and grasp the hand of the person I’m meant to be and pull her free once and for all.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Feeling Better Today: Howz that for some crazy mood swings?


Feeling much better today. Yesterday sucked big time though. Trust me, you didn’t want to be anywhere around me because I was liable to break out in tears OR bite your head off depending on what mood you found me in. I know a majority of the craziness right now is hormones, but I have a few other things on my mind too so even without the hormones I’d probably still be kind of in a funk.

Mother’s day is always bittersweet for me. I enjoy celebrating with Tanner, but I also find that I miss my mother and grandmother so much around this time of year. Yesterday I went to get my nails done and there was a mother and daughter getting a pedicure behind me. It wasn’t difficult to overhear their conversation and they were preparing for a weekend trip down to the coast going on and on about how excited they were and how they were leaving right after the pedicure; that it was important that they have matching toes for their mother/daughter weekend, etc. Of course I got to thinking about when I was younger and would accompany my mom and grandmother to the salon and sit there listening to the adult conversation while they got their nails done. I tried and tried to not lose my composure, but…hormones I guess. My poor manicurist looked at me and said “You cry? Why you cry? I hurt you?” lol. I just explained that listening to the women behind me made me miss my mom and grandma .

Anyway, and yes…I’m single again and for good this time. I’m not going into it at length, but ultimately as I’ve pointed out before, I am just not ready for a relationship right now for a myriad of reasons. My post yesterday proves that. If all it takes is a breakup to send me into a tailspin reminiscent of my bulimia years…I have some other work to do on me before I try being a “we.”

As far as Greg goes, things have just been weird since we got back together after our last breakup. I think I was trying too hard to “reassure” him that I was all in this time and it spooked him, but honestly…I think it was inevitable regardless. I did develop some feelings for him, but even now, I’m not completely sure what they were. I think he probably felt similarly. I just think we would have been much better off keeping things friendly, but oh well.

I won’t be actively looking for a replacement either. I’m still going to get out and enjoy myself and if I happen upon a nice guy, then great, but I’m definitely guarding my heart even harder the next time around. I don’t think I’ll revisit the online dating thing again either. Just not for me.

By the way, the picture above was taken tonight at dinner with Erik and Tanner. Erik surprised me with dinner at a Pericos which was nice. It isn’t too far from where we live and we had always wanted to go. We had a good time. I tried their skinny girl margarita and I swear, I think it was skinny on the tequila because it tasted like water. The food was AWESOME though. Of course, I was only able to eat a little bit of an enchilada, a few chips and a spoonful each of rice and beans. LOVE the sleeve :)

I hope all the moms out there have a wonderful day tomorrow!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Don't worry about me, I will live to blog another day...

Note: this post is deeply depressing, but I do feel better after writing it. Not TONS better, but better so I suppose it was worthwhile getting it out of my system.

I’ve been staring at a blank page for the last five minutes wondering where to start or what to talk about. So much going on in my head right now and I honestly don’t know which feelings are genuine and which ones are what I’m *trying* to feel instead of what I’m actually feeling. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but if you expect clarity at any point in this post I’d suggest moving along to your next blog, because my brain is well and thoroughly scrambled at the moment.

I can’t tell if I’m nursing a broken heart or a bruised ego, all I know is I feel like crap either way and it is triggering some feelings I thought I left behind looooooong ago. The bad feelings where I beat myself up for imagining I was on my way to a better me or had a “better me” to offer anyone or anything. The part of me that says “How much more ridiculous can you possibly get Michelle?...that was a laugh…you thinking you actually were…whatever.”

Of course this negative self talk brought up demons from the past; the demons that triggered my bulimia and urged my 20-something self to starve-binge-purge-starve-binge-purge until I felt I’d been punished enough. I’m not saying I’m going to start this again, I’m just owning the fact that, for the first time in a very long time I felt that urge to punish myself, not eat…to quiet the voices of self doubt and self ridicule; as if I could absolve myself of my sins of being too *this* or too *that* but never quite enough of what really matters.

OMG, how ridiculous and melodramatic is this post lol?? Don’t worry, I’ll be ok…I think I’m just hormonal for one thing, missing my mom and grandmother and just…blah.

On a lighter note…I am planning on spending my “mother’s day” tomorrow hiking with Tanner and Erik at Guadalupe River State Park. It is supposed to be an easy hike to the river and then we will have a picnic lunch and maybe even play in the water a bit depending on how cold it is. Quite different from how I spent last mother’s day I’m sure and even though the first part of this post sounds like I have a jar of razor blades at arm’s reach, I’m still very happy with where I’m at today. For the most part…guess it is just going to take my head a bit longer than I thought to catch up with the body.

And yes, I’m seeking counseling because I obviously still have quite a few things to sort out when it comes to love, loss and life.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Long overdue update

I saw my neurosurgeon this past Thursday and honestly, I wasn’t all that impressed with him. First of all, the place where I had both MRI’s (of the brain and then the second one of the cervical spine) only sent the MRI of the brain so he couldn’t even address the chiari malformation diagnosis. He basically said that he was going to need to look at the MRI of the cervical spine and have me get a third MRI of the thoracic spine so that he could make sure I didn’t have a cyst on my spinal cord which I guess can happen with chiari malformation. I’m not excited about having a third MRI considering I’m not made of money and Greg suggested going to see another neurosurgeon for a second opinion which would be a heck of a lot cheaper than a third MRI. I’m considering it, especially since this doctor just didn’t see all that great…he rushed me through the appointment and seemed bothered by the few questions I had.

I also saw my gynecologist Wednesday. We are still on the hunt for the perfect birth control product. When I developed this last migraine, one of the first things I did was take out the nuvaring I had been using. I was in my second month with it and was desperate for anything to stop the migraine. Since being diagnosed with chiari malformation, I asked my gyno whether it was the nuvaring at all and she couldn’t say one way or the other, but thought it was time for us to just discuss an IUD. She has recommended Mirena because it doesn’t use any hormones and she thinks it will help the most with preventing the uterine lining from developing (which is the main reason I need to get on something to regulate my cycle). With PCOS, you can go months without a period which means the endometrial lining just continues to build up each month because it isn’t sloughed off. This can increase your chances for uterine cancer which is why most women with PCOS need help getting regulated. Anyway, we have to see what my insurance is going to pay because apparently the device costs $800.00. I’m double insured so hopefully one will pay what the other doesn’t, but I still may have a deductible to meet. Apparently you can only have it installed while you are on your period which is pretty disgusting…I don’t exactly relish the thought of having anyone fiddling with my vajayjay while I’m menstruating but I guess they are used to it.

Speaking of being double insured…I won’t be that way for much longer. I am actively trying to get the paperwork to make my divorce final. Apparently, we can go down to the law library, pay $12.00 for the paperwork, fill it out, run around making copies, getting stuff notarized and with another $299.00 we can make it official. This is something that has been on my “to do” list since the beginning of the year. Yes, my venture into the dating world kind of got the ball rolling in my head, but we all know this divorce is WAY past due. I haven’t been married in my head or my heart since Erik and I formally split back in 2007. Even though we’ve been living together, it is nothing like a married couple only sometimes, the lines still get blurred (mostly when it comes to finances). Formalizing the divorce isn’t going to really change any of that. We still plan on living together for the time being although more and more, I’m really getting to a place where I kind of want to be on my own. Then I feel selfish for feeling that way because I know how hard it will be on Tanner if we physically split the household. As long as Erik and I can get along, I just can’t see splitting the household up to suit my needs. I realize some might feel differently, but I have to do what feels right in my heart and for now, this is the right thing for Tanner and he is my number one priority.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Migraines and my recent Diagnosis


Note: No, that isn't my brain. Mine is MUCH bigger than that ;)

Ok, so a few weeks ago I developed what I thought was a migraine. I used to have horrible migraines and every once in a while would get a baby migraine (as I called it) which I could usually knock out pretty quickly with medication. Several years ago, my migraines were so bad I thought I was going to have to go on disability because I would get them two to three times a week which meant pretty much my entire week was shot.

In addition to the headaches, I would get what I called “migraine fog.” This was how I described the confusion and inability to attend to anything or concentrate on anything. I would experience this preceding and following a migraine so you can imagine when you are having 2-3 a week it pretty much becomes an a problem that takes over every aspect of your life. I really feel the migraines contributed to the slippery slope that got me to 465 lbs because it really cut back on my daily activity level and made exercising almost impossible as getting my heart rate up could trigger another migraine.

The migraine I developed a few weeks ago lasted over a week. It got so bad at one point, I was having phantom smells, vision problems, incredible pain and nausea and vomiting. I went to the hospital and spent almost an entire day curled up in one of my doctor’s examination rooms while they tried to determine what was going on with me. This was absolutely the worst migraine I had ever experienced.

The doctor sent me for an MRI of the brain which came back normal, but they noted some possible narrowing of the foramen magnum which prompted them to order a follow up MRI of my cervical spine. Here are the results of that MRI in a nutshell:

1. Note findings consistent with Chiari I Malformation with inferior deviation of the cerebellar tonsils (which I think means they may be herniating through the hole at the base of the skull).
2. They also noted degenerative disc disease throughout the cervical spine (the neck)with flattening of the thecal sac (this is a description of the situation which occurs when a herniated (slipped or prolapsed) disc has extended so far into the spinal canal that it is pushing on the thecal sac or covering of the spinal cord)
3. Bilateral neuroforaminal narrowing again, I think this is possibly referring to narrowing of the opening in the spinal vertebra the spinal cord passes through due to some of the degenerative disc disease.
4. Partially empty sella: from what I can gather from my research on the interwebs, the sella is where you find the pituitary gland. When it presents as "partially empty" this could be normal or due to abnormal pituitary function which would make sense considering I've also been diagnosed with PCOS and abnormal levels of all the pituitary hormones (FSH, LH, ACTH, etc) contribute to this syndrome.

Based on these findings, my primary doc has referred me to a neurosurgeon to get his opinion on how bad it is and how it should be treated. Honestly, I think it sounds worse than it actually is. Yes, this can be a serious condition, but it sounds like I may have a mild form of it. I really expect the surgeon to say that all we really need to do at this point is manage the symptoms. I would be very surprised if he recommended surgery, but I guess that is a possibility.

Honestly, it is such a relief to FINALLY have some answers about the years of headaches I’ve had to cope with. It may even explain to some extent why I’m so uncoordinated and accident prone. Perhaps now that we know the cause, we can do more to prevent the migraines from happening. I’ve had a couple days where I feel almost completely headache free so some of the medication must be helping.

I see the neurosurgeon this Thursday and I will update you guys on what he says. Thanks again for the support xx

Monday, April 25, 2011

What the???? and Perspective


Holy cow! Stepped on the scale last night to see 307 after getting down to 296!!! I know some of it is water because I feel bloated and my hands and ankles have been swollen, but geez! It isn’t 11 lbs of water. I’m not going to live in denial…this past week, with my birthday on Thursday, I have been eating a lot of things I shouldn’t. Mainly carby things that are going to make my more hungry which means I started “grazing” instead of sticking to three meals a day…not a good combination obviously. It scares me a little bit though because honestly…quantity-wise, I wasn’t eating a lot, but when you are doing a half assed low carb diet, your body is just going to react as if you are back on the high fat diet and respond accordingly.

So, here is my gameplan:

1. Get back on my “nuts and bolts” diet. This means I’m going to be having one protein shake a day and two low carb meals. I’m going to do this at least for the next week just to “detox” from all the carbs I’ve been ingesting.
2. I’m also going to get back to logging my food intake at sparkpeople. It is the only way I can truly be aware of how many calories I’m taking in. Part of the problem over the last week is I would allow myself to think “Ok, so I’m having some nachos…I only ate three! Big deal.” The problem is, I’d be eating a little something else a few hours later. Not logging my food allowed me to deny how much food I was actually eating. Obviously, if I gained 11 lbs in a week, I was eating a lot more than I thought.
3. Now that I am feeling better (again, more to come on this later), I want to start walking again. It is starting to get hot here in Texas (I went on a walk yesterday with Greg and had a hard time keeping up).

Today went fairly well although I did manage a few more bites of birthday cake lol. One thing I’m noticing is that in the past, I would typically beat myself up over a gain like this. Especially after FINALLY getting under 300 lbs. I won’t lie, the suckage factor is at least a 9 on a scale from 1-10, but I don’t feel as if I’ve lost complete control. I am confident that I can get back on program and there isn’t this nagging fear in the back of my head that maybe this is just the beginning of the end. I KNOW it isn’t. Besides, I have some awesome clothes I got off craigslist that I want to get into pronto. I’m also enjoying my life WAY too much now to give it up for a few bites of something bad.

I’ll end this particular post with a little birthday anecdote. I basically celebrated my birthday over about three or four days. Thursday was my actual birthday so I spent it with Greg (yes, back together again lol). Just a simple evening at his place eating pizza, drinking a little vino and watching some tv while snuggling on the couch. For my gift, he had blown up one of my favorite pictures of my mom and tanner and then another recent one of tanner and I that was very similar and put them in pretty silver frames…such a thoughtful gift and exactly what I love…you can’t go wrong with picture gifts for me. We are both into photography, so he knew exactly what would melt my heart. I have both pictures on my bedside table now.

Friday, Tanner and I attended his first concert as you have already seen by my post yesterday. We had an amazing time, ate at Zushi Sushi beforehand…it was great! Music has always been such a huge part of my life and when my son lost his hearing, that was one of the things I grieved over…thinking that I wouldn’t be able to share my love of music with him and here we were having the time of our lives at his first concert. Good stuff! We were absolutely exhausted by the time we made it home, but it is one of those memories I think will last a lifetime.

Saturday, I had asked friends and family to meet us out at a local restaurant ChaCha’s for some margaritas and good texmex. At the last minute EVERYONE started canceling on me. I’m sure it had a lot to do with Easter being the next morning; I mean, who wants to go out and get plastered when they have to get up for mass the next morning lol? Other friends had emergencies come up, I completely understood. Erik even stayed home…he said he wasn’t feeling well. By then, I was just feeling pretty crappy. I had ordered this huge cake and it looked like only about 3 people would be showing up…I felt like such a loser lol! I decided to head to the restaurant without the cake and was trying to not dwell on the fact that it looked like the evening was going to be a bit of a bust.

So, as I sat at the restaurant, all by myself, for about 45 minutes lol…my best friend Shannon was running late…I started to feel worse. All of a sudden, I just stopped and said “You are NOT going to let this ruin what has been one of the most amazing birthdays of your adult life. You are healthier than you’ve been since you were in your 20’s. You had an amazing night with your boyfriend, an AMAZING night with your son and you are about to spend a great night with a few friends and eat the best damn birthday cake ever!(shannon picked it up on her way to the restaurant lol)” Not to mention I had people coming out of the woodwork on facebook to wish me a happy birthday and congratulate me on this last year. I had a heck of a lot to be thankful for.

It is all about perspective folks. When you step back to look at the big picture, you can relish in a beautiful landscape OR you can choose to focus on the few brown blades of grass in an otherwise see of green foliage. I choose to take it all in and recognize that those few blades of dying grass only make me appreciate the thriving green even more.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

"Be Brave and Fight Like a Girl!" My favorite new breast cancer slogan!


Friday night at the KT Tunstall concert, Tanner and I were lucky enough to stand next to Cherie Mathews, owner and founder of Healincomfort.com. A breast cancer survivor herself, Cherie designs and sells post-surgical friendly clothing for breast cancer survivors and also works hard raising awareness and promoting advocacy efforts for those affected by breast cancer (friends & family included). Tanner was completely smitten by her and talking to her in between sets kept us entertained to say the least. He was particularly impressed by her picture of herself posing with Joan Jett and a video she shared of her sister in one of The Cult's videos (her sister dated the lead singer for several years) and I appreciated the genuine interest she took in Tanner...an amazing kiddo who can often be misunderstood.

He LOVED the attention she showered on him and on the way home that night said in a somewhat disappointed voice, "We should have gotten her number so that we could see her again some time." I told him that she had given me her business card and he broke into a huge grin and said "Cool." He is such a social kid, but he has some social delays which...when coupled with communication issues...can often impede his desire to connect with other people. It warms my heart when people like Cherie take the time to get to know him and see the amazing boy I see inside him.

So, later as we talked about various things, we discovered we had a "cancer connection" (her being a breast cancer survivor and advocate and myself having worked for the American Cancer Society for almost 9 years; not to mention losing my mom to lung cancer and my grandmother to breast cancer). She gave me her card so I could look her up on facebook later and when I got home that night I checked out her website, healincomfort.com.

I instantly fell in love with the whole concept which is essentially designing and gifting specially designed post-surgical clothing for breast cancer patients. I remember flying up to help care for my grandmother after her mastectomy and how difficult it was for her to open her shirt and show me her scar and drainage tubes for the first time. I will never forget the look on her face as she looked up at me to gauge my reaction. Painted all over her face was a horrible mix of apology for the breast that was no longer there mixed with a seed of hope that I'd reassure her in some way that she hadn't changed in my eyes. Trying not to show the grief I felt for all she was going through, I looked her in the eyes while grabbing a washcloth to clean around her incision and said, "Wow, they did a great job, how does it feel?" I have no idea if those were the right words, but it broke the ice between us and I could feel her relax as I continued to bathe her and catch up on things. Losing a breast hadn't changed one thing about her in my eyes and that was what I wanted to impress upon her.

As I helped my grandfather care for her over the next week or two, I remember how frustrating it was for her to cope with the drains that often leaked and the difficulty she experienced trying to get dressed those first few weeks following surgery. I really think she was thankful to finally be done with the surgery. They had initially tried to save the breast and over a month's time kept pulling her back into the OR to get cleaner margins until they finally recommended a mastectomy. Afterwards, I really think she was ready to get on with living, but the frustration of dealing with the physical healing was a daily problem for her. I can definitely see where the clothing Cherie has designed could have made that whole process so much easier for her.

Check out her website. If you know someone facing surgery, buy them a shirt instead of flowers. If you don't know someone who needs a shirt, gift one to a breast cancer patient in your local area and provide that much needed "Spirit Jump" many patients need following surgery. If your life has been touched in some way by breast cancer, you'll want to check out her "Be Brave and Fight Like a Girl" shirts or "Support Crew" shirts (the support crew shirts can be personalized with "Team (name of breast cancer patient)"....what an awesome way for family and friends to show support!).

To Cherie: I was amazed to learn later that you and I share a birthday as well. I still struggle with not being able to see or hear from my mom and grandmother on my birthday...I don't have much family left really so many birthdays come and go without much hoopla, but I'm a big girl now..I can take it ;) I'd be lying though if I acted as if I didn't miss them when that day rolls around each year. To comfort myself, I like to think about my mom and grandma sitting up there in heaven, probably around a dining room table with a cup of coffee gossiping about all the trouble we are managing to get ourselves into and trying their best to orchestrate some good stuff for those they left behind. I hope you don't mind if I consider our serendipitous meeting at that concert a little "sign" from them that they are still around and definitely keeping tabs on those they love. I look forward to ordering a shirt from your website (can't decide which one...may have to get one of each lol) and getting to know you and your organization better. Thanks for taking your experience and channeling it into such a worthwhile effort!

To my readers: I'm sorry I've been derelict in my blogging duties, but I've had some health issues crop up in the last few weeks. I'll go into it later this week. I'll live, but have found some answers for why I've been migraining.

By the way...I stood on my feet for 5-6 hours STRAIGHT at this concert. We had an absolute blast and yeah...I ached everywhere the next day and had a migraine to boot, but I wouldn't have traded that day with Tanner for anything in the world! It was his first concert and my birthday...AWESOME SAUCE people!! Definitely could NOT have done this activity this time last year. What a difference a year makes :)