Returning to Weight Watchers — Now — Just Watch Me Roar!


Dearest Readers:IMG_0620_edited.JPG

After almost six weeks of missing my regular Weight Watchers meetings, I returned yesterday. As most of you might know, I’ve been sick. Very sick and weak. Normally, I do not have spells of asthma related illnesses during the summer; however, this summer, my husband had, and I quote the doctor’s diagnosis, ‘a bit of pneumonia.’ I cared for him, washing my hands daily for what seemed like a thousand times. I told him to cover his mouth when coughing or sneezing. I did not wish to get his germs. At times, my husband appears to become a child again. I call him a ‘two-year-old’ and when he is sick, he definitely is like a child. Heck, I would not even give him a morning and evening kiss! After he got well, I awoke with a sore throat. The next morning, I awoke with major congestion in my chest and when I coughed, my chest burned inside. I phoned my doctor, seeing him that afternoon.

After chest x-rays, I was diagnosed with bronchial asthma. Great. And so, I was sick for six weeks!

My doctor prescribed a Z-pack and a steroid. Not prednisone, but another steroid. I’ve forgotten the name of it, but I do know it started with the letter “D.” Steroids do strange things to me, especially regarding my cognitive abilities. I took the meds, hoping within five days I would feel better. I did not. The doctor’s office followed up to see how I was doing. When they heard my voice, they decided to get another prescription for me. With the first steroid, I did not have any side effects. Certainly wish I could say the same about the refill of that steroid.

On the third week of my illness, I weighed, losing three pounds. I was ecstatic! When I am sick, I lose my appetite. After starting the additional steroid (same steroid, just a refill of it) I noticed I was hungry — ALL THE TIME! I would eat my breakfast of yogurt with fruit, or oatmeal with fruit, and I was still hungry. I made a sandwich. Still hungry! No doubt I appeared to be a bottomless pit where food was concerned.

I phoned my husband at work, asking him to bring home potato chips and ice cream. I want Ice Cream, I said. Ice cream. Ice cream — I-SCREAM for ice cream. I had no idea why I wanted ice cream and chips. I certainly wasn’t pregnant!

My cravings for food continued. It seemed no matter what I ate — I wanted to continue to eat. And eat…and EAT!

Craving something crunchy, I opened the pantry. All we had in the pantry was a box of Ritz Crackers. I opened them — eating way too many. The serving size on the package said five crackers. Trust me, I ate more than five.

At Weight Watchers we learn to look at the serving size, along with the ingredients. Big deal. I don’t care what the serving size says. I’m hungry!

Since I was so weak and ill, I decided not to track my foods on Weight Watchers. Monday of this week, I took the final steroid. I was feeling better, but had no idea why I was eating like an elephant, or so it seemed. I got on the scales. Gaining seven pounds, I burst into tears.

What is wrong with me? I’m doing Weight Watchers. I’m sick and I don’t understand why I am craving foods I no longer eat. I’m not eating fruit every day, nor am I eating vegetables. My daily intake of food is Boars Head London Broil, Boars Head turkey, and potato chips. No fruit. No vegetable, and of course – ice cream. Did I mention peanut butter??  Just why am I doing this. Why am I sabotaging my weight loss? If I keep eating like this, I will gain all of my weight back. I made a promise to myself. A promise to NEVER gain it back and I haven’t, until now.

I looked at the empty prescription bottle. I rushed to my computer to look up ‘side effects of oral steroids.’ Among the side effects were:

blurred vision

increased appetite

A variety of side effects were listed, but those two I definitely experienced, especially the increased appetite.

Maybe I should stop beating myself up. Maybe this time, the cravings and eating are truly not my fault. EXCEPT – I am the one opening my mouth and eating these foods. Just maybe the steroid is telling my brain I need food. How I wish this would end. Why can’t I be strong enough to fight this battle?

Sitting at my desk, reading more about this steroid teaches me I have to be strong and I must stop eating the ice cream. Potato chips. (After I started Weight Watchers, I grew to hate the taste of potato chips.) Not this week.

On Tuesday of this week, I decided it was time for me to be accountable and responsible. I grabbed my cell phone and went to the Weight Watchers E-tools site. I tracked my intake. Probably the first time in maybe three to six weeks. Sabotage. SABOTAGE. Today is the day I STOP SABOTAGING MYSELF! I’m not an elephant, or a whale. It’s time to stop this insanity!

And so, yesterday, I walked into my Weight Watchers meeting, ready to admit to myself and my friends at Weight Watchers that I’ve gained weight while sick. Yes, I’m disappointed. I really thought I was stronger than that. How could I allow a drug to influence me? Just how?

Approaching the area where we have our ‘confidential weigh-ins’ I spoke softly to the receptionist. “I’ve missed six weeks due to illness. I do not want to weigh in today. I’ve been on steroids.” 

Lots of members of Weight Watchers are under the impression they MUST weigh in every week. A few years ago, Weight Watchers gave us a ‘No Weigh In’ card. I’ve used mine a few times, but I knew deep inside my heart if I weighed in, seeing about a five-pound-gain, I would be so depressed, I wasn’t certain I could fight, or find strength, or return.

During the meeting, I shared a challenge I experienced just last week. The cravings. Non-stop eating. My illness. How devastated I was when I discovered no matter what I tried, I could not stop stuffing my mouth. Since joining Weight Watchers, I’ve been extremely proud of how strong I’ve been while eating. I no longer eat until I’m full. I stop when I am satisfied, with exception of this illness and those d— steroids!

I actually look in a full-length mirror after dressing now. There is NO WAY I am allowing steroids to dictate my eating habits. No more cravings. No more stuffing my mouth with foods I actually do not like to eat!

This morning, I told myself today is a new day. I must be strong. I must not weaken. If I have a craving, undoubtedly caused due to those steroids still in my system, I will eat fruit, or I will find something else to do! I will lose the three pounds I gained (according to my scales at home), and I pray I will lose them before next weeks weigh-in.

This I do for me. This too shall pass, after all, it’s when things seem worse, you mustn’t quit!

I’ve found my anchor. WEIGHT WATCHERS!!! Now, just watch me roar!

A Wake Up Call — Missing Weight Watchers Meetings…


Dearest Readers:

To those of you who follow my blog on a regular basis, I thank you. Most of you will know, I’ve been sick for over six weeks now with a severe case of bronchial asthma. The germs were germinated to me while I cared for my husband and his ‘bit of pneumonia,’ according to his doctor at Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. When they diagnosed his illness, I wanted to ask: “Hey Doc. Is a ‘bit of pneumonia’ like a ‘little bit pregnant?'”

I do not think his doctors would’ve appreciated my humor so I remained quiet — for once.  Trust me. It was so difficult for me to remain quiet. One week later, my husband was well. I woke up with a sore throat on that Monday. By Tuesday morning, there was no question about it. I was definitely congested in my lungs, burning in my chest when I coughed and off to the doctor I went that afternoon. My doctor suspected I might have pneumonia. The chest x-ray revealed a normal chest. My chest normal? NEVER!

Now that I am feeling a bit better, I have chosen to do all I can to write in my blog on a regular basis. Maybe daily??? 

Today’s topic is Weight Watchers, and what I have experienced since I have missed six weekly meetings — IF I miss this week’s meeting on Thursday. Today is Tuesday, June 27, 2017. The last meeting I attended was Thursday, May 18, 2017.

Over those weeks, I have fought just to breathe. My husband is not domestic in any definition of the word. The only thing he does when I am ill is make certain I eat. When I’m ill, I usually lose weight, without trying. Simply because I cannot taste food. I have such difficulty breathing that I really do not want anything to get in the way of breathing.

Since my husband is not domesticated, I’ve actually vacuumed the house, almost on a weekly basis, while gasping for breath. He has reprimanded me big time, telling me I ‘should not be vacuuming.’ Once when he was critical of my struggles to vacuum, I attempted to scream at him, telling him he could learn to vacuum.

His reply: “I vacuum a lot.”

Are you kidding? You must be speaking of vacuuming at another place because you cannot even turn the vacuum on in this house. If there’s another woman, you can go to her…Right now!

“I’ve vacuumed a lot.”

Liar…Liar…pants on fire!

Let’s just say, since I’ve been ill, I’ve managed to overlook the lint on the carpets. Dust on the furniture. I’ve eaten sandwiches…potato chips…peanut butter…and ice cream. If you own Mayfield Ice Cream stock, maybe it’s increasing now since we’ve eaten SO MUCH ICE CREAM!

Have I tracked Weight Watchers? NOPE. I suppose one could say, I’ve probably broken the Smart Points tracking like crazy!

This Thursday will be an interesting day. How I pray I maintain and not gain. Yesterday was a wake up call for me. While I vacuumed the house I realized I was hungry. My stomach growled. I grabbed a piece of white bread. The only bread we had in the house. I coated this piece of bread with peanut butter. LOTS of peanut butter! Eating it, I realized I was still hungry. Famished. I wanted food. OK. I MUST be getting well.

I went back to the kitchen. Another piece of bread, lightly coated with Hellman’s Light Mayonnaise. I placed Boars Head London Broil on the bread. A piece of Boars Head turkey. One slice of provolone cheese, or was it two slices? I can’t remember. I’m still sick! I sat down, gobbled the food down and wanted more.

This is not me. This is not who I am. One thing I’ve learned at Weight Watchers is not to stuff my mouth full of food, all day long. 

Now, I actually recognize how addicts must feel when they crave their drug of choice. I do not do drugs, of any kind. I am not an addict. Nor am I a food addict. I rushed to my window, glanced up at the sky and I prayed for God to give me strength. I’m not an addict. Why am I doing this to myself???

After my talk with God, I felt better. Stronger. In control.

After my illness, remaining home and not being active, I’ve learned I really cannot do Weight Watchers alone. I must return to the meetings. Missing so many meetings has not kept me pro-active and accountable for what I’m eating. I must remind myself, today is a new day. I must track every bite I eat, and when I am a bit stronger, I must return to activities.

Today, like every day, I weighed. Looks like I’ve gained three pounds since this illness. I am furious with myself. I’ve been told I  have Type A personality. I want things perfect. Well, life isn’t perfect! I want things in control. Lately, I realize I’ve been OUT OF CONTROL!

Yesterday, after my discussion with God, I realized I have been sabotaging myself. As my husband once said to me while I was ill years ago, “You just give in to illness. You don’t fight it.”

Looks like people who’ve never had asthma just do not understand. Asthma can kill. I’ve stated many times that when my time comes, no doubt my death certificate will say: “Cause of Death — Asthma!” Scary, isn’t it!

Major attacks of asthma completely strip me of any energy. It takes energy to breathe. While fighting asthma, I cannot breathe. Nor am I a pretty site to see when I am ill.

I want my life back! I want to sleep all night. Haven’t done that since childhood! I want to be able to walk…to dance…and to sing. I haven’t tried to sing any song since my illness. Wednesday nights we have a date night at karaoke. Something tells me I still cannot sing, so either we will stay home, or if we go, I will listen to others sing. Gosh. I dare my friend to even attempt to sing any of my songs! Gee. That could start a cat fight. I’m not a cat. Nor do I fight with women, so it looks like another night of watching BLUE BLOODS!

Maybe glaring at Tom Selleck will heal me. Hey! A girl can dream!

I’m almost to the point I will do anything to feel better again.

Oops. Didn’t I say this would be a post about Weight Watchers?

What have I learned about myself since I’ve missed six meetings? Lots.

For example:

I’ve learned I cannot be successful with Weight Watchers alone. No. I do not do Weight Watchers Online. I must go to meetings. I’ve established friendships at my Thursday meetings. I’ve learned to say “NO” whenever I am tempted — that is, I did know how to say NO. Now, I’m not certain and if I go to the meeting this Thursday, I plan to share how emotionally weak I’ve been. I’ve eaten sandwiches. Yes, Weight Watchers can track sandwiches. I’ve fought with cabin fever since I’ve been sick. I’ve rested. I’ve craved foods that are not healthy foods. I’ve done everything wrong! I’ve practically beaten my head against a brick wall! Why? WHY?? OH WHY???????

Today is a new day. A new day for me to be responsible. Accountable. Supportive of myself. At the meeting this week, I will probably grumble a bit if I’ve gained, and I do believe I have. I will admit my faults and move on!

Today is a new Day! I will be thankful that I’m getting better and I will be acceptable that I am human!

Here’s to a New Day!

 

 

 

On Father’s Day, 2017…


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Angel Oak Tree, a gorgeous tree embracing Johns Island, SC

Dearest Readers:

Happy Father’s Day to all of the father’s in the United States of America. Today is a special day, to give thanks and celebrate our fathers. From the moment we were born, most of us had a father. Maybe you have precious memories of your father, and perhaps there are some, like me, who have — shall I say — interesting, sometimes traumatic memories.

As a little girl, I looked up to my father, sometimes squealing for him to scoop me into his arms. However, at five-years-old, I saw a different side of my father, and I must say, he scared me. At the time, we were living in the projects in Atlanta, Georgia. I hated the projects! My mother loved to go outside and gossip with all of the nasty, ugly, snide women who lived in the projects. On one crisp Saturday morning, my mother was outside. Sitting by the curb, legs spread wide open, wearing a dress. I couldn’t understand why my mother always told me to keep my knees together when I sat, wearing a dress, when she didn’t practice what she preached, but I listened and I didn’t dare open my legs wide in a dress. On this morning, Mom was laughing with the women, talking about the neighbors, the fighting and the ugly gossip always shared when wicked women get together.

I was sitting on the back porch playing with my dolly when Daddy opened the back door, screaming for my mama. She ignored his call. I looked at my daddy, seeing an evil look in his eyes. He pointed his finger at me, shaking it furiously he said: “You go get your mother and tell her I want to speak with her.” He paused, and then he screamed at me, “NOW!”

“Yes Sir,” I said, placing my doll on the floor of the porch.

I ran as fast as my little legs could move. “Mama, Daddy wants you. He’s been calling for you.”

She laughed, scratched her inner thigh and looked at me. “Well, girls I guess I better jump and go to him. You all know how these men in the projects get if the little woman doesn’t obey.”

They laughed. As Mama rose, Daddy met her. He shook her shoulders. Words were expressed, but I can’t remember exactly what he said. She laughed, then thrust her arms at him. He pushed her, knocking her down on to the concrete next to the metal trash cans. Mama hit her head on the trash can and when she fell she bruised her knees.

The gossipy, wicked women rushed away.

I struggled to help my mama up. I looked at my daddy, standing tall. Anger seeping from his eyes. I put my hands on his legs and said, “Daddy move away. Mama’s coming. Don’t push her anymore. That was a mean thing to do.”

I suppose one could say, on that day, I became the referee for our family. I was the middle child, but I refused to tolerate abuse and every time I was around, watching my daddy and my mother fight so dreadfully, I remember squeezing into the middle of the fight, placing my arms out to make them move away. I would always say, “Daddy. Mama. Stop this fighting. If you want to beat someone, beat me!”

When I was fifteen, I stopped the final fight. I arrived home from school. Excited to share that I had a lead in a musical! I was so happy and proud of myself on that beautiful Tuesday afternoon. Walking inside the house, I heard shouting and I knew, another round of fights was on. I listened to the shouts, cursing and the horror. I knocked on the door, then I pushed it open. Mama was bending down, gasping for breath. Her face was blue. Daddy stood, watching her, holding a stack of mail.

“You two need to stop this,” I screamed. “Look at her. She’s having difficulty breathing. You need to stop this fighting before one of you kills the other. One of you needs to leave.”

Daddy threw the mail in my direction. “Look at this. Just look at what she did. She bought a diamond ring and didn’t tell me. Now they’re going to garnish my wages. We’ll have to file for bankruptcy. Just look at what she’s done.”

I glanced at one envelope stamped with an orange Past Due notice.

“The fighting needs to stop before one of you goes to prison,” I said.

Little did I know how things would change.

The next day, I walked home from school, trying to work things out in my head. I knew domestic abuse wasn’t healthy in a family situation. I felt helpless. I had no one to talk to. None of my relatives would understand and I was certain if I said anything to anyone, I would become the trouble maker of our family. I remember hearing people saying fighting in a marriage was “normal”… “A Family Matter…”

Opening the door to the house, my mama was sitting on the couch in tears.  She rushed at me. “This is all your fault. I hope you’re happy now. Your daddy left us today. He’s dead. Dead. DEAD. I never want to hear his name again in this house and you are never allowed to talk to him, or mention his name again!”

The following Saturday, Mama moved us to Columbus, Georgia. Four children. One adult, living in a two bedroom mill village with our grandparents. To say we were crowded for space is an understatement.

I had to follow the rules:

Church on Sunday.

Wednesday night prayer meetings at church

No makeup (I broke that rule)

No rock n’ roll music, only Christian music

Go to school

Nothing more.

I hated this new life and rebelled. No, I never did drugs. Never tried alcohol. I rebelled by staying alone, taking walks, retreating to the Chattahoochee River. At school, I became a wallflower, refusing to try out for plays, musicals, or anything interesting. I wrote to my dad, letting him know I loved him.

Never do I really remember celebrating Father’s Day for my dad as a child. As a grown up, married with a child of my own, I chose to make Father’s Day special. I bought cards for my dad. When he visited us, he was different. I actually heard him laugh, and I watched him playing with my son. Gone from his demeanor was the anger, hatred, and abuse. Never did I hear my dad say anything ugly about our mother after their divorce. He was truly a changed man. No violence. No shouting. Just a kind, and loving man filled with Laughter and Happiness within himself.

In December, 1997, my beloved father became ill with esophageal cancer. Serving as his caregiver until his death on July 6, 1999, I truly saw a beautiful person within his demeanor. On one occasion, he thanked me for what I said on the last day before my parents separated. He admired my strength to serve as the referee. To my knowledge, no one within our family circle knew about the domestic “family matters” of our family.

As a writer, I’ve written many articles about domestic abuse. How it changes a family. How it paints a vivid, horrifying picture about marriage and I vowed to myself that no one would ever abuse me. I suppose I overlooked another side of domestic abuse – the verbal abuse, and for years, my husband who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD] from Vietnam, would get into rages, shouting at me. Once, he shoved me and when he did, I fought back, standing firm to him, letting him know he had to stop his rage, or I would end the marriage.

I’m proud to say, we worked those issues out, and now, we do not scream, shout or verbally fight. Our home is a happy home. Father’s Day is always special. I give thanks to God for guiding me and giving me strength.

And so, on Father’s Day, 2017, I give thanks to God for all He has given me and my family. It is my wish for all of you reading this, to please take a moment to give your father a bit of special care and love on this Father’s Day. Although I am still sick with bronchial asthma, I will find the energy to make this a most special Father’s Day, to my dad in Heaven, and to my husband while he sleeps.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all the fathers!

Thinking of Sir Shakespeare Hemingway


035Dearest Readers:

Yes. I know, I’ve been a bit negligent with writing in my blog. If you recall, on March 7, 2017, I lost one of the loves of my life. My little Sir Shakespeare Hemingway. My life appeared to stop after losing him. I cried. Oh…How I cried. The tears were an endless, rushing ocean of tears I referred to as a tsunami.

My friends didn’t understand. Heck. I wasn’t certain I understood. I kept telling myself that I had to move on. After all, after the death of a loved one, life continues. The sun still shines. The rains pour. Bills are due. Life continues. But how? How could I learn to live without little Shake n Bake?

I do not have an answer to that question. I still called his name. I looked for him outside, resting on the corner of our lot, where he always rested to get his sunshine. He loved sunshine. I clapped my hands three times, so he would hear me and realize he needed to come inside, only he wasn’t there. I prayed for God to guide me and to ease my grief. I needed a sign and one morning, a fly flew into my coffee cup. Shakespeare knew me well enough to realize I wasn’t a bit of good to anyone without my second cup of coffee. On that morning, I picked up the coffee cup, ready to sip the second cup, only to find a fly floating in the cup of hot, fresh coffee.

I laughed! “Shakespeare,” I screamed! “You sent me a sign. Thank you. Thank you.” Tears rushed down my face again. Another torrential endless waterfall of fresh tears I could not stop.

I must explain. The water bowls for my dogs are strategically placed in the kitchen, bedroom and where I write. If Shakespeare was thirsty and something was in the water bowl, he refused to drink. He would place his paw in the bowl, attempting to remove a dead fly, or a bit of dirt. If that didn’t work, he would kick the bowl over, to let me know he wanted CLEAN water, not a dirty bowl!

So Shakespeare!

In four days, Shakespeare will be tucked safely inside my heart for three months. Yes. The tears are flowing again, and even though I am blessed with other dogs, I cannot stop these tears at times.

This week I’ve been super busy caring for my husband. He awoke on Wednesday with chills and fever. Knowing enough about medicine and health to understand that when one has chills there is normally an infection inside the body. I mentioned this to my husband. Of course, he grumbled, called in to work and stayed in bed. I decided it was best to ignore him. After all, I had planted the seed that he probably had an infection, or maybe…  he had pneumonia.

About 15 minutes later, he walked into where I was sitting at the computer. “I think I should go to ER.”

“That’s probably a good idea.”

Shutting my computer down, I changed clothes. Off we go to the infamous Ralph H. Johnson VA Hospital, ER. No doubt, this day will not be productive for a writer.

We arrived at ER about 8:30, maybe a bit later. Checked in to ER and waited. Moments later, someone calls his name and we enter ER. Those of you who know what it is like to go to a VA hospital will understand just how long it takes to see doctors. That didn’t happen for us. The doctors arrived, checked him over, ordered tests, chest x-rays, blood work, etc…Etc! At lunch time (1 o’clock or so) Phil mentions he is hungry. The nurse (a wonderful, caring male nurse) mentioned he would order him some lunch. Phil suggests that I go to the cafeteria and get some lunch since I haven’t eaten either.

“Oh, no.” I said. “I remember how disastrous their salads were the last time we were here. I’ll be OK.”

When the lunch arrives, it is much to my surprise, lunch for two. I seem to recall that when Phil and I were chatting earlier about my going to the cafeteria, I mentioned they would bring him lunch, but the wives, or caregivers who were with the veteran were treated as second-class citizens. “They do not consider how we might feel or we might be hungry and hesitant to leave the area since our veteran is sick.”

Oops. Looks like my voice must’ve been heard I say quietly as I open the box to a hamburger steak, lightly covered with gravy. Well done, limpy vegetables and cold egg noodles, but what the heck. I’m hungry! Believe me, I’ll not complain. It was a most considerate thought for the nurse to order two lunches!

About 2pm, the doctor returns. The diagnosis, “a bit of pneumonia.” When he shares the diagnosis, I think to myself  — Is that like a little bit pregnant?  I remain quiet. Listening…

Today, Phil is resting still. Earlier, when I checked on him, he was coughing. How I pray this ‘bit of pnuemonia’ leaves him soon, and I pray I do not get it. I’ve had pneumonia three times as an adult and when I get it, I am sick for weeks.

And, so today, while at the computer, I attempt to write again. Something I haven’t done much lately. At times, I don’t feel like a writer anymore. I suppose I’ve allowed myself to be lazy about writing. I must change that behavior and get myself back to the busy-ness of writing.

For now, I must go make my infamous homemade waffles for Phil and I to share for breakfast, or maybe an early brunch.

I’ve made a promise to myself this week. A promise to write more on my blog and a promise to get the story of “Chattahoochee Child,” completed.

I simply must WRITE again! Maybe in memory of Sir Shakespeare Hemingway who always rested curled at my feet when I wrote. I still find my left foot moving ever so slowly next to his curled little warm body so I can rub him while writing. Only now…that precious little boy isn’t there. Will this grief ever leave? What can I do to make it leave me? I don’t have any answers, but my heart is so full of his love.