Beware the Winter Storm of March


Well, I was hoping that if I ignored all the warnings and weather alerts and people talking about it, that it wouldn’t actually happen.  Here it is, another snowstorm.  I hope everyone keeps the power on.  I hope people use common sense tomorrow when going to work or choosing to stay home.  It is really windy out there.  The snow is coming down fast, and piling up quickly.  I don’t want to have to shovel anymore!  The wind roared while I typed that last sentence.  It is loud enough that it may keep me awake through the night.

I heard they are calling for ice pellets and rain tomorrow.  Yippee Skippy.  I guess that’s what winter storms in March are made for.They are calling for 20-45cm of snow this time around.  70-90km winds.  Half the snow of the last blizzard.  Still much more than I really want to face in the morning.

I am still holding out hope they are wrong.  My husband is sure they are.  I am hoping for less snow than is being predicted, and he just told me they were wrong so frequently this winter he is getting prepared for 60 cm of snow.

All that shovelling. Again.  The Winter Snow Scoop has been living in my kitchen since the last storm.  I am glad we don’t have to dig it out this time.

I will be gladder when we can put it away until after the fall.

I have to go.  The power just blinked.  Time to find the flashlights.

It might be time to invest in snowshoes.

Stay safe and warm inside until the morning, people.  It’s a wild one!



Honouring Lost Friends, and Making New Ones


Honouring Lost Friends and Making New Ones

Tish MacWebber

Not that long ago, I wrote about Dealing With Unexpected Grief.  I have lost two friends since I moved to Fredericton, and I had met them both after moving here.  One of those friends died almost a year ago.  She came to mind suddenly when I found out that a band we had seen live together the last time they were in town, was going to be putting on another show here.  I had a bit of a moment when I had a flashback to that show, and I decided to write the story I linked above.

I shared the ad for the show on my wall and asked in my comments if anyone was interested in checking them out with me.  Because of the unexpected grief, I felt I didn’t want to go by myself, in case I got too melancholy.  My friend Kathy asked me to share some of their youtube videos with her, and she decided to join me.  I was so relieved to have a friend with me, it was a show I did not want to attend alone.


I found out while I was getting ready to go out that the opening act was a local band, Kill Chicago.  So I jumped on Spotify and had a listen.  I liked what I heard.  So I spent a few minutes online while eating supper and saw a twitter contest for a free vinyl from Kill Chicago for the first person to tweet back.  I tweeted and was told to introduce myself and they would hook me up with a prize.  I chose a CD because I do not have a record player, and while a record is a cool prize, I am practical.


Kill Chicago

Kill Chicago

We arrived while they were on stage, and had to stand back a bit.  It is a narrow, long bar, and it was packed!  This made me really happy because I had seen the other band, The Stanfields play here before; in fact, this is the band I was referring to seeing with my friend before she passed away.  It was the biggest crowd I had seen show up for them, (with the exception of the night they played at The Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival). I am sure Kill Chicago fans were also contributing to the turnout, but I was really pleased to see the size of the crowd that came to the live show.

During the Kill Chicago set, Kathy made a friend.  There was a woman there with a really cute purse, and boots with bling, sitting nearby.  Kathy said hi, and admired the purse.  It had a Union Jack on it and was made of canvas.  The lady said she loved it because she could throw it in the washing machine, and wanted us to feel the fabric.  My eyes saw the purse but LOVED the boots!  Tan coloured with sparkles all over them.  I would SO wear those boots. Kathy is going to try and have a friend find her that purse, which the lady bought in Freeport, USA.

I happened to see Jon Landry, before the show and said hello.  He was getting ready so sing in the next set, so I didn’t bother him too much.  I think I introduced Kathy, but I can’t remember.  I almost didn’t recognize him, it had been a few years since I saw him at the last live show I went to.

When I saw Jason MacIsaac, I said hello, introduced Kathy, and shared an awkward hug in greeting with Jason.  It would have been funny to watch, it was kind of like a do si do happened before we managed a friendly hug.  He is also in The Stanfields.   When we were growing up in Cape Breton, we used to ride the bus together to and from school.  We had a nice chat while Kill Chicago was rocking out on stage.  We were far enough back, at that point, that it was a little hard to hear at times, but we talked for a good little while.

When he came in from the cold, he couldn’t see very well.  It happens when you have glasses, they fog up.  Kathy then told us that she has a tip for that.  She told us that if you walk into a room backwards, after being out in the cold, and you give a few extra seconds before you turn around, your glasses won’t fog up.  She says it works.  I have not tried it myself yet.  When I do, I will leave a comment below on how well it works.


The Stanfields

The Stanfields


Kill Chicago finished their set, and The Stanfields had to get ready to take the stage.  I wished Jason luck for a good show and decided to head over to the merchandise table to wait for my free cd.  I had money out just in case, but I was told that it was a gift for replying to the twitter contest, and I could have it.  How awesome is that?  I then asked if the band could sign the cd for me, and most of them signed it.  We decided that this location had a better vantage point, and stayed by the table for the rest of the show. ( No Grammarly, we were not “on” the table, but beside it. LOL)

Kathy and I had a conversation earlier in the night about the heights of different people in the room.  She was feeling tall because most of the people she spends her time with are also tall, so she was realizing why people like myself think that she is tall.  I am not so lucky.  It amused me later on when a kind gentleman who was towering over everyone asked me if he was in my way.  I laughed it off, and told him, no he was fine, because really if it wasn’t him there I would have to look around other people.  It was a nice of him to ask, though.

I was approached by a different man who wanted to know if I knew the band.   I told him I did, and he asked me if I had known John Walter.  It took me a minute to place the name.  I told him I had seen him at other shows, but didn’t know him really well.  I remember the day I asked Jason what had happened.  John was a good friend to the band and was at a fair number of their shows.  He was the lead actor in their first video, The Dirtiest Drunk In The History of Liquor.  One day in November 2015, John hit a patch of black ice with his car.  He died, and I remember that it was a shock to a lot of people that knew him.  Losing a friend is a hard thing to deal with.

The young man introduced himself as Thomas.  He was looking for a safe place to stash the winter coats.  Kathy & I had put ours on the floor by the table, and so I pointed to the floor.  Thomas laughed and said, “I have never seen a finer corner to put my jacket in.” A coat check would have made money that night, for sure.  He asked if he could buy me a drink, in honour of his friend.  I accepted the offer, and he came back with a glass of draft for me.  By the time he was back, I had put two and two together, and I told him the story of missing my friend that night also.  Another friendly hug happened, the side by side kind of a hug.  (You would think I was a huggy type of person, but I’m not most of the time).  The drinks probably made me a little less worried about hugging people.  I had a few in me at that point.  He introduced me to his girlfriend.  I *think* her name was Ashley, but I am not 100% certain.  He told me they were both there to honour their friend’s memory because he was a good friend to them both, and he was with them the night they became a couple. When we were done chatting, they asked me to join them on the dance floor.  I declined, it was a little too crowded there, and I was happy in my little space by the table.  I was able to dance a little and clap and sing with the band from right where we were.

When I reflected for a moment, I do think my friend was there in spirit with me.  I say this because when we attended the show together, there was not a crowd like this time, and we did watch from the sidelines a bit before hitting the dance floor together.  It reminded me of that and thinking that she had cleared a special place from the cosmos to allow me to have a good vantage point for the show with Kathy, made me smile.

The Stanfields had one encore.  Part of it was a favourite from their self-titled debut album, Crocodile Tears. It is quite the memorable tune, and those of us that have been fans since the beginning, know all the words and sang along.  We got our coats, and I had paid Jason earlier for the new CD and DVD I wanted.  They are going to be recording a new album soon. I can’t wait to hear what they do next!   I guess it was the night of the one missing band member because I am missing one signature on the cd I bought from them too.  I’ll try to remember to bring it with me for the next show.



Kill Chicago and The Stanfields Merchandise

Swag and Merchandise I took home from the show.  Whenever I get a chance, I do like to support local talent and buy directly from the bands.  They get a little more money in their pocket that way, and I am an artist who understands that this is how you keep the bands making more music, by supporting them at live shows.


In summary, it was a great experience.  I always have fun when I go to see The Stanfields, and now I will try to make it out to go to see Kill Chicago when I can.  I had recognized a local celebrity at the show, a radio personality,  and we talked briefly while there.  The next day we carried on a facebook chat about the show, and he enjoyed the show,  as a fan as well.   I am glad I was able to be there.  I am also glad Kathy came with me, she is an awesome friend that I don’t get to hang out with as much as I’d like to.  Make time to do things with your friends while they are here so that you can honour them after they are gone.  Then you will have memories to smile about, and stories to share.

Thanks to Kill Chicago and The Stanfields for a fun and memorable live show.


My first Guest Blog, and a little more of the back story.

Pink Shirt Day

Pink Shirt Day 2017

Earlier in the year, Kirsty Allen, of her blog The Ramblings of a Madwoman posted an opportunity for guest blogging.  It interested me, as a newbie here, I wanted to give it a whirl and see what happened.  We were given a prompt, and I chose to write about a recent conflict.

I thought about it, as I am Always Thinking…

I replied with an idea about learning how to stand up for myself.  This is something that is a new skill in my life, and I have been improving it in the last few years.  I still have my moments, but I like to think I am more capable of defending myself than I was 10 years ago.

The last Wednesday in February is Pink Shirt Day in Canada.  I am all for raising awareness about the anti-bullying movement, and I shared reminders on my personal facebook wall the day before Pink Shirt Day, 2017.  It came as a surprise when I had negative replies in response to those reminders. I replied in the most constructive way I could, trying to turn around the negativity.  It didn’t go too far, and I did see that one person decided to express their negative thoughts on their own wall.  To each their own.  A good rule of thumb for social media.  If the discussion had continued to escalate on my wall, I would have had to take further action.  Thankfully, it didn’t.

In true Tish fashion, I had made a decision about the best way I could handle this.  I decided that I would use the anger and disappointment I felt as a result of what happened on my wall, and spin it in my guest blog post.

It was a challenge.  I started with the pantser approach I use, and just typed away.  The goal for the word count was 200 to 700 words, in short story format.  When I finished the rough draft, I had 1800 words, give or take a few.  So then I had to get really serious and edit the fluff out of it.  I have certainly had a lot of experience with bullies in my life, there was no shortage of examples.

After a furious editing session, I worked on it for 2 days or more, I had it down to just over 800 words.  I updated Kirsty with my progress and asked her about the size of the picture she needed for the submission to be complete.  With that information, I was able to send it to her.  Then I waited.  I am proud that I was able to send it in before the deadline.  That was important to me, as I am a procrastinator by nature.

It was hard to be patient, but I did that too.  I checked for a response several times a day, waiting for her reply.  I wondered if I missed the mark with the word count,  or if it was not going to be a successful submission.

When I saw Kirsty’s message, I was over the moon happy!  She told me that it would indeed be published, and that, “I really enjoyed reading your piece, it was so relatable and well written that I nearly cried. .” I quoted that at work and for a few days after that.  It validated my talents as a writer, and also really made me feel good that I accomplished the task at hand.

I am pleased to share this story here, in a link format.  There is a reason we Bloggers do this together.  We share stories on each other’s websites to challenge our own writing abilities, but also to increase traffic to each other’s websites.  It may not make much sense to those of you out there just reading my stories that I link to my wall, but in the blogging world, it does matter.  So if you like my story, and you take the time to read it, please take a few minutes to check out The Ramblings of a Madwoman by Kirsty Allen.  I recommend “It’s called Project Echo. We’re a top secret, select group of special people and we’ve been monitoring you.”, as I really enjoyed this story.  I was inspired when I read Motivation March, to leave a comment for her about this piece.  She is a talented writer, and I am liking her stories too.

Here is the link for my first guest submission on Kirsty’s website.  I hope you check it out.  I am proud of how it came together.

It’s not just about the pink shirt, it’s about changing your attitude


Reblog: Make It Ultra wants to help their followers to promote and grow their blogs. Nice idea! I’m in!

There are almost 2,000 comments in this message.  What a wonderful way to create traffic for my blog, get people to check out their blog and follow both.  I would like to submit some posts as a guest blogger there too.  Sharing for other bloggers to join the club, so to speak.  🙂  See you there!

Hi Everyone, We want to create a directory for our subscribers to connect with each other. If you would like to share your blog, please leave a description about what readers might find if they visit your site. Hopefully this will create some positive synergy for our blogging community. Don’t forget to reblog this post so we […]

via Promote & Grow Your Blog! — MakeItUltra™

Weekend Warrior #3


I have been a little lacking in the cleaning department in February. I have been planning but not doing.  This weekend will be different, and therefore today’s story will be short.

I added to the mess, last night.  My butt bumped a tray of beads.  So along with my list, I have to play a game with my broom called 5 million pick-up! Ugh.  At least I had the covers on the bead containers I had already finished sorting.  10 million pick-up would have been much worse!

I am going to work on my house this weekend.  In the words of a sport I do not understand enough to actually spend a lot of time watching, I plan to, “Hurry, hurry, hurry hard!” at it today.  I will be Bouncing the House today and tomorrow.

So a brief outline will involve the never ending dishes, prep cooking for the week, and laundry.  I am not good at the putting away part of cleaning.  If I manage to get this all done today, (or most of it) I will then tackle the bathrooms, which really need me to get to them THIS weekend.  I need to get the basic chores out of the way so I can get to the Spring Cleaning.  I need to get this done, it is holding me back from other goals for the year, the biggest one being writing a book.

I value the benefits of an organized house, so I am trying to better my environment with the challenges I have set out for myself.  It will also help me be more efficient in my daily life when all the cleaning is done.

There is so much to do, and my coffee is calling me.  I will report tomorrow.  Maybe I will be able to start sharing progress pics by then.  I plan to get a lot done today!

The Three Finger Salute


Today’s Tish-ism was inspired by bad drivers.  I have now used this salute 3 times, therefore I am calling it a thing.

I work in a mall.  One of the street exits for this mall opens out from the parking lot with a 3-way stop sign. The rules are, cars proceed after completing a stop in the order the cars stop in.  So if I stop first, I go next.  If all 3 stop signs have cars that have stopped at exactly the same time, they figure it out themselves.

Today was the third time someone jumped the line and took their turn before it was legally their turn to go.  It is this very action that has started my Three Finger Salute.  If you meet me at a 3-way stop sign, and I have stopped before you, and you go before you are supposed to, you will see a very pissed off driver, following you through her windshield and driver’s side window, with my 3 fingers being pointed at you.

So today, I used this gesture.  To the guy driving that red pick-up truck, You broke the rules of the road today.  The other person you cut off was also displaying an angry face when I drove by him.  There is no excuse for not waiting your turn.  I almost ran into your truck because it was LEGALLY my turn to proceed.

We are all familiar with flipping the bird, or giving someone the freeway salute, as it is also known.  This is where my title came from.  I encourage you all to express your road rage in this manner, when appropriate.  Like I said, now it is a thing.  At the very least it might confuse the offender, maybe even enough to figure out what just happened.  More people learning how to drive properly has to start somewhere.  This is where I am taking my stand.

Please note:  Learn how to properly use your blinking signals.  I DO know when and how to use my beeping horn.  Learn how to drive properly, and I won’t have to.

Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 4


Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues.  It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on.  Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy, but it will be real.  The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people who have weight issues, on either end of the scale.  If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Home page for this blog.  I know there are people out there that want to help people like them; as I do.

The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name.  If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story.  The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors.  I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.

Here is the next addition to my own story, Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 4

What do you do when the scale doesn’t move the right way, or it refuses to move at all?  Do you yell at it, or kick it?  Do you get a weapon of mass destruction?  (See what I did there)? Do you hide it in the closet, or throw it into the garbage?  What do you do?  I mutter under my breath.  And I think about what I have eaten in the last 24 hours.  I wonder if I should go to the bathroom and try again, to see if it gets better.  Not always.  I have tried this, and it is a gamble.  Sometimes it is worse the second time around.

A bathroom scale can be your best friend, your worst enemy or your most destructive obsession.  We have all been there, those of us with weight issues.  Watching it go in the right direction, up or down. Feeling ecstatic when it moves the right way and devastated when it doesn’t.

If you are on the high end of that scale, like me,  waiting for the number to drop, it can be very discouraging to eat healthily, have no cheats, exercise, drink your water, and not lose weight.  Or GAIN weight.  Fluid in your body does fluctuate so that accounts for the small changes seen on the scale if you climb on it every day.  In the morning, after you use the bathroom, buck naked. Right?  Don’t you do the same thing?  Isn’t that when we weigh the least, so it should show the best result?  Before climbing in the shower, because someone said you retain fluid when you are in the shower.  Wait, what?  Really?  Time to google that. The answers are conflicting, that can’t be true.  So what gives?  Why does this thing called a plateau plague each and every person trying to lose weight?

It can be muscle.  When you are building muscle, the mass of muscle is heavier.  What that means is that less muscle mass is needed to weigh the same amount as fat.  Think of it in terms of a beach ball, and a medicine ball.  The beach ball bounces and will ride on the wind.  It would take many more beach balls on the scale to weigh five pounds, as compared to the same five pounds in one medicine ball.  A pound equals a pound, but the density of the material used to make up that pound can vary in volume, because of that density.

Now think about moving around with the five pounds of balls attached to you.  It is a lot easier to move with the medicine ball, even though it requires more effort to do so.  Huh? Volume strikes again.  It is the same five pounds, but the difference is like walking around with a cat in your arms versus trying to walk around in a puffy marshmallow suit.The cat may be heavy in your arms, and you feel a little pressure, but it is easier to move from sitting to standing and walking around while holding a cat.  If you were alternatively covered in a suit of marshmallows, it would be sticky and puffy and it would be much harder to move around.

While we all try to decide if that analogy makes any sense, I’ll bounce the ball over to the how.  When you have large amounts of fat, your body has to work very hard to burn off the fat.  Think of it like cleaning the marshmallow suit off.  You would have to scrub at it and wash it off and wash your clothes and spend a lot of energy to remove the residue.  That is a lot of work and can seem for a long time like it is not worth all that effort.  But if your five pounds is a cat, you put the cat down and walk away.  You lose the extra weight more quickly.  Your muscles burn off energy much more efficiently than fat does. If you are familiar with cats, they don’t always act the way you expect them to.  They don’t always want to be picked up or put down.  And they leave little bits of fur everywhere.  If you think of the little tufts of fur as how you build muscle, you will understand that the muscle fibres get stronger as they build and grow, similar to the ball of fur you take off your clothing with a lint brush.  It adds up, a little at a time.  It takes more work to gather it all together.  Sometimes it will surprise you how much cat fur there is when you take the time to gather it all up.

Weighing yourself can become an obsession, and it can be stressful to weigh in too frequently.  When I find myself starting to be anxious about what the scale is going to show me, I know I need a break.  If it isn’t moving, and I am working hard to make changes, I have to remember that I sometimes will show gains on the scale.  It isn’t always bad.  If the weight gain is from building muscle, it means I am on the way to another drop because more muscle burns through more fat faster.  It is a good thing when it is happening for the right reason.

Back to my quick online research.  I saw that you can gain wait in a shower.  I saw that you can lose weight in a shower, and it is not because of urinating while in the shower.  People actually wrote that.  I did find out that if you have wet hair, especially if it is wrapped in a towel, you will weigh more after the shower if you step on the scale and forget the towel is in your hair.  So I am going to keep to my routine, and leave the shower out of the equation.  It seems to be the most reliable method for me.

One final thought.  I would never recommend walking around in a sticky, puffy marshmallow suit while carrying a cat.  Don’t try this at home.  Ever.  The results would be traumatic for you both.

Weekend Warrior #2


It is Sunday.  I am gearing up to do all the things I haven’t done yet this weekend that are on my weekly list.  That is not to say that I have been lying around on my couch until now, either.  I have been out and about this weekend, spending time with friends.  That is important, too.

Friday night I was invited to celebrate a friend’s birthday, hosted by a mutual friend.  I need to make sure that I eat, and that I keep it healthy.  I made deviled eggs, Big Mac Salad, with regular meat and soy meat options, and I made dessert.  We played board games and just dance.

This was my second time making deviled eggs.  They were a hit both times, so I think it may become a potluck staple for me to bring.  They are on plan.  People like them. Win win!

The salad is a version of a THM recipe.  It can be found easily online.  The soy meat was for the vegetarian of the group, and he got the leftovers since it was his birthday celebration. The THM plan is not big on Soy products, but I wanted my friend to have the full Big Mac Salad experience.  So I improvised, and everyone seemed to like the salad too.

Dessert was an adventure.  I made Rainbow cake in mason jars.

I made Unicorn Rainbow Dip for a cake topping, and of course, added rainbow sprinkles.  I probably won’t be making this cake in mason jars when I make it again.  The dip was amazing, and not too sweet like icing would have been.  I think it would be wonderful for cake pops.  I made it the night before, and let it set in the fridge overnight.  This was a quick assembly after work on Friday.  It took longer to make the deviled eggs.  My friends added dips and loaded potato skins and bruschetta and deep fried pickles to the table.  It was a lot of food for a party of 4.

Yesterday I wanted to spend time with another couple that my husband and I are friends with.  We went out for supper, and back to their place to watch some movies on Netflix.  I had not seen the John Wick movie, and they all rewatched while I saw it for the first time.  Now I can be ready for the newly released sequel, that we want to see as a group if we can plan it that way.

I was busy, and now I am scrambling to play catch up before Monday rolls around again.  I am still working from lists.  Some things get done, and other things carry forward to the next weekend.  It is time to crank the tunes and get some chores done.  I have a few hours to spend on that, and then it’s time to get ready for another week at the day job.  Until next weekend, when I become the Weekend Warrior again.  Although I was more of a warrior of the social scene this weekend, there is still some time to make progress on the chores, if I hurry!  Time to Bounce the House once again!

Weekend Warrior


This picture really made me laugh.  It will be the picture for my new Blogging series, called Weekend Warrior.  I am working on cleaning and organizing my home so that when I am ready to dive into writing my books, I will not have to worry about what is not getting done or what should be getting done.

I just had breakfast.  I like to sleep in on the weekends.  This means if I am motivated and working on my house and chore list, it continues well after dark.  I am a night owl, but find the weekday schedule really helps me to stay on track with my health.  So I am a part of the rat race, Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, working woman.  I do have a day job.  The bills need to be paid.  SO on a weekend when there are no plans outside of the house, I sleep in and go a little off schedule.  I enjoy that.  When we get a dog later this year, I hope it likes to sleep in on the weekends too.  I realize that there will be necessary walks and wake ups with a dog to take them outside, but that doesn’t mean a nap won’t follow those little adventures.

I am breaking in my new coffee mug.  It says, “Overthinkin’ and coffee drinkin’ ” it suits my life and my logo.  It is a good size, and I purchased it last weekend on a whim.  I saw it on facebook and had to have it.  It is so “ME!”  I will drink coffee from it while I write.  It holds 16 oz of coffee, and that is a good start for my weekend coffee.


Plans for the weekend are developing, on the social side of things.  Which means I have to make the most of the afternoon as I may be out this evening.  Combining the things I don’t want to do with things I do want to do works out, somewhat.  It can be counterproductive, too, though.  If I am really on a roll, and getting things done on my list, then it is hard to find the motivation to keep going if I have to stop.  Or sometimes I don’t start at all because I know I won’t be able to finish.

Sometimes I get a lot done, and sometimes I overthink the projects and that takes up all of my time.  Music is a huge motivator for me.  If the tunes are cranked, I find it hard to sit still.  I like background music or TV when I am surfing the internet, or working on stationary projects, but to get me up and moving, the tunes have to be cranked.

Weekend Warrior.  That is what I feel like when I am having a productive weekend.  It doesn’t mean I am changing the world, or working on building or renovating anything.  It does mean I am making progress on my lists, getting up and moving around, staying motivated, and having a little fun.  Making the most of my free time, and getting that much closer to the goal of writing my books.  Singing and dancing my way through the weekend is how I put on my game face.  When I am Bouncing the House, I am getting the lists done, and that is exactly what weekends are for.






Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues.  It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on.  Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy, but it will be real.  The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people who have weight issues, on either end of the scale.  If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Home page for this blog.  I know there are people out there that want to help people like them; as I do.

The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name.  If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story.  The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors.  I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.

This week I am pleased to share the story of another friend.  It is written in her own words, and she submitted it earlier this week with her permission to share it as a part of the series.

Here is Trust Your Gut: Rebecca’s Story

440 ….Yes, you read that right. I know it’s a crazy huge number. This is what the scale was screaming at me just about three years ago. 440 pounds, it was the heaviest I have ever been. I remember when I saw that number how ashamed and helpless I felt like the entire world was crashing down on me all at once. I was seeing the girl from the health supplement store talking, but I couldn’t hear a word. It was like my ears had stopped working and I was temporarily deaf. I finally shook myself back into the moment and fought back tears the entire way home.

I couldn’t believe how bad my health had become. I mean I felt great, I was going on walks all over town with my husband and they would have us out all day. I could even run up a flight of stairs. So this really bugged me. I cried all night until sleep finally won the battle,  and I gave into it like some sickly sweet relief.

I have always been a bigger girl, most of my childhood photos have documented my gradual gain over the years. I grew up in a small town just outside of Fredericton NB where everybody knows you…or thinks they do. My mother had left my abusive father when I was just 3 years old. I remember turning 4 in a women’s shelter and I still carry those memories with me. I had to grow up fast. I remember seeing my woman’s look so exhausted and when we all settled into bed on our first night in the shelter, hearing her cry herself to sleep because of the decision she made. This has stayed with me the most because I had also made a decision that night. I decided at 3 years old I was going to make my mom happy and help her the best I could with raising, my younger,  2-year-old brother.

Mom used to starve herself when we were low on food and she was scared she wouldn’t have enough to feed us another night, but she always seemed to get by. She would even burn her books in the winter when we had run out of oil for the furnace and wood for the stove. Later on, in my early teens, I discovered this and was truly heartbroken. I had failed at keeping my promise, but I would make it right. I know it sounds crazy but that’s what I thought I had to do. So when things would get tight I’d stop eating. I’d go all day at school fighting off the hunger pains and the dizzy spells,  just knowing mom and my brother would be able to eat and we could get by. All I needed to do was to push through. I had managed to rewire my body to survive on 3 hours of sleep and maybe 1 meal a day.

As the years progressed and the sizes of my clothes increased,  I had a lot of hard moments that were emotionally draining. The time I was maybe 9 or 10 and had to wear a 2XL. Or the time in 5th grade I had to wear a woman’s bra because my chest had developed faster than the other girls and because I had gained so much at this point.  Other milestones, the girls I went to school with, were so excited for, I dreaded with a fuming passion. I hated the way I looked and they all knew it. Countless times I was bullied to the point where I just wanted to never wake up. I hated going to school and fought with my mom for hours to make her keep me home. I would fake being sick or just not go. I would stay up all night just so I could sleep the day away to avoid going to school the next day.

Finally, after high school, things got better for a while. I was working and even dating. I had no interest in seeing a scale but I kept the number 250 lbs in my head since I was 16 and prayed I’d never see it go higher. Almost 6 years later, boy did I get a wake-up call. Standing in Herbal Magic seeing that 440 lbs on the scale was my rock bottom.

I was trying to stay active and I  was really sure I’d walk off the weight. I tried to change my diet and eating habits, but nothing seemed to work. Finally, the rock bottom fell out from under me and I ended up losing my ability to stand, walk and even sit for any length of time. It seems in a pure fashion that when I was trying to fix my body;  my body was giving out on me. My doctor told me that I had Degenerative Disk Disorder and in about 10 years I would be confined to a wheelchair. Little did he know it was actually just bulging disks. So after a few CT Scans and blood work and even seeing the “specialist”, They all said the same thing. I knew this couldn’t be it. I mean yeah, my back pain was excruciating ALL the time, every day, and sure I couldn’t stand for 5 minutes or my feet would go numb but NO! I could  NOT accept this. No one seemed to want to help me. They all said lose some weight and it will get better. Okay well, how do I do that? I’d ask, “I have been trying to I can’t do this alone” I’d say, but their response was “Well,  diet and exercise”

I finally switched Doctors and now he has been helping me by setting me up with dietitians and said I should exercise more. Yes, this all sounds so simple, like common sense, but I was so overwhelmed with the thought that I’d end up in a wheelchair, I couldn’t think of anything but “PLEASE TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!!” I was doing well with losing a little weight at a time but then another blow to my bubble came when my knees started giving out.

The doc said that dreadful, poisonous statement I had heard before…” in 8-10 years you could be in a wheelchair;  unable to walk at all’” and as my faith and hope started to shatter apart like a piece of fine china, he said,  “But I have an idea.”  “OK, his I can deal with,  lay it on me doc, what is the idea?!?!”  He suggested referring me to the Bariatric Surgeon for Gastric Bypass surgery.

Oh great,  another doc focused on telling me I was fat and eating too much; keep in mind I’m still eating maybe twice a day. He gently explained to me that it wasn’t to focus on just my weight. He had every confidence that I could lose it, but not a fast as we needed me to. He said that with the help of this surgery I could ease the strain on my back, knees and also lose weight to help make myself stay active and be able to live my life again. He had to stress that he wasn’t saying this because he just saw me as another big girl but, that he was worried this would be my only option. After a long emotional episode in front of my doc, he reassured me he wasn’t going to give up on me as long as I didn’t give up on myself. I tried to get him to rethink not sending in the form to the surgeon,  but he did anyway. He said keep your options open, just meet with the surgeon and ask questions. Then if you still don’t want to do it then don’t. He begged me not to cancel the request and I am so glad I didn’t.

After seeing two dietitians  I found out that eating once a day was probably the biggest factor to my weight gain. Now I am trying to focus on eating the right things 5 times a day…yup 5 times a day!! I found out that the wait list for the surgeon was 4-7 years long. OK fine, I’ll just keep this out of my head and forget about it. 1 year after my doctor sent in the form, I get the call from his office talking about the binder they are sending me and that I had to fill out a form and send back. This past May (2016) they were calling me. So I took a chance and filled it out and sent it in. Then I had to pay to see his specific dietitian. She’s great and very helpful and has been trying to help me stay on track with a food journal and eating 5 times a day and what not…but she told me that I was basically on the top of the surgeon’s list because he sees that my physical condition is at serious risk. I went from waiting 4-7 years to see him but in the run of 4 months preparing to meet him. I still haven’t got that far yet but very soon. I may be going through with this, late summer to early fall. Yes, I’m terrified and don’t really know how I will handle it. I’ve even met a really great friend who has done the surgery who has been a wonderful blessing in my life.

I am gradually climbing back up out of my hole. I have been walking on my treadmill to keep my feet from swelling too much and eating better throughout the day. To me, that’s the start of something amazing. I’ve even got a job that I love. For the first time in 5 years, I’m working and focusing on myself and trying to make me healthy. I have woken up every day this past week without being in severe pain! I still struggle but I am staying positive and that’s all I can do right now, and you know what? I’m OK with that.

Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing your story here. Your honesty and personality shine through your words.  It is hard to hit rock bottom, and many people never make it back up out of the hole they find themselves in.  You should be proud of yourself for what you have accomplished, and I look forward to an update when you are ready to share again.  Keep going, that is the most important part.  There is always a reason to hope, and you are an example of what a person that keeps optimistic can accomplish with hard work and determination.  It seems like you have chosen your path, and I wish you great success on your journey.