Friday, May 24, 2013

Be the change

I have been crazy busy at work.  Those that work with me know this is an awful time of yeare, as it is for most folks that work in a busy school.  I am in charge of our end of the year senior awards ceremony, from start to finish.  No one has any real idea what it takes to pull that off, but let's just say that I'm shocked I make it out alive every year!  Beyond that, it's not the only thing I do.  A lot of activity gets kicked up for me because students are panicking to talk to me about community college, I get inundated with work permits for the summer, parents decide now is the time to ask questions so that they can "prepare over the summer", etc.  My question is why everyone waits until I'm at my busiest to ask??  Oh well, gotta love it.  In about three-ish weeks, I'll be off for the summer, so really, truly, no complaining.

I have been coming off the high of my graduation.  I have to say I rode an incredible roller
coaster full of very different emotions.  First off, this is an entirely huge, gigantic feat in my life.  It took me an incredibly long time to finish because I could only take a couple of classes at a time for quite a while, at times having to drop classes because the supervisor I worked with at the time was the devil roaming around the earth.  She made it very difficult for me to move forward.  I only really kicked it up in the last few years since being in such a supportive environment.  Even so, I work full time and my major required knowing a lot of theories and doing a lot of reading.  I'm not complaining, just saying that it is a major accomplishment for me.  I wrote previously about the drama surrounding my dear brother.  Oh my brother - how my heart aches for this whole situation. Somehow, on the day of the commencement, I was able to put my feelings of disappointment quietly in a box off to the side.  It took effort, but I didn't want anything to spoil that beautiful day.  I couldn't let my mind be elsewhere because I knew, when it was time, that I would deal with the feelings again. 

My day on Saturday started out with the biggest surprise.  Sara had come over to my house at 6 a.m., full of mystery.  I knew she was bringing over a graduation gift, but I had no idea what it was.  I thought maybe it was a lei to wear with my gown, but I really didn't know what to expect.  She came into my bedroom as I was blow-drying my hair and asked me to come out to the living room because she wanted me to meet someone who was part of my gift.  Okay, Sarah, at this point I wondered if you were bringing a man into my house or what the heck was going on!!  She had arranged for a person to do my make-up for the day.  While that other woman worked on my face, Sarah straightened my hair.  So I was pretty much being pampered.  That was a pretty fantastic way to start out such a lovely day.   She even brought music with her.  Seriously, I thought you were trying to make me cry on purpose while I was having my make-up done.  This Girl's On Fire was the one that almost did it for me.  But I held it together.

My dad and stepmom had come into town from Utah.  My mother was there, proud as punch.  I had some friends attend the ceremony as well.  It was long and I was extremely uncomfortable in the chairs, but I wouldn't take the memories of that day away.  Afterwards, one of my other friends had a little get-together at her house.  I felt special and incredibly loved.  It wasn't until I was in the car with my mom, when she started to talk about my brother, that I broke down in tears.  The day was perfect, but the one glaring hole was this brother of mine who was absent.  My mother saw me crying in the car as I was trying to drive down the road, which made her cry.  I don't care how old your children get, you hurt when they hurt.  Turns out that my mother called my brother and chewed him out on Monday.  She not only was hurt, but she was pissed off.  I hadn't gotten to that point - I was more hurt that really anything else.  He lied to her and told her he forgot, which I knew was BS because of other circumstances.  So, while I was at work, I got this text from him on Monday:

Congrats Kathy wish I could have made.  Had to work this weekend got to finish my job by this Thursday hope everything went well.

So I immediately called her and asked her if she talked to him, which she said she had.  I asked her what happened in their conversation because of the text I just got from him.  She basically told him he would be contacting me, no discussion at all.   He was on her list and she just wasn't happy with him.  That's exactly what I wanted to know.  I needed to know if his message to me was because he genuinely felt bad he wasn't there or because my mom forced him to apologize to me like he did when we would have a fight when we were growing up.  I told her, before this happened, that I was done with him.  It is over 16 years of selfishness, self-centeredness and just basically being used by him that his not even trying to make an effort to go to my graduation was my line in the sand.  This event was a very big deal to me.  While I was so upset in the car, I told her I would have paid for an airline ticket if he couldn't afford to drive from Vegas to San Diego (about a 5 hour drive).  That's how it meant to me for him to be there.  I was there when he had his heart transplant, when he needed to borrow money and any other time he needed me.  It is the one and only thing I have asked him for in 16 years.  Instead of saying he couldn't/wouldn't come, he lied to both my mother and I.  He's also not speaking to my dad, again, for selfish reasons.  So I saw my dad in utter pain when he talked about him.  To me, as flawed as my dad is, don't mess with him.  That's my dad and I'll have no one treating less than fantastic.   

I really hate family drama, but it happens to a lot of us.  Now, given that I'm a few days past the ceremony, I do have to say that seeing myself in pictures from the graduation and after-party was like 50  stabs into my chest.  I know I have gained weight since getting off Optifast.  I have acknowledged that and I'm trying the best I can to regroup and start losing again.  Yes, I have had an insane amount of medical challenges, with two more things that have come up, and so it's been a very difficult time for me especially when the medication has contributed to the weight gain to a certain extent.  And I have not helped it.  I have not been feeling great so I have a tiny amount of food for breakfast, generally don't eat the rest of the day and then have dinner where I can feel sick afterwards at home.  I know in my heart something is wrong and I do have an appointment with my doctor coming up in a few weeks, but I'm just sort of tired seeing doctor after doctor that I haven't been pushing the issue too much. 

This weight loss things has been difficult.  I lost sooo much weight on Optifast.  At my smallest, I think I had lost 190 pounds in 10 months or something like that.  It was pretty crazy.   I thank God that I have not regained all the weight back, but pictures tell a thousand words.  When I compare my present pictures to my smallest-size pictures, it is so heart-breaking.  I'll post some pictures below so that you can see what I'm talking about.  Compare those to the pics of me at my smallest size in the "pics of progress" page at the top of this blog.  You'll see what I mean by pain.

The night before the ceremony, taking pics for the sign below.

My friend put this on her garage so that people
knew where to come for the after-party.

Greeting the president of the university on stage.
As I appeared on the jumbo tron.There were 10,000+ people at the event,
so they had to have a way for everyone to see.

My mom on the left, my friend Diane and me
after the 3-hour ceremony was over.

All I felt when I looked at this picture was incredible shame ...
I never realized how much weight has come back on as is evident here.

There is so much right stuff in my life, but the weight issues really sucker-punch me.  I was upset yesterday.  Then I heard the most amazing quote:

Where I heard this was I was looking online at graduate programs, which I will hopefully be starting in the fall.  One of those programs is Azusa Pacific University.  They have a graduate center in the San Diego area and I'm really excited about their program for so many different reasons.  They had posted online a speech made at a commencement ceremony a couple of years ago.  The speaker, who is on the board at APU, talked about the day her husband died and how she had no choice but to pick herself up and walk on.  So she talked about this quote, but she combined two together to make it much more powerful than it already was:

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do ... through Christ who strengthens us."

In that moment, I realized I am light years stronger than I have ever given myself credit for.  Is this weight thing kicking my butt?  Well, yes.  Will it destroy me?  No, it won't, because God won't let that happen if I allow Him in enough to strengthen me.  I have professed my faith on here many times before and I still am guided by it.  There are major challenges in front of me with all the medical issues going on in addition to weight, but hope from the Father is what lets me know that I can make it through.  Two years ago to the day, I was called by my dermatologist at  7:00 in the morning and told that the biopsy I just had completed was indeed cancer.  Not only that, it was melanoma ... the deadliest form of skin cancer.  I knew that if I didn't have the surgery, I would die.  Not could die - would die.  It was an incredibly scary time for me.  But God was the one that gave me the much needed courage to face this challenge.  I ended up having half my back opened up and sutured up with 30+ staples just to remove the cancer cells.  I tell you what, there aren't too many things in your life as frightening as being told that you have cancer and that you must operate to live.  As I was going through this difficult time, I was incredibly brave but would stand in my shower, crouch down in the corner and cry.  I felt like a helpless infant, not sure what direction to go in and feeling scared of whatever laid in front of me.

So here I am, attempting to be as real today as I have always been.  With that said, as much as this pains me, I'm going to update my weight on my counter up above.  I have gained a substantial amount of weight since the last time and I just need to stay more accountable.  This is not to shame me, but to help me remember that I don't walk in this alone.  No matter what, I know there are people that love me and want me around for a long time.  I have to have these medical issues addressed and I need to remember that food does not take pain away ... it only enhances problems by making more problems. Oh Lord, hear my plea for your grace today.


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