In Mom's Heels

A shoe obsessed mom's Weight Watchers Journey with Celiac Disease


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Mental Health is Health

I have spent the last 2 days sitting in a windowless room with 15 other people training to be a Mental Health First Aid Responder. It was a tough, but eye-opening 2 days.

It made me look back to how I as an HR professional have dealt with some employees in the past. Some situations I am proud of, some not so much.

With the recent events of celebrity suicide deaths, I felt the need to send the following email to the team:

We need to remove the stigma around mental health. All the statistics in the world that are quoted are so untrue – mental health is greatly under reported.

What’s brave, is stepping up and admitting you need help. This is not a weakness; this is courage and bravery. To open oneself in a selfless manner and admit they struggle – for all to see.

Well world, see MY wounds. I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed to admit that I struggle with mental health and sometimes anxiety. I am not ashamed to admit I suffer from Social Anxiety. There are some days I am not ok. There are some days where I am perfectly happy and content. I am medicated and I know when I have missed a day (most often because I fell asleep too fast). I have seen many mental health professionals over my 41 years.  Your feelings are perfectly normal. It’s ok to not be ok.

Not all wounds are visible” – unknown

Please seek help if you need it.

Cheers

~S

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Musings

If I have learned anything this week following my mother’s death and being her executor, it’s this:

GIVE SOMEONE YOUR PASSWORDS

I know, I know. We joke about giving our BF’s the passwords to out social media accounts and resetting our phones and browsing history, etc. But I’m serious. Every time I asked my mom to write down her passwords, she would agree and say she’s done it. She would tell me to go into her laptop and login automatically to her bank account so I could pay expenses, bills and the like. Except, she forgot to give me the password to log into her laptop.

And as we’ve started to sort through her things, we found the passwords she swore she wrote down. Scribbled. In six different, small notebooks. Passwords – all different – for the same accounts. It’s a guessing game.

password1

I knew her hydro, gas, water, etc bills were all being sent electronically. I managed to successfully reset her email password (after trying for 2 days to guess the response to the standard security question “where did you meet your spouse” and discovered the responses are different for each account). I now have to guess the logins and passwords to all the accounts for hydro, gas, water…

So, should you find yourself with all your bills, banking and social media accounts with different usernames, emails, passwords, responses different – write it down. If you encrypt it into a password keeper, write down the CURRENT (and keep it current) password for that ONE person you trusted to access your shit and reset your phone, social media and browsing history or to simply pay your bills.

Cheers,

~S.


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My Mom

My mom died. Last Saturday. I was there. I watched as she took her last breath.

Mom’s been sick since I was 18. That’s when it first started. She would get this unknown, mystery illness every 2-4 years. We’d soldier through it.

In 2009 she told us she had cancer. A rare form of peritoneal mesothelioma. In 2010 she had surgery to remove the cancer, and was sent on her way.

She also had a blood cancer, called Multiple Myeloma. No, not the skin cancer melanoma. Multiple Myeloma affects the bone marrow and stops it from producing the necessary parts of the blood. This disease, when it’s in its “dormant” state is called Smoldering Multiple Myeloma. Once active, it becomes Multiple Myeloma. There are stem cell transplants – but that would’ve killed mom. In the end, we had about 2 more years with mom, one longer than they predicted. Even then, when the diagnosis came in at 2-3 weeks left, mom gave cancer the giant middle finger and said “fuck you, cancer” and lived almost 6 more weeks.

My biggest regret when my Dad passed in 2013 was that I didn’t speak at his funeral. I made certain to speak at Moms.

In my eulogy to my mom, I spoke of my memories.

My memories are of vacations to Florida and Alberta; the cruise with Nanny and my family where her biggest disappointment was not being able to see the stars. Our trip to Florida where she and Dad forgot to pick Todd, the girls and I up from Disney and we had to cab it back to the rental house at 1 am. Our trip down east with Todd, the girls and I.

My memories are of mom and I shopping; of her parading us through the hospital as kids introducing us to her co-workers like it was show and tell.

My memories are of Barenaked Ladies, Bon Jovi and Michael Buble concerts.

She loved old movies. She sat in the hallway of Toronto General one night during one of her visits discussing Turner Classic Movies with someone walking by.

My memory was watching her get all fan-girl giddy over the nice doctor at Toronto General last December. My memories are of her illnesses, but not the illness itself; but of the hilarious moments during and after.

Lets not forget mom’s love for impersonations; her impression of “tourist with camera” was Oscar worthy! Did you know mom had 52 photo albums? Not surprised? Me either. I had to move them. Twice. I’m sure she would’ve had more but we can thank the evolution of the digital camera. She has 18 SD Cards – FULL – of photos.  Some cards 64 Gig. Add to the nearly 60 USB sticks…It’s going to take me the rest of MY life to go through.

Over these past few years, I would help Dad when mom got sick. Since my father’s death, I learned to be there for her more, and although I doubted my strength from the beginning (I was scared shitless), I learned to have a sick mother, and later a terminally ill mother, go to work, be a mother and wife, have fun with friends and live my life.

After our father’s death, Mom was our rock; helping us through the grieving process. I admit, the gravity of his death was too overwhelming for me to contemplate what she must’ve been going through. It was only a few years later when I figured it out.

How incredibly strong was she? Did I know anyone stronger? She never gave up; she put her entire being into raising us alongside Dad, providing for our family where we could learn, grow and stretch as far as we could.

When my mother was sick and most concerned about how her illness and death would impact me, I tried several times to convince her that her lessons had been taught, her wisdom imparted. But she continued to worry and concern herself with how I would handle this—how I would move forward after this devastating loss. The toll it would take and the tears I would cry….

What I learned most from my mom was how to be strong. I started writing this before her death and know that my strength and her strength will get me through this. She fought through it all with dignity, showing her strength, kindness, compassion and empathy for others before herself the entire way.

I left her Friday evening with one last “I love you”.  She knew I couldn’t forgive myself is she was to die alone. She waited for the nurses to call me. She waited for me to get there. She waited for me to tell her one last time that I loved her. Her final gift to me, was to wait for me.

There are really no words to describe my closeness with my mother. I know this because the slow, agonizing decline and unpredictableness of this disease forces even the most optimistic and hopeful to think about and plan for this day. You start thinking about what you might say during a time like this. I realized that there really are no words.

There are only feelings, indescribable feelings. Feelings that make my heart burst and my whole being melt. Because my mother was my confidence. My bravery and my strength. My sensitivity, my compassion, my loyalty and even my laughter. She believed in me, and she believed that I always knew what was best for me.

She was everything. She was my mother.

I choose to believe that she is now with Dad amongst the stars. When I look up at the stars, I’ll know she’s finally found them and she and Dad are always shining down on us.

I already miss you, Mom. I will believe in me, Mom, and I will be fine. I love you.

 

 

I borrowed words from a eulogy I read online during moms final days from a woman writing about her mother who died of cancer. She said the words I struggled to write. When I find the article again, I will give the necessary credit.


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2017 Year in Review

It’s been a few busy months since I posted. I have about 30 drafts that I was too busy to finish. However, it’s after midnight on a Wednesday and I committed to finishing this one!

2017 was a rollercoaster year.

I started the year off on Weight Watchers, but after a 25 lb. weight loss, I convinced myself it wasn’t working. In all honesty, I feel like I sabotaged myself from a comment DH made. Excuses.

I’ve been helping my mom downsize and get her house prepared to sell – anyone looking for a beautifully remodeled 4,000 sq. ft. home in the GTA??

I feel like I’m finally in a good place at work. In 2018, I would like to do more professional and personal learning.

In August we drove to Atlantic City, NJ for a vacation with friends and their boys. The weather was amazing, the beach was amazing. I’d go back.

In October, my gym membership lapsed, and my DH and I went to Vegas with 2 other couple friends to celebrate our (the ladies) 40th birthdays this year. It was 2 weeks after the Vegas shooting. It was an emotional and heavy feeling to Vegas. We went to the Grand Canyon west tip and it was spectacular! I pulled my back 2 days before the trip and suffered for the next 10 weeks!!

My back is finally healed, and my kids sports take up 6 days a week. I feel like a blob. I’m exhausted all the time. I want to start back in the workouts. I really like lifting. It’s my happy place. I hate cardio. I may give the dreadmill a rest and start looking for HIIT workouts.

I joined a 12-week transformation challenge that my high school buddy Rob & his wife Michelle’s company, Trainers on Site is running. Wish me luck.

No resolutions for 2018. I have the type of personality that if I set a goal and didn’t meet it; I’d constantly beat myself up for it and add it to my list of failures and become depressed over it. I am always learning about myself, and trying to change how I see things about myself. I promote self-love & positive body-image to my baby girls, I need to practice what I preach.

Goodbye 2017. Thank you for the memories and life lessons. Cheers to a wonderful and adventurous 2018.

~S.

 


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Factory Reset

I admit I haven’t “worked out” or looked at any type of activity since the Foam Fest in July.

This week, I took time for me. The chores and renos at home can wait a couple of hours while I be selfish and go to a class.

Wednesday I went to the rec centre and hit the dreadmill for 20 mins of intervals (90 sec. running/2 min walking). I feared it would be harder to get back into running than it actually was during this 20 min run. Was it because I did it in intervals? I then joined a one hour “Burn ‘n’ Firm”. When it’s Linda, I LOVE (to hate) the class! I realize what doing nothing has done to my body. Besides becoming rounder, I lost some of that muscle. But I kept an assortment of different weights with me and decreased when I pushed to failure with one weight. I was tired. i never gave up. I never gave in. I wanted to. But I didn’t.

Thursday saw Bootcamp. It was HARD to do the circuit  after my workout from Wednesday.  I spent the rest of the week and weekend applying Voltaren to my arms and shoulders! I needed to do more work on my legs…next week.

AppleWatch

I’m going to try a food journal – similar to Weight Watchers, but without counting points or macros or anything crazy like that. I want to see if I have a trend, what am I eating, when do I eat it, etc. Maybe seeing this I can start to cut back on the mindless / bored eating, make better choices, add a snack earlier so I don’t overeat later, etc. I mean, I know my eating is shite, but sometimes it’s the wake-up smack in the face you need.

My Apple Watch screen scrolls through my fave photos, I have the rec centre class schedule on it. No excuses!!

Cheers to hitting the reset button!

~S.

 


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Toronto Foam Fest 2017 Recap

O.M.G. I’ve run the MetCon Blue (Blue Mountain), Mud Hero (Albion Hills), Mud Run (Clairville Conservation), Badass Dash (Kitchener & York), and I have to say, the Toronto Foam Fest 5K was, hands down, one of the MOST fun OCR’s I’ve raced.

2017-07-18_11-29-57

I think it’s because it was not competitive. There was no timing chip. No rush to get through the obstacles. Everyone was out for the sheer fun of it. It’s been a couple of years since I raced an OCR, and although I am not at the weight I was then, I feel like my strength was better and I was better equipped for this race. Plus, it looked like a lot of fun and not too many hills!!

The race started early, and as always I chose an early race time. At the start, you run through a wall of soapy foam and straight into the conservation area. Obstacles consisted of inflatable, jumpy-bouncy-type things to jump over & slide down, there were 2 water obstacles where you maneuver through inner tubes tied together through the river and a straight run on the lily pads through the river that runs through the conservation park. There was the crawl through mud (that honestly smelled like shit, literally), bungee cord mazes, cargo net climbs, I even slid down the death drop; a 2-storey water slide from HELL.

I was on a team of 5 other ladies. What a wonderful group. Some of us had only just met that morning. For 4 of them, it was their first OCR.

Some social media comments were that the shuttles took too long – we didn’t have a problem as we were so early in the morning. Some complained of the ruts in the ground – Listen, you chose to run a trail OCR in the middle of a conservation park. You should expect uneven ground. *Mental Head Slap*

I think this face sums up the whole experience. I had an amazing time. The medal was stunning and colourful as was the towel – a neat idea.

If you are thinking about trying this race, I highly recommend it. Now, which race is my next victim?? Muah ah ah!!

Cheers,

~S.


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Nutrition Workshop

Every year, my company dedicates one month to health & wellness. In past years it’s been all about activities or massages.

This year, I suggested a bootcamp, nutrition workshop, blood donor clinic, financial wellness clinics (to reduce stress) in addition to the “Walk the Block” and chair massages.

Last week, we hosted a nutrition clinic. I thought it went well. True, I didn’t learn anything “new”, but the information in the workshop reinforced some old thoughts, gave concrete examples on old ideas and why they are/aren’t that great or do/don’t work. As with anything, there is a love/hate or pro/con with anything. Fad diets like Atkins and Dr. B aren’t safe, even if they’re followed by a doctor. I mean, how can you sustain them once they’re done? Diet plans like Weight Watchers and calorie counting may not always be the best methods, but they underlying premise is there, along with support systems.

What was reinforced; eat as close to nature as possible (I know, it’s not rocket science people!) and don’t beat yourself or deprive yourself – only in moderation. Our society is so busy, always looking for instant gratification, the next miracle diet or pill for the cure.

The feedback from my colleagues who attended this workshop was not terribly supportive. “Why?” you ask. In my opinion, they were looking for the instant gratification. The golden ticket. All the answers in a one-hour workshop with strangers they’ve never met. Guess what? We’re all different. To two strangers walk into a company for the first time and meet a room full of strangers in a workshop and have meal plans created for all those strangers doesn’t make sense. To have an RHN tell a group of 12 different people with different lives, circumstances and allergies, etc. what not to eat and what to eat doesn’t make sense.

That’s why individual coaching/mentoring was suggested. It makes sense.

Now, that’s only my perception/opinion. I am not 100% sure what the expectations of some of my colleagues who attended the workshop was; in my opinion, they were unrealistic. The miracle answer? It doesn’t exist. We need to do what works for us. Don’t get me wrong. It’s hard doing it on my own. It may not be hard for you, or your neighbour; but for me it is. Go back to basics. Eat your fruits and vegetables. Try spending the same amount of time you spend looking for the miracle answers on the actual answers in front of you; maybe we won’t need the workshop next year. 😉

Good Luck.

~S


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tweezers and vagina plucking

I admit, I’ve been lazy recently. Lazy in terms of working out, but not in moving. Still moving.

psa-due-to-recent-setbacks-my-summer-beach-body-will-be-delayed-another-year-598c0I haven’t done laundry for a couple of weeks and am running out of clean clothes. I went on a scavenger hunt for pants and found capri’s in my closet that I haven’t worn since my father’s funeral in 2013. they weren’t “Plus” sized – and they FIT!!

Today, I went browsing in the mall at lunch. I wandered into a couple of stores to check out shorts; all my shorts are about 4 sizes too big! Yeah for me!

Except, ALL the shorts I found were knit or so short, I need tweezers and a 10x magnification mirror to pluck the fucking things out of my vagina.

I don’t always want to wear capris. Or ankle pants. Dresses & skirts are too short my liking. I wanted shorts. Long enough to come just above my knees. I couldn’t even find them long enough to cover my hoo-ha and butt-cheeks, let alone my legs.

I am a weird shaped plus person. I have this gut that is all loose skin that I can’t afford to have removed via tummy-tuck so I don’t fit most plus sized plants in the gut/hip/ass area. My calves/cankles are huge and most skinny jeans are too tight there. T-shirts, I don’t have large boobs to fill plus-sized shirts, but want them long enough to cover the loose skin/front butt bulge at the front. I wish my Pinterest closet were real *sigh*.

Designers – are you listening???? Do you need help? I can offer my services…can i get free clothes?? Will work for shoes!

Cheers!

~S

 

 


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A Month Ago

A month ago, I was running the dreadmill 4-5x per week.

A month ago, I was lifting weights 4-5 x per week.

A month ago, I was weighing myself weekly.

A month ago, I was content.

A month ago, I got sick with the flu and then a cold.

I may finally have recovered from the nasty flu/cold where I honestly believed my body was rebelling against itself. Except in this past month, I have lifted weights twice, been on the dreadmill once and haven’t stepped on a scale. At all.

I’m still careful about what I eat…sort of.  All of those Easter chocolate caramels attacked me like the gnomes from the Goosebumps movie – I swear!E_build_sequence_ShowreelStills2k_v1.1005

Time to get off my ass and as Jane says, stop eating those “fuckin chips” like its going out of style, right?

~S


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Mother’s Day Presents

This morning I attended a mother’s day presentation at my youngest daughters school. She had a letter that she wrote to me that she read out loud for the whole class and all the other moms in attendance.

I was shocked at some of the things she said. She said I was a strong woman. She looked up to me; I’m confident and I show her every day what it’s to be a strong woman. I teach her to be beautiful by loving yourself.

*insert sobbing, blubbering mess*

It just goes to prove, they’re always listening to what we say and do, even if we think they aren’t.

A student who was “escorting” me to the holding room (aka, library) told me my daughter was one of the nicest people shes met.

I’m doing something right. Even when I thought I was doing it all wrong.

mothers-day

Cheers,

~S