In Mom's Heels

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


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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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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


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Look at that view!

No, silly. I’m not talking about me (this time)!! I was away for work, and while these were long exhausting days cramming meetings in from 8am-11pm, we had a couple of hours in the mid-afternoon. The hotel was 2 km away so I went back and popped into the hotel fitness centre.

No Excuses.  I mean – look at the view!! I bought my TRX and resistance bands. I used the bench & free weights along with their treadmill and trail by the lake. I took the stairs to my fourth floor room.

I forgot what running outside without the momentum of the treadmill belt was like. Even if i do run with a slight incline on the treadmill.

I made sure to make good choices. I chose salads, veggies and omelets; protein like steak and chicken. I went to Wal-Mart and bought fruit, veggies and nuts for snacks. Some of my pants keep falling off or fitting loose. I haven’t stepped on a scale. a couple of Tuesday’s ago, I tried a Zumba class with a fellow soccer mom and neighbour. It was my first time trying Zumba. I sweated buckets and looked like a fool. It was alot of fun.

I’m back to work and I am exhausted. I’m also very content. Peaceful.

Cheers,

~S

 


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Wobbily Bits and Perky ….

I weighed in yesterday. Down 0.9lbs. I know I can get discouraged and hung up on a number, and I know it’s more than just the scale.

I’ve been working out like crazy! I attend classes on Mondays (tabbata), Wednesdays (when I can, burn n’ firm) and Thursdays (boot camp). On my own, I’m at the gym on the dreadmill for 30 mins min – even before my classes, a min of 30 mins. I do weights at home mostly. Lately, I’ve been concentrating on doing abs nightly to strengthen my core. My core is quite pathetic, really. They’re in hibernation. For 20 years.

IMG_1244[1]I was dying, I mean, lying down the other night looking at my phone when I turned on the camera. I took a pic and thought – “ha! this is why all those fit Instagram people always take pics of themselves lying down! I look muscular!”

It’s such a hard thing to do. Not compare. I look at my friends and wish I was as skinny, perky (snicker), outgoing, muscular, etc. But I’m not. I’m me. I’m smart, introverted, kinda shy, round, jiggly, determined. I have NEVER looked like those friends (even back in highschool). I am not built like that. Those aren’t my genes. Victoria’s Secret & Spanx are my BFF’s. What I can do; try to live actively and healthy. Teach my kids the same while being decent, patient, kind, tolerant, understanding, empathetic, strong women and human beings. It’s a struggle. I don’t always practice what I preach, but I’m trying my best. Every day.

Cheers,

~S


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Ever had one of those days?

Ever have one of those days? Or in my case, months? Everything is irritating?

I know someone who walks everyday for an hour. They said to me that they didn’t think the walking was working. They also said they don’t eat any differently. I replied that could be the problem; They haven’t changed their eating habits. They said it doesn’t matter, with all the walking they’ve been doing, they should be losing one pound a week. I said why not add some weight lifting/training in. They said they didn’t want to build muscle before they lose the fat.  Now doesn’t that sound a little like which came first, the chicken or the egg?

I can relate though, although in the opposite way. I have changed my eating pattern (mostly) and am running/lifting weights/attending classes, and the scale has barely budged! Yes, I’m down 15 or so pounds (in 5 months!?), and the measurements are shrinking. I know I shouldn’t focus solely on the number on the scale that screams at me in red, YOU WEIGH HOW MUCH? Stupid judgmental scale. Discouraging and frustrating all at the same time. Yes, I’m about ready to give up.

AND, my dear people…notice how FRUSTRATED is spelled? It’s pronounced [fruhs-trey-tid] NOT FUSTRATED. Drive me insane.

I weighed in last week; down 0.4 lbs for a total of 16 lbs. I weighed in yesterday, up 0.5 lbs for a total of 15.5 lbs.  I’ve changed my workout routine recently with the help of a trainer. The lady at Weight Watchers told me to introduce more protein. Let’s try that this week and see if it makes a difference.

Cheers,

~S


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Wednesday weigh-in

It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted. I weighed in on Feb 1 and was down 3.3 lbs and I weighed in late this week (today) and am down 1.5 lbs.

Coming back after my back injury has been good. I am sluggish with my running. I am killing the weights and classes at the rec centre (except the evil class where the evil Cruella DeVille hurt me).

I found it hard to post last week. I turned 40 on January 31. I know, I know. I look waaayy too young to be 40! Thank you, you’re too kind. Thank you to all my friends and family who emailed, texted, messaged, sang, gave cupcakes, cakes, gifts, etc.Mom & in-laws popped by for dinner and cake on that fateful Tuesday. Mom took some photos of me on my phone when the cake was brought to me. Later on, when I was alone and saw the picture, I cried. Man, I looked awful in that picture. I know – I’m more than a number. I’ve lost inches. I’m more active than ever. It still hurt.

Turning 40 bothers me. Those who tell me “it’s just a number” aren’t 40 yet and can fuck off (in the nicest way). I don’t know why I feel like I need to feel old or what does old even feel like?  I don’t feel any older than I am. I came across this older article in the Huffington Post, How it Really Feels to Turn 40 and I love the comment:

“I’ve never been one to get caught up in worries about appearances very much, but I can guarantee that anyone who says they don’t mind the physical repercussions of aging is lying. No woman likes making her resting face and having her daughter ask why she’s mad. No woman enjoys slipping money to a bouncer who once waved her to the front of the line (I can imagine this might be true anyway — personally, my bedtime leaves no opportunity for clubs). No woman enjoys when a mammogram machine gets to second base with her.”

I read about people turning 40 and coming to terms with it. How it’s a “new chapter” and adventure; blah, blah, blah. Coming to terms with changes; blah, blah, blah. Well, la-ti-da. Good for you. Bugger off. I’m not ready to accept that I’m 40. Not even close. I’m throwing an adult-sized tantrum. I’m stomping up the stairs, slamming my bedroom door, getting in my jammies, drinking my vodka and reading a book.

Cheers,

~S