What do you do when one of the hardest weeks of your life happens… How do you stay on a diet during trials in your life?…. What do you do when you have to rush your mom to the hospital, continue to care for her and your dad, balance your life with your own children, and try to stay on program and exercise and do the right things with fitness and nutrition…all happening 3 weeks before Christmas, and you don’t have anything done or ready for Christmas?….
…Normally, at this point, I would toss all of my stuff aside and run to everyone’s aid, and then say that I’ll get back on track with me later. NOT THIS TIME!!!! Thanks to my incredible husband, who has said that he has been inspired by me, as he is now joining me in his own transformation…He told me at this point in time, when everything started to come crashing down… to continue with my great progress, and he would kick in any way he could to help me. He is extraordinary!
On Saturday morning, a week after Thanksgiving, my mom woke up and could not breathe. My father called and told me that we really had to take her to the ER. (We live right next door). So I got dressed and ran over, and as we headed to the ER around 8am, all I could think about was that my Weight Watchers meeting began at 8:30am. My brother and I had taken my mom on a 5 day Disney Cruise the week before for Thanksgiving, as it was one of her lifetime dreams, and it all fell into place to be able to make that dream come true for her. (I worked extremely hard to stay on program on the cruise, making really great choices).
For the first time, ever, I found out where the track was on a cruise ship, and I actually walked around it. I also made great choices with food, asking the waiter to load my plate up with vegetables, and really asked him to only put certain things on my plate. I told him about the million dollar challenge that I was in, and he was so happy to help me stay on target. We also decided as a table to ask for one of every dessert to be placed in the middle of the table at the end of the meal, and all 7 of us took one taste of each. We were happy to have tried a bite of each one, and then I put my fork down and enjoyed a cup of coffee. I also only chose to drink water at every meal and on the excursions so that I knew I would get all of my waters in for each day. I couldn’t wait to weigh in the following week to see how I did.
Turning toward the hospital that Saturday morning, tears streamed down my face as I just kept asking God why this was happening, as all I wanted to do was to get to that meeting and find out if I lost weight on the cruise, and be inspired by the others to keep going. (I know that sounds absolutely crazy at this point, but in working so hard and trying to finally do this all the right way, I really needed the ww meeting to keep me going strong, and to keep me from giving up at this point, then deciding to do it “later, after the crisis, after the holidays, the first of the year, etc. Etc.)
After getting my mom checked in, my husband took me aside and said, “I know you will be a bit late, but GO to your meeting. I will wait here until she gets a room. You really need to go. Stay on target.” I cried all the way in the car, ran down the hallway to weigh in, and as the women looked at my face, she asked if I was ok…I told her that I had just come from the ER, where my mom couldn’t breathe (she is a smoker and diabetic who has not taken care of herself in years), and I told her how I was trying so hard to stay on target and win the entire Transformation Nation Contest, and that I just needed to know how I did after being on a Disney Cruise for Thanksgiving. She came around the table and just hugged me and encouraged me that taking care of myself might inspire my mom to do the same. She then looked at the scale number and said…”YOU LOST 6 POUNDS!!” I was in awe, “I LOST 6 POUNDS ON A DISNEY CRUISE!” Who does that?…ME…someone who wants to win this battle and inspire others….not only to show that it can be done if I can do it, but I also want to write down every choice and battle to remember, so I can specifically tell people how I did it. That’s what I have always wanted those who have won the battle to do….tell me exactly, specifically HOW you did it each and every day….each and every trick, each bit of wisdom that really works and makes a difference! That’s what I want to do as I become…THE MILLION DOLLAR ME!!!
After I got off the scale, I went into the meeting, and I sat on the floor in the back of the room, because all the seats were taken. I needed to get to that meeting, to hear more inspiring stories to keep me going, to find out more strategies from our amazing leader, Elyse, and to hear from the others in the room what was working for them. They are all strangers to me, about 40 people or so in that room, but they have no idea how much I need them and their honesty and their stories to inspire me, encourage me, and get me through another week…and I really needed them that tough morning.
About 5 minutes after getting there, they were already at the end of the meeting (since I was so late), and Elyse asked, “are there any success stories”….I raised my hand immediately..not realizing that every head in the room would turn around and look down on the floor at me…I said, “ I just lost 6 pounds on a Disney Cruise…who does that? I found the track, I told the waiter what to put on my plate….” then the tears came down my face, I pretty much lost it, and I proceeded to tell everyone that my amazing husband told me to come to the meeting, as he stayed back in the ER with my mom. I told them, she was in there, as a result of years and years of putting everyone else first and not taking care of herself. She has the beginning of COPD, (lung disease from years of smoking) can’t breathe, and hasn’t checked her blood sugar in 2 years( as she has diabetes). I then said, “most of us here are also people who take care of everyone else first, and I am learning for the first time in my life, I have to put me first. Just like the oxygen on the airplane, unless we put ours on first, we are no help to anyone else around us.”
Elyse shared a profound statement at one meeting which I am trying to hold onto and I am trying to live by, especially during this extremely tough time taking care of my mother, my father, and 3 teenagers. The very wise statement is..”After me, you come first.” Very hard to live by, but I’m doing my best.
So, while this was one of the toughest weeks of my life, (and it got a lot tougher before getting easier), trying to balance all that was happening in my life while trying hard to stay on target… so many of the people that I had opened up to to tell about this weight loss journey and be honest with…. at that point, they were the ones now keeping me on it as they encourage me to hang tough this week. Many of them continued to cover me and my family in prayer, and offered any support and help that they could give. At that point in time, I had written in my journal, “ right now I am taking it day by day, sometimes, moment by moment.”
What do you do when you can’t do it anymore yourself….YOU ASK FOR HELP!!…
16 days before Christmas my mom was really having a hard time after being released from the hospital. ( remember, she lives next door to us). She was on a nebulizer to help open up her lungs. She couldn’t go the 4 hours needed in between the breathing treatments yet, she couldn’t breathe, she was in lots of pain, she was crying and depressed and anxious and scared from all of the medicines…my dad was a mess feeling helpless, and I was trying to hold them together, along with everything at my house, and trying to do everything that needed to be done for Christmas…..and now I was starting to fall apart….
I couldn’t fit in exercise or find time to cook and prepare the right foods, as I was at their house…I couldn’t shop for Christmas, my Christmas picture wasn’t even taken yet for Christmas Cards to be sent out (they never did get sent out, another big thing I had to “let go of” this year)….there was just soooo much to do, and when I was not next door giving medicine, helping my mom calm down and breathe, preparing meals for them and for my family, I would step back into my house when no one was there and just cry sooo hard, praying out loud for God to help me, and show me how to get through it, the burden at that point was way too much…
That morning, my mom woke up and asked me to take all of her pills to my house, because there were many times during that night before that she thought she was going to just take them all and end her life. She had never thought that way before, but all that she was going through was just too much for her. This really scared me. I had never heard her talk like that. I told her that we would all get her through this tough time, and pointed out that each day was a little better than the one before. We would get her through it together.
If it weren’t for going to the WW meetings and watching Dr. Oz during this time, I never would have taken the next step….
My brother lives in California, and he had been calling every day to check in and ask how everything was. He has always told me to just call and let him know when I needed him to come and help me. I always knew the offer was there, but it always seemed like so much to ask, to have him leave his 2 children (he is a single, divorced dad) and fly across the U.S. In order to help me. My husband and I have always just handled everything here with my parents. 16 days before Christmas, I was crying so hard in my house, feeling that the burden was too much, wondering how I could handle everything.. Along with all that needed to be done for Christmas. I heard a car pull up in the driveway, I looked out, and I truly thought my brother had heard it in my voice, and he just decided to come and surprise me….when I saw someone else get out, I just broke down, and then called my husband at work, and told him what I was going through, as I thought it was my brother pulling up. He said, “Wendy, he’s a guy. If you want him to come…ask him. He is not going to read your mind. He doesn’t know how burdened you feel, he doesn’t know that you have been overwhelmed and breaking down. He offered, and you haven’t told him to come. If you want him to come, just ask, and he will be there to help.” Just ask, and he will be there to help…I knew he was right. And as hard as it was for me to do, I knew that the only way I was going to get through all of this, along with deciding that I wasn’t going to toss in the towel with the getting fit, along with being able to get through Christmas…I needed to just pick up the phone and ask for help!
I called his cell phone, and when he said hello, I could barely speak. I told him through the tears that I had always promised to let him know when he needed to come…and I needed him to come now. I broke down and told him about my mom wanting to just die, and I knew that he would come and give her a reason to live, help bring back her joy for living, along with helping me. He was on a business trip in San Diego when I called. He had to fly back home near San Francisco, and he told me that he would call his ex wife, work out everything with her with the kids, and he would be on the next flight out that he could get on. I hung up and cried tears of relief!
After I hung up with him, something in my heart told me to call his ex wife myself and to let her know what was going on, and to ask if it would be ok with her if I took him for a week. I hadn’t spoken to her in such a long time, and when I heard her voice, I again just broke down in tears, told her all that was going on, and without one ounce of hesitation, she gave me the greatest Christmas present ever, and just said,… “whatever you need”. Those words, “whatever you need”, just took my breathe away, and continues to give me chills every time I remember that moment. She didn’t even start to talk about how she would handle the kids, along with her responsibilities with her own retail store for the holidays, or anything else…all she said was, “whatever you need”. What a gift! When I had the time, I was so happy to be able to write to her to tell her that those words and her complete selflessness was one of my most cherished Christmas gifts.
So, I finally asked for help, and the blessings that happened for the entire week that my brother came are too many to write here. He gave my mom her joy for living back, he brought laughter back into both houses, he helped my mom and dad with absolutely everything that entire week to free me up to do all that I had to do, he went Christmas shopping with my husband and I and helped us finish everyone and everything on our lists, he helped us with absolutely everything….he even worked out with me, kept me moving every day, and as I told him all about Dr. Oz’s Transformation Nation, along with all the things I was doing from his shows, he joined me on the fitness journey. It was one of the hardest mornings driving him back to the airport, trying to put into words all that he did for me and meant to me that week. Hugging him good-bye was really hard. But… He is back in California. He is on the track to getting healthier, and continues to call me just about every day to check on our parents, check on us… to share ideas, encourage and inspire me to keep going.
…and by asking for help I was able to go to WW and lose another 1.2 pounds the week before Christmas!