Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Friend Makin' Monday: Defining Moments

So, I started this post yesterday afternoon, intending to finish it last night. But the universe had other plans for me last night. Other plans that made me look at this post again and make some changes...I don't always understand the universe, but as it all worked out in the end, I'm not going to dwell on it.

Kenlie hosts Friend Makin' Monday on her blog All The Weigh. If you'd like to join (and make some new friends) copy the question below and link back to today's post. Leave a comment on today's post too so we can visit you!

Was there a defining moment in which you realized that you needed to lose weight? If so, will you elaborate? (If you experienced this moment in some other area of your life, please feel free to share that too!)

Hmmm...well...yes...but my defining moment was really about general health and not just weight loss...(fine, moments)

Defining moment number 1: A number of years ago when I worked at an arts-related business located right downtown I struggled with some big health problems (I wrote about them here). The fatigue in particular was bad but there were other issues too (stomach ache, lack of appetite, sore throat etc. etc. etc). I was eventually prescribed a diet by a naturopath and worked hard to stick to it and stay active so that none of my crazy symptoms returned. Life was horrible while I was in the midst of trying to figure out what was wrong - I had to cancel a four week trip to Australia for a friend's wedding; I had to take four-plus weeks off work with no pay; I drained my savings first on my time off without pay and then on the naturopath. I didn't want my health to get so bad again that I'd have to face those things again.

I made some changes to my life, including a job change (which seemed to confirm that environment - mostly physical but partly mental) and life was pretty good. Then, after living by myself for a few years, I decided to move in with a friend. I loved the house, but I can definitely say we were better friends when we didn't live with each other. Things were stressful in our house...we didn't see each other much because she started work before I actually had to get up in the morning. Besides work, I was taking two classes and working on three big Girl Guide projects and I wasn't home much in the evenings. And then there was Alex. We weren't living together, but we were spending a whole lot of time together. So, often I'd get home after she had gone to bed and head straight to bed myself. And she was upset that I didn't have much time to spend with her.

I felt like I was headed back to the horrible place I'd been in just over a year before and I knew it was time to do something about it, so I joined a gym with another friend. Let's call this defining mini-moment number 1.

Defining moment number 2 was huge. Massive. Life changing. For real.

My life changed in a matter of seconds. And when life finally got back to normal, I realized it was time to change my priorities again.

I was going into our basement to do a load of laundry and two steps from the bottom I fell and cracked my back against the steps and ended up with a fractured transverse process of the L4 vertebra. The whole story starts here and is all tagged as sore back (go figure...).

After my back incident, I slowed down. I spent more time with friends and family. I spent more time enjoying our back deck. I spent more time reading and writing and playing with my new camera and just being me. I spent less time doing Guiding stuff. I took a break from school. I worked only during working hours. I took time to stretch and walk and swim. I ate well. The thing was, I went from going to the gym a couple of times a week and walking at least two or three kilometres a day (if not more) to doing pretty much nothing other than the physiotherapist prescribed exercises for about four or five weeks, then some slow walking and a lot of floating in the pool. Alex and a coworker ferried me to and from work many days.

Guess what? I gained weight. No surprise there. I went from being fairly active and eating fairly healthy to being not active at all (the first morning it took me 20 minutes to get from the bedroom through the living room to the bathroom) and still eating the same amount of fairly healthy food. Once I got the all clear from my doctor and physiotherapist, I was more active. I'd occasionally go to the gym, but that wasn't working very well for me. I swam two or three times a week and started walking at least 3 km a day again. And I started to lose weight.

And then I got pregnant.

And then I had a baby.

And then there were complications involving scars and hormones and life got horrible for a few months and what do you know, I never lost the baby weight, but I haven't really gained much either. Steady is good, but seeing the scale drop and clothes shrink is better (for ME at THIS particular moment in MY life).

Defining moment number 3 was the day J was born. Her delivery was long and scary and, thank goodness I didn't catch on until after it was over, very dangerous to both of our lives. We survived without any major complications or scars or setbacks, but that day I understood a little better how fragile life really is.

Since J's birth I've been eating healthy, most of the time, and exercising regularly, most of the time. In case the events in Norway last Friday weren't enough to remind me that life is fleeting, last night I was literally bonked over the head with it...

Long story, shorter version: I was out with my trainer and we were about 20 minutes into a 60 minute workout. I was doing a wall sit and as she started counting down the last five seconds, I knew something was wrong. Really wrong. I had what the doctors were calling a thunderclap headache. I get really bad migraines that used to require a visit to the ER, this was worse. And so not a migraine. After eight hours in the ER, a bunch of different, scary procedures, they sent me home at 3:30 this morning. My trainer, Georgia, stayed with me until Alex could get there from work. My sister Kelsey zipped over to our place to relieve the babysitter and stay with J until someone could get home. I, especially in the moments of greatest pain, forced myself to focus on getting a J hug when I got home.

It was terrifying. Apparently I'm healthy and there's nothing wrong with me. I have an appointment next week with my GP anyway, so I'm bringing this up because I don't think I'm healthy. I have fractured a vertebra, suffered debilitating migraines, suffered brutal menstrual cramps, been in active labour (and pushing) for hours, then had forceps and a C-section before J was born, but this, this was more painful than all of those combined. HORRIBLE.

But I came home with a new respect for life in general. And I'm even more motivated to get the extra pounds off, to eat healthy most of the time (but make that most of the time a percentage that is closer to 100 than it currently is), to get the rest of my body healthy so that this doesn't happen again. Because it was scary for a whole lot of people....

Oh, I'm also SO grateful to be in Canada and have BC Medical. I know most people who live here will think I'm crazy, since most of the time, most of the people complain about everything BC Medical related, but if I hadn't had BC Medical last night's eight hours in the ER would have cost us a pretty penny. I did a bit of research and depending on location my visit would have cost between $7,000 and $18,000. UGH. See, BC Medical isn't all bad.

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