Humble Pie, but HUGE Step: BTWG Initial Assessment

Knowing that I am out of shape, not in shape, or even apple shape is one thing.  Going through testing/measuring and evaluation by others is another.  Just returned from the Bridging The Wellness Gap (BTWG) Initial Assessment.  My commentary follows…

  • Staff, post program graduates, and fellow ‘new recruits’
    • Welcoming
    • Professional -two nurses, experienced (>10 years) trainers, and  more
    • Encouraging
  • Materials – an entire training binder… woo hoo! 😀
    • Adaptable – Chris Roche will evaluate my assessment scores, questionnaire answers, and more.  Then, in addition to the binder, he will provide a customized exercise program for me (and every other new recruit).
    • Comprehensive – Seems like it’s all here.  Topics covered include:
      • Nutrition – Chris Roche calls this ‘dietary principles.’
      • Strength
      • Aerobics
      • Power Yoga – if you are concerned, please do not be – I promise Chris shares my belief system.  No one is trying to convert me to something to which I am not comfortable.  Yoga has amazing health benefits and is not a religion. 🙂
      • Meditation – just another name for my ‘quiet time’ -a valued piece in my personal life puzzle.  Being still and knowing that He is God and listening to Him.  Typically, my prayer time follows ACTS (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication).  My quiet time focuses on breathing, listening, and feeling that peace that transcends understanding (from Him) amidst whatever chaos is happening around me.  This is when He reminds me that He is in control (not me), He loves me (unconditionally), and whatever I am experiencing is temporary.
  • Assessment – yeah, this was the most humbling
    • Blood pressure – mine was high (152/96) today… but it’s usually textbook.  Attributing it the stress of my dad’s death, lack of death certificate, and maybe a little nervous excitement, if there is such a thing.
    • Height, Weight, and BMI – too short, too much, and not telling.  Knowing that these numbers do not define me, but knowing also my present reality stinks.
    • Push Ups – how many in a minute… only 23
    • Sit Ups – again, for a minute… somewhere in the 20s, but I am not remembering the specific number
    • Flexibility – never saw a contraption like this in my life.  Put your feet against a metal plate, then extend your arms to move a piece of metal on top.  That measurement determines your flexibility.  Again, I do not remember the number, maybe 13 3/4, but I’m wondering if this is centimeters.  Anyway,  it’s how far I can reach past my toes.

Is it possible for this information to be obtained from other sources, maybe even online?  Possibly.  If it is, however, I would need to sort through dozens of sites, research them for accuracy, collate, and assemble.  The binder of information/tools provided for this program is more than worth the cost and will set me up for success.

The other thing that always determines altitude is attitude.  Corny and cliché, but ever so true.  Chris Roche’s program in a nutshell “No Excuses!”

Putting this out here for the world to read demonstrates my commitment (or insanity…it’s possible that’s a finer line than first thought) and my need for accountability.  Stay tuned…more updates to follow.

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Posted in 01 (Jan), 2011 | 3 Comments

Silliness Between the Tears

Had no idea that it was possible to cry as much as I have during the past couple of weeks.  Since my dad’s death last Thursday evening, I’ve been telling myself that tears have purpose.  It’s okay to cry.  Things will ‘get better.’  Well, last night I discovered I am wrong (first time ever – okay maybe second [actually gazillionth]).  Some tears have purpose – some are just silly.

Christopher and I were at Hobby Lobby.  It was around 7ish… maybe 7:30pm.  The reason for our visit – to pick out a container for my dad’s ashes.  I was keeping it together – for the most part.  A stray tear hear and there.  Really – people are stocking up on Christmas at 80% off.  Don’t they know this is a somber occasion?

Anyhoo, we get to the checkout line.  The container I picked seemed to have a small blemish on the back.  Did you read that?  On the back.  Only myself and whoever reads this will know it is there.  I ask (trying to decide if I should blame Six Sigma training) for a discount.  I’m casual.  You know – just point out the imperfection and say, would you be willing to take a little off.  It’s the only container this size and so on.

The manager (assumption on my part -whomever the cashier asked) replies, “Ma’am it’s already 50% off, I can’t take any more off.”  I start to cry.  Why?  Because the container I picked was on sale.  Not just any sale, but 50% off.  I proceed to tell my ever-so-patient husband all the reasons that my daddy deserved better.  He should be in a beautiful hand-made, but simple, high-varnish hardwood box.  Something that would show respect and pay tribute to the great man that he was in the life of so many.

Oh, brother!  Daddy’s not there.  His ashes do not represent his soul.  I believe in life after death.  I also believe Daddy’s in heaven rejoicing in God’s glory (took me a few days to get there, but now I am and so much peace about that – different day, different blog).  So, why do I care?  I remember telling a close friend less than a week ago – doesn’t matter if he’s in a paper bag or in a gold box.  Still believe that.  Still believe that some tears have purpose.  Recognize that others are just silly.  Privilege of hindsight: sometimes silly is under-rated. 🙂

Posted in 01 (Jan), 2011 | Leave a comment

Rock bottom – not to be confused w/ rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock.

So many thoughts flooding my mind right now.  Not expecting anyone to read this, so, if you are here… thank you.  This blog will mostly be a written reflection of where I am – at any given moment.  Any nuggets you may find are courtesy of God – from whom all wisdom comes.    Any ramblings are courtesy of me – a work in progress.

Across the span of this journey called life, we sometimes hear quotes or lessons repeated.  Over time, the lessons seem trite or meaningless – even when filled with truth.  Not because we are unaware of the truth, but because we are 1) not in a place to accept the truth, 2) cannot relate to the truth being shared, 3) the truth is overwhelming – where do we begin, or 4) yada, yada, yada – we hear the truth so much we are desensitized.

Let me share some examples:

  • ActiveWater (http://www.activewater.org/The_Hard_Facts.php) shares 1 of every 8 people on this planet lack access to clean drinking water.  Really?  I have city water (allegedly clean), soft water (compliments of our water softener), and purified water (yep, love our reverse osmosis system), too.  Oh, and I live in America – land of abundance, so there’s bottled water from Costco sitting in my garage.  You know – in case I’m too lazy to fill one of our portable water bottles (BPA-free, of course).
  • What about AIDS?  According to JoinRed (http://www.joinred.com/red/#lazarusEffect) 33 million people have HIV.  Interesting.  Makes me sad, because I knew a gay man who died of AIDS.  His death was slow and painful.  Broke his mother’s heart.  Know lots (okay, about a dozen) of gay men.  None have AIDS.  All are friends.  Not once have I taken the time to ask – if they know someone… if I can help… if they know that I love them… more importantly, if they know that God loves them.
  • Want to see me get fired up (honesty alert *for a moment*)?  Ask me about slavery and sex trafficking.  The International Justice Mission site (http://www.ijm.org/ourwork/injusticetoday) tells me, “Trafficking in humans generates profits in excess of 12 billion dollars a year for those who, by force and deception, sell human lives into slavery and sexual bondage. Nearly 2 million children are exploited in the commercial sex industry.”  As a young girl, I was molested – on more than one occasion, from more than one perpetrator (neighbor, Boy Scout leaders, and the list goes on).  Sexual abuse stays with you for life.  I am married to the most amazing man, and to this day, there’s still a certain way he cannot kiss me, because it triggers a flashback.  He respects me enough to never cross that line, so it’s really a non-issue for us.  It took me years, however, to forgive those men and to not desire revenge.  Sexual abuse stays with the victim for life.  How dare a man put his sexual desires over the safety of a child!  How dare a woman put her daughter in harm’s way!

That’s such a small sample of the ‘information overload’ that bombards us on a daily basis.  Walk into church (if you need a one, you’re more than welcome here: http://www.kingswaychurch.org/) and our pastors tell us how many in our community (80K w/in 25 miles of Avon) do not know Jesus.  What?  How can my neighbor not know that God loves her (gender reference not important) unconditionally?  Surely, she knows that even though I go to church, I still sin daily.  God loves her so much that He sent His holy and perfect Son.  She knows that.  The statistics must be from a different county – maybe Putnam or Johnson.  Or, maybe downtown Indy – Marion County.  Here?  Hendricks County?  Where I live?  Are you sure?  I’m sure I’ve done my part.  <sarcasm intended>

Which brings me to my point.  I am writing this at my personal rock bottom.  Is it my only rock bottom?  No, unfortunately, I have been here before… different day, different situation, and different topic.  So, why now?  Well, honestly, my hero died.  His name was Robert Martinez.  I loved so much about him, and someday soon I will share his eulogy.  Today, you just need to know how much I respected and learned from his honesty.

For years he told me that I should drop some weight, watch what I eat, and avoid diabetes at all cost.  Ok, Daddy.  Love you, too.  Yes, I know we have a family history.  Yes, I know that Aunt Delores went blind.  Yes, and Pie (Reuben Jr) too.  Of course, but this is us.  This stuff doesn’t happen to our family.  Wrong!

Daddy died as a result from complications that stemmed from diabetes.  Note: he was NOT overweight (unlike his daughter).  First, his kidneys shut down.  We knew he needed kidney dialysis by the end of the year.  On December 16th, however, he went via ambulance to the hospital because fluid (not being filtered by his kidneys) began building up on his lungs.  Ok, no problem.  Dialysis will start sooner.  And, it did – December 17th.  Mom was with him.  She called.  I thought it was for an update, but, instead, it was to tell me that Dad had a heart attack.  I needed to pick Sarah up from school.  Surely, this was just a bad dream.  Christopher came to get me, Sarah went to Auntie M’s, and I prayed all the way to the hospital.

Christopher and I were there when the cardiologist told us it was a “small heart attack.”  He also said, “expect blockages.”  Daddy’s heart cath would be Monday.  “What are you going to do until then?” I asked.  I sounded calm, cool, and collected.  Years of project management, I can handle any crisis.  Daddy’s health advocate – that’s my role.  I can help my family understand what’s happening.  The cardiologist assured me (yep, I got what I wanted) by starting my dad on Heparin IV… would keep his blood thin (preventing clotting or an attack) until the cath on Monday.

Monday (Dec 20) – heart catheter successful.  Daddy needs bypass surgery.  Scheduled for Wednesday.  On this day, I just took care of him as he went through dialysis.  You know – wiped his forehead, retrieved the emesis basin, whatever I could do to make it a little better.  Tuesday (Dec 21), Daddy transferred to the Indiana Heart Hospital.  His brother (my favorite uncle) came in to see him.  I took Sarah up to encourage him, too.  Wednesday morning, he was scared.  My brother came to the hospital (first time they spoke in over nine years).  Seeing them reconcile was a beautiful thing.  Those present: me, my mom, my brother, my husband, my uncle, and one of the pastors (he’s also a friend) from our church.  What did we do to ease the fear?  We prayed.  Just give it to the Father.  He loves Daddy even more than me.  We exchanged an “I love you,” and I told my dad that he was going to feel so much better.  Now, I realize the part after “I love you” was an empty promise, a platitude from his scared daughter.  The promise was never mine to make.

Doing my best to rejoice in between tears.  God answered so many prayers.  As much as I took charge of my dad’s medical care (Riley Hospital is the first place I started project management – for the Cancer Center – years ago), it never once occurred to me that he could die while on life support.  He flat-lined.  The cardiologist and nurses restarted his heart – long enough for me to get to the hospital.  What a praise – I was with him as God stopped his heart for the last time and as he took his final breath.  I had visions of singing praise songs, but the tears and pain of losing the blessing that was my dad was too great.

When Daddy died, I fell down the side of a cliff.  Fortunately, I fell right into my Heavenly Father’s arms who lay me gently upon the rock below.  Today, I am wavering between laying and standing on His rock.  Remember the classic lyrics, “On Christ this solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand?”  There are a lot of people who prayed and continue to intercede on my and my family’s *yes, I know it’s not all about me* behalf.  Words really are inadequate to describe the joy and peace that brings my soul.

Which brings me to ‘rock bottom.’   Daddy died on Thursday evening, December 30th, around 7pm.  I never heard him speak after his surgery.  There’s much more to the story, but right now the point is simple:  I have to live my life differently – starting now!

My world will never be the same.  Thursday night, it felt as if the world stopped even though it didn’t, it hasn’t, and it won’t.  No question:  I will miss my daddy every day.  That brings me back to ‘rock bottom’ and another topic: change.

  • Mahatma Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  Really?  How about if I just be Sonia?
  • Heraclitus of Ephesus offered, “Nothing endures but change.” Which over time acquired numerous variations including, “The only thing constant is change.”  Gotta love it when people state the obvious!  And the sun rises in the East and sets in the West in the northern hemisphere.  Not helpful!
  • Alcoholics Anonymous contributed this one, “Change occurs when the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of changing.”  Ouch.  That one hurts.

Feeling ultra-sensitive to the last one after my dad’s death.  I cannot remain the same.  To do so would dishonor my dad’s memory.  So, this Saturday, I begin a journey of transformation.  I am privileged to be a ‘new recruit’ for a program called “Bridging the Wellness Gap.”  You can read more here:  http://bridgingthewellnessgap.wordpress.com/about-btwg/.

Praying that this program provides the tools I need to turn my life around.  Then, I will teach Sarah (and Christopher and whoever else God puts in my path) how much sugar is ok (never met an Oreo I didn’t like).  The cycle stops here ~ no more diabetes!  Every time I want to quit, I want to say that I will remember my dad and press on.  If for some reason, you see me with any other attitude, then you have my permission to call me on it.  Please hold me accountable – I’m not just saying that.  Please remind me of this post.  I can assure you, my daddy was more than worth it, and so am I.

Posted in 01 (Jan), 2011 | 5 Comments