Family

A healthier FAT girl!

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Hi everyone!

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I am on my way home, from a very long vacation. I am rejuvenated, happy and full of all kinds of horrible delicious foods! I’ve traveled and eaten a great deal through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas! I also rode on a large swamp boat, alongside alligators, soaking in some serious Vitamin D! I also got to meet some of the Gator Boys, from the Animal Channel, although I didn’t know who they were. LOL

Alligators in Moss Point, MS
Alligators in Moss Point, MS
Moss Point, MS
Moss Point, MS

I’ve visited New Orleans for the first time. I went in hot pursuit of authentic New Orleans food. I had the best Shrimp and Grits and Gumbo!

Shrimp and Grits
Shrimp and Grits 
Seafood Gumbo
Seafood Gumbo

I wish I could make something like that! I had home cooked food, by the boat loads, which included sugar, sugar, sugar, white flour, and everything else nice!  Then I found a place called Slap Ya Momma BBQ in Gulfport, MS. I’ve not been on the Gulf, since Hurricane Katrina. They’ve grown tremendously, and the people are so amazing!

Slap Ya Momma
Slap Ya Momma
Slap Ya Momma
Slap Ya Momma

From Louisiana and Southern Mississippi, I went home to see my family in Arkansas. Oh my lord, I ate everything that was put in front of me. There’s something about home cooked food that simply feels so good!

Crawfish
Fried Crawfish
Diabetes
Diabetes

It was so good that it was sinful! I rarely go home, and I miss it. Until next year, I will not do this again, especially at this level. I am going to the park to get my workout on, when I get back in North Carolina this weekend. I received such a warm reception from my family, and my weight loss was noticed. They are so proud of me; therefore, I will NOT go back! I think I became an inspiration also. I have shown that plus size women are beautiful, smart, determined, and just as deserving. The reception I received, in spite of my horrible food binge, was so overwhelming and encouraging. I will keep going for sure!

I am planning my next 5K in October! Wanna come with me? I may do the one with my job. Now that I know that I can do it, I am feeling invincible! So, although these past two weeks were pretty deliciously bad, they by no means show who I have grown into. I am a healthier fat girl, and I love it. Most importantly, I love me!

A death leads to Emotional Eating, right?

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Today, I lost someone very dear too me. I went out and bought a 20 oz Coke Cola, and a bag of Chips Ahoy. I can’t fix what has happened, so I just kinda want to wallow in my sorrow a bit.

I post this here, because it holds me accountable, regardless of my reason. This may keep me from eating them, maybe?

I may just pray tonight and ask for sleep, peace, and thank Him for the time he gave me with the woman that helped save my life.  😦

Ain’t everyday, a girl can say her panties have become bloomers!

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For the past couple of weeks, I have been under the weather. I was also taking an antibiotic. I do not know if it caused the swelling, but I had a lot swelling in my hands, legs, and feet. It was harsh looking at my scale. But, I knew that I had to keep going, and not get discouraged. I am finally off of the medication. I got on the scale today, and I have not only hit my short-term goal of 20 pounds lost, but I have exceeded it by 1.8 additional pounds. Holy guacamole! I have now successfully gotten off 32.8 pounds, and how wonderful it feels.

I knew going in, with the decision to lose weight, as I actually lived, was not easy, and an extremely slow process. I am in the same situation that many Americans are, unemployed, living on very little income. I can’t afford the gym, organic foods, or the fancier boost. I am losing weight through the use of everyday activities that I have to do around the house, with a boost of music, such as chasing behind my 18 month old, dancing while washing dishes and vacuuming, grocery shopping (which I extend to about an hour), and 15 minute walks with my little one, most days of the week. I figure I just need to move, and it doesn’t matter where or how often, as long as I am doing it.

Everyday activities are often not thought about as exercise, but it is. If I turn on Maroon 5, and Move Like Jagger, everyday activities can become a full-blown workout! I love that song, and who can possibly sit down and not get your boogie on when that creation of art is playing? Also, my baby is learning to jump, so I’ve come up with a game where we jump, shake, and dance!  She can’t do it, unless I am, right?

Food is becoming less of a prison for me. I wanted to go through this process eating what I wanted, and could afford, with some changes. If I want fried chicken, I cook, and eat it. However, I take the skin off. It has made a huge difference, in my weight loss journey. Thankfully, I am not a huge fried chicken girl, I prefer it baked or boiled, which I still take the skin off. Smaller portion sizes have been a nice weapon also. I am never hunger, because of fillers, my fruits and vegetables, which are not very costly.

I am losing weight on a tight to none existing budget, and I am over the moon that my panties are becoming bloomers! I am losing weight from head to toe, and I feel fantastic!!!!!! Where there is a will, there is a way!

Oh and my BMI has dropped an entire point! I am going to say it, even though I prefer not to curse in my blogs, but HOT DAMN!!!

Epidermolysis Bullosa and this HEAT

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Oh my goodness, this weather is horrendous. Today, we have very high ozone levels in Charlotte. It is pretty severe. Last summer, we experienced our worst time, with my daughter’s health, which lead us to her diagnosis on 7/15/11. The palm of her hand had developed third degree blisters, within minutes, and we didn’t know why. She was screaming and crying, and in my mind, in horrible pain. By the time, we got her to the emergency room, we were immediately admitted, because (1) she appeared to have been purposely burned, and (2) this was our second admission for weird problems that were not normal or natural. Their first thought was to rule out child abuse, which is the worst thing ever to go through, even if mentioned as a protocol.

IS IT CANCER?

Because this was not our first time at this pass, I was ready to ask more questions, without sobbing uncontrollably. My worst fear was that my 6 month old had some form of weird cancer, and they were having a very hard time diagnosing her. I had begun mentally preparing myself for the absolute worst. This time, when the same inpatient pediatrician had come in, my baby was playing happily and was very content. Her behavior was normal. She was playing with the big ‘bubbles’ that had formed in the palm of her hand. I said to the doctor, we have been here so many times, we are seeing her pediatrician 2 and 3 times a week and that alone should let you know that my daughter is not being abused. My husband and I are bringing her to you, we are not hiding in the shadows. Therefore this time, I need for you to think like a doctor; I need for you to become nosy and inquisitive; become the researcher you were, when you decided to become a doctor. What can cause blisters that look like a third degree burn without pain? She is clearly not in any pain, at least now she is not. If it was a true burn, she would be hollowing now. I need for you to think. What can cause this, simultaneously, without an obvious reason?

She said she understood, and will make some calls. She was going to finally speak with a dermatologist, because whatever problems my daughter experienced related back to her skin. She came back, after speaking with a dermatologist and said that Gabriella may have EB, but the dermatologist needed to look at her himself. He came in later that night, and sure enough that’s what he felt was her diagnosis.

OH MY GOODNESS, IT’S THE HEAT

About two weeks later, on her other hand, her fingers had begun to swell, and then they just burst open, at the creases. The front and back creases on her little fingers were open. You could look down, and see her meat. We were being hit with a tsunami. It was so frightening. We did not know why she was suddenly getting so bad. This had never happened before. I didn’t find out until December 2011 that it was the heat that had wreaked havoc on our summer and my daughter’s skin.

After joining the support group, mid-August, my daughter had begun getting better. The fingers opening at the creases never happened again, nor the huge blisters. Her new finger and toe nails grew in properly, and had not fallen off again. Usually, they would grow back, and fall off. We had stopped seeing red spots on her fingers and toes, which was our signal that there was some irritation. The skin on her toes stopped shedding. July and August were the worst months, and then it was just over. It was like a bad dream, not our reality.

We went on to do three biopsies that came back inconclusive. The EB specialist in Chapel Hill, finally said to us that we may have seen the worst of it. He advised us that there is a type of EB that has a life span of only one year, and Gabriella my have just went through it, although the chances of that is as rare as the disease itself, but possible. He felt confident that we were probably not going to have any more problems, but still to check and protect her skin. If there were any more abnormalities to come and see him immediately. He also said that next summer will let us know if she has seen her worst. That’s when the dots connected that high heat (summertime) causes huge problems for EB children. It’s when they suffer the most. Wintertime is when the skin heals mostly, even in the worst cases; if there is a problem, they are not as severe as it would normally be in the summertime.

OUR PROTOCOL

We finally have a fantastic pediatrician, in Charlotte, that I am confident can handle any issues that may arise. Now, if she does not remind me, I go about life with my baby, without a thought of EB. However, she had to remind me last week, it’s getting hot. So, let’s make sure she has sunscreen, and bug spray that is deet free. However, do NOT take her out in the highest temperature, and if so, only if necessary. Make sure she has thin socks that will protect her from frictional rubs, in her water shoes or crocs. No, we do not wear any pair of shoes; we need breathable cloth shoes. or crocs,which are perfectly ideal. However, I found some cute water shoes that some EB children favors, at Target. I really like these, because she can run in them. She has also outgrown her bucket hat from last year, and I found a replacement at Wal-mart last week. With my small efforts to protect my baby, we are doing just fine. We are approaching our one year anniversary to this diagnosis, and it is hotter than it was last year, and I am thankful to say, so far so good.

There are other things that I still do as well. She only wears 100% cotton. I have found that other materials irritate her skin. She is moisturized from head to toe, after every bath. Every morning, regardless of the weather, I still check her hand and feet for any blistering or shedding or redness. I guess old habits are hard to break, huh? Nothing is certain, but God, so I pray, check, and keep moving. We are no longer held hostage to this disease.

When we are all skinny, then what?

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Achieving a perfect world, without flaws, is possible? Or are we just kinda sorta mixed up in a political and social inequality warfare?

I get that it is healthy to live a healthier life. Also, personally speaking, I feel fantastic, I look phenomenon, with each passing day. I also understand that the beauty I feel and see are not what society expects, due to my waistline. I have met some absolutely beautiful people, throughout my life. They were not fat, but had some extra cushion, yet the pressure of the society had told them they were a misfit, and needed to change their physical appearance. ‘Girl, you just need to lose 5 more pounds, then you can go and get that dress.’ Yet, they had successful marriages, and a supportive family. I have also known some very beautiful thin people. You know, the ones that everyone suppose to look like, and they were miserable. They masked it well, were very successful (let’s face it.. beautiful, physically fit people get the job first) but was sitting on someone’s couch once a week, and were heavily medicated. Their lives were a mess. Maybe, it is because they were tired of being used as the world’s example? Maybe?

PRESSURES

I have the pressure of being a great mom; a loving, supportive wife; an available daughter and friend; a great student and leader that contributes and is not complacent. Lastly, I have the pressure of the world to look a certain way; live a certain way; and be who society expects. Now, if I had to choose two out of three, the lateral choice would drive me crazy. I am not a celebrity, a famous writer, poet, or musician, therefore this type of pressure should not be given too me.

SOCIETY’S WISH

When we are all thin and look the same, physically. Then what? Will we then be placed on even playing fields, with the same opportunities? No, because then it will be something else. God help us, if we get trapped into another political warfare. The uniqueness of this world would be gone, as well. So how far are we, as people, expected to conform? Are we to change who we are, every time something needs changing? Can we ever be perfect? I am not sure that’s a reality. Perfection means no growth, stagnation.

I use this argument, because obesity is so much more than bingeing on bad foods. It infringes on cultural standards and beliefs; it is genetically devastating; a physical, mental, and emotional entrapment that cannot improve with society’s stereotypic behaviors. I hope my argument does not seem discombobulated. What I hope to show is the size and level of confusion and culpability.

There is not anything wrong with knowing and owning who you are. Sure, we should be healthy, but we cannot throw our identity away achieving a healthier lifestyle. The magic is in the teaching. We have to bring awareness, without placing blame, stripping culture beliefs, while providing knowledge.  I do not want to look like or become Halle Berry or Jennifer Lopez. Yes, they are beautiful, beautiful women that have had the same problems, in life, I have. That kind of beauty and success do not erase LIFE, and all that comes with it, and nobody can change that.

So, I would say, let’s get healthy, not skinny, and focus on becoming a better person. At least that’s what I am doing. I will keep working on my weight and waistline, until I identify with that girl in the mirror. This is when I know I have hit my weight loss goal.

Hey… DON’T STARE!

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My daughter is 18 months old, and quite naturally, she will stare at someone new. However, I always say to her, don’t stare, but you can say hi. And because she is this bubbly, happy little person, she does not have a problem, throwing her hand up, saying very loudly.. HEEEEYYYYY, and will start a babbling conversation with you. It’s okay to just say ‘uh huh’, ‘I know’, or ‘for real?’ No matter how much, I say ‘hello’, she has chosen HHHEEEEYYYY! Then as we push-off or leave, I tell her to say bye-bye, and again, very loudly she yells BYE -BYEEEE, with this very proud wave she has concocted.

This is my first time at the wheel of motherhood, but it seems rude to stare at someone, regardless of the reason. Within the Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) community, many of the children have scarred skin badly or covered completely with bandages, except their faces. I have heard many complaints, within our community how it upsets them to no end, especially the children. Listen, we would rather you not stare, and if you are curious, ask. Remember these are still children, and the look you give is heartbreaking, although you don’t know it. They can’t help it. It’s a genetic disease that has no cure, and unfortunately it is real.

If you do not know what a severely affected child looks like, imagine someone who has 3rd degree burns, everywhere. These children have not been burned; their skin is extremely fragile, and it is easy to experience tears and/or blisters, which is extraordinarily painful. There are children who have fused fingers. It looks like their hands are missing. They are actually there, their skin has just fused together.

Do you see why EB is the worst disease you have never heard of?

www.debra.org

www.EBfriends.ning.org

http://altinkeserlove.blogspot.co.uk/

There are children, like my daughter, who has this diagnosis, yet show very little to no sign of this disease; it isn’t uncommon. We are fortunate, but we will never forget about the other families, who are still actively fighting everyday for a cure or better solutions than a screaming child during bandage changes, while preparing for a pool salt or diluted bleach bath. Weird? Well, constant infection is a serious threat. If one goes undetected, it could be deadly. So, please don’t stare. Speak, ask questions, be informed, and know that you have just given a mom and dad a validation for getting up every day, doing what they must. We just want our children smiling, happy, and as comfortable as possible.

Be informed!

Who motivates you?

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Everyone has vices that aren’t necessarily good for them. Most of the time, even when we know they are bad, we still take part, i.e. obesity. My dad, although he has a small stature, he makes up for it with his bigger than life personality. If you ever what to know where I get it from, it comes from my daddy! Well, he has a vice that isn’t very healthy, and he hasn’t cared to change for anyone, and that includes his wife of 35 years.

My daughter is doing well; however, when we were not sure about so many things, we simply chose not to travel. We wanted to stay close to her doctors. But, my husband and I knew that we needed to get the two of them together and soon, so we flew him out. It had been long overdue, and life was calmer, and pretty gosh darn good; there was no need in us keeping all of this happiness to ourselves.

About a month, before he had arrived, I had begun to start working on my vice, which was food. He was here for three days, and then we took him to the beach, for the rest of his stay. He said he wanted to see some girls in ‘kinis, and I wanted to make it happen. By gosh, it would be his first time seeing the ocean, in his 65 years! What’s a girl to do? I love my daddy!

Well, after he flew back to Arkansas. He called and said, “I love my grand baby! She sure is pretty! I think she looks like me! Baby, I am going to work on me, and start to do better. Can I come back for her second birthday?”

I said, “sure why not! We would love to have you, and we can do Christmas and New Years together, and this time only go to the Biltmore Estates, which isn’t far from us.”

He said, “Good! I’ve seen enough ‘kinis that drive isn’t worth seeing anymore.”

Now, I do not like my dad’s vice, but I also feel that it isn’t going to get better, until he decides to do better. Everyone chastise him about it, except me. I just want him to eat everyday, at least three times a day. I know that he wants to tell his granddaughter about the evils of the world, and the danger in boys, like he told me, and to make sure she doesn’t date until she is 25. He is very old-fashioned and a sharp dart, when it comes to his girls.

About two weeks later, he called and said, “Baby, I haven’t had a drink in a week. I am going to the doctor to make sure everything is working right, so I am there for my grandbaby.” Shocking, right?

Of course, I wasn’t sure how serious he was, so I called my mom to check. She confirmed, but was skeptical. We didn’t know how long this was going to last, but we were going to support him how ever long he needed. And this will be my dad’s first visit to a doctor in 10 years. He was finally ready to hear what the doctor had to say.

To make it interesting, since we both are clearly going through a life transformation, I made him a part of my weight loss journey. I call and talk to him about my wins and fails. Then one day I said to him, “Pops, if you keep fixing yourself, and I keep working on me, we can support each other, which pretty much guarantees that my baby will have the both of us for a long, long time, at least until God feels otherwise. You can have the fat I am shedding!” He thought it was funny, but rapidly agreed. I will shed some weight, he will gain some weight, and do as his doctors have advised. We have a plan. Although, we have fun, we both know that it isn’t going to be easy, and there will always be an obstacle; however, we know that we will walk this journey together! For God’s sake, my baby needs us!