Thursday, August 28, 2014

My 30 Lb Weight Loss Trick!

For those of you who haven't seen me in a while, my blog is aptly named.  As of late, however, it might be more accurate to go by "littlest momma".  I am a paltry 95 pounds.  As my aunt lovingly put it, I'm looking a little holocaust-esque.  I get a lot of people either offering me their fat (well intentioned but how, exactly, are we going to pull it off?) and a lot of other people saying they wish they were my weight.  I want to tell them no, you don't want to be in the double digits and that it's really not flattering for anyone beyond middle school. I'm constantly asked, "Why don't you eat something?"  I'd love to tell them, "I wish I had thought of that!!!!" but instead I usually give an unamused chuckle. 

What's my secret? How have I achieved the perfect anorexic model look?  Contrary to popular assumption, I don't work out (at all. Ever. Just a huge no-no.) and I certainly don't ever deny myself food.  That leaves us with option C: a Crohn's flare up.  I can hear the skeptics now: I thought your ileostomy ended all that?  And that presumption is what brings me here today.

Crohn's is a disease of the entire gastrointestinal tract.  It can affect you from your bottom all the way up to your mouth.  It sets up camp in your intestines and makes you double over with gut wrenching pain.  Sometimes, when being attacked internally isn't enough it surfaces on the skin with ulcers that feel like fire.  When life gets stressful, Crohn's will ensure that your mouth is ridden with canker sores that render eating unenjoyable.  My personal favorite is when Crohn's causes poop to come out of a myriad places it's not supposed to. 

The fact of the matter is, most of these symptoms go unnoticed by the person you sit next to in class or even your closest coworker.  The only real evidence I have of this flare up is my rapidly decreasing weight, and I've found that all too often people think I am intending to diet myself into oblivion. 

My ileostomy has thankfully made it so that the diseased areas of my intestines below it are finally getting the rest they need.  The disease there lies dormant for now.  After a year of my body adjusting to the ileostomy, however, Crohn's had to find a new vulnerable area: my upper GI.  This form is not so gory like my disease of yore (pre-ileostomy).  But it leaves me without an appetite, constantly nauseous, and doubling over at night praying that I'll just pass out instead of experience the pain.

I'm not trying to start a pity-party for the littlest momma here, I promise. I'm merely trying to inform, especially as I know there are people who are confused as to why and how I could get sick after my life-changing surgery.  There is no cure-all for Crohn's.  There is no magic diet (as many well-meaning friends have tried to tell me), there is no single medicine or treatment, there is no one surgery that will rid a person of this illness.

Crohn's is not the only one of its kind.  Many other diseases, auto-immune and otherwise, leave people looking relatively healthy on the outside while underneath they are ailing.  So please, please be mindful.  There are a lot of people out there who you would never suspect who are silently suffering. 

Okay, I'll jump of my "soap box", as it were, and remind you that your prayers (not your "thoughts") are coveted. 

We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.
James 5:11 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Lessons from the Beach

Between clashing work schedules, thousands of dollars in dental work, and a noticeable lack of date nights, it was time for a vacation.  Ian and I needed a vacation.  Ian's mother graciously took off work for a week to tend to our little one, as we were in need of shedding the "daddy-mommy" personas to revive the "husband-wife" dynamic.   So, we packed our bags, grabbed two of our good friends, and headed where all poor young couples (should) go: the white sandy beaches of Destin, Florida.

For six carefree days I reveled in the ocean breeze, the salty air, and the crystal clear water.  I munched on crab legs and went parasailing; I sleepily read books by the pool and played a decent round of putt-putt.

Eating the best popcorn shrimp I've ever had at Dewey Destin
There's something about going on vacation with another couple, though.  You get a deeper glimpse into the mechanics of their relationship: the way they interact, that thing one of them finds annoying about the other, and above all how they treat each other. 

I noticed from day one of our trip something Taylor did for Will: before catering to herself she always asked if there was anything he needed.  How long has it been since I've done that? I sheepishly asked myself.  It was then that I realized I had been sorely neglecting one of my main roles as a wife: being my husband's helper. 
The whole gang before our snorkeling excursion
The competitive nature in me knew I had to keep up with Taylor's kindness, or else Ian would quickly realize what he's missing.  So, I began pro-actively making sure Ian wanted for nothing. "Let me get you a drink," and "What can I do for you?", while sounding more like what you hear from a waitress, became my vacation refrains.  I can hear the groans of progressive feminists as I write about my traditional gender role, but I have this to say:  it made my husband noticeably happier which in turn, made me noticeably happier.  Being Ian's helper was not the drag I had been making it out to be; it was actually quite gratifying.

During this time, I also remembered many of the reasons I fell in love with him in the first place, reasons I regretfully don't acknowledge enough anymore.  I have compiled a handful for your reading pleasure: 
admiring my hubby
  • Ian humors me.  If you know me well, you know I need someone who knows how to humor me when I make my trademark ridiculous and irrational statements.
  • He knows how to perfectly blend being goofy, sarcastic, and witty.
  • He almost always reciprocates with calm kindness (or just wisely saying nothing), when I yell at him that I am NOT cheating at putt-putt!!! You can give up after five putts!
  • He is easy on the eyes. After tanning in the Florida sun for a week, he could aptly be described as "tall, dark, and handsome".

Now, our vacation is over.  We have returned to the realities of working, dental work, and parenting a toddler. School looms on the horizon. As we embark on our second year of marriage I am determined to continue forming habits that fall under this "helper" role, not just because he deserves it, but because I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine.

Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him."   
Genesis 2:18