If you have been anywhere around social media you know two things about England right now, another royal prince has been born, and a baby boy named Alfie is being denied life. Alfie has an unknown neurological disease. He needs a feeding tube and a trach with a vent. These are not extraordinary measures. These are the basic things needed to sustain life. After courts ruled that Alfie’s vent was to be removed, this amazing child started breathing on his own, occasionally needing some oxygen support. Yet the British courts ruled that it is time for Alfie to die. He has not received nutrition, other than water via his g-tube in at least 24 hours that I am aware of as I am writing this.  Why are the courts ruling this way? Why are they denying his parents the right to take him to Italy, where a hospital is ready to care for him? They are saying it is because there is no hope for improvement, that he will eventually die anyway, and so why should that not be now. I am not an expert in this case, I have not seen more than anyone else reading the news reports, so why am I writing about this?

His name is Damien Edward Ryan.  When he was 4 months old he had a one time seizure event. It left him stuck at 4 months. He was unable to eat without aspirating, and so a g-tube was placed. His vision was affected and we are told, based on other children with the same brain injury that what he sees is like looking through a piece of swiss cheese. Lots of black with random holes of sight. He is unable to sit up on his own, will never be able to stand, or walk, or do more to communicate with us than laugh or cry. He does do some mean half sit-ups though. Seriously, the kid has rock solid abs.  In September he will be 11 years old. My husband was told that Damien would not live to see his 2nd birthday.

When I met my husband and his three wonderful children, I knew I was blessed. More than one person told me I was crazy for marrying a man who not only already had children, but also had one with Damien’s level of needs. I’m not going to lie, it has been hard. It is hard to go from being single, living in your parents home, to being a mother of three children. It is hard to learn how to care for a child who depends on you for everything, and always will. It is hard to balance the needs of the other children. Hell, it is hard just to adjust to being married without adding any of the other stuff in.

People talk about hope. Where is the hope for Alfie? Where is the hope for Damien? Yet there is hope. No it is not the hope of a cure. It is not the hope of a pain free life. It is the hope of the cross. It is the hope of the life we cannot see on this mortal earth. Damien, and Alfie have taught more people about faith, about love, about hope than most people can in 10 lifetimes. I can promise you that no one who meets these children walks away unchanged. Maybe we can’t see the fruit of that change right away, maybe in some people that seed is very slow to grow. But it will grow. It will change minds and hearts.

Damien is not a burden. Alfie is not a burden. Charlie Gard was not a burden. They are our best teachers, rays of sunshine in a cloudy world, saints walking here with us. They are the fire that purifies the gold of their parents, of their siblings, of all those who love them.

Damien will leave us. He will go to his heavenly home, probably long before this mother’s heart is ready to let him go. I will cry, I will sorrow, but I will let him go. What I will not do is willingly let him go before his time is up. I will fight with everything in me, just like Alfie’s parents are doing. God has not called his servant home yet. No government, no medical expert, no parent has the right to end the story. God is the author of Damien’s life, God is the author of Alfie’s life, and God writes the final earthly chapter.

“I plead with you! Never, ever give up on hope. Never doubt, never tire,

And never become discouraged.

Be not afraid.”

 -Saint Pope John Paul II



It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, it matters how many times you get back up.


I ate real food last night. After my appointment with the nutritionist and my surgeon. After being told I need to keep gagging down at least three protein shakes a day. I was so hungry, and so sick to my stomach. Broth and sugar free jello weren’t even beginning to touch my hunger.  So instead of doing what I knew I should and hiding in my room until the temptation was gone I had a piece of fish and some french fries. Today I feel human again for the first time since Tuesday.

This is the second hardest thing I’ve ever done. The only thing in my life that has been harder was deciding to put Damien in a care facility. I said in my last post that the shakes are gross. That is an understatement. I am now at the point where my throat is closing at just the thought of drinking one. Peppermint extract helps, but considering the only one I could find is made of alcohol and the amount I have to put in to get even a third of the shake down, its not the best option, unless I want to be semi-drunk until the 29th. Which is a thought that has merit…

Yes, I fell. Yes, I will fall many, many times during this journey. I wouldn’t be honest with myself and with you dear readers if I didn’t share my failures with you as well as my successes.

Today I will stand up again. I will eat my protein bars, I will try my best to get at least one shake down, and I will “enjoy” endless bowls of broth and my three servings of sugar free jello.  I will drink my full amount of water, and I will hide in my room when I need to. I will forgive my self for falling.

I want to take a minute to thank you all for the love and support after my last post. It’s terrifying to be so naked (literally and figuratively) in front of so many, but I got so many comments and messages encouraging me. I am so grateful for all of you supporting me and praying me through this journey.

Tears, Fears, and Photos

Monday was a phone call day. Everyone was calling to cancel appointments on Tuesday because of Winter Storm Stella. While rescheduling my pre-op appointment I was reminded that my diet starts today. I had in my head that Wednesday was the start date for my liquid diet.

I don’t know why it threw me for such a loop, maybe because I had one idea of when my life was changing and now I had one less day. I spent time crying for what I’m giving up, felt the pressure of choosing my “final meal”, and set up my supplies for today.

My wonderful husband took me out for a delicious dinner, I had a final Reece’s Easter Egg, and went to bed all set for the morning.

Then morning came. I made my first protein shake, and it was disgusting. I choked it down, then 2 hours later tried one of the protein bars. Yuck!

Luckily clear liquids including broth are ok. Chicken broth with Italian Seasoning is a nice break from the shakes.

I’m not trying to be a downer but I want to be transparent about this whole process. And yesterday and today sucked.

So to remind myself why I’m doing this here are my before pictures. As of today I weigh 237.7 lbs. I will post new weight and new photos the day before my surgery.




International Women’s Day

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. There’s not a whole lot new yet on the weight loss front. I do however have a whole lot to say about this whole, A Day Without A Woman thing.

Do you know that schools were forced to close today because too many teachers called out? How many single working moms were forced to scramble to find childcare, extra hours that they simply can’t afford?  How many children are going to go hungry today because their main meals come from school?

It’s not just American Women’s Day. It’s International Women’s Day. Women all over the world are rising before the sun, walking miles to get clean water for their families, and then walking miles back with heavy containers of water.

Girls all over the world are struggling to attend school because they don’t have the necessary supplies or missing school because they don’t have something as basic as feminine hygiene products. Girls all over the world are being taught in secret or simply not being taught at all  because their government, their fathers, their societies don’t place any importance on their education.

Women all over the world are being forced into various forms of slavery. Women are being forced to endure rape, beatings, forced sterilizations, forced abortions, and many other horrors.

Maybe today, instead of not doing our jobs, we work hard. We work in honor of those women who are not as blessed. Maybe we take time today to support a single mother, or a family who we know is struggling. Maybe we take that pay from today and donate it to an organization that truly helps women. Maybe we write a fellow woman a note of encouragement. Maybe we stop the mommy wars. Maybe we raise our children to see the dignity inherent in ALL people.

Maybe, just maybe we do something that will create actual, long lasting change for the better of all women, not just those privileged enough to be able to  take a day off of work.

Setbacks, Small Victories, and Surgery Changes

It’s been a long  crazy week since my last post. On Thursday I found out that Lap Band surgery is contra-indicated for lupus patients. Apparently the lupus attacks the band and all kinds of issues ensue. So now they want me to have the Gastric Sleeve, but I have to be off steroids for at least a month before hand. Luckily for me a new medication for my lupus is controlling it enough that I am able to, for the first time in 14 years, be completely off of prednisone!!!

Quick crash course on the gastric sleeve:

  • Much more invasive than the lap band
  • They remove 80% of my existing stomach leaving a banana shaped pouch
  • permanent
  • Requires one to two days hospital stay
  • Much better success rates than lap band
  • Done laparoscopically

It means a much bigger lifestyle change than the band. My days of a glass of wine or soda with dinner are over. Bread, pasta, rice and baked goods are a thing of the past until well after, as in at least a year, surgery. Even then it will be a bite or two.

You’re probably wondering why I am choosing this. About a year ago I was diagnosed with Fatty Liver Disease due to obesity. A few months after that one of my relatives was diagonsed with cirrhosis of the liver due to obesity, a progression I am looking at without serious weight loss. I cannot leave my husband and children behind. I need to be healthy not only for myself, but for them.

My surgery is set for March 29th. Before that day I still need an endoscopy, blood work, and more doctor appointments than I can list here. It’s a lot, but 20 years from now, when I’m chasing after my grandkids, healthy and fit, it will all have been worth it.




Why I started this Blog

Since probably the age of 13 I’ve battled my weight. It got worse when I was 21 and diagnosed with Lupus. steroids do a number on your body and one of my biggest changes and challenges was my weight. 14 years, marriage, two pregnancies, and five kids later (The first three are gifts from my husband’s first marriage, but that’s a whole other post) I am the biggest I have ever been. I have tried a million diets, a million exercise programs and I sit here stuck at 235lbs.

The past three months have been spent jumping through a thousand hoops to get approved for lap-band surgery. I originally wanted the gastric sleeve, but because I’ll probably be on steroids in one form or another for the rest of my life, it’s too risky. I was approved yesterday and now begin my pre-op journey.

I am starting this blog for a number of reasons

  1. to keep myself accountable
  2. to share the daily life of my family as we all make this journey
  3. to encourage others to come out of their chrysalises, whatever they may be made of
  4. because I love writing, and Facebook posts just aren’t long enough. 🙂

Please follow along with me as I spread my wings and learn to fly!