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Crossing Bridges

This started out as one of my normal everyday blog posts titled “How on Earth will I do it all.” Once it was completed I realized the gravity of what I’d said here and how much this piece was going to be the focal point of 2012 for me. That being said, I’ve turned it into its own page. I’m sure I will make several references to Crossing Bridges in the upcoming year, now; you’ll all know where that motto came from.

 

How on Earth will I do it all?

I have no clue.

That’s the honest to goodness truth, I have no clue.

It’s been such a hard year, I feel as though I have been tested, like life has thrown every possible obstacles in my way to see if I could overcome it during one of the most trying times of my life already. For the most part I feel like I’ve come out on top.

I started this adventure a year and a half ago, June 2nd was when I attended the WLS Seminar at SWWMC met my Weight Loss Surgery Coordinator Cathy and my Surgeon Dr. Cagle and we were off and running. The first few months flew by so easily. The hard part then was moving my body, exercising was so much of a struggle for me then, but I was motivated and it kept me going, I had goals to reach.

I guess October was when things really started to get sticky. Jason and I ran into the first real problems in our marriage, and by first real problems I mean, the sort of thing that would make you walk away if you both were not seriously committed to making it work. But life tends to give you a reality check about what is important, truly important from time to time and just a few weeks before my surgery was schedule Jason took ill with an infection on his foot that was pretty damn serious. It landed him in the hospital and then sent home on a pick line that was removed, literally days before my surgery was scheduled. That plus my surgery and him being there to take care of me after seemed to gravitate us back into the center of the world where all was right again. Things are never perfect, in a relationship you can’t really expect them to be, relationships are hard work, really hard work, and expecting it all to be romance and roses is a bit naive. I learned that about five years into marriage!

Things started to pick up, we had a decent but frugal Christmas and Anniversary that year given that we’d just paid thousands of dollars for my Gastric Bypass and I was on the way to the new skinny me… I thought things were about to easy and laid back. Jason and I had agreed that I’d spend the next year focused on my weight loss and everything else would come second to me… kinda reminds you of my post from the other day about the road to hell being paved, roofed and walled with good intentions eh?

From here… 2011 just got crazy. In the beginning of January my 84-year-old Father had a stroke. It wasn’t his first, but the others had been a long time before and didn’t really do a lot of damage. This one however was pretty catastrophic. It changed him, he didn’t know who people were anymore, he couldn’t eat, he’d mistake me for my mother, he had dementia, he had a hard time moving around after that, got lost in my parent’s tiny two bedroom house that they had lived in since before I was born.

I’d not always had a good relationship with my Mother, in fact, let’s be honest, I hadn’t had a good relationship with my Mother since I was a teenager. And suddenly being back home and with my parents for something longer than a couple of weeks visiting once a year was hard for me. My Mother wasn’t coping well with what was happening at all, of course, what women would cope with losing the love of her life well? But it was hard for me to sympathize with her; I’ve never been very good at that. I spent three months in California trying to help ease things for my parents, trying to make sure my Father had everything he needed to be as comfortable as possible, and then I finally came home in March, knowing that my Father didn’t have much time left I hunkered down on diet and exercise and started racing to my goal, trying to get there before he left me.

It didn’t happen though, it breaks my heart to say that, brings tears to my eyes each time I think of it, that I wasn’t able to get to goal before my Father passed away and let him see me. I have to take solace in the fact that I believe somehow he can still see me today and that he knows how far I have come and will get to see everything I have left to do. I have to find comfort in the fact that I know I carry my Father in my heart with me, and that as long as I do that, and keep his memory alive inside me, he’ll always be with me no matter what I am doing. I have to remind myself how proud of me he would be, to see me now, a non-smoking 185lb woman still hammering away at her goals.

My Father passed away in July, just two weeks before his 85th birthday. And the next five months of 2011 was just a huge emotional struggle for me. When I got home from California again in July after his Memorial, I discovered my love of running. This would normally be a healthy thing, but for me, it’s very easy to let myself get carried away, and suddenly I wasn’t just exercising, I was over exercising, which lead to me passing out in the middle of my kitchen and breaking my foot, putting me on my ass for six weeks and taking away the only real outlet I had at the time.

I struggled emotionally during that time looking for my focus, but I couldn’t find it, I struggled to find that inner peace that I felt when I was running and to find that connection that I feel with my Father when I run. I didn’t let that stop me though, maybe I couldn’t get on a treadmill or an elliptical or even run sprints through Wilsonville, but I could work out, I just needed a little help to figure out how. Of course my Personal Trainer Suzie over at Tym 4 Me Fitness made that possible. Big old boot and all she found ways to get me exercise and keep me losing even with an air cast on.

Now it’s December, the last two months have been filled with visits to plastic surgeons deciding who I was going to use for my reconstructive surgery, and the stress of figuring out how the hell to pay for it.  This has been an expensive year for us.  With Jason being hospitalized at the end of 2010 and my Gastric Bypass at the same time we spent most of the year paying on doctor bills. We took huge hits financially with the amount of time I took off work to be with my Father, we depleted our savings doing what we felt was right and making sure that my Father was well taken care of, had anything he needed, and then later, taking care of funeral arrangements and helping out with bills when my Mother needed it.

Watching my Father pass away and seeing the state of their financial affairs and how much rescuing my parents needed was a huge wake up call to me, I started freaking out about all the things that Jason and I haven’t found the time or money to do yet. Buy a house, life insurance, savings accounts, investments, in the world today so little of that is possible to your average household. Watching my parents struggle the way they did financially and watching my Mother panic about what comes next, scared the hell out of me. I realized that Jason and I have some serious catching up to do financially. We need to buy a house, we need to put some money in savings, and we need to invest a little. But really, how many people can do that in the world today? This economy is horrendous and things don’t seem to be looking up. Most of us are lucky to have roofs over our heads, food on our tables, the bills paid and an occasional luxury here and there.

And it’s not like life has been any kinder to me. My car broke down in November when my friends were visiting for the Holiday and I’m scared to drive it so if I can’t walk there I’m pretty much not going now. This car is a little beat up Ford Contour that Tom, a man who is like a second Father, bought for me when I was in my early 20s and the Tercel that my Father had helped me buy at 18 had gotten ran into the ground. I’d given the car back to Tom before I moved to Oregon in 2002 and bought an Oldsmobile Cutlass that I brought with me instead. Gave that to Tom later to pay off some money I owed him once Jason and I had bought our first vehicle together, a Jeep Grand Cherokee, I LOVED that Jeep, LOVED it, but I had to give it up a year and half or so before it was paid off when the economy took a nose dive, Jason was laid off and we couldn’t afford the payments on that and his truck. As usual Tom came to my rescue, bailed me out, bought the Jeep from me to get me out from under the payments and resold it to recover his money. He was kind enough at the time to give me back this little Ford, but I hate this car. I hate it, it reminds me of a time in my life I don’t want to remember, it’s a little Junker car, and now, it’s so unstable I just won’t drive it.

I’m rambling, forgive me, there is a lot on my mind this morning.

Anyways, the car has really added a new financial dilemma to my plate. There is just too damn much to take on, too little time to do it all, and too much time to waste putting it all off and waiting until later.

That’s the biggest issue for me really, I mean I’m 35, going on 36, I’m not getting any younger here. It’s not like I have my whole life ahead of me, I’m just getting my life back after wasting what seems like the last 15 years being unfit, unhealthy and unmotivated. Now I have big huge plans, and the obstacles that stand in my way are as usually, on monetary. It’s amazing, really, how much things cost in the world today. Things keep getting more and more expensive and it sure doesn’t seem like our income is going up enough to offset any of it.

I’m looking at what my big goals are, what I need to get there, and asking myself, how on Earth will I do it all? The truth is I have no clue, I really don’t.

Right now what I want most is a career as a Personal Trainer, I want to specialize in working with Morbidly and Malignantly Obese people that want to lose weight, and that just need a little help getting started, need someone to teach them how to exercise, need someone to encourage them, I want to be for someone else what people like Steven, Suzie, and Heather have been to me. I want to be their Mentors, Trainers and friends all at once. I know what it is like to be that big and to try and get started, I know how depressing it is to do it alone, I know how hard it is to stay motivated and on task without someone helping you and holding your hand, and I want to do this for other people. I know what it’s like to be so big you’re embarrassed to go to a gym, or so big you can’t even afford to buy exercise equipment to put in your house that will hold your weight. But there are ways to beat that, and I know I can help others do it to. I want to start a mobile personal trainer business, working out of the back of my car with exercise equipment that I can travel with, stuff like kettle bells, padded weighted bars, resistance bands, steppers, soft weighted exercise balls, dumbbells, stability balls, balance balls, you’d be amazed how much of this stuff you can use in your home, or outside on nice sunny day in your back yard and get an amazing work out. That and some walking until you can manage to run, and we’ve got Cardio and Strength and Core training all covered until you’re comfortable in a gym! I’m pretty convinced I can build an entire late-start career out of it as well. I just need to figure out how I get it all started.

I’m looking at the things that I ABSOLUTELY – MUST have and MUST do to make this all happen. I figure once I get this far, the house, the investments, the savings and all that will start to fall into place. That is, if I don’t put us so far in debt trying to do it that we never get out. That’s my biggest fear at the moment, that I’m signing my Family up for a financial devastation we won’t ever be able to recover from. But I need to tackle things in groups that make sense, trying to make the best decisions and get the best results without wasting what I now consider, far too precious time in life. So what comes first? Ok, let’s outline, it will help me focus.

Reconstructive Plastic Surgery – This has to be done for a variety of reasons, I won’t even get into the bumps and rashes and complications due to discoid lupus that I’m experience, not in this piece anyhow. I won’t go into the emotional impact all that skin has on me, as it pertains to this goal those things are irrelevant, what is relevant is that I need to have the best body image I can present both for me and my clients as a personal trainer, I need to be able to be a role model to them and I don’t think that is possible with the way I look now. Plus this kind of skin makes a lot of exercise painful and uncomfortable and that’s not going to be acceptable when my life, career and entertainment are all about fitness and exercise. This is an absolute must, and unfortunately it’s got a huge price tag. $40,000 is what I was quoted from the Surgeon to remove all the skin in the areas it is problematic, plus to restore some muscle structure in my abdomen to help relieve some of the back pain.

A Reliable Car – It doesn’t have to be fancy. Sure if I can have anything I want I’d want a brand spanking new Black Jeep Compass all decked out and loaded up and it would have advertisements for my new training business on the sides of it or something. But I know I can’t have my dream car right now, maybe a used one, but even those run a bit out of my budget if I’m being honest. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a hatchback of some sort to allow for transporting the equipment that I need. I’m going to say $10,000 here and that’s me being really hopeful I think.

ISSA Certification – Now if I could do anything I want I’d get my Associates Degree in Exercise Science which would include all the certifications I’d need to work as a Personal Trainer plus a bunch of stuff that would make me more marketable like special training in things like nutrition and medical terminology as well as Business Management, Communications, and even courses in Sociology and Psychology. But right now doing that would cost $185 a credit with a 15-16 credit load each quarter that puts each quarter at about $2700 and it’s six quarters so that’s a big $16,500+ of stuff I just CANT take on when I have the two things above me to do first. So I’ll have to just take the courses I feel are the most important and get the certifications I think I NEED to excel in the specialty field I want too.  That means I need about $1000 to take the Personal Trainer Certification Course and the Fitness Nutrition Certification Course. That includes the books and if I can find a way to cover that expense while healing from the plastic surgeries, I should be able to get started as soon as I am doing healing from the last surgery. This means by this time next year I could be working with people already! They are online courses, so I can do it all from home.

The Equipment – I don’t really have a list of what all I would need yet, but I’ve got a good idea of the price just from stuff I want in my own house and would have put on my Christmas list today if I could. I’m guessing all the equipment would come to under $2000.

These are my top four priorities. Finding a way to make all of these things happen is my 2012 New Year’s resolution. $53,000 – I have no idea how, not a clue, but I’m going to make this happen. I’m going to pursue what I want most, because I know doing that, is going to allow me to help so many others work towards what they want most too.

I will figure this out. I will find a way to make this all happen. I’ve over come so many obstacle so far, life wasn’t kind to me as a kid, as a teenager, as a young adult. But I’ve gotten past that now, I’ve overcome that past, I’m not that scared girl hiding in a body covered in layers of fat that I used as a self-defense mechanism to make sure nobody else ever hurt me. I’ve learned how self-destructive that was and how much life I missed out on because of it. That’s a piece for a whole different day, but for those of you that are survivors of sexual, emotional or physical abuse I’m sure you’ll understand my line of wishful thinking that I could somehow pin the financial burden of getting my life back on the people that took it away from me instead of my undeserving family that loves me enough to support me doing it.

2011 has been a horrendous year, but 2012 is going to be the year of the new me. I haven’t figured it out yet, but I know what needs to be achieved at least, October 19, 2010 I had my Gastric Bypass and it saved my life. October 19, 2011 was the morning I woke up and found the strength to set things back on track after my Father passed away and gave up smoking. October 19, 2012 I’m going to TRY like hell to make sure I’m wearing a work out suit that looks great on my restored body while working with one of my new clients. Can I make this happen?

I’ve always been the type of person that got stressed out easily. I’ve always been that girl that looks at EVERYTHING all at once instead of taking things one step at a time. My Father used to tell me “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.” Daddy if you’re really out there watching out after me, please guide me and show me the way.

 

About (Pandora) The Author

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender
Jaime "Pandora" Williams

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