Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Comeback

Deep breath.

This is the bravest post I have ever written.

No one likes to talk or dwell on their failures and weaknesses.  No one likes to admit their pain and their struggles.  No one likes to succeed, then fall flat on their face, tumble down that hill they struggled to climb, only to try again and again and never quite make it to the top... and certainly, we don't like to share those experiences.

Total and utter humiliation is what I have lived with for a few years now.  Sometimes, my failures hurt so badly, I find it hard to breath... and I'm not talking about my asthma either.  I'm talking about my weight-loss/ weight-gain roller coaster journey.

Most of my long time readers are familiar with my life-time struggle with weight.  You can read about my journey here -- but it stops a few years ago, because I have been too ashamed to talk about where I got to after losing weight and running a half marathon back in 2013 -- BEST summer of my life!!

Then I got pregnant, twice in a row, and gained a ton a weight back.  I blogged about it here.  I resolved to get it off, and I really, REALLY tried.  And it just wouldn't come off.  I'd lose a little and then gain a ton back.  I fell into a depression and wouldn't hardly leave my house.  I was so humiliated.  It was worse that I lived in a military community where over-weight wives are publicly shamed.  I am not kidding.  There are some female soldiers and other military wives that sneak pictures of the overweight ones at the store or gym and post them on a "Dependapotomos" (that's what they call the fat military wives) website and everyone makes fun of them.  I kid you not, it's a thing! I don't know if I even made an appearance on there, and I pray I never find out, but it was a deep fear of mine.

You can't look at a fat person and KNOW them.  Each one of us has a story to tell, and it will probably break your heart... but then again, sometimes our stories can inspire.

So, here is my update.

It's been over a year since I posted about my weight loss/ fitness goals.  I can honestly say, this year was not only the hardest of my life, but also the most rewarding and amazing.

Last June/July, I did the hardest thing I have ever done.  I went home to Utah weighing the highest I had ever weighed: 324 pounds.  I was sick about the trip.  When I had left Utah, 3 years prior I had been in the best shape of my life having just run my first Half.  And here was over a hundred pounds heavier.  It was the most humiliated experience of my life.

No, my family didn't judge me... my biggest critic was myself.

It was there, at that moment, that I made a choice... that would change my life forever.  My family and friends in Utah were NEVER EVER going to see me like this again.  I was going to do everything I could to change this.

Rewind a year.  I don't remember if I blogged about this, but I went to my PCP (Primary Care Physician) and I told her that I was doing all in my power to lose weight and I was actually gaining.  She was so rude to me and I quote: "You are what you eat, Mrs. Lang.  Calories in equals calories out.  Ignorance is no excuse for being morbidly obese."  I was so stunned I couldn't speak and I started balling when she left.  I felt so trapped and I knew something was wrong with my body and the doctor just saw this fat girl and assumed I was downing big macs.  I was in a prison and no one would help me.

I gave up.  I tried to work out and I was so heavy that I got heel spurs and did some damage to my bones in the hips and back.  I was living in a nightmare.  After going back to Utah, I came home with a strong will and determination.  I called my PCP, and they had THANKFULLY got me a new one (found out later that the beast before got FIRED!  Can I just say: Karma!), and I told her straight out that there was something wrong with me.  I wrote a whole portfolio of my weight loss journey, all the stuff I tried, my complete history!  I was prepared and I wasn't leaving until she helped me.  I told her I didn't want pills, I wanted to know why my body wasn't responding to my efforts and I wanted to see someone who could help me.

She said yes.  SHE. SAID. YES!!

I got a BUNCH of testing done.

Turns out, I have.... drum roll.....

Hashimoto thyroiditis aka Hashimoto's Disease.

It went undetected my WHOLE life because I was already on the meds to treat my Hypothyroidism-- same meds treat both.  But the big difference is that hypothyroidism can be a symptom of the Hashimoto's and when it comes to what you should and shouldn't eat it can make a HUGE difference.  Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disease and it's not common in young people, that's why I wasn't tested for it when I was a teenager and the problems first started.  It is when your body thinks that your thyroid gland is the enemy, so your body produces antibodies to fight it and kill it.  For those of you who don't know what the thyroid does, it produces a hormone that regulates your metabolism and it's located in the front of your neck and throat.  So basically, even though I have been taking the hormone replacement pill since I was 16 (late 30's now), the hashimoto's has been under control in the way that my thyroid won't swell and I am alive.  However, after getting my metobolism tested, turns out it is basically not functioning at all, hence the weight-gain and lack of loss.  My PCP told me that my weight problem isn't my fault.  This time I started crying... but happy tears.

It wasn't my fault.

So what I could I do?  I couldn't live my life like this any more.  I didn't recognize that person in the mirror... it just wasn't who I was.

She referred me to a weight loss specialist in Nashville at Vanderbilt, who specialized in cases like mine, and he along with a nutritionist gave me the tools to get out of this pit of despair and change my life forever.

It wasn't easy.

I had to give up a lot!!  No more diet coke (hardest thing for me), no more breads or pastas or even crackers.  No more ANYTHING with soy.  No sugar.  No chocolate. I can only drink water, and an occasional Power-aid Zero after a workout.  I have to keep track of everything I eat and drink and I have to get in lots of protein a day.  It's hard.  But it is SOOOO worth it.

Heel spurs? Gone.

Hip issues?  Gone.

Hashimoto's and Thyroid? Under control.

Asthma?  So much better.

So a year later... after my worst embarrassment of my life:  the people I love the most seeing me at my ultimate worst:

Fast forward to today...

I decided my goal for the summer was to once again do a half marathon... so into training mode I go!!  Today, was my four mile run.  I mastered the 5K these last couple weeks -- my time still isn't where I want it to be, but it will come in time with my training schedule.  I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do 4 miles.  We are in Oklahoma in June.  It's hot, humid, and muggy.  However, my spirits were lifted with an overcast and a nice breeze.  I told my husband to map out a four mile route for me with no hills.  I just didn't think I was there yet.

This was my first time actually running outside where people could see me in almost 4 years.  I was really nervous, especially running on post on Saturday morning with all the Army peeps seeing me as they ran or drove by... or even the ones playing golf (my path took me around a course).

Let's start off by saying my husband is a trickster and a liar-liar-pants.

"The only hill is a slight incline coming home... and there is a huge down hill here... super easy route... a total breeze."

Liar. Liar. Pants. On. Fire.

Not a hill run? I call BS.  Look at my proof:

Okay, so I admit, they aren't HUGE hills to normal people, but for me, they were steep and beastly.

I was a little mile into it when the clouds parted and out came the sun and a big-a hill.  I cursed him in an un-Mormon way under my breath.  Then came hill numero 2.  A real killer and I don't think I would have made it but not for my stubborn streak.

Then there was a nice down hill....

But when I hit my 5K mark, the humidity got to me and I had a minor asthma episode and had to speed walk for a few minutes while my inhaler kicked in -- so glad I thought to bring it.  Then I started running again... and came up to the last hill to my house.  I said a prayer in my mind, that the Lord would give me strength to run and some wings to fly because, heck, I was really going to need some divine help!

And He did.  I flew up the last hill and hit my four miles in exactly the goal time I was going for!!  Hills and all, thank you very much.

I may not look like her, but I sure felt like Wonder Woman today!

Half Marathon, here I come!!

Oh, and you are probably wondering what I look like now?

Here I am today:

After my run today in all my sweat and glory! (Don't be jealous of my hair... lol)

I am not yet where I want to be... but I am 2/3rds of the way there!  And I'll get there -- to the top of the proverbial hill, and this time, I'll make it to the top!!  The journey... well, it's amazing and I am enjoying every minute of it!  I feel so blessed and thankful for the Lord and all He has done for me and the strength He has given me to try try again.  And I am so thankful for my husband who loved me and supported me even when I was at my heaviest and who believes in me more than I believe in myself... even if he has to trick me sometimes to discover my strength on my own.

Now, I'm not giving any numbers, so don't ask me.  One thing I learned on my journey this time is that the scale is just a number... it doesn't measure my worth, my potential, or how far I have come emotionally and spiritually.  And it certainly can't tell me who I am or how I should feel about myself.  Only I can answer that question.


Moral of the story:  Don't let ANYONE tell you you can't.  Your biggest advocate is yourself.  Stand up and do what you have to do for yourself and your health.  Don't let any stigmas of getting professional help keep you from getting it if you need it!!  This is YOUR life!  Be the leading lady or leading man to your personal story and be your own hero.  If I can do it with Hashimoto's, Asthma, heel spurs, and everything else that comes with all of the above, you can do it too!



Tera said...

Oh Cat! First of all, I am so sorry you had to endure such an awful situation with your PCP and your military community. Second of all, I am so glad you were able to discover the cause of your health issues! You listened to your body and then stood up for yourself. You are strong and amazing! Keep it up! I can't wait to read about your running achievements!

Ms. Tami said...

Girl, you are a rockstar!!! Yay you!!

Rhonda said...

So glad you posted this! You are amazing and very encouraging.
And I'm so glad you found a good doctor.
Who knows, you may want to try running up Mt Scott after a little more training. If anyone has the determination to accomplish something big, you do!

PenderFam said...

So proud of you <3 Can't even say how awesome you are!! What a warrior you are! Hashimotos is such a beast and is so hard to detect. My mom suffered with it for year before she was finally diagnosed in her late 40s. So glad that you were blessed with a better PCP the second time around. It is so disheartening to experience a doctor telling you that you are the problem when you have done all you can. Keep up the fabulous work and postings. You are inspiring someone somewhere who thought she couldn't overcome her weight and failures. She needs your inspiration <3

Jessica Carpenter said...

You have always been gorgeous and now you are feeling that way again. Proud of you lady.

Lorri said...

You look awrsome! You ate my inspiration!

Judy Wright said...

Cat, I have always loved you. I've told Ben in an email, that the Lang family has always been my favorite. You are so beautiful inside and out. Not to mention how talented you are. You bake, saw, knit, I don't what all you do. I just know you are an all around beautiful lady. Those nasty Army ladies have to degrade people to make them feel good about themselves. God and your will power make an excellent team. With those two, you can do anything! I'm proud of you. Your husband is a smart man and he truly loves you, probably why he tricked you. Knowing you could make it. Next time you're in Logan, I hope you come see me. I would love to see you guys.
Did Ben get the DA71 and other documents I sent? I did send him papers that same day he called me. I emailed him later asking if he had received them, but never heard from him.
I had a family reunion in Oklahoma City last weekend, but wasn't able to make it. That's where I was born. Would have been a miracle if I would have just happened to see you guys there, but wonderful. Love to you and your family.
Judy Wright, Army ROTC

Ruth said...

I tried to leave a comment on Saturday, when I read this, but blogger was being strange on my phone. You are truly incredible. I am headed to the doctor to find out about what is going on with me. My thyroid is off. I have been taking meds for it and it brought it back into the normal range, but I have not been able to lose any weight no matter how hard I try. I went off my med, because I started to feel off. A few weeks later, I had them run my blood work again and my thyroid number is off again, but my iron is way off too. So, that is the reason for the appointment today. Thank you again for sharing your journey with me. I want to get myself together, so I can be thinner.

Marina Polzer said...

You are the bravest person ever! I totally admire you!