October 7, 2006

Today I walked in an event called "Making Strides in the Cure."  It was one of the annual walks to combat Breast Cancer. 

I am extremely fortunate that none of my family has contacted this disease. However if I am able to donate some money and /or my time to a worthwhile cause, I feel I've contributed to make a difference in the human race in a positive way. 

So I got up at 4:30 am so I could get my act together and pick up my friend at her home. Then we drove to another spot to meet another friend and off we went. I was totally amazed to see at least 1000 people there walking for the cause.  Now you are thinking or even saying out loud, big deal. So she walked. Let me share with you my story and I will give you the short version of this deal. In 1979 I fell, broke, shattered and succeeded to do everything negatively possible short of severing my ankle.  I was in a wheel chair for close to three months and had to learn to walk again. I weighed 229 lbs and we had a 2 1/2 year running around the house. My mother and mother in law helped us take care of the apartment including cooking and helping with our little boy. My husband HAD to work. I will always be grateful to both of them for their selflessness. After I had physical therapy, I walked with two crutches and then graduated to one and moved  on to a cane. The weight continued to creep up. Life can be extremely difficult for an overweight person. Many people do not understand and think oh if she would just stop eating she would be normal. For years I would not eat ice cream in public in fear someone was making fun of me at another table. Sick isn't it? My self esteem couldn't have been any lower.  Sure I tried to diet. Weight Watchers, then Phen Phen, Overeaters Anonymous & Dr Atkins and every other crazy or non crazy diet out there.  I am proud to say every single diet worked. However, I could not stay on track long enough to lose the great amount I needed to lose. So needless to say not only did I gain the weight back but had the joy (said in a very sarcastic way) of gaining an additional fifteen to twenty pounds each time I did diet. Totally my issue. I felt like a constant failure. I was able to control everything around me but me.

I had and still have a great marriage. Love my family, my true friends and the world around me but something was lacked within me.  Our son graduated with honors College, Law School, got married to a wonderful lady. I thought I would lose weight for the wedding. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I started a diet and failed. I didn't succeed. I was unable to walk well. Needed to sit down often and just an absolute mess. I needed an extra seatbelt when I traveled  on the airplane. Talk about humiliation. Luckily and I think this was by the grace of G-d that for whatever reason I was able to fit into one seat and didn't have to purchase a second seat on Southwest. I had nightmares the check in counter staff would weigh me.  

I met some friends in NY for a long weekend. I brought my cane and used it constantly. I wasn't used to walking far. Living in Las Vegas, we drive everywhere. It was the worst weekend of my life. While I was there and I realized how limited I was, I shouldn't have gone. I was so angry at me. I hated myself. I truly wanted to kill myself. I met my brother and his family for lunch and noticed my brother had lost some weight. I asked what his secret was and he shared with me that he had gastric bypass surgery. I had been exploring this option for 20 years but I was too frightened of it. Needless to say, after that encounter with him, I went home and a few months later had this procedure.  

It is very close to the four year mark of what began as a horrible weekend in NY which turned out to be my new beginning. I have lost an incredible amount of weight. Yes that's very commendable. However I was able to complete a 3 miles walk today without a crutch or a cane. That for me was the icing on the cake. Now this procedure was and is my lifeline to a new life. However why did I have no self esteem? Why did I hate myself? It's simple! I allowed other people to judge me and I actually cared what they thought. Think about it, if I was happy eating ice cream in public, why did I give those who laughed at me, the power?  Someone recently explained to me that we cannot control what people think about us. It's true. However we do not have to agree or care what they think.

Weight, needing a nose job, physical disabilities should never factor into what we think of ourselves.  If we can look in the mirror and be happy with the person we see for the qualities we possess, we have succeeded in being the person we choose to be for today. 


Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail thru the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
... Stevie Nicks, c1975

Maxine's Arichives


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