Monday, January 19, 2015

Gastric Bypass Surgery - 18 month update (3 months late)

In October, I passed the 18 month mark after having Gastric Bypass Surgery in April of 2013.  I have lost 99.5 lbs, and am holding steady 8.5 lbs BELOW my surgeons goal weight.

I saw my doctor for blood work and to make a long story short -- my numbers couldn't be more perfect.  I'm off all meds, and in the doctors words, "healthy".  She followed up with a sincere, "Shanna, you made it." 

I also saw the behavioral therapist for a quick check in.  I'm sure she's called something else -- a fancy medical name, but I can't remember what it is.  Regardless, she's nice.  And, I'm a fan of counseling.  A good counselor is worth their weight in gold in fact.  Everyone could benefit from having one in their life.

She asks me some questions on just how "worried" I am that I might gain the weight back.  Well, I say fairly sure, "The thought crosses my mind at least once or twice a day."  Therapist, "Do the thoughts you have cause you to not be able to function in your day to day life"?  Me, "Uh, no.  I have 5 kids and one is adopted and blind -- the rest are teenagers.  I have a busy husband, a relationship with Jesus...friends...I run a business.  I have people who work for me, people in training, accounts payable, receivable, kids going to sports, music lessons, play practice and poetry readings.  I occasionally clean my house."  I smile.  I say, "All that is just to say, my life REQUIRES that I function.  I'm pretty good at focusing my thoughts, telling myself the truth, keeping a good attitude, having faith, and persevering.  You know, FUNCTIONING.  I'm good at functioning.  At this point I'm thinking that 'non functioning' would be a little like a vacation, you know?"

She smiles and asks questions about my doctors take on my weight loss.  How I've determined my goal weight and what "wiggle room" I have according to how I know my weight fluctuates.  She asks about my families response.  She listens to me whine about the well meaning people who regularly tell me I could "weigh even less" or "be even smaller."

Me, "It feels like I've been on this wild airplane ride, and about now I'm looking for where I should land.  I guess that's my real question.  Where do I land?

Therapist smiles and says, "You don't land, you just stay on the journey."

She ends with, "No matter what happens, even if you gain weight back, you KNOW HOW to lose weight now.  You know the rhythm of food preparation, eating healthy, and exercise.  No one can ever take that away from you."

And, I breathe deep -- and leave her office to return to all my functioning.


This season has raised questions for me like when do you decide you like the number on the scale and are now free to enter MAINTEANCE mode?  For some, the answer is obvious, but when you've NEVER MAINTAINED ANY WEIGHT -- always gaining or losing -- the ground that answer lies on feels a little squishy. 

And, am I really free to decide that anyhow?  Or is there some secret obligation to let other people's opinions decide for me?  I mean really, honest question, is there?

Questions surface like, will there be those people  who just forever and always try to influence me to lose more weight?   Seriously.  Tell me.  WILL THERE BE CERTAIN PEOPLE WHO JUST AWLAYS DO THIS?  By "people", of course, I mean other women.   And, well, is this how all women who have healthy weights (and good numbers on blood reports) yet don't have perfect bodies feel all the time???  Does this exhaust everyone or is that just me?  I'd like to rest knowing that I'll eventually be able to shake all the YOU SHOULDS, YOU COULDS, IF ONLY YOU WOULDS off, but as I listen to others talk, I'm not convinced we ever do.  I hope we do.  I hope I do.  We shall see......


My big revelation of this season has been that losing 100 lbs hasn't cured me 100% of fat thinking.

This past weekend, we had enough CAKE left over from a piano recital to feed a small country.  B says, "Let's throw it away."  I say, "No, let's take it home to Benjamin."  So, innocent.  So stupid.

Bless my heart.

Fortunately, B followed up with, "No, let's throw it away.  I don't want it in the house."  Mature of him.  We went home cakeless.

Whereas I am pro eating for pleasure every once in a while, a recovering alcoholic doesn't keep margarita's in the fridge just for "everyone else" -- and frankly -- the family members of an alcoholic don't need it either.  And, I'm kinda like that.  And, so is my family.  A recovering food-aholic....sugar-aholic.  And, I know there's a difference between a piece of cake in my fridge and a box of leftover cake that could fill a VW bug. 

I sooooooo know that.  But, again, I'm not cured.

Keeping THAT in mind, is important in this stage of the game apparently. 

I am well aware that my best defense against gaining my 100 lbs back is too do the following, a short set of "rules" I have for myself......

1.  Keep my environment as free of temptation as necessary.  And, after the holiday months, "necessary" would mean COMPLETELY FREE OF TEMPTATION.  I need an environment at home where I can not fail.

2.  Avoid restaurants.  The food almost always makes me feel terrible, and well, it replaces the nutrition I could be putting in my body.  DEFENSE for eating food I shouldn't -- to EAT THE FOOD I SHOULD.

3.  Have convenience foods on hand.  For me this includes Advocare Berry Meal Replacement Shakes, Spark, Protein Bars, Greens, Diced Veggies, Avocado, and Cooked Protein.

4.  Move my body.  Bodies were made to move.  I am happier when I am moving. 

And, well, that's it. 


I don't always have time to prepare a week's worth of meals for my family of 7 on the weekends.  This weekend included my 41st birthday, 2 piano recitals, and 2 birthday parties.  Throw in errands, kids and church -- and I really just didn't want to stand in the kitchen for 2 hours cooking.  So...I didn't.

However, in order for my week to go the best it can -- I still needed to prepare SOMETHING.

So,on the way out the door to church, in the spirit of rule #3 above, I put a pork tenderloin in the crock pot with some lemon pepper.  I laid 1/2 of a spaghetti squash on top of the tenderloin and seasoned it with salt and pepper.  I wrapped a couple of seasoned chicken breasts in foil and tossed them on top as well. Threw the switch on high and let the machine do it's thing.

Later that evening, I shredded the pork and the squash. I browned 4 lbs lean beef that I'll use for chili and tacos later this week.

And, that's the extent of it.  Less than 30 minutes of prep this weekend.  But it will benefit me and my family GREATLY this week. 

Dinners are simple.  Shredded pork tenderloin and steamed green beans.  Chili with beef and beans...ladled over a bed of organic greens.  Sautéed peppers and onion, with sliced chicken over the spaghetti squash.  When the protein is prepared, it's easy to toss together a quick lunch.  And, well, snacks around here (for me AND the kids) are actually small meals.  Real food.

And, thus, my functioning.

And I'm so thankful for it.  Thankful the time has passed so quickly, healing has been so powerful and that all I've learned as been such a surprising blessing to me! 

I love that I've gotten the chance to do this, and I love walking along side others as they embark or just continue on their own journey towards optimal health and healing...however that fleshes out for them. 

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."  2 Cor 1:3-4

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Prayer, Fear and Letting Go

Recently, my sweet college kid wrote this blog on why she isn't afraid to go to India.  I am happy to say, I am not the "loving mother" she refers too that asked why in the world she'd even WANT too go -- and I am in no way surprised to hear her say she is more preoccupied with feeling COMPASSION rather than FEAR.

Compassion can make a person do all kinds of  crazy things.  Believe me, I know.


The snow was piled above our heads today in Colorado.  I woke early and said good bye to B in order to spend the morning in the studio.  Some people spend their days listening to their favorite musicians.  I teach mine.

During a mid day break - I ran some errands.  I'm not even sure how the old CD got in my car but it was right there -- Around Your Throne by Ross Parsley.  I put it in, and along with the prayerful lyrics, I began to pray for my family.

Sometimes, prayer feels dry.

But, not today.  Today, I am keenly aware of  some prophetic authority wrapping my words -- and I just know I'm suppose to be saying them out loud.  They are accompanied with a knowing that my faith is activating something that I can't even see, or explain.


My little family has stepped out this year to do some new things, and I've felt particularly sensitive to the need to be praying for each of them.  We feel more broken than ever before.  More hungry for God's presence.  More willing to trust Him.

We believe He's gone before us in these new endeavors -- at least we are all hoping that He has.

As I drive, I pray that the 7 of us would grow in wisdom.  I ask God to establish the work of our hands.

I pray that the love that Jesus had for others -- would be the same heart my family members have for the people God brings across our path.


I'm not just talking when I pray.  I'm listening.

Real life situations and conversations from this past week tumble through my thoughts.

My Spirit hears things like....

I am the God of the humble.  I chooses to draw close to the broken hearted, the hungry, the thirsty. I am a friend to the weak.

I compassionately wash the feet of the weary.

God's kindness continues to draw me in, and change me.  Makes me want to be like Him.


At this point in the conversation -- I pray that my children will have an apostolic anointing -- that the compassion of Jesus would MOVE them to action -- that they would be powerful women and men of God TODAY and be willing to GO where ever God leads them -- to whom God leads them.  Oh that they be sensitive to His leading.

In this moment of prayer, whether that be a public platform here in America -- or a hut across the ocean with a hidden ministry of intercession makes no never mind to me.  It's their hearts I want to see changed.

Do you know what it cost me and Billy to follow Jesus with WILLING hearts?  Everything.

Do you know what it will cost our children?  The same.


It's on the heals of a hundred moments, a thousands days over the past 20 years, just like this one  -- times that in MY WILLING SURRENDER, I SURRENDER MY CHILDREN TO GOD WHO CREATED THEM FOR HIS PURPOSE (You know, that thing we say about how they aren't really ours?) -- that one of my kids will blow in the door and casually say something like, "Guess where I'm going to lead worship for a month this summer?  India."

"If you fulfill your calling, your children will fulfill theirs."  Patricia Bootsma


If you don't spend time praying for your children, that's another conversation.  But, listen sweet parent, WHO PRAYS...

What is the point of praying that your child would have COMPASSION only for you to recoil when they invite their gay, lonely friend over for dinner?

What is the point of praying that they'd be OBEDIENT to what God calls them to do, only to say NO WAY when it's going farther away -- or is more costly to them (and you) than you thought?

What is the point of praying a rebellious child would COME TO THE END OF THEMSELVES only to continually cushion the blow so much -- they're never aware they hit bottom?

And, well, a thousand other scenarios.

This is a part of learning to cooperate with the Holy Spirit not only in your own life, but in the growth of your child as well.

When your children surrender, obey, trust, sacrifice -- there is no greater joy.  AND, it is also your opportunity to let go of MORE -- surrender AGAIN -- obey willingly AGAIN (even if your body trembles) -- decide to trust no matter what AGAIN -- AGAIN there is sacrifice.

This is not to say that I don't have emotions like yours -- that our greatest nightmares as mother are not all similar.  It's not naivety that the rain doesn't actually fall on the just and the unjust.  I'm certainly not suggesting it is easy.  The Bible uses words like overcome -- and persevere.  And last I lived, I didn't have to overcome or persevere something that was cake.

But, this is the process by which God grows in me -- and how God grows in my children.  How we as a family become more like Jesus.  It doesn't matter if you are 19, or like me, turning 41 this weekend.  I imagine it to be the same at 60 and 80.

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory
are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory
which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.  2 Cor 3:18

Keep praying friend,