Welcome to my blog. Thanks for coming! One day I hope my little piece of internet real estate will be home to lots of family photos, pictures of my scrapbook and card art, with some random thoughts and memories posted on a somewhat regular basis. Mostly my world is very predictable, but occasionally some excitement will find me, so visit often. Who knows what useful (or useless) information you may find here.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Mother's Day Weekend

Being a mom is one of God's greatest gifts to women. From the beginning of time, mothers have experienced the joys, pride, heartache, sleepless nights and worries inherent with motherhood.  Sadly, though, there are many empty arms this weekend, of those who have either lost their children, were never able to conceive, or unable to carry a pregnancy to term.  Mother's Day is a sad reminder for those who have lost their moms, but I can't imagine the grief that visits the hearts of women who long(ed) for children of their own, yet must endure a day that celebrates motherhood.  My heart goes out to you ladies.

Grand-motherhood is yet another joy granted to many women.  i wasn't expecting to join the ranks of grandmas quite so soon, but once inducted, I was quick to acknowledge that being a grandma is way better than being a mom. Can I get an amen from all my Grandma friends out there???

I've been blessed to have done the fun things with my daughter.  Girl scouts, class trips, middle and high school band, proms, homecoming dances, learner's and driver's license, dates, girlfriend sleepovers, late-night, last-minute homework projects assigned weeks ago, but due tomorrow, yet to be started, vacations to the beach, PSAT/SAT, honor student activities, college searches, FAFSA applications, shopping for dorm supplies .... to wedding planning, gown shopping, reception planning, food preparation, watching my beautiful daughter, ensconced in a film of white, being escorted down the aisle by her dad.  Plans were for her to finish her degree, with no thought given to starting a family any time soon.  God had other plans, though, and ten months later, we welcomed Baby Leyland into our family.  And another priceless memory was made as I watched my precious daughter bring another life into the world.  At first sight, my heart was forever melded into the spirit of that sweet little girl.. I was a goner!  13 months later, I learned that my heart would need to make room for another grandchild.  I must admit that I was concerned that I would never love another baby as much as Leyland.  As any mother/grandmother of more than one child will tell you, there is some magical formula, I believe sent from heaven, that enables our hearts to love more children, and Corey has filled a place in my heart that I never knew was there.  Isn't it amazing, the love we have for these little ones??

I look forward to making many memories with my sweet grand-babies.  I have so many to treasure already.  We're looking forward to a fun-filled summer.  I've had some work done at The 409, and the fence that once bisected my back yard has been moved and attached to fully enclose the back yard.  The sandbox project is complete and filled with sand, and has already provided much pleasure.  We have a new cedar swing set/play-scape awaiting assembly, and a Power Wheels vehicle on order.  Once the yard work is complete, the play-scape assembled, and the heating/air conditioning unit outside is barricaded from Mr. Demolition Man (Corey), we will find a suitable spot for the poool and fill it up with water.  That sounds like a recipe for a fun-filled summer!!!

As the result of 25-year battle with weight issues, I have found myself diagnosed with diabetes, sleep apnea, and intermittent hypertension, along with the physical limitations that go along with obesity.  Watching my grandchildren play, feeling my heart swell when they run to me with arms open wide, collecting those priceless Greemaw kisses, I have realized that if I want to be here to watch them grow, to have an influence in their lives, and to bask in their unconditional love, then I must address the weight issues that have plagued me for so long.  It is no longer just a matter of being uncomfortable, unhappy with how I look, spending tons of money on medications and supplies.  It has become a matter of life and death for me.  No matter how much money I spend on medication and supplies, keeping my head buried in the sand and ignoring/neglecting my conditions is simply a death sentence, or possibly even worse... sentencing to life in a wheelchair as an amputee, tethered to a dialysis machine and an oxygen tank.

Last fall I began researching the option of weight loss surgery.  I knew I wasn't interested in the gastric bypass option, but I was intrigued by the Lapband System.  After discussing the procedure with my PCP, attending informational seminars, joining several on-line forum groups and learning all I could about the procedure (the good, the bad, and the ugly), I made the decision at Christmas to apply for the surgery.  It was a huge undertaking! Thankfully so, as it is not a decision to be made lightly or quickly.  My mom, who has been my biggest supporter, offered to pay the $150.00 application fee.  (Another deterrent, I believe, to those who are not serious about the procedure.  The surgeon's office spends a great deal of time with each applicant, other ancillary providers, and the insurance companies.  For someone to be willing to pay the application fee, they are most likely going to go through with the procedure.)  I was required to have two visits to a psychologist, have an upper GI, a series of blood work,  an appointment with a nutritionist, and a letter of recommendation from my PCP as well as medical records to document three years of weight issues.  I was spared the sleep study session, because I'm already using a C-PAP machine.  Finally the surgeon had all the required information to submit to the insurance company.  I expected a three-week wait on the approval, but to my delight and surprise, they approved me in three days. Now the scary part would begin!  I would be required to lose 20 lbs before surgery.   My first thought was "If I can lose 20 lbs, maybe I can just forget the surgery and do it by myself."  However, I know my history.  I'll lose a few pounds, and I'll celebrate the victory by ordering two chili dogs all the way with a side of onion rings at The Varsity.  I have probably lost 500 lbs in my lifetime, and each time the victory celebration finds me off the wagon, regaining the weight, with a few extra pounds tagging along.....sigh....  The reason for the preop weight loss is to shrink the liver, which lies directly over where the band is applied.  If the liver is too heavy to be retracted laparoscopically, the procedure will be aborted.  So, I started the task of losing  20 lbs, and thankfully reached the mark by my preop date!!!  Woo Hoo!!!  (And I am horrified to admit that I celebrated the victory in a most unhealthy manner... which further reinforced my decision!!!)

As I write this post, I am sitting in my dad's recliner, three days postop.  My surgery was done this past Tuesday, May 4th, and I'm spending the week recovering at Mom and Dad's.  The first couple of days were pretty rough, but today I have felt much better.  For two weeks I'm surviving on a clear-liquid diet, then will advance to a pureed, baby food consistency.  Hopefully I'll be one of the lucky patients who ultimately gets back to eating many of the foods I enjoyed before, just in minuscule amounts, with the dreaded Foods To Avoid list.  I'm very, very excited about my new lease on life, and look forward to improving my health.  It's my Happy Mother's day gift to myself, and to my family.  After all, I've got many more Greemaw years ahead to enjoy!!!
Note:  Because there are so many opinions about the best way to lose weight/regain health, and because some people won't hesitate to shower you with negative remarks, I have chosen to wait until after the procedure to blog about my decision and my surgery.  The friends and family members I've confided in have all been very supportive and encouraging.  I've done the research, I know the down sides, the risks, the possible complications, and I know there are no guarantees.  The Lapband is simply a tool that I will use to assist me.  The food choices will still be mine.  The success or failure of the outcome is in my hands.  I used to think that weight loss surgery was the easy way out.  But believe me, there is nothing easy about it, and i will never think that way again.

If you are one who disagrees with my decision, I can respect that, but I invite you to share your negative energy with someone else at this time.  I'll be delighted to refer you to some excellent websites to do your own research.  For my friends who pray, I would ask you to offer a special prayer for me, as the journey has just begun.  I am determined to succeed, but I don't pretend that it will be an easy road to travel.  Thanks for your support and understanding.

And speaking of progress, so far I have GAINED 4 lbs!!  hahaha...  I forgot to weigh on my mom's scales on the morning of surgery.  OBVIOUSLY they are way, way off from those of the surgeon.  Blessings to all who will read this and send good thoughts and prayers my way.  Thanks!


  1. I am so proud of you for making this life changing decision. You are in my prayers and I wish you great success!

  2. Was so happy to hear you are feeling better today. I will continue to pray for you and am so very proud of your decision. In my book it takes a strong person to try this and I truly believe you will suceed. I love you my neice.

  3. Glad you are doing well. You're a strong lady and I know you're kids/grandbabies want you to be around here a long, long time. A lot of people who have your ailments don't have to determination to do something positive to change their situation. I know it was a big step but I'm sure you have the support of a lotta people! I sure am praying for you. You go girl! Gonna be a new Cathy emerging soon! Congratuations and I wish you a speedy recovery. TAKE CARE! JENEINE

  4. I hadn't seen a new post for you for so long I'd started to worry about you. Glad to hear you are well. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.


    P.S. While you're laid up, check out the 10-chapter "novelette" on my blog. Makes me think I might have a book (or two) in me after all!