3 Inspiring Sons…and their Little Sister »

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but then

I’ve written 770 posts since I started this blog in 2008. I wish I were better at categorizing them. If I time I would go through them and sort, file and cross-reference each post. All neat and tidy like. But seriously? Who has that kind of time? Instead my OCD twitches just a bit while I’m writing each new post.

I’m three weeks out from surgery. I figured I better write, lest I forget the details. They are already becoming a bit faded. I’m finally beginning to feel human again, which is amazing. I wondered if I ever would. For several moments I was afraid I would be weak and tired and limp as a noodle for the rest of my life.

I covered week one in my original post. I must say THANK YOU to all of you who have left me the most encouraging words here and on Facebook. I was overwhelmed by the cry of support I received. I did not think my humble story would spark enough interest to encourage so many to reach out and leave me a personal note. I read every one and I was humbled beyond belief. A simple thank you hardly seems appropriate for words that saw me through those first couple weeks. But, thank you.

For me, the last two weeks have been spent focused on healing. I had no pain after the first few days home. Instead pain was replaced by overwhelming lethargy. The extremely low calorie intake, coupled with my body healing from serious surgery resulted in a total lack of energy. My goal the last couple weeks has been to meet the protein, fluid, and vitamin supplement required for my body to recover.

I drink 4 small protein shakes per day in order to get my quota in. I eat chewable vitamins which make me shiver each time (so sour!), but they are formulated specifically for bariatric patients. I sip water on a constant basis. No big gulps. The fridge is packed with sugar free jello, pudding, and popsicles. I can eat blended and pureed foods: soups with no chunks, mashed potatoes, refried beans, etc. My stomach prefers the very basic soft foods, though personally I’m pretty much over the soft texture. Over the next few weeks, I’ll continue to introduce soft foods into my diet. No sugar, no pasta, no bread. LOTS of protein.

The first time I tried soup I ate too much, too fast and it made me sick. Sick means nauseous, light headed, and weak. The feeling passed, but it was not pleasant. I’m learning to slow way down when I eat. Little bits, spread over a long period of time. A whole new approach to food. One that is unfamiliar, yet I’m learning.

Cravings still exist. Not so much for sugary foods. Those have really not been an issue. Maybe because I know they will make me sick. My biggest craving is for solid food with texture. Like a Firehouse Sub. Yum.;)

I’m grateful to know several people who also have had the surgery and had amazing results. They’ve shared their wealth of knowledge with me and serve as my inspiration. I’m so grateful for them. Of course my family continues to be my greatest support. My boys know how to take care of the mama. They learned directly from their father. He is the best example a young man could have on how to treat a woman.

I saw the doctor this week. He said everything looks good and I’m cleared for more moderate exercise. I’m to use my body as a guide – if it hurts, I stop. I’ve been walking a lot and I’ll be adding biking this week. Weights too, I need to increase my muscle tone. My wounds are mostly healed and I’m cleared to swim now too.

It’s been one month today since I left for Washington D.C. While I was there I started my pre-op diet. Since then I’ve lost 23 pounds. 23 pounds in a month isn’t too shabby. I have 100 pounds more to go. Maybe I’ll make a chain and put it up in the bathroom. Each time I lose a pound, I can remove a chain.

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In other news – lots is happening around the Earle home! I mentioned in another post that Jake’s five year commitment to the Coast Guard is up this fall. He’s been looking at other opportunities and may have found one. After being offered a position with an Air National Guard unit, he has been working out the details. Everything seems to be falling in place.

I’ve been amazed at how smoothly everything has lined up. I would like to use the word effortlessly, but I cannot. Jake has worked diligently to align all the pieces. But if there is one thing we’ve learned the last few years, it’s that all the pushing in the world won’t help if it’s not the Lord’s will. Believe me, we’ve tried. We’ve been brought to our knees each time in frustration and then humility. We’ve had to realize that it’s not in our hands. But when it is right, the Lord can move mountains and perform miracles to see His will done. When it’s all said and done we realize that His way was the best way and we are so glad for His participation in our lives. May I enter Florida as Exhibit A?

I must share my testimony that the Lord is real. He lives and He loves us. We need only to turn to him to find solace and peace in our lives. If you are missing that in your life, take a moment to pray. He wants to hear from you.Your life will be blessed and enriched in so many ways as you come unto Him.

If you’d like to learn more about the church I belong to (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), you can request a free copy of the Book of Mormon or you can invite the missionaries to visit.

As everything appears to be lining up, we are more and more excited about the future. I’m cautious enough to understand that everything could change and that any minute we could be headed down a completely different road than we thought, because anything could happen and there are still some bridges to cross.

But the planner in me has been planning as if. As if everything will line up. As if it all works out. The planning starts with the premise that with the change between the Coast Guard and Air National Guard, we’ll be moving our household back to Alaska which is our home of record. We’ll then have a few months in the interim as all the paperwork gets processed and a training date is secured for Jake’s new job.

What to do with that time?

For the last few months we’ve been discussing that very question. We discussed spending the winter in Alaska (that was immediately ruled out). We discussed becoming beach bums. At the top of the list was securing a motorhome or travel trailer and cruising the States. That has been the primary discussion.

But then! Oh how I adore But Thens! Jake suggested we do something Epic! Something I prophesied about three years ago. Something that has been whispering in my ear for years. As soon as he mentioned it, something clicked. It clicked and I knew it was right.

We’re going to bike.

We’re going to have an adventure. We’re going to pack only what will fit on our bikes and we are going to head out on the open road. There are so many paths to choose from. Adventure Cycling is a wealth of knowledge that I’m already addicted to. They have even mapped the routes out for us. Now we just choose and go. We’re leaning toward the Southern Tier: St. Augustine, FL to San Diego, CA. 3058.5 miles. On a bike. Definitely fits the definition of Epic!

If everything goes according to plan (fingers crossed), we may only be a few months from launch. That’s not much time to do everything that would need to be done. Selling our house (anyone want to buy a house?), selling our vehicles (anyone want a Camry or a Sienna?), packing our household and moving it to Alaska, securing all the equipment we’ll need. And of course training for the Epic! Adventure.

Those of you who know me best (Hello sisters! Hi BFF Kim!) know that Jake and I talk about this kind of stuff all the time. We’re always trying to figure out how to squeeze something amazing into our life. Although most of our plans still lie on the cutting room floor, the ones that have made it to fruition have been spectacular.

Here’s hoping that all the stars in the heavens align, because this is one plan that could be pretty dang incredible.

Let the research begin.

Kimberly - I hope the stars align for you! What an incredible adventure. I can’t wait to hear more about it.

Tamera - Wow that is some amazing adventure! Where will you be in Alaska? Could we dare hope it would be back to the North Pole area?

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