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Hiding No More

Hiding.  That's what I've been doing for almost a year.  I don't get out of my house much.  I'm ashamed of the girl that I've become, the girl I've allowed myself to become.  I can't look at myself in the mirror.  I hate that I am ashamed of who I am.

2018 was a tough year for me.  The entire year I was horribly sick, going through treatment after treatment, doctor to doctor, until I couldn't take it anymore.  One of my treatments were these horrible injections that I had to get every three weeks in my neck and lower back.  The pain was almost unbearable, even with pain medications, and what's crazy is they were supposed to be helping my pain.

Me at 250lbs
All my doctors have said they've done all they can do.  I have to find a way to live with this pain, have a very scary surgery, or go through chemo/radiation to try to shrink the cysts.  I chose to live with it for as long as I can.

It's so hard.  I have gained so much weight through this whole ordeal.  I was roughly 190lbs when I went into the hospital in November 2017 and when I weighed January 1, 2019 I was 250lbs.  I'm only 25lbs smaller than my husband.  That fact put me in a deep depression, which is how I started 2019.

Then the flu hits my house hard.  I had the stomach flu and I have felt like death for over a week now.  The only good thing that has come out of the entire ordeal is that I've lost about 10lbs.

The photo on the left is me at a New Years Eve party.  250lbs.  My cheeks are so chubby that you can hardly see my eyes.  I have two chins.  I sweat no matter what I'm doing, and when I say sweat I mean dripping, sopping wet.  Ask anyone at the New Years Eve party that I attended.  I was sweating so much that my hair was wet!  I've never done this before in my life!

I have been having problems breathing, even just walking around the house, so my doctor prescribed me an inhaler.  I'm in a size 20.  When I began this journey I was in a 14.  My doctor has told me that the injections and several of my medications, paired with me being immobile has put me here, but I hate it so much.  This is why I'm ashamed.  I'm obese.


I wrote this blog post in January of this year but I couldn't bring myself to post it.  I turned 38 on May 10th and this year I gave myself a gift, one that I should've given myself a long time ago.  I accepted myself for who I am, right where I am in this moment.  I have spent my whole life comparing myself to everyone else, never feeling like I measure up, and for what?  I'm ready to be me and be proud of who I am!  No, I do not look how I want to look but that's ok!  I'm a fighter and I've fought for so much in my life and now I am going to fight to be comfortable in my own skin for the first time in my life.

My boys tell me I'm beautiful every day. 
I love that they do and not just because it makes me feel good, but because I know when they look at me they look past the superficial and see what's inside.  I do believe I have a beautiful soul and that's the only beauty that really matters.  I need to remember that when I'm feeling myself get negative.

We are in the process of moving, which adds a whole other dimension to my multifaceted life, but it is also helping to keep my mind occupied and my body busy, which is much needed.  I tend to live in my head too much and this is a great escape.  It is also allowing me to purge things that no longer bring my joy and to open a floodgate of memories, both good and bad.

When I am hit with a memory newly remembered I take a photo and write everything I can remember about that particular item or time in my life.  The boys love hearing about my past and I am hoping to give them a memoir of sorts one day, hopefully scrapbooked, so that they can know who their momma was and where I can reveal many hidden truths that would otherwise go with me to my grave.  It's been pretty fun and it's a wonderful reminder of all that I've been through.

Current Situation
The part I hate is all the repairs we are having to do. 
There is a ton of painting and cleaning going on, as well as ripping out all the carpets so we can get new flooring.  What I hate is we are doing all the things I have wanted done for years and we won't be here to enjoy any of it.  It's ok because I am looking at the big picture.  We are selling to pay off a ton of debt, and to save up for our dream house in south Texas.  It's going to take a few years of "living like no one else" but it's going to be worth it.

As far as how I feel things have been better.  I am on daily pain medication to function but I am functioning better than I have in awhile.  I am starting a new monthly injection for my migraines that is supposed to help prevent them, so fingers crossed.  My cysts still hurt all the time but I am learning how to deal with them and not push myself too hard.  Of course, with moving and being on a time constraint I have pushed a little too hard these past few weeks, but I need that push, both for my mental and physical health.

I am planning on getting on a weight loss program once we get moved and settled.  My doctor wants me to try Weight Watchers before he puts me on any weight loss medications, so I'm sure that's the direction my weight loss journey will be headed.

If you've stuck it out with me this long, BLESS YOU!  All of my readers are amazing and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support. ♥︎


Answers are hard.  You hope to hear those words that you've been longing for but that's not always the case.  Sometimes the answer is your worst fears come true.  Until you know you have to brace yourself for whatever the outcome.  At this point on my journey I just wanted to know the answer.  This past week I finally got it.

I had to endure two more MRI's to get my answer.  I hate MRI's.  It's not just the fact that the sound always gives me an excruciating migraine but I am also incredibly claustrophobic.  I mean, who really likes MRI's?  But it's a necessary evil to rule out the possibilities.  Each time was scary but my sister held my hand every time I was there waiting.  She has been my rock through this journey and I don't think I could've made it without her.

I also have had to see numerous physicians and visit several hospitals.  I hate hospitals.  I know there is good in hospitals but they're so sterile and even though many lives begin there many lives end there as well.  Hospitals are a haunting place to me and bring back both good and bad memories.  But again, I did what I had to do to get my answer.

My spine specialist is a direct and to the point man.  The few times I've seen him he's been in and out of my room within a minute.  I get it.  I waited for almost an hour to see him this past week and he was in and out of my room within 30 seconds.  But in those 30 seconds he finally gave me my answer:
I do not have tumors

What I do have are numerous cysts up and down my spine and a slipped disk in my lower spine.

Since the cysts are not pressing on any nerves the doctor did not recommend surgery at this time.  If they ever start pressing on any nerves then surgery could be a possibility.  This was a major relief to me since the idea of surgery was incredibly scary.

He also told me to continue to go to my pain management doctor for further treatment to deal with the pain that the cysts and slipped disk are causing me and my neurologist to hopefully get my migraines under control.

My pain management doctor recommended I do steroid-like injections instead of other habit forming options, like pain pills.  He said most of his patients have 100% relief once the stiffness wears off and the injections can last at least a year, if not longer.  The procedure is minimally evasive though I will be sedated but I should be good to go within a few days.

So, today I celebrate.  My #lifewithtumors is no longer my hashtag.  I can now hastag #victory and #prayersanswered :)

Thank you to everyone who has been by me through this journey.  I know that it is still not over but now we know what is wrong with me and it's easily treatable.  I will most likely always have cysts, and will have to deal with them and keep a close eye on them, but I'm ok with that.

Now I can focus on pain management, losing weight, and finally getting my life back.  I'm tired of being sick.  I'm tired of missing out.  Today, for the first time in a long time, I feel like I'm getting my life back.  I'm so ready to be Christi again.

A New Development, My Fear, & Summer Updates

You would think with school letting out that I would have more time to write and stamp but actually its been the opposite.  I continue to go to my neurologist monthly and my migraines are becoming less frequent but I still have a daily headache and the blackout dizzy spells are almost a daily occurrence.   Last month I was put on two more medications for the dizzy spells (making my current number of daily medications to 14) and was told that I still can't drive.  It's been seven months since I've driven and yes there are days that it makes me crazy!  I hate having to rely on others to take me where I need to go but this is just another part of me accepting my current situation.  I am still learning to live with my limitations and accept that there is nothing I can do.  It's a daily battle.

A New Development

I had started this post last week but saved it and never got a chance to finish it due to being in a tremendous amount of pain that left me bedridden for days.  Then something happened a few days ago that could change my entire situation and I had to tell you about it.

We don't watch the news in our house but Louie checks a news app on his phone all the time and came across THIS article.  When I read the article I burst into tears.  It's me!  I was down all week, in an insane amount of pain, my right arm completely numb, feeling absolutely defeated when I read this.  Louie told me to figure out if this doctor is accepting new patients, if they're on our insurance, and see if I can get in anytime soon.

Not only is this doctor accepting new patients, but he also is covered on my insurance, AND they are getting me in this coming Monday to get new MRI's and figure out what our next step is.  Y'all this is the Lord!!!  Even typing this I still can't believe it!  This doctor is a spine specialist and specializes in schwannomas and neurofibromas!  I truly believe that God is answering prayers right here!

My Fear

Going to this doctor also means that I could possibly have surgery which scares me more than anyone really knows.  I know that God has this but this is testing my faith like nothing I've ever been through before.  IF I do have the surgery and something goes wrong it could be permanent paralysis or even death.  I have a hard time coming out of anesthesia and the last time I went under I almost slipped into a coma.  I'm only 37.  I know if it's my time it's my time but I'm not ready for it to be my time!  There is so much that I still want to do in this life but I also know that when God's ready for me I'm going whether I want to go or not.

I know that I'm getting ahead of myself but the more I read the more I hear surgery and that fear is  bubbling at the surface.  To sum it all up:

I am excited that we might finally get some answers and 
I'm scared what those answers may be.  

The boys aren't sure how to feel about everything.  Dylan is a compartmentalizer just like his momma so he acts like everything is fine.  Any time anything is brought up about my tumors and the "what if's" Dylan usually retreats to his room and Eric sits with me and cries.  It breaks my heart but I have to be real with my boys.  I have always been 100% honest with them and this situation is no exception.

Summer So Far

Other than that are enjoying the summer so far.  Eric had to go to summer school for a few weeks but now he's all done and we are all enjoying the laid back life.  They are both gaming fools and have been great helping me out when I need it.  

I don't know if I mentioned it on here but Dylan fractured his wrist in two places the last week of school during Field Day and thank goodness he was only in a cast for four weeks and got it off last week.

I have been spending all the time I can with family, laughing, enjoying the moment, and taking tons of pictures.  I am soaking it all up.  

Time spent online has been as minimal as possible so if you don't see me commenting or posting on Facebook or Instagram that much you know why.  I'm either at home in pain or I'm out living my life to the fullest.

We went to see Incredibles 2 last weekend and it was awesome!!  I have also been reading some great books so far this summer and have quite a few reviews coming to the Only By Grace Reviews blog that I'm really excited about.

I'll keep everyone posted on me as much as I can and love each and every one of you that has been loving on me, supporting me, calling, texting, messaging, and praying for me.  You know who you are and I am BEYOND thankful for you.

My Birthday & Mother's Day 2018

For those that do not know, I am a Mother's Day baby.  My birthday was last Thursday and I was lucky enough to get to spend it with several of my close family members and completely pig out on chips and salsa and my birthday sopaipillas (if you were there THANK YOU!!  It meant more to me than you'll ever know).

That was pretty much the extent of the birthday festivities.  I didn't even get to really see my husband.  I spent most of the evening crying (after my early birthday dinner) and trying to respond to people on Facebook.   Gotta love turning 37.  I've never felt so old. Haha!!

One thing I am thankful for is that my birthday was one of my good days.  The majority of April was a major struggle for me which is why you did not see me on here.  I just needed a break from everything.  I couldn't face the internet, especially social media.  The physical pain co-mingling with the mental anguish I was daily struggling with was all too much for me.  There were many things that contributed to my bout with depression and I am still not completely out of the 'darkness' but I am better than I was.  I hate struggling with depression so much.  I feel like I have lost so much of my life to depression and it makes me so angry but there are days I just do not know how to fight it.  All I can do is pray and try to put my focus where it needs to be and ride the wave.

My "New Normal"

I think I am finally coming to terms with my "new normal."  When I make this statement my mind screams at me.  Settling for a new normal admits defeat in my mind, and to be honest with you I am not ready to let go of my old life, even though I know I can never have it back.  I know I will live with these tumors and this horrible pain for the rest of my life but I don't want to acknowledge it.  I wish I could do something to take them away but I can't.  All I can do is try to live my life to the best of my ability and pray for a miracle.  Of course this mindset depends on the day too as the rollercoaster of emotions continues.  Some days I am accepting of this lot in life and other days I question it all.  Some days I am compliant, putting one foot in front of the other, and other days I am throwing a tantrum, kicking and screaming like a toddler who's had their toy taken away.

Viva la Birthday

I must say that both my boys have been such an inspiration to me this week.  I have started a challenge to help me lose weight and Eric has been an awesome motivator.  I am listening to my body and cannot do even an quarter of what the other women are but this round I am focusing more on what I'm eating and my mindset anyway.  Plus I figure any extra movement I'm doing is better than the nothing I've been doing and I'm getting time with my son, so it's a win-win.

Dylan has been my creative inspiration and I am happy to report that I actually have a card to show off!  He wanted to make a card for his cousin for his 12th birthday but then inspiration struck and Mom took over.

Easter Joy

I love Easter.  Being a Christian, there is the obvious reason of my Lord and Savior dying on the cross for my sins (the eternal hope: something I will never be able to be thankful enough for) but there is also the Easter egg hunts and family time.

With the boys being older, and me sharing them with their dad, Easter isn't what it used to be.  I think Dylan picked up on my sadness because he begged me Friday afternoon to help him stamp his first card.  Since I had new Verve Stamps to play with, and I have been in dire need of mojo lately, I thought it would be perfect.  Mother/son bonding and stamping while talking about what Easter is truly about is exactly what I needed.

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