Thursday, July 1, 2010

unexpected reaction

I have worked in the field of pediatric hospice and oncology for 17 plus years. I have seen a lot of joy, healing and survival. I have also seen a lot of pain, suffering and death. But today I am reflecting on the second. I read a blog post from a mother, Sarah, recounting her last day with her 7 year old son, Conner, who died this past week from Cystic Fibrosis. I found this blog through my friend Stacey who recently started blogging her experience as a 34 year old with CF.

Experiencing the death of a child is not new to me. Her story was familiar to others I have heard or been present for. But my reaction to it was new. I could not even read it at first. I saw the post and navigated away from the page because I knew it would be too much for me. Today I decided to read it in it’s entirety. I knew I would be sad, but I think I experienced it in a different way because of several reasons. First, my son is also 7 and I found myself thinking of him as I read Sarah’s words. Second, I have been through some trauma in my life and I find that sad things bring me much quicker to tears than they did before. Third, the part I did not expect, was that it made me think of my struggle with my weight and health. Odd, huh? Here’s why: I have been seriously thinking about my weight and it’s effect on my health. I have been increasingly concerned as I see my weight increasing and my belief that I am string enough to do anything about it decreasing. I have been thinking about what I will think if/when someday my weight causes life-threatening health complications. Will I look back on this time and say to myself, “You KNEW there was a problem and you did NOTHING about it?” Will I realize that this was a pivotal point in my life story and I did nothing? Will I regret that I did not make significant changes that would have dramatically changed my weight and health?

I think I would.

Regrets suck. Especially when you had the power to do something differently. A lot of the decisions I have made over the past five years have NOT resulted in regret. I have been proud of how I handled the implosion of my marriage, my decision to divorce and related issues. I have not had regrets because I made good choices.

I talk to my son regularly about choices. I praise him when he makes good choices. I help him understand when he makes undesirable choices and help him learn from them so that he will be more equipped to make better choices in the future.

But here I am (the adult, the mother, the role model) making bad choice after bad choice about food and weight and exercise and health.

So, back to Conner and Sarah. As I read the story of her last hours with her son, I thought about life and death. I am my son’s only parent. I hope that he lives a long and healthy life – which will mean that he will have to grieve my death. That is a part of life. But I do not want it to be a premature death because I made bad choices.

So insert your favorite cliché here: This is where I put my money where my mouth is. No more excuses. (Cringing because I know I have said this before…)

I have a lot of reasons why I eat and why I am overweight. I have a lot of excuses. I will probably blog about those at a future date. But I only need one reason to get healthier: To live a long, healthy life…for me, and for my son.

The doubts are already surfacing….but I need to remember how I feel right now.


  1. What ever it takes to start the process! I am behind ya if you need any motivation or tips!

    I can't go and read Sarah's story. I don't think I could bear to hear about it. That is my WORST fear and I literaly have anxiety over it. My heart breaks with your words and I want to weep for her.

    My thoughts are with her and her family.
    And I am sending you good vibes!

  2. Danielle - Thanks for your comment. If you have any weight loss/get healthy tips, please feel free to share!

  3. Hey Debbie,
    Like Danielle, I can't go read Sarah's story. I can't bear the idea of losing my child after the losses I have experienced.
    Some of my girlfriends and I have a "lifestyle chane" site called Lose It Bitch. Check it out at

  4. Debbie... you know, I am so right there with you! The weight, healthiness, the willpower, strength, the good choices...I struggle hoping that one day it will click and good choices will be made without having to struggle. Perhaps that is not a realistic aspiration. I don't know. I just joined WW...again. Having a friend to support one another always helps me. Let me know if you want a partner in crime?!??!

  5. ps...thanks - this post just prevented me from doing fast food lunch!