After neglecting my body and health for the better part of the last two decades, I decided enough was enough.
Last year I was helping to coach my son’s baseball team at the 9-10 year old level. I was overweight and out of breath just watching the kids practice. One day I was shagging fly balls in the outfield and almost killed myself making catch. Once the ball was in the air, I starting running and for a split second, I forgot I was fat and 275 lbs I thought I was tracking a flyball like I was in high school. Well, I made the catch and couldn’t stop running. I literally had to run for another 15-20 seconds to slow down so I wouldn’t fall on my face. This was the beginning of my decision to finally stop making excuses and do something about my health, I had no energy. My knees, heels, back and pretty much every joint in my bad…HURT REAL BAD!!! My wife was tired of hearing me bitch about how I felt, because I refused to do anything about it. My excuses were…I don’t have the time. We have too many kids that need our attention. I’m too tired. I can’t exercise or I will hurt myself more. I can’t afford the gym. I can’t afford to eat healthy foods. I can’t afford vitamins and supplements. These are all true statements, however, I needed to figure it out. When I went to the doctor’s later that summer to get some anti-inflammatory meds for my back and knees, I was a staggering 285 lbs. I was so embarrassed. I had let myself go and if I didn’t make some changes first, I wouldn’t be around to see my kids get married and give me grandkids and that thought made me sad, scared and angry all at the same time.
So my better half was introduced to this health and wellness company that sold products for energy, weight-loss, nutrition and sports performance. The company is AdvoCare. After an In-home presentation, we decided we were going to do this together. It was a huge investment of time and money, but it successful, it would be worth it. We began with their 24 Day Challenge. This was extremely difficult as we began our quest to eat better, take appropriate supplements and general healthier life-style. I did very well with the change in diet and food portions. I couldn’t get into the exercise as it would take me 3-4 days to recover my sore joints from a 20 minute walk. I lost 25 lbs in the 24 day challenge. This was working and I was exciting about the progress. We started this in September. It is now almost May 1st and I have settle into the 225-230 lbs range over the last 2 months, but now I have not only able to exercise, but now working with a personal trainer once a week to help me push through to the next level. My goal is 200 lbs, by November of this year. Now, I am focusing on building lean muscle so that it will help push through this last 20-30 lbs.
Here’s how I know its working…I had my yearly physical last week. I had a positive exam where my doctor said I physically checked out well and no concerns. My biggest nemesis over the years has been my blood work. I typically have a Vasovagal response every time I have blood drawn, shots or get an IV. This time, I got my blood drawn and was able to leave in minutes instead of the 15-20 minutes of blacking out or something similar. Saturday, I got my results in the mail. For the first time in nearly 15 years, I have NO RED FLAGS. My liver enzymes, sugar and cholesterol have always been borderline if not flagged. I was put on blood pressure meds last year and I no longer have to take them. It was such an empowering feeling to see my hard work and money was paying off.
Yeah I have a long way to go. If I can do it, anyone can. It has been worth every penny and I now feel I will get to see my kids grow up and do something amazing..I also feel I have that since I’ve been feeling better and my wife has been doing the program with me, we have grown closer and have been able to enjoy each other in ways we haven’t been able to in a while. Oh and if you have any questions about the programs…just ask. Atalie is a distributor and we can get you info if interested. It has changed our lives. It will only work if you are committed to it as well as the nutrition and exercise. This is just a tip of what healthy looks like…
Many of you reading this blog spent time this past Sunday with family and friends. You did this because you were celebrating. Perhaps you were celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Perhaps you were celebrating the Passover. Perhaps you were celebrating the arrival of the Easter Bunny and all his/her sweet goodies. Regardless, it was a great opportunity to spend time with the people you love and the majority of the world observes it in some way. When the 24 hours groceries stores are closed, you know its a serious holiday.
My family and I had ANOTHER reason to celebrate this Sunday. Our first baby, Quentin Taylor Luhrs, celebrated “the 10th anniversary of his birth.” These are his words of course. He has grown into a handsome, intelligent, compassionate and creative young man who is an amazing big brother. If you are following, my better half’s posts, you know this boy had a special purpose in life from their very beginning and we couldn’t be more proud to be his parents. He was used by God as an anchor to keep this family together in the early years. He has been a rock to build on over the last 10 years.
I look forward to see him continue to grow up and be a positive impact on this world. I love you, Son! Never compromise who you are and what you believe.
I hate to admit this but after Bryan’s departure from my life, way too much of my time was spent crying. I was heartbroken, alone and angry. This was supposed to be one of the happiest times in my life but there was this deep, dark cloud over me. I hated how consumed my thoughts were by him. I needed a switch to shut off and erase every memory I had of him in my life…but I didn’t have one.
At my December ultrasound, I was told I was going to have a son. He was growing well, everything looked healthy and he seemed to be very happy. They were able to snap a few shots of this boy, (a “thumb’s up” and a precious silhouette of his left foot) which helped to remind me that despite all of my feelings, I was not alone. My blood pressure was elevated but I had lost 40lbs and the doctor was very impressed with my progress despite the tough road I had traveled. I was told my due date was May 6th… of course it was, that is Bryan’s birthday… it was silly for me to expect anything else.
I spent every evening at my parents house. I would go over there for dinner and stay until just before bedtime. Being around my family seemed to help keep my mind off of things. I did my best to avoid as many uncomfortable conversations about Bryan as possible. There were still some that would come up and they usually led to my parents telling me that I needed to seek legal advice to draft paperwork to block Bryan from having any rights to our son. I would placate them and tell them that I was trying my best but I just could not bring myself to think about that even being a possibility.
It was the nights that were horrible. I would walk into my little house, so quiet and empty and that is when the reality would hit me. Bryan was not coming back. He was not going to knock on my door and tell me how much he loved me. He was not going to be there to watch my tummy grow or go to my doctor appointments with me to check on the progress of our little man. Chances were really good that he had already moved on with his life and I was just some distant memory of this horrible mistake he had made at a dark time in his life. I think that is what hurt the most… we were a mistake.
On New Year’s Eve, I was working the closing shift by myself. It was quiet in the store and the perfect time to get some things accomplished. The phone rang and I answered it. To my surprise, Bryan was on the other end wishing me a Happy New Year. It was so great to hear his voice but almost annoying how bright his mood seemed to be. Here I was, miserable and dying a little bit on the inside and he called me and sounded as if he didn’t have a care in the world. The conversation was as light and general as possible. Most of our time on the phone together was him talking about his new store and how he had enrolled at PBU, focusing on Organizational Leadership. While I was happy for the progress he had made, I was devastated at how simple it seemed for him to move on.
That devastation led me to say something that I regret, even to this day…
Me: “I found out what I am having…do you want to know?”
Bryan: “If you want to tell me.”
Me: “It’s a boy”
Me: “I have spoken with an attorney and I think it is best for you to sign over your rights to the baby.”
Bryan: “what ever you think is best.”
Me: “I think that is best.”
Me: “I will have him draft up the paperwork. I will send it for you to sign and send back.”
Me: *through the tears* “Happy New Year, Bryan”
Bryan: “You too”
I sat and stared at the phone for what felt like an hour. I knew that I had just lied to him about contacting an attorney. Why did that not seem to hurt him? Why won’t he fight for me… for us? Why are we not worth it to him? How can he be so callous? What now? I put away the deposit and turned off the lights. I walked the 6 blocks home that night and gave up trying to wipe the tears from my face but instead, just let them fall.
From that point on, our conversations happened via text messages. That was both a blessing and a curse because 1) the tone of the conversations were always open for interpretation and 2) I was way more comfortable being mean and cold via text message so that my voice would not give away my real feelings. I was noticing that the text messages were coming more and more frequently and they were almost always initiated by him. It was nice… but confusing.
In the beginning of March, Bryan told me that he was going to be coming to CA for my birthday. He had been doing a lot of thinking and he wanted to talk to me about some things. I tried my best not to read too far into what he had been thinking about. I am not going to lie, of course the thought of him riding up on a great white horse to save the day was in the back of my mind. However, I refused to let that be too prominent in my mind because I did not want to set myself up to be let down again.
The morning Bryan was to arrive, I felt ill. I mean really ill. I was so nervous, the anticipation was burning in my chest. My swollen belly gave me the appearance of having swallowed a basketball, which only added to my anxiety. I just knew that when he caught a glimpse of me, he was going to run again. I needed to be prepared for that. There were about a thousand different scenarios I felt I needed to be ready for… none of which I really was.
…but not in a cool way.
I mean, honestly. You must appreciate what I mean when I say I was frustrated and felt like it could not get any worse. This person who I felt a strong connection with cooks me dinner for Valentine’s Day and then follows it up with a song he wrote called “Love Sucks Ass”. What the actual fuck? Insult to injury, he told me that this precious screen play he was writing about the love of his life and how that love came to be, had the perfect part in it just for me… I could be the rude waitress. Really? Are you kidding me? Kiss my ass. Is that rude waitress enough for you?
I had not been feeling really well for a few days. Run down, crabby, achy… it was rough. I thought that maybe the late nights, shitty eating habits and general stress of my life and situation had finally gotten to me. Imagine my surprise when I find out that my life was not my own anymore… I was pregnant. I was scared but not about the baby, more about how Bryan was going to react. Was he going to freak out and refuse to have anything to do with me? Was he going to leave? Was he going to be angry? There were so many possibilities but I knew that him being happy about my pregnancy was not one of them.
I did not choose the best way of telling Bryan about my pregnancy. I waited until a night he was out with his brother and probably too inebriated to receive that level of information. Though I had already had low expectations, what followed was far worse than anything I was expecting. “My life is over”, “my family is going to disown me”, “I do not want to bring a child into this world”. It was horrible and I felt completely alone.
In the weeks after that, my heartbreak over this blessing I had been given, turned to complete anguish. I woke up one morning and was rushed to the ER. After an ultrasound and some blood tests I was told that a cyst had burst, causing an infection. It was likely that I was having a miscarriage. Further blood tests in the following days showed that to be the case. I was given a DNC, some birth control patches and sent on my way. Somehow the grief that I was feeling was overshadowed by the complete relief that I saw in Bryan’s eyes. It was devastating but a reality and I think it was at that point that I became numb to all of the feelings inside of me… good or bad, it didn’t matter anymore. Nothing really did.
Bryan had been spending a lot of time with me which caused a strain in his friendship with his roommates. Bryan needed a place to live and I just happened to have one, so he moved in with me. Admittedly, it wasn’t much but it was mine and I had worked hard for it. I always felt like Bryan shit on that minor accomplishment of mine which only helped to fuel my already low self-esteem. To me, it was just a reminder that I would never be anything but second (maybe even third) best to him. I did not understand how someone who had broken him so badly could still be better than anything that I had to offer.
A lot happened in the month (or so) that he lived with me. Tires were slashed, death threats were made… it was an uncomfortable situation for both of us. One weekend, Bryan told me that he had to meet his ex to sign some IRS paperwork and he would be back the following day. I thought nothing of it at the time but looking back, I should have been suspicious that he did not invite me to go along with him. You know, make it a night away from the stress. That night, I called him multiple times and no answer. Text him, no response. I knew. I knew what was going on. I knew where I stood. I knew that I was nothing more than a place to live and someone to occupy some time. I had known it from the beginning and was so pissed off at myself for allowing someone to have THAT much power over me. He was not emotionally available and I knew it. I was expecting him to change, to wake up one morning and finally realize that I was enough. When would I learn?
And then I got sick…
But like a sick where I could not keep anything down. I knew that the patches had some side effects and that nausea may be one of them but this was ridiculous. I remember going to a district meeting with 2 other managers and going to the grocery store to buy some grapes… because I needed to eat something, why not grapes. It was horrible, I had to ask the driver to pull over in Moorpark so I could hurf. I was miserable. Bryan was not very understanding. I then broke out in this horrible rash…everywhere. Prilosec was not helping my tummy issues and Benadryl was not even making a dent on my irritated skin. I needed off of this patch and on something else. So, I went to the doctor. This is the conversation that took place that day:
Me: “Seriously, I can not eat anything and I feel like I have poison ivy all over my body…but like ALL OVER MY BODY!”
Dr.: “Let me see. Wow, it really is all over your body.”
Me: “Did you think I was kidding? You have to change this birth control because the patch thing is not working for me”
Dr.: “You’re right when you say that it isn’t working because you’re pregnant”
Me: “WHAT?!? I am on the birth control patch!”
Dr.: “Well, the patch is less effective if you weigh over 150lbs.”
Me: “I would have needed like 7 patches! That is something that you probably should have told me before, don’t you think?”
Dr.: “Nothing is 100%”
Me: “This can not be happening”
After the initial shock wore off, it turned to complete panic. “What in the hell am I going to do?” That was all I could keep thinking. I knew that one thing was for sure, I was not going to tell Bryan. I took about 2 weeks and really weighed all of my options. I knew that this was not what Bryan wanted… but I really did. It was then that I determined that the best thing for all of us was for me to break all ties with Bryan. Pushing him away would give me the fighting chance to make this work and it would save my heart from being broken again. I knew that emotionally, he was not able to be supportive of the situation. If I kicked him out of my house, he would have no choice but to move back to the East Coast and be out of my… our… lives forever.
So, that is exactly what I did. I told him that he needed to find another place to live. He did not understand why. I must have looked like a completely psychotic asshole but to me, that was better than being the heartbroken fool. It was one of the hardest things I had done. Not talking to him every day was torture. Not being able to see him, misery. Not being able to hug him or kiss him, despite all of my best efforts, it shattered my soul.
Bryan was the first to call me. I was surprised but relieved. It had been a really long month for me. I was still miserably sick and had dropped about 25 lbs. He told me that he wanted to get together for dinner, he wanted to talk to me about something. My heart immediately jumped, thinking “he has finally come to his senses”. I was wrong. That night at dinner, he commented on how great I looked. I was so pissed he would say that to me. 1) I had been so fucking sick 2) flattering me should not have changed anything… but it did. Bryan told me that his transfer had been approved and he would be making the cross-country drive back home around Thanksgiving. And there it was.
I was happy for Bryan. As I said before, he is brilliant. He was going to go back to school, find something that he was passionate about and get his life back on track. I knew it was for the best. I knew that this is how it was supposed to be. I knew that he was finally going to be able to be content with his life, be near his family and maybe even his marriage would somehow fall back into place and he would be with his true love. I was happy for Bryan and the great things happening in his life but none of it included me…us.
My mother was extremely supportive the day that I told her that I was pregnant. I called her at work, a crying mess and she said, “take a deep breath, stop crying and we will talk about this at dinner tonight”. We did. My mom tried to process everything over our meal and remained very calm with the help of a couple of margaritas. She assured me that though this was not the best case scenario, everything was going to be okay. I needed that… I needed her. We had a very strained relationship in my teen years and through the poor decisions of my early 20’s but she was supportive at a time when I felt completely alone and overwhelmingly scared. She encouraged me to share the news with Bryan before he left because he deserved to know.
I didn’t tell him though. There was no way that I was going to trap him. I was not going to spend my life with someone who was with me out of obligation. I could do this by myself and I fully intended to. The night before Bryan left, he asked if we could have dinner and say our “good-byes”. I agreed because deep down, I was in complete agony at the thought of living my life with out him. I am and always have been a very strong woman, I knew I could do this but I didn’t really want to.
At dinner, my mother’s words ran through my head over and over. “he doesn’t deserve to be a dad…but he has the right to know he is going to be one”. I had this lump growing in my throat which was making it increasingly more difficult just to carry on regular conversation with him. I could see his excitement about this new chapter in his life. I saw this light in his eye that I had never seen before. Despite all of that light and joy he had I knew I had to tell him.
He was so angry, understandably so. He said things like “what do you expect me to do?”, “I have nothing left here.”, “I am leaving tomorrow!”. I sat and listened to him process this news that I had just thrown at him. I knew that he must be so torn. I knew that the good person inside of him was trying to figure out how he was going to move forward from this with out being a complete asshole. He had been set up to fail and I knew this. “You are going to go back to New Jersey, go back to school and be happy again. That is what you have to do.”
I placed my head on his chest that night and waited for his breathing to change, indicating that he was asleep, before I allowed the tears to come. I am not really sure why I was crying. I had created this mess. Why did I tell him? Why didn’t I just go along with the plan? It would have been so much easier for all of us. I didn’t sleep at all that night. I spent most of the night trying to absorb as much of him as I possibly could. Memorizing his features…the curve of his nose, the little crease between his eyebrows. I wondered if this baby would remind me of him every time I looked at him/her. Instantly, I had hoped so because I knew that these final few hours would be my last with Bryan. I reminded myself that this was what was right.
There were very few words between us in the morning. Bryan drove into the parking lot in front of my store and put his van in park. He looked at me and said, “are you sure you are going to be okay?”. I forced a smile and responded, “we are going to be just fine.” I got out of the van and walked into my store, locking the door behind me. I didn’t dare turn around and watch him drive out of my life because if I had, surely my heart would have stopped beating.