September 25, 2017

I Was Told NEVER

Never

How many times have you heard it?

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have heard it spoken to me, whether by a loved one, a friend, a doctor or even strangers. I even heard it said  in so many different ways!

You will NEVER walk again.

You will NEVER have children.

You will NEVER play sports again.

You will NEVER amount to anything.

You will NEVER make me happy.

You will NEVER know what true love is.

You will NEVER graduate.

You will NEVER get married.

You will NEVER lose weight.

You will NEVER….BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!!!!

And the list goes on and on.

So why am I writing this? Why am I blogging about this ONE WORD? Why do I feel so strong about this?

I am writing about the word NEVER because as much as it can be a absolutely HUGE negative in someone’s life, you can also make it a pretty massive positive, it all depends how you react to the individual spewing the negative NEVER.

Let me explain~

Ever since I can remember I have always had someone telling me “never” and for the longest time…I believed that word for my life. I don’t think people truly know the depths of a wound that one word can make in someone’s life. One of the hardest things I had to overcome was my own mind and what I let others do to it. I remember laying in my hospital bed at age 18, after being told on Christmas Day, that  would never walk again or have children. Merry Christmas to me! NOT! And here is the kicker, I BELIEVED HIM! Why? Because I was 18 and he was a Doctor…well I learned very quickly that just because someone has a doctorate, doesn’t mean they get to decided the outcome of the rest of your life. Imagine if I listen to him and all the other doctors that spoke that word into my life.

TractionI look at this way, my doctors might have told me that I would NEVER walk again (at 3 different times in my life), but that didn’t mean that I had to stop using my legs. In all of us we have the spirit to fight, to buck against the system saying this is HOW IT IS. Yes, they are doctors and they specialize in the trauma that was done to my body, not once but three separate occasions, but that doesn’t mean they know EVERYTHING. Why? Because a doctor is only a person who PRACTICES medicine. (I say this strongly because my sister is an ER doctor and she iss one of my BIGGEST supporters and cheerleaders and told me NOT to listen to ANY Dr that says that word)! There are so many deciding factors on all the “what COULD be” for me! How does a doctor, let alone anyone for that matter, know what YOU are capable of. No two people are the same. So you can have 10 people, all with the exact same injuries, in one room and have 10 absolutely different outcomes of their recovery.

Let me put it this way, just because a doctor told me I would never walk again, didn’t mean I wasn’t going to keep trying to stand and take a step. Just like when I was told I would never have children, would that stop me from getting into serious relationship and staying abstinent for the rest of my life because of what a doctor said!  HECK NO!! Imagine if I did…almost 4 years  to the date of my first accident, I became pregnant and I was blessed with a beautiful baby girl.

Over time I learned to use someone’s NEVER and make it be the driving force to prove that NEVER wrong. Now, I will admit, I might have not walked again, but I would have found a way to walk, it might just have looked different than what people are use too. I might not have gotten pregnant, but that wouldn’t have meant I would have not been a mom. I might have not played sports again, but that wouldn’t have meant that I wouldn’t have found a new sport to fit my life.

I look at life this way…every scar, every battle wound…INSIDE and OUT…make me who I am today…the good, the bad and the ugly…I could have just gave up. Trust me, I get that statement all the time “Sue, if I went through half of what you have, I would have just let myself die”. And they are right, I could have. I could have not fought to regain my life. I could have died on the scenes of my accidents, I could have died in the helicopter or  ambulances, I could have died on the multiple OR tables I have laid upon. But I chose life…as hard as it may be sometimes…I chose ME!!

I am not saying that your life will look like the way society makes you think normal should be…but what I am saying is that you get to decide what your life looks like and you get to FULLY control which way you want your life to go. YOU DECIDE YOUR NORMAL! And I think that is kinda awesome!!

survived cropped

Things I Get Told OR Overhear

don't judge meCareful ~ you might be shocked by the statements or my answers to them!

People on the Internet ~

“It’s easier for you to do eat healthy and workout out…it’s your job!”

Let me first say this, THIS IS NOT MY JOB, it’s my lifestyle. I don’t get paid to eat healthy, workout, meal prep, etc. But would I love it to be MY JOB…HECK YEAH!! But with that comes more accountability!

“You don’t know what it’s like to be a mom/wife/full time worker.”

You must not have read MY STORY, been on my page long or live in a world full of rainbows and unicorns! First, I am a mom, oh yeah and I am also a dad. Full time, 24/7, no breaks, no breathers. As for a wife, no, I am not…but I am dating someone, which means finding time for us, since we both have separate homes in different cities. I don’t get to lay in bed 5 minutes longer while my partner/spouse/boyfriend, gets up to make breakfast or take kids to school. And as for work…yes, I work full time besides being a full time mom AND dad, who do you think pays the bills?

“You already make money off your Facebook and Your website, so why do you promote money opportunities for yourself?”

If you run a page, then you are probably laughing at this because you have heard it a thousand times. Let me inform you all, 99% of Facebook Pages are run absolutely for FREE. We don’t get a paycheck for it; we use OUR personal time to engage in your life. Why? Because we love it, we are passionate about what topics our pages are about. As for my website, I will tell you I have made $1.87 in 7 months! WOOHOO!!! I can’t even get a cup of coffee for that! But I CAN tell you how much I have SPENT on it to keep it running for you to sit there and complain about all the money I am making from it. If we add in monthly domain fee charges, web admin charges, electric to run it, internet to get it out to you, then the TIME (which personally is PRICELESS) I put in to do it….yeah easily $100 a month…if not more and that is not calculating in MY TIME.

People in Real Life (STRANGERS) ~

“Why does she get to sub out certain things and I can’t?” (referring to training)

Why? Oh I don’t know because I was told I would never walk again THREE times, I was also told I would never be able to squat past parallel ever again. Why? Because I am not really in the mood to FUCK up what the doctors fixed in order to please who is watching. Nor do I feel like reinjuring myself to prove something to someone who has no importance in my life. Oh, but trust me, when my body allows me to do things again without tweaking them…I WILL do it and I will be smiling ear to ear!

“Why do you feel special enough to park in a handicapped spot?”

Special, that’s a new word. I am so honored you find it “special” that at 37, I have a permanent handicap parking sticker. My doctors wanted me to have it at age 18, but I refused. There are days that I park where every “non-special” person parks because my body is feeling good and is agreeing with me. Then there are other days that I know just going to the grocery store for a few items is going to be the hardest thing to accomplish and I do it praying that my hip and left leg doesn’t give out on me. The one thing that is WAY different of me than most 37 year olds, is that I personally own a cane, a pair of crutches and a walker since I have been 18 years old. And to this day, my cane is never too far from me.

“That’s just disgusting.” (referring to my tattoos)

If you are a part of my Facebook Page, you recently saw a post just about this topic! You see just last week, I had an elderly gentleman make this comment, while eyeing my tattoos and shaking his head. My response to him was this, “No sir what’s disgusting is you…your judgment on someone you don’t know…and for your information, I have a tat for every surgery I have had due to being injured in the line of duty. I took an oath to serve and protect disgusting people like u, so you are welcome…have a good day.” I love my art work; it represents so much to me, the struggles, battles, accomplishments, achievements and goals in my life. Like my dad once said, I would rather have my daughter alive and fully tattooed, then having to visit her grave-site. NOW, THAT PUTS THINGS INTO PERSPECTIVE!

don't judge

So why have I decided to write this? Well easy, because no one knows someone else’s journey. Someone’s outside doesn’t depict who they truly are on the inside. Give them a chance, let their inside catch up and shine and you just might be surprised!

Let The Truth Be Known

Tough-Times-Quote

I thought I would do a little heart to heart blog. As I think these are just as vital as putting out information.

Since the beginning of 2013, I have been hit every which way emotionally, mentally and physically. And the one thing I didn’t want to happen…HAPPENED…I gained weight. The scale number is not what really bothers me, it’s how I feel in my own skin and in my clothes.

I have dealt with a huge emotional turmoil with my daughter, then to deciding to sell my house and it closing so quick I had only 15 days to find a new place for my daughter and I to live and pack up my entire house by myself, move and unpack.  To having my hours cut at my job that didn’t even pay the bills before the cut.

You see, let me get you in my head for a bit…hold on this could be scary!!

When I weighed 275, my self-esteem was in the negative, not even at a baseline of zero. I hated being me! I hated my own skin, my own body, everything. I hid behind oversized baggy clothes.

Then I lost HALF OF ME…I hit 138 and I hated how that looked too. I finally found a place where my mind agreed with what my body showed.

Now fast forward to this year…I have gone from a happy size 7-8…to a very unhappy size 12. (I use to be a size 24). My bras don’t fit like normal; things don’t lay across my body like they should. I am disgusted with myself.

weight gain

BUT HERE’S THE THING…this is where your mental state of mind can destroy you! The way I felt at 275 is EXACTLY how I feel now at 175! I have gained 15lbs in over 3 months, yet in my mind it feels like I regained every pound I initially lost!

So where does this leave me?

I am now dedicated this month to getting back on track mentally…if the weight follows, GREAT; if not, I know I am at least MENTALLY back in the game!

NO EXCUSES…My Definition Of It

oscar no excusesIf you have been around my Facebook Page or even here on my blog, you know that I use the term NO EXCUSES a lot! I have come across some people who have not liked that terminology and have back lashed at it. So I have decided to take those two words and explain my version behind it!

A good friend of mine, Natalie Jill, says this all the time, “Excuses or Solutions, YOU decide” and I COMPLETELY agree with her (it’s probably one of the reason we get along!). When I say NO EXCUSES, there is so much more behind it. You see, I would say this to myself while laying in a hospital bed or at a grueling physical therapy appointment where I was learning to re-walk AGAIN for the third time (fourth if you count learning to walk as a baby). Let me explain even farther.

There is no silver lining or pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, there is no prince charming or fairy-tale ending, there is no winning the lottery or gaining an inheritance…BUT what there is, is YOU…your choices, your decisions and finding YOUR solutions to every problem that arises. This means in ALL aspects of your life, not just in the area of your health. It pertains to your family, career, finances, relationships, school, etc…you LITERALLY can utilize this term in EVERY area of your life!

you No one in this world will make ANYTHING happen for you, it is COMPLETELY and TOTALLY up to you. It is up to you to make your dreams a reality. It is up to you to see that you achieve your goals. It is up to you if you want to see a change in your health, whether it is to lose weight, lower your cholesterol or blood pressure, or to gain muscle. No one will do the work for you and no one will care about it as much as you do. If you want to be happier, feel loved, feel needed or wanted…well it all begins with you…loving you first! If you are waiting for someone else to do this all for you…you are going to be waiting a very long time, basically you will be waiting forever! So I ask you, why would you do this to yourself?

As you are reading this, do you feel stuck? Are you stuck in a bad situation and waiting for someone to “rescue” you? Are you waiting for that “magic” solution to happen? Guess what, I have your answers!!! Stop waiting! You are your OWN hero, you are your OWN magic solution!! I know you are probably thinking, ”easier said than done, Sue”! And why do I know this? Because before I realized this for myself, I thought the EXACT same way!

How did I get past it? How did I make myself my own HERO? Let me tell you…

No ExcusesIf you want to see a change in your life, you need to be the one to do something about it! If you want to see something get done in your life, then you are the one to do it! If you want better for you, it us up to you to make it happen! The choices you have already made are no one else’s fault but your own. You need to be accountable to these and stop blaming everyone else around you. By doing this, you are able to see where you went wrong, find a better way to do it and move on from it. If you play the blame game, you are constantly stuck in a circle going round and round, instead of climbing your mountain!

NO EXCUSES is a mantra for me. I used it lying in a hospital bed after my doctors told me I would NEVER walk again. I could have laid there and played the “woe is me” card, instead I started planning. I started asking myself questions and FINDING answers to them. One of my first was, “how can I make sure I don’t gain weight while being bed ridden?” my answer, DON’T emotionally eat, still stay as close to clean eating as I possibly could. Another question, “how can I keep as much of my lean muscle as I could”? (I would need this once I began physical therapy) My upper body wasn’t damaged. I had dumbbells brought in to the hospital to do arm exercises. My traction bar had a triangle attachment that I used to assist my nurses with moving me or changing my bed linens, I decided to also use it for pull-ups. “How was I going to remain positive in such a negative atmosphere?” I was going to talk, I wasn’t going to hold in my emotions and let them eat away at my soul or brain.My accident

So bottom line is, I don’t care (and neither should you) about the limitations this world has put on you. If you have a medical issue, your life is NOT decided for you due to it. If you have an injury or recovering from surgery, THESE do NOT control what you decide for you! If you are struggling financially and can’t afford things (like clean eating or going to the gym), read my blog about clean eating on a budget (I’m a single mom, I understand, trust me). As for a gym, the BIGGEST gym in the world is absolutely FREE…it’s called the world; the outdoors is absolutely free for you to get things done!

So start questioning your excuses and stop validating them. Instead start VALUING YOU! Because in the end, YOU are the ONLY one that matters!!!

BUT…I’m on a budget, I can’t eat healthy!

healthy eating budget

Really?  Broke?  You can’t eat healthy, but you have enough money to get pizza or have wings and beer…hmmm, I guess your version of broke and mine are two totally different things.

I am so tired of almost every post I see written about clean eating or healthier options is followed by people making excuses about how expensive it is to eat clean or healthy. There is a way to eat clean on a budget and not feel the pinch in your wallet. Trust me, as a single mom, who hasn’t been able to work a full time job and have a steady income in the last 4 years since my accident…I have LEARNED how to still eat clean and healthy! So I decided to pass it all on to you!! And guess what…it’s FREE knowledge!

WHAT’S THE SECRET TO HEALTHY EATING ON A BUDGET?

First, learn to cook your own food. Yes, you read that correctly! Stop eating out, stop ordering to go or pizzas, stop buying snacks at convenient stores, and stop buying coffee!! All of this adds up and it adds up quickly!! Also, if your budget is so tight, you wouldn’t have the money to do any of this ANYWAYS! So really, this should go without saying, but unfortunately people hide behind the EXCUSE that it costs to much, when in reality what costs too much is giving up your fancy coffees and your over priced smoothies.  So really it is a pretty OBVIOUS that if you want to save money, learn to cook! Also you can cook in advance, so you can just grab and go and not make impulse food purchases. Remember to switch up your cooking styles so you don’t get bored. There are hundreds of different ways to cook chicken healthy!!! TRUST ME!

healthy eating budget Second, if you have a Costco, Sam’s or BJs Club around you…get a membership!!! Not only can you save by buying in bulk, but almost always their gas is slightly cheaper too.  You can also purchase your Fish Oil, Vitamins, and Protein Powder there. Now the Protein Powder isn’t the high quality, but remember you are on a budget! Also you can get great prices on chicken, ground turkey and red meats. Yes, they aren’t organic or grass-fed, but your options are limited if your bank account is. You can also buy your everyday personal and household things here too. Did you know they all take coupons too?! I use BJs here and for example, if I get a three pack of toothpaste…I can use 3 coupons on it…1 per box! Start learning how to coupon, that piece of paper is like having FREE cash in your hands! Also, when some stores have coupons like $10 off your entire purchase…this is like $10 of FREE meat or veggies!! Why would you pass this up!

Third, stop buying things in cans and boxes…if you remember this, usually NOTHING clean comes in one AND on top of it the price you pay is also for the packaging it comes in! Last time I checked, we don’t consume cardboard and aluminum as food. You can also buy some great healthy and clean options in bulk, like beans, whole grains (barley, quinoa) and even whole grain flours (if you choose to keep grains in your diet).

Fourth, you don’t have to buy all your fruits and veggies ORGANIC! There are plenty that are very low in pesticides that you can purchase NOT organic. These include: Onions, Pineapples, Avocados, Cabbage, Asparagus, Mangoes, Eggplant, Cantaloupe, Kiwi, Sweet Potatoes, Grapefruit, Watermelon and Mushrooms.  There are twelve known as the “dirty dozen” which I would recommend buying organic, those are: Apples, Celery, Sweet Bell Peppers, Peaches, Strawberries, Nectarines (imported), Grapes, Spinach, Lettuce (all), Cucumbers, Blueberries (domestic), and Potatoes. Another way to save is to grow your own fruits, veggies and/or herbs! What better way to save money and even gas, no driving needed to walk outside and pick what you want to eat! One other way is to visit your local Farmer’s Markets…talk about FRESH!!  And remember this also, buy what is in season, that’s when it is at it’s lowest price!

healthy eating budget

Lastly, remember there are different forms of less expensive sources of protein like beans, tuna, eggs, nuts, or Greek yogurt.  If you are thinking about starting to eat clean (or even started to) and your budget is tight, take a good look at where you are spending your money. Is it going towards those fancy coffees and smoothies I mentioned prior or how about those frozen microwaveable meals (if you want to call them that). How much do you spend on beverages like juice, soda or even alcohol? It takes just a little bit of extra thought to save some money, but in the long haul you making it a priority will save you so much…like in your health! If your health isn’t important to you, IT SHOULD BE!

After all, we all deserve to be HEALTHY!!

Here’s a little guide to help you on your NEXT trip to the grocery store ~

Protein Options:

Protein powder (I use whey isolate)
Eggs (organic or cage-free)
Boneless/skinless chicken breast
Lean ground turkey
Canned Tuna (in water)

Seafood (Tilapia,Wild Salmon, Scallops, Shrimp)
Plain Greek Yogurt

Fibrous Veggie Options:
Spinach
Broccoli
Asparagus
Kale
Bell Peppers
Mushrooms
Cauliflower
Brussel Sprouts
Green beans
Artichoke
Zucchini
Cucumber

Healthy Fat Options: (Read about Healthy Fats, HERE)

Almond butter (Organic if possible, there should be oil on top, low/no sodium)
Oils (EV Olive(In the darkest jars), Safflower, Coconut, Flaxseed, Macadamia Nut)
Nuts (Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios)
Avocado

Complex/Starchy Carb Options:

Old-fashioned Oatmeal/Steel Cut Oats (Gluten-free options are available)
Quinoa (Gluten-free options available)
Sweet potato
Yam
Whole Wheat Bread (Gluten-free options available)
Brown Rice

Fruit:

Apples
Pears
Blueberries
Raspberries
Strawberries
Lemons (for water & fish)

Beverages

Water*
Unsweetened Almond Milk (I like vanilla)
Green tea bags
Coffee

Condiments

Balsamic Vinegar
Salsa
Chili powder
Mrs Dash (is a staple in my kitchen)
Mustard
Cinnamon
Unsweetened Baking Cocoa
Stevia

All Fresh Herbs (Basil, Oregano, Cilantro, Rosemary, etc)

Vitamins

Fish Oil (especially if you don’t eat fish)
Multi-vitamin