It was July of 1962 and I was a 9-month old baby girl crawling around on the kitchen floor when my 2- year old sister thought I might like to try a peanut (a Spanish peanut with the skin on.) Due to a series of unfortunate events – no 911, fire department going to the wrong house, parents having to drive me to the doctor’s office, doctor having to do an emergency tracheotomy – and so forth and so on, I nearly did not make it to 10 months old. My sisters remember all the different meals the church/neighbors brought over (for 30 days); my mom remembers the doctor sleeping in the room next to mine and praying for me every day. Our entire church, community, and medical team had me in their prayers as the doctor had given me up and placed me in God’s hands. Needless to say, the prayers worked. When they brought me home from the hospital, I had curly hair from the oxygen tent and a nice scar that would grow with my neck.
I think my big “Aha” moment in life came in July of 2011. I was 49 years old and I was in California for my godmother’s recognition/memorial service. My godfather was a man named Max Fisher and he had passed away when I was 12 years old.
|My godparents – Max and Betty Fisher and me|
At this service, I met Max’s brother and his wife for the first time ever. This woman stared at me, stared at my mom, stared at me and then with tears in her eyes she asked my mom, “Is this the peanut girl? Is this the girl we prayed and prayed for?” My mom said, “Yes it is!” Then this woman looked at me and asked, “Can I hug you?” I said, “Absolutely!” I thanked her for all her prayers 48 years previous. She asked for a photo together (which she must have because I do not.) The moment felt surreal as I had heard my whole life about those who had prayed for me, but I had never met someone who recalled it so vividly to me.
|Max’s brother and wife – thanks for the prayers!|
It was also at this time [July 2011] that I began experiencing joint pain. It would actually take until February of 2012 for the diagnosis of Rheumatoid arthritis and the treatment (prednisone – for 10 months.) During this time my blood pressure skyrocketed as did my weight. I just kept adding more prescribed medications to my regiment. I began to think that I would not see 53 years old (as my dad had only lived to 53.) I thought back to this woman saying – “Can I hug you? Oh darling we prayed and prayed and prayed for you.” And I thought WHAT AM I DOING?
I began unloading responsibilities slowly. I was working 2 full time jobs. I was running a Bible fellowship with my husband twice a week in our home. I was writing the school newsletter and heading up the school parent club. I was helping with chess club with the other boy’s school. I was the treasurer for my daughter’s swim team. I obviously had a lot of trouble with the word NO. I slowly began to unload responsibilities so that I could get to the point of putting myself and my health first.
I had tried numerous weight loss programs throughout the years with absolutely no success. But I was ready to start trying again in the summer of 2014. Then “BOOM” we found out that our son had scoliosis and he had it bad. That surgery/recovery took us to May of 2015. That is when we both walked back into Gold’s gym determined to get stronger and fitter.
I don’t know what series of events brought Ryan Teal to Gold’s gym at that time, but I do believe our paths crossed for a reason. After my many, many failed attempts to lose the weight, he offered to help me and he believed in me from day one. He put in a lot of his own time to go over my nutrition weekly and write me a weekly plan. Today I am 55 years old and with Ryan’s help I have lost 55 pounds since January 18.
|Ryan is way smarter than me. He’s trying to explain the FICK equation.|
I told him I would think of him for the rest of my life every year on my birthday and this is why. With his help, I have lost 55 pounds, I am off all blood pressure medicines and my blood pressure is normal, my rheumatoid arthritis has decreased significantly, and I feel great. I have now outlived my father and my mom is still going strong at 87 and I feel confident I will be going strong when I am 87. My husband and I are about to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and I now believe we will celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary as well.
|Dave and I – pre birthday dinner|
So it’s my birthday and I am celebrating by LIVING!
|Shows the curly hair a little better. They think it was because of the oxygen tent I was in for 30 days.|