You’ve heard all about my fertility struggles (more on that soon) and I’ve told you a ton about my mom’s battle with cancer, but today I want to talk about another special lady who has been fighting a fight of her own this past year: my sister Dawn.
Three years ago my sister went to the doctor and discovered that she suffered from severe hypertension and type II diabetes. She was tired all the time, she snored so loud she could wake the dead, and walking short distances made her breathless. To put it mildly, her situation was grim. All of these health issues were caused by obesity. My sister had always struggled with her weight, but it had reached a point where it was a matter of life or death.
And my sister chose life. Since that fateful doctors visit she’s lost 149 pounds. 149 pounds! And most of that loss has been in the last year. She joined Weight Watchers and became a vegetarian. She began cooking healthy, whole-food meals for her family. She started exercising like a fiend. In short, she completely changed her life.
Did it happen over night? Oh hell no. She says the key to her success is setting small, specific goals for herself. And she says, most importantly, that it’s imperative to start each day fresh and to forgive the mistakes of yesterday.
So without further ado, here is a set of before and after pictures of my lovely sister. You rock, Dawn! I am so proud of you.
I’ve never been big on resolutions. But I do love me some reflection. In some ways, as I’ve written about on here before, this was a rocky year. But in many other ways it was wonderful, too. And that’s what I’m going to focus on today, the awesomeness.
7 Reasons Why 2011 Was Awesome:
1. The old 9-5: I’ve been at my company for three and a half years, with varying degrees of satisfaction and happiness there. In August, I took a new position within the company and I’m happy to report that I love it. I’m writing all kinds of creative stuff and I’m getting to use my brain on a daily basis. I am so lucky that I get paid to do what I love, especially in a time when many people are struggling to even find a job.
2. My health: As you know, I cut out alcohol. I cut out caffeine. I even cut way back on sugar, meat and dairy. If you would have asked me a year ago if I would consider doing any of the above, I would’ve answered with a resounding hell no. But having a goal in mind has given me strength and willpower that I didn’t know I had. It makes me wonder what other hidden things I have yet to discover about myself.
3. Bucket list: As I’ve mentioned before, I had the opportunity to travel to Iceland with Tim this summer. I’ve always said that it was the one place I wanted to see before I die. And yeah, I hope I don’t die anytime soon, but it was pretty cool to check that off the list.
4. Baby Tessa: My sister’s baby was born at the end of November and I got the chance to see her at Christmas. This little miracle was wished for for many years, and nothing makes me happier than to help welcome her into the world.
5. the sky and back: I know I’ve talked about this already, but this blog is definitely one of the most awesome things about 2011. It’s brought me so much—comfort, hope, support, new friends—the list is endless.
6. Friends: Speaking of new friends, I’ve made a few this year. And best of all, I’ve formed a stronger connection with many of my old friends. They say that in times of struggle you really learn who your friends are. And guess what? I learned that my friends are…my friends. Every single one of them stood by me this year through my fertility struggles, my mom’s cancer diagnosis and all of the other bumps in the road. And people that I didn’t even know cared came out of the woodwork to show their support. Damn, you guys really know how to make a girl feel loved.
7. Counting my blessings: In June of 2011, Tim’s best friend passed away. It was unexpected and awful and there was nothing good to come out of it. Except. When something like that happens, it really puts everything else into sharp focus. Because you realize that, holy crap, life is beautiful and slippery and way too short. All of a sudden, it was magically clear what was important to me and what wasn’t. This event and the re-emergence of my mom’s cancer, have made it impossible for me to take anything in my life for granted. And even though this feeling was born out of really shitty events, I am grateful for it all the same. Because I love life, so much, and I don’t ever want to forget that. No matter what happened in the past or what happens in the future, what everything boils down to for me is this: I love and am loved in return. And I honestly can’t think of anything more wonderful than that.
Happy New Year, everyone. I hope the year to come is filled with more love and happiness than you can handle. Cheers.