Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Bionic Woman Experience

 The Bionic Woman Experience

My name is Wendy, and my story is a unique one. About 5 years ago, I was tested and told I had SLE Lupus. However, subsequent blood work was inclusive and did not support this diagnosis. The medication given to me to treat Lupus made me unable to go in the sun. Being a person who hates to take pills, I stopped taking it and continued to live my life. Fast forward to 2014. My husband's work took us to Midland, Texas. While here, my pain and symptoms of "Lupus" were kicked into high gear. A co-worker told me of a local rheumatologist, so I made an appointment. More blood work was completed and this physician not only confirmed a diagnosis of Lupus, but also added a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. I left the doctor with a feeling of devastation and a bag full of expensive medication. The anguish of telling my husband and family left me feeling depressed and defeated. Having had a friend recently pass away from Lupus complications only fueled my despair. I mentally resigned myself to a life of pain, a future wheelchair and an early death.

In April 2014, work took us to Ohio very near the Pennsylvania border. My search for a local doctor led me to the University of Pittsburgh’s Lupus Center of Excellence. The doctor there reviewed my file and ordered new blood work. To his amazement, and mine, he declared, “You do not have Lupus. What you do have is a significant vitamin D deficiency.” I was shocked. The shock led to exhilaration, the exhilaration led to anger at the time wasted by feeling ill, and then the anger led to something unexpected: a complete and utter thankfulness for a second chance. I felt as if I had been given an official pardon from a death sentence and that God had given me a second chance to live my life. I decided from that moment on to life my life with clarity and purpose. I also decided to start running, become a vegetarian and lose 100+ pounds. Go big or go home, right?

I am the textbook definition of free-spirit. I typically live life by the seat of my pants, making it up as I go. However, I decided this time would be different. The first thing I did was Google “running for plus size women.” I was amazed by what I found! So many stories of successful, plus size women who have not only lost weight, but have CHANGED THEIR LIVES! One of the most inspiring blogs I read is written by Katie I highly encourage you to read her story. Her change inspired me to dive deeper into the plethora of Internet blog sites. The next blog I found that really spoke to me was written by Sarah B. I have learned so much about holistic nutrition and cooking for health from her site. It is a must follow. Several of the blogs that I read referred to a running app called Couch to 5K. So, armed with my new information, I downloaded the app, purchased the needed exercise gear and headed out to the gym.

Gym Day 1
On gym day one I decided to follow the best advice I found on Katie’s site: start ssslllooowww. For my first treadmill experience, I decided to do a 5 minute warm up and then “run” for as long as I could hoping to do a 30 minute total run/walk workout. So there I was at minute 4:59, I increased the treadmill speed to an astonishing 3.0 and began to run! It was amazing! My legs pumping, the wind blowing through my hair, Van Halen pulsing in my ears! I felt like Lindsay Wagner…I WAS THE BIONIC WOMAN! The bionic sound filled the room: nananana! I could do this! I was doing it! It was at this moment that my right foot decided that it did not particularly care for being bionic and staged a revolt. OH! The pain! “I can keep going”, I thought. Then my right knee, followed by my left, joined the revolt! It was a full on rebellion! “Surely I don’t have much time left!” I thought as I looked at the treadmill timer. What I saw there shocked me to the core. A whole two minutes had passed! Two minutes??!! Was I distraught? Dismayed? NO! I was ecstatic! I RAN TWO FREAKING MINUTES! I had proven to myself that I could do this! I could propel myself forward!  I could change my stars!

I went home that day with pain in my foot, sweat in my hair, and the knowledge that I could do this, and I would encourage everyone I can to join me! Chunky chicks of the world unite! Life is a journey and the joy of the journey is sharing what we have learned with others. I am not a professional. Do I know the techniques required to run a marathon? Do I know the perfect way to eat vegetarian meals? HECK NO! But I do know that I am learning. I do know that every day that I move forward in a positive way is another step away from that damn wheelchair! I do know that the first steps of change are hard for anyone, but especially hard for the plus size girl. 

I want to encourage you to love yourself today. Look in that mirror and say: I love you enough to change my course and improve my journey! Have enough self love to hold yourself accountable! As first grade teacher Jan Walker always says: “Who is responsible for you?” The answer is always: YOU! No self lies. No excuses. No loathing or self hate. Love yourself enough to make the changes you crave. Do it. Do it now and know that there are other people out here, just like you. You are not alone. It is scary. It is hard. You will have to forget old habits and try new things. You will have to put on workout clothes and be seen in them in front of others. You will be sore, but I also promise that you will improve. The first step is the hardest, but once you take it the anticipation of what lies beyond is greater than your fear. The first time you walk into that gym you will feel like a prize heifer on display at the county fair. Who cares what other people think? I promise you they are dealing with their own issues and probably didn’t even notice you coming in the room. Do not be a martyr. Listen to your body. Slow down, take some pain reliever. If you need a three day break to heal, then take it! There is no perfect formula to follow that will make you an athlete overnight. The important thing is to not give up. We have done that so many times before. We have been down that road, we know where it leads and we know it’s not where we want to go. One day at a time, one step at a time, one good choice followed by another and we will get there. Today I extend an invitation to you to join me on this journey and I am confident that I will not run alone.



  1. You are never alone. You can do this! You are blessed ��

  2. Love this blog! Amazing example of honesty, determination & perseverance. You go girl!!