I have not always been in the best shape. I have not always lived a healthy lifestyle or been in a healthy weight range. I had tried all kinds of diets in my life only to fall off the wagon and fail. I did Jenny Craig and the cabbage soup diet and diets where you eat no carbs and diets where you try to trick your body into thinking that it is full when you were actually starving. In the end, fad diets only made me feel defeated.
In 2007 I walked through the door of Weight Watchers and signed up to become a member. Walking through that door was hard. They made it easy. The receptionist who greeted me that day explained that as a member, I would receive all the tools I needed to be successful in my weight loss journey. A journey that is both physical and psychological. Anyone who has gone through weight loss knows that a huge part of it is mental. You need the will and drive and the focus to follow through. At these WW meetings, I received that.
I was among peers who had battled the same weight struggles as I had most of my life. Bad eating habits. Using food as comfort instead of fuel for the body. I sat with a group of girls that first day who have become close, dear friends of mine. We faithfully attended meetings every week together. We started looking forward to getting together. Thursdays were ours. We were diligent about making sure we all showed up for meetings and did not make excuses to do anything else those mornings. We all ended up being successful. Beth, Jeri, Pam and Marilyn. They were my group. Those were my go to girls. I love all of them and we have a special bond.
I lost 60 pounds that year with the help of Weight Watchers. One day my leader approached me. They were recruiting for employment and she asked me if I would be interested in working for WW. By that point in my life, my boys were grown and for some time I had been thinking about going back to work. I wanted a very specific kind of job. Bruce thought it was humorous that I was looking for a job that would not cut into my lifestyle. I wanted to be able to work only a few days a week and have the freedom to still go out to lunch with my friends and into the city whenever I wanted. I wanted to be able to travel at the drop of a hat.
I went on the interview for this job ~ it was to be a receptionist for their company. I could do that!! I loved working with people! I know that it is one of my strengths to be the girl who people first see when they walk in to a place of business. I had always shown bright like a star when it came to any volunteer jobs or tasks relating to the hospitality field. I was most definitely a natural-born receptionist. I went through the interview process. They explained to me that it would be part-time. I would be working in the city. On Tuesdays and Thursdays. My hours were flexible and I could decide how many meetings I wanted to work. It was like a dream come true!! I was hired that day.
I went home and told Bruce. He grinned and shook his head in disbelief. “Only you could find a job with those hours AND in the city.” There have been so many times in my life that I have been in the right place at the right time. Or maybe not. Maybe I was exactly where I was supposed to be because there has been a carefully laid out plan for my life. The latter gives me comfort.
The girls I work with in the city are amazing young women. We are all so different, yet we share a strong bond. Nora has fought causes and for equal rights for her disabled brothers most of her life. She is selfless. We share the bond of both being Irish. We probably get into the most mischief together. She has a permanent smile on her face and laughs a lot. I knew within days of meeting her that we were cut from the same cloth and that we would get along famously. Sharon has a thick Boston accent and a heart as huge as the moon. Compassion and nurturing oozes out of her. Lisa is a true leader. She is focused and dedicated to anything she gets involved in. She is driven and always on board. Karen is a sweetheart. I have probably grown closest to her. She and I work side by side. She took me on a field trip one day to learn about the bus system in Chicago. I needed to learn how to use the buses. She showed me. She has just gone on maternity leave and I am going miss her like crazy. Nicole is quiet when you first meet her. After you have gotten to know her, you realize what a truly sweet person she is. She is kind. And has an extremely hard work hard work ethic. She is organized. And young. We tease her about the year she graduated from High School. ~ 2000!!! YIKES!
Of all of my coworkers, Lesley is the most eclectic. She is probably the person in my life who is most opposite of me, but we have a strange and wonderful bond. Our talks are deep. They are filled with spiritual substance. I am Protestant. She is Jewish. I find her captivating. She has such a beautiful soul. She is artsy and creative and strong. When I shared with her that I had cancer, we both knew that my life was going to change. I remember her telling me that even tho a door may be closing, a window is going to open up somewhere else. I remember telling her that I knew I was on some unknown path and was curious to follow it and find out where it was going to lead.
So far, it has led to reconnecting with old, dear friends who I had lost contact with. It has also opened the window for my writing. Something I had been saying all my life I was going to do, but had never gotten around to accomplishing. It has led me to the realization that God has a quirky sense of humor. Of all cancers to challenge me with, I have been struggling with one of the few types that causes you to gain weight rather than lose it. My lifetime struggle is once again an issue.
One day at a time. I will continue to receive my radiation treatments for a few more weeks. Then I will have a scan to see what my prognosis is. I still have a calm and an inner peace that this is all just a bump in the road. Then, I will get back on that horse and refocus on healthy living and working my program. My district manager, Lisa, has been amazing and abundantly supportive throughout my journey. From the day I shared my news with her, she told me health first, weight later, That has given me a peace to focus on important things in my life. Like family. And staying positive each day. And getting healthy.
We are always exactly where we are supposed to be in life. I used to believe in coincidences. Not so much anymore. There are plans for each of us. I’m excited to see where this journey and phase in my life will lead me. Once I get there, I will probably think back on the road I have traveled the past year and think to myself...”Ahhhh, this is where I was going. It all makes sense now.”