Have you ever ignored your doctor's advice? Hopefully you will reconsider after you read about my friend Sheri and her experience in ignoring her physician's advice.
As a busy mom of two active boys, my life completely revolved around taking care of them, their activities and needs along with those of my husband Rob and our sweet rescue puppy Maverick. Over the years our lives revolved around the boys activities. I loved being a hockey and football mom, traveling to many hockey rinks, football games and enjoying seeing each boy grow into wonderful young men.
However along the way I stopped taking care of me. I always made sure they were taken care of first. I love being a mom but along the way I lost myself. Last February it hit me that with one boy off to college and another graduating high school in a year, my life was going to change in a big way. We were going to be empty nesters and what would we do then?
I had let myself go. Like my father I was an insulin dependent Diabetic, had high blood pressure and was overweight. He died at the age of 59, and I was fully aware of what could happen to me. God was listening and answered me in a huge way.
Eleven months ago on February 20,2012 , as I stood in the dining room preparing pictures for Andrews hockey banquet I could feel my blood pressure rising. I realized something was wrong with the vision in my left eye and knew I was in trouble. I kept thinking at the time that I didn’t have time for this and needed to finish the pictures. At the hospital the doctor confirmed that I had a stroke. I lost the vision in my left eye and my left side was compromised so much that it felt like I was being squeezed up and down my side. It was hard to catch my breath and I developed a droopy eye and a slight limp. The next day I went to see Dr. Switch ,an Opthamoligist and as he held my hand, he told me if I didn’t make a change now I would not be here to see the most important people in my life grow up. I have been told that for years from other Doctors , but today I listened. That day my life forever changed.
On February 24th 2012 my journey began. I joined the Trenton Athletic Club and day one as I sat on the bike, only being able to see out of one eye and limited feeling in my leg I peddled and peddled. I saw a wonderful nutritionist Kathy Wilkins from Wyandotte hospital, She gave me the tools to begin and stick to a healthy diet. I incorporated my new favorite food oatmeal into my diet as well as lean meats and fruits. I spent two months on that bike and after my vision came back I started taking classes. The instructors have been amazing. They saw me from day one and I would not be as successful as I am without them. I am taking kickboxing, pilates, piloxing, TRX training and many toning classes. I found it only takes one hour a day and with a healthy diet, it all came together. Diet and exercise, who knew it would work!! Of course I have been told this for years, but it took a stroke to finally sink in.
My boys have been the support I needed. After taking care of them for so long, they in turn have given me support, showing me different weight training and nutritional support as well as lots of hugs an encouragement. During Andrews senior football speech, he spoke of my journey and what an inspiration I am to him. There were lots of tears in that room. I felt so proud of him.
My life has changed so much in the past year. I had many test, including Cat scans, MRI’s and ultrasounds to make sure I would be fine. Watching my body change and regaining the strength I lost to the stroke has been an emotional but exciting adventure. When I tell my story to people I don’t want them to feel sorry for me, I look as having the stroke as a gift. If I would not have had it, I would not be the woman I am today. Each and every day I take time for me. The reaction from the community has been wonderful as well as heartwarming. Many do not recognize me at first, but all reach out for a huge hug as well as sometimes tears.
As of today I have lost 104 pounds. I look and feel so much younger! I have made so many new friends at the gym and have mentored many woman by sharing my story and giving them the support they need. Every day I look in the mirror and see a beautiful and self confident woman. I am nearing the 1 year anniversary of the stroke and feel truly blessed to be where I am.
Our son Robbie is 21 and has been appointed to the 124th Michigan State Police academy. Our youngest Andrew is 18 and will attend Ferris State University this fall to study criminal justice. He has chosen to follow in his brothers footsteps and aspires to become a Michigan State Trooper. He wore his brothers football number 44 and they both played hockey for Trenton High school. We could not be more proud of them both.
The song I love to work out to is Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger. It has helped me get through many hard days and I treasure it! I turned 50 last month and embrace it with everything I am. I am a strong, beautiful, empowered woman and cannot wait for my next adventure. I am amazed and grateful to the people who are interested in my journey and it has been an honor to share it. Thank you for your time.
I was encouraged to share my story with you. I am from a small town, and with the amazing support and love from so many, I am able to share my story and hopefully inspire others with my journey. I feel that I represent many mothers out there who love their families but over time start putting themselves last. I would like for my experience to be a tribute to all moms. I learned that in order to be best for my family, I needed to take time for me each and every day. It took a stroke for me to turn my life around. I just want to tell my story and if I touch just one person, it will have been worth it.
Interested in learning about the diet plan Sheri followed. Checkout this blog post.
Followup: 2/27/2014 Fox2Detroit Interview with Sheri (video)