[Guest Post] Hiding in Plain Sight: A True Story of Weight Loss

This week I’m pleased to share a guest post from my dear friend, C. Yvonne D. It is an inspirational post about self-acceptance and determination. I hope you find it as uplifting as I did.

Thank you for sharing your words, C. Yvonne D.!

I’ve been fairly silent about my journey. It has been a long, arduous journey, and I’ve finally decided that it’s time to break my silence. I spent twenty years of my life living as a plus-sized woman. I look back at photos taken over those twenty years, and I see the misery and pain. Yet, what I’ve realized from losing this weight is that there was also an armor, or shield, that came from that plus-size number. It’s finally time to tell my story.

At my heaviest weight, I tipped the scales at just over 325. In fact, my doctor at the time joked about calling the Broncos to add me to their roster if gained any more weight. I bounced from diet to diet, trying to lose weight, while secretly sabotaging myself.

When I went to see my kidney specialist (nephrologist) in February of 2012, I had been seeing a therapist for over a year. I knew I was sinking. I knew I needed help. As I sat there that morning, I received some hard news. My nephrologist looked at me and said, point blank, “If you don’t lose weight, you’re going to die. You are killing yourself, and only you can fix it.” He then wrote out a referral for a dietitian, and a surgery consult. I was suddenly confronting a fear bigger than the one that had kept me heavy.

I spent hours in fear and agony while making the choice to follow through with the dietitian. I felt I was now working on paying someone to humiliate and laugh at me. The tapes of being bullied throughout my formative schooling years had led me to a lifetime of self-ridicule. I learned how to beat myself up better than they ever had. Even today, some of those words haunt me.

I finally went in, and I’m so grateful I did. My dietitian didn’t teach me anything I didn’t already know, but she did become a vital player in my weight loss; she became my first cheerleader. I also followed through with my surgery pre-op appointment. The nurse in the gastro office informed me that I qualified for the surgery, but would have to prove over a six-month period that I could follow a diet plan and become healthier. I asked if it was possible to lose enough weight to no longer qualify for the surgery. She told me that at my current Body Mass Index (BMI) of 33, it would not be possible to get under the 28 BMI requirement in six months. I thanked her, because in that moment she became another vital player: she had given me a goal.

Somewhere around my fourth month of weight loss, I was no longer dieting. My health was at risk and I didn’t want my children motherless. I had gained a voice, a piece of self-worth, a morsel of self-satisfaction. I can’t give specifics of what changed; I can’t tell you that I started pumping iron, or working out crazily; none of those things happened. I did work out for thirty minutes, almost every morning, on the Wii Fit. I ate proper portions and began walking more. It wasn’t that I was suddenly trying. It was that the weight loss had finally found its hold on my heart. I discovered the missing connection.

I overcame my first challenge at the six-month mark. When the nurse called back for my next surgery appointment, I proudly told her I had successfully lost seventy pounds—enough weight to no longer qualify for the surgery. The extra pounds magically vanished and I no longer engaged in stress eating. That was until a gentleman at the store noticed me. He smiled and said hi, and while I know he was simply being friendly, I reeled into a familiar, dark place. I lost my shield and I was no longer invisible. Thankfully I remained in therapy, because the next weeks would prove challenging.

What nobody tells you about weight loss—the taboo part of the whole challenge—is that no one talks about what put you at that weight. It took weeks for me to realize my weight had become a shield. Part of it was a false sense of security. You see, I had been raped when I was thinner. My weight gain had become a double shield. I felt invisible when I was heavier, and in being invisible, you feel safer. If they can’t see you, they can’t hurt you. There was also a part of me that believed if someone tried to hurt me, I could stop them because I was bigger, heavier. If nothing else, I could sit on them. My weight made me miserable, but it also protected me.

I still have those moments of fear and anxiety. It’s not that I never stress eat anymore; instead, I have learned to limit what and how much I eat. I haven’t had to fight to stay thinner; it happens because much of my life has truly changed. A year ago, I started T’ai Chi. It has been a tremendous help. Also, I took up bike riding a month ago — something I never thought I’d do again.

Recently, I overcame one of my final challenges. I became overweight. You might wonder, “What? How is that good?” When you start at morbidly obese and move to simply being overweight, it becomes a celebration. I still have weight to lose, but I’m no longer actively trying to lose weight. Instead, I’m learning to be happy and healthy.

The best news is that I went from stage four kidney failure down to stage two. My nephrologist was right—only I could change my life and my future. You can, too. You can become bigger than the bullies and the rapists on the inside. You can also overcome the outside.

What people sometimes forget is that you don’t have to do it alone. There are people out there who can, and will, help. All you need to do is ask. Everyone’s struggle is different, yet at the core we are all the same. You can face the hard work and challenges, because you’ve faced worse and you’re still here, still kicking. Find your voice, your passion, your zest for life, and overcome the pain of your past. You are the only one who can do it, and you can.


A mother of three and a grandma to three, C. Yvonne D. was born with a kidney disease called IgA Nephropathy. Her condition was exacerbated by a medication cocktail given to her in her thirties that was supposed to help her cope with the painful onset of fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. In her words, “I have spent 42 years afraid of almost everything. I’ve been defined by my titles, pain, diseases, and mental health. I am in an ever-evolving journey to push through these definitions, for they are such a small part of who I am. I am learning to be me and I’m ready to share a piece of my story.”

Gaining clarity and trusting yourself

Final thought for tonight: if someone else can do something, you can too if you have the will, the drive, the passion, the motivation, the dedication, and the foundational information needed to achieve it. If any of those things are lacking, it will be difficult to model the results you seek.

I know what I’m passionate about. I know what I can accomplish when I set my mind to it. If I want it, I will do it. If I don’t want it or lack the interest or dedication, I won’t do it. 

What is it that YOU want? Not your family. Not your friends. Not your spouse. Not your kids. What do YOU want?

What makes your soul sing? When you engage in that activity, do you slip away, losing track of time because it’s a pleasant experience and you’re in ‘the zone’? That’s a hint right there. Whatever makes you feel that way, pay attention to it. Pursue it.

Don’t ask other people’s permission. Don’t ask them what THEY think you should do. It’s not about them. It’s about YOU. Nobody knows you better than yourself.

Unless you’re clear on what YOU want (not what people THINK you should want or be), you won’t accomplish anything near what you wish for. Getting clear is utmost in importance.

I’ve lost some clarify over the years, or sacrificed it for other things and people that were merely distractions from the genuine passion that lives within my core being. But now, RIGHT NOW, I am crystal clear on what I want, and I aim to get it, one way or another.

[Guest Blog] A Website for Every Step

**This week’s guest blog is by Nikolas Baron of Grammarly. Enjoy!**

In popular culture, many metaphors portray crutches in a negative light. She uses her humor as a crutch to mask her insecurity. When he is stressed, he uses alcohol as a crutch. However, one friend broke a leg in a surfing accident. For months, he hobbled around on a crutch.  This device was instrumental in his recovery. Crutches remove pressure and weight from the legs, allowing the lower body to recuperate from injury. Despite whatever metaphorical connotation crutches carry, crutches serve a valuable purpose under the right contexts. As a writer, there is no shame in using a crutch from time to time. In fact, if my friend had ignored doctor’s orders and forgone his crutches, he might have been permanently disabled. Likewise, you can waste time and energy if you do not use the tools available online for writers. Here are six supportive websites that will help you with each step you take on your writing journey.  


  • Learning the Ropes

Each writer has a unique tale about how they broke into the writing business. For some, it was intentional and methodical. They went to college, majored in Creative Writing or Journalism, and landed a writing job.  Other authors stumbled into the career. They wrote a short story or poem for fun. Its enthusiastic reception by their friends encouraged them. They sent it off for publication. Voila, almost overnight, they became a published author. Glen C. Strathy, a freelance business writer, hosts a website entitled How to Write a Book Now. In his article, “How to Become a Writer: Where to Start,”  you will find a lot of advice on how to learn the writing process and begin walking the path to publication. If you want to focus on a particular genre of writing, click on the links that specify novel writing, plays, or non-fiction.  

  • Pre-writing

Bubbl.us is a cool interactive tool to brainstorm before writing a manuscript. After entering your main topic in the center bubble, you add secondary details in smaller, side bubbles. It helps to see your ideas in a visual format. You can save your work on the site or print it out to consult later. This website is not essential to the process, but it is fun. It is a great option for those days when you need to do something a little groovy to get yourself motivated to write!


  • Writer’s Block

Speaking of motivation, what websites can you lean on for inspiration? I found two helpful tools.  

For a momentary distraction and a little chuckle, try 911 Writer’s Block. Occasionally, all that is needed to lift the brain fog is a little distraction. For a more serious case of writer’s block, I found an article that approaches the problem from a myriad of angles. Read Gerald Lynch’s “10 Essential Applications for Authors: Software and Tools to Banish Writer’s Block for Good.”  http://www.techdigest.tv/2013/05/10_essential_ap.html?pic=3 – gallery

  • Proofreading and Plagiarism

Proofreading is an unavoidable step; there is no jumping over it. I work for Grammarly, a company that provides online proofreading services. As a bonus, the program also operates a plagiarism checker.  If you use a ghostwriter or a creative editor, you can check their work for authenticity. Even with your own writing, you can ensure that you have not unintentionally reused a phrase from a source in a form that is too close to the original.

  • Revision/ Editing

    Once you have written the manuscript, it is essential to revise it for flow. Beyond grammar, you need to verify claims and assertions. In fiction, you must examine the characters, the storyline, and the conclusion for reader satisfaction. Will the reader be convinced? Does everything make sense? As the author, you have intimate knowledge of the elements of your story. An outside opinion from an editor can be especially revealing. Most writers agree that personal recommendations yield the best editors. If you are not buddies with any experienced writers, search the directory found at the Editorial Freelancers Association website.

The writing process is a burden without the proper support.  If you are still limping a bit, find which tools work for you. The choices are abundant.

By Nikolas Baron




Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown children’s novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, travelling, and reading.

[Event] C.S.P.A. presentation on the paranormal—July 26, 2014

Colorado Springs Paranormal Association (C.S.P.A.) has been asked to conduct a presentation on the paranormal and paranormal investigation for the main Penrose library in downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado. The date will be Saturday, July 26, 2014.

The event will last for several hours. The presentation will be first, followed by a Q & A session, and a demonstration of investigation techniques as we mock-investigate the library itself.

**THIS EVENT IS FREE TO THE PUBLIC—ALL AGES ARE WELCOME (but remember that, for some small children, discussing paranormal phenomena may upset or disturb them; use good judgment).**

I don’t have a time yet, but it’ll most likely start around 7 p.m. I’ll let you know once PPLD confirms. If you missed our previous events, this is the time to attend. Hope to see you there! 

Why yes, I do use marijuana for medical purposes. What of it?

To my dear friends: it’s okay to tell people I use marijuana and that it helps with my medical issues. I’m not afraid to admit it and it’s okay if you tell others should they ask for examples of people who use marijuana to assist with their issues.

In a nutshell, in summer of 2006 I was diagnosed by a psychiatrist with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), PTSD, Dysthymia (dysthymic disorder), and dual depression. I went in for a study on depression and, after running through all the prelims, I was told my problems were too complex for the study. I had no idea. It was an eye-opener for sure!

According to mentalhelp.net, “‘Dual’ or ‘Double’ depression is a term used to describe the condition of a person with Dysthymia who also develops a more severe and persistent Major Depressive Episode at the same time. As mentioned previously, dysthymia is a less severe type of depression that involves long-term, chronic symptoms that do not disable, but which do make it difficult to function or feel good. People diagnosed with double depression require aggressive depression treatment not only during the acute Major Depression phase, but also during the chronic low-grade Dysthymia phase that follows in order to try to prevent future occurrences of Major Depressive Episodes. Studies suggest that individuals with double depression often respond well to antidepressants for their Major Depressive Episodes, but that their low-grade dysthymic symptoms may not abate completely. In other words, if you suffer from double depression, medication may relieve your most severe depressive symptoms, but you may not experience periods of feeling completely well.”

So yes, I do smoke weed when I have anxiety attacks or feel like I’m about to have a meltdown. Now, I can tell you that I’m proud of myself for accomplishing what I do, given the fact that I’ve had days when getting out of bed was a major feat. I wouldn’t wish all of this on anybody, BUT if you suffer from any of these conditions, take heart that you CAN still function, even though it’s difficult at times.

Don’t be too hard on yourself (still working on that myself!) and remind people that you DO have these conditions, so people who aren’t struggling with them can learn about them and offer you support and assistance. You are capable, strong, and resilient!

Feel free to message me at any time if you need a boost, okay? I’ve been there and done that. Still fighting it…but winning (or so I believe)! Blessings & love. 

Things you should know about me and my blog ;-)

A warm welcome to new followers of my blog. Glad to have you here.

Notice: I’m outspoken, blunt at times, affable most of the time (but do not suffer fools), and am not Christian (a lot of my family/friends are, though).

My most potent weapon are my words and my acid tongue when I get riled over something—Paul can attest to that. He calls it verbal (or written) napalm. I also curse at times and, as a typical Sagittarian sun sign (with a Virgo rising and a Gemini moon), it can be an interesting and oft-confusing ride at times. I often open my mouth (or type things out) without thinking that I might inadvertently offend someone.

One rule I have that will not bend is that this is my blog, and thus is my virtual home. This means I say what I want, post what I want, and do not ask for nor require your approval to share unvarnished, raw thoughts or posts here. If you start problems or attack other commenters here, I will delete your comments and you. So keep things nice and polite. Instead of getting butthurt or stirring up shit with me, it’s best to ignore my posts for a while, scroll on by, or unfriend me if you’re bothered over something I post. I am who I am and, at 49, I’m not changing who I am to avoid making you feel uncomfortable

Here’s what you need to know: I’m an ex-Army brat, a professional writer and editor (17 years as of this month), pagan (for 30 years), pro-choice, pro-gay marriage (I have a gay brother and numerous gay friends who are like family to me), independent liberal (and a proud American!), not big on guns (though if you want ‘em, I don’t want to take ‘em away, unless you shouldn’t have them for obvious reasons), love swords/daggers/katana/sharp gadgets, intrigued by Samurai, a Japanophile, into Eastern philosophy/social psychology (I minored in philosophy and majored in communication & psychology in college), curous about what causes abnormal behavior (esp. sociopaths/psychopaths), a nocturnal soul, and a paranormal investigator (for 9 years).

Since I’m a professional copy editor, I do get wigged out over misused apostrophes and misuses of your/you’re or there/their, etc. Take it with a grain of salt, though. We all make mistakes; in fact, I make them frequently! Nobody is perfect, after all. ;-)

If you message or e-mail me, I answer as I can. When I’m working or involved in creative projects, I do not answer personal messages or texts until I’m ready. Unless you pay to retain me 24/7, you will have to learn patience *grin* Unless it’s bleeding or on fire, or if I’m otherwise engaged, ya gotta wait.

There’s more, but that’ll give you an idea of who I am and what you should expect. That way if you can’t handle who I am, you can run for the hills now! *snicker* Otherwise, I hope you decide to stay so we can have fun and laughs together.


P.S.—I also know I’m verbose *shrugs*

Welsh dreams…

Paul is watching “Penny Dreadful.” Timothy Dalton is in the series and I melt every damned time I see him in anything, pretty much. *sigh* Plus, he’s Welsh.

In the copy of the genealogical papers I have from the family historian on my birth mother’s side, my 9th generation ancestors, William Hughes and (Mary) Molly Daten, married in Surrey, England. Molly Daten was born in Wales and lived to be 87. They had six children: Mary Hughes (1748-1810), Susannah Hughes (1767-1834), Rebecca Hughes (1769-Unknown), Elizabeth Hughes (1774-1870), Moses Hughes (1774-1841), and Milburn Hughes (1776-1867).

I have Scottish ancestors as well (Clan Fergusson and Clan MacNeil of Barra), but I haven’t spent as much time investigating my Welsh, Irish, and Northern European ancestry.

After having my DNA test done, there are so many parts that make up the whole. I love this stuff!

Perhaps when I go back to the UK, I can visit Wales and see my friends Gareth Tamplin and Robin James Ganderton.