I’m back, for now

by Natasha

So, it’s been about 10 months since I wrote a blog post. I should warn you – this is going to be a long one… One of my biggest pet peeves is to see see blogs that aren’t frequently updated… And yet, here I am, dusting mine off after almost a year hiatus. So what have I been up to, you ask?  Well, when I last blogged, I had just gotten laid off . There I was with a small baby, a household to maintain and no work. I wish I could say that losing my job was the most eventful part of my year, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. I would soon experience loss on a whole new level.

For those of you who may not know my story,  please allow me to back track a little…

After graduating from college in 2003, I did some freelance web designing for about a year. After not getting paid fully for a couple of projects, I decided that I needed a break. Weeks later, I ended up traveling to Foxtail Farm where I spent a couple of months doing an organic farming internship. It was there that I learned about Heifer International. The following year, I spent 6 months doing volunteer work at the Heifer International Ranch and Learning Center in Arkansas.

While I was away, I found out that my mother stopped taking some of her meds. Back then she was on about 15 different medications a day. Needless to say, she was experiencing some severe side effects with some of pills and wanted her doctors to wean her off. Being that she was going to a free clinic, her requests fell on deaf ears. She then grew impatient and decided to take matters into her own hands. Sadly, this decision led to some serious consequences. My mom would soon learn how fatal it can be to stop taking certain drugs incorrectly.

On August 26, 2005, 2 weeks after I came home from Arkansas, my mother suffered a cardiac arrest and I watched her die in the ER. Although she was resuscitated, witnessing all of this was probably one of the worst experiences of my life. To make matters worst, I was carrying guilt for all the years of bad attitudes that I had towards her. Even that fateful night, I remember being so annoyed that she made us wait until the last minute to take her to the hospital for the breathing problems she was having. She thought it was asthma and kept putting it off. When she finally couldn’t take it anymore, we ended up having to drive through hurricane Katrina.  We would later learn that my mother’s heart was failing and pumping fluids into her lungs the whole day, hence the breathing problems. I still sometimes wonder if things would have turned out differently if we had acted sooner…

After mom had the cardiac arrest, her prognosis wasn’t good. She was without oxygen for too long and ended having quite a bit of brain  damage. The doctors weren’t hopeful and didn’t expect her to live more than a few days, if that much. Fortunately, mom would prove all of them wrong and live for another 10+ years.  Unfortunately,  she was no longer able to walk, talk or do anything on her own. Although she had a wake/sleep cycle and showed signs of awareness, she was said to be in a persistent vegetative state.

Despite all of this, her health was pretty stable for the next 8+ years. She needed total care, but was able to breath on her own. Then, about 2 years ago, her health started to deteriorate rapidly. She started going in and out of the hospital, almost on a monthly basis. At first I thought it was negligence from the nursing home, but then with each hospital visit she would come back with a new problem. Eventually one of our worst nightmares became a reality – mom needed life support.

After my mother was put on a respirator, everything went downhill from there. Between 2014 and 2015,  mom was in and out of the hospital for pneumonia, developed folliculitis,  and even started to have some kidney problems. The whole family felt helpless as we watched her suffer.

At this point, I wish I could say that things got easier after a while, but they didn’t. As I mentioned in my last post, on February 5th, I got laid off. It was rough, but at least I was able to visit mom more often since I had more time on my hands. Then 18 days later, my mom passed away, surrounded by me and all my siblings. My dad, who apparently was sick and kept it on a down low, would soon follow 2 months later.

Fast forward to the present, it’s been hard. Yet, things are finally starting to quiet down a little. I’ve had a couple of scary mommy moments, which I’ll write about in a future posts, but overall, life is slowly getting back to some level of normal. The holidays were/are rough without my parents, but I’m getting through them.

So, what happens now, you ask? That’s where blogging comes in. I know this sounds like a cliche, but I have some goals for 2016. My hope is that by writing about them down, I could be held accountable – even if it’s from just one person reading this post. It’s a lot easier to quit when no one is watching.

With that said, here are my 2016 goals:

  1. Limit Eating out – Most people who know me think that I eat a pretty clean diet already. What they may not know is that I don’t like all the clean up that happens during/after cooking and eat out quite a bit. My goal this new year is to limit eating out to no more than twice a week, if that much.
  2. Limit Combining Carbs with Fats – Another thing many may not know about me is that I love foods that are both rich in carbohydrates and fat – 2 things that don’t go well together when one is trying to trim down. My goal for this new year is to limit carbs to less than 10 grams a dish if I’m eating fats and to limit fats to less than 10 grams if I’m eating carbs/starches.  If I need to eat out, I’ll stick with foods that require little to no cooking with fats, such as salads or uncooked sushi. Most restaurants use soybean or canola oil in their dishes anyways, and those fats are about as bad as drinking plastic.
  3. Focus on Losing Inches and Fat Rather than Weight – I have absolutely no idea what my ideal weight should be. Even when I was 40 pounds thinner than I am now, I still felt like I was what some would call “skinny fat”. So, instead of focusing on a number on a scale, I’m going to focus on 3 things:
    • Amount of inches lost
    • How I look in the mirror
    • How my clothes fit

    Once a month I may weigh in to track my progress, but the number on the scale won’t be my primary focus.

  4. Have a normal Pap Smear at my next OB/Gyn Appointment – To my male readers, I apologize if this is TMI. The OB that I’ve been going to has recently “fired” me as a patient, because I chose to deal with my abnormal pap smear naturally rather than following her advice. I know it’s a gamble, but it’s one that I’m willing to take, for now. I will do whatever procedure is necessary if my next visit is it still abnormal, but all I wanted was the opportunity to try to improve my health my way before allowing a doctor to mess with my body. Maybe it’s because giving birth naturally to my son was so traumatizing, but the last thing I want at this time is for any doctor to come near me with any sort of invasive procedure or sharp instrument, unless it’s absolutely necessary.
  5. Improve my credit score – There was a time where my credit score was so amazing, I could walk into a car dealership with no money and leave with a brand new car. I want to be able to have that “buying” power again. I plan on and have already started doing the following:
    • Live beneath my means
    • Cut down on expenses
    • Pay off some hospital bills
    • Stay current with student loans
    • Stay current with credit card bill until I pay if off completely

And that’s all I have for now. For those of you who are still reading, thanks for hanging in there! You are appreciated. I would love to hear from you. How was your 2015? What are some of your goals for 2016? If you hold me accountable, I’ll return the favor. Blessings to you and Happy Holidays. 🙂

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Zenobia Porter December 28, 2015 - 11:54 pm

You have certainly had a full year and life. As hard as those times have been, there’s comfort in the strength and lessons that you pull from them. And a blessing can be found in your ability to relate and share that strength and lesson with others. You never know who needed to read this. Thank you for sharing it. As for your goals, I would be glad to keep watch and witness your journey. Some of my goals are similar. 1. Reduce my debt to car and student loan only. 2. Lose enough inches to fit my desired dress size, get toned, and maintain a healthier eating habit. 3. Reconnect with others socially and 4. Consistently develop my business to positively impact the lived of others. We got this!!

Natasha Pierre-Louis December 29, 2015 - 12:54 am

Hi Zenobia! Thanks for reading and sharing your goals. I truly believe that 2016 has the potential to be a p0werful year for all of us. I also believe that we can start on our goals now rather than wait. We got this. Let’s go! 🙂


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