Sunday, June 6, 2010

Out of tragedy came a miracle

I have that comedian’s syndrome.

You know the one where the person on stage can make the whole room laugh but when one person doesn’t….HORRORS! Apparently there had been some discussion about “repeat” speakers at events so I thought I would tell a story of the miracles that come from being a repeat speaker.

My dad wanted me to be a Dale Carnegie Course graduate for speaking when I was in my 20’s and I didn’t get to use my certificate much because no one really had a need for an obese speaker. I wasn’t a stranger to the stage because of playing Cello and singing and playing guitar but speaking was different. After losing the weight I fell into it totally by accident. My dear blogger friend Traci asked me to explain how I got the opportunity to speak and it evolved from an unusual storyline. It involves some tragedy that was followed by a miracle.

When I attended my first weight loss surgery event (Obesity Help 2004 Arlington, TX) I was too afraid to go alone. I volunteered to be the official photographer. After working closely with staff and continuing to volunteer for the next 3 years I had worked hard and begged to get a coveted break out session at the upcoming national California event. It was a magical experience and the 80’s party was one of the best times I’ve had dancing in years. I even wore some clothes I saved from that crazy time in life. This is Debra, Ramon and myself at that party.

Again because of the contacts made at that conference I was given more opportunities to speak and each time I spoke was as much like birthing a baby as I can imagine. Working for hours putting together my information…trying my best to figure out if what I say is relevant to as many as possible. I appreciate each and every person that attends, I don’t want to let them down, and I pray that I say just one thing that can change their lives.

In September of 2007 we had an Obesity Help conference in San Antonio, Texas. Besides preparing a talk I had also spent hours making some centerpieces for the tables for the Texas themed event. They were dancing cowgirls with hats and lassos. My friend Debra had brought the huge candles from her son’s wedding and we were rushing to get it all set up in time. I had a raging eye infection and was trying desperately to shoot pictures when I really couldn’t see. Rushing back to the room to get ready I was waiting for my husband to arrive for the dance when I got a phone call that would bring me to my knees.

Earlier in the day I had spoken and had also done a yoga demonstration and decided to use some music and photographs in the background. The images were of beautiful flowers sent to me by an incredible woman named Alice Neff that I actually met on Dr. Phil's forum. I had corresponded with Alice for 9 months and as a gesture of appreciation for my support she sent me flowers when she could barely afford to feed her special needs daughter Hillary and the many stray cats she helped. We bonded over the cats and we discussed how each day it was harder and harder for her to lift and properly take care of her daughter. She was scared to death about allowing the state to take care of her because she had experienced some abuse by the system before. She loved her daughter Hillary so much that she rarely ever allowed herself to dream but she knew if she got the surgery that she would be able to take care of Hillary. We wrote everybody we could think of for help.

The call was about Alice.

She had committed suicide by leaving the car running in the garage.

She had put her daughter in the car too and even rounded up the strays that she knew no one would take care of.

When I picked myself off the floor I had no choice…there was a function to go to and not many would know until the next day.

Out of tragedy come miracles.

To tell this properly would require a novel so the shorter version was that Dr. Carcamo from Nix Health Care heard the story. He heard that Alice committed suicide because she was unable to have weight loss surgery and he said he wished he could have saved her. As I rode in the elevator with him to his office to be photographed, he told me an incredible story about dealing with death that his father who was also a doctor had told him. He said he couldn’t save Alice but he could save another and that’s what he did. He arranged surgery for our beautiful Monica who had tried to have surgery for 4 years. There were so many people involved in this story and with each story there are so many layers, so many reasons one person talks to another and does a favor for another and so on and so on. This doctor saved my friend’s life and each time I see her face I see the life that was given to her.

Monica joined in with Debra, Ramon and I to help a teenager named Corina. Dr. Alvarez was our angel that day as well as Nina who rode with Corina on the day of her surgery.

Although I have been a repeat speaker at these functions, I could not be more appreciative at the last event because my dad finally got a return on the Dale Carnegie course. My mom had passed away from cancer when I was at my heaviest and never saw me thin. I will be forever grateful that my dad was in the audience with my step mother Betty, my husband Kevin and sitting at that same table was Monica….the life that was saved when Alice lost hers.

It has taken me a long time to tell this story but now there is a good reason why. A wonderful woman named Toni decided there should be more stories just like this....finding a way for those in need to get weight loss surgery or even reconstructive surgery! She formed which is a non-profit organization that does just that. They have already designated who the first grant will go to and you can read about it here. If you have a moment and can give you can either contribute by writing a check or clicking on the pay pal button on the top left of my blog. (If you write a check they get all of it but they will take a pay pal donation too). Anything you send makes a difference and if you'll join the site you can also donate your talents too. I honestly can't think of anything I've felt better about in a long time.
When I look at the picture of Monica and Corina above I see two beautiful women that just needed some help. I see the possibilities of the miracles that the WLSFA can make happen for so many. (By the way, Monica and Corina will be attending the Obesity Help Houston Event in November.)
Out of tragedy came a miracle.
WLSFA is going to make some more...
Love and Light and Smooches,

Long overdue! Part 2 Obesity Help Costa Mesa Event

I promised over 3 posts ago to do a part 2 for the Obesity Help Costa Mesa Event so here it is.

What do you get when you venture out of your bariatric comfort zone? You get to meet new and fascinating people from all different genres of the bariatric world. Here I am with Gastric Bypass Barbie and what a lovely soul and shining bright light she is. Where did I first "find" her? On You Tube. There are times when you meet someone and you feel like you've known them for years and that's exactly what happened with her. I know Cari has gotten some flack over the "Barbie" part of her name but if you allow this to keep you away from this bariatric ball of energy, you will be losing out. I am looking forward to seeing her very soon and hopefully more pictures will follow. I have her blog linked here so please check it out...and her You Tube channel of course.

I have written a long post (not published yet) about a tragic event in my life that I will share later. It involved a suicide because a beautiful woman was denied surgery. Long tragic tale that will make more sense when I write about it. Because of a very caring doctor some things fell into place that allowed another very deserving woman to get surgery. She had tried for years and because of the efforts of many it happened for her. I will save that post for another time but the reason I am mentioning it is because of an organization that is looking to do what one of my organizations did but on a much larger scale.

Please meet Toni from WLSFA.

(she's in the middle)
Again...because I ventured outside of my "usual" bariatric stomping grounds I met Toni and she met me. After an appropriate amount of begging, I talked her into coming to the Obesity Help Costa Mesa Event. She's been a very busy woman on You Tube with all the wonderful "bariatric tubers" so she didn't know much about the Obesity Help world...hence the need for begging.

What a power house of a woman that has started with a vision and is making it happen! She is all business but lots of fun and if you saw her "Onederland Dance" on You Tube, you would have been most appropriately entertained.

Please visit the site and join:


Because Toni has taken this dream to help others and turned it into a reality. Please click on the logo and read about "The Vision" and "The Inspiration".

I have a little group called RYD Obesity and we put together two events and were able to make some surgery happen for some very deserving women. Imagine what could be done with a national group!

There is no greater way to put yourself on the road to weight loss surgery success than to give back or pay it forward. You can give what you can give...whether it's a few dollars or volunteering your skills or whatever you can do. Maybe you know someone who is deserving of help. Make sure to read about the first grant recipients and I think you'll fall in love.
Got to put one more picture of the wonderful ladies that let me sit with them when there were no places to be had. They were great company and it makes me think back to when I would have never had been brave enough to just sit down with complete strangers. We had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs.
I believe some great things happened that weekend that will turn into greater things and it all started with several people breaking out of their comfort zones. Sure it gets all cozy where you are, "where everyone knows your name", but take a moment and check out some other avenues every once in a while. Even if you don't upload videos you can create an account so you can comment or at the very least... view a few.
Hope to see you on the WLSFA site!
Bariatric smooches, Yvonne

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Let go...see opportunity in all things!

If you assume in favor of yourself and act as if it is possible, then you will do the things that are necessary to bring about the result. If you believe it is impossible you will not do what is necessary and you will not produce the result. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. ~ Jack Canfield

If you take the approach that "good" is not an accident...that everyone and everything that shows up in your life is there for a reason and that everything is moving you toward your ultimate destiny for learning, growth, and achievement, you'll begin to see every event (no matter how difficult or challenging) as a chance for enrichment and advancement in your life. If you don't feel this way then just stop, give up and don't even try...just wait for the inevitable.
Doesn't choosing the first option sounds like the best path? It is the only path for me and I hope it sounds that way for you too. Is it so wrong believe things can really happen for us?

Nope...but you have to put some effort in your journey. This has never been about the magic pill, the easy way out ....but it does open doors for you that were previously closed to you. The only reason those doors were closed to us before is because we believed we didn't deserve it.

Release the brakes and get out of your comfort zone because it is a largely self created prison. "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten."

Most people drive through life with their psychological emergency brake on. They hold on to negative images about themselves or suffer the effects of powerful experiences they haven't yet released. They stay in a comfort zone entirely of their own making. They maintain inaccurate beliefs about reality or harbor GUILT and self-doubt...and when they try to achieve their goals, these negative images and preprogrammed comfort zones always cancel out their good intentions no matter how hard they try.

The ones that walk a successful journey have discovered that instead of using increased WILLPOWER as the engine to power their success, it's simply easier to "release the brakes" by letting go and replacing their limiting beliefs and changing their self-images. Isn't that a relief? It isn't about's about letting go and letting it happen the way you want it to.

Jack Canfield also talks about baby elephants that are trained from a young age. If you tie a rope around a baby elephant's leg it cannot escape. As the elephant gets larger it could certainly get loose but it doesn't know it because the elephant has been trained that it cannot. The elephant believes it is real as silly as it is, the elephant's belief makes it true. We do the same thing by continuing to buy into those self limiting beliefs! Here are his three suggestions to break out of your comfort zone.

1. You can use affirmations and positive self talk to affirm already having what you want, doing what you want, and being the way you want.

2. You can create powerful and compelling new internal images of having, doing, and being what you want.

3. You can simply change your behavior.

Quit being that baby elephant and take that rope off your leg.

Run like there is no tomorrow and see yourself where you want to be.
Lose the self limiting beliefs and replace them with affirmations. Sure it's uncomfortable in the beginning but isn't everything that's worth having? Practice, practice, practice and then see if you can truly get your mind in a place where you can believe the following:
"I believe the world is plotting to do me good today. I can't wait to see what it is!"
Progress not perfection and every step you take is getting you closer to what you really want out of your journey.
Let go and love yourself,

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Unconditional Love

Unconditional love means keeping your heart open all the time. To do so, you may need to let go of the expectations you have of other people, of wanting them to be anything other than what they are. It means letting go of any need for people to give you things, act in certain ways, or respond with love. Many of you wait for other people to be warm and loving before you are. Unconditional love is learning to be the source of love rather than waiting for other to be the source. ~ Sanaya Roman

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Is it Kind, True and Necessary?

There's been much discussion of late about the rules of weight loss surgery. Sometimes it is difficult to decide just how compliant you should be when the rules seem to be constantly changing or being challenged by seasoned post-ops or even professionals. We are involved in a field still in it's infancy so research is in short supply and most often comes from the internet where you can find a dozen different answers to the same question. After spending nine years participating on forums and attending events I have had to make decisions on which information I consider valid. My first indication of the validity of what someone is offering is whether they are walking or working a successful journey. My first few years attending talks included a person I will not name that preached hard at us on how not to regain but each time I saw this person they had nearly doubled in size. I do not judge this person's regain but their information on how to prevent regain had to be questioned in my mind. It serves no good purpose for me to find fault in this person's regain or information...I merely moved on to someone that was walking the walk and talking the talk.

Online we have a large population of very vulnerable post-ops that may have spent much of their lives feeling "less than". Sometimes they are pulled like sheep into following others that have given them attention and when a mob mentality starts the followers often pile on too because it makes them feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves....much like gangs pull in young men and women because they provide them with a perceived family. So how do you decide if you are being a good sheep or a misled sheep? Perhaps you ask yourself if anything that is being said would be something you would allow someone to say to you. As I have talked and written about many times I have three rules before I post.

1. Is it kind?

2. Is it true? (really true, not something you heard, don't even believe a picture because I can fake the best of them)

3. Is it absolutely necessary?

Assuming can get you in trouble too. Just because I carry on a dialogue with someone on a forum or Face Book don't assume that I approve of this person's every word. Guilty by association is not fair. Judge me (if you must) by my written or spoken word. I would really prefer you not judge me at all and redirect your energy to a place that will be beneficial instead.

Sheep groups that push shame/blame/judgment/guilt will suck the life out of us and those emotions are not conducive to a successful journey. When you see the occasional bully mosh pit, step away from the drama. No matter the actions of the attacked we only lower our standards by wallowing in the mud and I will repeat for the dozenth time that I spent 30 years in the mud while being obese and I don't wish return.

Also know that we are rarely upset for the reason we think. I have these words recorded by someone but I'm not quite sure who it was but I will share this.

Rarely are we upset for the reason we think. Upon deeper examination, you will find that it is a recreation of an earlier pain, played out over and over in changing scenery with different people until you resolve it. It may be a reenactment of a childhood drama in which you were accused of things you didn’t do. Pain, anger, or resentment you feel almost always comes from a similar childhood experience. You recreate the pain so that you can move beyond it. Next time you feel angry at someone, stop. Close your eyes and go within. See that you have had similar experiences before. Realize that you are reliving some childhood decision and that now is an opportunity to end this pattern in your life and come from your deepest truth. Realize other people are only drawn to play out certain roles with you to help you evolve. Let go of any anger or blame you have towards them.

If this doesn't speak to you then just realize "pain is only triggered by another person when there is already pain within you".

Who's WLS rules are the best? The ones that work for you. If your journey is not going where you want it to go then I would suggest a change. You are like a radio that can receive many stations. What you receive depends on what you pay attention to. Also remember compassion is the ability to put yourself in the other person's shoes. Do not make the other person wrong and as you grow it is important to develop wisdom, release pain and rise above negativity.

Hang with the winners.
Fly with the eagles.
Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?
Show others the respect you wish for yourself.
Be kind to each is so very short...
Words hurt so think before you give them immortality on this thing we call the internet because once it's out there you can't take it back.
Love and light,