Sunday, February 18, 2007

Definitely... Not the Swan

Yesterday we had a houseful of people, mostly family members, to celebrate a birthday. Mark will be turning 25 on Tuesday. He looked wonderful, handsome and very glad to be alive. I wasn't feeling well and plunked myself on the couch to be an active observer of the festivities. It was mentioned more than once, just how much gratitude we all felt that there was even a birthday of his to celebrate. Sitting there, I could feel the energy in the room and see the smiles on everyones faces. The conversations were animated and my eyes still can't be filled enough with the sight of Mark. Because I was there at the scene of the accident, the image of his mangled person slips into my mind unannounced, so the life that he emulates now, still feels like a gift. I don't recommend for any mother to see what I did, but no force on earth could have kept me from going, after he called and I heard the eerie calm in his voice.

So, it wasn't hard to smile with all that happy laughter coming from these people that I love, but after they leave, I am left physically emptied of every ounce of energy that I have. Crowds do a number on me, it is a phenomenon that I will never understand. As each hour goes by, I can literally feel the strength leaving my body. I didn't do any of the cooking and cleaning. All I had to do was sit there and on another day I might have even said....and look pretty, but I was anything but that.

I have gained weight and it shows.

Between taking different medications, low energy levels and dealing with pain, I have found a new way to deal with the comfort that I need... cold~sweet~calorie filled~ frappichinos. Food has never brought comfort to me, but now I understand it's pull. I actually feel better when I have one. The cold liquid soothes the pain in my chest and the sugary yummy taste is something I crave. It's satisfaction is very temporary, but I deal with so much pain and fatigue, a few moments of comfort seem so worth it to me. Now, months later, 10 more pounds have accumulated and the fact that I have gained some weight was said out loud.

It hurt
I cried
But I won't undress in front of anyone
Most of my clothes are uncomfortable
And the worst thing is
I know it's true
And now, all I feel
is Fat

I need to make some changes in my life and I really don't want to.


Blogger turquoise cro said...

Wish more than ever we lived closer so we could be FAT sisters exercising and watching what we eat! I think an extra 10 pounds on you wouldn't look so bad, you looked like you had lost weight in some of those pics! Happy Birthday! to Mark!!! Yayyyyy! xoxooxo, Cinda BIG SMOOCHES!!!

2:47 PM  
Blogger Boho Girl said...

Oh Dar...I am sorry this was said to you out loud. We've all had to recover from those Portuguese blurt outs at family gatherings, haven't we?

If it helps at all, I was JUST with you and I didn't think you looked like you put on an ounce. You are lovely just as you are.

I know whomever said it probably came from the perspective of you being anything other than a rail is healthy for you and your Lupus...but I know that doesn't help much.

I missed you guys yesterday. I had to go to an engagement party but my heart was with my family and the party you all had for Mark.

We are proud of Mark and all that he has gone through and how wonderful he looks.

Big warm hug and be gentle on yourself. Remember...Jay thinks you're HOT.

love you,
lil sis

2:56 PM  
Blogger Deb R said...

Oh, sweetie, I'm sorry you got hurt like that. That was so thoughtless of someone to say. I bet you're still beautiful, no matter what you might think now. {{{{{Darlene}}}}}}

Happy Birthday wishes to Mark!

3:41 PM  
Blogger Chulita said...

Oh Darlene, I sorry your feelings were hurt and hear you about the weight gain--and I have much more than you, believe me. It wouldn't bother me so much if my energy level was OK and my clothes didn't feel so constricting, but it's not and they are, so that means I too need to make changes that I don't want to make. Thank you again for your honesty, you will never know how helpful it is to others, at least to me. Always remember though, you are a beautiful woman, inside and out. Lots of love!

Happy Birthday to Mark!! I'm sure it was and will be one of the most memorable birthdays of his life. I'm so glad he is still in this world!!

5:19 PM  
Blogger Angela Marie said...

Hey love~ I am sorry this was said to you. I have to agree with Denise.

I AM with you... and you are my swan friend. I know you are probably rolling your eyes as you read this, thinking "Ange, and you think this and this because you love me." You are right! I do love you. I would like to see any one person go through what you have gone through and come out better? You are going through a very rough patch right now. It takes time to get your bounce back in your walk coming out of something like this. You know what? It isn't even the same walk you walked. I felt this way after a crisis or two. It changes you to some degree. It is going to take some time. You do NOT feel good on top of it... wow! I feel a little protective right now.

Darlene.. I love you. You will start to feel better. You will start to want to make changes. It is going to take some time.

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Kim in IN said...

You are soo beautiful Darlene,inside and out. I've gained weight too,for what it matters,and I feel it,I sure don't need someone commenting on it.
P.S. Can you *try* to take it with a grain of salt?

6:07 PM  
Blogger gracie said...

Isn't it weird how 'putting on weight' is a 'bad' thing or a 'good' thing depending on who we are? For Mark, that comment would have been a celebration! For you.... not so.
I put on weight lately too and people have commented saying "you are looking so much better"... so while I am sick of having limited things in my wardrobe that fit, everyone seems to think I look better this way.

6:27 PM  
Blogger ~Bek~ said...

Beautiful Dar... you are such a skinny minny I bet 10 pounds would do you good *grin8
Okay I appreciate you would not agree.
I DO KNOW how you feel ... I have gained about 10 KILOS in the past 18months, thats more like 20 pounds.
But you know what angel? I really love Susannah's quote on her blog... 'You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.' ~ CS Lewis
So I think no matter your body changes (and it will change again :-))... you will always be goregeous to me.

Happy happy happy happy birthday to wonderful Mark!!!
((hugs)) and much love

6:29 PM  
Blogger Nic Bridges said...

It's horrible to have your feelings hurt by a thoughtless person (who probably thought they were saying something positive - I can tell you are sometimes too thin).

I'm trying to improve my health & fitness right now, and it is soooo hard to keep motivated when I get tired or depressed, so I can only imagine how difficult it must be for you to allow yourself to focus on these things when you have so much on your plate.

Be kind to you.

Happy birthday to Mark!!!

6:34 PM  
Anonymous Annie Morris said...

Dearest Darlene,

So strange to read everything that I thought only I went through, on someone else's blog.....

Getting fit/losing wieght while co-existing with Lupus is a real menace. Only this morning I had to explain (yet again) to a gym trainer that I had Lupus, and no, it wouldn't be a good idea for me to do 10 minutes on a cross trainer set to 'mountain'......

I think that it's important to realise that we need to change to accomodate different stages of our lives.

Concentrate on getting over this current (and all that it entailed) hurdle, and go gently to see what will and will not trigger a flare.

I go to the gym, but more often that not, I land flat on my back for the days in between. It's easy to wonder why I even try.

I have recently become very fond of fresh fruit, ice, skim milk and a wee blob of lo-fat yogurt, blitzed in the blender. The more ice the better, as you're right, there's something real good about a cold drink....

Just take care, and wow, if you really have put on 10lbs, you really needed to, because in no way shape of form do you look overweight!

7:12 PM  
Blogger Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

Sweet Dar,

Sorry that you to think (even for a moment) about weight ...

You are a beautiful, lovely woman and as my daughter & I say "real women have curves"!!

That aside, I'm so happy that Mark had the pleasure and joy of celebrating his 25th birthday -- fanfu#$ingtabulous!!

xxxooooxxxooo, Deb

11:05 PM  
Blogger Jemima said...

I'm a firm believer in (some) cravings being your body asking for what it needs. I know there's also stuff like boredom and bad habits but let's ignore that for a minute.

Maybe you need a little extra padding? Women are far too skinny if you ask me. Who knows what your body might be asking for. But I guess, like raising a child, there are times when it's ok to give in and times when you have to stand firm and say no more.

And a happy birthday to Mark. You really are so lucky to be sharing it! Birthdays are all about the mother if you ask me, except when it's MY birthday, of course ;-)

11:19 PM  
Blogger Shaz said...

Oh wow Happy Birthday to Mark.

Now I dont and cant comment in a way that is going to make you feel any better than you do because that feeling is so awful and I know it all to well.
When I really went down hill about 3/4 years ago after my stroke in 6 months I had put on, wait for it about 30kgs. I think thats like 60/70 pounds. I went from being the hot mumma of four who looked like a sister, to the fat one who doesnt look so hot even for 4 kids. Babe I so know how it feels It didnt need to be said for me the looks were enough and its awful.
But let me assure you that 10lb would work on you or off you, it is nothing in the big scheme of what you have been through and what your going through.
Kick back and enjoy your calorie packed cold drinks because you are gorgeous Honey and Beautiful and amazing.Anyone who says otherwise will cop it from me (wink, family or not) I love you too xxxx

4:14 AM  
Anonymous acumamakiki said...

I'm sorry you had to hear those words....they sting and linger in a way that other hurtful words roll on by. I think it's hard when you've always been rail thin, to gain weight.

Those frappuchinos (sp?) are amazing and if you feel better (even temporarily) than so be it. Stress puts our bodies into fight-flight mode which means we hold onto any extra calories just in case.

I wish I could offer a wise word to make the hurt go away from the insensitive comment about your appearance. Just know that you are much loved and a beautiful woman. I always tell my young daughter that what makes her beautiful is not her clothing or her appearance, but what she has inside. Beautiful is a kind and gentle heart and you have that Darlene in spades! xo

4:54 AM  
Blogger Left-handed Trees... said...

It seems to me that people who comment on others' weight often are just struggling with their own body issues or matter how they look. I hope you will be gentle on yourself and know that you have been through such an incredible life-upheaval that ten pounds on your physical frame are truly nothing compared to the alterations of your inner landscape! You are beautiful and strong...I wish Mark a happy birthday and some peace for you!!!

6:00 AM  
Blogger Jack K. said...

Happy Birthday, Mark. May you have many more, and may they be less stressful than this one.

Darlene, adding 10 pounds doesn't necessarily make you fat. However, since you feel that way, I can only wish you the energy to make the changes you feel are appropriate for you.

One of these days I'm going to put our rather expensive treadmill to good use. Being a dust catcher doesn't seem enough for it to do. Perhaps tomorrow.

6:15 AM  
Blogger Michelle O'Neil said...

Tell that inner critic to shut the hell up. (Tell that out loud critic to shut the F up).

You have been through hell lately and you have handled it with unimaginable grace.

A little self medicating with frappachinos is totally in order.

You are BEAUTIFUL! Be gentle with yourself.

7:57 AM  
Blogger Michelle O'Neil said...

Oh, and Happy Birthday to Mark!

7:58 AM  
Anonymous jen said...

the one thought that went through my head when i read this was.... that this does not need to be your concern right now... I am all for being healthy and feeling good, but I put more importance in the later. this isn't true all the time... but sometimes... you just don't need to worry about right now... feel good and do what makes you feel good. i think you need that more right now than another things to worry about... sending much love and many warm and happy thoughts....

8:20 AM  
Blogger hepmomto3 said...

Happy Birthday Mark!!!! What a wonderful thing to celebrate!

(((((Darlene)))))) go easy on yourself. ITA with jemima - sometimes the body knows what it needs. As someone who has struggled with weight related self-imagine issues all my life, I know how you feel. For me it's 30 pounds right now, but even with those gone, I still manage to beat myself up. We could all learn to treat ourselves with more love. xxoo

8:28 AM  
Blogger LEstes65 said...

First, please tell Mark that we are so excited he is celebrating his 25th birthday. Birthdays always make me think of the mom, too. The woman whose body was the portal through which this miracle arrived in our physical world. So birthday blessings on YOU, mom.

As for the weight, I'm so sorry for your hurt. I get it. It hurts to hear and people just don't think before they say the most rediculous things. My beautiful mom (who has never really given in to vanity) answered the phone the other day and apologized for her lisp - she was wearing Crest white strips. This is because her shoot-from-the-hip aunt made the comment "Do you know they make things that whiten your teeth now?" when my mom visited her in the nursing home. She also asked my mom if she knew there was cream for her wrinkly neck. My mom said she had laughed off the comments but obviously she hadn't.

Making changes is hard. Especially when you have other things already loading up your plate and when you feel like crap. I'll pray that you have the strength to tackle what you want. And that God give you a healthy do-able vision of what to change.

Love you...Lynette

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A big happy birthday wish to Mark..

And Darlene...heck with what you have been what if you have gained a little weight. You've still got that beautiful smile and the weight will come off when you are feeling energetic and back to your more normal routine, I would think. And people who make comments like that...well, I guess its' just ignorance or something...Not stopping to think how their words hurt..

Take care and KNOW this too shall pass...

love, dd/sandy

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...


You have the support and love of everyone here. We come to hear about Mark, that is true, but we also come here to praise you. You are so hard on yourself, too hard in fact. We need to make changes in our lives, and we resist bitterly.

Crowds drain me as well and parties are painful for me in all ways.

Happy birthday Mark.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Kim G. said...

After all the trauma you have experienced in the past few months I'm amazed that the worst you have to struggle with is the 10 pounds! You have gone through so much - if anyone ever deserved to have a bit of comfort from some sweet frozen drinks it's you! Weight gain is not the end of the world - remember when you were pregnant? Each pound was a validation that you were doing an important job - growing a life inside you. Take these 10 pounds as a validation - you have been VITAL and CRUCIAL and played a significant role in the "re-birth" of your son. Consider it "baby weight" (only 25 years late)!

9:37 AM  
Blogger luzie said...

Oh Darlene, I'm so sorry someone's blunt comment hurt you so much. I will never understand how people can be so rude and thoughtless. You are beautiful, inside and out and I hope that soon you'll feel like that again. Hugs!

And Happy, Happy Birthday to Mark!


10:17 AM  
Blogger bee said...


you are one of the most beautiful women i've ever seen. i'm sorry that you were so hurt by someone's careless remarks...and that it may cause you to feel guilty about something that's giving you comfort in times like these. i'm sending you a big hug.

send mark a very happy birthday wish...

10:50 AM  
Blogger Jenny Rough said...

Happy, happy birthday to Mark. So glad he's alive to celebrate.

11:35 AM  
Anonymous suzie q said...

Hey you, you gorgeous twin soul of's a Taurean trait, y'know, putting on weight! ;) I was so used to being the same weight forever (apart from a blip to have my son), that now, here in middle age, it has come as a real shock to feel so heavy & overweight, carrying some 20+ pounds more than I was used to for a couple of decades...I walk every day, hardly eat enough to keep myself going, but there it is and there I am! In all my podgy glory! :D

Celebrate your Buddha Belly (if you have one) my love, and celebrate that wonderful, miraculous birthday tomorrow!!

Yay, Mark! Congratulations Big Guy, and Many Many Happy Returns of the Day!! Tell your Mum how gorgeous she is and give her a huge hug from me! ;)

Love to you all on this Joyous occasion. With you in Spirit ~*~ Suze xXx

12:17 PM  
Blogger la vie en rose said...


I do relate to the energy drain. I'm a big introvert so people drain me very easily...and sometimes it can come out of nowhere. I'll be fine and then suddenly I just shut down, like a deflated balloon. It's just something about me and being with a lot of people...even if I don't actually have to converse, even if I just have to be in the room. All the talking, all the energy, all the does a number on me...

ps--Happy Birthday Mark

1:33 PM  
Blogger Kim - ScrapToMyLu said...

Oh my goodness........I am so sorry for the rudeness that was shown to you. I have always looked at your photos and thought that you are such a natural beauty. 10 lbs isn't going to change that. 100lbs isn't going to change that. Your body has and is going through SO much. If it needs 10 extra pounds to keep pushing your forward, so be it. Embrace it. I used to be small, but of course I thought I was fat. Then a thyroid disease and parathyroid disease decided to move in. 50 lbs later, one surgery later........I was skinny and I missed it. I would LOVE to be that fat again. I still teach fitness classes and have become one of the most popular instructors due to my life trials. So, please honor your body for what it's doing for you. You are a beautiful amazing person. The person who said those horrible words were only speaking their own fear.......and what do you suppose their intentions were? It's not like your life has been a walk in the park lately.
Take care and enjoy those amazing cheek bones. :)

2:32 PM  
Blogger Georgia said...

Oh :(

Isn't that always the worst? When I started my job last year I was asked no less than 20 times if I was pregnant, or when I was due... Whaaa???? Nope, sorry not pregnant, not even close, thanks for asking. I would laugh it off and change the subject.... urg, sometimes people say things without thinking.

I am sorry someone said anything to you.... I also have gained 10 lbs.... due to my horrid dependancy on Dr. Pepper... its either that or anti-psychotics... so I will have to make some kind of a change too... but diet??? no maam... :)


4:08 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

Happy Birthday to Mark! How wonderful that he is here and happy to have it! :)

As for the other, that sucks that you felt hurt like that. I am sure you look just fine, but I know how it feels to not feel like you look fine. And I get how food was not a comfort, and then kind of became one. I did this right after I had Wyatt! But I did not put on a little old ten pounds, sister! I wish...Try 30. Ugg.

Cheer up! I know you are still beautiful. Because that shines from within you.


6:40 PM  
Blogger Blue the Spa Girl said...

Up and down. Our weight is like our life. Up and down.
You genetically are so blessed, beautiful both inside and out.
This will right itself eventually.
You have so much to deal with.
I wish you well, and hope you feel better soon.

6:56 PM  
Blogger Cape Cod Kitty said...

"Fat" is a completely relative statement....not to you but to the person who made the observance. VERY hard to ignore when you are in such a vulnerable positon emotionally and physically. I have been there - words said by my beloved mother to my husband at the time - while I was in earshot. Finally after many years, I have come to understand that my weight has nothing to do with me as a person.
Happy happy birthday to Mark and congratulations to you, too. You have accomplished a major miracle.
I hope you can be easy on your beautiful self and focus on just doing the best you can each day.
Ease, peace of mind and energy to you.
Cape Cod Kitty

2:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being a fat girl, I know just how it hurts to have people make comments about my weight/appearance. Please don't take it to heart, and I know that's hard. But you'll be better for it. Hang in there, sweetie.

Happy Birthday, Mark!

10:36 AM  
Blogger dee dee girl said...

no matter what is said of you, GOD never thinks any less of His creation. Thinking that, always makes ME feel better, but not only that, knowing that makes it better.

love and hugs to you!

7:57 PM  
Blogger Alexandra S said...

The kind of beauty-really the only kind that SHOULD matter if this world was truly right side up- is the beauty our hearts contain through the acts of love we choose to generate, and YOU, Darlene, should be getting an award for how honestly and openly and bravely you have been as a mom, nursing your son back to life in so many ways all the while struggling with your own health challenges. What kind of a world do we live in that measures beauty by the width of our waist and stomachs??? Don't do that to yourself Darlene!
And as for frappachinos, they are SO delicious and actually, being on Weight Watchers right now, I learned that a coffee blended one without the whipped cream is only 4 points so really its not so decadent! Its got like 4g of fat, 230 calories or something like that- ask them to make you a maple coffee blended one next time-its the best but not on their list. And Happy Birthday to your son. Oh Darlene, I am SO happy he has come so far.

9:00 PM  
Blogger gerry rosser said...

Amazing how negative body self-image can sap emotional strength.

10:18 PM  
Blogger Claire said...

Grrrr. I hate when people say it out loud. You are such a strong and fabulous woman, honey, so please remember that, blurt outs notwithstanding. I'm so pleased that Mark's doing so well!


4:24 AM  
Blogger AnnieElf said...

I've never understood why people seem to think it is OK to comment on someone else's weight gain. It's not as though the person who has gained the weight hasn't NOTICE. I'm so sorry. You don't need personal critiques when you are dealing with your own illnesses and Mark's recovery. (((HUGS))), a big one, but gently given, Annie

3:52 PM  
Blogger daisies said...

oh hon ... during the time i spent in nicu and then the months that followed filled with grief, the pounds kept piling up ~ i think that it was comforting somehow hiding myself and it is only now that i am feeling ready to find myself again ~ am so sorry that your feelings were hurt, you are beautiful regardless of any weight gain.

warm hugs sweetie!

9:03 AM  

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