It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like….MAYHEM!

Well, it’s been long enough, hasn’t it?!?!

I sincerely apologize for the delay, but I promise it was worth the wait!

I have been really busy the past month or so…with all my “birth month” festivities, and planning for Relay for Life on April 20th, and my first excess skin removal surgery on April 22nd…I’ve been feeling like I’m in a race against time. I want to leave things manageable for the person covering for me at work, I want my living space to make me happy before I’m confined to it, I want to make sure I’m in good shape so I have a better recovery that doesn’t negate any progress I have made fitness-wise…and on top of that my Relay for Life team has 17 days to raise $3500 and meet our $5000 goal! AHHHHH!!

However….I am pleased to share how many awesome things have happened in the meantime. Let’s recap, shall we?

1. Alex and I went to Vegas on the weekend of March 22nd (remember how she surprised me for my birthday with tickets to Monster Jam monster truck national championships in Vegas, because I am strangely in love with monster trucks?), and we had a BLAST! We walked down the strip and got on the VIP list for almost every hot club in the city, and that night we headed to Chateau Nightclub and Gardens at the Paris Hotel, and not only got in free, but got free vodka drinks until midnight, and were up close to the stage to see a performance by Jay Sean!! Saturday, we decided to sleep in a little bit (til like, 10am, which is totally luxurious, for us) and headed to breakfast. We played Keno while we ate, and didn’t win a thing. We decided to go back up to the room and get ready for Monster Jam, and then play the slots a bit before we caught the shuttle to the stadium. The casino had given me a free $5 gambling voucher for signing up for their rewards club, and when I finally used it I was all excited to be up like $30. At one point, I kept losing and losing on each 50 cent bet…and I told Alex “I think my luck is running out. I’m gonna keep spinning ’til $16 then I’m done.” Lo and behold….I hit “Max Bet” again, and the machine goes CRAZY! It goes a little something like this:

Alex: Omg! What’d you win?

Me: I don’t know!!

Alex: OMG! I think you just one A HUNDRED DOLLARS!

Me: OMG!! A HUNDRED DOLLARS!! (machine keeps making a bunch of racket and goes past $100)

Alex: WAIT….I think you won $300 dollars!

Me: WHAT?!?!?!

Some random man: I hope you played the max bet young lady!

Me: Yes sir, I did!

SRM: You just won 4000 credits…

Alex: SONDRA JO!  YOU JUST WON A THOUSAND &^$@&@$* DOLLARS!!!!!! (Hits me in the arm….she was trying to make me understand what’s happening. I was in shock thinking it was $300 as it were).

Me:…..omg.

Long story short, I won a THOUSAND FREAKING DOLLARS.

winner 2

winner 3

winner

winner 4

(And my copay for my surgery is $500, so that was pretty freakin’ awesome to get just a month before!) Also, we went to the casino next door to catch the shuttle for the rally and played the Wheel of Fortune slots 10 minutes later, and Alex got a spin, which landed on 1000 credits…and she won $250!! 3.23.13 was lucky for us!!!

2. Also, in the past month, after learning that my excess skin removal of the abdomen was approved, I was waiting to hear whether the thing lift was approved or not. My surgeon made it clear that I was a great candidate for it, but the big issue was the fact that insurance companies always kick it back as “cosmetic” and won’t consider it to be “Medically Necessary,” which therefore gives the full financial responsibility to the patient.

But alas, I am blessed! I got a letter in the mail that my thigh lift has been APPROVED by insurance as Medically Necessary, and I will have it done 2-3 months after this first procedure! The surgical coordinator told me on the phone that I am the ONLY person in the 11 years she has been with Scripps to get it approved. It’s pretty much meant to be. And I am EXCITED!!

At my pre-op appointment today, I got to do my absolute favorite thing (NOT), and put on a robe with just my bra and underwear underneath, so Dr. Arya could come in and pull the waistband of my chonies down and expose “The Flap.” This is actually the first photo I’m ever posting that really exposes it!

pre op

I am always so uncomfortable when this happens…but I thought about something: What about that first 30 Day Challenge shoot I had in my bathroom in September 2011?

The very FIRST 30 Day Challenge photo...over 100 lbs ago!

The very FIRST 30 Day Challenge photo…over 100 lbs ago!

Side Shot

Side Shot

30 day 1

Ugh! I just totally had a little breakdown going back to this post…and it’s bittersweet. I still feel like this girl. I still love her. She still drives me to be BETTER every single day. But I am so happy to have left her doubts and insecurities and health issues behind me! This new life I have created for myself just keeps getting better, and keeps taking me to new places I couldn’t have imagined. And I am so excited to see everything unfold the way I had anticipated! I even clean my bathroom mirror more, these days! 😉

It’s been an amazing journey…and it ain’t over yet! We still have white bikinis to wear on beaches, and I still have to find a way to force Sports Illustrated to let me be a cover girl. Just once, guys! I promise I won’t disappoint! SERIOUSLY!

I know some of you have asked me to document the whole excess skin removal process, and I promise I will update as frequently as possible with all the info you’d want to know! Especially after surgery when I’m home and bored for 4 weeks!

That’s all for now, but I hope everyone is having a GREAT week so far!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

Relay for Life 2012: Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back!

Wednesday before last, I joined a Relay for Life team with The American Cancer Society.Due to a combination of joining late, and past experiences with fundraising….I am ashamed to say I set the bar kinda low and set a goal to raise $150 before the event on Saturday. 10 days, $150. Seemed like something I could certainly pull off.

The following Monday arrived, and lo and behold: I had raised over $200 already! Then, I attend the team meeting, and our team captains informed us of a new challenge: They started us at $0, and were awarding the person who could raise the most before Friday night at 10 pm. Between Monday and Friday of last week, I sent emails, I used ACS fundraising scratchers, and appealed to every person whose child I ever bought wrapping paper from.

Friday night at 10pm, I had raised a grand total of $532. Ten days. $532.

At the event this past weekend, I tried my best to walk the entire 24 hours, as I promised all of my amazing donors that I would. At the conclusion of it, I am proud to say I walked roughly 19-20 hours overall. We took a few brief meal/body icing/sunscreening breaks, and I ended up napping for about 2.5 hours at around 3 am this morning. We figured out that the track was .25 miles around….and that we were completing about 3.5 mph. With that being said, it is safe to assume that I walked a minimum of 66.5 miles over the past 24 hours. That doesn’t, presumably, include the walking to the car up a RIDICULOUS flight of stairs and around a bend to the parking lot. Lol.

Overall, this was a pretty emotional event for me. Although I have lost some family members to cancer, I can’t really say I knew them all too well. I have been blessed to meet survivors along the way, and they have inspired me beyond words. However, one thing about this event really struck a chord with me: the statistics revolving around Cancer, regardless of what type it is, are terrifying. As I become a “grownup,” I am more cognizant of the fact that the people who have raised and shaped me are growing older. I fear that this disease will continue to take my family from me….particularly, my father. My grandfather died of lung cancer in 1998. My father smoked for the better part of his life, just barely quitting in 2002. However, he continues to struggle with Alcoholism.

I have a strange relationship with my father. His disease put our family through more despair and disappointment than I care to remember most of the time. He went from being the man I loved the most, to the man I feared more than anything. His disease caused him to become someone other than the guy who used to rescue me from the neighbor’s treehouse every afternoon, to the man who fell asleep on the couch all day with his sunglasses on. He went from the man who took us to amusement parks, to the man who took us to the bowling alley, because they had a bar there. The man who joined a CD club because we shared a love of music, to a man who only seemed to liked me when we were at karaoke bars together.

When I was in middle school, I’d have to make sure I slept in whatever room our phone was in, because I was used to the police department calling the house to confirm that in fact, the drunk man they were detaining actually had kids to get home to. I left home when I was 15, because I knew that if I woke up to being hit again, I might not make it to see 18. I turned 21, and got a call from the police to pick my intoxicated father up 30 miles away from my home, because he had fallen asleep on a bench at a bus stop.

I will never stop loving this man, nor will I ever stop hoping that he somehow finds it in himself to beat this disease, no matter how functional he may be with it. Some of the statistics I learned with the research I did on the American Cancer Society caused a deeper fear in me. The same bad habits took my grandpa away from my dad. I can’t deal with my dad on a daily basis….in fact, I am almost ashamed to admit that I prefer not to. But my unconditional love for him is unwavering, and I know that God heard the prayers I sent up on the track this morning when I did a few laps alone.

Seeing all of the survivors on that stage did something to me. It happens every time I see or meet someone who has a victory to share. Whether the fight is “over,” in progress, or has just begun…I can see the blessings. I am looking forward to joining a friend again this fall in Balboa Park for a breast cancer event, and I am seriously considering doing the Susan G. Komen 3-Day event as well.

I am fearful….but I am far more inspired than anything. I will continue to support the efforts made to cure this disease. I don’t want to lose anyone else.

Again, I want to extend an ENORMOUS thanks to every single person who contributed to my fundraising goal, and everyone who couldn’t give money, but gave me support and encouragement. I was not only walking for my loved ones, but for yours as well.

And so, in an effort to get some sleep after all of this craziness, I shall leave you with some photos.

Our Team Tent! GOOO Belles in Boots!

Get a party going? all you need is a kazoo! We kept cheering with them allll day long!

Cowgirl Lap!

Pajama Lap!

A little rain couldn't stop us!!!

Sports Team lap!!!

Our team captain on the survivor stage!!

My survivor, Rose! ❤

Kicked off the event with a survivor lap! My coworker and friend Rose is in the middle holding the banner! YAY!

First Lap!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you all again, from the very bottom of my heart. and good night!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

30 Day Challenge Part 8, and Some Random Nonsense!

Alas, here we are again.

I’ve said it before: This never gets easier. But it certainly is rewarding! Lately, I have been dealing with myself on some major body-consciousness issues. Being that I was always big before, I was pretty familiar with what parts looked like what, and how to handle it. As the weight drops, I am learning that I have to dress the part (haha, funny pun!), so to speak.

I can wear slouchy tops without looking ten pounds heavier now, but I can’t fill out a dress like I used to. Half the styles I like to wear are now too large on the top if they fit on the bottom, and too small on the bottom if they fit on top.

Can a girl just buy a simple, yet killer empire-waist dress without having a panic attack in the fitting room, pretty please?!

And then, when Sean and I went to Disneyland, I realized something that kinda pissed me off: No matter how much weight you lose, how proud of yourself you become? People are just rude.

I’d like to send a pleasant shout-out to all those at Disneyland who were kind enough to STARE at me wearing my denim shorts all day at the park. From tourists, to Disney Cast Members. 1) My thighs aren’t nearly as large as they used to be. And though they may jiggle, you ought to thank your lucky stars that I wasn’t wearing daisy dukes, or those ridiculous shorts that are so short, you can see the pockets! 2) Although the common public may frown upon larger women wearing shorts…..I’m GROWN!

This is Disneyland, people. Why on earth are you so worried about what I’m wearing? Don’t you need to go get your fastpass for Space Mountain?!?! People would literally look me up and down, stare at my legs, and then say something discreetyl( so they thought) to someone in line with them. And then me, being the hot head I can be (Ask Alex about the lady in the Albertson’s parking lot who cut me off in her Lexus. :)), I would just loudly say, “Wow! If one more person comments on my legs, I might have to look into endorsements!” or “If one more person comments on my legs, I am going to LOSE IT!”

I have no shame. I do what I want, and that includes wearing shorts. And if you don’t like it? Kiss my butt. It doesn’t jiggle nearly as much as my thighs do. Thank you, 24 Hr Fitness! 🙂

I saw a photo on Tumblr recently that really struck a chord with me, and it was all I could think about with all these sad individuals judging me all day:

Sadly, this is the type of societal attitude that leads to all these young girls with eating disorders. Girls who hide their snacks under their beds, because they know people will just look at them with judgment and criticism when they eat them in public. Girls who can’t get past their small chests, or big butts. Girls who hate their thighs, think they would feel better if their hair was thicker….it all stems from a lack of body acceptance. And I can’t change the world, and the way that the people in it think. But I can certainly change the way I think about my body and myself. I love myself. And I love that I have wide hips, and big thighs. I  can get over going from a DD to a C. I will wear shorts, and I will always dress in a way that makes me happy, and makes me feel good.

If they don’t like it….cool. If I can’t change it…fine. But I’m not letting it run my life, or ruin my day. And who knows? Maybe changing my own outlook will end up changing even just a miniscule percentage of the world.

Anyways, on to the good stuff (aka, me in my underwear. Bow chicka wow wow)!

January 2012

That was in January. And then….there was April!

Today, front shot! BAM!

And the side shot!!

And so, my friends…that is that. As I said…I can only be. I can’t be you. I can’t make you realize how significant these changes are, or understand why I would bother to wear shorts in the first place.

But I can certainly look at where I came from, look at where I plan to go, and pat myself on the back for making it this far.

I'll do just that!

OH! and before I let you go! Remember my fabulous experience at The Boudoir Divas that I was raving about? They just recently posted a YouTube video with testimonials about the Hair and Makeup experience with my lovely new friend Peggy (seriously, I feel like she is my friend after our hour together!), and you can catch yours truly towards the end! Check it out here!

Love you all, and hope you have an AMAZING week! I’ll be posting again later this week, with some of my favorite picks for summer: swimsuits, cosmetics, skincare…I go nuts for this stuff!

If you’ll excuse me, I am off to Sprouts for dinner fixins’ and then the gym for a run and Zumba later this evening.

Please don’t forget to check out Relay for Life. I’ll be walking for TWENTY-FOUR hours this weekend, and I have a new fundraising goal to meet! Go to RelayforLife.org and search “Sondra Holtz” and donate to my team! Help us raise even more for the American Cancer Society! And, a HUGE shout out to all of the amazing people in my life who have already made huge contributions. Love you guys!

‘Til Next Time!

XOXO

Sondra Jo