My Hero, My Mom

During her battle with cancer, but never without a smile

Today, August 31, 2011, marks the 5 year anniversary that my Mom, Kim Respess, left this Earth. After a 2 year battle with cancer she lost the fight 5 years ago today, but even though she is not here anymore she is still in the hearts of all of us that knew and loved her. Let me tell you a little bit about my hero…

She was born in Raleigh, North Carolina on June 16, 1963 to Ralph and Glena Freeman. She is the youngest of three girls (Donna and Abbey her older sisters), but that is just the general stuff. My Mom never once met a stranger. She could talk to any and everybody and it blew my mind. We would be in line at Wal-Mart and she would be striking up a conversation with whoever happened to be around. She loved dogs and throughout my 25 years we have had a number of them Shana, Chesney, Chewy (he looked just like Chewbacca from Star Wars), Chancey, Chester, Yoda, Scooby Doo, Cookie Monster, Angel, Cinnamon, Isabella, and Jackson. She loved to read and play video games (she dominated Ocarina of Time!). My little brothers and her would spend loads of time playing Gauntlet Legends on the Nintendo 64. She loved to cross stitch (I still have the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles one she did for me). Her favorite movies were Breakfast Club and Beetlejuice. She loved to watch TV, but most of all she loved us. She would do anything in her power to make us happy.

I can remember one time for Easter she gave me a coupon book. It had different things in it she came up with like go to the batting cages with Dad one day or get out of doing the dishes one night. I remember using one to go with her to see Indian in the Cupboard at a theater that no longer exists. Around Christmas in 1994 when The Santa Claus came out my Dad, Mom, and I went to see it at the theater (also not there anymore) by Gwinnett Place Mall. We would sit at the kitchen table and play Yahtzee! and peanut. It really is strange the memories you hang on to.

When she got sick it was a shock to us all and pancreatic cancer usually takes whoever it has a hold of very quickly, but my Mom was strong! She fought it for two long years. Over those two years I never once heard her complain about the pain even though I know it had to be ungodly. She never once asked, “Why me?” She just fought and stayed strong. If we were all half as strong as her, then we could move mountains. When she was in the hospital and had all the tubes coming out of her she was comforting me because I couldn’t bear to see my Mom like that. It hurt so much to know that she was in pain and that I was going to lose her. She was the best! I know that she is in a better place and free of pain, but every single day I miss her.

My Dad wrote a blog about her fight http://kimsbattle.blogspot.com/ go read it. It shows just what the battle with cancer looks like up close.

I miss you. I love you.
Your Son,
Alex

Q & A #4

Well, this weeks question I took from my unlimited friend’s page and it comes from Becky Metcalf. It reads as follows…

I don’t exercise, but I am ready. I’ve always wanted to run. How did you build up your tolerance? I run 50 feet and I’m out of breath. And does it ever get to a point where you can just run and run and you don’t get tired?

You build up a tolerance by repetition. Chris told me last year that if I wanted to do something then I have to do it and continue to do it to over and over until I got the hang of it. I know for me I do intervals. I am still building up my stamina to full strength post skin surgery. When I go to the park I am doing three “gangster” laps. I will run for 2 tenths of a mile and then walk the same amount off and on for a couple of laps. Sometimes I’ll do a tenth off and on. I will run a total of about 2 miles a day and then walk about 3. Each week I am adding a lap (1.1 miles) to the total and with each passing week I am becoming stronger and more running-tolerant.

So, run the 50 feet and then walk the next 50 to recover for an hour. Next week run 100 feet and walk the next 100 for an hour. So on and so forth. Give that a shot and I think that would definitely help. I haven’t reached the point where I run (for exercise) and don’t get tired, but when I reach that point I will up the ante because that means my body has acclimated to what it’s doing and needs a new challenge.

Hope this helps Becky,

A-Train

Q & A #3

Happy Wednesday peeps! I got an email the other day that really got me thinking. I began contemplating what I went through and what I have seen my brothers and other family members go through. When I was doing my pardio (cardio at the park) with my dear friend Alison we chatted about it. So, without further ado here is this weeks question courtesy of Olivia…

Do you recommend, teenagers that are over weight to lose weight? So they don’t have to worry about further health issues when they are older.

In an ideal world while we grow up our parents would feed us healthy food and we would get plenty of exercise, but this world is not exactly ideal. So, instead of healthy food and exercise we have fast food and video games. I think that it truly depends on the teenager in question. I’ll give you two examples:

  • Myself: My Mom and Dad did everything they could thing of to try to get me to lose weight when I was in my teenage years. My Mom took me to Weight Watchers with her and she tried to help me do that. That didn’t take. My Dad offered me $5 a pound I lost. That should have gotten me to lose, but no dice. On and on they tried to no avail. When I finally decided I wanted to change is when I changed.
  • My cousin Charlie: When he was younger he was overweight. He was always active playing soccer, but his diet wasn’t the best and he stayed overweight. When he was in his early teens he made a choice to lose weight. He went to a nutritionist who helped him with his diet and he continued to stay active and he lost his weight and to this day some 10 years later he has kept it off.

As you can see my cousin and I took very different paths. No matter the incentives I was offered I was not ready to lose weight even though I truly did not want to be overweight. Charlie wanted to lose weight and did what it took. The one thing I can say is that you can’t really force someone to lose weight. Odds are that if someone is forced to lose weight their mindset isn’t changed and they are more likely to go back to what they knew before and gain the weight back. If they choose to change then odds are they will change their mindset and the change will stick.

When my friend Alison and I were doing our pardio we started chatting about this and what could be done. The most overwhelming thing we came up with was that parents can start stocking their pantries and refrigerators with healthier foods. For the first few teenage years these teenagers are more than likely eating two of their three main meals with their family. Instead of fast food why not cook at home. If parents are working, then how about you take some time to teach these kids how to cook? Cooking can be enjoyable and parents can teach their kids how to do it so that they don’t feel like they have to go for the bad food when their parents aren’t around.

These are my thoughts. What are yours? Throw a comment down below and let your voice be heard!

A-Train

Q & A #2

For this weeks Q&A I have decided to go with one pretty substantial question. Yes, I know I said I would do a number of them each week, but I feel that this particular question warrants a good deal of thought. So, without further ado here is this week’s question courtesy of Amanda:

I’ve dealt with a fear of failure as I’ve worked on my weight loss.  It has held me back in the past because I would lose weight only to gain it all back double. This time I’ve really just decided failure is not an option, but that fear still rears it’s head every now and then. Did you deal with fear of failure, and if so, how did you overcome that?

During my journey I knew that I would have millions of people see my results. That could have been enough to have me cowering in the corner with fear. I didn’t so much see it as a fear of failure though, but more as an incentive to succeed. I knew that if I failed I would have to answer to millions. However, there was one person in those millions that I had to look in the eye everyday and that was myself. I couldn’t let myself down again. I had taken on this challenge and I was determined to succeed.

The fear of failure is very real and while I might not have that particular fear there are many who do. I think it’s alright to have that fear as long as you don’t let it hold you back. You need to fight against it. You may lose a battle with it every now and again. That is understandable, but you CAN and MUST win the war.

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall. – Confucius

Amanda, when that fear decides to rear its ugly head again. CHOP. IT. OFF! You may have a bad day where you run for the comfort food, but just remember that you have control. Choose to not make it two bad days, or three bad days. Look at the bad day. See what you did wrong. Learn from your mistake and correct it the next day. You can’t rewrite history, but you darn sure can write a happy ending. As long as the pen is in your hand the story is yours.

What will the end of your story be?

A-Train

Q & A

I think the title says it all so let’s just dive right in!

Q: My friends are always asking what keeps me motivated. So, maybe you can tell us what keeps you motivated. – Davette Baker

A: My overwhelming motivation in all I do is to make my parents proud. My Mom and Dad have been and always will be my biggest supporters. My Mom passed away far too young and my Dad has done everything in his power to keep our spirits up. He has done a wonderful job. I could not have dreamed of having better parents.

As for working out it changes daily really. Sometimes it’s a song or a quote that gets me pumped. The last song I listen to during every workout is “All I Do Is Win” and that pushes me to finish strong. Plus, with every workout I get stronger and I want to see what I can do next. That’s great motivation.

Q: What was the hardest thing about losing weight? – Christina

A: The hardest thing for me about losing weight was staying focused the whole time. Over the course of a year things happen and when you work out 5 hours a day, 6 days a week there are days when you just don’t want to. I’m not going to lie, some of those days I didn’t do my workouts, but other days when I didn’t want to I pushed through them. That is something we have to do. We have to fight harder when we don’t want to or don’t think we can. Anything CAN be done, you just have to want it bad enough.

Q: What are your favorite low calorie snacks? – Brooke Maneotis

A: I love me some fruit! Oranges are the best, but also pineapple and strawberries. Hummus is also a good one. You can dip your favorite veggies in it like celery or carrots. I also enjoy some non-fat Greek yogurt with some Truvia and maybe a little granola. Delightful!

Q: What is your favorite cardio exercise? – Robison Raie

A: My favorite form of cardio is a tie between intervals at the park and boxing. Boxing is a lot of fun because it lets you take out any aggression you might have built up inside and it gets your heartrate cranking. I don’t get to do this much because I like to have a partner hold the mitts so I usually stick to intervals at the park. I choose a distance for the day and alternate running and walking. Intervals are crucial in the battle for weight loss.

Q: How long do you exercise everyday? – Kristin Dunn

A: Well, when I was on my journey I worked out 5 hours a day. Now that I am maintaining I exercise between 2 and 3 hours. I still do 6 days a week though. I usually lift weights for a hour and then do some cardio for a hour or two.

There were a lot of great questions this week and if I didn’t answer yours this week check back next week as I may answer it then. Thanks to everyone who sent in their questions and keep them coming to alexrespess@gmail.com.

A-Train

Secondly

July 13, 2011

Happy Wednesday everyone! This is the second of the three opening week posts to introduce you to my new blog and to what we will be doing and when we will be doing it. This is just the base of the blog and if something tickles my fancy we might throw up some random posts.

So, Wednesday is going to be all about y’all. This is going to be question and answer day. I’ll answer between 5 and 10 questions every Wednesday that y’all send in. You can start sending your questions to alexrespess@gmail.com and I will start compiling answers for next Wednesday’s first Q&A.

Check back in on Friday to see what we’ve got planned. I think Friday’s are going to be lots of fun and I think y’all will really enjoy it.

A-Train