Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Chemo Buddy.

Hi there,
   You may have read one of my previous posts called "I Can Relate". If not that is okay, this is just somewhat of a follow up, so you may want to refer back and read that one quick :) The first paragraph talked about my mom being a breast cancer survivor, so today I am going to go into further detail about this story.
   At a young age, when I was in preschool my mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. At this age, I don't believe I knew the extent of the situation or what was actually going on. I don't remember everything as I was very young, but there are a few things that I do remember and hold near and dear to my heart.
   You may not believe me when I say this, but I remember the exact spot where my mom was standing when she grabbed ahold of her chest and gasped for air. My dad proceeded to ask her what was wrong and that's when my mom said, "I keep having this sharp pains in my chest". Now why I remember this moment, I am not sure but I also remember getting some sort of feeling as if my mom was in for something that wouldn't be fun. The stories and days in between are grey and fuzzy... I don't remember much but I also don't want to go into too much detail for the sake of my mom.
   I remember missing out dance and even some school. It was hard for my mom to take me to preschool and take part in chemo at the same time, so those days, I went with her. I remember knowing the doctors and them knowing me by name. I remember the purple popsicles that split into two, that my mom and myself would share. I remember spending those days barricaded in by the hospital curtain away from the rest of the world with just my mom. One of my greatest memories was when I went with my mom to a follow up appointment years later of being cancer free and one of the nurses remembered me. None of these memories really sank in until I became older and realized what was actually going on during this time and those days with my mom.
   As I got into high school, my mom wrote me a letter for a retreat I went to called COR (Christ in Others Retreat). In that letter she told me I was her light at the end of tunnel everyday when I was with her during chemo. She told me how I reminded her of all of us kids and we were the reason she kept fighting for her life. She called me her "Chemo Buddy". I remember her telling someone, if she wouldn't of had her "chemo buddy" she doesn't know how she would of made it. That gives me the greatest feeling of pride to know I stood by my mom like I did. I couldn't see the beauty in that then but I do now.
   Too many times, we don't appreciate the things our moms do and I'll be the first to admit that I'm one of those people. My mom does so much for me and our family. She doesn't receive the credit she deserves. She's one hell of a woman and is always putting others before herself. Being able to say I was her "Chemo Buddy" and having her as a mom is an honor and privilege.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

No Connection.

I know I said I had blogs to follow my previous post but I’ve recently had my beliefs challenged as to whether sororities and eating disorders have a connection and I feel the need to write about it. When I sat back and thought about this, it somewhat made me mad. The thought of my sorority “causing” my eating disorder is just disturbing. Especially since my personal experience was nothing close to that assumption. My sorority was part of my support system. They held me accountable. They are still supporting me now in my advocacy towards eating disorder prevention and awareness. 

To anyone who thinks a sorority would cause an eating disorder:

A sorority IS a group of women who:

·      Build each other up
·      Hold each other accountable
·      Love one another
·      Volunteer together
·      Succeed together
·      Have fun together
·      Care for one another
·      Look out for each other
·      Support one another

A sorority IS NOT a group of women who:
·      Tear each other down
·      Cause their friends grief
·      Are mean to one another
·      Cause their friends to starve themselves
·      Cause their friends to become malnourished
·      Ruin each other’s self confidence
·      Cause their friends to take part in a partial hospitalization program

If anyone in a sorority takes part in the immoral actions I just listed, shame on you. YOU may have caused the eating disorder, not the sorority. 

I am tired of there always being a negative connotation with the word “sorority”. I’m especially disturbed when it’s connected to the words eating disorder, something I personally struggled with. I do not believe a sorority would cause an eating disorder, nor should it ever cause one. I wanted the opportunity to bring a positive light towards sororities as most times people seem to assume and think otherwise.

With Love,
 Johannah Michale

Friday, April 1, 2016

I Can Relate.

Hi Everyone,
            I know it’s been a while but sometimes I write blogs and I’m not happy with the final product. I try to put a lot of time and thought into my blogs. To do this, I like to set aside a time to reflect, write, and just be in the moment. (I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true) Today my entire story is going to be put out on the table. Before you continue to read, I want to you to take a moment and realize I am writing this blog today to relate to people and show them they can get through anything. Sometimes I find myself scared to share all of these stories because I don’t want people to think I’m looking for attention or sympathy.
Today’s post is going to be the base for the blog posts to follow. I’ll touch on multiple moments in my entire story, in future blog posts I will go more in depth on each one. Hopefully this makes sense! If not, it will eventually I promise! So majority of you reading this may or may not have read my previous posts on my page “Find the Beauty”. Have you ever wondered where I came up with that title? I picked this title because it connects to so many aspects of my life and can relate to anyone who may be going through something difficult in their life. Based on my previous posts, you know that I struggled with body image and an eating disorder. You may not realize that my family and myself have gone through more than my eating disorder.
At a young age, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was in preschool and yes at that time I didn’t realize what exactly was happening but now looking back it was tough on my family. I would say I missed quite a few days of preschool, as it was hard for my mom to go to chemotherapy and be back to pick me up on time. Because of this, I went with my mom to chemo. To this day, she will tell you I was her “chemo buddy”. I could tell you so much more and so many more memories I have, but I’m saving them for another post J This was the first and we were hoping the last time God would test our families strength.
When I was in 6th grade my oldest brother and biggest role model made the decision to drink and drive. He was in a car accident involving two other people and was sent to prison for 5 years and was released in 2 1/2 because of good behavior. We can sit here and justify his decision deserved those years in prison, he knew that himself considering he plead guilty but my family still went through something I don’t wish upon any family. To watch my biggest role model be handcuffed and taken away from me was the hardest thing to watch. One thing I'll never forget was how I had the opportunity to watch my brother own up to his mistake and become a better man, friend, and brother because of it.
The following year my dad was in a farming accident where he fell 70 feet in a grain elevator due to a faulty counter weight. I will never forget that day when my aunt Heidi came to my school and told me to grab my coat and bag. I was headed to a hospital where there was no guarantee my dad was still alive. To our surprise and the entire community he did survive. Again, I could go into so much detail but I’ll save my thoughts for a follow up post!
Throughout high school and even into my college years is when I struggled with an eating disorder. At this point, I thought God was out to get me. I thought I had done something wrong because he was giving me yet another struggle.  You’ve all heard about my personal battle, how I overcame, the beauty I found in this situation but as you could probably assumed, there will always be future posts about this.
This past summer, we found out my beautiful niece, Everlee was diagnosed with Congenital Disorder of Glycosylation (CDG). You may not be familiar with CDG and that’s okay because my family wasn’t either. It’s a very rare genetic disorder and when I say rare I mean Everlee is 1 of 900 cases in the United States. Everlee is two years old and simple motor skills such as grabbing objects and handing them to people is challenging for her. She is doing fantastic with therapy and making tremendous progress. A family friend told me the other day there is no greater family that could love and support this little girl and the obstacles she’ll face everyday than mine and I couldn’t agree more. Everlee will have a different life compared to most kids but she has wonderful parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents that will beside her every step of the way. Please stay tuned for my follow up blog regarding Everlee and CDG. We would love your help in raising awareness.
My family has been given some obstacles but I truly believe God wouldn’t have given us anything we couldn’t or can’t handle. We have all been given obstacles or struggles in our lives but I’m here telling you about mine so you don’t feel alone in yours. We can all relate to each other somehow. Finding the Beauty during these hard times can be tough but if we’re all patient and look hard enough, we can find it.

            Love, JohannahMichale

Thursday, March 3, 2016

National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA)

What’s new you may ask? The list could go on forever! I’ve been up to a little bit of everything! All of which, I am going to share with you here! Today I want to talk about the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) Walk I am coordinating for this coming April! This is the 2nd annual NEDA walk in Iowa City and the only NEDA walk in the state of Iowa! The walk is going to be held on April 16th at Iowa City Park starting at 9:30. Our goal this year is to raise $10,000. Here is the link for the website, www.nedawalk.org/iowacity2016!

I have been working so hard towards this walk and I would love your personal support! I encourage you to come and participate! If you would like to register, here is the link, http://goo.gl/OrPpqS. We are looking for sponsors as well, please feel free to contact me via e-mail: Johannah.vittetoe@gmail.com/Facebook if you would like to sponsor or know anyone who would! We can’t make this NEDA walk happen without sponsors! If you can’t participate in the walk and can’t be a sponsor I still encourage you to donate to this amazing cause! Here’s the link to do so, http://goo.gl/blBX9s. I am currently working on my speech that I will share to the entire community before the official walk begins! Seeing some familiar faces in the crowd would be nice J If you can’t do any of the things I’ve listed above, please like and share our Iowa City NEDA walk Facebook page!

NEDA is a phenomenal National Organization that does so much for those struggling with eating disorders! I have had the privilege to work with them and they have been the greatest help and support system in making my wants and dreams happen with Eating Disorder Advocacy!  NEDA is currently giving me so many opportunities and I am taking advantage of every single one! I am coordinating this NEDA Walk, bringing Proud2BMe (an online eating disorder community and support group/system) to Iowa State University’s Campus, publishing my writing pieces to the Proud2BMe online community, I am a media watchdog for NEDA, and currently going through training to be a NEDA Navigator! NEDA Navigators are volunteers who have first-hand experience with eating disorders and are well into their own or their loved one’s recovery. We have been trained by NEDA staff and clinical advisors to be a knowledgeable, informal source of guidance to others. I am so excited about all of these opportunities and can’t wait to share my experiences with you here on my blog! Please stay tuned and keep finding the beauty!


Thursday, February 18, 2016

I Found the Beauty Within My Letters.

How is everyone? I’m just getting through my classes, starting my field experience for my elementary education major, and trying to overcome this awful cold. Aside from that, I want to talk about my sorority today. Too many times, people are so quick to judge when they hear I am in a sorority. I am a member of Delta Delta Delta, some of you may or may not know the name. You may have heard some negative stereotypes or maybe you’ve heard we raise thousands of dollars for our philanthropy with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Clinics. I want to talk about one of the many things that stood out to when I was considering Tri-Delta and now being apart of it, what has impacted me the most. 
When I was going through primary recruitment and I was struggling with my eating disorder and body image. I remember having a conversation with a friend of mine on how I didn’t know if I could do this whole sorority thing. I remember telling my friend how I’ll never get into a house competing against all of these amazingly beautiful and confident girls. She told me, she didn’t know if it was a good idea for me either. She didn’t want me putting myself down anymore than I already was. This all changed when I walked into the door of 302 Ash Avenue.
Tri-Delta nationally participates in a movement called Fat Talk Free Week. When I heard about this, I knew this was the house for me. It was the house I needed at that very point in my life. Fat Talk Free Week is a weeklong event where all of us sisters hold each other accountable. We put positive post-it notes all around the house and on the mirrors. We promote positive body image, have guest speakers, and participate in fun activities as well. I wasn’t allowed to say one negative thing about myself. If I did, one of my sisters would call me out. It wasn’t just this week my sisters did this for me; it was all of the time.
My sophomore year I was finally comfortable enough to tell a few of my sorority sisters what I was going through. I was scared to tell them, but I am so happy that I did. They were the first people I told, they were the ones who made me realize it was all going to be okay. I never knew someone could have my back like these girls did. They called me out when I wasn’t eating, they hid the scales from me, and made sure I had the support I needed when I was struggling. They were my rock. Too many times, people don’t see the beauty in sorority letters. I have been lucky enough to find the beauty in mine and I am so grateful for that.
Tri-Delta has given more than what people probably realize. The very moment I told those girls in 2nd Add what I was going through is a moment I will never forget. They were my first step to recovery and I could never thank these girls enough for what they did for me that year. They will always have a special place in my heart.

Delta Love and All Mine,