8/16/19 Long Update

I know I haven’t written much lately. My writing tends to ebb and flow. Here’s the latest update.

Post-Surgical Complications: I promised never to “sugar coat” my recovery from my bariatric surgery. For the most part, it’s been smooth. But for the last month or so, I’ve been having some serious digestive issues. I went to see my surgeon this morning, and it looks like I have “severe constipation.” I’ll leave it at that and post this photo. Which one of these things is not like the others?

TMI
I call this photo “TMI.” You can’t see it closely, but there is a new eye liner in the front. Need to find beauty amongst all of this shit.

Cat: The cat and I are adjusting well to each other. She seems settled in and likes her new surroundings. She likes her new cat food, catnip toys, and scratching lounge chair. She doesn’t like not going outside, when I close my bedroom door, and vacuums. Here she is exploring her Petco box.

IMG_2459
No, I did not order her from Petco.

My folks: Both are doing well. Mom is in remission (yay!) and dad is still dad. They’re heading for their first vacation since mom was diagnosed – a weekend in the Berkshires with friends, and then a visit to Boston to see us. We’re going to take a look at some independent living facilities – not for now, but just to be educated since many have long waiting lists. Trust me, they’re not moving anywhere soon. But it’s good to have options.

My boyfriend: Yep, he’s still sticking with me! It’s been 1 year and 3 months since we started dating. Longest relationship since college. He’s still a keeper. This weekend we’re going shopping with the kids and maybe a hike or walk. We’ll see how my “severe constipation” cooperates.

Work: It’s been a bumpy road over the last few months at work, but I’ve been reassigned to another boss – and this one is great. He lets me do my thing and seems to be supportive of my success. I needed that after the last few months of feeling beaten down. I am fully aware of how good I have it at my job – good benefits and salary, nice coworkers, freedom to do my work, ability to grow, nice office that is 5 minutes from home, opportunity to travel. As they say, the grass isn’t always greener…so unless something really amazing shows up on my doorstep, I’m going to keep pressing on at my job and go from there.

Moods: So, in or around 1999, I was diagnosed with a mysterious mood disorder, later categorized as major depression and anxiety. That was 20 years ago! I can safely say that because of medication and talk therapy, I am doing really well with it all. There’s depression and then there’s major depression. I’m not trying to take away from other people’s problems, but until you’ve experienced a major depressive episode, it’s hard to understand what it is like. It’s incredibly hard to do pretty much anything unless curl up in a ball under the covers. I don’t have many of those experiences these days. I am pretty much functioning with a balanced lens – some days are better than others, as with life. It’s a lifelong struggle.

A quick shout out to JB, loyal friend and reader, who recently had a little girl! Can’t wait to meet her soon.

Hugs and kisses to you all!

 

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Nermal

It’s been a wild week. Weeks.

My boss resigned, so I’m now on my 3rd boss in 1 year. And, my assistant is going back to grad school so she’ll be leaving. So, I’ll be the last person standing besides the national team member who works out of our office (who is a delight).

I’m working on whipping the office into shape, and have asked for a promotion, but I don’t know where I’ll land.

I met the rest of Ted’s family! So lovely. I really like them all, and they’re very good to me. And of course, Ted is the best! ❤️

Mom is doing well. She’s in remission so she’s been living her best life. We splurged on Gucci purses from Amsterdam so I can’t wait to give her hers!

And me? I’m hanging in. Very tired. Sad my trip to Africa has come & gone. I need to go through my photos and create an album. Maybe this weekend??

My friend Jen and I are headed for makeovers and dinner on Sat. Should be so fun.

Oh, and I’m now caring for Nermal, Ted’s cat! Here she is:

Quick update 7/16/19

Been too busy to write about my unbelievable journey through Kenya & Uganda but will do it soon!

Came back to more changes at work – my current boss resigned, so that makes my third boss in less than 2 years! Rolling with the punches. Advocating for myself since I love my job. We shall see!

Heading to the Cape this weekend to meet the rest of Ted’s family. Looking forward to that – I miss him! Saw him a few hours when I got home, and now he’s on vacation this week with the kids.

More later!

PS came home to a pledge gift of $125,000 at work! 🙌

Vacationitis

Vacation countdown! 1.5 workdays left until I’m off from work for 2 weeks. I need this break so badly! Even though it will be a very active vacation – full days of education and discovery with 24-hour travel cycles – it will be so nice to take a breather. I can’t completely unplug because I have a work event on the Sunday when I return, so I may need to check email & whatnot.

Having lunch tomorrow with my good friend, and then vacation begins! Getting a massage in the morning on Saturday, and then spending the day with Ted. Heading to hear/see a podcast recording in the evening with another friend. Sunday will be packing/saying goodbye/hanging with Ted.

Still can’t quite believe I’m traveling across the world to Kenya and Uganda. I can’t even imagine what it will be like. That’s the fun of it – exploring a new part of the world – and experiencing it for the first time.

Want to learn more about my trip? Click here!

5 inch shorts

I bought 5 inch jean shorts today at Target in a size 14. Last summer I had Bermuda shorts from Avenue in a size 24. Listen, I rocked both pairs but the freedom I felt today wearing my new shorts, a T-shirt, and Flip-flops on an 88 degree day was pretty awesome. I had a little more sass in my step (in my ass?). Granted I wore them to pick up a slice of pizza but who cares?

My shorts (not my butt, though) 😉

It was a good day.

Today was a good day. Ted and I took his kids to Hampton Beach, NH which we agreed was “honky tonk” (thank you for that term, mom) but super fun! We hung out on the beach and then wandered to the sand castle contest (see below), then hit up the arcade where we played skeeball, Ms. Pac-Man, centipede, and other childhood faves. We stopped for dinner and then wandered a bit more before heading home. Kids passed out in the backseat while Ted and I made plans to see each other as much as possible before I head on my Kenyan/Ugandan adventure. They may come over tomorrow to swim in my pool.

Celebrated what a difference a year makes, between mom’s remission & my nearly 80 lb weight loss. I felt comfortable for the first time in years in my swimsuit & realized I could probably bypass the Bermuda shorts for shorter ones at the beach. All great feelings!

One year ago…

Just sent this email to my family:

Last year at this time, we were waiting in the lobby of the hospital as mom was in her 12-hour surgery to save her life. We didn’t know what would come of the future.

Today, mom is in remission and embracing every day. She’s got plans to travel to the Berkshires and to attend a family wedding outside of Boston in Oct. Some days are better than others, but overall, as I told her, I’m starting to believe in miracles.

I’m heading to the beach today with Ted & the boys. My arms are sore from my vaccinations – because I’m going to Uganda & Kenya a week from Monday! – but I’ll suck it up. I’m going to embrace life today! ❤️

Declaring my independence

I finally pulled the trigger and did it – I unaffiliated from any political party in the US. I was an independent for years, and when I moved 7 years ago to a new town, I changed my affiliation to the Democratic Party. I’m a Dem, I thought. And I was. I rallied for Hillary and cheered on Obama.

But then something changed. I felt the push and pull of the 2 party system. I felt the rift, the divide between them growing larger & larger. And then I voted for our governor, Charlie Baker, who is a republican. I felt guilty, like I had betrayed my people. But when I read his statement, I was more aligned with his views. I seriously felt guilty.

And then the government shutdown happened. I was embarrassed how both parties handled it. I felt myself pulling away again.

So, I changed my voter registration to “unaffiliated.” This doesn’t mean I don’t still love Obama & Hil. I do! It just leaves more room in my soul for others. 🇺🇸

6/16/19

Happy Father’s Day!

I’m awake because I just threw up the crackers & cheese I ate. Yep, still adjusting to what I can and when I can eat.

I laid low this weekend because it’s been a busy few weeks. I haven’t seen Ted since Wednesday, and I miss him. He was on the Cape with the kids and his folks, but he’s coming for dinner tomorrow.

Last weekend we celebrated my parent’s 50th anniversary. It was lovely.

It’s 11:55pm so I’m going to try to get some sleep now.

Toes & Woes

I couldn’t resist the title above. For the first time in probably 10 years, I painted my own toe nails today. It sounds silly but it feels like a big milestone that I could bend & paint! In full disclosure, the polish is kinda a hot mess but you have to start somewhere.

My woes are minor – it’s my parents anniversary this weekend & we’re gathering the NJ crowd to celebrate. I can’t come up with a speech idea! Ok, I think I have one now but talk about writer’s block!

5/28/19

It’s been a minute since I last wrote.

Ted & I celebrated our 1 year anniversary back on 5/20/19. Congrats, Ted, for surviving a year with me! We spent the long weekend on the Cape at his folks with the kids. A lovely weekend!

Mom is doing well – appears to be in remission – and busy getting her life back. She even went to NYC last week with her friends to see a matinee. Love it!

Been busy buying my summer wardrobe and gathering items to take with me on my upcoming trip to Kenya & Uganda.

Looks like I’m getting a cat. Ted’s cat will likely be coming to live with me. Decided it’ll be nice to have the company when I’m alone. Go figure! Years ago when I broke up with Dan #2, he told me I was too picky and was going to end up alone with a house full of cats! Look who has the last laugh now – a great relationship AND a cat! 😃

That’s pretty much it!

Calm after the Storm

My poor parents. They read last night’s blog post and were very concerned. I assured them that I wanted to document my anxiety attack to educate my readers but to also remind myself that I can overcome said attacks. I did. I woke up this morning, got to my 9am call and 9:30am meeting, and did fine. This is what high-functioning people do. They struggle, deal and move ahead. We have no choice if we want to function well in our lives.

When I got home last night from work, I bumped into my next-door-neighbor and I told her I thought something was brewing. She said that I have a lot going on and it was understandable. My mom told me this morning that my dad said that I have so many good things going on…why be so glum?

It only takes one small thing to set the anxiety in motion, but fortunately, I have learned strategies to deal with things when they come on. First, I can tell when they are brewing. I often warn Ted or my folks or my brother/sister-in-law so they will look out for me. I tell my two best friends. I reach out to my supports. So, today, I told them all that things are stirring up for me right now. They then know to be patient and check in on me.

I often take a social media break when I’m in this place. Social media can be wonderful to wish friends happy birthday or whatnot, but it can also be triggering if there is a lot of negative political or news on there. We’re all subject to that.

Listen, it is vulnerable to write about this stuff. Who wants to point out their vulnerabilities? Because I know it doesn’t define. I can also be a caring daughter, loving girlfriend, successful fundraiser, and good friend while dealing with depression and anxiety.

In this article, it discusses some of the side effects of high-functioning anxiety, including some physical ramifications. Remember I mentioned my stomach issues the other day? Clearly they are stress related. How do I help them? I work on eliminating the stress. It’s not easy – it’s a day to day struggle – but I’m conquering it little by little. Stay along for the journey!

This is anxiety

It’s 3:15am & I’m wide awake with a head full of remorse. I’m regretting something I said earlier in the day. It was none of my business. Now, rational me tells me to let it go, it’s done. Learn and move on. But anxious me can’t. I’m gripping it with my brain and stressors.

I’m writing about it in the hopes this helps. I can’t figure how to disconnect comments on this post, so I’m asking – please don’t. I just need to vent.

Do you have anxiety too? You can imagine this moment, right? Heart pounding, pulse racing, the swirl of wind in your ears. Tossing & turning in bed as you ruminate over and over about your regrets.

It’s brutal. I can use my CBT skills to calm it down or take a pill, but then I may not make it to my 9am meeting. So I opt to wait it out.

This is anxiety. I will go listen to a podcast to distract my thoughts.

Had to take my medication. Couldn’t stop this attack on my own. When my anxiety gets to the point where I can’t talk myself down, I take medication that will kick in & lull my thoughts. Can you believe I’m live documenting this? Even within the moment, I understand the importance of documenting my journey so that I can go back & read about a heightened moment & hopefully know it will get better. But in this moment, it’s unbearable.

Not sure what else to say. Waiting for that lull. In the meanwhile, brushed my teeth (again) and listened to a podcast. Those usually calm me down. It’s quiet outside – peaceful – but I still feel the ringing in my ears.

You are experiencing me with anxiety. I’ve been dealing with it, that I can recall, since I was 24, but maybe even sooner. Still waiting for the lull.

ah, the lull. The moment my medication kicks in. My thoughts start to calm now. I can focus on rational thoughts again.

I have just taken you with me during a raw moment – a panic attack. If this stirs up anything in you, I apologize.

Again, no comments, please ❤️

5/14/19

Belated Happy Mother’s Day to the moms out there (and my friend who is a future momma!).

My mom mentioned that so many people commented on her wall on Mother’s Day. “I guess they’re glad I’m alive. It was touch and go there for a while,” said mom to me on the phone. I believe I responded something like, “fuck yeah we’re glad you’re alive, mom.” Maybe I said that in my head, but it’s the truth.

I’ve been dealing with some stomach issues – dumping syndrome – but working on it.

And, I’m going to Africa! Yes, in July, I’m heading to Kenya & Uganda for 10 days with our local Jewish federation to see the impact of Israel on two developing countries. Super excited. Need to get my yellow fever shot. You know, all the cool people need vaccinations for their vacations from work.

Speaking of work, things have somewhat calmed down since the 25+ people quit or were let go in the past year. Yep. I have one of the longer tenures there. 2 years. But I’m determined to make it work!

We’re busy planning mom and Dad’s 50th anniversary party in June. A huge reason to celebrate…so glad ted will be joining me. Speaking of, next Monday is our 1-year anniversary! Love you, Ted! ❤️

Meet the Parents

So, I finally met Ted’s parents this weekend! What a lovely couple! They welcomed me to their home on Cape Cod from Saturday morning through Sunday afternoon, which is a bit of time when meeting your son’s girlfriend. They were gracious and so kind. It doesn’t surprise me since Ted is such a good person.

We toured a few towns around the Cape, and on Saturday, Ted & I spent a little time wandering. We had his kids with us, so they entertained us throughout the weekend.

All in all, it felt comfortable, and I had a good time. Progress! 😃

Writing a book

It’s been my dream since I was a kid to write a book. I guess with Amazon you can self publish. Do I need to write a best seller? Mulling this over.

4/29/19

The weekend in NJ was nice. I arrived on Friday and we had meatballs that mom’s aide made. They were too dry. We all went to bed early, and I had one of the best sleeps in months. I told dad I believe it was because I saw, with my own two eyes, that mom was doing great.

On Saturday, mom & I showered, got dressed, and headed downstairs to hit the shops. Mom chatted with her neighbor and then she sat in my car, and proceeded to throw up. Thank goodness I had a trash bag in the car as I was cleaning it out. I ran inside, grabbed more trash bags and a roll of paper towels. Mom insisted she felt fine and to press on. We were both looking forward to shopping.

We arrived at 606, our favorite local boutique. We picked out a few things for mom to try on to wear for her anniversary party, coming up on June 9th. She sat in the dressing room and suddenly held her hands to her mouth. I asked the woman working at the store if she had a trash bag. I grabbed it, handed it to mom, and she threw the dressing room curtain shut.

Mom did her thing and handed me her credit card, asking me to pay for the items she had selected. I went to the counter to pay, and she eventually walked towards me. She saw a pretty purse nearby and said, ” throw that in too.” Somehow, amongst the throwing up, we managed to drop $600 in 10 minutes!

We headed to our other favorite shop, Welcome Home. We’ve shopped there so often that the owner know us. She was so happy to see mom! We wandered a bit. I followed mom carefully because I had a trash bag tucked in my purse. About 10 minutes in, mom excused herself to my car. You can guess what happened next. I paid her bill, and grabbed a few items for her for Mother’s Day. I took mom home and as soon as she laid down on the couch, she was out. She slept there without a peep out of her for 3 hours. I went out and ran some errands for her & dad.

The rest of our family arrived, and we had a Passover meal together. Between courses, we all gathered in mom’s room where she lay peacefully so she wouldn’t get sick.

Sunday morning, she woke up and was completely fine. Ate, had coffee, chatted on phone.

Every day is a new day.

4/27/19

In NJ now visiting my folks. Both look well. Mom is very thin but otherwise, doing well. She has a lot of energy & is walking around like a champ. She’s anxious to “get her life back” and is making plans with friends. She went to a Seder last weekend, and out to dinner twice! She said it was a miracle. I’d like her to share the credit for her success too 🙂

I didn’t mention it before, but I met some of Ted’s family – his brother & sister-in-law who love in MA, and their kids & in-laws. Lovely people! Smart, kind, just like my Ted. He’s with his kiddos this week, or he’d be here in NJ with me. But we’ll both be here in June to celebrate my parent’s 50th anniversary.

Looking forward to shopping with mom today! My brother, sister in law, and her folks are all headed here tonight for a belated Passover meal. Should be a good day!

4/25/19

My former boss was laid off yesterday. We have been assured that no more layoffs are happening but I don’t think anyone feels secure.

Needless to say, I’m exhausted. I don’t think I’ve slept well in weeks.

Saw my friend J last night (hi!), who is visiting from Philly. So nice to reconnect with a good friend!

Heading to Ted’s tonight, and then to NJ tomorrow to see my folks for the end of Passover. Mom and I have plans to go shopping on Saturday – it will be our first shopping outing together since her surgery last June. Can’t wait!

Never forget.

In other sad news, my cousin’s mom on my mom’s side passed away late last week. Her name was Gittle, and she was a survivor of the Holocaust.

I remember like it was yesterday – December 19, 1987 – my Bat Mitzvah celebration. Afterwards, the out of town guests went back to my house to have coffee and watch me open presents (ok, that’s clearly a 13-year-old’s memory). My cousin Fay (daughter of Gittle) was there, and my mom told me that she was a survivor, born in a DP camp. Fay told me her family’s history, and I never forgot it. It’s been more than 30 years since I heard that story, and I still remember. Our family was part of this video below, documenting their experiences during the Holocaust. If you have 22 minutes, take a look.

 

Winning.

Screenshot 2019-04-22 14.43.28.pngThis morning, I stopped at my local Dunkin Donuts for an iced mocha. I like it with almond milk (lactose intolerant) and light on the chocolate sauce (bariatric surgery). It was handed back to me with gunks of chocolate on the bottom. I told the guy behind the counter that I had asked for lighter “mocha” and he then handed me a cup of ice, no mocha, with a splash of coffee and almond milk. I couldn’t even get my straw into the cup. I then asked for a large cup. I started explaining that as ice melts, it expands and the cup would overflow, but then I stopped and said, “Please, just give me a larger cup.” I poured the medium into the large, and headed to work with enough ice to make a second iced coffee in the office. I call that a win.

Then I got back into the car and when I got to Newton Corner, where I have to cross over two lanes of busy traffic rather quickly to access our parking garage, no one would let me over. I finally jerked my car ahead, and quickly made it into the garage without having to circle around the block. I call that a win.

We then had a meeting that was scheduled from 12-3pm. It ended at 2pm. I call that a win.

So, when someone told me this weekend that the “Jews were responsible for killing Jesus,” I responded that “I wasn’t there so it wasn’t me” and left it at that. Can I call that a win? I can call it offensive, off-putting, and ignorant, but I don’t call it “surprising” because there is a lot of anti-semitism out there. Is it right? Nope. But spending the afternoon with this gentleman was quite pleasant, once we moved away from the whole different religion things. I call that a win.

70.

I weighed myself this morning and I hit the 70 pound weight loss mark. Crazy to think I’ve lost that much weight since October 22. I’m pretty excited about it. My energy levels are so much better. I can work out more and I’m not always out of breath. It’s awesome!

Things with work vary day by day. It’s a bumpy road that I hope with smooth out soon.

Exciting weekend ahead. Ted and I will celebrate Passover at my brother’s house, and then Easter at his brother’s house. We’re so domesticated. But, in all seriousness, things are going well with us.

Mom is doing great! She’s been gaining back her strength and is embarking on a journey to a friend’s Seder this weekend. I’m even hopeful that we’ll go out shopping together next weekend when I’m there to visit for the end of Passover.

That’s pretty much it. Off to watch makeup hauls on YouTube.

4/12/19

TGIFF, righScreenshot 2019-04-12 12.13.19.pngt?

It’s been a rough few weeks. Yesterday my depression hit me like a ton of bricks, but I managedto pull myself out of it by soliciting some chat time with my sister-in-law. It definitely helped to talk through the stuff that’s bothering me.

Mom is status quo. She’s gaining her strength back and putting in a lot of effort to get stronger. Go, mom, go!

Spending time with Ted and his kids this weekend, which should be fun. It is supposed to be 70 degrees tomorrow, so that’ll be awesome.

Work is…well, currently a 4-letter word…but I’m putting in my best effort to get through the days. 2 more people resigned this week.

Ciao for now!

Monday, Monday

It’s a new week. Pressed the reset button.

Mom is home. She was in the hospital last week because of bowel/colon obstruction. Remember that they had to rebuild her insides during her cancer surgery last June? Well, these are the side effects. She’s in good spirits. Just spoke with her for a while.

Had a nice weekend! On Sat Ted and I took his kids to a local museum and then out for bbq. Later that night my college besties came over for dinner. On Sunday a friend came by and then I did some wandering around the local mall.

That’s all for now!

Tumult.

Monday. Going about my business when we hear that our CEO has resigned. Our COO is out. Our CFO is now CEO. Our ED is now CDO. All announced in 30 minute meeting.

Phew. Needless to say, I’m wiped out and stressed out.

Guess I need to update my resume because you never know. That’s the problem – you don’t.

In other news, I had a lovely weekend, namely because I spent a lot of time with Ted.

My mind is spinning.