NYC–>BOS

It’s 2pm and I’m on the train, heading home after an overnight in NYC for work.

If I wasn’t convinced I needed bariatric surgery before, I am now. Between walking 8 short blocks to the subway – taking the train – and then walking to the event, I was sweating so profusely. And so tired. Seriously, a couple clearly in their late 70s walked briskly by me and made it to the event a good 3-4 minutes before me. And then I traveled back the way I came, fortunately this time in the company of my wonderful colleagues. Seriously, they are amazing people.

By the time I stopped to pick up a salad at Sweetgreen and made it to my hotel room, I was sweating again. And tired. I sat on the bed, texting with Mr T, watching Bachelor in Paradise on my iPad, and eating my salad. My legs and back were hurting. I looked at my phone and saw that I had walked about 7,000 steps. 2.4 miles. Not even what the daily recommendation is (10k).

I don’t want to feel like this anymore. I joke that I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in about 10 years. It’s true. I used to be such a good sleeper, and as I’ve gained weight, I’ve had trouble. I’m ready to throw my CPAP (which my family and I call “Jacques”) out the window. I want to kick Jacques out of my bedroom!

I have all of these desires – to go hiking with Mr T, to pick up skiing again (did you know that I could go over moguls as a kid??), to go snow tubing, to kayak on the Charles River. I want to take advantage of my gym membership! My mom was teasing me because I bought hiking boots – and truthfully, they’re still in the bag – but I bought them as a symbol. I cannot wait until I’m in a place where I can put them on and hike the Great Blue Hill with Mr T or double-date with Ken & Marina on one of their trips to New Hampshire.

The good news is: I’m motivated.

Tomorrow is my “Immersion Day” at Mt Auburn where I learn all about the surgery and aftermath. And I met with a dear friend this morning (hello!) who has a friend who is 5 years out from her surgery, so she’ll be a good contact for me. And my family friend (hello!)’s wonderful wife had the surgery and she’s already reached out to me to offer tips and support.

Ciao for now!

 

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BC/AC

I told my dad I feel like our lives are divided: BC (before cancer) and AC (after cancer). He totally got it.

Today is mom’s first round of chemo. As luck would have it, I am here in NJ so I’ll be able to accompany her. It takes 3 hours – she said, “You don’t have to sit with me,” but I’ll bring my laptop and work from the hospital. It isn’t like I haven’t done it before. Again, grateful to my amazing boss and job that I have this flexibility.

This was today’s FB post:

Screenshot 2018-08-13 11.04.36.png

Sharing it here in case you missed it. Mom is barely eating – she is enjoying protein shakes, eggs, and a few other favorite foods. But I doubt she is even consuming 500 calories a day. But Dad is enjoying the food deliveries, although he said he has lost 10 pounds too (which delights him).

Speaking of weight loss, dad and I had a big heart-to-heart on Saturday night about my bariatric surgery, which is still full steam ahead. He and mom said they want me to hire someone to help me post-surgery since they can’t be there to help me. I said I would consider it but I’m not really sure what help I’ll need. Maybe laundry – but my cleaners do it for me – and errands – Amazon, anyone? I have Mr T, Ken, and Marina, and some friends who can help, so we’ll see if it is needed. I’m hoping to have the surgery towards the end of October, after my 2 big work events. #priorities

More later about the chemo.

So, it’s 10:22 pm. Chemo day #1 went very smoothly!

We arrived at the doctor’s office at 12:45, and mom’s chemo went from about 1:30-5:30pm. It was an extended day but it should run about 3 hours now on Mondays.

I worked through most of the chemo as mom & dad chatted with the nurses and other patients. Of course, they knew other people getting treatment. Small town.

Mom had energy and more of an appetite tonight. Amazing what some drugs can do! I ran out and got her pills, more snacks, etc. We all settled into College Jeopardy. I killed it tonight. I’m seriously the smartest 43 year old college student. Ok, I’m obviously kidding but it’s always nice to win in fake Jeopardy.

We then watched the most painful show to watch – it’s called “escape to the continent” or something like that. Brits go to their favorite places in Europe, look at tons of homes, and never end up purchasing one! So frustrating. Bring on House Hunters International – in 30 minutes, they’ve sold all of their earthy possessions, looked at tons of houses, rented one, and moved in. Yes, all in 30 minutes. Bring me that instant gratification, please and thank you.

But I digress.

Mom did great today.

I’m off tomorrow for a work event in NYC. Ciao!

August 6, 2018

So, I made a comment on my post from 6/27/18 that I appreciated how clean Sloan Kettering is because I had caught CDiff years ago from a hospital. I spoke too soon.

Mom got Cdiff. If you don’t know what it is, google it. It’s nasty. Poor lady. She’s on antibiotics for it now so hopefully it’ll go away soon and let her recover in peace.

It’s Monday and it already feels like a long week. I have an 8pm work meeting so it is a long day. I haven’t slept well in weeks so I walk around like a zombie pretty much 24/7.

Mr. T returns from vacation today, so we’ll reconnect tomorrow. That’ll be good.

And then I have to begin the awful colonoscopy prep on Wednesday afternoon around 4pm. I picked up the prep today from CVS and it cost $60! Seems wrong. But it’ll be good to get my colonoscopy and endoscopy completed to make sure my esophagus isn’t damaged. I had originally been diagnosed with acute esophogisitis, so I am hoping it isn’t too “acute” and has disappeared for the time being. While some of these things are hereditary and from aging, I want to remind you that my body was also terribly damaged during my eating disorder years. It’s hard not to beat myself up about it, but it’s my reality.

No updates on my surgery other than it is still full steam ahead.

It’s hard to be positive right now. I have to speak with a lot of people for my job and they all ask me how my summer has been going. I hate lying, but I don’t want to get into things so I talk about it from my work perspective and say, “Work is excellent!” I actually got a really nice email from our CEO this week, complimenting me on a job well done. So, there’s that.

ciao for now!

 

Facebook, Surgery, and Other Fun Things

Taking a few minutes break to write here. Sitting alone in my office, listening to Pandora, as my colleague has a visit with a donor and we haven’t yet hired a new support staff member. I sat in Starbucks for the first hour or so of the workday, but it was very noisy and distracting. Here, it is the opposite. It’s silent minus the sound of my music and the air conditioner pumping cool air into this humid space. Neither environment are inspirational. But, I need to get those meetings set up, so I plug away, trying to focus on my work while my head spins with all that’s going on in my life.

Mom is doing fair. Dad is doing fair. Mom is weak from lack of nutrition and likely dehydration. She’s pushing herself to eat and drink, but it’s like going uphill – both ways – for her right now. And my dad is taking care of her. He’s exhausted. My brother is heading to NJ tonight so he can help accompany them to her important appointments on Thursday and Friday. She’s getting a port in her upper chest where they will input chemo into her body. On Friday she’s getting a cat scan for one of the studies she’s doing with Sloan Kettering. Likely these two days will zap any energy she has, and she will be exhausted. I’m glad Ken will be there. And my sister-in-law will arrive on Friday, to help over the weekend. I’m lined up to head there the following weekend. Mr T will be with his kids so off I go. But, never fear: she’s still active on Facebook!

Last night we went to see Richard III as part of Shakespeare on the Common – my former employer – and my family met Mr T. Briefly, but a meeting did occur.

And, my journey towards my surgery continues. I’m following all of the steps required of me pre-surgery, including meeting with the various members of the medical team at Mt Auburn. Next steps are my colonoscopy and endoscopy, which I will have next week. Other than the prep, they’re relatively painless. I’m hoping for a positive result. Then, the following week, I have a full immersion day, where I learn about the surgery, my hospital stay, and the follow-up. I understand I will be on a liquid diet for 2 weeks, and then slowly, we will introduce foods back into my diet. It’s all very surreal. In 10 months, I will likely lose about 100 pounds. All sorts of things roll around in my head.

Ok, must get back to work!

Balancing Act

My dad called me this morning in a panic about mom. She is weak, he said, she isn’t sleeping. It was a few minutes before I was jumping into the shower so I paused and listened and talked things through with him a bit. We hung up, and then I called my brother, on my way into the office. We strategized a bit, and agreed that my dad needs some support. During a break, I reached out to my mom’s friend who works for American Cancer Society, and asked her for some resources for people who are supporting cancer patients. I wasn’t as worried about mom as I was about him. It is to be expected that mom will be weak and frail after such a big surgery. He is struggling which hat to wear – retired surgeon or current husband. It’s a lot for anyone to bear, let alone an 80 year old man caring for his wife of nearly 50 years. It makes me think that sometimes, life is just not fair.

In the midst of it all, I am moving along with my bariatric surgery. My job is so incredibly supportive – it is unreal  – I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I suppose if I neglected my responsibilities, it might, but you know me – work is very important to me. I have an appointment with HR next week to discuss FMLA, which basically will protect me from losing my job when I have surgery and when I need time to care for my mom. I have been banking my vacation time so I can full recover – and still pay my mortgage – but it will also give me the opportunity for unpaid leave if I need it. At my last job, I was given $300 towards buying my own health insurance. That is it. At my current job, I have very good medical insurance, dental insurance, etc. In fact, I just got back from getting 3 cavities filled. The bill was over $1,000 but I paid $115. I did not have dental insurance at my last two jobs and, unfortunately, I couldn’t afford to pay for all of the maintenance I needed. So, I’m paying for it now, so to speak,  with the endless fillings and whatnot. But, at least I have insurance to cover most of the cost. The rest can be covered by FSA or outright cash. Good job benefits are crucial.

Mr T is coming over for dinner tonight. It’ll be nice to have his company.

It’s a new week.

I’m not sorry to say goodbye to last week. It was a tough one. I started out with a 3-day retreat for work that was focused on giving & receiving feedback. Needless to say, it triggered the heck out of my anxiety, but I pushed through it & then headed back to my parent’s place, which was only 30 minutes away from the retreat.

My mom has lost 15 pounds since her surgery & she’s having trouble eating. I went to the supermarket and picked up as many creative things I could think of that she might want (and could) eat: protein shakes in her favorite flavors, pudding, fruit & cottage cheese, fruit juices, peaches, cheese & crackers…. dad send me an email tonight saying that she drank the whole vanilla protein shake so that was encouraging!

And, I went out to get mom new shirts since her old ones are now too big. I picked up camis since she can’t wear a bra because of her incision.

In the midst, I tried to keep up with my work emails and squeezed in a lovely lunch & mani with a dear high school friend.

But my head is constantly spinning and ruminating. Work, friends, mom, Mr T, my own surgery, my upcoming colonoscopy & endoscopy. It’s a lot to process at once. When I get overwhelmed, I start to shut down. So, I’m trying to process things at a pace I can handle.

But it’s hard not to worry about mom. She has a wonderfully positive attitude, despite the crazy things infesting her body right now. I need to keep her as my inspiration. If she can stay positive, then, darn it, so should I!

During the week, I listened to the audiobook called Hunger by Roxane Gay. It was sad and angering and, in many ways, relatable. She struggles with her weight and food – sadly due to a terrible rape as a little girl – but her body issues are very relatable. And, she just published an article that she had bariatric surgery in January. In her raw way, she talks about the before and after effects. I found it helpful to read and relate to as I go through the steps myself.

Many of you have reached out as a support, and I thank you. Of course, my continued gratitude to those of you who have been calling, texting and sending cards to mom. She’s loving her plants, cards, and good wishes!

Insomnia

It’s about 3am, and nothing says kick one’s insomnia like a blog post!

I’m at my parent’s place in NJ. Thank you to the 20+ visitors my mom had…. yesterday! I’m serious. The woman is popular and loved. She’s really enjoying having visitors because she’s fairly homebound as she recovers, and we both are social creatures.

I’m here also because we have a staff retreat for work. I’m really excited to see all of my colleagues! They’re an awesome bunch.

It’s hard being away from Mr T for another week, but we’re planning to see each other when I return home next weekend. After the retreat, I’ll spend a few more days here with mom & dad, helping run some errands, work, and hopefully squeezing in a few swims in the pool!

I’m also getting mentally prepared for my surgery, reading articles on how to dress for rapid weight loss and how to deal with eating post-bariatric surgery. I’m working on setting my expectations and how to handle any questions like, “wow, what’s your secret?” Or “you’ve lost weight? How?” If it we’re up to me, I’d have on an invisibility cloak so no one could comment on my body. As I said to a friend earlier tonight, “my body, my business.” Easier said than done.

That about covers it for now. Wish me luck on sleeping.