Immersion Day

I took the day off from work and experienced what Mt Auburn calls “immersion day,” where you spend the day learning everything you’d ever want to know….and more…about bariatric surgery. We heard from the surgeon, behavioral psychologist, dietician, nurse, and from each other – 4 strangers about to embark on a monumental life change.

I still have many tasks ahead prior to surgery: physical with pcp, visit with pulmonary specialist, 3 group sessions, a visit with the nutritionist, a visit with the psychiatrist, blood tests, and more. Tonight I placed an order on amazon for a food scale, measuring spoons/cups, a book on bariatric surgery, protein shakes, and a Where’s Waldo? Book. Ok, the last one is for a 6-year old bday party coming in Sept!

I’m glad I waited to call mom until after the day was over because she had a rough night and had to see the oncologist today. She felt better when we spoke later in the day because she had gotten an IV drip. Still, she wanted to hear about how my day went. I called back again later and filled my dad in on the day. I reminded him how brave & strong he and my mom are in this process.

Today was exciting – for the most part – and it confirmed: I’m ready for the surgery! I’m working hard to have it done at the end of October, before mom’s chemo is done, and after our big campaign event at work. Trying to imagine 2 weeks off from work, staying home because I’m on pain killers, is daunting.

I don’t remember the last time I took 2 weeks off, in a row, from work. I’ve been slowly telling my colleagues that I’m having the surgery so they aren’t caught off guard when they see me in Jan at our next retreat and I’m a bit smaller.

I am also mourning the loss of my wardrobe a bit. It may be larger sizes, but I love the stuff I’ve acquired over the years. But, it’s just stuff. I’ll replace it with more stuff.

Ciao!

Advertisements

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!

Balance.

Sometimes I feel like I’m standing on my tiptoes, teetering very delicately, trying not to fall to one side or another. On one shoulder, I’m juggling a relatively new job (less than 1 year), a new relationship (a couple of months), home ownership (must. replace. lightbulbs.). On the other shoulder, I balance my own health issues (you’ve heard about them about them all here), mom’s cancer, and dad’s need for support. How does one balance it all?

And, how do you factor in the self care?

It’s crucial to find time for self care. I have found that when I sacrifice myself to help others, I can crumble.

I’m working on it. I had a manicure today – checked my work email during it, of course – and will be chilling out with Mr T tonight, which is always enjoyable. And, although this sounds weird, we’re doing a really cool event in NYC for work that I wanted to attend, so I am going to NYC next week for the day. This allows me the opportunity to see my folks as well. So, it’s a balance of helping others and enjoying the work that I do.

I tell you, I am generally exhausted all of the time. I’ve been relaxing at home (when I can) with 7 (?) seasons of the show, The Closer. I think I’m midway through season 3. It’s one of those formulaic crime shows, so you can pretty much predict how it will end and the crime gets tied up in a little bow at the end of each episode. There are a few longer storylines, but in general, you can watch one or two episodes, and be satisfied. It’s funny how these type of shows are calming for me, despite the fact that it is a cop show. Perhaps it makes my life seems small and insignificant in perspective, which isn’t always a bad thing.

Didn’t mean to get on a TV tangent!

Now to focus on changing the light bulbs….

 

 

 

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.

Shopping is my cardio.

Since I have an engaged audience, I’ll keep writing.

It’s 8:27pm and I’m just home after a trip to a beach town in RI with a wonderful Technion supporter. I stopped at Providence Place for a bite to eat, and it was nice to stroll through the mall – one of my happy places. #shoppingismycardio

Mom is rumored to be going home on Saturday. Apparently, today, she told my dad that she was signing herself out of the hospital. Dad said, “fine, but I’m not driving you home.” Poor lady. Dad is heading home tonight with Ken & Marina, and they’ll go back to hospital tomorrow. He’ll stay home. So glad he’s going home. He needs his own bed.

And I’m hearing all this via text & phone. It feels good to be back in my office and seeing Mr T again. He’s got his kids this weekend so I’m on my own. Laundry, sleep, catch up on Hulu.

Keep keeping on.