Tomorrow!

First and foremost, I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from so many friends and family members today. Thank you for reaching out and thinking of me!

Mom sounds great! She “gobbled up” a piece of filet on a roll, according to dad. Love it! She’s very nervous about my surgery so I want it all to go smoothly for me but also my folks.

My friend heather is sleeping over tonight and taking me tomorrow at 6am. Is she a good friend or what?? And Mr T – aka Ted – is taking me home. I feel like I can just call him Ted now.

Without getting into detail, I’m doing the pre-surgical prep now (ick!) and my bag is packed.

Here’s a silly “before” photo.

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10/2/18

It’s almost 10pm on October 2. Just home from spending 4 days at my parent’s place. It was very hard to leave this time. Mom is quite weak and having trouble eating, likely from the reconstruction of her GI tract during her surgery in June.

She’s had 2 weeks off from chemo, but I think she’ll be ready to get a dose next Monday. She may need TPN, which is basically IV nutrition. She’d have to go to the hospital to get the right dosage, and then she could get the rest at home.

We made the decision for her to start sleeping in the downstairs den so she doesn’t have to do the stairs to her room. Her weakness plus arthritic knees equal a stair climbing nightmare. She’s moving tomorrow.

We also discussed getting a home health aide to help her which ultimately helps my dad. I believe it will improve both’s quality of life.

It is so hard to do this from Boston. I wish I could be there longer but I have to get back to work.

Last night, I tucked mom in and she said, “You are the best daughter in the world.” I told her she was the best mother. I doubt I’ll ever forget that moment. This came after a visit from our rabbi friend, who offered us her wisdom and sang a prayer for us. Mom & I cried. It was beautiful.

My surgery is in 20 days! I’m starting to go through my clothes, looking for smaller sizes, and preparing to donate the larger ones. It’s surreal but so exciting! I can’t wait to feel better and be able to move more.

As always, thank you to all of you who have reached out to me & my folks. It means a lot!

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!

 

Gratitude

I’m grateful to my mom for always presenting a positive attitude.

Despite the icky things going on, I had a really nice evening with Mr T tonight. We made dinner, talked, laughed. I am grateful he’s in my life.

I’m also grateful for the supportive people in my life. My friends Rachel & Heather check in on me. My friend Stephanie always sends words of encouragement when I blog. I get sporadic texts from Jen, Joanna, Julie, Rachel S…please know how much it means to me.

Sometimes you have to take a moment & count your blessings.

Day 8: Heading Home

It’s 1:40pm and I’m on the train heading home, listening to the sounds of a baby crying, a woman humming, and a millennial on the phone discussing whether her friend is “hetero” or “heteronormative.” Speaking of said millennial, she plopped down – alone – in a section marked “for party of 3 or more” and thus separated a family of 4. The mom is next to me. I hate this millennial. Fortunately, a nice guy was sitting behind her and lifted my 50 pound suitcase onto the storage rack. My faith in humanity is quickly restored. Phew.

Mom was doing well this morning when I saw her. She has been having trouble eating, so they did a cat scan yesterday and saw that her esophagus is very sore. Like mother, like daughter! She’s on a med to help it heal, and she’s going to off the epidural today. She’ll be taking another pain medication so that will be a good transition. It was very good to leave her on a high note. It would have been harder to leave if she wasn’t having a good day. Fortunately, my brother and sister-in-law are on their way to NYC to help out Dad and be there for mom.

I started crying last night about leaving and my dad said I had done enough. Fortunately, I have a work trip to NJ in about 2 weeks so I’ll be back to visit soon. Mom said it was good for me to get home and have some normalcy again. Not sure that I’m going to particularly enjoy this “new normal” but I don’t really have much of a choice.

I will miss the wonderful people from Sloan Kettering. Sandy would come to clean mom’s room every day. She’s an amazing woman who loves my dad, so I feel good leaving him in her hands! Her nurses were all wonderful. I met an NP who handles pain. Just pain. There are techs who only put in IVs. And of course, there’s Dr. Smith – my dad dubbed him “Smitty” – who was very gentle but answered all of our questions. If you stumble upon this blog, I thank you so much, Floor 10!

So now what. Ken heads to NYC and takes over. I go home and pass out for 1.5 days. Mr T is picking me up in a few hours and I warned him I may just break down and cry since I’ve been holding it together relatively well for the past 8 days.

Dad asked me today, “What was the worst day for you?” I thought for a minute and said, “I’ve actually been focusing on the good stuff.” The good stuff includes:

  • The post-op could have been worse with complications. Mom’s doing amazingly well and is determined to go home.
  • The walk to-and-from the hospital was cathartic. On York, I would wander under the shady trees of Roosevelt University until I saw the awning of Sloan. I’d walk back on 1st Avenue to stop for dinner or snacks or whatever we needed that say at Duane Reed.
  • The outpouring of support was (and still is) wonderful. This morning, I left mom while she was visiting with Sister Maggie and another friend from ACS who does cancer advocacy. Maggie is a delight and we even managed a cordial talk about politics a bit (we tend to be on opposing teams).
  • Mr. T, of course. He kept me smiling all week.

This will be my last daily update. I’m going to be more focused on my own health now, proceeding with exploring bariatric surgery & figuring out what’s wrong with my esophagus. Apparently, I helped bring in a $50k donation this week for work so I am feeling pretty happy about that!

Keep reading, keep supporting mom, and keep being you!

Empty Sorries

So, I’ve had a few subsequent conversations about my post where I mention “empty sorries.” I just wanted to clarify a few things. While I do appreciate my friends offering their sympathy, I’m just requesting that the onus not be put on me. Like I said, I don’t know what you can do to help. And if I tell you, will you actually do it?

Two of my friends who read this blog reached out. One gave me some really great, sound advice. The other listened as I talked.

And I shared the post with my mom, who seemed to like it and said I get my writing talent from her.

And finally, I will reiterate: I’m allowed to have my feelings, good or bad. I’m also allowed to write them here because it is my blog. It doesn’t mean I’m right. It doesn’t mean I don’t reserve the right to change my opinion later. It just means that today – in this moment – this is how I am feeling.

Toodles!

Self Worth

df12f790163687ca82751dc370d9baafSelf worth. What does that mean? It’s not self esteem, but rather, it is more about feeling worthy.

I’ll admit it. There are days that I can feel little worth. I come home from work, defeated, because I waited all day for a “thank you” or a”good job” or a smile.

And I got nothing.

According to an article on PsychAlive,  studies now show that basing one’s self-worth on external factors is actually harmful to one’s mental health.

Jennifer Crocker, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research,  did a study of 600 college students during their Freshman year. Their self esteem was pretty high, in general. Go frosh!

When students were asked about what they base their self-worth on, more than 80 percent said academic competence, 77 percent said their family’s support, 66 percent said doing better than others, and 65 percent–70 percent of which were women–said their appearance.

Yikes. Lots of external factors. The people who focused more on external praise had….more stress, anger…..alcohol and drug use, as well as more symptoms of eating disorders. Ding. Ding. Ding. Yep. Yep. That’s me.

21b04491a57abbd3937c074608303830But I’m not a college freshman. I’m a 42-year-old woman who is still working on conquering perfectionism and finding her self worthiness from external sources.

So how what to do? Dr. Lisa Firestone called it our “inner critic.” How does one quash the inner critic and just embrace ourselves as we are?

One of the things that I’ve been doing is to focus on self care and less on my people pleasing. It’s hard, especially for those people who are use to me puckering up to them all of these years. But I have to be honest. My true friends…the people that really care about me….are encouraging me to do this. They aren’t challenging me looking out for myself. They’re actually supporting it.

Baby steps.