Strength

My mom is the strongest and bravest person I know. ❤️

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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!

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!

 

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….

 

 

 

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!

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.