Thursday, October 28, 2010

First Day

Wow, it has been a really long time since my last blog.  I can't even begin to put into words what the last 9 months have been like but suffice it to say, I am happy they are over.  

Today I start a new job.  Its 5:30am right now and dont actually have to be at work until 8:15 know how it is.  I laid in bed for awhile before having the bright idea to get up, blog a bit, go on a refreshing walk/run and then do my yoga.  I suppose this is how the working mom's get everything done.  They don't sleep much. Ha! 

Its been 3 years since I have had a job.  3 long years.  Three years of trials and tribulations and learning experiences, the whole kit and kaboodle.  In the past 2 years I have had 3 surgeries.  In the first year I was married we traveled about 6 of 12 months.  Its just been wild and crazy.  I am ready to slow down.  I am so ready to have a job.  And though I may seem way overeducated for my  new job, I really don't care.  It is with thankfulness and excitement that I embark on this new phase.  God knows exactly what i need and what resources I have.  This job felt like it just landed in my lap.  I sent in a resume the week before, got called the night before and quickly interviewed before heading down to spend two days taking care of and spending time with my two youngest nephews.  I was able to see my oldest at home nephew for his birthday and meet his new girlfriend, as well as spend some really fun and quality time visiting with my sister.  

It was a good week.  But it was also a week of stress.  We had received some news at the tail end of the week before (after i sent in my resume), that made it clear that me working would be a really great thing for me as well as for other reasons.  Anyway, so after not hearing anything for a week, I assumed they must have decided i was a bit too overqualified or that i may not want to stay at a job that wasn't quite as challenging as it could be.  But the truth of the matter is that when I saw the posting I thought it looked great and fun and the hours were perfect.  As I ease back into the world of working this is a great way to start.  

So I got the offer letter yesterday, accepted, went in to fill out paperwork and such and here I am, the next morning starting off fresh at a completely new job.  A job that I honestly may have been timid to interview for before the surgery. Not that i don't know I am qualified, but when you are fat and you are working in a place of fitness, not to mention a gym that seriously looks and feels like the marriott, it can be a bit intimidating.  How many gyms have full spas and bistro's complete with deli salads, sandwiches and espresso.  Not to mention a Concierge desk!  

I know this job and every other have been gifts from The Lord and I will treat it as such.  I will not think about the part of me that feels somewhat humbled that with my background and education I now work as a childcare assistant in a gym facility.  I will think about the good things.  Which are plentiful.  I will put away my pride and revel in the blessing that God bestowed on Jeremy and I at a time where it was needed.  And I will enjoy myself and work to the best of my ability as working for God and not man.  God will use me where I am at and what a blessing it is to be able to love on families and kiddos as parents receive some alone time to work out and have that confidence their child is happy and healthy as they are cared for by workers who love them and love what they do  =)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Surgery: the aftermath

I remember nothing. I look up and I am being wheeled into an elevator. My body hurts. The nurse asks me my pain number but I cannot answer because I am gagging and my stomach is rolling. I am vomiting but nothing is coming up. Over and over my stomach lurches. The nurse tells me not to worry, we are almost there but I am still dry heaving. Each time I heave it feels as though I am ripping open my stomach.

I feel a sense of warmth and realize that not only am I dry heaving but I have lost control of my bladder so each time I vomit I also urinate. Okay, so they told me they were going to catheterize me during the surgery. If this is true then why the hell did they pump me full of saline and then remove the cath before i woke up?? Especially considering my history of violent vomiting with anesthesia. I was so mad and frustrated. I mean really, who wants to pee all over themselves when it is nearly impossible to clean up by yourself? We get to my room and as the nurse is adjusting my bed and clipping it into the frame, I look at her with mortification and explain that on the ride up I wet myself...EVERYWHERE!

The nurse is so sweet. She peels off my yellow stained thigh high leg wraps, helps me to the bathroom and then proceeds to take a washcloth and clean me up in the areas I cannot reach. She hangs a fresh gown up and leaves me alone to finish my business. As i sit down on the toilet the first thing I notice is the feeling of razor blades as I pee. I ask the nurse if this is normal and she says yes, this is a side affect of a cath. Oh yay!

By this time my parents and Jeremy had arrived in the room. All i remember is how much i hurt and wishing to God I had not done this. My pain number...a resounding 9. They shoot me with more morphine. Still a 9. More and it goes down to a 7. Phew, its manageable now. I can open my eyes. I am so fricking thirsty but I am not allowed anything to drink. Every fiber of my being hurts and the pain meds only take the edge off. I look at Jeremy and tell him that I shouldn't have done this. He tells me not to judge within an hour of surgery, that it's not a fair time for judgment. I laugh, and it hurts.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The surgery

I am going to try to be more diligent with this blog. especially now that I have finally had my surgery I want to use this page as my resource to record my thoughts, experiences and just whatever I feel like with regard to the surgery and anything else that may be in my head.

Let me start at the beginning. The day of.

I woke up at 4am. Well, I woke up a lot more than that but I woke up and actually got up at 4am. I had to be at the hospital at 5:30. I had my "hopeful clothes" bag packed and ready to go. Yes, hopeful clothes. Hopeful to wear underwear at some point. A comfy nightgown and pajama pants. Comfy socks. All of those things that would make the hospital experience less painful and scary and more comfortable and reassuring.

Riding with my dad was a bit of a nightmare. Our car took a trip to the shop while I was in hospital since I wouldn't be needing it so onward with Rudy the 3 of us went. By the time we got to the hospital I couldn't wait to get out. I can't even begin to describe the thoughts racing through my head and only a couple of them were about the surgery. =)

I checked in and waited. And waited some more. After 3o minutes of waiting and not wanting to leave to use the restroom I finally broke down and quickly went. Within minutes I was called back and the first thing they said was they needed a urine sample. oops.. Well no one even bothered to tell me they would want a pee sample and I couldn't help the fact I had just gone. But...alas they claimed they just needed a tad for a prego test. Ha! Me pregnant! Yeah... with a "snipped" husband, birth control pills and a serious lack of intimate activity since I was in Mexico for a week, then 4 days after i came home Jeremy had hernia surgery, the concept of being pregnant was a laughable one. I tried to explain all of this to no avail. I managed to pee, they came back with the oh so shocking news I wasn't pregnant...

On to the IV. Yah, so no one ever seems to be able to give me good IV's. I can count on one finger how many good ones I have had in the last 5 years. But I thought positively to myself. This is a center of excellence, therefore they will be excellent at IV's. I just know it. Unfortunately the power of positive thinking did not help the situation and once again, after digging in my left forearm with an 18 gauge needle and having no success the nurse assured me she would call someone. And she did. And that someone was aghast at nurse 1 for having used an 18 gauge needle. Nurse 2 used a 20 gauge and got it fast right in my hand. Ouch.

I look at the clock. It is 7am.. my 7:30 time is drawing near. My surgeon comes in and says hello. All is ready, all is a go. Finally my parents and husband get to come back. My mom squeezes my hand, my dad gives me sweet kisses on my forehead, both reassuring me everything is going to be alright. I have managed to hold it together but I can't anymore. The nurse ushers my parents out leaving Jeremy and I to ourselves for a last few moments before I go to the operating room. I start to cry. "I can't do this. I don't want to do this. This can't be the only way... I'm not ready". My husband has tears in his eyes as he too reassures me that it is good. It is what I want. "What if I die Jeremy? What if something goes wrong"? "I love you", he says.

It is time to go. They are wheeling me down the hall and I can't quit crying. I am scared. I am not ready. Can I still stop this? I have to quit crying or they won't be able to put me under. My throat is closing up. I am scared. I know this is best. All of these thoughts and more are running through my head as the doors to the operating room open. Everyone asks me how I am. Clearly I am not good. Tears are still coursing down my cheeks. I move to the operating table. The anesthesiologist looks at me, smiles. I look back, terrified. He begins pushing the plunger...

to be continued...

Monday, January 4, 2010

The night before...

I find it interesting the last blog I have on here is the blog of the day I found out my first surgery was declined. For tonight is the night before the now approved Bariatric Surgery.

How does one make sense of something like this? I have spent the last 18 months preparing but here I am less than 18 hours before and I feel completely bowled over both physically and emotionally. Physically because I am realizing now after a week and a half off of anti-inflammatories just how much by body hurts. My shoulders, my hips, my lower back...they officially exist now. Whereas before they were simply dull aches now they are all out uncomfortable pains.

Emotionally...I suppose to understand where I am I have to break my emotions into equal 1/3 parts. The first 1/3 is excitement and anticipation masked for the moment by fear and an overwhelming sense of "what next"?

The second third I would categorize as unbelievably thankful for this opportunity and so mystified as to why my insurance covers this 100% when some insurance companies won't cover it at all. In this same category is the knowledge this is the best thing and I am making the right and wisest choice. It holds the confidence that God orchestrated this and the door is wide open if only I will step through.

The third Third is unfortunately where most of my energy and focus is right now. It is the third that feels like an utter failure. It is the category that wanted so desperately to be that success story, the girl who started the road to Gastric Bypass and on the way she learned how to eat healthy and make good portion choices and exercise etc... and she lost 100 lbs. 18 months ago I thought that could be me. After the first 6 months of strict eating and exercise when only 12 lbs were lost it was discouraging. And the first surgery decline was devastating. But then the dream came back. I thought, I will start again. I will do it this time. I know how to do it all. I bought even more books than before. This time I became aware of the low glycemic index way of eating. I changed things even further. I perfectly balanced our meals. I worked out (not as much as i should...but some). Jeremy lost 15 lbs. I lost 3. I felt like the slimquick commercial.

The end of the second 6 months came, and again, it wasn't enough. My blood sugars and cholesterol still weren't controlled. Not with diet, not with all of the maximum doses of meds i was taking. Not with anything. It seemed my body had turned against me. It was rotten. It was frustrating and then the surgery was approved. I was exhilirated, I jumped up and down. And then as it all set in I came back to this place. I had failed...again. And whether I have failed me, or my body has failed me, or a little bit of both, my surgery tomorrow is bittersweet.

I have to imagine it is akin somewhat to a pregnant mom. Excited for the outcome but scared of the process. Excited for that amazing child but scared of the labor. Excited for each of those daily milestones but exhausted by the lack of sleep that a child brings. Excited for that time where they begin to walk and explore but exhausted by walking behind them making sure their space is safe. Excited to see the person they become but scared to death you will screw them up.

I am excited for the surgery outcome but I am afraid of the process that gets me there. I am excited for the beginning months but I am freaked out that my body will respond negatively. I am excited for what my life will be like a year from now but afraid that a year from now I will be in a worse place and wish I would have never had it. Excited for the life changes of being diabetes free but afraid the surgery won't work.

Do you see my excited but... theme. ;) I am trying with everything in me to be positive. More than anything I just want to wake up tomorrow afternoon and just be that...Awake. Awake with the knowledge that I defied the little 1/10 of 1% odd. Then I will begin to work my butt off and I pray that I will defy the next 1% of major complications and then the next, the 10% of people who have minor complications. And I will be like a friend of mine who not only made it through but he did with flying colors. And I know this is not my usual trend. But that is my hope. That is my prayer.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Rotten Day!

So yes, I know I am behind and have not yet posted my last day in Taiwan. Will do that when Jeremy gets a moment to post pictures. In the interim...this past week was slightly challenging as I got pretty sick with a sinus infection and bronchitis and had to go back on a bunch more meds. Story of my life...Medications.

This morning was Rotten. Most of you who follow my blog know my big "secret", that I have been and am still in process of being approved for the bariatric gastric bypass surgery. Medically for me its been a tough year. Vertigo since the day we came home from our honeymoon, Sinuplasty this past September, many many sinus infections after surgery as everything finally drained from who knows how long ago?, and my gall bladder surgery 6 weeks ago. Not to mention the giant allergies I have been dealing with since i moved here as well as the month spent going to therapy for the vertigo, chiropractor visits, and several other unmentionables. Needless to say, there are days when I seriously question The Lord. It has been not the most ideal start to my married life.

Which brings me again to this morning. I started this plan in June when i was officially diagnosed with Diabetes. I did everything I was supposed to do. I changed my eating habits, spent time with nutritionists and a diabetic nurse, I consult with a diabetic nurse practitioner every month, I went in every month to be weighed and have my a1c taken as well as my blood sugars checked. I have lost weight and been on a medication management plan. I went in for a sleep study. I have exhausted everything I have to do on my end. I have been dealing with my insurance since December and they continue to "lose" the paperwork my doctors fax in.

And again to this morning...hahaha. So finally after having done everything, attended the orientation and chosen my surgeon, made sure the surgeon was in my network, and turned in all of the paperwork to the hospital, I finally heard back this morning. Filled with Joy I called the nurse back as she indicated in the message they were ready to start scheduling my appointments. We spoke and as the conversation continued I heard the dreaded words "out of network". I assured the gal that indeed that one of the locations my chosen surgeon worked was "in network". I had made sure of this prior to beginning. There was a moment of silence before she gave me a number and told me to call crystal and talk to her. A bit confused, i made the phone call only to be told that somewhere in the 2 months since i had gone to the information meeting and turned in my paperwork, the surgeon had decided to abandon doing surgeries at my in network location. Fighting back tears I asked her what this meant for me.

Option A: pay my 30 percent to the tune of 30 percent of 35,000 dollars= 10,000
Option B: Fax all of my paperwork to the alternate location and use one of their surgeons
Option C: A whole new start to hospital, new surgeon, new beginning of the process.

Obviously I chose option B. So I spent some good time on the phone with Cathy, chatted about everything i needed to still do and she assured me she would make every effort to make this transition as smooth as possible. Now Jeremy and i have to attend another information session to meet these surgeons, and my insurance has to be dealt with all over again. More time more wait more this more that. Its so discouraging and so frustrating. I just want to get the surgery and get it over with and get on with my life. I so tired of this. its been 10 months since i started and still i see no pot at the end of the rainbow. put it in perspective, i spent so much time on the phone with nurses and insurance that by 1pm my phone was dead. i began the morning at 9:15 and none of those calls were joy calls except the 20 minute call to Jeremy on his lunch telling him of my woes.

When all was said and antidote: Sleep! Took a nap.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Day 6, March 26

Today was fantastic! We began our morning with a trip to a local Buddhist temple. It was very fascinating. I think the most interesting thing was seeing how many of them brought food and drink sacrifices. They offered incense offerings and stood in line for a monk's blessing. I had never been to a temple before so it was very very interesting. On the way to the bus station we passed a mortuary in the center of the city. Very odd. Also, next to the mortuary the city block was lined with stores selling caskets and urns. Even more odd.
We then took a taxi ride to a place called the Taipei tea promotion center. One of the goals of this week was to see a tea plantation and try some of the local tea varieties. Our taxi driver was so sweet and nice. Normally there is a Gondola that takes you from the Taipei Zoo to the tea plantations but last year a typhoon hit and damaged it. The taxi driver had never driven there before so it was an experience for all of us.

The tea promotion center was very lame. We decided its entire purpose was a city tax deduction. We walked along the road until we found a restaurant where we stopped to eat. Unbeknownst to us it turned it the eatery was exactly the place we had been hoping to find. In the same travel show about Taiwan that included the bee restaurant, it also included this one. The chef made up all of his own recipes and creations and cooked the food in tea and tea oil. It was sooooo good. We had a variety of foods. The chef was so sweet. Today was just a day of really awesome people.

Unfortunately the downside of today was that I was finally forced to either use a squat pot or wet my pants. I opted for the squat...very tramautizing. What a total pain. And then to add insult to injury when i came out of the GIRLS bathroom there was a man in the stall next to me with the door open zipping up his pants. He turned to look at me and I swear he acted like I was the freak. Hello....clearly the toilet next door had a Urinal. Good grief.

Later on after resting at home we left and had dinner at a very famous dumpling place. It too was fantastic. I know I will definitely miss the food here. Another interesting bathroom experience. This restaurant had toilets with automated bidets. You pushed the first button and it washed "inside"...then you pushed the second button and sprayed your outer bum off and the third button dried your bum. If that was'nt enough, the toilet had a music player on it for your listening pleasure as you did your business. :o)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Days 4 and 5, March 24-25

Wow...Time goes so fast. Can't believe we are already more than half way through our week here. Today we saw some of the gorgeous spots here in Taiwan.

This morning we hoofed and MRT'd (subway) it to a tourist trap called Dongshue. There was lots of street vendors at the day market. It is basically what we americans know as china town in the US. We tried little desserts and shopped. Am so excited, I got a very cute tea set that is green and replicates a lot of the sets we saw at the museum. After getting back to the house we left for an overnight holiday in a town called Wulai. It was beautiful. So green and luscious. We stayed in a family owned bed and breakfast. Wulai is known for its hot springs so we had a giant stone hot tub and a cold water tub in our bathroom. It was lovely. We alternated hot and cold about 4 times before getting out.

Tuesday night we ate at a local restaurant that Jeremy and I had seen on a food network TV show. We ate local delicacies including 2 week aged salted pork and Ostrich. The greens here are so good. Many kinds we dont eat in the US. The next day we went back to the restaurant and ate more rice that is cooked in bamboo and we ate fried bees. yes...bees with eyes and wings. They were really good. Very crunchy although it was weird looking at their eyes and sometimes i got wings stuck in my teeth.

We did some more local shopping, got some pineapple cakes. Yum. And headed home to relax and stay in for the evening. A wonderful holiday...just what we needed.

pics: Wulai Falls, Wulai Day Market, Aboriginal lady hand weaving. Plate of bees, Me eating bee, rice cooked in bamboo and plate of bees.