Tuesday, December 21, 2010

5 Weeks out ...

So - I have made it to the 5 week mark after surgery.

I am eating actual food - which is good ... though my ability to eat much of anything is stunted considerably (I suppose that really is the point). I am thrilled to report that as of yesterday afternoon, I have hit the 50 pound mark!!

That's right, boys and girls - I am officially 50 pounds lighter than I was at Halloween this year! That is 2 pounds heavier than my (nearly) 6 year old daughter - and I can scarcely lift her ... it's bizarre to put it into those terms.

A few things I have learned are that first and foremost, I detest exercising just for the sake of exercising ... what a colassal waste of time that seems to be. I know - I know ... I have to do it, but I would far sooner tear around the house doing the magnitude of work that seems magically to appear - as if out of thin air. I still do not have enough hours in the day to do what must be done - even now that I have been off for nearly 6 weeks! Canada's Employment Insurance program has no concept of reality - absolutely none ... if they did, they would not screw with people's lives the way that they do. Here I am on my SIXTH week off and still, I have received NO MONEY! How the hell are people supposed to survive waiting this kind of time to be paid for an approved claim? At this rate, I will be back to work before I get any damned money from them - that is just not right. I mean, really - what am I supposed to do, tell my kids "oh sorry, girls ... Santa can't come this year because Mommy had 3/4 of her gut removed"? Butt Munchers!

Other than money, life is pretty good. I was able to borrow enough to get Christmas together (as best as possible) ... luckily, we have been warning the girls that since their behaviour has been spotty at best, that they best prepare themselves for a reduction in loot. I know this sounds harsh, but from this parent's perspective it's called making the most of a shitty situation ... they are getting less regardless, might as well serve some purpose - right? No worries, they'll still get plenty to open ... just less than last year is all - the whole present thing has gotten outta hand anyway.

Anyhoo - I must go and get some house work done ... we are at 4 sleeps and counting. 

Merry Christmas to you all! Take good care.

D - out

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Three Weeks Out

So ... I am three weeks post op today. One more week until I can begin to eat something resembling food ... eggs, soft fish, perhaps some well cooked and mashed veggies ... woot to the hoo!

I have lost a total of 38 lbs. I am NOT supposed to be weighing myself every day ... alas, I have been. I remain stuck at -38 lbs ... for the past WEEK! I am NOT impressed ... not one bit.I will point out that I have lost a total of 17 inches, though and it is quite evident that my body is undergoing some pretty big changes. Mom calls me 'the incredible shrinking woman' ... this doesn't make up for her ignoramus commentary, with which I am assaulted on a semi-regular basis, but it's something, at least.

My body is well recovered. I am able to do most everything I want (well, with the exception of eating). I have been keeping busy decorating for the holidays, cleaning the house, doing laundry and chasing after my kids. I have also been reading, and trying very hard not to allow myself to feel discouraged. I am having wicked second thoughts and doubts about what I have done to myself. (Apparently, this is common ... or so I am learning by continuing my education on this massive life style change.)

The one thing I find the most unsettling is how often I still feel hungry. I do believe that much of it comes from my brain and not from any real dietary need ... but it is bloody powerful. I am usually good until about 4:00 in the afternoon ... this begins my witching hours ... it is pretty much a continual battle of wills between myself and ... well ... myself - until I go to bed (at which point I seldom sleep very well). This is a challenge I didn't expect straight away. I figured it wouldn't be until I started eating real food again that I would be battling cravings and pseudo hunger. It blows, let me tell you.

I have not been doing the structured exercise I was supposed to be doing, though I have been very active around the house. I decided today that it would be wise to get into doing some time on the treadmill and some resistance training. I did 30 minutes on my treadmill (2 of which were jogging ... not too shabby for a fat ass like me). It actually felt surprisingly good. I must do this every day. I am supposed to be doing 60 minutes of structured, sustained exercise every day. I'm going to try to do 30 minutes with resistance bands later this afternoon. Perhaps this will kick start the pounds dropping again. I'm really only eating drinking about 700 - 800 calories per day (if that) I can't imagine why the pounds aren't flying off still. <-- it is super hard not to allow that to mess with my mind.

Anyhoosit ... I guess that is enough of an update for today. For the most part, I am full of energy and fairly happy much of the time. It is evident that the changes in my body are for the better, and THAT, after all was the ultimate goal here ... I was just hoping for the encouraging scale feedback to help fuel the desire.

Until next time, I remain ... fuckin' hungry


Monday, November 29, 2010

Diary of a Wimpy Mom

***Originally written Sunday Nov 21***

Oh man ... I do not respect wimps.

I am seriously feeling like one right now.

I will warn you up front, I may not be overly popular after posting this self pitying piece of drivel ... I am choosing to view the fact that I am so cranky today as a good sign of recovery ... that is truly my hope.

First of all ... I came through the surgery just fine Everyone seemed very pleased with themselves on my overall recovery and tolerance. I can even recall feeling so proud of myself in the recovery room when the nurse kept saying how she didn't understand why I needed to be watched for sleep apnea when I didn't even snore (SCORE!!). Then she proceeded to tell me what a great job I was doing. (I'm ROCKIN' the recovery room - double SCORE)

I was feeling fairly good with my bad self all the way around when they brought me back to my room. I was crackin' wise with the 'm'urse or possibly porter that was wheeling my bed down the hall. They got me in my room and promptly set about taking my vitals, pricking my finger and whipping up my johnny shirt to check my incisions ... which, given their pattern on my tummy, prompted me to shout ... "okay, piggies - I got room for six of y'all!" I think my 'm'urse may have peed in his scrubs a little.

Finally my husband was allowed to come in. I felt much better once I knew that HE knew I was alright. My procedure didn't get started on time ... equipment failure ... and that made it necessary for me to stay under for 3 times longer than originally anticipated ... then recovery was twice as long as expected ... I had gathered some of this while coming to and hearing them talk about me all around the edges of my consciousness. So - I was highly concerned about the mental health of my spouse by the time I actually saw him.

I was conscious for approximately 6 minutes (possibly less) in his company, before I lapsed back into a drug induced slumber. To say I was stoned would be like saying Keith Richards 'experimented' with drugs in his younger years. I didn't know what planets even were ... much less which one I was on. I slept on and off for quite a few hours more ... to my hubby's credit, he was sitting right there every time I woke up. It was finally time for me to try my legs and attempt going to the loo.

My first attempt failed. So did my second and third. I was beginning to panic. Catheters and me just don't get along well. Finally after what seemed like days, I woke up ... got up out of bed (with some help) and went ... literally "went" - which was tinkly music to my ears and soul. It was at that point that I insisted hubby go home. (Yes, I selfishly kept him there until I peed ... I didn't want to have to go through the whole catheter thing without him there to talk me through it.)

Sadly, after being asleep the entire time he was there ... I was awake for the rest of the night once he left.

Other than being stoned out of my mind, I was actually doing very well. Pain was well managed at first and my mobility was good ... I even went for a little walk around the ward with my IV pole in tow. I wasn't expecting to see anyone on Wednesday, so when Pauly came for a visit, it was really nice. Not that I remember much about it ... except how happy I was to see her.

Things went rapidly downhill from there ... but I actually don't even want to share that. Suffice it to say, I was less than impressed with the rest of my stay.

I came home Thursday evening (Nov 18) and remained fairly miserable until Saturday, when things took a turn for the better.

***Update as of Monday November 29***

It's been nearly two weeks since my surgery. I am down 38 lbs. I have had some downs ... and surprisingly, have experienced a few doubts since having this done ... I really didn't expect that. Overall, though ... things are going very well. Last week, I got all 16 staples out of my incisions - that was interesting. I have two more weeks until my next check up and at that point, I will be able to graduate to soft foods like eggs and soft fish - I can hardly freaking wait!!

I've been painfully bored over the past two weeks, but I am very happy to report that my stamina is returning and I am able to complete many of the tasks that have been piling up around my ears. This is a very good thing. I have my sights set on being fully decorated (which means fully clean, first) by the end of this weekend. My hubs has to have surgery for Carpel Tunnel on Friday, so he'll be down and out for a spot now as well. Never rains, but it pours.

Other than that, my sister is coming home from Calgary on the 10th and I am really looking forward to having her here for Christmas. It's been a year and a half since we've seen her. I'm also toying with the idea of possibly working a bit from home for the next few weeks. I'm kind of in a "wait and see" pattern for that one.

Anyhoo ... I guess this wasn't quite so bad as it started off. My perspective is much brighter than it was.

Happy Monday, Bleeps!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Waiting for My Real Life to Begin

Here I sit ... just one week away from my big day. Seven sleeps. I'm frightened ...  like, laying awake in bed at all hours of the night, frightened ... or heart racing into my stomach, frightened - but perhaps not for the reasons one might think. I'm not so much afraid of something happening during the surgery ... I mean a little, but really - I have a better chance of stroking out in a rage over one of Narci's bullshit stunts, than I do of actually dying on the operating table ... and all things aside, I am pretty healthy - thank heaven.

No, my fear is somewhat more bone deep than that. See, I have allowed my personal disgust in myself to colour every facet of my life for many, many years. I see the fact that I haven't been able to control this very personal thing, as not only a colossal failure, but a massive character flaw. I mean, please ... how could anyone allow themselves to gain 150 pounds, right? I did it, and  still can't provide an answer to that question. It keeps me from fully participating in my life. I have not applied for jobs (and subsequently suffered along in the one I have in a very unhappy manner), not gone to public functions, not  attended work functions - even award ceremonies where I won shit, not gone swimming with my children ... not even spent any sort of physical time with friends. In fact, the few people I call "friend" are mostly voices on the phone (no - not just in my head) and letters on a computer screen.

And so ... sitting on the edge of the precipice that I have spent nearly two decades digging ... with the impending promise of a bridge across staring me right in the face ... I'm scared shit-less. No safety net now, sweet pea. No excuses. You are here ... on the eve of the first day of the rest of your life. Whatcha gonna do now? 

I haven't been able to articulate this - even to myself until today ... but THIS is the fear I am feeling.

See - I have been researching weight loss surgery for around 3 years. In fact, I started off wanting an entirely different procedure, and have come to this one (Gastric Sleeve Resection) by way of information, safety, results and availability. In that time, (and mostly in the past year and a half) I have spent much of my energy on either campaigning to make it happen, talking myself into actually doing it and convincing the nay-sayers in my life that it is a sound decision. My mother being "Nay-sayer number 1".

See, Mom has not been very supportive of this decision. At first, I thought it was because she was simply worried about my safety and having any sort of surgery can be dangerous - so I tried to assuage her fears by providing data on the relative safety of the procedure. It didn't seem to help. I have come to realize over time that her lack of enthusiasm appears to come from a slightly darker place. I've thought a whole lot about it and I think she feels embarrassed about me having this. Let me state (for the record) that it is a bitter pill to swallow when your mother's opinions are the very echo of your own self deprecation.
Obviously, the first thing that jumps into anyone's mind is: How could she be embarrassed ...  first of all, it isn't about her and second of all, nobody knows about it? (Am I right?) But, see ... here's the thing ... she has told everyone in her world about it. The women she works with ... my sisters ... her friends (many of whom I have known for many, many years) ... and she's been running this twisted little opinion poll for the past several months regarding the validity of having this type of procedure done. And not that this isn't bad enough all on its own, but she's been presenting the various opinions to me as though she had been defending my decision to these people (passive aggressive, much?) ... when the reality is that she had absolutely no fucking right to say a bloody word to ANYBODY about this. It is not hers to share. This is mine, and I wish like hell I had never told her I was having it done.

My favorite part was when she told me (just this past Saturday) that after having a long heart to heart with herself, she thinks that if she had such a huge amount of weight to lose (as do I) ... and this surgery was available to her ... that she'd likely opt to have it done, too. (This from a woman who had her throat stripped and part of her palette reconstructed so she would no longer snore, for fuck's sakes.) I sat there, looking across the table at her - dumbfounded. She went on to say that maybe this wasn't necessarily the "easy way out" after all ... though most people seem to think that it is ... and that even though she feared I might be going about this backwards and "dealing with my problems from the outside in" (as my 23 inch waist-ed, 26 year old sister so sagely commented) ... that she supported my decision, in spite of everything else. {This is where something snapped inside my head ... I said very little - a simple 'well ... anyone who thinks there is anything 'easy' about what I am doing here is welcome to say that to my face ... and perhaps waddle a mile in my crocs before they make such an arbitrary, unfeeling and glaringly untrue comment about something they clearly know nothing about.' I then gave an unenthusiastic 'thank you' for her "support" and promptly changed the subject ... because any other course of action would not have had any happy outcome.}

This is my MOTHER, people. The person who is supposed to have my back - NO-MATTER-WHAT! The person who provides my alibi when I freak out and go postal on my employer ... the person who picks up the pieces of my shattered ego and spit-glues them back together ... the one who kisses the owie better and makes the pain go away. What-tha-hell? This is the same woman who has BEEN there for every event that led to this "(apparently not so) personal failure" of hers mine. She was there for pretty damned near all of it ... and she's been there for the past 20 odd years it has taken me to forge some kind of life for myself out of the rubble. How can she possibly think that ANY of this has been easy? I've paid the fine ... I've done my time and it is time for me to finally move past this. Christ, I have had so much therapy over the years, I have undoubtedly put a few shrinks' kids through medical school ... it is unbearable to think that she doesn't 'get' this... and clearly, she doesn't. And I don't know how to tell her.

I talked to my long time friend this morning. She knew me when I was "me" ... or at least the me I best relate to. She has been there for much of the "stuff that brought me here", too. She has never had a weight problem ... not ever. She shouldn't be able to 'get' this ... but when I told her about the conversation that happened on Saturday, she had the following to say about it: (not a direct quote - I wanted to ask her to type everything she just said in an email, but felt that might be a little weird ... but I really needed for someone on the outside to see and say something like this) 'Look - I think I can safely say that you are one of the strongest people I know. I have watched you struggle with this (weight issue) for a long time. I have seen how the way you see yourself has robbed you of an awful lot of opportunities. I think you have done the work. I don't think for a second you are doing anything backward and can't see how anyone who knows the first thing about you could think - and certainly not say - something so stupid. Your outside image is simply disconnected from the person you are inside ... that is the most simple way to see this ... and it is merely time to correct that.'  She went on to say that she had one "stupid moment" after I got my date where she feared I might change ... but realized I have always been the same person ... just not an active participant in my life for too many years. 

She is such a talented wordsmith, and I am not doing this justice ... I really wish I had gotten her to email the comment to me. The point is, she gets it. She understands... and I need that right now. My husband has been his usual rock-star self ... and I am grateful beyond belief ... but I still need for the people in my world to really get this ... really embrace what I am trying to do here. Am I being too selfish in wanting that? Is it okay for me to just expect it?

This song is by Colin Hay ... I lifted this from Fadra ... who left it on a comment to the Grasshoppa I think it says a whole lot.

Any minute now, my ship is coming in - I'll keep checking the horizon - I'll stand on the bow, feel the waves come crashing - Come crashing down down down, on me

And you say, be still my love - Open up your heart - Let the light shine in
But don't you understand - I already have a plan - I'm waiting for my real life to begin

When I awoke today, suddenly nothing happened - But in my dreams, I slew the dragon
And down this beaten path, and up this cobbled lane - I'm walking in my old footsteps, once again
And you say, just be here now - Forget about the past, your mask is wearing thin
Let me throw one more dice - I know that I can win - I'm waiting for my real life to begin

Any minute now, my ship is coming in - I'll keep checking the horizon
And I'll check my machine, there's sure to be that call - It's gonna happen soon, soon, soon - It's just that times are lean

And you say, be still my love - Open up your heart, let the light shine in
Don't you understand - I already have a plan - I'm waiting for my real life to begin

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I Have a DATE!

Yeppers ... after just over a year of waiting, a gaggle of hoops, doctors, nurses and bureaucrats - it is finally time ... I have the date of my gastric sleeve surgery.

Woot to the HOO! also ohfuckohfuckohfuckohfuckohfuckoh ... what have I done?!

It's a strange feeling to be this much at odds with how I feel about the same issue. Gratitude and doubt ... elation and abject fear ... hope and anxiety - all rolled up into one fajita of crazy. Yup! That's me.

November 16th is the big day. One month from today - 31 days. 4 days before my 38th birthday ... I should even be home by then.

I'm on a 1200 calorie per day diet until then, consisting mostly of "full nutritious fluids" (as they call them). Things like Boost, Ensure, protein shakes and Carnation Instant Breakfast. I am allowed to 'chew' at the evening meal. A lean protein, 2 cups of raw veggies and 1 cup of steamed veggies. And chew, I do. Gratefully. Just like a grazing cow. Fitting, no?

Well .. my husband actually pointed out a number of years ago, that I could not realistically refer to myself as a cow ... due mainly to the fact that my legs are CLEARLY not skinny enough. 

Nobody is more surprised than me that he still urinates without the intervention of modern medicine.

I also have to get my activity level up to a certain tolerance prior to surgery, as blood clots are the biggest immediate concern with having this done, and walking is (apparently) the best way to avoid them.

Gall stones are also a concern - as it is very likely I will be down A HUNDRED pounds  (I gotta say ... that is hard to imagine) by roughly May of 2011. They have already given me a 6 month prescription for a medication that will counteract whatever it is that causes stones, from losing weight at that pace. That will leave me with roughly 38 lbs to go to reach my goal... as I have already lost 11.

I'm stoked ... and scared ... did I mention scared? But mostly stoked.

I also won a 6 month family pass to a local motel's swimming pool/spa area. This gives me unlimited access to their facility until May (as it starts in Nov) - talk about perfect timing. Also - it is located just 2 minutes from where I work - so I will be able to go over on my lunch hour ... which is great, as eating lunch will likely only take me a few minutes from here on out.

So ... there's the big news in my little world. 

I'm ready with my sharpie to X off the days from here on out. The first day of the rest of my life, if you will.

Thanks for listening.


Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Don't Get It.

Here I am ... 24 hours after the realization that a major, massive, monumental change is coming my way.

I don't feel at all like I had expected. I'm more frightened than I would have thought. That seems odd to me. I mean what could possibly be worse (with regard to this surgery, specifically) than feeling like a prisoner (and a justly convicted one, at that) inside a body belonging to someone else? For surely, this body is not my own.

What could be more frightening than being taken to the hospital, thinking I was having a heart "episode" of some sort? Kissing my kids goodbye and silently praying it wouldn't be the last time? Writing about this now seems overly dramatic ... and those of you who read platitude paradise already know the outcome of the story ... but all I could think as we made that trip was: if I leave my children without their mother, it's nobody's fault but my own.

That, my friends, is some tough shit to swallow. 

I had already begun the process of the surgery prior to that day in July. Had already spent years trying to decide if I should do something so drastic ... but if ever there had been room for doubt, that evening removed it. As frightened as I am to go through this, those were the most terrifying couple of hours of my entire existence.

And yet ... I cried yesterday. Not really sure what emotion(s) was (were) behind that, but I cried, none the less. Then, I pulled some chicken out of the freezer to defrost and headed down to my treadmill. 

But then, the dinner hour descended. During dinner, we sit as a family - with my mother included - and eat together. We also chat (and yell at the kids to pleasefortheloveofgodeatyourdinner! and stopsinging - don'tkickmeunderthetable - or - chewwithyourmouthopen! and finally, SIT DOWN!). After the girls had consumed the requisite sustenance, they were excused and the real trouble began. 

Mom and I started to chit chat. (Hubs worked last night, so was not present for this little convo.) Just for some background, my youngest sister flew home from the UK on Tuesday. She's been there for the past year - literally backpacking around Europe. This is the same sister that has a degree in child psychology with specialization in dealing with special needs. She gets paid almost as well as most lawyers. (I'm not jealous AT ALL) She also has a LOT of opinions about our methods of parenting ... bearing in mind, of course that she is all of 26 and is not only not married, but has no children. (yes, this bloody DOES matter to my story)

Where was I? Oh, yes ... my baby sister. She's also got a waist size of about 24". Not that she doesn't work at it ... she does, for sure ... but she has never EVER been fat. This brings me to my point (I know, I know ... I do take my time with this ... what did you expect, really?), while chatting over the remains of the meal, Mom informs me that she told  "Sissy" about my plans to have weight loss surgery. Now, this in and of itself is not such an horrendous thing ... although I really don't feel it was her place to say a goddamned thing to ANYONE. 

To my credit, I didn't freak. But I think she sensed the shift behind my facade and quickly said that my family NEEDS to know this stuff. I disagree, but whatever ... no point in closing the barn door once the cattle has escaped, right? Then, she stated that if one of them were having surgery, I would want to know. I think that is subject to why they were having it, personally, but this is the same argument I suppose. She then informed me that she hadn't told my aunt and cousin on her recent visit with them - even though her reason for that definitely was NOT because she was embarrassed about it or anything. (This from the woman who refuses to tell anyone that she moved out of her in law suite into my house for the embarrassment factor) Like this was supposed to garner praise?  Argh! 

I had had my fill by this point and said that I understood why she told both of my sisters, but that I would appreciate she left it at that, and didn't tell anyone else. I went on to explain that there is a great deal of shame associated with this and in addition, many people are of the opinion that this is "the easy route". I really don't want to have to add the pressure of the uninformed opinions of others to my own. Mom agreed and seemed to understand my point, but then went on to describe the conversation she had with my youngest sister: "she wasn't negative about it or anything. I mean, she thought about it for a bit and was concerned about the psychological aspect of weight loss" ... "she finished by saying 'it's kind of like working on the problem from the outside, in'... I hope she can handle that."

Perhaps I am entirely too sensitive here ... but WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?! Sanctimonious much? Where do these two even get off talking about the hardest decision of my life like I'm picking out fugly carpet? And why, for the love of everything good and holy would my mother be sharing this with me like I should be so pleased for the opinion?

Am I nuts here? Have I lost my mind? I'm asking ... for real. Who in the holy hell do they think they are? And just why is it that my weight loss surgery has ANYTHING to do with my mother ... or sister, for that matter? Next thing, I'll have an invitation to Maury fuckin' Povich coming in the mail.

I just don't get it.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Desperately Seeking Danica

I have a secret. A secret I don't particularly want to share over at my usual haunt, platitude paradise.

It's dark and ugly and I guard it like a wounded child... except that I am ashamed on such a level, I can't think of it as a child ... it's just there ... and awful.

Blogging has been good for me in so many ways, it's hard to sum them all up. So, for me to stop doing something I love so much, it must be for a pretty good reason - right? There are actually a couple of factors. One, because my creative juices look more like the Sahara - and two, because my attention has been focused on something big.

What is it, you ask? 

It's me.

I'm the something that is big... and I am not merely using the word loosely, either. I am approaching a level of big that has already started to affect my life and the way I live it more than a little (like the way I got around saying 'big' again?).

One of the things I enjoy about blogging is the level of anonymity I have been able to maintain. Not about who I am ... you likely have a good read on that. No, it's got to do with my appearance. None (or a very limited few) of you have the slightest idea what I actually look like.

Now, as vain as this may sound, it's actually about so much more than vanity. It's about control ... or in my case, a lack thereof. I can not handle loss of control. I'm a freak that way. I have done so many different things in order to lose weight and get into better physical shape, it boggles the mind to list them. I stopped short at shock therapy ... let's leave it at that, shall we?

Nothing works. 

Well ... to be clear, some things work for a short time ... usually about three months. During that time, I lose a respectable amount of weight (30 - 40lbs) and then mysteriously, it stops... then reverses ... and by the time THAT bus gets stopped, I've not only gained back what I had lost, but another 8 - 10lbs for good measure. This has been happening for YEARS!! In fact, when I first started to diet - I really didn't NEED to for any reason other than vanity --- and I mean stupid vanity here ... like I didn't like the fact that I had a teeny tiny roll I could pull off my tummy if I tried real hard.

So, after doing some research on line and with my doctor, I came to a decision regarding this albatross - I was going to have weight loss surgery. A referral form was sent in September of 2009. I was invited to a group session in March of this year and have been awaiting the clinical appointment to meet with the psychologist, endocrinologist and dietitian as well as the nurse that heads up the program at the hospital in Halifax.

I had a full fuckin' page of blood work done two weeks ago, which resulted in my parting with ELEVEN vials of blood. My appointment was this morning. I am STILL sweating. It was a little on the rough side ... like the Spanish Inquisition, you know. This was the appointment that decided whether or not I am a viable candidate for the procedure ... whether I am mentally capable of dealing with life before, during and after the finer points of this little journey <--so you can see my concern, no? Whether I am physically healthy enough to tolerate it and whether I have done enough of the "before" work to be deemed worthy.
Apparently, I am ... and have ... I'm approved!

What does it mean? Well, it is highly likely that before my 38th birthday in November, I could already be on my way to a healthier, happier existence.

I know this is drastic. Having 80-85% of your stomach cut out of your body is pretty major ... but desperate times call for desperate measures. Conservatively, I have 150lbs to lose. If I listen to what "they" say it's more like 170ish. I'll be perfectly happy with anything near 100lbs off this carcass.
I know there are people in the world that are of the opinion that this is the "easy way out" ... I have to say to them, that I disagree. Trust me - I wouldn't be doing it if I hadn't already exhausted every non surgical  weight loss solution I could try. Right down to "speed".

Man - I feel like I've committed a crime and am asking forgiveness of my peers right now... perhaps they should have looked a little closer at my psyche.

It is going to be quite a journey. I am frightened. If I said anything else, I'd be a liar. This is huge ... but it works, and I think I have covered most of the possible issues that are likely to arise.

I have spectacular support from my guy. He's worried as hell and insists that he loves me just the way I am, but since I have taken such a very long time to come to this conclusion (over 5 years), he is behind me all the way.

I am hoping I can count on you guys too. It's gonna be a long and bumpy road, but I think it will change me in a really positive way.

Whew! I feel better having shared this with you guys. Thanks!

D - out

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Are There Words?

I ask myself this question hoping there is some kind of answer waiting in the dark recesses of my diseased mind.

I am angry. Angry in way that actually frightens me on a basal level. Angry in a way that could easily result in bodily damage ... to whom, I can not say ... actually -  I could tell you, but then I would have to kill you (too).

I October of 2009, my husband and I came to a conclusion that, for me, was bordering cataclysmic. With a string of very bad luck, some desperate decisions (that actually made the overall picture worse) and some financial baggage from my hubby's past rearing its ugly head, we were left with little other choice but to file for bankruptcy. 

I am a mortgage professional. I counsel people on their credit EVERY DAY. That is my job. How could I look at bankruptcy in any way other than a shameful failure? How could I sit behind my desk and look people in the eye - all the while preaching to them the importance of solid credit practices - knowing full well I was a complete hypocrite? I had failed.

The shame of this has been a hirsute I have been wearing around for all the world to see - long, ugly tendrils of coarse, greasy failure.

Back in October, when making this monumental decision, we had to also determine what to do about our house. We had no equity in it due to the fact that I frantically struggled (in vain) to save us from succumbing to our creditors by refinancing and adding a second mortgage. A move that, had it worked, would have been a stroke of genius ... however, it did not - and quickly became yet another bad choice in a long line of mistakes that led us to ruin. At the onset, the "Estate Manager" for the firm we dealt with sat in front of us and looked over our information. She tallied our debts against our assets and incoming funds and came to the conclusion that we had very limited options. (Uh ... thank you, Captain Obvious!) We asked questions. A thousand or more. Questions about the length of a bankruptcy, the criteria one must meet, the reporting, the responsibility of "the bankrupt" as they now refer to us. We sat with this woman while she figured out our total net income per month and compared it to the provincial standard. We asked her: Based on this information, what is the likelihood that we will be released after the nine month period was up? She told us (on THREE SEPARATE OCCASIONS) that as long as our income did not increase and we filed our paperwork and paid the monthly fees as required, we would be eligible for release after the initial 9 month period. So, we decided to keep our house (even though it is the root of the problem) as there would be only the one winter to contend with.

In April (that would be a month and a half ago for anyone keeping track) we received a letter stating that our trustee was preparing for the absolute discharge of our bankruptcy that was to occur prior to the middle of July 2010. We had been submitting our paperwork and paying the monthly fee without fail, but they were missing a couple of odds and ends that we needed to submit - which we did. Nothing that changed our income in any way but to decrease it slightly. We attended our last counseling session with our "EM" on the 27th of May ... we sat across a table from her and asked her point blank what the date of our discharge would be. She said July 12th. The woman had our entire file sitting in front of her ... had HAD our file for the past 8 solid months.

On June 10th, we received another letter in the mail from this "EM". The letter was dated May 26th. The day BEFORE our last meeting with this twat. In this letter, there was some startling news. We had surplus income. (The same as we had the day we signed the original documents) Because of said surplus income, we not only were NOT going to be discharged after the 9 month period we would now be paying DOUBLE the monthly amount for the next 12 months.

So ... to recap:

Signed banko docs Oct 2009 ... making risky decision to keep the house and suffer through for 9 months. **note, if we opt to let the house go now, we will have to file for a second bankruptcy as it can not be included in the one we are currently in ... and someone with two bankruptcies can essentially never qualify for any sort of sensible financing again ... I'm not even sure if "Tony the Tuna" lends to 2nd timers.

Was told in no uncertain terms that so long as our income did not "dramatically increase" (note the quotes) that we would qualify for the 9 month discharge.

March 2010 Our income dramatically DE-creases... after Hubs is laid off and goes to contract position.

April 2010 A letter is penned by our em/trustee stating they were in the process of preparing our discharge.

May 26, 2010 A letter is penned by our em/trustee detailing the reasons why we will not only NOT be discharged for at least another 12 months (on top of the 9 served) but that they are now doubling our monthly amount payable, but not mailed.

May 27, 2010 ... One day later, the person that supposedly wrote said letter, sits across a table from me, my husband and our youngest daughter, looks us in the eye and says we'll be done in July.

June 09, 2010 - TWO WEEKS after the latter was dated, we received it.

At this point in time, to say that I lost my mind would be somewhat of an understatement. Hubs and I sat down and mapped out every penny of income we had received since October 1st. We got it all organized in a nice neat spread sheet and forwarded it - along with copies of all the pay stubs, etc that should already have been in our file. I sent this info to our "EM" (and I can assure you I have some much more colorful names to call her than that) on Thursday, June 10/10. I followed up with a call and email on Friday, June 11/10 ... and again with an email yesterday - Monday, June 14/10. Below, you will find her email reply (which came at 4:50 pm) to my frantic pleas:

This amended calculation means that no arrears are payable, but there is still a requirement for an additional payment period of 12 months, pursuant to the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Directive. Your initial documents reported a surplus amount so the likelihood of extended payment would have been discussed at your first assessment meeting when you were given a copy of the Standards. 
Um - no, it fucking wasn't ... quite the exact opposite, you might say. In fact, we'll throw caution to the wind and let's DO say, shall we? WE ASKED YOU. Correct me if I am mistaken, but don't you people have to take a pretty heavy course load to become 'estate managers' and 'trustees'? I would think we could agree that there are reasons why that might be the case ... like perhaps the intricacies of the bankruptcy process might just be slightly beyond the everyday knowledge of Jane and John Public. Am I incorrect with this assumption?

So, I uh ... lost my shit ... and this time, it was still within business hours. I called their office. It was 4:53pm. I was told that the office closes at 5:00pm and that I would need to call back during business hours. (R U FUCKING KIDDING ME???) I said "funny, my watch clearly indicates 4:53pm. There are 7 minutes left of your business day, and I want to speak to someone that can explain to me how your firm's gross negligence in performing their end of my bankruptcy can somehow have a lasting, negative effect on my financial health?"

So I was put on hold. When someone finally picked up, he did not identify himself and he was taking a pretty hard line with me. Given the fact that I was sitting about 3 degrees under homicidal, it wasn't his smartest decision of the day. Turns out he was one of the firm's trustees. He actually (to my surprise, in fact) changed his tune fairly quickly after I launched on him like a fat camp detainee on a smorgasbord. Honestly, I felt like an idiot the way I was ranting and raving - but the reality remains that they have fucked us over pretty good here.

We left it at him looking at our file first thing in the morning and getting back to me by phone the next day ... that would be today. (Alas, my phone has not borne such fruit to this point.) I drove home last evening in a fit of rage. I do not recall the drive. I do not recall anything save the blood red curtain that descended over my vision. When I got home, I walked in and Hubs was standing there waiting for me - I had sent him the email from the trustee. He started to talk and then after one glance at me, opened his arms where I promptly dissolved into a sputtering geyser of tears.

It was not a nice evening in my house.

This morning, after a highly restless night, I came into work to face a mountain of bullshit of Narci's making.  I've been feeling like flinging myself into a wood chipper for most of the past 12 - 15 hours. I know that there are many, much worse scenarios in a lifetime to overcome, but this was blatantly THEIR fault. This delay would mean we will not qualify to renegotiate our mortgage when it renews - which means continuing at much higher payments than otherwise necessary. It means we can't replace our car - which is in really rough shape and is 11 years old. It means that I have to break a promise to my kids regarding a trip we were going to take this summer.

It sucks ... donkey balls.

Then ... I am on the phone with Hubs and another email comes in from our "EM":

Ed and I have been reviewing the Directive to see if there is an alternative option to calculate for possible surplus income. When amendments to bankruptcy legislation came in force in September, some of the Directives were adjusted accordingly and, as with a lot of new things, further revision must be made as it is put to the test in "real life". At this point there are a couple areas that may be open to interpretation. If we look at your situation as if you had filed separate assignments, it would appear that no further surplus would be payable individually. We are prepared to apply this principle to your household situation and allow the automatic discharge to take effect on July 8th. Any creditor or the Superintendent of Bankruptcy has the right to object to your discharge if they feel they have grounds. However, at this point the trustee is not going to pursue payment beyond the 9 months and you can disregard the previous letter.

So ... I am left with the overwhelming feeling that they did, in fact, fuck up... and we caught them. Does that passage not smack of "blah blah blah ... it's not our fault ... blah blah blah ... but since you are being such a bitch about it, we'll tweak this and adjust that and ...VOILA!!! You are discharged? It's funny, yesterday the comment was "but there are rules" and today it's more like "well ... rules - schmules". I can't help thinking if I hadn't reacted the way I did, we'd not only be in for another 12 months, but very likely paying double what we've been paying for the past 9. (An amount that would go a long way toward a decent mortgage payment, by the way... money that is paid NOT to my creditors - no, no ... to the trustee)

It goes to show you - there are a horrifying number of "professionals" in our world that don't know their arses from a hole in the ground. The general populace NEEDS to educate themselves. I am literally trembling in my drawers at how close this has come to financial annihilation.

It would seem we are back in the clear ... today. I won't rest overly easy until we have that paper in our possession. Putting my immediate future in the hands of such people has been harrowing to say the very least.

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