Day Seven

Well, the weather is much cooler today.  The heat was insane yesterday.  Even though I was wearing a hat, by the time I walked dowm Market St, my face was a delightful shade of red & stayed that way for a couple of hours.  It was so hot, I had to powder my hands while I was knitting & even then, my hands were still feeling sweaty.  I had to stop knitting at onestage because I couldn’t concentrate it was just too hot.

I have a nice temporary filling now. After I recover from the surgery & can travel into the city (with the horrible transport we now have), I will schedule some appointments to get things dealt with.

I weighed myself this morning & I only lost another 200gm today.  139.1kg, total 6.6kg.  I’m not going to be depressed about it.  It might be all the water I drank yesterday because of the heat.  So not panicing.

I saw the cardiologist today.  He said there are no signs of heart disease & he’s given me a clearance for the surgery next week.  He also said that the blood pressure medication I take (currently) could be triggering my cough.   Apparently it is a side effect.  Didn’t know that.  Most of the cough has now gone.  Just the occasional tickle & cough.  Nowhere near as bad as the last two weeks.  I have wanted to eat something today.  But I am hanging in there.  Only another week to go.  I can do this.  Or at least I keep telling myself that.

Hamish is being quite clingy today.  He’s currently asleep, resting between me & the arm of the recliner.   Finally finished the back of the dress today & started casting on the stitches for the front.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel getting closer.  The cooler weather makes knitting much easier too.

Report more tomorrow.

Day Six

So.  How much does a tooth face weigh? Why? I hear you ask.  Well, this morning I was having a eucalyptus & honey lozenge, because my throat is still a little tickley, and the face of a tooth just came off! The irony is that other than these lozenges, I haven’t really had anything solid (steamed veggies don’t really count) for almost a week! I’ve managed to get an appointment at the HCF Dental Clinic for this afternoon.  They will be able to at least do a repair job.   9 days until surgery.

i weighed myself this morning.  The result: 139.3kg.  Total loss so far is 6.4kg.  I have the appointment with the cardiologist tomorrow afternoon for the final clearance.  When I have my pre admission clinic at the hospital on Monday to have my blood tests re-done & information on what time to arrive on the 15th etc.  it’s coming quickly.  I alsoneed to aks them about my acrylic nails.  I belong to a support group on Facebook for peoplewhohave had, or are contemplating bariatric surgery.  Some people had been toldthey had to remove their acrylic nails, and some were told nothing & kept them on for the surgery.  So I will ask on Monday.  That way I can either get themtaken off, or infilled after the clinic appointment, seeing as the appointment is at 9am.

Had a big knitting spurt last night.  Got quite a lot done.  But now I am worried I won’t have enough to complete the last piece.  So, I will go into the city early this afternoon & go to Lindcraft before I go to the dentist.  The Lindcraft store is almost next door, so it won’t be a problem.  The only real problem will be getting back home, now that my buses no longer go any further north than Central Station.  Oh well, the travel in, the waiting for the dentist & the travel back will give me more time to knit.  I’ll pick up the ribbon & buttons I will need at Lindcraft while I’m there too.  This gift is getting there.

According to the support group, I can expect to gain weight when I leave hospital.  That will be due to the gas they use to inflate the stomach, and the IV fluids they pump into you.  They say that after a while, not only will that gained weight disappear, but the weight I will have lost since the surgery will also become apparent (the gas & fluid hide it for a while).  So the first week or so after the surgery, I may not post my weight.  It won’t be because the surgery has not been a success.  It will just be because the scales won’t be telling the true story.

Well, better get showered & dressed, ready to go out.  More tomorrow.

Day Five

Why is it so hot in the season.  We still have 6 weeks until Summer, and it is already 34.9C here today.  In fact, it was 18C at 3 am this morning.  Thsi will explain why I had such problems sleeping last night.

Last night was not a great night for me.  For the first time since I started the Optifast, I really wanted to eat something, other than just steamed veggies, last night.  I looked at my fridge.  There isn’t much in there at the moment.  I emptied most of it out on Wednesday.  Just as well.  I think I would have made a peanut butter & honey sandwich if I had had the bread in the fridge! I left some cheese in the fridge for some time after the surgery.  I really thought about just grabbing a slice to eat, but I thought…. better not.  The whole point of the Optifast & veggies for two weeks is to kick start the weight loss, amd to also shrink the liver.  When they do the surgery, having the liver smaller, makes it easy to move it out of the way to access the stomach.

I really don’t want to sabotage this whole thing.  I know that eating a single slice of cheese won’t be a total disaster & won’t completely derail the process, but I have committed to having this surgery because I can’t lose the weight by myself.  I need to prove to myself that I can do it.  I need to prove to myself that I will do this long term.  If I can’t do this for just two weeks, how will I do it for the rest of my life? I know I won’t be perfect all the time (like possibly on the trip next year), but I need to be perfect for at least these two weeks.

I weighed in this morning.  I weigh 140.9kg.  So, since I started the Optifast I have lost a total of 4.8kg.  I started with a BMI of 54.8.  That is known as Super Morbidly Obese.  There I said it out loud, and in print.  When people who know me, see me, probably don’t realise just how heavy I am.  Well, here it is.  I am heavier than most people think.  In 5 days I have managed to bring my BMI down to 53.  It’s a start.   Not the end of the journey, just the start.

Hamish is not happy with the heat.  He hs bee laying in the hallways, trying to catch any breeze that he can find.  He has even tried attacking something under the security door.  There was nothing there, but he really wanted to get it.

More tomorrow.  If I don’t melt first.
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Day Four

Even though it is still early now, I have been up since 3am.  Why? It is the first weekend in October & my Church has its Semi Annual Conference in Salt Lake City.  So I got up early in order to watch the Saturday Morning session.  Had problems with the internet this morning, so I missed almost 30 minutes of the session before I could get it to work.  It was really good.  Talking about how to be ‘in the world, but not of the world’.  How better to get a balance in your life.

Currently watching the Saturday Afternoon session.  We had three new Apostles called into the Quorum of the Twelve today.  There had been three deaths within the Quorum since the April Conference.  The last time we called three Apostles at once was in 1906!  They are the 98th, 99th & 100th Apostles of this dispensation.  It is a wonderful thing to see how God’s Church operates, simply & without rancour.  It is from the Quorum & the two Councillors to the President that the Prophet (President) is called following the death of the Prophet.  It is always the most senior Apostle who is called to the position.  When I say ‘senior’, I don’t necessarily mean the oldest.  Seniority is determined by the order in which they are ordained to the position of Apostle.  If more than one man is called on the same day (like today), then the order in which the ordination takes place will determine their seniority.  When the current Prophet dies, there willbe no politicing.  No voting.  There will just be a meeting of the Quorum of the Twelve, with the two councillors taking their places according to their seniority, they will pray about it & will sustain the most senior among them to the position.  He will then choose his two councillors. If someone wants to become Prophet, they would have to outlive everyone who is more seniorto them.  So unless they kill people, which would disqualify them for the position, they will only attain thenposition if God wants them to do so.

Well, I didn’t get out of the house yesterday.  Instead, I ordered the things I needed online to be delivered instead.  I weighed myself this morning.  142.2kg today.  That’s 3.5kg gone.  I think at this stage it is good that I didn’t go to the supermarket.  It was bad enough on Friday as I came home from the surgeon, to pass the cafė at the end of my street on the way home from the bus stop.  I was thinking…. I really would love a nice hot chocolate now.  But I didn’t stop. I kept walking back to the house without stopping.  The smell as I passed was terribly tempting, but I resisted.

Have to take Hamish for his checkup today.  Things are improving.  Except he managed to get poop stuck on his fur last night & managed to get it on things where poop should not be.  If you think I was not happy about it, you are right.  I saw a post from a Ragdoll breeder that I follow on Facebook today.  One of her clients has to relinquish her two male Ragdolls, Han Solo (his twin died soon after birth which left him as the only kitten in his litter) & Chewbaka because she is not permitted to keep them any longer.  If I was working & had a car, I would take them in a heartbeat to add to Hamish.  But I don’t, so I can’t.

More tomorrow.  Still not struggling with the Optifast.  Not bored with it yet, but I expect I will be the closer it gets to the surgery date.

Day Three

Well, here I am again.  Reporting in as promised.  This is the longest continuous strech of posts since I started this blog years ago.

So, the weight this morning was 143.1kg.  That is a total loss of 2.6kg since I started.  So, I think I am well on my way to my surgeon’s target of 5-7kg before the surgery.  I need to go shopping to get some more steam veggies for the freezer, as well as getting some chewable vitamins & Berocca for after the surgery.  I also need to get some more Vicks Vaporub & eucalyptus lozenges.  The cough is getting better.  Not much coughing today, which is good.  If this isn’t gone before the surgery date, it will be postponed & I will have to go through the pre op diet all over again.  As much as I am, so far, finding the Optifast easy to tolerate I am not looking forward to having to do it all over again if I can avoid it.

Just sitting here, about to have my lunch & then do some knitting, while I watch the BYU – UCONN game.  Why does it have to take 3 hours to play just 1 hour of actual game? Soooo slow.  At the moment BYU is leading, so that’s good.

Looking forward to General Conference tomorrow.  The Saturday Morning Session will be about 3am due to us starting Daylight Saving during the night.  I’ve made sure my TV internet has BYUtv saved as a favourite, so it will be quicker to be able to watch.  With the TV now wired directly into the internet, I am hoping there isn’t too much buffering.  It is really annoying to try to watch it when it stops & starts.  Guess I will need to go to bed early tonight so I can get up & watch.  It is possible we may have three new Apostles announced tomorrow.  The last time they announced three at once like this was in 1906.

Talk again tomorrow.  I promised I will report daily.

Day Two

As promised here is my report on Day Two in my journey towards what some refer to as ‘The Loser’s Bench’.

The first day of the Optifast diet went surprisingly well.  I mentioned to the surgeon at today’s appointment that I had tried Optifast when it first came onto the market here years ago, but that I couldn’t stand it.  Especially as it is being made with just water, not any form of milk.  I wondered if maybe they had changed the formula in the intervening years.  He responded that it is probably that I am finally in the right mindset to see this through this time.  I bought 4 boxes of Optifast last week to see me through the entire two weeks.  One each of four different flavours: Vanilla, Chocolate, Caramel & Banana.  They are all nice tasting.  I have one of these three times a day.  Usually breakfast, lunch & a late snack.  For dinner I have a packet of steam vegetables.  Quick, easy & satisfies the diet requirement.

I weighed in this morning.  I was 145.3kg today.  That is a loss of 400gm.  The surgeon wants me to lose between 5-7kg before the surgery.  On this diet, I think that is doable.

I dropped off the papers for the hospital.  I will be admitted to the hospital on the morning of my surgery.  The surgeon expects me to be in hospital 2-3 nights.  I see the cardiologist fr the final clearance on Wednesday of next week & have my pre-admittance clinic, where they will test my bloodwork again to make sure the Optifast hasn’t done something funny to it, on the Monday before the surgery.  I will book Hamish in for boarding from the night before my admittance.  Not having a car or anyone to drive me to the hospital, and I’m not sure what time I have to be there yet, I don’t think it will be practical to try to drop him off on the way to the hospital.

Things have gone so quickly, from when I started this process to when I am scheduled for surgery.  It just confirms to me that I am making the right decision.  More tomorrow.

Day One

Well, the journey has begun in earnest today.  Wasn’t sure whether to title this post Day One or Day 15.  It would depend if I was counting down to the Surgery day or counting up to it.  Looks like I have decided to count up.

My weight today is 145.7kg.  In the last couple of weeks or so, I have been eating things that I won’t be able to have any longer.  Sweets, chocolate, breads, bacon (Mmmmmm,,,,,, Bacon!) etc.  So, what’s happening?  Well, about 4 weeks ago I saw my Doctor and admitted that I cannot do this myself.  I have tried to lose the weight and it just hasn’t happened.  I have tried Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Gloria Marshall, Lite and Easy, Biggest Loser Club and just changing my diet.  I do alright for a couple of weeks and can get down to maybe 138kg and then it all falls apart.  My Doctor had talked to me a couple of years ago about taking the surgical option.  At the time I was determined to do this myself.  I thought taking the surgical route was cheating or being lazy in some way.  I have now come to understand that sometimes it is the only way to do this.  It isn’t cheating or lazy at all.

I cleaned out my fridge last night.  What food I wasn’t able to consume was thrown out last night.  Luckily it was the night for the rubbish bin to go out. So now my fridge looks like I am poor (which I am at the moment).  There are some things in there for later, my water filter and bottles of water (from the filter, not bought in shops).  That’s it.  Most of the shelves are completely empty.  The only raw food really that is in the fridge is the chicken breast for the kitten.  Hamish (the new kitten, well, not really ‘new’.  He’s been with me for just over two months now) appears to have some sort of irritable bowel syndrome.  He doesn’t like any form of packaged cat food, and I have tried lots of different ones.  He likes chicken breast (raw or cooked) and BBQ chicken.  I would buy the chicken and then strip the carcass and put it into a container and feed some to him at meal times, as well as have some myself.  I noticed his tummy seemed to be very round.  Almost pot bellied.  He had developed a habit of pooping under the settee in the lounge room.  Not only was it messy, but it was very smelly and not very poop like at all.  The vet has instructed that he only be fed 20gm of fresh chicken breast three times a day, with Slippery Elm powder sprinkled over it.  Plus he has 1/3 cup of a prescription dry food once a day.  I tried to give him some chicken liver (between 10-15gm) with the chicken breast, as per the Vet’s instruction, to give him more vitamins.  The first couple of times was fine.  But after that, Hamish would either leave the liver in the bowl or he would dump it on the floor!  After the first week of trying every meal, I gave up on the livers.  Hamish is still gaining weight, even with the very restrictive amounts.  Although, Hamish doesn’t like the small amounts at all.  He often meows at me wanting me to feed him more.  I remain resolved and haven’t done so.  I have an additional litter tray in the lounge room now, and he poops in there.  He won’t poop in the original litter tray for some reason I have yet to understand.  His poop is becoming more poop like and the smell is getting better.  Hopefully, I will eventually be able to move the litter tray out of the lounge room (It’s in a corner, not on prominent display, thankfully) and maybe into the bathroom.  Will have to see later.

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Hamish, sharing the recliner with me.

So, two weeks from today I will undergo a Gastric Sleeve procedure.  I know it is drastic, but with a BMI of over 54, drastic is what is needed.  I have trouble walking up and down stairs.  I get puffed walking up even moderate inclines.  I’m not getting any younger and I need to do something about this.  Remarkably, I am NOT pre-diabetic.  That amazes me, every time I think about it when I consider what I would eat.  The amounts of sweets and chocolate.  I am at risk of stroke at this weight.  I already have high blood pressure.  By losing weight, I can reduce my risks, and possibly eliminate them altogether.  I will try to document my journey each day.

Today has been the start of the Optifast only diet in preparation for the surgery.  This diet not only should shed some weight before the surgery, but it will also shrink my liver.  This means it is easier for the surgeon to move the liver out of the way in order to perform the procedure on my stomach.

This whole procedure has happened very quickly.  As I said, I spoke with my Doctor only about 4 weeks ago.  I saw the assessment team on 9 September, and the surgeon two days later.  I saw the dietician about 10 days ago and will see the cardiologist for the final clearance next Wednesday.  The surgeon just wants to be sure there won’t be any issues with my heart due to my age.

I have been exempted from having to look for work at the moment.  It made no sense for me to be applying for jobs when I am not in a position to accept a job offer because of the surgery.  The good thing is it is giving me time to do some knitting.  A friend is having her first baby some time this month.  I have been dawdling with getting this finished.  Now I have to push myself to get it all done.  My own fault.  Time to get back to the knitting.  Talk again tomorrow.

What’s the Point?

Seriously. What’s the point in even trying any longer? I am getting sick and tired of applying for positions that will never employ me.

I had an interview last week for my ideal job. Admin assistant for the music department in a prestigious school. I have been in tears since I found out yesterday that I didn’t get it. I am so tired of trying and not getting anywhere.

It has been 14 months of trying. With my skills and abilities and experience, I should have been employed by now. And yet…. I sit here, still having to go through the charade of applying for jobs every week. Most employers don’t even bother to get in touch with you at all.

I am sick of being told that I ‘impressed’ them. Clearly not enough. I am sick of being told that I am ‘over qualified’ because we all know that is rubbish. What they really mean is I am too old, but they can’t actually say that because if they did I would be able to sue them for age discrimination. I’ve done everything I can. Completed courses, fasted, prayed, applied for job. All for nothing.

I don’t want to see anyone. I don’t want to talk to anyone. I don’t want to go out. I just want this to stop.

Slight Improvement

Well, it’s just over a week since my last post. So I am going to try to post here on a more regular basis. Mind you I have said that before, haven’t I?

Well my mood has improved a bit this week. Not massively, but a bit. I applied for 8 jobs on Wednesday. I am only required to apply for 6 jobs per fortnight. Some fortnights I have applied for up to 16 jobs per fortnight. We’ll see how things go.

It’s still difficult. The constant applying for jobs and only rarely being called for an interview is very soul destroying. I had an agency tell me last week, as feedback, that I didn’t have formal qualifications. I pointed out that I have Business Administration Certificate III and Business (Legal) Administration Certificate III. To which he responded that they have people straight out of high school with Diploma qualifications. I then pointed out that they wouldn’t have almost 40 years work experience to back up those qualifications, but I do! It’s just another example of the ageist attitudes that some employers have against people like me. They can’t see the fact that we can do the job, that we have not only the qualifications but that we have the practical work experience required in order to do the work. All they see is that we are over 50 (or in some cases, over 40) and so they don’t want to know. They think we can’t do the work and they won’t even try. Instead they employ the young person who won’t stay at the employer for very long. Maybe a year or two at the most. I am happy to stay for 10 years. This would put me at beyond retirement age by then. But I want to get to Long Service Leave again before I retire. But the longer it takes the longer past retirement age I will be in order to achieve that goal.

My weight is fluctuating again. Sigh. This is another reason I want a job. I could then reactivate my gym membership and then go for a swim a few times a week, until my weight comes down to a more reasonable level so I can do some more strenuous exercises.

The clutter is not under control. I still don’t have the full motivation to deal with it. I am thinking about asking my Relief Society President for help. But I just worry about that. The last time I had help (many years ago), things were done that I didn’t agree with and things were thrown out that I needed (a refund cheque that I hadn’t have a chance to bank yet, for one). So I am a bit hesitant to ask for help for that reason. But the thing is, I can’t find my passport! The last time I definitely know that I had it was in December, a couple of weeks before Christmas, when I went to an employment agency at Burwood for an interview. I had it with me to prove I an an Australian Citizen and eligible to work here. So I know I had it then. I have a vague recollection of putting down somewhere in the house and thinking at the time, that I would leave it there for a short time before putting it away in a more permanent place. I am hopeful that that vague recollection is right and that it was after the Burwood interview. It’s just that I can’t find it at the moment. I have searched in the logical places, but I can’t see it. So I am hopeful that I have just put something on top of it and it is hiding here in the house. Besides, I like the wallet that it is in. It was a gift for my 21st birthday (many years ago now) from a friend before my very first overseas trip. Plus, my very expired Canadian passport is also in the wallet!

If I don’t get a new job soon, I may just have to tell my Superannuation find that I have ‘retired’ to access my money. Then I can get the things done around the house that need to be done. Like the peeling paint on the walls and ceiling in the kitchen/dining room and the bench tops which are lifting in places. Both bedrooms need painting, and the ceilings in both bedrooms need professional work because of the water damage, including the mould on the ceiling in the master bedroom from the 1999 hailstorm. There are a couple of other things I would like to do such as rewiring the house and tiles on the floor of the toilet and laundry… and maybe in the kitchen area……. Ideally I would like to get rid of the carpet and polish the floorboards. I have Cypress Pine floorboards which I know are in good condition (and termites hate them) and they would look good if they were exposed. Problem is, I don’t think there will be enough money to do everything. I also will need some of the money to pay the balance of my trip next year (and some spending money). Sigh. So the priority areas to be targeted are kitchen/dining room, the bench tops and the bedrooms and the trip. Once the house is fixed up, I could then look at having someone come live with me to help with the bills. The condition the house is in at the moment, that it not really an option. Problem is, the house is not in a condition to be able to ask someone to pay to live here and I need money in order to have that work done, which I could get if someone was here…. The definition of a Catch 22, I think. Anyway, I need to get the clutter under control first. The painter wouldn’t be able to get to the walls at the moment. I can’t do the work myself, because I have 9ft ceilings in this house, with decorative cornices, so it needs a professional who will have the equipment and skills to be able to do the needed work.

Well, I think that is all for this week. Talk to you again soon.

Where to Begin? Why Bother?

I have been away from here for quite some time. Probably it’s been a year or more. So much has happened since I was last here. Not sure it’s been all for the good.

In three weeks will will have been a year since I left my job. Even at this distance I am not sure how I exactly feel about it. I miss the work, and I really miss the income (more on that soon). But there are things I don’t miss, but I will not be going into more detail about that. Just suffice it to say, it wasn’t the healthiest place for me at the end.

In the almost 12 months since I left my job I have been looking for work. To satisfy the government requirements for my unemployment allowance, I must look for at least 6 jobs each fortnight. It is not uncommon for my to apply for up to 16 positions in that timeframe. Despite that, I have had very few interviews. It’s very demoralising. You are putting yourself out there, saying ‘Pick me!’ and often you get no response at all. Why is that? How hard is it in this day and age to take a few seconds to acknowledge an application. How hard is it to let people actually know that they haven’t been successful in their application? With many people, it apparently is too hard.

There are a small number of employers who, even though they don’t tell you themselves if you have been successful or not, do make it easy for you to find out what is happening with your application. They have on their employment section of their websites, information about the progress of the vacancies. At first is shows the vacancy as ‘Advertised’. Then it will change to ‘Shortlisting’, so that means you still have hope because you may be getting a call or email invitation to interview. The final stage is ‘Interviewing’. Once it changes to this final status if you have not received an invitation, you then know that your application has not been successful. That’s a much better way of doing things. You’re not left in this strange limbo wondering what’s happening. Unlike other employers who don’t even let you know that they even received your application in the first place!

So yesterday I received an email telling me that my latest interview had been unsuccessful. Consequently, my emotions are not very under control at the moment. In fact I am fighting back the tears at the moment. And not very successfully. I know that at my age, the longer it takes to get a job, the less likely it becomes that I will every get another job.

So, my weight has not been great during this past year. After I left my job, I became very depressed about things. Not the least of which was (and still is) the financial position this has put my into. I am still intending to go on the trip next year. The trip is now less than 600 days away. But I have saved less than half the money I need to pay for the trip, let alone any spending money or new clothes etc. If I have not found a new job by August or September this year, I will have to just tell my superannuation company that I have ‘retired’ so I can access that money. It will mean I will be able to also fix some things around the house, like the peeling paint on some ceilings and walls, and then I would be able to have someone come to live with me to help with some of the bills. My weight went up to a high of 152kg at the worst point. I’ve now managed to bring it back down to under 140kg. During this time, since some time in November, it also went back up from 140kg to 147kg around Christmas time. It’s going back in the right direction now. Downwards.

Talking of bills. Because I only receive the money for my unemployment, I have had to drastically cut back my expenses. My private health insurance has been suspended for a while. I couldn’t afford the money at the moment. I have had to suspend my gym membership as well. I just pay a token $10 per fortnight, so that when I can afford it, I will be able to go back to the gym and not need to pay a joining fee again. I have cut back the costs for my phones, and I didn’t upgrade my mobile when it came off contract. I have even had to cancel the insurance on the house. I didn’t want to do it, but I just did not have the money for the payments. At the moment, I haven’t needed to pay a water bill or electricity bill because I was into credit with them both, so I am allowing my usage to use up those credits. Even though I have cut back my expenses to the bone, I don’t go out very often in order to save money. I only go out for Church and if I have an interview most of the time. Even with all these economies, I still don’t have the money to buy food. I am having to rely on Church to be able to buy food. Oh well, it’s helping with the diet.

So I am going to go now. I will try to do a bit of tidying up for a while before I plant myself in front of the television for hours. Like I said, the depression is back, big time. So the motivation is falling way below the floor. I mean, what’s the point of applying for jobs when no one apparently wants me? Why bother? Why put myself through the pain of putting myself out there, just to be ignored, or told ‘We think you’re over qualified’? I need a certain income level to cover all my bills. And $35-45,000 is NOT going to cut it. And that is an insult to someone with almost 40 years experience in the workforce and who has taken the time and effort to return to TAFE for training and to have formal qualifications to prove that I can do the things I already had learnt while I worked over the years. Treat us with respect!