Friday, June 26, 2015

Road Trips, Fuck Ups, And Faith In Humanity

Hi. I forgot I had a blog. Now I'm back to bitch. Of course. But I also have some good shit to say, even if it feels like nothing is going well.

Most people know that we left Chicago on Monday to start our road trip to California. We planned it like we planned all of our road trips: on the fly, on a budget, and three days long. Except. It's Friday now. And we are in Winnemucca, Nevada.

I could go into a long explanation on what happened, but the short of it is that in the middle of Wyoming, our car started acting like a fool. We stayed overnight in Rawlins, consulted with a mechanic, and thought the problem was fixed.


On the way to Salt Lake City on Wednesday (and a day late already), the issue presented itself again. It happened on the fucking mountain pass between the border of Wyoming and SLC. That was not fun and it was mildly terrifying. We chug into a shop that I found. They took us to our motel when it was determined that the problem would take a while.

Thursday dawns, and the shop is called. The problem is identified. A quote is given ($995!), and we give the go ahead for it to be fixed. We pick it up that night, and it seems to be running fine.

That brings us to this morning.

We left Salt Lake City. The car was running smoothly. I took over driving for my husband in Wells, Nevada.

And the trouble started again. While I was driving. Through a fucking mountain pass.


We found a rest area and my husband took over. The issue persisted. By this time, we were 80 miles from Winnemucca. I was frantically calling shops, calling my mom, and trying to pray for our safety (which is hard when you kind of give up on religion). We limped in to Winnemucca and promptly stalled out on the main road. Of course. My husband eventually found a place to park, I eventually got connected with a shop, and we were on our way, trying not to stall.

And now here I am. The car is with the shop, my parents are on their way (500 miles and 8 hours....I owe them so damned much), and here we are in another motel.

I'm understandably done with this day, this week, this whole fucking journey. I've cried too damned much today. I'm crying now because I have no idea what's going to happen, how we're going to pay for this shit (because it will probably be expensive), and how we're even going to make it back to Chicago.

So now that I've gotten that out of the way, let me say that my faith in humanity has restored. Everyone that has helped us has gone out of their way to make sure we are safe and taken care of. The mechanics in Rawlins suggested shit before doing unnecessary work. It didn't work forever, but it held out until we got to SLC. The Rawlins Days Inn front desk clerks gave us a "break-down" rate and waived the pet fee.

In Salt Lake City, I have a ton of gratitude for the mechanics who got us in as fast as possible, gave us a ride to the motel, and did everything they could to make sure our car was okay. That also didn't work, but the more I think about it, the more I don't really fault them. This car is a damned lemon, and we should have dumped it years ago, but we kind of needed transportation and couldn't get anything new. So yeah.

The Midvale La Quinta also gets my love for squeezing us in after I figured we'd have to be in SLC for another night and we didn't want to stay at the ass Motel 6 again. They let us check-in early, gave us a nice room, and were the best people ever. I also give special thanks to our dear friend Ash for picking us up to take us to the mechanic when the car was ready, and it was lovely to see her and our other friend Dagny for a few hours.

Everyone I have talked to in Winnemucca has been extremely helpful. So many shops had too much work to do (races going on), but they had no problem recommending other places and getting me in touch with them. The gentleman that is fixing our car got us in today. He calmed me down (because duh, anxiety and just being generally upset), got us in to a motel with a special rate, and gave us a lift over to the place. The lady who runs the motel is sweet as hell, and this whole place gives me shades of the 70s, because it looks like my grandma's living room. I love it.

I realize things could be worse. A lot worse. I expect them to get worse, but I'm hoping they don't. I hope that it is something that can be easily fixed and isn't expensive. Hell, even if it gets us into California, that would be great. I can work shit out from California.

I'm weary. I love that we get to spend time together as a family, but the worry has me worn down. I can only imagine how my husband feels. He's taken the brunt of the driving, the brunt of me freaking out, the brunt of the worry because it's his car and his mode of transportation to work. He's asleep now, and I'm not even saying shit. He needs the rest.

So that is my saga so far. I can only hope that my faith in humanity will continue on and that we will be on our way tomorrow with not that much money spent and a car that will run for just a bit longer.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


A few weeks ago, I ran across this article. Go ahead and read it. You won't understand the rest of what I write if you don't. I promise you won't regret it.

Done reading? Good. Now I can get on to why I'm blogging about said story.

While the author had a radically different weight-loss surgery from my own, her weight gain story is the same. Binge eating brought us to this point. Binge eating was not addressed in the consults for weight-loss surgery. I too had a psychologist visit before I got the crap-band. It sounded the same as hers, depression and (this part still makes me laugh) lack of friendships outside the internet. Other than that, go ahead and get cut open. Surgery done, sent home, nothing to address what our minds do to us. Continued binge eating.

Yeah, I said it. I binge eat still, and while I'm not gaining weight, I'm not losing anything, either. I eat too much crap when I'm depressed, stressed, bored, tired, drunk....the list goes on and on. Do I regret it? Yes, every single time. Do I promise myself I'll stop and do things right starting the next week? Yes, and of course it has to start next week, on a Monday, because it makes perfect fucking sense in my food-addled mind. New week, new start.

If you looked at my life story, you can see why I binge eat. Lots of things happened to me that I do not want to discuss (in public, anyway). My salvation was eating to numb the pain. Eating to numb the anger. Eating to feel happy. Thirty fucking years of bullshit welling up and here is the result: still fat, still feeling shame, still feeling sadness. The only difference is that I'm older, the weight is not going to come off as easy as the last time I lost a huge amount of fat, and now I have a piece of plastic that is slowly trying to kill me, but I can't afford to have it taken out.

You can see why this story struck a chord with me. Everything is similar. The doctors don't get that we need our minds sorted before they start cutting into us to rearrange organs, place medical devices, or staple stomachs. They think that a surgery can fix everything, and that we just have to "try harder" and be "mindful of calories". Seriously, that was said to me. By a doctor.

This is another thing that irks me. People thinking that weight loss is easy and that surgery is a quick fix or a cop out. I used to think that. I no longer do. When you have a food obsession, nothing is easy. Everything is difficult. It is not like addictions to other things. We can live without alcohol or cigarettes or drugs. We can't live without food. A band around your stomach is not going to stop you from eating a tub of ice cream if you feel like everyone fucking hates you. Gastric bypass won't stop you from eating the wrong things, even if you know you will suffer the consequences later.

Don't get me wrong. I know the surgeries are successful for countless people, BUT......there is always going to be a small group of patients who don't get that success. It could be because the surgery was faulty. It could be because the medical device is shitty and should be off the market (see: my battle with the crap-band). Then you have the people who cannot stop eating, and while I hate my failure of a surgery, I can't just blame it for my weight and mental issues.

This is what it was and still is like for me. Food is comfort. Food is love. Food is acceptance. That is why it is absolutely fucking ridiculous that more counseling is not offered before surgeons start sharpening their knives. Shit like this needs to be addressed before AND after any type of weight-loss surgery, or else you end up in the same spot, except with messed up insides and shitty health issues.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Suck On This, Haters

I suppose I should take this seriously. Nowadays it is extremely rare for any married couple to last ten years, or even five years.

But nah. Serious isn't my style. Nor is it his, as evidenced by the fact that he wants to make tinfoil hats later on (traditional gift for ten years: Aluminum/Tin).

So here is a brief sum up of our life together. We met online, on a message board. Shocking twelve years ago, but normal now. We apparently had chemistry together from the start (below is a copy and paste job from the original message board):

Subject: Re: lim as y-->infinity The People Or Persons Abov
Written By: Syncronos on 12/06/02 at 03:17 p.m.
< still says that ^*Cube and ^*Jess need to hook up...the sparks I'm seeing are amazing...

One year later, we were together. Two years later, marriage. And then a baby. And then a big move.

And time marched on.

Ten years ago, I tied myself to this person, which to me was a remarkable thing. I never expected to be loved or to share my life with anyone. I never expected to have a family, to have THIS.

I don't regret it. Even when we're fighting, even when we're raging to the point of us screaming words we shouldn't be, I don't regret it. This man has the patience of a saint, because I can be a horrible person at times. My health issues are enormous, but still he stays.

Sometimes I feel guilty. I think he could have done better. I think he should have had more of a life, a better spouse, more kids, etc. Then I realize that if he had wanted that, he would have left years ago.

Huh. I got more serious there than I intended. I make marriage sound like hell on earth.

It's not. We are absolutely stupid at times, with laughter over things only we understand. Our kid has inherited our goofiness and nerdiness, along with a healthy dose of my husband's smarts. He is our joy, even when he is being a challenging butt badger.

Then there are the times, the sweet times, the times I won't talk about because they are my cherished memories that show how much love is between us.

I guess I should wrap this novel up. I can only end it with a goofy family pic we took at the Oriental Institute in October. I think it represents our little family well: utter fucking dorks.

Happy anniversary, my husband. I love you.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Like A Broken Record...

Called up a bit ago to talk to the people at the lap band clinic. Unfortunately they close at three on Fridays. So I just left a detailed message.

I am tired of this. I wake up every day wondering if this shit is going to hurt me. I wonder if it's causing irreparable damage to my insides. I tried to ride it out, tried to say that it was all in my head, that it was my stomach acting stupid, but in my heart, I know it's not. It's this fucking lap band.

You're probably wondering why I haven't had it removed yet. Good question. There's not a good answer. Surgeon was reluctant to remove it. Physician's Assistant insisted it was my fault. My head told me I didn't give it a chance and I should just keep pushing it and think of the medical bills because you know insurance won't cover removal so you should just fucking deal with it. This is not healthy. Not for me, not for my son, not for my husband.

I'm also scared of that one thing that happens to some people when you they have surgery. You know, the big thing called death. I've had four surgeries related to the band. Each time I woke up from them, my life felt a little bit less. Each time I came out of anesthesia, I felt a little bit worse.

I can't fucking go on like this anymore though. I can't keep living my life being scared that this thing is going to fuck me up to the point that I'll be left incapable of swallowing, without a stomach, hooked up to a feeding tube (all things that have happened to people who have had serious complications). I can't keep being afraid to be active because I might pull something, twist something, cause something to put me in pain. I try to eat healthy, but it's for nothing since I'm too scared to exercise much. I'm just waiting for the day that my body says, "You know what? You had your chance to keep us healthy and you blew it. Fuck you."

I don't know what's going to happen now. Just pray for me, I guess. Or send good thoughts that I'll be able to get what I need without going into debt or dying in the process.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Almost Two Months Later

When I last left off in my saga of bitching, I was suffering from terrible reflux and gas and abdominal pains.

Not much has changed.

Oh sure, I've had almost two months of being able to shove it to the side because of the holidays and of being back at work.  The cornucopia of anti-gas/acid medicines have even helped.  But even during the busy times, there was always a constant thread of "holy shit, why does that hurt/why is my side spasming/why does my back hurt?" running through my days.  I had been scheduled for an endoscopy on the 21st of December, but that had to be rescheduled to this month due to getting a cold.  That didn't make my anxiety any easier, especially now that my seasonal job is over, and I no longer have something to occupy my thoughts constantly.

As of right now, I'm feeling some pain, some gas, some burning.  I've had to stop all the meds in preparation for the endoscopy next week, because being on reducers would kind of defeat the point of the camera going down your throat.  My port site is twinging a bit, and this morning, the muscle that the port is attached to decided to have some very strong and slightly painful spasms.  Not fun.

I have my bouts of insomnia still, where I worry until the wee hours of the morning, going over the "what-ifs" again and again.  I wake up in a fog, get my kid to school, and then come home and sleep for a few hours, still unable to break the cycle of lethargy, always promising myself after I get up that I will not do that tomorrow, that I'll be productive, that I'll exercise more.  It never happens.

I've lost weight from this whole mess, and while that would usually delight me, I don't even care, because I know it wasn't lost in a healthy manner.

I'm scared of what the endoscopy could find, but even more scared that it won't find anything wrong.  Then what?  What is the solution if not lap band removal?  Because I have honestly never felt any sensations like this before the band.  I have never had my throat close up in such a manner that I could not eat, never felt the acid reflux and the burning in my stomach so much until this.  Yes, having it unfilled in November helped the choking sensation, but it didn't solve anything else, and kind of obviously points to the band as the culprit of all of these symptoms.

I'm just really tired of this.  I'm tired of waiting waiting waiting, especially when I know the end result, no matter what, will be removal of this piece of bullshit medical machinery.  I'm tired of feeling like an invalid, afraid to do anything wrong lest I make it worse.  The only consolation I have is that I'm not alone in this.  As of this blog post, the lap band failure group that I belong to is over 1100 members.  It's a horrible thing, especially because some of these patients have suffered far worse than I have, to the point where they were at death's door.  Yet it is comforting to know that they have survived and fought back and can give sound advice on how to get through this.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this.  I think I just needed to get it out.  There are a lot of heavy feelings that I'm carrying around, and writing usually releases them for a few hours.

So I'm going to go enjoy those hours while I can.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

All Day Fuckery

1. No sleep all night due to massive amounts of acid moving around in my stomach.  Get up in major pain and decide to hit the ER.  On way there, call lap band clinic to leave a message about what is happening.  They call back later and ask why I didn't go to the clinic instead of the ER.  Um, because you fuckers weren't open yet?  Duh?

2. Spend almost all day there.  Another Upper GI, some tests, and a little cup of Mylanta with lidocaine.  Lovely numb feeling that takes away the ass taste of the barium.  Nothing is decided, except that I need to have an endoscopy, because it might be ulcers or it might be my lap band eroding into my stomach.  Joy.

3. Try to call the gastroenterologist to schedule an appointment for an endoscopy.  No answer.  Walk over there (since it is close to the hospital), and ask to make an appointment.  Told to wait until the nurse comes out to collect other patients.  Thirty minutes later, I finally see her, only to be told that the insurance might not cover it because the HMO medical group didn't refer me there.  Lovely.

4. Feeling pissed off and annoyed and just tired of all of this bullshit, I went to have a bite to eat at the McDonald's next door to the gastro's office while I waited for my husband to come get me.  I hadn't eaten all day, and wasn't really hungry, but I knew I needed something in my stomach.  Right as I settled in with my chicken wrap, some fucking asshole knocked over this Sikh gentleman's tray and stole his laptop.  A bunch of people chased him, but the little fucker got away.  You have to be a shitty assed bastard to rob a Sikh.  I hope the dude got hit by a car on the interstate.

5. Go to Walgreens to pick up maximum strength Mylanta and Pepcid and a prescription of Nexium.  The insurance won't pay for the Nexium, so I have to go with Prevacid.  Just want to beat my head against the wall.

So yeah.  Still no idea what is going on with my body.  Still want the band out.  Still want answers.  Still want this damned burning to stop.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lap Band, Episode Whatever: The Fight For Removal

I have come to a decision.

I am having my lap band removed.

It sounds so easy on paper (computer), but I know it is going to be a big battle with my surgeon and his assistant.

But I can't do this anymore.  For the past three days, I have been in a constant state of fear and panic, Googling every bit of information I could about the long term risks of a lap band.  What I found was not pretty at all.  I joined a lap band failure group and the personal stories are terrifying, but they further my resolve to have this thing taken out.

I know I'm in for a battle.  Several battles, actually.  The first will be getting the surgeon to remove it and dealing with the physician's assistant.  I'm gearing up for battle and just repeating to myself: "This is MY body, MY health, MY peace of mind, so someone is going to remove this thing."  I'm not going to let two people who have already made quite a bit of money on all of the revisions they've had to do talk me out of it.

The other battle will be with paying for it.  Since we are in between insurances right now, and one does not cover bariatric anything, I may wind up paying for this out of pocket.  The different prices I've found for removal run as high as $20,000.  This is a terrible burden to put on my family, but it is an even worse burden to have a wife and mother not be there mentally because of all the stress about her health.

I'm not going into this decision lightly.  I'm essentially gambling with my health no matter which way I go.  Keep it, and I'm driving myself insane.  Take it out and I'll probably regain the weight.  At this point, the latter is more appealing.

I wish I had known the failure rate when I had this thing placed.  I wish I had researched it more.  I wish I had the willpower to do it on my own so I wouldn't be having to deal with this now.  Yet here I am.

All I can do is hope for the best and prepare for the worst.