Saturday, September 14, 2013

Decisions, First Day of School, and (gulp!) Surgery!

It's been almost one year since we made the decision not to cycle again and try for a sibling for Petite. We are, for the most part (98%), sure of that decision... and now and then I think, "What if?" There will always be part of me that wonders what theoretical baby #2 would be like, but alas, we shall never know. We have chosen to be grateful and very thankful for the little girl that we do have and we are enjoying her and moving on.

This year, Petite turned four. And two days after her birthday, she started Junior Kindergarten. Yes indeed. All-day school for my girl. She finished at the daycare (as did two other little girls her age, as they were all starting school) and she has made the transition to school. So far, so good. It does mean that Hubby and I are saving the daycare money and putting it towards the debt and various other things. Hubby takes the morning, ensuring that Petite gets up, washed, dressed, has breakfast and then he takes her to school. I now work from 6:50 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. and I leave promptly at that time to drive from the south of the city back to the area where we live so as to arrive on time to pick Petite up at 3:45 when school lets out. We're home by 4. And these days, she's tiring out earlier and heading to bed by about 8:30. We're working to move her bedtime back a bit as she needs more sleep, but as always, and since infancy, she HATES to go to bed. Nothing changes!

For me, the drive to work and the drive home is exponentially longer; while there was movement afoot to try to keep me where I was, the Harper government's "Deficit Reduction Action Plan," or DRAP, meant that money was being cut all over the place. They cut a number of positions (funded positions, that now can no longer be filled) from the Branch where I was. And further cuts come next year, as of April. While the money was available at the moment, as of April, it would not be. Added to the fact that at my substantive position, they needed someone with my skills, and voilà, my substantive supervisor requested to have me back there. Ugh. Not only do I hate the drive, but jeez, the work is mind-numbing. Not challenging. I hate the environment. Morale sucks. There is a total lack of transparency and good faith. It's terrible. I've actually contemplated taking a leave of absence and just putting the house up for sale, and moving to the east coast, back near my family, and living on my RRSPs until I find something. Not realistic is it?

I've searched high and low for work. EVERY single job that I am qualified for with the federal government on the east coast is restricted in the "Area of Selection" to (a) people that live and/or work in the area already and/or (b) people that work for a specific government department. That means that anyone else across Canada who wants to relocate to a different province is shafted. So essentially regular members and civilian members have the option to relocate based on compassionate and family needs, but public servants? Yeah, you can f*ckin' whistle dixie. You're stuck. No possible way. I've searched for 5+ years now and it's damned frustrating. Even my HR is of no help. They suggested that I send out my resume to various departments in the province and ask to get on a deployment/secondment/assignment list so that when something comes up, they might possibly consider me. Nice... Colour me angry.

Hubby had applied for a good job in NB and qualified beautifully for it. Unfortunately he received a letter yesterday thanking him for applying but another candidate was chosen. We don't know why yet; I suspect it's a location factor, as in, they do not want to have to foot the bill for a move and thus they chose someone who lives there already. Frustrating as all get out.

That said, if Hubby were to get something, and had to go, it would mean I need to seek out daycare again so I can make sure Petite gets to and from school on time.

And as well, it would mean Hubby wouldn't be here for my surgery.

Yes,  you read that right. Surgery.

That is the decision I'd made that I had alluded to in this blog previously. In fact, it's bariatric surgery. Stomach surgery. I am most of the way through the year-long process at this point to have either Roux-en-Y or Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery in the fall/winter to reduce the size of my stomach and essentially, reset my metabolism, giving me a chance, however slim it might be, of getting myself down to a 'normal' size.

I've been overweight all my life. I first went on Weight Watchers when I was 10 years old. I've done a number of things through my life to try to lose weight, but at each turn, I'm failing. Shakes. Pills. Exercise. Ketosis diets. Low-carb diets. Low-fat diets. Weight Watchers (Lord knows how many times!). You name it, I've likely tried it. But all around me, I see the same thing. Failure after failure. Many people lose significant amounts of weight, and most of them put it all back on. And more. And that's hard. My m.o. is to lose about 20-40 pounds, maintain awhile, and it creeps back. My weight has been stable for years. Even with Petite, I only gained 9 pounds through the pregnancy, and with birth, lost about 40, only to have that come back after 5-6 months. Now, people tell me I am losing. They say they can see it. But I'm not. I'm more toned possibly because I drink a protein shake every morning for breakfast and I exercise almost daily. But I'm not losing an ounce.

And I need to lose about half of my body weight to be in a 'normal' weight range. HALF. Really? Yup. You bet. One-half of my body weight needs to be gone. Sure, I'm relatively healthy and active. I don't do caffeine. I rarely do soft drinks (pop). I do 1% milk, and Greek yogourt, lean meats, lots of fruit and veggies and enough water to float the Queen Mary! I exercise. I get out and about. I don't have high cholesterol, diabetes, sleep apnea, etc. Yet nothing I do makes a darn bit of difference. And I want to make sure that I am THERE for the little girl we worked so darn hard to have. While I'm not experiencing any life-threatening illnesses now, who is to say they're not lurking in my 50s and they won't catch me later on? By doing this now, while I am young, and active, and ready, I am nipping it in the bud and making sure I am doing the utmost I can for me, my health, my family, and my future.

It was broached to me by our RE in fact. He suggested I have it done before doing IVF. But I had researched it already; after surgery you cannot get pregnant for 18 months to two years. Time was not on our side as I was 38 when we did our IVF. I didn't want to wait until I was 40 to do the IVF and then find out my FSH was miserable. I told him that as long as I was relatively healthy, I needed to do the IVF first. At least TRY it to see. And look!? It got us Petite. In contemplating baby #2, it was a decision of either we do an IVF, or Gil gets to look into bariatric surgery. We opted for the latter, given my age and our risks. (And I won't lie... our finances.)

I was worried about the fact that in Ontario, Roux-en-Y is the usual surgery performed. Essentially they make a tiny pouch out of your stomach and move your pyloric valve from the bottom of your normal stomach to the bottom of that tiny pouch. In moving that valve, you are no longer able to take NSAIDs. And that would be a dealbreaker for me; I rely on NSAIDs to control my psoriatic arthritis. This arthritis is not degenerative, but it is inflammatory. NSAIDs do the job and my Rheumatologist was concerned that without them, I would be crippled. He recommended that instead of Roux-en-Y, I have a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG). In that surgery, they leave the pyloric valve where it is, and cut away most of the excess pouch of your normal stomach, leaving a narrow, banana-shaped stomach instead. With VSG, I can still take NSAIDs.

The process takes about one year. I spoke to my GP before we went on the cruise. At the end of January. She completed the referral, and sent it off to the Bariatric Registry. In the meantime, she ordered a lung functioning test and some blood work (ugh!). The hospital that I will go through contacted me and invited me to an information session in April and ordered additional blood work (more ugh). Then I had an appointment in July with a nurse who determined that I did not need a stomach scope (no sign of ulcers) and no colonoscopy either. She also said I did not need a sleep study; although I snore when extremely tired or sick, I do not snore on a regular basis and my neck circumference does not indicate apnea. At the end of July, my Rheumatologist wrote the letter indicating VSG is preferred for me (both are covered by OHIP in Ontario). This week, I had an abdominal ultrasound, to measure stomach, kidneys, etc. That info will get to my doctor next week. And also earlier this week, I was cleared by the Behaviourist and the Dietitian. I've already given up drinking at and around mealtimes, drinking with a straw, and I've cut back significantly on my intake of pop, opting for water predominantly, or juice. The Dietitian wants me to take my iron pills with Vitamin C at night. And she wants me to change my protein powder and my daily vitamins. Easy to do. Next up at the end of October is an echocardiogram to verify the status of my heart murmur, which was diagnosed when I was 18. After that will be a post-operative class, and then meeting the surgeon, get my pre-surgery liquid diet (a prescription) and I will be assigned a surgery date.

We are halfway hoping that surgery will be by early December. We have a holiday booked in the south for January and it would be really nice to have it all over and done with and be on the road to a new me by then. I am not sure yet how it will all pan out. But I am determined to make it work. I am stubborn. I didn't give up when I was dealing with all the blows of infertility, and damned if I'll give up now. It's time. It's time to do this for me. And I can't wait.

Speaking of time, it's time to get Petite in bed. She starts a new gymnastics class in the morning and on Tuesday, a brand new swimming class. Should be fun! Wish us luck.

For your enjoyment... Petite's first day of school.

Love to all in blogland.

P.S. More on the rest of our summer next time. Promise. I'm going to try to be more diligent! Bear with me.


Mina said...

The very best of best luck to you! A friend of mine did this VSG, successfully. in six months or so, she lost half her body weight, and for three years and counting, she has been slim and trim. She literally has a new life, not only a new body. I hope it works the same for you.
Your little one is adorable.

Pam said...

That really sucks about Hubby's potential job. And we already talked about the stupidness that you're enduring. I don't know if I knew you had moved forward with the surgery option, but good for you. I'm sure you will have great success. You need to come visit before you do that! :)

Miss you guys!

loribeth said...

I can't believe Petite is so big!!

One of my good friends from high school (who, coincidentally, now lives in the Ottawa area!) had one of those procedures done -- not sure which one, but over the past year or so, with diet & exercise, she has lost more than 100 lbs. Her daughter just got married -- I am sure that was a motivating factor -- and she looked absolutely fabulous. She has been having a blast buying a new wardrobe. I hope all goes as well for you too!