Hello, Again? Back in Hospital

Well here I am again and not at all happy about it.

This week I started to have pain under my breastbone. It started Sunday night and may have been the cause of my poor sleeping more than the ring on Tony’s finger (which would be a good thing, right?). By Thursday evening the pain had intensified beyond what I could manage and I knew the ER was on the agenda for the evening.

I had been careful, watching what I eat, taking some gas x and seeing if anything was influencing the pain in any way. I couldn’t find anything.

By the time we got to the hospital Thursday night, I was bowled over in pain and out of breath. They took me in quickly administering fluids and morphine right away. Sent off for X-rays and cat scans pretty quickly.

Then the surgeon arrived and my hopes plummeted.

The ER doc (as well as myself) were thinking pancreatis or something along those lines. But the surgeon debunked the results by saying I had another bowel blockage.

I just.wanted.to.cry.

This meant we were going down a familiar path. I would be intubated with an NG tube, no food or liquids, no narcotics and a lot of patience. They did give me a strong opioid called Tramdol which worked for the time being and anti-inflammatory meds which helped.

I did cry once the tube was placed because I couldn’t believe I was back here again, in this horrible situation. I knew now they would admit me as well.

I was terrified that having the surgeon involved meant I was looking at being cut open again.

Going back to the 9th floor in the room directly across where I spent my 4 weeks in Sept/Oct was like a horrible horror story. But all the nurses remembered me and were so kind. They couldn’t believe how much better I looked as compared to my first stay. I suppose there’s some compensation there – that even with the damn tube coming out of my nose that they thought I looked good! ūüėā

I didn’t get to the room until 6am or so, and then rounds start soon after, so I was feeling really crappy after a night full of pain and testing with no sleep.

As it turned out, the pain began to disappear once I was settled and I didn’t need any further pain killers. They had me on simple fluids to see if my body could recover on its own.

Another cat scan and X-ray followed during the day and they could see that the initial contrast was making its way through the bowel. I told them all they needed to do was give me a cup of coffee and I would be pooping in no time! No one bought that.

By evening I pooped on my own. I did a little poop dance of joy ūüí© because I knew that meant my body was doing its job.

Early the next morning the surgeon agreed and the tube came out. The doctor arrived some time later and said if I stick to liquids and soft foods for a week they would allow me to go home that day. He knew I knew the bariatric surgery ropes so he was willing to be lenient. I wasn’t too happy to have to go back to a liquid diet, but it’s better than being in the hospital and monitored here.

Ultimately they believe it was a bowel blockage that I caught super early. The NG tube allowed my bowels to rest for 36 hours without doing any work. The diet allows for further rest from whatever the blockage or inflammation was from. There is no real “reason” it happened or any way to prevent it from happening again. It’s just because I have had so many abdominal surgeries and bowel resections.

I’m waiting now for my son to pick me up so I can rest at home.

I’m bummed this happened in the middle of my exercise streak, but I will exercise lightly for the next week so the habit continues to form. I already felt myself falling into a hole lying on the hospital room for 2 nights. I couldn’t even focus enough to watch TV or even read.

Let’s hope, like the surgeon hopes, that this doesn’t happen again and I continue on my merry way.

I Trapped Myself

I acknowledge that I am stuck in repetitive negative thoughts. The patterns are so immersed that I believe my brain processes the obsession as my normal cognitive behavior. When I don’t “get what I need/expect” I fight for it.

Fighting for it got me into a hole I nearly didn’t get out of last year.

I fought with my boss and had to leave a job. I fought with my children and still have one relationship that needs mending. I fought with Tony until I made him despise me. Even though, at times, I knew I should stop pushing, it felt like I was wired to defeat myself.

I had trapped myself into my own bad behaviors.

I tried to convince myself that going to Mexico was a reset button for me. If I could lose the weight other things would fall in place. Again, really bad thinking on my part. I know part of it was severe depression because I didn’t want to care if I died. I thought if I could feel physically better about myself, perhaps the emotional duress would lessen.

That’s clearly not what happened. I made everything much, much worse before it even started to level out these past few weeks.

Learning to get out of these behaviors is taking a toll on me. I am doing what I can which is primarily holdings myself accountable by writing out the damaging behaviors as well as redirection and create new, healthy patterns.

I actively try to stop my obsessive thoughts by interrupting myself. My brain is so powerful it can bring me right back to the unwanted and uncomfortable thoughts and I can’t exercise it away all day and night. I have disputed my sleep pattern despite including significant activity in my day. I disrupted my eating pattern and found the old habit of not thinking what was going hand-to-mouth too easy to fall back into.

I stopped the poor eating (there was a different trigger there will talk about in a separate post). Now I am going to figure out exactly what I need to build in my brain to stop the obsessive thoughts. I need a mini activity (even a brain activity, doesn’t have to be physical) that I do each time I begin to obsess. I need a replacement thought.

As much as I currently feel like my life was ruined, I want to begin believing it is simply changed. I have the power to begin making new and different choices. Choices that are better for me. I am not alone. People have lived through heartbreak and come out stronger the other side. I can too.

I hate self talk like I hate exercise but I’ve got to try something different. I may even make a vision board.

Hit a Little Low

A little low, I realized, is much different than where I have been! So that’s good news, right?

I didn’t sleep well, was up and tossing every hour which is unusual as of late.

Wasn’t as motivated to work out as I have been the past 18 days.

Didn’t really want to move from couch.

Sort of depressed I haven’t focused energy on the work search. I’ve put my energy on exercise which I’ve been very consistent with now that I’m in week 3.

It was hard to determine work OR exercise. I didn’t feel like I could do them both yet. But I feel immense guilt that I have no money and no motivation to do something about it.

I am guessing the early phone call with my x about son #1 who is living with him for the past month really set me off. It literally disturbed my mojo and I lost focus. What’s most worrisome about that is – how the hell am I going to actually work if I can’t manage more than one crisis/challenge at a time. I’m not writing about the phone call because my heart rate will spike (it literally got higher than my cardio!). But, am sure to write about son #1’s current actions in another post. The recap is basically he is not coming home and may be dropping out of school.

That one (admittedly very important) thing really threw me down to the ground. I did exercise quickly after that but could not find my center to push myself. Maybe today just becomes an active rest day.

So I’m sitting here writing this post and mulling over when I’m gonna get my ass in gear for the job search. Whole-heartedly in gear. I’m half-assing it at the moment or not doing anything at all.

I don’t even want to get my steps in today. I don’t think it’s good to fall off a wagon 18 days in. I am going to console myself that I still exercised for 35 minutes and I will go on the treadmill for another 30. Again, not a hard effort, but something.

At least I’m doing better than my pre-February self.

Health ?

I’ve been very lucky or very blessed. I’m still unsure which but I tend to lean towards a higher power continues to step in to save me.

I wouldn’t say I have been a healthy person for the latter half of my life.

I’ve almost met my maker at least 3 times in 50 years. There’s got to be a reason for that?

Maybe?

I’ve had the worst health run of most people I know because I’m always in that 1% that weird things happen to. But I survived. I chose the VSG surgery so I could take better care of myself, so with the other complications in the rear view, it’s time I take control.

Keto isn’t easy but it’s doable. Retraining your brain to eliminate obvious carbs is tough. Sometimes I just want a damn Triscuit.

I usually cave to my favorite Grandma pizza on Friday nights and a sesame bagel on Sunday.

I bought a Ketosis tracking machine. A small device where you prick your finger and it takes a reading. I am starting to learn that I can actually have my favorite cheats as long as I continue with exercise and taking my MCT oil. It’s not ideal, and it’s not a true Keto plan but like any other way of eating I’ve tried, I need to build in things that don’t make me feel deprived. I feel full, I’m eating better (hugely reduces sugar) and I have a built in portion control mechanism now.

My belly and guts make noises like I’ve never heard before. People say this is common after VSG. I also hiccup with one bite too many or too fast. It’s a great automatic lever because I still don’t “feel” full but have this amazing auto-reaction that says “stop now or it’s going to hurt.” I notice I still have to focus on eating more slowly. Having smaller portions helps as I don’t want to finish hours before everyone else, but my brain is trained to eat quickly and I have to reprogram it.

I use smaller plates and can easily tell how much food in a serving is too much for me. If I eat the right things, my hunger is curbed appropriately. I probably still don’t drink enough water so that’s something I have to work on. I tend to wake up throughout the night to drink which definitely signals I need more water throughout the day.

When I’m on a date, they don’t usually notice how little I eat or drink. I’m such a cheap date now! My friends notice though. They notice I barely eat and that I don’t drink even half of what I used to – they liked me when I enjoyed more! I tell them I enjoy eating and drinking as much as I always did, I just do less of it and it’s fine!

I chose the surgery because portion control was always my biggest issue. Now it’s controlled whether I like it or not! It’s interesting how the mind works – knowing I “can” eat anything I want makes it much easier not to eat it. I can’t over eat anymore. But if I am dying for a peanut butter cup, I can have one and not feel the guilt.

My heaviest weight back in 2012 was around 256 pounds. My weight prior to surgery was 214 pounds and today was 154 pounds. I can’t believe I’ve lost 100 pounds from my frame overall. I made a photo compilation of the 3 faces of Madeline over the past 7 years and I look healthier and younger.

As for how the weight falls off me, I notice a pretty consistent 3 week stall, then 4th week drop. My initial goal was 150 pounds but I am pretty sure I am going to drop it to 140-145 pounds. The surgeon feels, since I am now a normal BMI, I won’t lose anymore.

I did have to have my wound cauterized again which was super painful this time as he had to open up the edges and make fresh skin that would heal again. It’s a bloody mess and hurts now, but bloody means healthy.

I don’t know if I can ever be happy I made the decision to have the surgery, or have it in Mexico. But, in typical Mads fashion, I am beginning to forget about the horror I endured and starting to focus on the tool I now have in my body. I need to put this weight loss to good use.

I don’t know if I’m in peri-menopause or if my body is still in shock (totally possible according to the doctors) but I just had another 75 day stretch with no period. I don’t miss not getting a period but I prefer to keep the hormones around! I still have to get back to the doctor to discuss what we are going to do about the polyps.

I’ve been steadily ensuring I am working out every day, no matter what. A 30-45 minute commitment is more daunting before I do it so I just have to stop thinking about it and force myself into automation. It honestly feels good to be a little sore and I’m sure, soon enough, I will start sleeping better as well. I have totally lost my ass from the weight loss and feel excess skin hanging everywhere. I don’t like it so I need to change that. I don’t think I have “so much” excess skin that a steady exercise routine won’t fix.

Sorry my posts are so mundane but I think boring might be good for me for a while as I begin to take my life back into control.

Blogging has always helped me maintain focus when I commit to it.

Small forward steps are happening. I am still obsessing over Tony, but I’m taking control of myself again.

In The Chem Lab – Part 3

One day of amazing connection and fabulous conversation and I’m left floating on a cloud.

Until I’m not.

Two days post our conversations brought Radio Silence from the Magic Man. ¬†Nothing all weekend. ¬†I know he’s flying out to Chicago early am so I sent one small text and left it at that.

I watched myself again, trying to analyze what I was feeling and why. ¬†I feel disappointed and sad, confused, but since its much too early to care, just left empty. ¬†I haven’t lost the bit of self-realization I gained, but two days after, I don’t find any more motivation than I had the day of the call….in other words, I am still sitting on the couch doing a bunch of nothing, except (at least) capturing whats going on in my head.

There was no intentional attachment but I clearly become more hopeful than appropriate from one day of conversation with a man I never met. Is this because it’s so special/infrequent/desired? Does the chemistry between us affect the attachment part of my brain?

I wonder what it is. I’m really trying to understand myself here.

About a month ago, I connected with Tom and had a similar initial experience. We had a fantastic, long phone conversation and I found him appealing and interesting on many levels. Then I shuttered the explicit sex talk. ¬†However, Tom, like Matthew, never got me laughing and he never moved from chatting to asking me out. Humor wise he was less dry than Matthew, definitely more manly, but I don’t recall the gut connection I got so quickly with the new Magic Man. It was a day or two of good, sincere connection with Tom and then random text here and there until I finally wished him good luck after a month of not even asking to see me. ¬†Part of me think I will hear from him again, randomly, in the future. ¬†If I don’t, its fine. ¬†If I do I will ask him what his intentions are. ¬†I’m not afraid of some strangers opinion of my needs and why I ask about their intentions, too many of them lie. ¬†At least, I’m not afraid to say what I think any longer.

Both Tom and Magic Man are older than 55, which is a bit out of my normal age range (since dating, I have preferred slightly younger men). ¬†Both highly successful, wealthy career men. ¬†Could this just be a different type of nonsense I’m experiencing? ¬†Are they more wise to the ways of some women that they invest quickly hoping for an early payoff?

Let’s think about what I’ve learned:

  • Length of initial conversation is irrelevant
  • Good physical looks start an attraction but it’s not what makes my heart skip a beat in conversation, that’s all in my head
  • Tone of voice, cadence and delivery of conversation matter greatly to me. I am quickly turned off by lack of intelligent conversational skills which draw out my own ability to banter.
  • When I am confident and sassy, my “rules” relax (for instance when is it ok to start speaking about sex and when does it make me uncomfortable?).

Have I somehow conditioned myself to expect the behavior of a married man ¬†– is that kind of attention different to a single man, or is the communication cadence going to be different? ¬†The only feedback from single friends is I invest in someone too early, but not that I shouldn’t expect good communication behavior. ¬†Magic Man seems to have to same cadence I do, which is perhaps what makes the butterflies take flight.

This leads me to another thought Рdid the communication style remind me of Tony?  Well, yes, but only in hindsight.

Today I didn’t necessarily come away with lessons as much as questions. One day of conversation isn’t enough to evaluate or analyze more than I already have. I think my point in writing these 3 posts was to recognize that chemistry will happen and no list of requirements will determine if it’s there or not. The list serves as a platform – initially men need to meet some of my criteria to move forward or I find them unappealing almost immediately. Once the criteria is met, chemistry has to happen on its own, there’s nothing I can do to create it.

In The Chem Lab – Part 2

Friday afternoon the air outside was bitter cold and I found myself reflecting on an earlier conversation with my bff. I was comfortable and bundled in blankets and the thought that Matthew wasn’t right for me continued to nag at me. I didn’t want to make a rash decision to end what hadn’t even started, nor did I want to continue something that I was already feeling leery over.

I started to think about why Matthew seemed right to on paper but was falling short in person. I pulled up my relationship requirements list and took a stab at it. He hits many of the criteria, which isn’t an easy thing to do. But there was an undercurrent of something that just wasn’t right. The magic wasn’t there.

I dismissed thoughts of Matthew for a while in favor of going back to the dating apps. I had the intention of deleting and taking a break as I had a few men in the pipeline that had started conversations recently and I had enough. I deleted Match, OKC and POF. Then I got to Bumble and noticed the one man I swiped right on earlier that day had sent a fabulous reply. I engaged despite the fact he would make a 4th man I was chatting with when 3 is generally my limit. I often break rules faster than I make them.

The man quickly asked for my number. Now, I have a bit of an issue with men around my age – they LOVE the phone. I neglected to truly understand this because I was dating a married man. Tony called quite often but also spent a considerable amount of time on text – why? because he was in a situation where it wasn’t wise to be calling me but he wanted to stay connected. I loved how much we were connected. I am definitely over the top when it comes to communication, which isn’t for everyone. But older men seem to want to get the 1st phone conversation out-of-the-way quickly and I want to vet them a bit in text. But I gave my number and requested he text first.

Soon after, he text and we started a rapid fire conversation.

I had an a-ha moment and started to pay close attention to my cues (which is hard to do in the thick of a getting to know you conversation)

*Chemistry Lesson #1: easy banter is organic, it doesn’t come from longer or more conversation, it’s instantaneous. I can’t create it.

We text effortlessly and quickly back and forth about family, life and vacation. Easy, peasy. I was laughing to myself when the phone rang in my hand because I knew it was a matter of time before he called.

Over an hour and a half of conversation flew by. Laughter on both sides was obvious and immediate.

*Chemistry Lesson #2: I just learned that no matter how good my punch line in a story is, if the right person isn’t engaged, I don’t even want to laugh at my own jokes. We laughed with one another, repetitively.

*Chemistry Lesson #3: when I’m laughing, I’m relaxed and happy and tell my best stories. I don’t have to think about creating conversation. Topics are endless and interesting.

The first call ended with a promise to call again soon.

*Chemistry Lesson #4: I couldn’t stop thinking about him after the call, but then he text to tell me he couldn’t stop thinking of me and my heart skipped a beat.

He called back that evening and we spoke another two hours. Do you know we even spoke politics, race, marriage, relationship, child-rearing and divorce. The cadence was easy and I wasn’t fearful of what to say or how I said it. I literally felt my blood rushing through my veins and felt like the woman I was when I met Tony: confident, sexy, sassy and self-aware.

*Chemistry Lesson #5: my confidence is nearly unbreakable when I feel secure. (Self-reflection: how do I do that all the time, and on my own?)

I had something like an out-of-body experience during this conversation as I watched myself morph from this depressed, sad, pathetic woman into all that I was. I felt my energy change. I felt desire rise. It made me feel like I wanted to do something again.

I felt excited.

Please don’t interpret this as me wanting to get married to this man tomorrow. I’m simply having my own epiphany. This feeling has only come twice before in the past at least 9 months: once when I went with Rob to my family party and once when I saw my latest resume after multiple iterations and self-doubt (future post). So 3 times since Thanksgiving I truly felt myself again. This incidence forced me to realize its starting to happen more often (which is good), albeit very slowly. It also caused me to take notice of the physical cues I’m giving and receiving so I can be more intentional and mindful of what makes me feel strong, happy, confident and capable.

It made me desire to feel good again.

I know it’s not up to this man to make me feel good, but I am taking what’s in front of me at the moment and running with it.

The conversations uncovered a mass of similarities and likes between us. He joked and asked me to marry him and by the end of the conversation he said he was already in love once I said “fuck” without thinking twice about it. We didn’t address anything sexual or even hint at it through all the conversation until the very end….when he asked if I would dream about him. The teasing was gentle and silly and only made me want more.

*Chemistry Lesson #6: there must be other cues I am ignoring when other men say things very similar and I don’t like it or my guard goes up.

We said goodnight.

I waited for the good morning text that didn’t come. I sent one around 10:45 and we started another round of banter, but the morning took off on a purely sexual twist and quickly led to a phone call. However, my son entered the room and he heard me say good morning to him and automatically changed the subject (I was thankful for that). We spoke for about a half hour. He had to jump off phone to make his plans for the day, we text a little bit more and went our separate ways.

But, just before he stopped texting he sent a cock shot.

It stopped me in my tracks! One because it was beautiful and two because I wasn’t expecting it.

Unfortunately, I knew I had to set down my rules, as I had done with Tom.  I did it a bit differently since there was chemistry, I told him he shocked me into speechlessness, but we couldn’t do this before we met.  Now,  I haven’t heard from him all day, and even though I know he’s with family its sort of a downer but I’m optimistic.

Let’s see what the days ahead bring or not. Of course I would be sad if it came to nothing but I had a lightening bolt of a moment: it will happen again. I will feel the magic again, or at the very least, parts of the magic again. And it’s been so long, so very long since I’ve had hope of any kind that I cherished this interaction with this man. I want to be in this moment for a while so I wrote about it and shared it with you. I want to find myself again and for a very brief time speaking to him, I saw her. Her light was strong and bright and blazing.

It’s been too long dull and it startled me that she showed up out of nowhere like that. Now I know she’s still in there and I had almost started to believe she was lost to me entirely. My heart has been playing cruel tricks on my mind because it’s battered, bleeding and broken. But maybe that’s finally starting to heal.