Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Decisions and Confessions

"I've got another confession my friend, I'm no fool
I'm getting tired of starting again, somewhere new..."

("Best of You" by Foo Fighters)


In my case, "somewhere new" tends to be a new decade of poundage. I started this blog in the 260's, worked through the 250's, had a brief stay in the 240's, and now I'm smack dab in the middle of the 270's. I gained back more than double what I lost.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that I'm not great at this whole weight loss thing.

A few months ago, I became Facebook friends with a girl I knew in high school named Kristin. Through catching up with her, I found out that she works for the Cincinnati Weight Loss Center and that she had had Lap-Band surgery a few years before.

Now, previously in years gone by, the thought of having Lap-Band surgery was, for me, like the thought of winning the lottery - it would be nice if it happened, but chances were slim to none, so why dwell on it. I just knew it would be too expensive and that my insurance wouldn't cover it, and I didn't know what hoops I would have to jump through to get it. And then, there's always the fact that it's surgery. Permanent. Invasive. And, did I mention, expensive?

As I mentioned before, Kristin had had the surgery and now works for the doctor who performed it. In fact, every person who works in the office has had the surgery, so they know first hand how it works, feels, costs, etc. She and I talked about the fact that I was semi-seriously considering the surgery but that I knew very little about it. She told me about her experience and how much she paid (she was a self-pay patient, and for those of you who might not know, if your insurance does not cover the cost, you can pay for it yourself, using financing options if you need to). She told me about what she eats and how having the surgery has affected her life, and she invited me to come to the office for an informational seminar.

Also during this time, I started doing my own research. I looked for people who blogged about being banded, and it turns out there's an amazing group of B.O.O.B.s who are a wealth of information, support, and humor. But I didn't just take their word for it. I researched the heck out of weight loss surgeries in general. How safe are they? How expensive are they? What complications can arise? What is life after surgery like? What are my options? Can I really do this?

The Hubs (ever the pragmatic one) was mostly concerned about cost. And being the realist that he is, he also wanted to make sure that if we were going to spend the money (it's, of course, not covered by my insurance) that I would actually stick with it and not find ways to 'cheat' the system. Boy, does he know me or what? It's kind of scary.

He agreed to go to the seminar with me, and by the end of it, he said if we had the money, HE would have the surgery ASAP. Of course, if anyone's going to have the surgery, it's going to be me, because we can't afford to both do it.

It's going to be me.

I have made the decision. I'm going to have Lap-Band surgery.

You may not like it, and that's okay. You may not agree with it, and that's okay too. You may be happy for me, and that's excellent. All I know is that I am finally making a decision to do something for myself. And I'm thrilled!

Now, I am in the very early stages of planning here. I've only gone to the seminar and done the research. I haven't had a consultation or worked out the financing or set a date. In fact, I have to wait to do anything until The Hubs finds a steady job, so it might be months before I can actually put my plan into action.

But at least I've got a plan.

There's the decision. Want to know the confession?

I'm scared.

Here are just some of the things I worry about, and also a little bit about how I am overcoming the fear:

~The Cost~

Being a self-pay patient is going to cost me about $14,000. That's a chunk of change. And it's not like we have it stashed under our mattress for just such occasions. We will have to finance and pay interest on it for years to come.  It will mean a car payment's worth of money coming out of our paychecks every month.

However, remaining morbidly obese will cost me well over $14,000 over the course of the rest of my life. And it will not only cost me monetarily, but it will cost me physically. My dad is basically dying of unchecked Diabetes, have I mentioned that lately? That will be me. And me being overweight doesn't just affect me or my quality of life anymore - it affects Bubbers now, too. Being morbidly obese means that I can't play with him the way I want to. I can't do the things I want to do, and being this fat is almost an early death sentence. I want to be around for him. Not experiencing his life to the fullest is a cost that I am not willing to pay.

~The Surgery~

One thing that I didn't know until I did my research is that having the Lap-Band means actually having a port attached to the muscle in your stomach. Permanently. As in, it's always there, and when you get skinny enough, you can sometimes see and feel it. (Gross!) Having that port also means getting a needle stuck in your abdomen for "fills". I guess when I thought about the concept of the Lap-Band, I never realized that it was something that was dynamic, that changed. I just thought you had the surgery, they put a "collar" on your stomach, and you lived your life. Now I know that's not the case. Just because you have the surgery doesn't mean you're done. You have to maintain the band. Get it filled and un-filled. It's not something Ron Popeil created - you can't just "Set it and forget it!"

I have made peace with the fact that there will be a foreign object in my body for the rest of my life. And, it wasn't really that hard to deal with the thought of the needle and fills/unfills because of the insulin shots I had to give myself while pregnant. That was multiple times a day. If I can deal with that, I can deal with a few adjustments a year if I have to.

I have made peace with the fact that it's surgery. I had my gallbladder taken out in early 2008, and the process is similar to that. I had a 10 pound baby delivered by c-section and survived. If I don't have this surgery, there will be other surgeries because of it. My Diabetes, if left unchecked, could mean heart, liver, eye, or foot damage, all of which lead to surgeries. (All of which, except for liver, are surgeries that my dad has had, by the way).

I generally do well under the knife, and although I know that there are always possible complications, I'm not concerned.

~Life After The Band~

What does having the band mean? How will it affect my day to day life? What will I have to change?

This is the big one for me. The money, we can find somewhere. The surgery, I can handle. But life after? That's the scary part. I'm having this surgery because I need someone or something to FORCE me to change my ways. (But that scares the shit out of me!)

How is the Lap-Band going to force me to change? I'll have to temporarily succumb to a liquid diet, and might have to return to it after fills and if I have any issues. I'll have to cut my food into the tiniest of tiny pieces and chew it to a pulp. For evah. I'll have to watch my protein intake and make sure I'm getting vitamins and nutrients. I'll have to quit drinking during my meals (which I'm not entirely convinced I'll be able to do), and most difficult of all for me, I'll have to give up pop (and all carbonated beverages) for good.

My dad works for Coca-Cola. Diet Coke runs through my veins. And I'll have to give it up.

(Now, just so you're fully informed, there is some controversy surrounding this restriction.Some doctors don't say that you can never drink pop, and some do.  The doctor at CWLC says you do, so I will.)

 These are all big, daily, life-altering changes. Scary stuff.

But what would life be like if I didn't have the surgery? If I continue on the course that I've taken for thirty years? Sure, life without the band would be easier in some respects. I could drink what ever I want and eat what ever I want, but then I'm where I always have been. Only worse. Lap Band Gal says "If hunger isn't the problem, then eating isn't the solution."

Being able to eat whatever I want is not going to make my life worth living.

All in all, I have researched, asked questions, thought, debated, cried, and pretty much done everything I can think of to make sure that having this surgery is the right thing for me. And I wholeheartedly believe it is. It's not a quick fix or a simple solution. It takes effort and commitment just like dieting and exercise, but the Lap-Band is there to help.

It's like this: let's pretend that in order for me to reach a healthy weight, I have to swim across the ocean. Diet and Exercise are my arms and legs. They are the tools that I have to get there. Now, I could swim and swim and swim to my heart's content, but there's pretty much no way that I'll make it across the ocean on my own. Then along comes Lap-Band - my life jacket - which makes me just a little more buoyant, and in turn, makes my journey just a little bit easier. Now at least I have a chance.

Lap-Band is going to be my life jacket. I'll swim harder than I ever have before, and it will help me go farther than I ever thought I could.

Monday, August 29, 2011

New Digs...

How do you like these apples?! Pretty fancy, eh?

With lots of thanks to Tricia, and no thanks to PayPal, Breaking Up With Burgers has a new, happy interwebbian abode!

Welcome home, y'all!

:)

Friday, August 26, 2011

"Every day I'm shufflin'..."

("Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO)

I'm sending out the warning right now that this will probably ramble and not make much sense and cover a bunch of random topics. Consider yourselves forewarned.

~Blog~
My lovely blog re-design is thisclose to being finished. PayPal actually pulled through and sent the correct amount of money to Miss Tricia. She sent me a sample yesterday and she's just making a few minor tweaks to the design. I think it will be up and at 'em in the next day or so, and I can't wait! Now, once it's up and purty, all I have to do is force myself to update it on a regular basis. I haven't really updated because I have been absolutely sucktastic on the diet front. Which segues nicely into...

~Diet~
I thought for sure that when I stepped on the scale today it would read 280 pounds or more. How sad is it that I was pleasantly surprised at 275.8? Seriously, girl, get your shit together. I almost weigh what I weighed when I was pregnant. And ten pounds of that weight was actual baby! Two-hundred seventy-six pounds.

It's flicking ridiculous. I never expected to weigh this much in my life. Even when I was at 250, I never thought I'd hit a weight as high as this. And here it is in all it's glory disgustingness. (It's a word. I made it one.)
    The BFF, yours truly, and Tonja at Jimmy Buffett Tuesday night.
Do you see that freaking monster truck tire around my midsection?! Wanna know the worst part about that? I'm wearing Spanx. It's being sucked in. For serious.

I have more to say on the whole fatness issue, but I think that's better left for another blog post.

~Job~
I wish I didn't have one. I like my job on most days, but I am feeling lately like it's pointless. The Hubs is in between jobs right now and "gets" to stay at home with Bubbers all day. I can't help but feel like that should be me. Selfishly I want to be the one who doesn't have to get up at 6 am. I want to be the one who doesn't have to deal with office bureaucracies. I want to be the one who could wear sweats all day if I chose to. But most importantly, I want to be the one who gets to spend time with our son. I want to feed him and dress him and take him fun places, and teach him things all day, and watch him play. I want to get to see him for more than 2 waking hours every night. But it's just not in the cards, I guess.

My dream is that The Hubs will land his dream job, making enough money that I can quit mine and be a SAHM. People do it, somehow, they make it work, and they can't all be top executives at big companies making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. I want that to be me!

(Whine over, I promise.)

~Life~
As you can see from the picture above, The BFF, Tonja and I went to see Jimmy Buffett Tuesday night. We try to go every year, but I didn't go last year because I was pregnant and the weather had been pretty bad prior to the show. This year's concert was fun - I took the day after off work so that I could drink and not have to worry about the hour long drive from the concert venue back to my house. (Which is a good thing, because I probably wouldn't have gotten home until 1 am!)

Bubber Man sprouted a third tooth, on the top right side of his mouth. He looks like a jack-o-lantern now, which makes me giggle.

The rest of life is normal. Nothing major going on. I'm sorry for the long and rambling post, but that's what you get sometimes.

How about ending this post with a picture of Bubs to make it up to you?

Keepin' it classy.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

PayPal Diatribe Number 2: or "Why I'll never be a Customer Service Representative"

OH EM GEE, people!!!

So, it's been days and I haven't received a letter with a code. Meanwhile, my lovely new blog is dangling in the nether regions of the interwebs.

Lovely Tricia sent me an email letting me know that PayPal contacted HER and let HER know that they are giving ME back my money. Luckily, she was nice enough to pass on the message, because PayPal apparently didn't think it was an important enough piece of information for them to, you know, tell me.

So I checked my account, and sure enough, my moolah is back, but my account is still limited access, so I can't do anything with the money that is rightfully mine.

At this point, I've absolutely had enough. I decided that I'm going to call the bastards and get some answers and get this shit settled. So I look for their contact information, and of course, they want you to use their written prompts to try and figure out your problem before you actually call a human. I make it through all that and find a phone number for customer service.

Now, folks, what does a customer service phone number start with? Usually 1-800 or 1-866, right? Do you think PayPal has a toll free customer service line?

Of course not.

1-402-935-2050. I had to call them long distance to solve a two week long dispute that THEY CAUSED. But, okay, fine, I'll call Nebraska for you fuckers. Anything at this point to just get access to my own damn money.

I called Nebraska, and of course had to go through five minutes of phone prompts and yelling "REPRESENTATIVE!!!" at increasingly louder decibel levels. (I was smart enough to leave work and go out to my car to make this phone call, because for some reason, I had an inkling that it might get a lil' rowdy.) And I finally. Finally. get a person.

Turns out that, yes, I do have my money back, and yes, there is a limitation, and yes, he can lift it during this simple phone call without me having to wait days for a pin number to show up. Oh, and why did the "dispute" happen in the first place?

He asked me if I had been travelling.

Nope, not recently.

Do you work in a different city from where you live?

Well, technically, yeah I do. Why does that matter to you? 

Did you access your PayPal account from a work computer?

Okay, Big Brother, I did, but don't tell my boss on me.

Aha! That's what caused your issue. I can take care of it for you right now.


Apparently, their smartie two shoes system saw that I logged in from a different city and went all "Danger, Will Robinson!!!" on them saying that I might not be who I said I am because I logged in from a location 30 miles from home. So take that, internets, you're supposed to be all "hey, connect from anywhere and be connected to anywhere all instantly and shit", but as it turns out, I'm only allowed to connect from home. Connecting from anywhere else obviously means my identity was stolen and someone is trying to steal minimal amounts of money from me.

Clearly, that's the case.

Now, Blogland Lovers, I *so* try to not go all bat shit crazy on Customer Service Representatives, because, hey, I know it's not your fault you work for the biggest douche canoe of a company known to man. But, duuuuuuuuuude. You all have no idea how hard it was for me to not scream at the poor guy.

I took a few deep breaths, tried my best to reign in the snarky, and "calmly" let him know the process that I wen through to get to this point. I told him all about the bait and switch email that said "oh, just change your password and all will be right with the world" when the actual process was something more akin to teaching an elephant to speak Chinese. In sign language.

I told him how I think it's re-donk-u-lous to require a land line in "this day and age." (yep, actually used that phrase. I'd like to be called Grandpa from now on, please.) And I told him that his company is not customer friendly and that the thousands of blog followers that I have all know about their evil-doings.

So I embellished a bit. Sue me. Or better yet, call me long distance from your land line and we'll hash it out.

At any rate, he lifted my dispute and I'm supposedly able to get back into my account and do whatever I want to do with my money. Thank you, PayPal, for the privilege of being able to access my own damn money. Douches.

But I'm not bitter...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

PayPal: A Diatribe

Listen to this ridiculousness…


As you all know, I'm having my blog re-designed into something super fabulous by this lovely lady. We used PayPal to complete the transaction (which she's done a million times, and I've used PayPal for years with no issues). Anyway, I went to paypal to pay for it and they took the money out of my account. I thought all was hunkey dorey.

Then the fun began.

Paypal sent both she and I notices that my account has been frozen until I verify that I am who I say I am by updating my security settings. The email said I have to go to the PayPal website and change my password and my password questions.

Okay, well that’s dumb, but I’ll do it.

I go to the website, and before I can even get to the part where I have to change my password, I have to give them the FULL account number of the bank account that my paypal account is registered to. I don't have it memorized (do any of you have your bank account numbers memorized?), so I had to wait until I got home last night to look it up. Here is where my pulse starts quickening and I can feel my blood pressure starting to raise.

I had The Hubs look up the bank account number and went back to the website to type it in. Then I finally get to the screen where I can change my password and password questions.

Done, right?

Wrong. Next, they tell me that they have to verify my address before they can lift the “dispute”. In order to verify my address, they now need me to link a credit card to my account. I screamed "Are you serious?!" at the computer, but got no response, so I assumed it was, in fact, seriously requiring me to do this. So I dug through my cavernous hole of a purse and found a card. I had The Hubs put in all the numbers and the code on the back and my address and the name of our first born son.

Done, right?

Wrong. At this point, I'm swearing and gesturing dangerously behind my husband who is doing all of the finger-work at the computer. Now, they need a phone number so that PayPal can call me to verify my address. Now, setting aside that completely illogical thought process, I'm thinking, "I really want to get this over with so that I can play in my pretty new interweb home. This HAS to be the last step. And what are my options, anyway, short of shoving my fist inside my husband's computer and hoping to strangle a PayPal developer on the other end?"

I give them my phone number and I have the choice of “have PayPal call now” or “have PayPal call in one minute”. Dear God, I don't want to give PayPal another nanosecond of my time or thought, so check the little button to “have PayPal call now” and hit "Submit".

Done, right? (You lovely blog readers out there on the interwebs are so smart that I bet you know where this is going...)

Wrong! The next screen tells me that they don’t accept cell phone lines for verification and in order to verify my address through a phone call, it must be a land-line. Who decided to be all dependent on technology and not have a land-line in her house?

Thaaaaat's right. Me.

However, sweet and helpful and accomodating as they are, PayPal offered me yet another way to "resolve my dispute" (the dispute that THEY initiated, mind you.), as if giving them my full bank account information, providing them with a new password and password questions, linking a valid credit card with a billing address to my account, giving them my cell phone number (which I don't give to anybody), promising them my first born child (only if he turns out to be a dud, but don't tell PayPal that), and the promise to never watch trashy reality tv again weren't enough. ("Love In The Wild", Mama's gonna miss you.)

Turns out, after all this technology, and trying to pay for something through an "easy and convenient" electronic method, I'm now reduced to waiting on snail mail. Who would have thought, in this day and age, my electronic purchase would be dependent on a land line and snail mail?! My alternate option to verify my address requires Paypal to send me a letter (like, acutally, in the mailbox) with some sort of code on it. PayPal's website said "...it should take days to receive this letter..." No, really, PayPal. Days? Thank you for being so specific.

When days are up and I finally receive their letter, I have to go back to the website and enter this code. This magical code that is somehow acceptable notice that IyamwhatIyam, that none of the other information I provided to them was able to do.

Done, right?

Who the hell knows. I'll let you know what other hoops lie ahead after I enter the code. What else do you think they could possibly make me do?

All I know is: I'm doing this for you, my Blogland Lovers.

Y'all better appreciate. :-P