Monday, March 15, 2010
We were watching public television the other night and there were musical acts from Ed Sullivan. And I was reminded of how much I like today's song. And thinking about, it held more resonance for me. It means more now.
I just need the city. I can't explain it; I suspect people who need the country or the mountains or the sea have similar feelings. But I've got to have buildings and concrete. It doesn't mean that I don't like green. Hell, I garden. But I guess I need the excitement.
Several years ago, I worked in voice recognition, doing research. It was an interesting job and the people were amazing (I'm still friends with, still in touch with, almost all of them and it's been over 5 years since we all worked together). But it was in Burlington, Mass. This isn't exactly the sticks (the Bedford Air Force base is maybe two exits away on Route 128) but being away from Boston was maddening.
Hence I've got to have, well, Boston, specifically, for work. I can work from home (if I can find such a sweet gig) but still need to be able to get in every now and then, no matter what the reason is. Any job I take must have Boston or its immediate environs (e. g. Cambridge or Brookline or Newton) attached to it.
This is a part of what had been bothering me when I was really in nasty shape -- being kept at home and away from it all. Don't get me wrong, I like a rest like everyone else does, plus I'm not exactly a party gal. It's not for the bars or the culture. Just to be there.
So I went today.
And, as importantly, I went to the gym.
First time since two days before surgery. Six (yes, you read that right) weeks AFTER I'd originally thought I'd be back. But I went. I was there for the full hour, and did my usual stuff. But I lifted 30 lbs. instead of 40, and went on the treadmill only up to 2.7 MPH, not the 4 and 5 MPH I've done before. Smaller weights on the machines. Oh, and the ab roller thing? Not 140 or so reps. More like 45. Oof.
But I went, despite my less than perfect abs. Despite the pouring rain seeping ever more quickly into our basement. Despite the time change making me want to stay inside and just do crossword puzzles all day long.
So maybe I'll see you there
We can forget all our troubles, forget all our cares ....
Monday, March 08, 2010
I've had an odd week, and I'm trying to process it and make it coherent so here goes.
Last week, I had a meeting with a potential employer-type person. Well, he has no job. But he did buy me lunch.
Sigh. Story of my life these days. Seems like there's interest but it's not going anywhere.
Hence I've got to (a) get more proactive and do a lot more networking and (b) take some sort of classes. I've often had good luck getting work after getting more education. Seems silly as I've already got a dang doctorate, but there you have it.
In the networking department, I'm trying to attend more things and also have reached out to another dozen people to see if I can have meetings with them. At a certain point, it will become not so financially viable for me to do such things. But that time has not yet arrived. It's only coffee. I'm also being far more selective. The less driving (and parking fees) I do, the better, and the fewer lower margin people I meet, the better. Of course I don't always know who can do the most for me, but I'm trying to at least prioritize my time better. And that means meeting people who are somehow connected to companies or jobs I'd like. There's time enough to meet other people -- right now I have to concentrate and try to make it all count.
Plus this week is nuts. Today I went to the doc's (I don't have to go back until April 5th -- my right breast is still not, heh, optimal, but it's better and should be improved by then). Tomorrow I have a breakfast (I won't eat there) meeting with people I used to work with, mainly it's for moral support. Tomorrow night is Tech Tuesday techtuesday030910.eventbrite.
com/ . Wednesday morning is Cambridge Open Coffee (those are the people I owe $5 to) www.meetup.com/OpenCoffee-Cam
bridge-Meetup/ . Wednesday night is Mass Innovation Night massinnovationnights.com/even
t-rsvp/march-2010-rsvp-list (my Twitter ID is @shrinkingjes, listed there). Thursday for lunch I'll see two guys I worked with at a different company. And Friday is the Community Roundtable thecrboston19.eventbrite.com/
Next week will be personal meetings as Tech Tuesdays are monthly and Mass Innovation and Community Roundtable are every other week (plus I won't see my doc for a while, and the former coworker meetings aren't regular events), so next week I'll just have Cambridge Open Coffee.
I figure I'll bombard the world with my resume and my business cards and my networking profile.
Pity the printer has decided it's time to die.
Perhaps Mr. J and I will spend the weekend printer shopping. I'm okay for now, and I can order cards from www.vistaprint.com if I absolutely have to -- it's just an expense I didn't want, particularly seeing as the printer is going to be an expense anyway.
The training will most likely happen here: www.hubspot.com/inbound-marke
As for my weight loss journey, suddenly it's going well again. I continue to bloat up every time I even think about salt (and, since surgery, the bloat is all in that area -- feels like I'm wearing a corset -- most uncomfortable), but the acid reflux seems to be gone and I'm back to lifting 30 lbs. and have even returned (with my doctor's blessing) to situps. All that's left to get me back to my previous level of conditioning/working out is to up the weights to 40 lbs. (in a few weeks or so), go back to chest exercises (won't do that until the last of the wounds are healed, but I'm down to only 2 band-aids, yay!), return to my gym (ditto) and start running again (ditto again).
So -- after all of this semi-coherence -- what the heck does the song have to do with anything?
It's, well, it's about focusing. I am focused, I suppose, on my weight loss again. It was a long time there where I was fully absorbed in my recovery. Understandable, as things were distressing and they hurt. But that seems to finally be subsiding so it's time to turn toward kicking off the final 31 lbs.
And the focus is on the job search as well. I am not in too much active pain and things are covered up enough and even enough that I don't spend all of my time worrying about being lopsided or something moving out of place. And at least, thank God, I finally know what I really want.
I have online community management experience. I blog, I tweet. I have been online in some capacity for over a decade. It's about time I did it all as a career.
So what do I want to be when I grow up?
A Social Media Specialist/Expert/Manager.
There are jobs out there. I know there are. If I focus in like a laser beam, I will get one.
As is said at the end of the first (yeah, it's the fourth, A New Hope, but it's the first one that came out, so sue me) Star Wars film, when Luke is aiming at the special little place on the Death Star, the dispatcher or maybe it's the squad leader keeps repeating, "Stay on target. Stay on target."
And so I shall, and in both aspects of my life, no matter how dull or discouraging they can get. And we all know that they indeed can.
Stay on target. Stay on target.
Monday, March 01, 2010
This blog entry is going to be kind of all over the place because of a number of things that have been happening lately. Hence the two songs (the other link will be near the end of the entry).
The week started off with me black and blue and with a hugely distorted right breast. It hurt. It felt like an egg or half of a tennis ball was hiding under there. On Monday I saw the doctor, he aspirated some blood out with a needle and we talked about next steps. The blood was, not to be too gross about it, a dark purple. A plum, a puce, blue-violet and crepuscular.
And it was just going to hang around unless we did something about it. So he proposed, essentially, vacuuming out the hematoma. OOookay. He gave me a prescription for Valium and told me to take that and Oxycodone, then come over in the morning. Fortunately, this was done at the Brighton office so I just walked over. And, well, that was quite an experience. I was awake during the entire time, but, after he gave me some Novocaine, I didn't feel a blessed thing, except I was a tad loopy. We (he, the physician's assistant and I) had a lovely conversation about, er, something. I have no idea what, possibly it was about Cape Cod now that I think about it.
He took out about 100 cc of stuff (hard to say exactly how much as he was also hydrating at the same time). He put in a straightforward little drain and sewed it in place. Watching and listening to such things, particularly when you are doped up, is, like I said, an experience. He told me, just keep expressing out the fluid, change the dressing whenever you think you need to, see you in a few days. The assistant kindly drove me home.
Well. I've been through all kinds of wacky things now but the drain seems to have freaked me out more than anything else. I guess it's because I can see it and feel it. That night, I had a meltdown (hence the first song for today's selection).
I felt awful. I was scared. Things still felt huge and hard and painful. Still bruised. Still angry. Plus I had a drain sticking out of me. Nothing felt right. All I could think was, what the f*** have I done to myself? How stupid I've been. What vanity! I'm being punished for being vain and foolish and overly grasping. How wrong. How painful. How deserving I am of such horrible things.
My husband stood back and kind of let me go at it. His main comment was, I'm kind of surprised you haven't melted down before. And he was right. I've tolerated a lot. And perhaps this was a small thing, but it was that final straw.
The next day, I saw the doctor again. His first move was to write me a prescription for a painkiller called Ultram (Tramadol). This was/is more heavy duty than the Tylenol I'd been taking, but wouldn't constipate (er, sorry for the TMI) me like the Oxycodone does. Hallelujah. He also explained that I really have to express the stuff out, and it won't happen overnight. But it will.
Okay. I was better. I could handle it.
So I went home and did as told. Every time I worked out with weights, I'd stick my arm over my right breast. Extra 20 lbs. on top. Push down. Lather, rinse, repeat.
This morning, I saw him again, and we agreed that things have improved considerably. The purple is gone, replaced with (more TMI) yellow, not only in terms of what is, er, coming out, but also in terms of the look of the overall bruise. My right breast is no longer an inch and a half bigger than my left -- it's about the same.
Tomorrow, the drain comes out. The surgical binder is off. My navel is healed, plus I can start ab exercises next week. This is all in time for Wednesday. I'll elaborate on that in a moment.
Because now it's time to talk about the other piece, the other song.
I interviewed for what was essentially my dream job on January 28th. Yes, I was bandaged up when that happened. The interviewers pronounced my story "inspiring". Uh, okay.
And then I waited. And waited. And waited some more.
And today I finally received word that, yes, my story is still inspiring. But they gave the job to someone else.
I wrote back and asked about where the disconnect was. After all, I want to learn from the experience. If they tell me, great. If not, shrug, that's okay.
If it had been early February, I suppose I'd be a lot more upset about the whole thing. I'd be angry and saddened and depressed. But I'm not. It just dragged on for so long that I realized, independently, that they were doing whatever they could to find someone else. And so they did. And that's that.
One of the reasons I had wanted this one so badly was because it was Community Management (which I've been doing as a volunteer for 7 1/2 years) for a healthcare company. The whole wellness vibe fit in so nicely with my health and weight loss journey. Plus -- and here it's going to look odd, but I'll explain it in a moment -- I didn't have to say I liked Michael Bolton's music.
Huh? You say. Well, I'll explain. The Michael Bolton reference is to a film called "Office Space". In it, there is a character named Michael Bolton (not the singer). The guy's a pasty white software engineer who loves gangsta rap music. But they're having layoffs at the company. And so, in order to try to keep his job, he not only compromises, he completely and thoroughly subsumes himself in order to, he thinks, get on the good side of the outside consulting firm hired to perform the layoffs. He says he likes the music. He is laid off anyway.
And, for me, a lot of my job interviews -- hell, MOST of them -- have involved my having to say I liked the music. This one was one where I didn't have to. I didn't have to give up myself. I didn't have to pretend I was someone who I'm not. But I know that there are other places where I don't have to say I like the music. It does not have to be that way.
And the dream which burns up is something of a false one, I feel. Dreams shouldn't be quite so flammable. And so, Phoenix-like, a new one rises from the ashes.
I have a lunch meeting on Wednesday, for a possible job. And so the new dream will begin. And I'll be damned if I tell him I like the music -- but I don't think I'll have to.
Monday, February 22, 2010
I got my hair cut last week, and promptly forgot how it should look/couldn't replicate it, so it looks more or less the same as before, only shorter (just grazing my shoulders). I know I should use the straightener on it, but by the time I do wound care I just want to run screaming out of the bathroom these days.
And that's the other thing. Wound care continues, even though, since I am not a smoker (which would mean I'd have lousy circulation -- apparently I have lousy circulation without the nicotine high), it should be more or less done. It's not. My circulation issues may have to do with me having extremely low blood pressure, plus I'm always cold. I figure it's all of a piece although the doc isn't really sure, either.
And the hematoma continues. It keeps on keepin' on, like some demented heavy puce-colored egg sitting there on my right breast. Fortunately it is breast-centric and not over my sternum, where it would, I suppose, appear to be either a third breast (how attractive) or the prelude to that scene in "Alien" where .... well, you know the details.
The hematoma was also supposed to be gone by now. It's not.
Hence I've done what I've been doing for about a month. Bandages. Silver sulfadiazine. Tape. Stuff the left side to more or less stay even with the right. Guzzle water like it was going out of style, to try to compensate for the fact that I am one big bloat factory. Attempt to tolerate some sort of spice (because food's gotten boring) without tipping myself into reflux, despite the use of Prilosec, occasionally spiked with doses of Maalox (mint-flavored, if you please). Mederma smeared all over any wounds that have somehow closed, in order to try to deal with the scarring.
And then I get to do it all again before going to bed, too. Ain't that attractive? Isn't plastic surgery supposed to make you pretty or somethin'?
All of this is happening while, as you know, I am attempting to find a job. My severance from my old company has run out. I still get Unemployment and have been getting it for a while. There was a while there where, paradoxically, I was actually hauling in more than I had when I was working. I've banked that. Now it's time to withdraw some of it. And now is the time for more serious budgeting, and not just the minor budgeting of the past three months or so. Now is the time to get into comparing the costs of running the space heaters versus the overall heat (usually the space heaters are better -- this house is huge and not well insulated). Now is the time to go to cheaper restaurants when we go, and tip less. Now is the time to walk even more for minor errands, to save on gas. Coupons. Generics. Buying staples in bulk. Gifts for people? Uh, how about a nice card?
We are fortunate, really. My husband has a good job and it is stable (he works as an engineering designer/draftsman). He has good benefits. We have savings. My parents have been good about helping us with surgery costs, and insurance and flex spending covered some as well. The house is close to being completely paid for, and the monthly mortgage payment isn't horrible when you consider what it could be.
But these things loom large (and I know that stress is no good for healing, but what can ya do?) when you spend time dealing with so many other things that should've been over and done. And now, well, tomorrow there will be another procedure (in-office) to deal with the hematoma. 'Cause it ain't miraculously going away on its own.
It's funny, as that's the side where the original surgical wound has actually healed. Ha! Well, that makes total sense. Can't have me only having two big gaping wounds now, can we? No. I have to haul out the tape and the silver sulfadiazine and the bandages for as many places as freakin' possible, for as long as possible.
Oh, and don't get me started on TOM. You want bloat and cramps? Oh, they're a delight when you're already experiencing them, and already have a hugely distorted breast. Since I am perimenopausal, I get to have TOM every three weeks. Oh the joy.
People have asked me -- when, jes, when are you going to be settling into feeling happy about the surgery?
I know I will at some point. But I'm just not there yet. Perhaps I will be a few days from now, when tomorrow's procedure is firmly ensconced in my rear-view mirror and the swelling is going down and the bruising finally starts to clear up and and and and and .... Sorry this is such a complaintfest. I was hoping that those would be done. Not so fast.
Dammit, I want a refund on this body, or at least on the circulatory system.
Monday, February 15, 2010
This is one of the songs that I listen to when I race. It's just boppy and poppy and so I can more or less pace to it.
But there's a different purpose to it today.
See, yesterday, Mr. J and I both weighed ourselves.
And we were identical.
Now, I'm up slightly since then. That number was not an official one. But it will be soon enough, and I will, I am sure, go below it soon enough.
He is about 1/2" - 1" taller than me, and is 2 1/2 years younger.
Yes, folks, when I started out, I was almost exactly twice the weight of my husband.
Things have changed.
Yesterday, we went to Harvard Square for a Valentines' Day dinner. That did not work out exactly as we had hoped, but we still enjoyed each other's company, like we always do.
And we decided, first, to walk over the bridge from Cambridge into Brighton.
Okay, so far, so good.
But it seemed silly (and too cold) to stop and wait for a bus. So we kept walking.
It took about 45 minutes or so, but we walked all the way home. That was maybe 3 miles. This is significant not only because we'd never done it before, or because I'm recovering from surgery (I feel fine, by the way, and could do it again today, I figure). It is also significant because the bus (a local) took a half an hour.
Hence the bus doesn't even save us a significant amount of time. We could walk there, and back, and only take an extra 30 minutes. And, since that is a bus that only runs every hour on the weekends, we eliminate potential wait time. Truly, unless we are carrying something heavy, we're in some sort of formal wear, the weather doesn't cooperate or we're just plain in a rush, it makes almost no sense to ever take the bus. Again.
Like I said, things have changed.
And to prove it, here's the month in review.
It also just so happens to be exactly one month since surgery.
Bicep: 10.75" new personal best! (originally was: 19". Difference: 8.25".)
Bust: 36.25" tied for a personal best (originally was: 55". Difference: 18.75".)
Band: 33" tied for a personal best (originally was: 47.5". Difference: 14.5".)
Waist: 33.25" (originally was: 49". Difference: 15.75".)
Belly: 35" new personal best! (originally was: 59.5". Difference: 24.5"!!!)***
Keister: 41.5" (originally was: 64". Difference: 22.5".)
Hip: 41.5" new personal best! (yes, the keister and the hip are identical now, as the apron of skin is gone so there is, therefore, no way to differentiate them) (originally was: 54.5". Difference: 13".)
Thigh: 20" (originally was: 32.5." Difference: 12.5.")
My average difference is 15.72". If you remove the outlyers (bicep and thigh), the average difference is a staggering 18 2/3". And, damn! Look at my belly! I can honestly and without reservation say that only 2" of that was due to surgical intervention. Otherwise, the remainder of the OVER 2 FEET that came off was due to lil ole me.
Like I said, things have changed.
Just a lil.
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