Feb. 13th, 2015

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Where does one even begin when you haven't update LJ in almost 2 years? First of all, I know I live in New England but holy cow enough with the snow! We are supposed to get another 12-18 inches this weekend and I truly believe I can speak for most of the people in New England when I say that I am SO over it. Can we at least get decent temperatures that can melt all this stuff? But not too quickly please, I don't want to see swimming pools and flooding everywhere.

Onto updates!

This month marks my 13th anniversary with LiveJournal. .

I will try to go back and update since my last entry was regarding the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013.

After a year and a half of working for United Health Care I took a job for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts in May 2014, working in Medicare Compliance. It's truly unlike any job I've had. Long hours, intense work, and a job where I truly learn something new every day. I'm really tired of changing jobs and do really enjoy working for BCBS so I hope to stay here for a long time. I've worked for far too many companies since 2007. My resume is probably downright scary now with all the jobs I've previously had. I've stayed in Health Care, completed my degree in Health Management a few years ago at Northeastern University, and am trying to settle into more of a "career" mindset rather than just chasing money. I can't believe I'm coming up on a year with BCBS already. I'm probably going to say this a few times in this entry but I cannot believe how fast time goes now.

My Father died in January 2014. Unfortunately he died two weeks after he called to tell me what was going on. As soon as he told me, I immediately made plans to go to Australia but was jumping through the hoops of taking a leave of absence from United. Part of the reason I started job hunting last year included the grief they gave me while trying to take a leave of absence. I was perfectly fine with going unpaid, I had just wanted my job to be there when I returned. I recognize that they have processes and procedures for these things, but going through the FMLA process was next to impossible with my father's doctors being in Australia, and their HIPPA laws are much tougher than we have here in the US. He passed away while I was gathering the information needed for my leave of absence. Ultimately another director who knew me well, but worked in another department was horrified by what I went through. He believed that I should have just been allowed to take a regular leave of absence and that would be that. United had two levels of LOA- FMLA and a straight up emergency leave of absence. I did meet the requirements for the emergency LOA, but its ultimately at the director level discretion. Should I have taken it higher up in the organization? Sure, but I was in a complete fog and just kept running into wall after wall trying to put everything together.

I had not kept in touch with him a lot over the past few years, just occasional emails and phone calls. I kick myself all the time that we weren't in touch more. I had forgiven him for everything that happened since he moved to Australia in 2000/2001, and I did tell him that before he passed away so I hope he is in peace with that.

I'm still working through all the feelings and emotions and will continue to do so for a long time. I thought I had known about grieving before his passing, but it was a whole new level with it being my father and our very complicated past.

The past couple years have not just been full of sadness and job change, there have been many, many happy things as well.

I'm getting married! Wayne asked me to marry him last August, and our wedding is this October in Gloucester, MA. We currently live in Dedham, MA and have been here since March 2014. I moved from Somerville with many tearful goodbyes to my roommates, and thankful for all the fun times I had with them and living in the Boston area. I'm not terribly far from Boston, maybe about 20 minutes without traffic but far from any of the subway lines, which is not a bad thing right now because they really aren't working well. At all. Neither is our commuter rail. Buses have pretty much replaced the subways at this point and entire stretches of tracks have not been cleared yet. I am very thankful that I drive to my office, or work from home. Yesterday was my first time back in the office in two weeks thanks to this crazy weather.

As if moving, new job, engagement wasn't enough I had to add a cherry on top of the cake.

In October, I had weight loss surgery. I had the gastric sleeve, and am so thankful that I did it. My life is a "new normal" and I have a different relationship with food and exercise now. My hope is to break the stigma that I see and hear about weight loss surgery, that we're lazy, looking for a quick fix, that we will never change no matter what we do.

I'm addicted to food. I turned to food during all the bad times in life, the good times, and the in between times. I'm still working on that, but like any addict it takes time. I don't want to say "I was addicted", because I do believe I still am. Weight loss surgery isn't just physical changes, you have to be ready, prepared and open to make mental changes as well. I work out more than I ever have (although mostly at home these days!), and truly am conscious of everything I put in my mouth. Another part of this journey is getting fluids in. I drank a ton of Diet Pepsi before surgery and I've traded it in for water and G2. I also am not allowed to touch alcohol until the 6 month mark, and even then I will need to have an extensive conversation with my team. My team includes my surgeon, his PA's, and Nutritionists. Alcohol addiction is a problem in people who have had weight loss surgery, trading the food for drinking. It's also a lot of calories just to take in via liquid form, so they try to steer us away from that. I'm going to be honest and say that there are plenty of times that I wish I could just have a glass of wine, but I'm happy to say that I have completely resisted.

Phew. I think I've covered the big things.

As I said on New Year's Eve on Facebook, I've been told that you aren't supposed to make major life changes within a year of a death of a loved one. I moved, changed jobs, got engaged and had weight loss surgery and I am incredibly happy that I did all of those things. I am a lucky, lucky girl.

Stay tuned! I know I've always said I want to get back in LJ but really want to make the effort.

I'm sorry this was so long, but thank you for reading. :)




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