New Decade Challenge

Jan 03, 2010

So at the turn of the new decade, a good friend on the pa forum wrote about her past decade.  It was a reflection on where she's been, where she is now, how she got to where she is.  It also focused on the areas of successing she has seen, and also what areas need focus in now, some of them, more than ever.  She challenged us to do the same, so here it goes. 

Jan 2000  I was starting my second semester in Bloomsburg University studying to be a teacher for the hearing impaired.  The ONLY thing I had ever wanted to do - and was shocked to learn I wasn't fond of the curriculum and couldn't see myself doing it as a career.  I also was in the middle of a "relationship" which included being engaged (a ring and everything)  I use the term in quotes, though, because from start to finish (first date, to engagement, to break up) was a whopping 9 mos, and was not a good relationship.  Although not abusive towards me, he lacked any sort of motivation, failed out of school, was on welfare and perfectly HAPPY being on welfare, and was attempting to "teach me" how to "go through the system" so "you don't have to pay for anything"  Directly OPPOSITE of how I had been raised.  Also started experimenting with tattoos, started smoking, and although heavy most of my life, had lost a lot the last year of HS and began regaining all of it plus some.

May 2000 - finished my second semester, withdrew from college, moved back home.  Began immediately working full time as an EMT for a local company while also maintaining my status as a volunteer EMT with my home squad.  Ended the relationship previously mentioned shortly after being at home.  Did not enroll in any local school as I had no idea what I should do.

Nov 2000 - Began a relationship with my now husband, which turned quite serious quite fast.  A bit of a struggle at first with my parents as he was almost 9 years older than me...and a 19 year old dating a 27/28 year old is a bit much.  Started working two full time jobs.

Jan 2001  Began enrollment process for school - local community college.  Needed some pre req classes in order to qualify for their nursing program  Still dating Brian, still happy there.

Fall 2001 - Started classes.  Also still working two jobs, very stressed, very little time.  Not taking care of myself.  Left the volunteer status of the ambulance corps.

2002  Year finishing up all my pre req classes.  Brian's home life is awful, his mom was on and off some drugs and in and out of therapy.  I was basically living there due to working.  Ended up getting our own place for the first time.  HUGE adjustments between working, school, and maintaining an apartment.  The whole year is a whirwind in all honesty.

Fall 2003:  Ended up leaving the ambulance company - started working in an ER which is a totally different ball game.  Also started my first semester of actual nursing classes.  More time needed, clinicals, a lot more stress.  LOTS of weight gain and constantly feeling helpless and out of control 

Late 2003  Moved to a different place, this time a small house which was, in all honesty, a piece of crap.  I didn't care about it...and it showed.  It was constantly "dirty" looking even though we did attempt to clean.  Brian PROPOSED on my 22nd birthday in front of my whole family at my birthday party on Dec 13, 2003.  WOW!  

2004:  Planning a wedding for fall of 2005.  Still in a horrendous school/work situation.  I remember clearly coming home to a picture frame on my pillow of a photo of Brian and I with a hand written note:  This is so you remember what I look like.  We lived together, but almost never saw each other.  Brian was in and out of work, financially we began to spiral down hill.  Also continuing to have problems with his parents  Again, a stressful year without much enjoyment in it at all

2005:  Spring:  Was supposed to have graduated nursing school, but failed the semester.  The first time EVER I had failed anything, let alone a semester.  Was temporarily devestated, but was also relieved.  I now had an "excuse" to be home.  I didn't go out much, except for work.  The weight was becoming an issue and after working I was almost always very achey and out and out HURTING.  Many a day I came home in tears.
September 2005:  Despite my family and my teachers pleading, re entered school to finish the semester.  The wedding was planned and could not be cancelled, for Nov 19, 2005  Which put me getting married smack dab in the middle of 12 hour clinical over night shifts, last semester of school, full time work, and the holidays.  I would not be deterred, however

NOVEMBER 19 2005:  GOT MARRIED.  By far one of the happiest days in my life, although the dress was a bit snug, and I had on compression garments to help combat that. 

DECEMBER 2005:  GRADUATED nursing school with a B average this time around!

April 2006:  Passed nursing boards and began working as a nurse in the ER.  Even though I knew everyone and what not, it was a HUGE adjustment.  I wanted to do better quicker.  I wanted to be efficient when I wasn't.  I wanted to know all the answers.  I didn't.  Book smart and ER smart = two different worlds.  I was very angry with myself very often even though some of the most seasoned nurses in the ER said that they had not seen a new grad "pick it up" like I had.  I still felt very inadequate.  Also found out in sumer of 2006 I was to big for some of the rides at Great adventure, rock bottom for me.  But not rock bottom enough at that time, as when I couldn't fit, I went to the nearest stand and got deep fried butterfly fries with cheesesauce.
Jan 2007:  Began doing hard research on WLS  Highest weight on record was 235 but I'm sure I was closer to 250.  I was chronically hypertensive, generally depressed, had joint changes, and was being considered for bipap.  Still working nights, still coming home crying in pain.  Consult Jan 30 at Barix clinics.  Ended up being a last minute appointment due to a cancellation, so Brian couldn't come with me.

September 2007:  Had finished all my insurance stuff, got approved, got a surgery date, and went to PATs.  Diagnosed there with hypothyroidism, surgery cancelled until meds could correct the problem.  Again - devestated - and again - left PATs and went to Red Robin where I managed to consume appetizers, drinks, and a huge greasy bacon cheeseburger.  Now, THERE'S dedication for you.

October 30 2007:  Thyroid successfully corrected with meds, surgery 10/30/07  My husband was by my side the entire time.  I became nervous for the first time as we pulled into the parking lot.  I actually asked him "do I have to go in" and I'll never forget his response.  "You don't have to do anything you don't want to.  I'm in love with you, I've always been in love with you, and I will always BE in love with you.  Your weight doesn't matter to me, and you weren't doing this for me.  If you don't want to go in, I will turn this car around right now and take you home"  Obviously, I went in.  He spent the whole day in the hospital with me, and the whole next day as well, with a 90 minute commute back and forth to home in between.  His favorite day of the year - Halloween - and he spent it watching me dry heave in a hospital bed and walk countless laps around the nurses station.  AMAZING support.

Spring 2008:  Began to feel less satisfied with my career.  I was working in a small community hospital where I had started working back after leaving the ambulance corps.  It seemed to be the "same old same old" every day and I found myself wanting more.  Now I was physically able to DO more and I wanted it!  I was constantly going, doing something, seeing someone, going to amusement parks, the whole nine.  Hubby and I had previously discussed pa as an option....but we weren't sure.

Fall 2008:  Thanks to a contact on the pa forum, got an interview at LVH Cedar Crest - my number one choice of employers if we were to move to pa.  Had initial contact, interview, and HIRE date within 2 weeks.  We now had 6 weeks to let our current land lord know we were moving, find a place out in Pa, and MOVE.  Drama ensued with Brian's parents who tried valiently to keep us in Pa

Nov 2008:  Moved to pa, started working at LVH and had a HUGE adjustment problem.  Brian left for a few days after an argument.  I have never felt so alone in my whole life.  New apartment, new job, no family, no husband....I'm not proud of it, but that week I spent many nights drunk by myself.  This coming from someone who didn't drink pre op, and doesn't drink very often now....but I couldn't eat....I couldn't talk to I drank in order to go to sleep in my new apartment, scared, by myself without knowing when, or if, my husband was coming home, as he refused to return phone calls or emails.  Also going through the same emotions I went through when I first became a nurse.  I felt I was inadequate for this new job, it was so much different than what I had been exposed to.  The diseases were the same...but the treatments were slightly different, it was HUGE (50 beds vs my previous 14 beds), and they were all computerized.  My time management sucked because I was trying to learn computer documentation and I constantly felt behind.  I was a big fish in a little pond at my old hospital - and here I am a very small fish in a damn ocean.  Terrified.

2009:  "Finding myself"  I really don't put up with a lot of BS from anyone anymore.  I realize I am worth it, and so is my husband.  I've gotten into a few fights with people who used to be close to me - and they are no longer in my life.  We continue to have problems with my in laws and it is becoming more and more obvious that Brian and I may need to make some tough choices in the next couple of years.  Right now we are attempting to set up, and KEEP boundaries and ground rules for them to allow us to live our lives and not them to be constantly involved and mother hen-ish.  We have friends who initially I met through just online who are now like family to us.  Couldn't imagine living without them.  My social calendar is very full, as is my work schedule.  I ended up going back to the small hospital where I worked.  It began as a comfort measure...somewhere that I didn't feel inadequate.  Somewhere that people knew my name.  And's more of a frustration.  I am surprised to learn how much I have learned, and how much intolerance I have for so many things.  Not that it's a bad thing - it's just different.  My time commuting back and forth is slowly dwindling, and I suspect will cease very soon.  I no longer need that "crutch" to feel good about myself.

2010 has a lot to look forward too.  Hopefully a new house, and perhaps a pregnancy if all works well.  We haven't had much luck in that department - but when the time is right, I'm sure we will be blessed.  We do want to move, probably the end of this year when our lease is up.  Further west.  More rural, less chaotic and industrialized.  More Pennsylvania, less NJ

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About Me
Easton, PA
Surgery Date
Jul 08, 2007
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