Saturday 10/24/2015 – Summary

 I am blessed that I continue to get new followers through Facebook and Twitter, and that the readers on the blog continue to grow.  My entire goal for doing this whole thing was to give hope (if only for one person) who might be “GOING THROUGH IT” and feel like they are the only one, or that no one understands and that all is lost.  So I started this in February and I’ve written (it feels like) a ton of blogs, and the beginning ones were the “chronological timeline” of my story.  As i see new readers/followers coming on though I always think – geeze who the hell is going to go back and read all that crap.  So every once in a while I think it’s useful to put out a “summary of the journey” and that is today’s blog.  Here’s a bullet summary of my personal journey (very summarized with TONS of details missing), and I’m MORE than happy to talk to anyone personally and/or answer questions etc.  I’m 100% NOT a medical professional or qualified to advise you about anything, but I am 1000% qualified to share what my journey has taught me!

  • Obesity was a life long thing and around 550 lbs I decided to have an RNY Gastric Bypass
  • I had the bypass and successfully lost around 300 pounds, with zero complications or issues for about 7-years
  • In 2011 I developed a gallstone in the bile duct to my liver, and due to my RNY they could not remove the stone with ERCP as would be done for a person with “normal” anatomy.  Instead I had to be opened up, stomachs moved by bariatric surgeon, stone removed and bile duct clipped by second surgeon and then everything sewn back into place.  My gallbladder had been removed in 1994, and the stone was discovered due to illness and blood work showing major liver malfunction.
  • Subsequent to that surgery I continued to get sick, and didn’t know why  From 2011 to 2013 I spent about 18 out of 24 months hospitalized, having numerous tests and treatments with no diagnosis.
  • During that time I had things like TPN feedings, lysis of adhesions, exploratory surgery, REVERSAL of my gastric bypass, (reversal is uncommon);  placement (and subsequent removal) of a peg feeding tube, botox injections in my stomach etc.  I had to be evaluated by a psychiatrist to see if it was “all in my head” and I suffered a lot in so many ways and actually attempted suicide at on point because I simply could not deal with it anymore.  That two years was 100% a low point of my life in every possible way.
  • My “symptoms” were (still are) intractable nausea, vomiting and eventually abdominal pain
  • In October of 2013 I finally got my bariatric surgeon to refer me to a gastric motility clinic where they specialize in these issues, and I got into that program in December of 2013.  By March of 2014 they had FINALLY given me a diagnosis of Gastroparesis – which is basically a paralyzed stomach.
  • There are limited treatments (and no cure) for gastroparesis.  I’ve been treated with the Botox injections, Marinol, Erythomycin, Reglan, Domperidone, diet changes etc. ~ all to no real improvement
  • I have had a Jejunostomy feeding tube in place since August of 2013.  Recently I had it changed because the tube I had was coiling up into my stomach and giving me issues, but I’ve had a feeding tube for 2-years now.
  • My reality is that I might have that tube forever, I simply don’t know yet.  I have good periods and bad periods and I literally (just like almost everyone else with this condition) have to just live with it.
  • The only “treatment” that has not been tried on me yet is a gastric pacemaker (stimulator) and I actually went through the process in August 2015 of being evaluated for one and was refused by Brooklyn Hospital Center in Brooklyn NY for two reasons.  #1.  They don’t think it would help me due to the mess that is my insides.  #2.  I’m such a high risk patient for surgical procedures on the digestive system that even these guys don’t want to touch me.
  • I’m frequently asked if I regret my gastric bypass – i.e. people associate the bypass directly with my current issues.  Granted had I NOT had the bypass, I would of been able to have the ERCP and would not likely have had this procedure that caused the paralysis.  HOWEEVER, I didn’t have any problems with the bypass itself and today I’m literally 370 pounds lighter.  My honest answer is for me personally yes I would do it again, because aside from my stomach issues I’m healthier than I’ve ever been.  I have no clotting issues (at 500 lbs I had a serious DVT and almost died), no high blood pressure, my heart is good, I’m not diabetic etc.  Without the bypass and the weight loss the likelihood of my having some if not all of those issues is quite high ~ and I could be in much worse shape than I am.
  • I do NOT believe weight loss surgery is for everyone.  I believe it’s a very personal choice that needs to be evaluated for each individual.  It’s 100% not an easy fix, and it’s a HUGE commitment to an entire life change.  If it’s not viewed and approached that way I think the chances of failure are greatly increased, and it saddens me to see the number of people who end up getting one type of surgery only to regain all the weight 5-6 years out and have to go back for revisions etc.  I STRONGLY encourage anyone who is considering a WLS to consider it carefully, and to be honest with yourself about what you expect from it and your commitment.  For me though, no regrets and yes I would actually do it again!
  • Thanks for stopping by, as always ❤

Wednesday January 18th, 2017 ~ Food Food Food

So if you read my blog you know I had a RNY gastric bypass, and then 7 years later became inflected with gastroparesis (paralyzed stomach).  Eating and food to say the VERY least are touchy difficult subjects in my world.  There are many days now that eating just isn’t worth the hassle, the fear of being ill FAR outweighs any desire to eat food frequently.

As a side note but oh the irony ~ my love affair with food was 85% of the precursor to my needing the bypass before my weight killed me.  Now if they took food off the planet Id just be like “meh who cares”.  That’s not what the blogs intended to address though but I love irony…ok moving right along.

Eating is a very personal decision dontcha think?  What you eat, when you eat, how much etc etc.  yet it’s one of those personal things that people seem to have NO ISSUE getting all up in your business about.  People don’t generally chime in to tell us how much sex to have, or how many miles to drive, or how much sleep we should get, or how often to shower ~ all comparable ~ personal thing.  Hell I think friends and family are even LESS likely to speak up about alcoholism or drug abuse ~ but boyyyyy pick up a fork and they’re on you like white on rice.

Whatever your circumstances ~ you’re thin, you’re fat, you’ve had WLS, you have a condition like Gastroparesis….every Tom Dick and Nancy thinks it’s ok to chime in and tell you what you should eat to fix what they thinks wrong.  Now TBH 99.999% of the time these comments are given from a place of good intent and a good heart, and so I smile and move on.  I swear to GOD though if about ten more people tell me to “eat more fiber eat more salad that’ll help your bowels” I’m going to scream.

I guess there are some things that are pretty status quo, if you see an insulin dependent diabetic sitting down eating a dozen glazed donuts ~ it’s probably fairly safe to assume that might not be a great choice.  Technically also still probably none of your business, but at least the advice is sound advice right?  Diabetes plus Glazed Donuts = bad combo.

I guess my frustration is with the people who have no clue what gastroparesis is all about, or how to live with it.  Yes I get “salad is healthy” HOWEVER ~ a paralyzed stomach CANNOT in fact break down fiber and so that “healthy lettuce” will likely be thrown up later, how healthy is THAT?  One of the first things they tell you when they diagnose you with GP is NO FIBER!  So it’s frustrating to consistently hear people advising you who clearly have no idea what gastroparesis is about.  Your probiotics are not going to fix my Vagus nerve ~ and if you don’t know what the vagus nerve is or what it does then trust me you’re not qualified to be giving me dietary advice at this stage in the game.

My point here is ~ whether it’s gastroparesis, a weight loss surgery patient, a diabetic, or just someone whom you think is thin or fat or unhealthy ~ think to yourself for a moment before giving out nutritional advice…kind of a flow chart, if you will, of questions to guide you through the decision to offer advice or no:

*️⃣ are you a nutritionist/dietician?  No?  Don’t speak.

*️⃣ are you legally/emotionally/financially and physically responsible for this person?  No? Don’t speak.

*️⃣ are you more well versed than they are about their condition and/or situation?  Are you up all all the medical and nutritional protocol?  No?  Don’t speak.

*️⃣ are you close enough to this person to give them the same level of in depth advice on other topics like their sex life and their finances?  No?  Don’t speak.

     At the end of the day I realize people are well meaning for the most part ~ and I’ll continue to smile and take the salad and eat around the lettuce and life goes on lol ~ it’s just that as I approach that start of my 6th year with gastroparesis I’m so so tired of explaining why I’m passing on that beautiful salad 😂😂😂

     Rant over ~ thanks for listening 😘

Sunday 1/8/2017 ~ Life Changes

     We are all aware that LIFE CHANGES, we all know this on a cognitive level right?  Sure we do, but the repetitiousness of the daily grind makes us forget that life changes ~ because there is just as much that repeats and seems to put us on Auto pilot.  When the BIG things roll around THAT is why people take stock and take notice.  When someone in your circle passes away, or has a baby, moves away, has a horrible accident, divorce, marriage, unexpected death and yes of course chronic illness or conditions.

     This post is inspired from a post in a Gastroparesis support group I’m in, I’d never quote exactly but the GIST was she was sad.  She used to have a career that she loved, friends, luncheon dates, spa dates …. and it’s of course “all gone” because of GP.  Her sadness touches me in my heart because I GET IT ~ I honestly do ~ lost EVERYTHING literally lost everything ~ yet here I am and I’m ok.  

     I have bad days, sometimes weeks and yes even sometimes months.  Some days are worse than others, and I definitely have more bad days than I wish BUT I’m here.  I have learned SO MUCH through this process of becoming ill like this.  I’ve learned that I need to make a CHOICE to make the best of it and be grateful (that dang perspective thing again).  I’ve learned to stay in bed and listen to my body when it screams at me.  I’ve learned to not feel guilty for that.  I’ve learned to make the most out of the good days.  I’ve learned patience and appreciation and compassion in ways my previous self never could have dreamed.  I’ve learned forgiveness ~ next month will make 5 years since I had the surgery that did this to me.  There are people I worked with and knew socially for 20 years ~ whom I haven’t heard a word from in these 5 years.  I’m ok with that because maybe you never did care and I guess I’d rather know that ~ and honestly I’m in no way the person you knew for all those years.  Last month I culled exactly 100 people off my “friends list” ~ only one re-requested me ~ and that means it was a healthy thinning. ❤

     I learned to navigate my new life ~ my new circumstances ~ and to appreciate every moment along the way.  I’m grateful for the amazing handful of really good friends that I’m blessed with ~ and appreciate every single person in my life.  Every time I read a post like that woman’s my heart breaks for them ~ because I KNOW that sense of devastation isolation and that whole feeling of “why am I still here?!”  …. and I wish ai could personally reach out to every one of them and talk to them and explain that it CAN get better and encourage them to redesign their mind to embrace their “new life” ~ find the pluses and make their condition no longer their focus.  It’s SO HARD to do but it IS possible ~ I’m proof ~ so hopefully someday some one person might see this particular blog and need to hear this at that moment.  If it’s you I’m so glad you’re here ~ reach out ~ send me a message I’ll speak with anyone who’s struggling ~ GP or anything else doesn’t matter!  Just know it CAN be better than it is today ❤
Side notes ~ I found out this week that I was chosen to be on one of the committees for the Your Weight Matters 2017 National Convention in NOLA ~ #veryexcited

I also found out this week my surgery on my left leg will be a week from next Thursday ~ 1/19 #notsoexciting 😂😂😂. 

I SWEAR that my 2018 resolution is going to be NO SURGERIES! 😉

Happy New Year ~ 12/31/2016

     So I haven’t blogged in FOUR MONTHS!  Omg where did the time go?!  I was busy I suppose, had some things going on, had some hard belly days, had surgery on my right leg ~ ya know keeping busy!  

     Not a ton of medical news.  Stomach still paralyzed ~ check.  Bowels still damaged ~ check.  Damage to Vagus Nerve still impacting everyday life ~ check.  Miracle cures on the horizon ~ yah not so much!  In October I had a vein stripping on my right leg with regard to the superficial clot and subsequent vein issues that the vascular surgeon uncovered with the in depth ultrasound.  He told me five incisions, I woke up to find it was actually TWENTY FIVE so yeah that hurt a little.  It’s healed now though and I saw him on the 21st of December ~ and we are now waiting for approval for the left leg.  Soooo likely the end of January we will log the first 2017 surgery into the books.  Yeah I’m shooting for 2018 as my mo surgery year! 🙄

     I switched to a new GI doctor in October, done so at the recommendation of my motility specialist at Yale, so far so jazzy I like her and she is (in my opinion) VERY well versed in Vagus Nerve damage and the whole bucket full of crap that comes with it.  My belly hasn’t been real cooperative as of late so I’ve been testing her lol, so far though I genuinely like her.  The one thing she talked about that surprised me was a pacemaker, I had really dismissed that off my potential treatment lists ~ but she said it’s not 100% off the table in her mind.  The new medication that I wanted to try is however off the table at least for now.  The FDA pulled the plug on the trials here, and she actually wanted me to take it anyways ~ so I looked,  because it’s not like I haven’t ordered meds from other countries before.  However the last one was like $30 a month, this one would be upwards of $300 a month and yeah so I can’t afford that, it’s simply not an option for me.  The realities of living in capitalism right?  My disability raise was five bucks a month, my insurance went up six bucks, so in January I will be making one dollar a month less per month ~ **note to self don’t forget to send thank you card to congress. 👌🏻😞

     I considered doing a go fund me page as seems to be “all the rage these days”  (sense heavy heavy sarcasm here) but I figure if I made it through like 14 months of zero income, reposed car, eviction etc etc etc and that never happened it’s not goinna happen now.  I’ve written entire blogs about those pages, and my absolute distaste for them, so yeah heavy heavy sarcasm here.  The gist is, I cannot afford the medication so I won’t be taking it ~ hopefully in the future the FDA will charge its fickle little mind and it will be available here.  Until then it’s tried and true take the zofran and try not to barf!

     On a more positive note ~ my bad days are easier to deal with (getting good at being sick is in fact a thing), and things really are in a MUCH better place than 2-3 years ago ~ so no complaints ~ heading into 2017 grateful for my MANY blessings and a note to self to try to blog at least once per month and not allow such long lapses.  Wishing everyone a happy healthy and prosperous New Year ☺️🍾🎉😀

Thursday 9/15/16 ~ Health Notes

     So there’s not a great deal new going on but the updates are:

Stomach ~ some days good some days bad ~ still waiting to hear if the government is going to approve me to try the new medicine ~ not likely to find out until the end of October.💊

Defecation Dyssnergia ~ Biofeedback is completed, and it did make a difference ~ I urge anyone who suffers in this area to try it if offered and to give it a chance.  I was skeptical and then shocked at what I learned.  I’ve started Pelvic Floor physical therapy twice a week to help as well, and it is making a difference.  Neither of these things is the most pleasant experience ~ BUT ~ worth it.  Considering my average bowel movement was twice/month, and ONLY possible via the force of vomiting for the last two years ~ 3-4 times/week with only one episode of vomiting in the last 3 months ~ victory in my book!👍🏻

The Vasodepressor Response is what it is ~ I try to get more salt and I’m real careful when I stand up ~ and as soon as I get dizzy I sit down 😂😂😂

Most recently ~ after I had the Sepisi in July (while still on the Antibiotics) I got a blood clot and infection in my leg.  That led to a visit with the vascular surgeon, an in depth vein scan and alas I’m waiting on the insurance company to come back with the approval for surgery.  There’s a few problems going on in the legs ~ this particular surgery will be to remove the vein in my thigh that is holding the clots and infection.  So that surgery is step one, we will see what rectifying that does to help the other issues (if anything) and then go from there.  

     So my 2016 goal was no anesthesia ~ this will be my fourth time in 2016 😝…this will make the third surgery plus one Endo ~ so yeah the goal for 2017 is no surgeries 😂😂😂!  So that’s the story…nothing real exciting and I’m kind of grateful for that …. And as always for those who read and share!  Thanks much for stopping by, til next time 🤗

Tuesday 9/13/2016 ~ Just as Simple…

     You often hear that whatever it is your goal it’s “just as simple” as…XYZ.  Want to lose weight? Eat less, exercise more.  Want to quit smoking?  Stop.  Want to tone up?  Stop avoiding the gym.  Have a chronic condition?  Get more rest, exercise more, take vitamins, drink herbal tea, the list is endless.  I’ve talked to people who have gastroparesis who have heard some of the CRAZIEST things in the terms of advice from unqualified non professionals.

     I can’t speak to other chronic conditions (because I don’t have them), but I can tell you that with GP it’s “just as simple as” figuring out what works best for YOU.  I can tell you that because there is no gold standard miracle cure, AND I can tell you that it’s not all that simple.  It’s a life altering condition, that takes a GREAT deal of acceptance and adjustment.  

     So what’s my point?  My point is that whether you are trying to lose weight, give up drugs/alcohol/smoking, tone up, be a better person, navigate life after WLS or just live healthier …. It’s NOT “just that simple”!  If it WERE would we not all be icons of health and perfection?  If it was all “oh so easy” wouldn’t everyone sign up?!?!?  The reality is that it’s a lot of work, whatever it is ~ it’s work ~ and some days will be easier than others but very little is “easy”.

     My thought for the day is to be good to yourself.  No matter what your struggle, no matter what your path…CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK!  Don’t compare your journey to others, don’t berate yourself for the days you feel inadequate in your journey, forgive yourself your transgressions, accept where you are on your path and embrace it, and treat yourself the same way you would treat your friend/mother/brother/sister/child.  Everything is a process, every obstacle is a sub-process inside this bigger journey called LIFE!  Each little piece is just a small cog in the wheel, and you will get much farther in your quest for happiness, contentment and success if you embrace the journey and love yourself because the reality is it’s NOT “just that simple” for ANY OF US.  No matter what you see from the outside looking in ~ everyone has highs and lows and everyone has mountains on their journey ~ enjoy the ride! ❤️

     Thanks for reading as always ~ if you enjoy the blogs please feel free to share on FB (WLJ2H&B) or Twitter (PaulaJac23).

Sunday 9/11/2016

     Just last week a friend was talking about 9/11 after seeing a piece to commentate and honor the travesty on a news program.  What they said was basically that they think the attention given to this one incident is disproportionate to other events in our history ~ with specific reference to the holocaust.

     I can’t say that’s “wrong” because (especially I  think here in NY being so close to “ground zero”) we do hear a GREAT deal more than we do about other significant historical events.  So why is that?  My guess is that it’s a combination of reasons ~ the fact that it was “unexpected”, that it was here on American soil, that given where we live there were so many we know either directly or through some linkage impacted, the fact that it’s such a ‘recent’ event that there remains so many alive with the stories fresh in their mind to share.

     I think that 30-40-50 years from now, when a number of those who had first hand experience are no longer with us, and when a thousand new despicable acts have transpired ~ 9/11 may be (much like the other events of historical significance) just another page in the history books.  Remembered more poignantly by those with direct impact, but no longer ‘worthy’ of a piece on every six o’clock news.  

     In the meantime my sympathies and my heart continue to go out to those who are living with the horrific memories as if it were just yesterday ~ and it’s a moment to reflect and postulate how so MUCH of the history of violence in the world has NOT taken place on American soul.  A moment to remember that regardless of how embarrassing some our politics and policies might be, we are afforded a sense of safety and freedom, and luxury here in America that SO MANY other countries cannot even begin to fathom.  We remember 9/11 so vividly because it’s one of the tragic events that really violated those things on a personal level, if we lived in another place we might face that kind of tragic existence on a daily basis.  How lucky are we that to reflect on and remember our last earth shattering moment was that many years ago?  #perspective #myheartgoesout 

     I know this one is way off topic but I thought it was okay to stray now and then ~ there’s so much more in this world to talk about than just my little problems! ❤️

Friday 9/9/2016 ~ The Mental Side of Weight Loss

     I recently had the occasion to have an extensive conversation with two women who struggle with their weight.  Neither is a WLS patient but my theme here is about the mental component ~ REGARDLESS of your choice of diet/exercise/surgery.  Both ladies expressed their understanding of their mental and/ or emotional struggle with food and their diet.  Both women professed being an addict, an emotional eater etc.  Both are also intelligent and articulate adults, successful in their lives in many ways and with the insight to understand this component of their struggle.

     What fascinates me, and what I always seem to come back to, is how anyone can be that intelligent and have that insight and understanding and yet taken no steps to deal with that portion.  Specifically when it comes to weight loss surgery I think it’s imperative that the system we use to evaluate and prepare people for the surgery include a lot more mental health evaluation and or treatment when necessary.  I think the reality is no matter what path you choose if you’re looking to control obesity, lose weight, be healthier whatever it is ~ if there is an underlying emotional mental component that makes it difficult for you to maintain those changes and you don’t deal with that the behaviors that cause your situation you will never maintain success long term.

     My personal stance about ” food addiction” is that it’s a real thing.  I think that the processed foods in our nation are designed in labs with the intent to make us addicts.  I think that since the 60s really we’ve been raised on those foods and the chemical changes in your brain are scientifically proven.  Couple that with the fact that unlike other addictions,  for instance drugs or alcohol, as a food addict you’re not able to eliminate the “people places and things” because you need food to survive and food is such an integrated part of all of the things we participate in socially in our society that you have to be able to change your relationship with food, but keep the relationship.  

     I completely understand that the immediate impact on both your life and those around you does not equate when you’re looking at a food addiction say versus a heroin addiction.  I understand that the crisis mode, the threat to life, and that kind of thing is quite different in terms of both timeframe and catastrophic results.  However I don’t think those differences negate the reality that when you were addicted to food it is a very big obstacle to overcome.  

     I see a ton of research over this last 20 years on different types of weight loss surgery, different types of diets, new ideas in devices, development of medically sound ways to manage your weight.  I don’t however see the same amount of research and devotion to understanding the whole of the person including their mind.  The programs that exist that I’m familiar with regarding weight loss surgery generally have one visit with the psychiatrist basically to just make sure you’re not in a severe depression, and then they sign off and send you on your way back to the surgeon.  

     Now in the surgeons defense he’s a surgeon he’s(she) is not a psychiatrist or a psychologist,  they not qualified to change your behaviors or to help you change your behaviors.  The surgeons job is to give you a tool, a surgical tool, to help you manage your weight loss.  I think it’s unfortunate that so many people don’t become their own advocate and review if their situation indeed does include a mental emotional component.  I also understand not everyone’s  does and I’m not speaking to those people.   I’m not saying that every obese person is addicted to food or need psychological help.  I do think it’s fair to say there’s a good portion of people struggling with their weight however that that is a component.

     I believe that both as a society and on a personal level how we take accountability for our journey, as well as these programs and research into weight-loss could do a better job of being a more comprehensive treatment system and including the possibility of food addiction or emotional eating.  I think the brain needs work too actually treating those things pre-surgery or pre-device or along with the diet could have a tremendous impact on success.  I think that a spotlight on this piece of the puzzle would go along way towards helping reduce the obesity epidemic in our country, and I think for just overall mental health it would make a big difference in the number of people who suffer with clinical depression.  I also think this would help alleviate the percentage of people who either regain their weight or have to go back and have revisions because they regain their way and they feel like the first surgery “didn’t work”.

     From every angle ~ from a business perspective when it comes to the cost of healthcare and what insurance companies pay for comorbidities and revision surgeries and ongoing treatment after surgical procedures.  To a physical level,  where if helping the mental and emotional side of things can help physically make our bodies and our lives more healthy.  From a physical standpoint of not having so many failed surgical procedures to lose weight where somebody is then going back under the knife and assuming all the risks that come along with that again.  To a mental health standpoint where when someone has issues and they actually deal with them it’s likely that not only their weight may be impacted in a positive way but their general mental health is going to improve as well.  It’s like the trifecta of positive outcomes and it saddens me that it seems that this piece of the puzzle receives little to no attention both in our personal lives and on a grander scale.  The weight loss programs, the diets, the surgical programs, the population research all seems very heavily focused on the physical to the complete exclusion of the mental and emotional and I believe that this really needs to change.

     On a very personal level I think it needs to change with each individual.   If you’re considering some specific extreme diet or some surgical procedure I encourage you strongly to evaluate what role your mental health may play in your struggle with obesity.

     If you in fact find that there is a part of your struggle that’s related to that then do something about it even if your “program” doesn’t require it.  I think it has to start with the individual and THEN I think in arenas where you have a collective voice (if it’s talked about more and given more attention on a personal level) the professionals who help with obesity may start to wake up and think “oh this IS a piece of the puzzle, we need to concentrate on this more”.  In the meantime however regardless of where popular research and medical treatment is that you can in fact make a choice for yourself to say this is a part of the puzzle I’m going to deal with even if nobody else is.

     I’m not sure how we get to that point I think it’s on a person by person basis.   I’m always amazed when I sit and have a conversation with two amazing, intelligent, articulate people like I did the other day who are actually saying to me things like “I’m addicted to sugar”, ” I’m an emotional eater” and yet they are taking no steps to help themselves by addressing those things.  I’m not criticizing them, I think they are in fact the “norm”, and I believe that we need to change the norm.  Speak out, speak up, be your own advocate and educate yourself ~ don’t just work on the number on the scale ~ work on your “whole”! ❤️
As always ~ I thank you reading ~ see you next time.

Tuesday 9/6/2016 ~ Cost of Healthcare Rant

     So I came across this article about how major insurance companies are pulling out of the Obamacare marketplace because they are losing money.  To be frank ~ although I believe these companies are greedy on the whole ~ I am also a realist and I know they are indeed a business “for profit” so I wasn’t very upset at that fact alone.  
     What riled me up however was the following paragraph “Aetna’s decision to alter its Marketplace participation does not change the fundamental fact that the Health Insurance Marketplace will continue to bring quality coverage to millions of Americans next year and every year after that,” said Kevin Counihan, CEO of HealthCare.gov, the federal insurance exchange.”

     Are you KIDDING me Mr. Counihan?  Are you ACTUALLY that out of touch with the (lack of) success of the marketplace?  In your defense I’m sure the government likely foots the bill for YOUR insurance, but for many of us the story is QUITE a different tale.

     For myself ~ when I finally received disability I was of course not eligible for health insurance ~ but I also made “to much money” to be eligible for Medicaid anymore so that left me at the mercy of this “quality coverage” in the marketplace you refer to for a two year period.

     Like good little citizen I sat down and I reviewed all the available plans and their costs ~ using the beautiful user friendly web site to ‘compare plans’.  I could INDEED get that quality coverage if I were willing to spend about half of my monthly disability stipend on insurance premiums and go live in a shelter.  The REALITY is that in order to be able to afford housing, heat, lights etc. I had to choose the CHEAPEST option in the marketplace ~ in order to stay legal and not be fined for being uninsured.

     What that meant for ME was that even though I was living with a feeding tube, and quite sick ~ that I no longer went to the doctor.  My plan did not cover the motility clinic that I was attending who specializes in my clinic so I had to stop going there all together.  As for my “regular” doctors, well they did participate but this “quality coverage” was only going to pay them AFTER I met my deductible of 10K PLUS – which of COURSE I could not do ~ and so I stayed home and suffered for MONTHS.  Finally after about six months I ended up in the emergency room, which subsequently led to admission to the hospital AND a trip to the operating room.  Well yes sir Mr. Counihan I surely got some quality coverage THEN ~ along with another fifteen thousand dollars in medical debt that I have no means to pay.

     Sad thing is there’s plenty of people in my situation, I am not unique.  Then there’s the small business going belly up trying to navigate the marketplace for their employees.  There’s the single moms or dads working for minimum wage trying to pay 6,7,8-hundred dollars a month to cover THEIR quality healthcare.  There’s the 2-parents working families who can no longer put their children in dance or baseball because the % of their disposable income has been cut in half or less just trying to pay for this “gift from the government”.

     In my experience the marketplace has offered “healthcare” that is NEITHER quality NOR affordable.  It’s shameful that our country puts its own citizens in debt and jeopardizes the health of their nation because the government is so out of touch with the realities of the daily life and survival of the general population.  I understand that no country is perfect, and that we live in a capitalist society here in our country.  I can live with both of those facts, but I think it speaks volumes to our greed and our ignorance as a nation when we are unwilling or unable to mix a SPLASH of humanity into our capatilism in order to ensure that our citizens thrive and not suffer.

     Mr. Counihan I challenge you to live on my income for six months here in the state of New York, and be forced to purchase “quality coverage” through the marketplace.  All the while just “pretending” to be as sick as I am with my condition ~ and THEN at the end of those six months tell me what you think of this “quality coverage”.  I don’t blame President Obama, I don’t “blame” you, it’s much bigger than any one person or opinion ~ our entire system needs an overhaul!  

Hey thanks for tuning in and listening to my rant ~ see you next time! ❤️

#KEVINCOUNIHAH #OBAMACARE #HEALTHCAREREFORM #HEALTHCARE.GOV #MARKETPLACE #SHAMEONUS #ACCESIBKEHEALTHCARE

     To read the article in full that I’m referring to click HERE.  

Sunday 9/4/2016 ~ Take Action

     So the convention I recently attended was the “Your Weight Matters” annual convention put on by the Obesity Action Coalition.  If you are impacted by obesity in any way I encourage you to visit their website and see what they are about.  My first experience with them was absolutely an empowering and positive one!  

     One of the sessions I attended at the conference was the Advocacy training ~ and it was my favorite experience of my four days.  I have never been political, but the education I received at this training with the passion behind it inspired me to become a little more active, at least in how politics relate to this topic.

     I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here and try to reiterate the resolution that is currently in congress ~ because I’m not well versed enough to do that AND there is no need to.  The OAC website lays everything out beautifully ~ and is quite simple and user friendly ~ so if you have ANY interest at all I encourage you to head over to their website and check them out!

     Their homepage can be found at ObesityAction.org and if you are interested in supporting their initiatives from an advocacy standpoint they have a page dedicated to walking you through that.  User friendly so that the most inexperienced novice can navigate lending their voice to the cause. 

     It’s relevant to note that I’m not a compensated supporter of the Coalition ~ simply someone who recently learned about them and their mission ~ and someone who has been inspired to help spread the word!  So please take a moment to check them out if obesity has impacted your life in any way…a worthwhile cause! ❤️
#YWM2017 #obesityaction 

Friday 9/2/2016 ~ Enjoy The Process

     At the convention last weekend I had the pleasure of hearing a presentation from Dawn Jackson Blatner and Jasmin Queen ~ the winners of the reality show “My Diet Is Better Than Yours”.  They are both contagious, positive, inspiring and beautiful women, and their entire story was amazing.  What particularly stood out for me though was a couple of thing:

  1. They were BOTH “real life based”.  Not offering any magic cures or blowing sunshine. They both spoke candidly about the fears, the cheers, the highs and lows.  They talked about setting realistic and attainable goals, and we’re just so grounded in what the journey and struggle is actually like for most of us.  I found it quite inspiring.
  2. They were both very genuine and beautiful people ~ beautiful outside yes, but more importantly inside.
  3. Jasmin spoke about her journey continues and how she is finding her place between healthy and happy.  That really resonated with me, because although I also appreciated hearing all of the research and population based information ~ real life application is often quite different and challenging.
  4. Lastly their theme, their “key”, their one juicy tidbit was the advice to ENJOY THE PROCESS.  Jasmin spoke about how prior to the show her life was “on hold”, she would do X,y,and z “after losing the weight”; and WOW how very true is THAT for so many of us dealing with obesity and weight loss!  OMG ~ the new dress, the beach vacation, the gym, the pedicure, the zip line adventure, the gala that denotes “formal dress” on the RSVP card ~ the list goes on and onnnnn!  At one point Dawn said “life is happening NOW”, and that is so literally true!  Every day is a gift to be lived and experienced to its fullest, and tomorrow is not guaranteed to ANY of us!  So why “wait on your weight”?  If you do you are missing so many opportunities and people that might be funtastic inspiring experiences!  LIVE TODAY ~ or in their words ENJOY THE PROCESS.  Literally putting your life “on hold” until you reach goal is like a punishment, as if somehow you are not worthy until pound X.  Well you ARE worthy, you are here today alive NOW in THIS moment and I ENCOURAGE you to challenge yourself each day to ENJOY THE MOMENT ❤️

     Great presentation, contagious inspiration, and epic ideas ~ my hats off to both of these ladies and my thanks for their time.  If you want to get to know them better you can find them on Twitter ~ @JasminBQueen and @djblatner.

ENJOY THE PROCESS!❤️