Wednesday, 12 October 2016

In which I haven't changed the record

So, there we have it.  I have admitted, ONLINE, that I’m going to be having bariatric surgery to stop me being such a massively, grossly, offensively obese monster; and to help with the whole fertility thing.  If I said it, it MUST be true.

I’ve done my research into each type of surgery; gastric band (no), gastric bypass (no) or sleeve gastrectomy (BINGO).  I have been approved for surgery but the waiting game has just started…

To get to the stage where I am now, I have had to lose weight of my own accord to show willing.  I have done this and am continuing to do so.  I have also had to see a psychologist, to make sure I’m not too nuts to have surgery.  The main thing picked up in this session was that I’ll always have hang ups over how I look, and so I will need a follow up session or two post-surgery.

A sleeve gastrectomy is where about 75% of your stomach is removed, so you’re left with a sort of mini banana shaped stomach pouch.  It’s irreversible, it’s safe and it probably seems fairly extreme, but I’m focussed and want this to happen.

Here are some conversations I have with myself on a week to week basis:

“Why don’t you just eat like a normal person, and not a pig?”
Well, yeah, tried that and did really well and became depressed and didn’t care. 

“You’ll never be able to have children whilst you’re the size you are”.
I know this, genius; this is why I’m having the thing.

“You’ll be too old for kids then anyway, you know, you’re 37 now.  You’re over the hill”.
Which is why I need it done ASAP.  We are under the fertility clinic also.  The cut off age for IVF is 39 years and 11 months.  This is why this needs to be done.

“You’ll have loose skin, and look like an even bigger mess”.
Well possibly, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

“It’s just sheer laziness that’s done this.  It’s your own fault.  Why should the taxpayer pay for your greed”?
Because I’m a taxpayer as well and, although my obesity hasn’t caused any major health issues as of yet, it might do later on in life, like heart disease, strokes, cancers etc.  So operate on me now whilst I’m a relatively healthy, youngish specimen, and I’ll save you all cash.  Alcohol and smoking related problems are treated, why can’t food related ones be also?  

I’ve had a life time of jibes about how I look (ginger,glasses, braces, bad skin), about my weight.  I previously mentioned that as a little kid in infant school, I was subjected to bullying for being fat (which I absolutely wasn’t when I was four, five or six) and took it that seriously that I stopped eating my lunches at school in a bid to make me thinner.

I’m a self-hating fatty.  I personally can’t get behind fat acceptance programmes, because I can’t accept myself being as fat as I am (although I have been overweight almost my entire teenage-adult life).  It really does make me miserable, no matter how much to try to put on the jolly fat tart persona, that’s really not who I am at all.  I’m speaking solely from my perspective.  That’s my view of myself.  And as I learned in all my sessions of therapy, if I fire the shots first, then I do the most damage to myself. 

I’ve joked about trying to develop an eating disorder but it being too damned difficult.  How is that acceptable?  Answer:  It isn’t.  I’ve seen what eating disorders can do to people.  But society nowadays is so obsessed with image, aesthetics and being thin, there’s not much hope for the younger generations of kids coming through.  A friend of mine mentioned that her daughter asked her one day whether she had fat legs.  My friend was shocked and asked who’d said that to her.  Her daughter kept quiet.  Let me point out that her daughter was around four years of age.  Another friend of mine advised me that her daughter had developed an eating disorder of sorts.  She was seven. 

This report that was released recently is terrifying reading.  It brought back my own experiences of school, but I really am shocked at how young these feelings about self-image begin.  Mainstream media, magazines, telly shows, FB, celebrities, these are all showing us what’s pretty and what isn’t.  Thinness is pretty, fatness is not.  Smooth, tanned skin is pretty, pale freckly skin with a few imperfections here and there is not. 

I hope things change, because if I am ever lucky enough to have a daughter, I wouldn’t know where to start with this hell hole 'aesthetics is everything' nightmare.


Monday, 4 July 2016

In which I yearn for children. AGAIN.

TW: Infertility

“Come on, Tara, when are you gonna start having kids?”  This was said to me recently on a night out.  I try to laugh it off, most of the time, but this time I sort of blurted it out that things don’t seem to be quite working as they should and so it could be never.  I realise they were just trying to help, but they continued on about their friend who has had IVF and I had to look away, trying to not cry.  A good friend who I was sitting next to grabbed my knee supportively, but it didn’t really help.  People ask it a lot, and then when there’s the pause before answering, there’s an air of uncomfortableness and embarrassment on their part, because they sense that something is up.  Apologies are said and that’s that.  And I always say “Oh, it’s fine.  We’re just, you know, having some issues and tests and that”, trying to say it as upbeat as I can.  Sometimes I can pull it off, sometimes I can’t. 

I always remember thinking that everyone was so worried about unplanned pregnancy that planning a pregnancy that doesn’t happen seemed to get sort of lost.  I always had a worry that I could never fall pregnant, never have a child.  And that is what seems to be happening.  I kind of foresaw this, I guess.  I’m like Mystic Meg only less boss-eyed and fucking mental.

“Oh don’t be silly, it’ll happen”
Well it hasn’t, has it? 

“You could try IVF”         
Do you know the criteria of what is required for IVF? (I’m classed as morbidly obese so I need to sort my weight out first – and I am doing, just not quick enough.  The cut off point for IVF is 39 years and 11 months so I have enough time, but it’s not quick enough for me)

“My mother got pregnant well into her 40s”       
Good for her.  I’d sooner not have to wait that long.

“There’s always adoption”         
There is.  And this has been looked into, fully, but yet again, the fact that I’m a massive great big fat mess means that’s a no-no.  (Not a never, though…)

I know these things are said with care and love, but when you hear them so often, they can grate.

I feel defective.  Women have babies all over the place, all the time.  And I can’t.  I feel like a massive failure due to not being able to do what seemingly nearly every woman can. 

I’ve never admitted this before, but there are times that I feign illness to get out of events where I know there are going to be loads of kids because I feel like I can’t face it.  To my friends reading this, I’m sorry.  It’s me, entirely.  It’s all me.  But I can only do so much, or I can only act along so far before I want to cry.  Obviously this has only happened once or twice but sometimes, just sometimes, I need to be alone and not think about anything kid related.

I’ve touched on this previously in other posts about being broody, I never realised the desire for children was so strong.  It’s such a force; it’s overwhelming and can sometimes become all encompassing. 

David and me sometimes joke about just getting a dog and having done with the idea of babies.  Then we mock argue over what kind of dog (obvs, it’d be a greyhound, he reckons a collie), and that helps.  And we laugh and joke about it together, but sometimes we sit and cry and hold one another about it because it just seems so fucking unfair.

Tests and appointments are being undergone and attended.  I’m on a stupid extreme diet to show I can lose weight so I may be considered for gastric surgery (recommended by a fertility doctor), but everything is taking too long.  I know I have to be patient; hell we’ve waited long enough.  A little longer probably won’t hurt, will it?


Monday, 20 June 2016

Tears of Frustration and Anger

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here about her.  She appears to be a medical marvel, seemingly all but dead one day and alive and feisty the next.

I haven’t seen her as much as I should do, but my folks go a couple of times a week, and my auntie in Ireland telephones the care home every day.  So they’re all doing that they can.  She always has visitors too, her best friend, the parish priest goes every day and her friends from the parish all visit.

My mum raised some concerns regarding the clawing of my auntie’s left hand, how the way she’s been lying has caused one of her legs to twist which is painful when anyone tries to move it.  She had been promised physiotherapy when she moved into the home.  As far as we can see (and my folks have been told), she has had none.   My sister in law runs a care home and knows the ins and outs of what should and shouldn’t be happening.  We have a right to see my auntie’s care plan, so my ma asked for it only to be told that we were not allowed because my cousin had said so.  The same cousin who has put her house on the market, more than likely dumped her personal possessions, had bought her no clothing for when she moved into the home.  The one who FORCED her into that home (He did.  She told us so).  He’s the kind of person who threatens to beat up an OAP (my dad), the kind of man who uses his mother’s illness to get his own way when things appear to go against him, or anyone dares to complain about the way he has carried himself throughout this whole sorry affair; the threats of violence, the threats to bar anyone and everyone from visiting his mother when anyone questions his actions.

And if this little frail old lady knew any of the shit going on, she’d be terribly embarrassed and ashamed.  It isn’t her fault, obviously.  None of this is her fault.  So we try to continue on, ignoring him and his threats, too frightened to seek advice from Social Services or a Solicitor because if he finds out, he might bar us from seeing her.  If he does that, he may as well just put a pillow over her face right now.  She brightens when she has visitors; she’s genuinely touched when people go to see her, that they took time out of their day to bother with her.  She’s a lady.  And he’s a bully. 

I spoke to my ma on Friday evening.  They’d been to see her that day.  My ma just broke down in tears on the ‘phone.  She’s frustrated and angry and tired; both her and my da are.  They’re at a loss as to what to do next.  I told them they’re doing the best that they can, and visiting her whenever they can.  They’re giving her the love that she so desperately needs, they’re giving her the fire and the fight, their rallying words inspire her.  But they really are stuck.


Thursday, 12 May 2016


I had a few words with her over the telephone just now, possibly the last few words.  She sounds so distant, so withdrawn.  All she said to me was:

“You’re a good girl, Tara.  Such a good girl, love…bye”.  

Mammy took the phone back and told me that her oldest sister is fading fast before her and my da’s very eyes.  There was nothing more I could say without my voice cracking so I said goodbye to my ma, hung up and went off to weep alone. 


Wednesday, 11 May 2016

A Question of Time

Today she turns 78.  Chances are this will be her last birthday.  Yesterday we were informed that she’s on an end of life pathway (from the last time she was discharged from hospital).  My parents are devastated, as am I.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen my dad express as much emotion in my entire life as he has done at her suffering and treatment.

Such a brilliant, funny, headstrong and caring woman; and now she’s wasting away in a care home.  She managed a care home for years.  She knows how they work.  She doesn’t want to sit in the day room because ‘they all talk twaddle in there’.  So she stays in her room, barely awake.  She’s given up and I am sad.  She had been so strong.  She fought through every single thing that life threw at her, and then some.

And now, she’s basically lost to us, depressed and lonely and sad.  She’ll go to her grave not knowing her house had been put on the market by people who, had they waited a couple of months, could have legitimately done so rather than doing it slyly and without her knowledge.  But enough of that, I suppose.  I guess it doesn’t really matter anymore.  Now is just a question of time.  I don’t want her to suffer.

I’ll raise a toast to you later on; I love you with all my heart. 

Monday, 25 April 2016

"That Little Glimmer of Hope"

We had a good day yesterday.  Yesterday we talked and laughed.  Yesterday she recited poetry (from memory) to us.  Yesterday she mischievously asked my da whether he wanted his nails doing, as she was going to be having hers done: “Ah no, you’re alrigh’.  I do me own with the clear nail varnish” he says, that joking smirk on his face. 

She’s having visitors this week, her daughter is coming from the US and her baby sister is coming from Ireland.  She’s excited. 

Spending time in her company makes me love her more.  She’s a fighter; she’d been written off by some, and is still being written off by others.  Yesterday she mentioned her house a lot.  She wants to go home.  And this is where my heart begins to break because she can’t go home.  Her home is on the market, at a knock down price as well.  I’ve been informed that even though it is on the market, it cannot be sold because it’s her house.  This makes absolutely no sense to me. 

I want to cry.  No one has told her it's for sale, still.  Me, my ma and da haven’t the heart to tell her; and anyway, it isn’t our place to.  Mumblings have been heard that it should come from a voice of authority, like her GP.  That is utter fucking bullshit; it should be someone she loves, a family member or better still, the ghoul who decided to sell the house of a woman who is STILL ALIVE.  But then the phrase ‘we can’t take that glimmer of hope away from her’ was uttered and it made me want to vomit. 

The Ireland flag my ma brought for her room has vanished.  We have our suspicions about what has happened to it.

And I’m dodging FB messages trying to explain why her house is on the market, or why she’s been written off.  It’s killing me.  It’s killing us all.

And we’d had such a good day yesterday.


Monday, 4 April 2016

Background Noise

She’s better than I’ve seen her since it happened.  Lucid, talking, the mischievous twinkle in her eye when we mention taking her out for the day, getting her a brandy down the pub “Now you’re talking my language” she said.

Her room is not as sparse as it was; there are photos and gifts of a tin butterfly and a ceramic guardian angel that I hung on the wall yesterday. 

Chattering away to her, there are seemingly confusing flights of fancy that she tries with us (she has had a brain injury so this is understandable), but we talk her down and remind her that she’s still here and she needs to fight.  The fight and feistiness is still there, albeit muted, but something was stirring within.  She barked at us she wants to see her own GP, she wants to know what’s going to happen next.  She wants to go home.  And we all feel sad because her home is for sale and she doesn’t know.  A guilty silence falls between us, she doesn’t seem to notice.  It isn’t our place to tell her about her beloved home being on the market.  She’s getting better and stronger, we can’t tell her.  It’d destroy her.

Before we leave, I hug her and warn her to not let anyone write her off.  Da tells her to keep fighting and mammy tells her how much she loves her.

We all love her which is why it breaks my heart about what’s happening in the background.