1 day before surgery

I have my first ever surgery tomorrow. I’m nervous yet excited. The pre surgery diet has been ok. When I was in Melbourne 2 weeks ago for a conference I slipped up and I didn’t stick to the diet completely. Part of me feels like a failure for needing to rely on surgery to get on top of my health, it feels like I didn’t care enough about my health to want to do anything about it. But a few months ago, I tried a liquid food diet with the idea of , “if I can keep this up, I don’t need surgery” but I couldn’t keep it up and that was a realization for me.

I’m an emotional and experience eater. When I’m upset I often want to eat my emotions, I didn’t sleep very well while in Melbourne and I was a bit pre menstrual. So we can say my emotions were running high. I also find it hard to walk past a new experience, one of my undoings on my road trip was wanting to try all of the country towns pies. If I’m surrounded by a feast of food, I want to try everything at least once.

other than the slip up in Melbourne I’ve been ok with the diet. At least I’m not a boredom eater or an over obsessive clean eater. What type of eater are you?

Posted in mental health, Weight Loss

Most. Stressful. Day.

Let me tell you a story about a stressful day that I had today. I think it’s the most stressed I’ve ever felt. This story actually started a few weeks ago. I was riding my motorbike from Sydney to Cairns. I get up there with no problems. On the way back on Friday the 30th of September I stop in the Gold Coast for a few days to catch up with my siblings for my brothers belated 18th birthday celebrations. I found a nice Airbnb in Miami, I got to my Airbnb half an hour early and I decide to go for a quick swim before checking in. By the time I get back to my bike, I can’t find my key  and I discover I’ve got a flat tire.

Panic starts to set in. I backtrack my steps but I can’t find it. I think someone stole my key from my jeans while I went for a quick swim.  I ask the local pub and surf club if anyone has turned in a key. No luck. I leave my contact details in case it turns up.  I then report it to the police.  I tried calling a few locksmiths but because it was a long weekend and they couldn’t help me until the Tuesday. I needed to be in Melbourne by Tuesday for a conference.

I end up deciding to tow my bike to the airport and park it there for a fortnight and come back later with my spare key. The tow truck guy was at least able to fill up the tire before dropping it off. I was hoping it was just a leaky valve because I couldn’t find a puncture.  At least I got to spend an extra day on the Gold Coast.

Now this is where my stressful day starts.  Before flying to the Gold Coast today I had a pretty tough conversation at work that left me in tears for quite sometime, so I was already emotionally worked up.  I get to the Gold Coast airport and I start walking in the wrong direction for the parking.  I call the parking guy and it turns out my tire is still flat and there’s a guy in a shuttle bus waiting to take me to the parking.  Here starts my second wave of uncontrollable tears.  I eventually get to my bike and the shuttle bus driver was really helpful, he was trying to offer suggestions and what not. I decide to wheel my bike out and have a shot at some roadside assistance.  I give my insurance a call and it turns out, I’m not covered. I start crying on the phone. The insurance lady was lovely she offered to help me with Googling businesses  and what not but it was something I was able to do with my phone and most of the local businesses would be shut anyway, this was around 5pm Queensland time and 6pm New South Wales time.

I’m feeling lost and stranded in the Gold Coast. I panic and I end up giving a random Tinder Gold Coast guy a call that I had gone on one date with 2 weeks ago when I was last in the Gold Coast. I then start googling some near by motorbike repair stores and trying any number I can get my hands on. No luck. Then I hear another motorbike startup, turns out the workshop next to the parking was still open and a guy was starting up his dirt bike. He gives me a bit of air and we discover a puncture. It’s leaking air. I had enough air to ride it to the nearest motorbike store, the store opens at 8:30 tomorrow morning and I hope they can help me. I’ve checked into a motel in Tweed Heads and at least I’ll try to sort something out tomorrow. I know I had family that I could have called but I was already a blubbering mess and I really don’t like crying in front of people, especially people I know.

I guess I have another travel story to share now, this one isn’t that pleasant though.

Posted in depression, mental health, ridding motorbikes, Road Tripping, Travel

Fatness and You Can’t Ask That

I was watching an abc iView episode about fatness on a series called You Can’t ask That and I thought I would also answer their questions. So here goes it.

Why Are you so fat?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been fat. As a kid I was encouraged to eat everything off my plate, had asthma and loved playing video games. As an adult I’ve struggled with depression and I’ve had some bad behaviours around food develop.

Do people treat you differently because you’re fat?

Yes, I was always bullied as a kid for being overweight, it’s not as bad now but I have been called a whale on dating sites before. there is also an unconscious bias towards fatness, it signals laziness, disregard for health, overeating and poor lifestyle choices. This bias impacts fat people’s access to health care and earning potential. I’m concerned that during my career someone will judge as lazy and recognize the hard work I’ve put in. I tend to over compensate by over committing and ensuring I’m heard.

How do you wipe your butt?

I don’t, lol that’s not true I wipe my butt with toilet paper. If you really want to know, I wipe from the front because of easier access. I know this comes with higher risk of bacteria infections. I once had someone ask me, “How big is your shit?”, how does someone respond to that?

How do you feel about the word “Obese”?

Feel? it’s a medical term to classify fatness. I don’t have any feelings towards it, is indifferent a feeling? I know I’m obese, just like I know I’m fat.

When was the last time you were skinny?

Maybe when I was 3, before I had proper memory so I don’t remember. I have lost weight before but I’ve never been skinny.

Why don’t you just eat less?

I have mental health issues, if it was just that easy than I wouldn’t be this fat and we wouldn’t be talking about the impending obesity epidemic in developed countries. That is a simplified understanding to a complex problem that is different for everyone. Diets aren’t sustainable, those industries don’t want you to keep the weight off, also we are constantly being bombarded/tempted with food. Alcoholics are told to avoid alcohol, I can’t exactly avoid food.

Are you worried about your health?

Fuck yes, that’s why I’m going through weight loss surgery next week. I want to try to mitigate some of health risks that come with long term obesity.

How do you feel about airplane seats?

They aren’t designed for comfort, it’s always nice when you get an empty seat next to you or get the emergency exit rows with a bit of extra legroom. The first time I had to ask for a seat belt extension was nerve racking but after that it was ok. The first time I struggled with my seatbelt brought on a depressive episode, when the seats start to feel comfortable again it’s a little boost in confidence to show me the progress I’ve made. I always try to strike up conversations with the people I travel with and I’ve met some interesting people this way.

Do you exercise?

Yes, I need to do more but the fact that I have more weight means I use more energy just moving about. It’s great in winter but horrible in summer. Once I’ve recovered from surgery I will be getting back into a good routine.

Is sex difficult when you’re fat?

In my experience, no. I’m not exactly going to be doing standing 69ers really easily, but where there is a will there is a way. It might require a bit more prep and a bit of rope but I could still do standing 69ers if I really wanted to. Also if someone doesn’t like my weight, I’m not forcing them to sleep with me. I try to find non judgemental people to sleep with anyway.

If you could weigh less tomorrow would you?

Yes. This is like asking, if you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you spend it on? In the abc iview I really like the quote, “I could take a dump and I’d weigh less in 5 minutes, if you like”. I would prefer to focus on my health rather than some arbitrary weight number. I could weigh less if I went to the moon. My health is so much more than my weight, there’s physical, mental and social health.

Posted in Weight Loss

3 things that pissed me off while riding my motorbike from Sydney to Cairns

Let’s have a whinge about travel, I feel like everyone loves sharing the good bits but hardly share the annoying bits. Let’s celebrate all elements of travel.

I’ll tell you 3 things that have been pissing me off the most on my most recent motorbike road trip (I rode my motorbike from Sydney to Cairns and back):

1) having an itchy ear underneath a helmet and not being able to scratch it without stopping, sometimes it feels like a bug is crawling around in my helmet.

2) this heat. I’m just not use to this warm weather. Last night the air conditioning in the hostel automatically switched off at 10pm and switched back on at 7am, probably to save power but it meant I slept fitfully waking up constantly in my own sweat. Heat + fitful sleep make me a not so happy camper.

3) bugs; them hitting my helmet at 110km/hour sometimes shocking me like a bullet would and leaving smears of gunk on my helmet visor. I find myself flinching at butterflies because they are really loud when you hit them, they never seem to get out the way quick enough and you see them before you hit them. Most bugs you don’t see until you hear them smash against your helmet. And bugs hitting exposed skin, I don’t have much exposed skin but I’ve been hit on my neck just under my helmet and when I’ve had my visor up for airflow I’ve been hit on the checks and forehead. It stings like a {insert appropriate swear word} and makes me flinch something fierce, I can even feel the stings under my jacket and thick riding jeans

So it’s not all sunshine and lolly pops like my previous posts would lead you to believe.

Here are my other annoyances on this trip (in no particular order of annoyance) :
4) highways that aren’t the most fun to ride that seem to stretch forever

5) a noisy helmet that feels like I’m causing damage to me ears (fixed with a scarf or earplugs but the earplugs contribute to the itchy ear and have contributed to a mild ear infection)

6) a glaring sun that gives me a headache by the end of the day (I left my prescription sunglasses at home, I got a cheap pair of sunnys from a pharmacist that I’m wearing over my normal glasses)

7) feeling like I have to constantly go to the toilet because of keeping my fluids up

8) Feeling a little socially isolated but that comes with traveling alone and it’s by choice, I did want some me time

9) Getting sunburnt on the small of my back between my motorbike jacket and my jeans because of my sitting position on my bike

10) Shoulders aching from the days of riding (got a massage in cairns to help release some of the tension)

11) What felt like RSI developing in my right wrist from holding the accelerator on the bike (the 2 days rest in cairns helped)

12) Traffic because damn it, I’m on this trip to be on the open road

13) Road works because damn it, I want to feel the wind and not crawl to a stop in the sweltering heat with all of my motorbike gear

14) Not having enough time to do all of the exploring that I want to do

15) Losing my motorbike key in the Gold Coast – grrr this was annoying and an expensive thing to fix

16) trucks; either getting stuck behind them or the shock of their tail winds as they rush past in the opposite direction

17) Camping and getting eaten alive by mosquitos

18) Not being as well rested as I thought I would be and having high expectations of travel

Despite all of these annoyances though this trip has still been totally worth it, I should write a post of what I’ve been grateful for after this

//end rant

On a side note, I can argue that all of things are both positive and negative because they are all related to the experience of traveling

When traveling, what has pissed you off the most?

Posted in camping, Finances, mental health, ridding motorbikes, Road Tripping, Travel

33 days BS (before surgery)

I’ve done all of my pre surgery appointments; I’ve had my blood tests, nutritionist appointment and doctors appointment. I’ve decided to test out the pre surgery diet starting today. I don’t need to start the pre surgery diet until 2 weeks before surgery but I’d thought I’d test it out a little early. I’m currently 126kg with a BMI of 47.

this pre surgery diet involves having optifast for 3 meals a day, snacking on low carb vegies, drinking plenty of water and avoiding all sugary drinks. I’m aloud to drink black coffee and tea. Here’s an example of what I’ve been consuming today:

image
I’m 2 meals into my first day and my verdict is it’s not completely horrible. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be. Sure I’ve been hungry and food is everywhere but the 2 shakes so far haven’t tasted horrible and I’ve been able to explore the coffee scene in Perth. I’ve basically been exploring Perth via lane ways and espresso. Perth has a good coffee culture and I haven’t struggled finding good coffee.

Just before lunch, I did feel a little lite headed. I was doing research yesterday on loose skin after surgery and I’m a little concerned that I’ll have loose skin around my thighs which could make exercising difficult but it’s the price I might pay for trying to become a healthier me.

Here’s some more photos from today:

image

imageimage

image image

Posted in Weight Loss

Surgery, Surgery

Those words remind me of “Repo! The Genetic opera” and this catchy song:

Repo! is a musical set in some future time where people are addicted to surgery/body modifications. And if you can’t pay the repayments the repo man will come and take back what was modified; leaving people dead, disabled or otherwise incapacitated. It’s an interesting reflection on our consumerist society.

Anyway, I digress. The reason I’m thinking about surgery is because I’ve booked myself in for weight loss surgery for mid October. This will be my first ever operation. I feel like this is a sensitive topic. By now it seems that a sensitive topic = time for me to write a blog post about it. I feel like this is a extreme procedure but I obviously have an issue with my weight and I haven’t been able to fix it completely on my own. I currently weigh 126 kg and it puts my BMI at 47 which is in the, “Morbidly Obese” category. I’m going for the sleeve option where they remove 4/5ths of the stomach and staple it up. There’s around a 1 to 4 week recovery time.

I would like to take a risk based approach to this surgery. Being obese increases my risks of developing type 2 diabetes, poor mobility, poor mental health, reduced life span and reduced quality of life. Most people think life is a priceless thing that should be protected/preserved no matter what. By doing an extreme thing like weight loss surgery, I will greatly increase my chances of having a longer, more fulfilling life. My goal is to get my waistline below 80cm, I don’t actually care about the weight itself that much. My weight does impact my mental health and my mental health has been something shocking recently.

 

Would you consider almost any options to get a few more quality years later on in life?

Posted in mental health, Weight Loss

Agile

change is the only guarantee in life, how can being agile help you; add value, facilitate fast feedback and imrpove processes

Here’s my rant on Agile:

Agile is a bit of a buzz word these days. If you aren’t doing Agile, there is a tendency to think you are missing out. At it’s core Agile is about adapting to change. As a tester, I’m often asking myself, “How can I add value?”. You can be doing all the Agile in the world but if people aren’t collaborating, you are still going to have a shitty experience/product. One way we testers can adapt to change is to facilitate faster feedback. Tests/checks that run during the build phase are an examples of facilitating faster feedback, continuous integration/delivery is also another example.

There are a lot of Agile ceremonies out there and people saying they have the “Best” way to do Agile. THERE IS NO BEST WAY! But Agile is about people, collaboration and products that add value. You don’t have to have an Agile business to try and introduce some Agile practices into your team. I enjoy the Agile ceremonies that encourage collaboration, reflection and adapting to a changing environment.

Some people think Agile is anti-process. This is not true in my experience. It can be some of the most process driven work that I’ve been exposed to but it’s about creating and tweaking the right process for the right context. Ensuring that any process adds value and making sure it supports collaboration rather than hinders it.

I think businesses have a tendency to use Agile as an excuse to change requirements at the last minute but still expect high quality software. Changes need to be backed by evidence (validated learning) and have buy in from the teams building it and cannot change at the whims of some manager. And don’t get me started on the over emphasis of Automation Testing as the only “Valid” form of testing in many Agile development teams.

/End rant

Do you have any rants on Agile you’d like to share? What has worked for you? What hasn’t worked so well?

My take home message is to question the value you add and also seek out ways to facilitate faster feedback.

Further Reading:

Agile Manifesto

Posted in Software Testing

Letters to darkness

I sit here and I reflect,

How did I let you back in?

 

you are not welcome here

all you bring is misery & hate

you make me hate myself

you make me feel like a failure

 

I did not invite you

yet you came anyway

you are always testing me

waiting to come back in

 

I name you darkness

you sap the joy out of life

I wish I could rid you

but I always fail

Posted in depression, mental health

Diversity in conferences

are you struggling to attract diverse speakers at your tech conferences?

take a leaf out of Katie Conf’s book and challenge yourself to find those female speakers. All of the speakers at Katie Conf have names that are based on the name Katherine and are actively involved with their tech communities. If they could organize a theoretical conference with only Katie speakers, you can easily find a few women to talk at your conference.

If you are still struggling, maybe you could approach speak easy, this group help mentor potential speakers who come from diverse backgrounds.

Posted in Uncategorized

Mental Health Strategy

I need to improve my mental and physical health. I have gained over 20kg in the last 18 months. I feel like all of the hard work that I put in when I first moved to Sydney has been undone. I often feel fat, lazy and out of control with my behaviour. I feel like my home life reflects those bad thoughts back onto me. I know these are irrational feelings, I’m hardly lazy. Lazy people don’t involved with their communities but I still feel these feelings.

Back to the strategy, I think a core part of a strategy is a purpose (it has to achieve something), a distinct measurable goal (to know when we’ve achieved something), a plan of what to do which includes tactics/approaches in how we will achieve our purpose.

Purpose

Improve my mental and physical well-being

Measurements

  • Not feeling like I’m having a mental breakdown during an emotional time of the month
  • No more weight gain

Tactics

  • Change my home environment to encourage incidental exercise (move closer to work)
  • Get back onto a soylent diet (this should help both diet and financial as I’ll reduce my impulse food spendings)

Here is a diagram that might help communicate part of what bothers me:

Mental Health Strategy (1)

I’m starting my strategy off small, make it achievable. Then reassess and reiterate in a few weeks to see if I’m improving.

Posted in depression, mental health
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter