…and the bill comes due.

Of this fitness journey…back in 2017 I wrote this:

The real question is what it will cost me?

Even then I had the answer…

Whatever it takes.

…but as I sit here writing this…I’m wondering if it has cost me my 35-year career.

Scratch that. I’m not wondering. I’m convinced that it has…

***

When I started this transformation, and it became obvious I was serious about it, my trainers and other sources (reading of the very few others that succeed at this) warned me that the process, the time, and the dedication required to succeed would require significant, intrusive changes in my daily life and my interactions with others.

In short, I would have to “do” for me, rather than only for others. Time. Money. Effort. Redirecting some of them back to myself…a LOT of them back to myself…telling people “no”, would likely cost me some friends or family relationships.

I understood this…and my consensus was that any friends or family that didn’t support…or at least tolerate my efforts, were of the “toxic” sort and I was better off not surrounding myself with that anyway.

With this process, I was saving my life. It took me a long time to realize this. Nobody really has the right to ask me not to.

It took me a long time to realize that too.

So I learned to say, “No.” Not very well, but it’s a process anyway.

It HAS happened, toxic people surfacing, but has been blessedly little, and it turns out…I pretty much knew who they were anyway.

But then there’s my career.

From the get-go I’ve been careful not to “cross the streams” so to speak. I’ve managed for the most part to not allow my transformation quest to interfere with my career.

–I work out with my trainer at 0-stupid-30 so I don’t impact work hours.
–I’m a salaried employee with no set “9-5” type schedule so when I’ve had a doctor’s appointment or such, I’ve made up or exceeded the time it took.
–I do work out in the company’s little fitness room often during the workday, but it’s not on “their time”…I get lunches and breaks just like any employee and see the “salaried employee” thing above. I’m here early. I work late. And I’m often tasked to do things remotely (from home) for them and those are “my hours”.
–In TWO shoulder surgeries I only took a total of 5 days off and that was regular vacation hours scheduled well in advance.

My immediate supervisor has been great about it anyway. We’re a 24/7 operation and as long as we’re putting in the hours and getting the job done, he’s been flexible. Still, I’ve been careful not to “inconvenience” my employer.

Dedicated to the job and all that. It’s what a man’s supposed to be. Right?

After all, that’s the way our world works…and there’s benefits to dedication.

…or there were supposed to be.

Men have long sold their health and their soul “to the job”…I am discovering just how expensive it is to buy it back.

I have reached a point in my transformation where hard work, discipline, and mindful eating just aren’t going to be enough for the next step.

In short, I’m within a point or two of my ideal body composition. But…and I mentioned before that I had debated posting about this, but the final step in my transformation is the removal of excess skin. See, not to be too delicate, but when your gut was well over 60″ around even at the “under the dunlop” part…and now it’s a 35 at the widest…well, there’s a lot of skin left over that isn’t going away. Surgical intervention is the only fix for this and depending on the severity of the problem, NOT doing it can be debilitating and cause long term problems (life-threatening infections for one).

But, medical insurance won’t cover the fix…considering it “cosmetic” or “quality of life” instead of “preventative” or “acute care”. It only becomes something insurance will help with AFTER you’ve been hospitalized for a related, life-threatening infection or problem. We are NOT going down that road.

I find this ironic…as they WOULD have paid for a gastric bypass or such. But doing it my way? You’re on your own.

So be it. Penance some would say.

So, just like in this entire endeavor, I made sacrifices, scraped together the resources and the time, and have arranged to “do the deed”.

The one thing I DID need, was my extended sick leave. It was supposed to work like this at my company…the first 5 days of any absence for a medical issue you must cover under your normal PTO time. After 5 days we have an earned benefit (I fully vested in this 35 years ago) that provides for 1000 hours at full pay should you be medically unable to report to work.

I need three weeks. My PTO covers the first, the extended is supposed to kick in for the other two.

They denied it. Doesn’t matter that I will be medically unable to work. Seems they don’t consider the REASON I’ll be medically unable to work noble or sufficient enough to merit paying me the benefit I’ve earned.

Denied.

This was done through a third-party company they’ve contracted to handle such things…precisely so they don’t have to make these sorts of “caring” decisions…see, policy and procedure…oh, and bureaucratic confusion, even though not aligned with the benefit I’ve earned, make the decisions. Out of our hands and all that.

Therefore…I’m doing it anyway.

In truth…in the back of my mind I must have been expecting just such a dick-head move…as I have hoarded my regular PTO this year and have enough to cover (barely) AND I’d already worked with my supervisor to get the needed time-slot approved before I did anything at all toward getting the surgery scheduled. I expected the extended leave to kick in and had not consciously hoarded the regular time…but there ya go.

My worry NOW is I’m in a shrinking industry…and the tech side of that industry as well…both of which have a history of laying off folks that are a pain or tap a benefit…and I had to waltz into my local HR office and dump this entire mess in their lap with an adamant, “This is NOT what I signed up for.”

They DID say they’d look into it…and perhaps they’ll even do the right thing.

But…

If I wasn’t ALREADY on it…I expect I’ve made somebody’s shit list. NOT a good thing to do in a shrinking industry.

Friends, family, and former colleagues have all asked me in no uncertain terms why, with my skills and dedication, am I still here?

Truth is I LIKE what I do, I’m passionate about it, I believe it’s important, and I’m very, very good at it.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but as long as this company is in business…they don’t just need A butt in this chair…they need MY butt in this chair. The same is true for the rest of my team members. Talented, dedicated, passionate, innovative people are what’s required for a company to succeed and survive in a challenging environment.

I wish they still recognized that.

But this week had me as close as I’ve ever been to just smiling, sticking out my hand to shake, and saying, “Been nice. Thanks for the experience. Please DO call me when you’re serious about the business again.”

Not sure I’d answer the phone though.

Anyway…surgery scheduled. Money…LOTS of it, has changed hands. Unless a health or surgical scheduling issue comes up, the time off is happening. HOW it happens paperwork-wise is not my worry anymore.

Career-wise I’m sure something’s coming.

Whatever that may be, bring it on.

You can read more about my fitness journey here.

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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