Meds Update


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If there is one flavor on this earth I hate more than cherry, it’s black cherry.  So imagine my delight to learn my new dissolvable medication is black cherry flavored.  I don’t get to chew, crush, or swallow this beasty.  No.  I get to put it on my tongue, where all my glorious taste buds are located, and patiently wait for it to dissolve while it numbs the tip of my tongue.

Or

Put it on my tongue, gag over it, nearly choke, have little fizzies of it hit the back of my throat, numbing the back of my throat AND the tip of my tongue, while I try not to vomit.

It was a graceful event.

Take two is tonight.

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I had my final, for a while, session with my Psychiatrist last week.  I’ve managed to keep up the stable long enough, and trying to get in is causing more stress than what it’s worth.  It’s something we’ve both known was coming for a while.  We’ve worked towards it.  Progressed to it.

I can’t imagine that I’ll never again see a Psychiatrist.  That is a wonderful goal, of course, and one I’ll strive for, but not as such that I’ll ignore obvious warning signs just to avoid that office.  I’d rather call her up at the first sign of danger and head it off, then try to make it without and get in over my head, and then drown.  Not worth it.

If the time should come, I have my instructions on what to do.  Since my case closes in 3 months (we’re keeping it open as long as possible just in case, and because we can) getting back in urgently can be tricky.  Should I call the front office, I’ll be waiting listed as a new patient.  Not awesome for urgent.  But, my doctor has instructed me to call her directly and she’ll get me in on the first available.  Could still take a month but that will be because her schedule is packed, not because I’m wait listed.

Because as stable as I am now, safe to be away, when BPD crashes, they crash hard and burn all that is near.  You don’t wait list that.  Not if you expect survivors.

So I feel safe.  Even as I step away from my safety net, I know they still care and will be there if I need them.  I’m just safe to walk away in the meantime.

And all is well.

Because even on my dark days, I’m showing signs of growth.  My fibro meds caused me to slip, I recognized it, I stopped them, and told my doc I needed something different.  Instead of letting it progress to a problem, I took action and all was fine.  When life gets complicated and I get the sads, I have the presence of mind to tell myself that my sads are based on this situation, here is how it’s already being fixed, and here is what I can do to make it better, and in the meantime.

Remission and recovery aren’t about never ever having a bad day.  That isn’t normal either.  That is mania.  It’s about taking the bad days in stride, recognizing their cause, and their solution.  Whether that solution is going to bed early and trying again tomorrow, or something like ending a marriage, changing a career, or moving.

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have, the facts of life.

I make no apologies for that cheese.

May you find peace on your bad days, enjoyment on your good days, and have the presence of mind to know that life is made up of both.

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Like any mental health med, there are of course a collection of side effects. Risk verses benefits. I want to talk about that.

Savella is in the anti-depressant family. While it isn’t used to treat depression, as it has a slightly different formula, it has the same chemical basis.

As such, any anti-depressant has one big  possible (and surprising to many) side effect, especially for those not necessarily depressed: Suicidal thoughts.

This is hard to write because that phrase raises to many red flags. Makes people anxious. Makes those who care nervous. But let’s talk this out.

I am otherwise stable. Very, fully stable. So the way this takes shape is occasionally when I’m too tired, stressed, or frustrated I start thinking that I wish I wouldn’t wake up or it would be better off if I didn’t. No. None. Absolutely not. I do not have any ideas about taking matters in my own hands. What I do have thoughts on are how ridiculous it is to think these things.

Dear Karen, you are tired and stressed but generally very happy with life. You don’t really think you’d be better off dead. This is the meds and stress talking. Now. What are you going to do to fix this so that you are excited for tomorrow?

It’s weird.  It’s new and exciting. I talk myself down so rationally and calmly. That’s how I know I’m OK. It’s just the meds. And there isn’t anything to worry and fret over.

I also think I’m really just too tired. This I fully blame the meds on. They are psyche meds and psyche meds do make me tired. And I have to take them twice a day so there is no relief. I’m able to function. But I’m able to function just enough to get done what I have to get done, but nothing extra curricular.

I do want my energy back. I’ll talk to the good doctor about that. (I’ll tell my psychiatrist about the bad thoughts. Not because she needs to worry, but because things need documented.)

And maybe, just maybe, as the days get longer and I can become more physically active, I can get my energy back.

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I’ve been to my new doctor. Awhile ago, actually, but I haven’t been in my writing groove. Then it got to be so far past the appointment that it left my mind to write about it. But this post is actually important. As my mental health has healed, my focus has turned to my physical health. And that is what this post needs to talk about. My physical health. My chronic pain.

I went into the appointment with high expectations. He doesn’t give pain meds. He’s been in practice a long time. I’d love him. I’d find him amazing. My psychiatrist knew him. Warned he talked a lot but would be good for me.

When I got there and got into the appointment, my first impression with him wasn’t what I expected. I told him I had pain issues, arthritis. He told me just wait til I was older, if I thought I had bad joints now. That wasn’t the wording. It was weeks ago. But I heard discrimination. What the hell joint pain could someone not even 30-years-old feel?

I thought about walking out. I thought about just never coming back.

I told him I had no interest in pain meds. All I’d ever been given, after all, was canoe sized Ibuprofen, and it has never helped. He told me there was more out there than Ibuprofen. Yes, but most of it is addictive or just doesn’t help.

I don’t need pain medication. I need a diagnosis. I need to know why at 29-years-old, if I sit still for too long, I completely lose my hip(s) and can’t hold my weight, can’t walk, until they decide to rejoin the rest of my body.

That should not be happening. And I told him as much.

But I honestly didn’t feel he was hearing my words. So I told myself I’d let him have his blood sample and then I wouldn’t come back. I’ve wasted enough life blood and hours on doctors that don’t hear me. I’ve learned that lesson. I refuse that road.

Then he did the most unexpected: He walked back into the exam room with about 5 weeks worth of a sample for a medication no one has ever offered me. Asking me what I knew about fibromyalgia. Offering me the diagnosis I’ve known all along but no MD has ever bothered with. Offering a medication that doesn’t treat the symptom. But instead, something that treats the source.

I’m about 4 weeks in and so far I’m not sure if it’s helping or how much. It’s not that simple since even without meds the pain is never the same from day-to-day. Even without meds I have days here and there pain free. However rare they may be, they do exist. So I’m not sure that anything is different.

But it’s only been 4 weeks. And these things take time.

Fibro is a mental based pain. It’s the nervous system misfiring. It isn’t a pulled muscle or a swollen joint. It is, in fact, all in the head. And that makes it harder to treat. Like any mental condition, there is no 1-pill-fits-all. You take Ibuprofen for swollen joints. Maybe a Vicodin for a pulled muscle. But fibro is treated with a mental health med. Those take time to work and more trial and error.

So if he can hear me, I can see the need to be patient. Take the time it takes. Keep doing what I need to do.

And one part of healing mental pain is knowing someone hears you and cares. I have that. It may not bring my hip back to me when I go to stand up here soon. But it brings the patience to work it out as I work the joint back into existence and hope that tomorrow is the day I wake up a little better. Or that my appointment in a week brings the medication that lets me keep my hip for good.

I may not have been given a cure, but I have been given hope.

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My disinterest in New Years has been noted here before.  Usually with angst.  But as angst clears, stable reigns, and my disinterest continues, I can only conclude that it’s just not my holiday.  As such my drive to do an epic post recapping the last year just isn’t there.  And I loath resolutions.  I suppose it’s because most resolutions I see people make, end up being broken.

I suppose the problem with resolutions is that they are fueled by the fire of having to buy a new calendar.  People seem to think that this purchase will be the inspiration needed to change the core of their being.  And to make it all the more notable, they decided that they are going to change many things at once.  They are going to start a diet, join the gym, and stop smoking all on the same day.  The things is?  Join the gym and the rest might well follow.  After all, working out 1-3+ times a week makes you actually want to not put the time and sweat to waste.  Eating right, can fuel a desire to work out.  You’re denying yourself cake but you still have flabby arms, might as well do something about them too.  But start all 3 on the same day and you’ll burn out in a blaze a glory at the first aerobics class inspired nicotine and sweet tooth craving.  Funny how that works.

So, it is safe to say, I don’t make the false promises to myself or anyone that others call a resolution.

Doesn’t mean 2013 won’t bring me change.

While we may not be resolving to completely change our diets, Pat and I are at least steering it to consistency.  Inspired by both a need to fix Pat’s stomach issues, and regulate our food budget, we have put together a meal plan.  I almost added “of sorts” to the end of that, but no, it’s actually very specific.  Even with allowing 2 set days a week to be “dude fuck the menu” nights, each night for the next month is set.  Tuesdays will feature red meat.  Wednesdays are vegetarian featuring salads or pancakes.  Thursdays are homemade soup or rice based.  Fridays are pasta, fast and easy after a long day.  Saturdays are chicken whether shaked and baked or covered in sauce.  None of this is designed to be low in carbs or calories.  But it’s preset, will bring us together to the table, and the consistency should do wonders for Pat’s digestive system and our pocket book.  Even if it just means we need to plan to drop 200$ on food out of my pay check mid month.  We have 25-30 meals preplanned.  Some assigned nights, some set as alternatives.  And even if every Friday is pasta, with 4-5 different pasta options, it won’t get old.  Just consistent.

Along with this comes rules.  Not that we spent much of the government’s allotted food budget on crap, from here on out, all ice cream, candy and other goodies come out of my pay checks.  If we can’t afford it from those, we can’t afford it at all.  The only exception being if I can pull it out of my oven after putting it together from scratch.  A bag of powdered sugar/white sugar/flour lasts quite awhile and at 2-3$ a pop, isn’t a budget breaker.  Assuming, of course, I’m only buying them a couple times a year.  We also have a master list of the basic staples that we are sticking too, allotting only for common sense based exceptions, especially in the first few goes.  If I forgot to put bread on the master list when I made it, obviously bead can be bought.  And I might want to remember to add it to the list.  Again, hopefully this will fuel a huge change in our kitchen and our pocket book.

We assume we need to alter things as we go.

I’m also hoping that this consistency will lead to more green things fresh from the ground on the table, and other such tweaks as we go.  Even if it’s just substituting this slightly healthier cut of meat for that one.

Ah the gym.  The holidays prevented me from being as diligent there as I would prefer.  I’ve worked too many Wednesday mornings, and there were a couple set days they were simply closed.  We’ve also had some winter storms that have made the extra miles in the car not worth it, even for the gym.  But when I am able to go and when I’m able to go 3 times a week, I do notice a huge difference in my pain levels.

I haven’t taken anything for pain in about a month.  Give or take a few days.  I didn’t exactly mark my last pain pill in a book.  This isn’t to say I’ve spent the month pain free.  But it has been greatly reduced by working my joints with the weight machines, and the times I have hurt, I’ve resisted the pills (even though 99% of the time they were over the counter crap before anyways) because I know they don’t work well enough to be worth the ulcers they give.  Just ask Pat.  At least now with it being just me, my body, and the evil goodness I do to my body in the gym, I can better track what hurts and what helps that hurt.  Which, by-the-way, is the best motivation there is to make sure I get to the gym.  That and it’s a great way to work out aggression.

Speaking of the gym, I made it back to the climbing gym a couple weeks ago, and while there I made it to the top of a wall.  I’d been close before, but never all the way up.  I almost made it to the top of a second section, but my foot kept needing a hold that it kept slipping from and that unnerved me.  I may not have problems with heights, but I do take serious issue with falling.  I’m not done though.  I will go back and try and try again.  I may not be the next spider man, but it is fun and the pride I get from reaching the top is well worth the bruises.  I’m also excited to get back out in a kayak starting in the spring.  Lisa is still my adventure coach, we’re simply biding our time for the weather to break from the cold and warm enough that we don’t risk frost bite. Kayaking and snow don’t mix.

As far as work goes, since Lisa segued me into that, I’m contemplating a move towards a higher position.  I don’t really want to discuss the position yet.  I’m not sure I’m going to make the move so I don’t want to start a whole “good luck omg that would be awesome blah blah blahathon” just yet.  In a lot of ways, yes it would a good step towards my future, but it will also complicate some other areas.  It’s six of one and a half dozen of the other.  That being said, it is one of two of the next logical, linear steps in my career progression, so I imagine I’ll put in the application tomorrow.  Even then, there is no guarantees I’ll get the position.  I may be deemed not ready.  And I’ll be fine with that.  I don’t want to be given a position they don’t know if I’m ready for, just to prove I’m not ready and flame out in a fireball of having lost the bank a few grand.  If holding me back longer to gather more experience allows me to get it next time and hold onto it, and my job in general, then I’ll defer to their judgment and not begrudge it.

I also have to keep in mind I start school on April 29th.  Even going part time, the increase in stress at work paired with starting school may not be awesome.  I know I could do it and be fabulous if I pushed myself, but with me being comfortable enough where I’m at, I’m not being pushed by this drive for MORE POWER.  So I can take my time and ease myself into school without having to ease myself into a promotion at the same time.  Also?  Stable mental health is a beautiful thing.

But again, this is still a good, logical, eventually needed anyway, step in my progression at work, so I’m not going to not try for it.  I’m just also not going to stress over what happens if I don’t get it.  If I don’t get it, the only thing that will happen is that things will stay the same.  And with things being pretty damn good as they are now, I’m OK with that.

Heh.  I make it sound like I don’t want this promotion.  I actually do.  Just a different kind of want.  This isn’t a fire driven by obsession.  It’s a fire driven by a general desire to better myself.  Both burn bright, just different.  Both will have me apply, one will just leave me OK if I’m deemed not ready.  That is a good spot to be in.

I do, indeed, start school in a little less than 4 months.  Which seems so far off yet really isn’t.  Not the way time is flying.  I’ve already been given credit for the classes I took at CSCC.  I have one writing based (heh) test to take, and then I’ll be ready to start scheduling.  I also need to fill out my financial aid paperwork, but I can’t do that until February.  The placement test I can take much sooner.  I just have to see if I can find a proctor to take it at the local library with, or if I have to go downtown instead.  I’d prefer to avoid that as much as possible.

I’m fairly concrete that I’m working towards the business economics major.  It’s that or business management.  However, economics will cover the important part of the management courses, but management only dabbles into the economics.  I’m also looking forward to the economics.  Call me crazy… though I do believe the primary topic of this site did so for you.  I suppose I’m a bit of a numbers geek.  I also suppose that’s why I wanted a bank job/career.  Still heart broken that none of my coworkers love math as much as I do.  Go figure.  Gives me the self boost when my boss comes to me to solve a math equation for her for one of many reports.  To her well deserved defense, she was having an off day.

I’m diving into building my own personal and social life.  Defining Karen.  With the holiday season behind us, Lisa and I are renewing our commitment to our weekly girl’s nights.  Stacy and I are back at our twice a month plans.  And in my free-time, I’m devouring books and TV online.  Game of Thrones is a long but amazing read. Sheldon Cooper is a doof.  Also possibly my hero.  I’m sick and twisted that way.  I have, btw, combined the two (reading and BBT) and I have a good dozen books waiting to be read that promise to teach me some physics.  I’ve always been curious, Big Bang was just the final push.  Ironically, none of the books will cover string theory.  Oh well, they will be a start.  But I have about Twenty-five library books, and one borrowed from a friend, waiting to be read, so really how I have time to write out this post is beyond me.  Also, that’s probably the reason you haven’t seen me much.  Books and the Big Bang.

That and I’ve been too stable to have any drama to blog about.  Woe is me?  Yep.  I was put on, by choice, an anti-depressant a few months back to make sure the change of season didn’t knock me off my stable platform, but last month, when I went in and asked if I could be put on something I could take in the evening because I could never remember to take them at in the morning… well long story short I wasn’t taking it often enough to really be able to say I was on anything and I was still OK, so instead of messing around with a whole new med, I’m just back to a planned not being on anything.

FYI, what I was on gave a norepinephrine boost and I can’t have that boost after about 11AM if I ever wanted to get sleep at a decent hour.  I’m better at remembering meds well into the evening though.  That is the only part of my day that is consistent 95% of the time.  The morning varies too much based on when I go into work, if Luke has school, etc etc etc.  Some days I’m at work at 9:30, some days I’m at the gym at 9:30, and yet others I’m in bed or just getting ready for the day at 9:30.  And there is no use in trying to get me to remember anything before 9:30.  Or really, noon.  But I’m home almost every evening at 8:30 and I conveniently already have an alarm going off.

Any moods or emotions I am going through, other than happy, are too firmly based on logical reactions to what life hands me.  And most of that can be managed through me reading and regular exercise.  Weights and running work out my aggression and yoga or stretching work out my stress.  Reading is an escape based distraction.

I think, it’s not as much that my brain chemistry has changed, but more that I’ve better learned how to avoid certain situations and the skills needed to cope with what I can’t avoid.  After ten years together, Pat and I have learned each other and our marriage well enough to avoid major, yet stupid, fights.  But you can’t live with someone and never argue, so I also know how to better cope when they do crop up.  Whether it’s picking my battles, walking away till things settle, or whatever.  It helps that after ten years, there is a little less to fight about, and a bigger desire to not let something stupid set us apart.  And while that’s just one example of many, there you have it.

I’ve grown.

And resolution or not, I hope to continue that growth through the next calendar.  No set number based goals.  I’ll just wander down this path I’m on looking forward to the opportunities that come from it, and the growth that is sure to happen along the way.

And yes.  Happy New Year’s.

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This was written on my phone. I will fix crap later.

I made the call myself between sessions asking if she’d call it in. Not battling anything major. Stress is piling on. Minor things in life adding up. Holidays and little sun coming soon. Figured I could use the help. Not thrilled to be on them but thrilled to be at a point in my life where I can logic this all out.

And while I’m not suicidal, I am to a point in my chronic pain where I can’t help but think if I am going to keep waking up in this much pain I’d almost rather not wake up at all. No I don’t even remotely want to end things. I just physically hurt that much. So maybe the meds can help me cope.  Yes, I said that as casually as can be and meant it add such. It is fairly normal response to the pain as long as I continue to have no interest in doing anything other than push on through.

Anyway starting on the lowest possible dose of what I was on. Hope to be back off come spring when I get my sunshine back and life finds its routine again.

3

For months I was only on the one med so that if/when postpartum hit I’d be ready.  For months I took my Cymbalta because I might get sad around the end of February.

February came and went, but the sads never showed their face.

Oh I had my moments but they were all life moments.  Easily enough explained and dealt with.  Not reasons to pop a pill.

So 2 weeks ago when it came time to refill my script for the pills that beat the sads that never showed, I asked if we could skip that part of the appointment.  We had talked along of me going off meds once I was in the clear.  Why wait?  I was/am doing tremendous.  So, I went off meds.

This week I have:
Started my menstrual cycle, which always makes for wholesome hormonal goodness.
Went off caffeine cold turkey.
Gone to put on a skirt that fit me at 9-months pregnant but apparently doesn’t fit me now.  This week anyways.

Oh hey, we may have found a house if everything goes as planned.  Though, of course, moving is fun.  Plus, 30 year mortgage is a bit of a weight.  Good, but still heavy.
Had to inform my Grandmother that her son will be homeless in 2 months.
Had my father assault my husband.
Been made to feel numerous times, by people I can trust, that I’m not good enough and/or I can’t do anything right.
Made the first car payment.
Realized exactly how fun the next year of car payments will be.
Destroyed my left ankle.  6 days and it’s still fucked.
Left Band Back Together.  Not because it’s what I’ve wanted to do but because it’s what I had to do.  Drama free aside from broken heart(s).
Found out that a good friend who is deeply cared about by the whole family has Crohn’s disease.  Which isn’t fatal, usually.  As long as you stick to a diet.
Had to search every random corner of my life for pads because my period started 4 days sooner than it should have which means I didn’t make it to the paycheck.
Realized that despite me being sterile now, I have 30ish more years of buying tampons and pads so that I can go through a process that is pointless.

So this week… This week it looks like, based on my mood, that maybe I shouldn’t have gone off my meds.  However I’m not sure how any of the above can be fixed by me taking a pill.  (Some of it could be fixed by someone else who shall remain nameless but apparently has had a known diagnosis of exactly what I figured for years now but doesn’t choose to see it as a problem…)  Fine.  Maybe it could help me cope?  But when you aren’t searching and aiming for my buttons/last nerve, I’m coping pretty well.  Even if that means crashing into bed at 7PM.  But then, sometimes that sleep can be very healing.  When following a day as a functioning working adult.

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