The Physical Ailments Archive

Update on Life

Posted August 19, 2017 By kmarrs

Ugh.  I’m suppose to be working on a science paper.  However, I have time to do that later, and I have not written here in a while, so why not procrastinate?

School:

I am a little more than halfway done with my bachelor’s degree.  I am estimating my graduation, if everything goes as planned, to be the spring of 2020.  Which I know sounds so far away.  But that’s me going halftime, taking two classes a term, and also me taking (hopefully) next summer off.  I’m due for a summer off.  And apparently we can do that now and still work.  See as a work-study I have to study to be allowed to work.  But they realized that sometimes we need a break from the study part.  So as long as we have studied the previous fall and winter terms, we’re allowed to take the summer off.  I would have done that this summer but I didn’t know about it in time.

Fall term has officially started.  I’m in week one of it.  I’m taking a general science class that is more focused on critical thinking and analysis than it is on a specific field.  But that’s ok.  We live in a world of global warming deniers and this is a business school.  So basically I took the science class that was both offered and required.  It’s a 12 week class (compared to the usual 6 weeks) and then I have a 6 weeks management course.  I don’t remember the specifics of the management course.  I’d look it up but I’m about 11 weeks away from giving a crap.  It’s an elective that seemed important to me at the time.  So I’m sure I’ll benefit from it.

Work:

Still doing the work-study for the mathematics department gig.  I basically plan to do this until either my boss gets sick of me or I graduate.  Hopefully the graduation happens first.  Then I’ll do a work-study, or whatever the equivalent is for a grad student, gig for OSU or wherever I end up.  Hopefully OSU.  Anyway, work is going well enough.  I just had a performance review.  My first of many.  18 months, almost, into the job.  But eh.  Anyway, there were no surprises.  I knew going into it where I need to improve and we agreed on everything.  So we discussed how I can do better in some areas and that was that.  I’ll get another review in 30 days or so.  I think.  At least that seems to be the plan.

Kids:

Everyone is happy and healthy.  Funny story, actually.  Sambam had a couple of major cavities in two of her molars, and at that size and at her age, they don’t fill them, they put crowns on them.  Something medical jargon here about the crown lasting longer and they’re just baby teeth.  Seemed weird to me but I got a second opinion just to be sure. (We had a bad experience with a dentist when Thomas was this age.  The dentist did unnecessary work for the insurance money and was later the recipient of a class action lawsuit.  So like we’re a little paranoid.)  Anyway, it’s legit so we took her to get her crowns this past Thursday.  They put her on laughing gas to calm her before using the needle to numb her.  And I’m telling you, my daughter was so calm and high (as a kite) she didn’t even notice the needle.  I sure did though and I hurt for her.  Anyway she got the crowns and was like the number one best patient of the day, everyone agreed.  And I was super proud of her.  She’s a good kid.

They all started school this past Wednesday.  Sammy is in first grade and loving it.  Lucas is in fourth and start intermediate school, which means he now has 8 periods, or so, and is switching classrooms.  He was nervous at first, but seems to have taken to it like a duck to water.  Thomas is in eighth grade and in his last year of middle school.  He’s growing up.  I’d say he’s as tall as me, but if I’m being truthful I think at some point in the past month he’s officially passed me.  And I’m not short.  I’m about average height, but he’s going to be tall.  Sammy turns 6 in a couple of weeks.  She’s maturing into quite the big kid.  She’s also turning into quite the artist.

Dragon

So most of her birthday presents this year are various art supplies.  The grocery store sells sketchbooks for like $2.50.  Plus colored pencils and of course huge boxes of crayons.  Then she is also getting coloring books just because.  Coloring is fun yo!  Anyway, the whole family is in on it together to supply her with all her art needs.  Plus a few other odds and ends.  But I think she’ll be happy with her haul this year.

Friends:

I have more friendship in my life right now than I’ve had, well, ever.  It’s mostly online, but I’m ok with that.  I do need someone local to meet for coffee or dinner once in a while but I’ll work up to that.  In the meantime, I have so much online friendship that like, I don’t feel like there is anything missing.  We’re all on Tumblr and it’s just this big group of us.  You should come chat me up over there.  I will warn that my feed is a constant stream of snakes and reptiles and fish.  One posting automatically every hour.  And then when I am on, it gets really political.  Like really political.  So like if you can’t stomach snakes or politics, maybe you shouldn’t join me on Tumblr.  Anyway, here is the link.

Health:

I haven’t almost bled to death in a couple of months.  So that’s a plus.  And last we checked my hemoglobin was up to 12.7 which is in the normal range.  The low-end of the normal range, so I’m still on the iron supplements, but I’m not like as anemic as hell as I was even a month ago.  Anyway, I’m just going to keep up with the iron and hopefully I’ll stop almost bleeding to death, and things will be good, yeah?

Mental health wise I’m ok.  Mostly just really tired.  I could have used this summer off from school.  Really really.  But it’ll be good in the long run to keep pushing though.  I’ll have a nice long break soon.  2 weeks for Christmas and then I think I can schedule another 6 weeks on top of that during winter term if I take 2 6 week classes and neither of them start in the beginning of the term.  Terms are 18 weeks long, so this is doable.  I just have to make it until then.  Also, that two weeks off for Christmas, will also be two weeks off from work, because the whole university shuts down.  So like, I’m counting the days.

I have not had any medication changes lately, but it’s been awhile since I’ve listed my meds, so why don’t I do that now?  In no particular order, and everything I take:

  • Gabapentin 900mg for fibromyalgia.
  • Ativan 1mg for anxiety – up to twice a day, but usually only once
  • Vitamin D3 2000mg because I get no sun ever
  • Ferrous Sulfate 650mg this is the iron
  • Protonix DR 40mg this is a super antacid that helps prevent my stomach from eating itself since I keep nearly bleeding to death
  • Geodon 100mg this is an antipsychotic I use off label for Borderline Personality Disorder.  It isn’t for everyone but it can be very helpful for those of us with BPD to be on a medication like this.  It helps with things like impulse control and angry outbursts.  In general I just feel more in control of myself on this medication.  However, a medication like this is not to be taken lightly.  There are serious possible and likely side effects so really talk it over with you meds doctor and weigh out the pros and cons.
  • Topimax 100mg for headaches mostly, but there is the added benefit of weight loss.  Again talk a medication like this over with your doctor.  There are better medications for headaches generally, but as I’m obese, I wanted something that would help with weight loss and I knew this one did so I asked for it by name.
  • Fetzima 80mg this is my antidepressant.  It’s a newer one and my insurance is not happy about it, but dudes I’ve been on them all and this is currently the one that works.  It has the added advantage of a norepinephrine boost so like it helps with my energy levels.  Which, between depression and fibro and anemia (these days), I need that boost.

And that’s everything.  I take these all at once in the evenings.  Which is not ideal but I’m horrible about remembering to take meds and this is the system that works for me.  So this is what I do.  My doctors know this about me a prescribe around it.

Also, on the subject of health, I have given up regular pepsi, and have switched to diet (coke).  I’ve lost 20-30 pounds in doing so.  I know it was the switch because that’s when I started losing weight.  So yay?  I have a long way to go and I’m working on it.  Taking walks.  Making healthier eating choices.  Eating less in general.  But I’ll get there.  I’ll never be super skinny.  It’s just not my body type and I’m on too many major psych meds that cause weight gain.  But I want to be at a healthier weight, whatever that means for me.  I’m also over all more interested in a healthier blood pressure, blood sugar level, and cholesterol level, than I am the actual shape of my body.  Health over size.

That’s everything I can think of so I’m signing out.  It’ll be awhile, I imagine, before I write again.  Life has me pretty busy and since my mental health is stable, it’s pretty boring.  Which is a good thing.  I promise to try and touch base next month.  I promise to try anyway.  If I can write monthly, I think that’s a good goal.  And of course, if anything interesting happens, I’ll write sooner.  In the meantime, I leave you with this photograph of my daughter cracking up on laughing gas.  She really is a doll baby.

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Nearly Died. Twice.

Posted June 17, 2017 By kmarrs

So.

Ok.

In something like March I was placed on Iron Supplements because my hemoglobin was a little low.  For women it’s suppose to be in the 12-15 range.  But mine was off a little.

Then in seemingly unrelated news, in early April. I had a bad night.  I thought I was just dehydrated severely, because I had really bad diarrhea. But “whatever the cause” I passed out twice.  Once while actually sitting down.  Full on blacked out and came to only after landing hard both times.  I rehydrated and took it easy the next couple of days, but went about my business.  Oh and my stool was black, but iron supplements do that, ya know?  Anyway, I had a doctor’s appointment in about a week and a half, I’d report all this then.  Couldn’t get in any sooner.  Nothing to fuss over.

But like those two passing out spells really knocked it out of me.  I was so fatigued.   And could hardly catch my breath.  But like I’m a fat chick and I’m always winded and the weather was nice so I was trying to be more active.  Walking more.  And well, fatigue is like an everyday thing with me.  This was more than usual, but I had just had a really bad health night so… Anyway I was seeing my doctor soon.  It would all get squared away.

So the big doctor day came.  I filled her in on all that and also my history or chronic loose stools that I thought had led to me passing out a week and a half prior.  She took all this in and it sort of made sense.  But she wanted some blood tests.  She needed to check on my hemoglobin anyway because I’d been on the iron for about a month and she wanted to see how that was going.  So I left the office with a new appointment for in a month, and went down the hall to the lab to get my blood drawn.  Thought nothing more of it.  And went home.

That night, right as I was crawling into bed at 10PM my phone rang.  It was my doctor’s office.  I needed to go ASAP to the hospital, no I couldn’t drive myself, my hemoglobin was at 6.8 and I needed a blood transfusion or two (hint I got 2) and they needed to find out why I was literally bleeding to death.

Anyway, to speed this up.  3 days, many tests, and lots of drawing blood and transfusioning blood later, I was sent home with the knowledge that the blood was coming from polyps in my stomach that had ruptured (and were treated), and my hemoglobin was back up to 9 something.  Also my antacid for my acid reflux was changed out to a protonix, that both helps with reflux, but will help prevent my stomach from bleeding anymore (laughs).  Oh, and I’m up to twice a day Iron Supplements because my hemoglobin is really low now.  But not dangerously low like it was.

so I take my meds like a good girl.  I go to the follow up appointment like a good girl.  I almost punch my doctor in the face like a good girl.  (long story)  I schedule an appointment for another month out.  This one was for this past Wednesday.  So like mid June.

The Thursday before that appointment I wake up, go to the bathroom, and am greeted by the very obvious signs that I’m bleeding again.  I sigh, email my boss, and get my husband to drop me off at the Emergency Room.  They check my hemoglobin, sure enough, in the span of about 6 hours it went from 8 something to 7 something to 6 something.  I wasn’t just loosing blood, I was loosing it fast.  Or had lost it fast, because they can’t find where it’s coming from.  This was the same hospital.  They had my history from my previous stay and are affiliated with my doctor’s office so they have my full work up.  They knew where to look first.  No sign of bleeding anywhere, other than, you know, the obvious blood loss.  So 2 more blood transfusions and they send me home.  Only this time I also got what’s called and iron infusion.  Which is basically the supplement liquified, tons of it, straight to the vein.

So here I am with the explanation that GI bleeds frequently heal themselves and I shouldn’t worry.  And oh by the way, the iron infusion I got at the hospital, and the second one I got as outpatient Friday, will make it look like I’m bleeding again, but I shouldn’t worry.  I know what symptoms to watch for when my hemoglobin is dangerously near death low, right?  Right.  But I probably won’t start bleeding again.  I mean why would I?

*turns and looks at the camera*

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It’s All A Headache

Posted March 16, 2017 By kmarrs

So a few months ago I was put on Topamax to 1) counterbalance the weight gain from my antipsychotic and 2) help prevent my near constant headaches.  I was also given a prescription of Flexeril to help treat breakthrough stress headaches.  So let’s talk about this some.

First, headaches are not fully uncommon for fibromyalgia or depression.  Both report headaches as symptoms.  I don’t know if I’m having actual migraines, but I’m having severe stress headaches that leave me sensitive to light and sound and make me sick to my stomach.  Sounds like a migraine, but they are more in my neck and the base of my skull which is why there is question as to what we are treating.

Anyway, the Topamax.  No weight loss to report.  It would have been nice but it wasn’t the main reason I was taking it.  My severe headaches that leave me unable to work were reduced to 1 every 2 weeks, and the bad headaches where I take a Flexeril were reduced to 2-3 a week, and I don’t think a day will ever pass that I’m not at least taking Aleve.  I’m ok with that.  That’s just annoying, not debilitating.

So there was progress with the Topamax but could it be better?  We doubled the dose and we shall see.  Ideally, I won’t miss any work because of headaches.  My boss doesn’t seem to mind too much, but I prefer to have a strong work ethic.  And I can’t be missing work twice a month from a damn headache.  We’ve also switched me off the Flexeril and on to something else called Tizanidine HCL.  The Flexeril makes me sleepy so it’s harder to function when I take it 2-3 times a week (at work and at school usually) so hopefully this one won’t knock me out.

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New Year, Same Me

Posted January 19, 2017 By kmarrs

This is just a general update.

It took me two months to get over that cough.  And even so my lungs still aren’t quite right.  I’ve never had bronchitis hit me that hard.  But then again, pneumonia.  Right as I was starting to get better, right about Christmas, I caught a cold my daughter brought home from school, and it went right to my lungs.  I just couldn’t catch a break.  Then again with this weather yo-yoing between freezing and light jacket weather, it’s no wonder everyone is sick.  And everyone is sick.  I don’t just mean my family, I mean there are nasty bugs out there going around.

I’ve made some friends.  On Tumblr but it totally counts.  I’ve joined a group of misfits that have banned together to form a family.  Misfits is my word, but I think they’d agree with it.  I’m still in the early stages of joining.  I’ve been welcomed by the group patriarch, Simon.  And one of the group members, Savi, is my new best friend.  Or she will be just give it time.  I’m slowly making friends with the others.  It’s hard because I’m introverted, but I’ve been welcomed and that’s a great feeling.  They meet on social media and watch movies and chat every night, basically all night, because we’re a bunch of insomniacs.  I only meet with them Thursday night through Saturday night because I need my sleep during the week.  One part depression, one part med cocktail, one part fibromyalgia, one part I’ve been this way my entire life: I value sleep and need a solid 9-10 hours of it with frequent 12 hour power naps to help fill in the gaps.  You think I’m joking?  I’m not.  So I’ve made friends.  My therapist would be so proud.

Only, she’s not my therapist anymore.  It’s a long story but the gist of it is, I’m not feeling the magic anymore so I’m breaking off the relationship.  Maybe I’ll go back next time life crumbles.  Maybe I’ll find a new one.  I still have my meds doc, so I’m not without mental health help.  I’m just not in therapy.  And right now, at this moment that’s ok.  That relationship wasn’t a good fit anymore so it was time to move on.  If I was really responsible I’d get myself set up with a new one and a relationship established before my next life crash.  I know my meds doc can recommend one.  I’m just tired.  And right now, that’s one less half hour trip there, hour-long appointment, half hour trip back.  I could find someone closer, but I like the group I go to.  They are worth the travel time.  And I’m not giving up my meds doctor.  So I might as well find a therapist in the same building.

Trump.  Actually, I’d rather not.  I have not opened that can of worms on this blog and I’m going to keep it that way for now.  Let us just leave it at this: I’m really going to miss Obama.  He brought a level of dignity, class, and professionalism to the office that will be sorely missed.

School is going well.  I’m maintaining a nearly 4.0.  I still have that one B that is keeping me from perfection, but I’ll survive.  I have not repeated the incident, at least.  I’m currently in a professional communications class which is heavy on the writing.  I’m, maybe not enjoying the content, but I really enjoy my professor and this class will be a huge help in my academic and professional careers, so I can respect it for that.

Speaking of which, class starts in 15, so I’d better proof read this and get it posted.  I’ll try my best to be better at writing regularly.  I’m not saying weekly, but we’ll see.  I’m just so tired.  Work, school, kids.  I’m exhausted.

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Bronchitis with Bite

Posted November 17, 2016 By kmarrs

I’ve gotten bronchitis every single fall since I was 12 years old.  For those of you keeping count, that’s 20 year’s worth.  I haven’t missed a year.  Sometimes I even get a bonus case in the spring.  I don’t know dudes.  I don’t smoke anything that actually gets inhaled.  I don’t have asthma.  I don’t have many things that would explain this 20 year ordeal.  I just have chronic bronchitis.

So when the chest cold hit last week, I acknowledged my fate and went to the doctor before it had a chance to get bad.

Actually, let’s back up about a dozen years.  I don’t know when this part began, but as far as recent years go, the only things that really get me breathing right are an inhaler, which isn’t uncommon, and a shot of steroids to the ass.  Now, I suppose it doesn’t have to be administered that way.  I could do the 5 or 7 day taper down, but I metabolize it better when I get the shot to the ass and I become less psychotic.  Seeing as I’m borderline psychotic on my best days, I find myself willing to submit to the needle.  Plus needles don’t bother me.  And my ass has lots of padding.  So it’s a little fast prick (insert lewd joke here) and then I can breathe again within hours.

But I always need the steroids.  Always.

So when I went to the little urgent care at the grocery store I had two items on the agenda: steroids (any form, I couldn’t be picky at the urgent care) and an inhaler.

Now I’ll admit I was early in the illness so I wasn’t yet wheezing, but she acknowledged my history and stated that yes it was bronchitis, just caught early.  She handed me a script for an inhaler, an antibiotic (she thought I might also have a sinus infection, you don’t treat bronchitis with an antibiotic), a script for a decongestant, and a script for a cough syrup.

No amount of talk would get her to prescribe a steroid.  It didn’t matter that I had a 20 year history of this, she wasn’t going to do it.  She didn’t give me a reason, just a refusal.  So that was that.

That was last Saturday.

I went to work Monday and convinced my coworkers I was dying and dying loudly.

Tuesday I went in again, because I knew I’d be needed, but told my boss it would probably be best if I stayed home Wednesday and Thursday, and why. (I didn’t see her at all Monday, and she works on a whole different floor, so she had no idea I was sick and dying from the cough.)

Tuesday at 1PM I got sent home early, which isn’t unusual for a Tuesday and I decided F that noise, and went to my local emergency room.  I was bad enough I needed chest x-rays and I wasn’t going to leave until I got a shot of steroids to the rump.  The hospital, btw, use to be the first place I went with this crud, and that’s where the steroid treatment began.  So I knew they’d hook me up.

Well, after a brief wait, and a few chest x-rays I was called back to a room and given the interesting news that I was no longer dealing with just bronchitis, I know officially have my first case of pneumonia.

They hooked me up with a breathing treatment, because my pulse was up and I was, well, that sick.

And yes right before I left, my beloved steroids to the rump.

I can’t even tell you.

It’s like for days I kept coughing and coughing and coughing almost nonstop, but nothing was happening with it.  After the steroids… You know that feeling of finally being able to get under a cough to push it up, verses fighting against it for ages but never being able to get under it, so it’s just stuck down inside you? Steroids let me get underneath the cough and push it all the way out of my lungs.  Now instead of nonstop coughing, I cough a few times an hour and that’s it.  Maybe more if I’m doing a lot of talking.

And I’m still like super drained, because duh I’m really sick, but before that shot, the idea of going back to work Monday felt impossible.  Now it’s totally doable.  The next few days of rest and I’ll be so ready to return to work.

So yeah, I’m just going straight to the hospital with this crap from now on.  I’ll wait until it’s fully in my lungs.  No more catching it early, because doctors don’t like being told what’s going to happen, but when it hits, I know where to go from here on out.

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Chicken Butt

Posted March 8, 2016 By kmarrs

Today I am getting a colonoscopy.  In fact, by the time you read this, I’ll be done with the procedure and will be taking a nap.

They are checking me for colon cancer.  I probably don’t have colon cancer, but I could have colon cancer, so they are checking.  You probably don’t have colon cancer, but you could have colon cancer, so you should check.

Typically you have to be a few decades older than I am, before they really start the screenings.  But, I have a family history and my family history starts young, so at the ripe age of 32, I’m being checked.

Go team me!

Be proactive about your health, people.  It’s not just about mental health.  I mean with us, we’re all getting ourselves mental help, or should be anyway, but sometimes we get sidetracked from the physical crap.

But you are only as healthy as the full package.  You aren’t just a brain.  You are a body too, so you have to keep that body healthy.

So today I’m getting a colonoscopy.  I’m not saying you should to, unless you are of an age, and then I am saying you should too.  What I am for sure saying is, if it’s been awhile since you’ve been to a regular doctor, you should schedule a physical.  There is hopefully nothing wrong with you, but if anything is off they can diagnose it before it becomes a problem.

And if you know something is off, then you know you need to go, so go!

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