Using a Fitbit (knockoff) to track my pulse long term worked beautifully and when I saw my psychiatrist on Friday, she approved me starting Adderall.
We’re starting me on 5mg which is a super low dose and I probably won’t be helped by that amount. However, if all goes well, on the 17th I’ll get to double it.
In the meantime, I’m to continue using my Fitbit to track my pulse. I’m also to keep an eye on my anxiety. Both can be made worse by even this small of a dose, so we need to be sure that I’m ok. I’m calling her on the 17th and reporting my findings.
I am super excited to finally start the process of treating my ADHD. I know I’m ready to graduate in a little less than 3 months, and only really have 9 more weeks of classes, but this medication will also allow me to focus at work, where I’m also suffering.
Oh! And because I take my anxiety meds at night, and I take my stimulant in the morning, I’m able to take both! The streams will not cross!
I have spoken to my psychiatrist about treating my ADHD and it just isn’t going to happen yet.
The main concern is that my rest heart rate, for a year or more now, has been in the 120-130’s. This is, of course not good. Add in a stimulant, which is how to treat ADHD, and there is an increased, serious risk of me having a heat attack. We both agreed that it is to be avoided. Especially since I’m graduating Summa Cum Laude without treatment.
One of the other concerns is that I will have to stop my anxiety meds. But it’s been argued, by my therapist, that a lot of my anxiety is tied to my ADHD. Which is valid. Executive dysfunction, the inability to initiate tasks, makes any task super stressful for me. And I get super bad anxiety just thinking about what all is on my to-do list, knowing I’m going to have to beat executive dysfunction with all of it.
So why now? Why not seek treatment before?
Because I’m getting to the point where my ability to function is affecting my ability to be successful in my job. Plus it’s really hard to study for a test, successfully, with ADHD. Between the inability to focus and the ability to have any functioning memory what-so-ever…
See, Franklin University, my current school, doesn’t really have tests outside of math and science. We have big final projects and an abundance of papers instead. So I don’t really need to memorize facts. And I am really good at finding sources and writing papers. It has gotten me far at Franklin. It has gotten me Summa Cum Laude. But that won’t fly in grad school. I’m assuming I’ll have finals to take. Which scares the shit outta me, if I’m on my own.
And for now, I’m on my own because my pulse is 120.
Actually, it’s currently 114. I know this because I’m now wearing one of those watches that tracks your vitals. I’m hoping… see, I get really stressed out these days when someone takes my vitals because I know they aren’t great. At least my pulse isn’t. So it makes me anxious which increases my heart rate. I’m hoping if I can have long term tracking through the day, every day, without me thinking about it, that my pulse will be better and I can show it to my psychiatrist. The goal is a consistent average of under 100. Or rather, a consistent high, of under 100. Somewhere between the two.
So for now I track and then hopefully I’ll stabilize and we can get me on ADHD meds.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
It’s been a little bit since I’ve posted a comprehensive list of what I take and why, so here it is.
Lorazepam – Ativan – 1 Mg – 1-2 a day as needed – This is my anti anxiety. I only really take one a day unless something is going on. I like having the option to take 2 in a day when I need to, but I mostly like not having to get it filled every month. This is one of those controlled substances where you have to get a new script every time, no refills, or at least that’s how my doc runs it. It’s really easy to get addicted to it and abuse it. So I respect the no refills rule. I makes her pay close attention to how quickly patients are running through their scripts. She knows I mostly only ever take it at night but that I like the option of one in the morning when needed. It’s agreeable. So it’s all good.
Pristiq ER- 100 MG 1 per day – This is my anti-depressant. It also helps with fibro but it by no means cures my fibro. It just helps cut the bad days down some. I’m on a second medication for fibro you’ll see. Pristiq is primarily for my depression. Helping with fibro is a happy accident.
Ziprasidone – Geodon – 100MG -1 Per day – This is my anti psychotic. It’s also one big reason I’m almost 300 pounds. I have to diet to maintain weight and stress has me not dieting as much. Geodon makes you crave carbs. I am working on more lean meats, fruits, and veggies. I’m working on quality, if not quantity. But oh how I crave the carbs while on this. It’s soul crushing. It’s so super hard and depressing to be big and no all I have to do is go off this essential medication. But instead I go for walks and tell myself my size doesn’t matter as long as I make healthy choices.
Omeprazole DR – Prilosec – 40MG – 1 per day – This is for my acid reflux. I figured since it’s part of the handful of pills I take every night, I’d list it. Also, as simple as this pill may be, it really improves my quality of life as much as any of the mental health meds.
Gabapentin – Neurontin -100MG – 3 times a day – This med is an anti seizure med also used to treat nerve pain, so it is my fibro med. I’m suppose to take 1 pill 3 times a day, but I made it clear that I will never remember to do that, despite all my good intentions, so I actually take all three at once with her approval. This too will cause me to gain weight which is super fun so I’m super excited about that. But to be pain free…
Topiramate – Topimax – 25MG – 2 per day – Officially this is used to prevent migraines. Unofficially, off label is used to counter the effects of Geodon weight gain. It might actually help me lose weight. Or it’s pseudoscience, but at least I’ll have fewer headaches.