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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Tired and anxious

So I already said this.

Last night I hardly slept at all. I was anxious all night, tossing and turning, feeling like I couldn’t relax. It wasn’t a panic attack, just that anxiety that keeps you uncomfortable and edgy…waiting for something.

I told Hub this morning that I felt anxious last night and this morning…and now. He asked me what I felt anxious about, and I told him I had no idea. I really don’t know what sparked it overnight, or what is keeping it going. Sometimes when I feel anxious, I have an upset stomach and then the anxiety goes away. I know for some people they get anxious which creates the tummy ache, but for me it seems to be the reverse. It’s like my stomach is ruling my head (which I have heard is an actual possibility… the brain in my gut is ruling the brain in my head). The thing is, I still feel like my stomach is unhappy, so maybe that is why I’m still feeling anxious.

I’m finishing this post near to ten at night. I started it at ten this morning. I am feeling less anxious, but I know it’s still there. I had to deal with the dogs all day in the horrendous heat, and I think I was somewhat distracted. But I still feel kinda crappy. I know it’s from the lack of sleep last night and the restlessness. I’ve been having that same kind of tossing and turning for a while now and it’s really screwing with me. I can’t get comfortable and I can’t relax in bed…it’s so disheartening. I used to love sleeping when I was younger, now I feel like it’s a fucking fight every night. Sorry, I’m not big on cursing, but it’s how I feel at the moment. I hate that the one time when I should be able to relax, I’m still fighting with myself for some reason.

Time to turn off the electronics, so I’m just going to end here. Sorry it’s such a short post.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 31, 2013 in anxiety, sleep, stress, tired, tummy troubles

 

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Weight for it

So I’m following up somewhat on my Weight, Weight, don’t tell me post. Here’s why.

I’m frustrated, because that 5ish pound weight gain is now 10ish. And I’m unsure why, other than the stress from Butthead. I’m resisting the need to snack as much as possible because I’m bored. Don’t get me wrong, if I’m hungry and I want something, I go ahead and have a snack…mostly my greek yogurt and frozen fruit smoothie. But otherwise I’m staying with my portion sizes and keeping my boredom eating at bay. Yet, the weight is creeping on.

I am trying so desperately not to get obsessed with this, because I really could. I’m trying equally as hard to not  let this get to me mentally, or moodily, as the case may be. But I’m frustrated. I lost fifty pounds and I don’t want to go backward. I wasn’t entirely trying to lose any more, but I certainly didn’t want to gain any of that weight back. Is it the stress? Over Butthead and my aunt’s passing and maybe some of it about my parents having to deal with my aunt’s passing? Also, since the conversation has been going around about all the issue with my aunt’s estate, my parents are talking about revising and updating their wills. Which reminds me of their mortality (which shouldn’t be a surprise to me as they are 71 and 72 years old). Is that stressing me out, too? Can stress really screw this much with my weight?

I hardly ever talk about my weight with anyone…not even Hub. I never tell anyone that I’m up or down five pounds. I never discuss my eating or how my clothes fit or how often I weigh myself. If someone asks me if I’ve lost weight, sometimes I will just say “I haven’t been paying attention” or I say “Maybe.” I don’t discuss that the weight loss was due to health issues or eating changes or anything. In fact, I’d be just as happy if no one said anything because it’s really not any of their business. I am uncomfortable with anyone commenting on my body, including Hub (who does it anyway…all positive, no matter what weight I’ve been at), so I’d rather there just be no commentary at all. I don’t even discuss it with my doctor, who is too busy moving patients in and out like cattle to have a conversation with  me over anything other than why I am seeing her.

Only here have I openly discussed my weight, and how obsessive I can be over the numbers. And how they’re heading back up. Exercising is difficult for me with my muscles issues, but before this horrendous heatwave, we were walking the dogs in the evenings to work on their training. That was happening while I was gaining the weight, which confuses me even more.

I don’t want the ten (or five) pounds to matter. But deep down, they do matter. It’s like another failure to me.

 

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House stress

The house we are living in is less than two years old. We watched it being built, even taking pictures and video as the project went along. In parts it was very impressive and we felt the builders were excellent, but as the project began winding down, we became less and less impressed…and more and more concerned. Sure, it is understandable that as the project was coming to a close, the builders were ready to move on to new projects. But our project was still important to us, and we felt we were being tossed aside.

We never got fulfillment of a final to-do list, which was to be handled about a year after we moved in. Drywall repairs that were supposed to be handled never got taken care of because the builder’s drywall people never called us back. Months went by and we finally just had to let it go because of my illnesses. Issues that cropped up, we brought them to the builder’s attention and were told it wasn’t a problem or it wasn’t covered. Or the “fix” was pretty much a waste of our time and didn’t actually fix the problem.

Our upstairs closets are hot. That isn’t right. The builder told us that closets aren’t “conditioned” so that’s why they seem warmer. That isn’t right, but we got blown off. A vent in our master bathroom shower area gets condensation on it, which someone came in to fix and it didn’t work. We still have condensation on the vent, even when we’re not showering. Two of our upstairs bathrooms have no air/heat vent in them. We were told it was because they only put vents on outside walls and those two rooms are not on any outside wall…unfortunately that means those two rooms are warm and humid. Who wants to break into a sweat in the summer when you are brushing your teeth? It’s like the closets…how do you put your clothes in a closet and then have the closet get so hot that the clothes get musty and (potentially) moldy? We checked with the a/c guy last summer who said we could pay him and he’d come in and add the vents into those two bathrooms, that the current ventilation system could handle it. But he wouldn’t do it during the summer…and we forgot over the fall/winter because of me being sick. Now it’s hot out again and both of those bathrooms? There’s black stuff dotting the ceiling around the exhaust vents. WTF is that? I’m freaking out because I think it’s mold. Hub things it’s dirt being spit out of the exhaust fans, but it looks like mold.

I’m thinking our attic is not ventilated properly…because we don’t have these heat problems on the main level of the house. The powder room down there doesn’t have an air/heat vent, and it seems okay temperature-wise. This house was not an inexpensive investment…nor was our builder a cheap builder. So WTF, what is going on? And do we call the a/c & vent people or roofing people or plumbing people? And of course the warranty is gone, so we’re going to have to fork over cash for this shit…

Arg. I’m so stressed out over this. The bathroom is so gross with that crap on the ceiling. Blech.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2013 in anxiety, stress

 

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Lost in translation

I had my bi-monthly session with T today. Sometimes I walk out of there feeling even more lost and confused than when I went in. Sometimes I leave and have no recollection of what T suggested I consider. Like, I’m so far lost that I can’t even absorb what she’s said. Today was one of those days.

I feel lost.

Because of that statement, I have a feeling that this post is going to ramble and be weird and scattered. I apologize in advance for that. Sometimes the rambling helps me put into context what we talked about in session. Sometimes not. I’ll try to weigh in at the end of the post.

T told me it doesn’t sound like I’ve accepted my chronic illness, or who I am right now. That I haven’t accepted that there is no WHY as to my chronic illness. I feel like I know there is not WHY to it, and that I know I can’t change the fact that I have these chronic illnesses. She tells me that based on what I said to her today, she doesn’t believe that. And until I grieve the loss of who I was before (and how my life was before) the chronic illness, I can’t move forward.The thing is…I grieved once before. I grieved over the loss of who I was and how my life was when I first got sick. Well, technically, years after I first got sick. But I felt like I grieved and accepted… But here I am in the same spot, being told that I need to grieve again. That grief is a never-ending cycle that will be traveled again and again. I find that thought really depressing, btw. The thing is, I had a long remission from a lot of the pain and anxiety–nearly a year–where I felt almost close to normal physical and mentally. And I had hope that I would be okay, that things would continue on that way. And then the flare came again and I feel like I took about a thousand steps backward and was back where I started. And the idea of a long-term remission seems out of the question, and that’s difficult for me to deal with. The lack of a light at the end of the tunnel, the lack of hope for feeling semi-normal for anything more than a day at a time, is sad.

She also told me that my lack of purpose is holding me stagnant. I know this, to a point, but I can’t seem to find what makes me happy. What made me happy before the Prilosec-fever (and before Sweet Pea died), does not seem to have the same lure at the moment. And I have nothing in front of me that makes me feel the same way as I did then. And on top of that, the business that I was running (teeny tiny business) has been sitting stagnant as well, because I have no interest in pursuing it. Yes, the things I have to do will be done, but no further development or new work is being done. Because I just can’t seem to work up to caring about it. I’ve tried to close it, but at the urging of T and my family, have set that side until I am in a more stable frame of mind. They don’t want me making a rash decision in the midst of feeling so blah about everything. And not knowing where I want to go instead.

So I feel lost. Lost with what to do next in therapy. Lost with what to do next with my life’s purpose. Lost with why I’m not able to move forward. Again, I feel like I can identify the issues I’m grappling with, but not how to resolve them. And then I get overloaded in my session with T and walk out feeling more lost than when I went in. Is it just me, or do other people walk out of their therapy session without feeling like they grasped what was talked about during the hour?

 

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I’m oh so tired

Yeah, I’m tired. I’m physically tired, I’m mentally tired, I’m emotionally tired.

I’m tired of thinking. I’m tired of watching. I’m tired of trying to be on top of everything. I’m tired of keeping up with all the details.

I feel run down. I feel disappointed. I feel sad. I feel beaten down.

This is a sucky post. Beware, it’s going to continue that way.

I tried to do some work outside on Sunday. Our fence is being eaten by vines and trees and bushes. I wanted to get some of the vines off so they don’t end up rotting the fence. We spent a shit-ton on that damn fence and it hasn’t even been two years yet. I want it to last and I know the vines and bushes are going to destroy it. Also, the areas are harboring bugs, and I hate all the damn bugs in the yard. I worked for about 20 minutes and had to give up. I don’t have the arm strength, the hand strength, the stamina. I hate that. I hate the disappointment I feel in myself and my situation. I know I should feel a sense of accomplishment considering where I was six months ago, but this week / this month / right now, I only see the negative…the things I can’t conquer (yet).

I feel like I’m still the one in my relationship (with hub) who stays on top of details. The bills, the phone calls, the following-up of pretty much everything. I’m the one who has to remember the details, the little things, the stuff that has to get done. I’m so tired of it, and I’m tired of the stress of it. And the one time I let him handle something (that was his bill, btw), he fucked it up. He didn’t take care of it, and it went to collections. So don’t anyone tell me to let him be responsible and he has to deal with the aftermath… that doesn’t work. The aftermath affects ME, too. That’s my credit that is affected, too. I’ve NEVER had anything go to a collection agency. I’ve never had a collection agency call my house (or work) and “gently” remind me that I owe someone money (btw, it was like $50… ). It’s not comfortable. So this is what happens when I let Hub remember the details. It sat on his frickin’ dresser for months, in a stack of shit that had to be remembered. We had the $50, we knew it had to be paid, Hub said he would handle it. How did it get handled? After the fuckin’ collection agency called, I wrote the damned check and put it in the envelope and put a stamp on the envelope. Hub put it in the mail. Woo, he remembered that at least (after I reminded him to take it with him to put in the mail). There are other things sitting on that dresser waiting for him to remember. Fortunately, none of them are owed to outside sources. They are things I’ve asked him to do, like review the credit card bill that has a bazillion amazon.com charges. It’s his amazon account, he needs to make sure all the charges are correct. He has several months worth of this to look at in his “stack” and has done none of it. I hate having to remember to remind him to take care of it. It’s exhausting.

Butthead is getting better, a little every day. But we’re still not allowing her upstairs and we’re still not leaving her alone out of her crate. So I’m still not using my regular office, but spending my days on the couch in the family room with the laptop and iPad. I feel like my life is in a state of stasis. I am basically just wasting time between taking the dogs out during the day…well, wasting my time watching Butthead to make sure she’s not peeing or pooping in the house, make sure she’s not chewing the wood floor in my dining room, make sure she’s not chewing the legs on the kitchen table, make sure she’s not licking the drywall for no apparent reason, make sure she’s not chewing bits off her chew toys, make sure she’s not driving Le Moo crazy. I’m constantly on watch with her, and not only is it exhausting, it’s pretty much demoralizing. I feel like I’m a waste of space because this is what I do all day. I miss feeling like I’m participating in real life. I miss feeling like I’m contributing. (and yes, she gets plenty of exercise and has lots of chew toys to keep her busy, but she’s still not trustworthy)

I’m not sleeping well…even worse than usual. I’m not comfortable and I’m having a ton of dreams. I’m restless at night and feel like I’m spending most of the night waking up to toss and turn. The rest of the time I feel like I’m plagued with dreams that keep me from resting.

The heat and humidity and storms are getting to me. I am outside all the time with the dogs and I hate having to deal with the oppressive heat and humidity every day. I hate dealing with the bugs that are swarming because of the weather. I hate the storms that screw with our schedule and leave me anxious that if I don’t get Butthead out to go to the bathroom, she’ll pee (and/or poop) in the house. I hate that the potential storms leave me anxious about how Le Moo will handle them (she’s still having some issues).

Just tired. I am continuing to do my thankful list every night. I am trying to stay thankful, but today, this week, this month, I’m feeling so tired.

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2013 in anxiety, Butthead, dogs, hub, self-critical, tired

 

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Chronic Myofascial Pain

Chronic myofascial pain, also known as Myofascial Pain Syndrome (they keep changing the name), is basically a diagnosis of exclusion. You go to every doctor possible in the dictionary of doctors, wait for all of them to give you every test imaginable (and some not so imaginable), and then weep endlessly when they tell you nothing is wrong with you. Because things hurt. And the doctors don’t know what the hell to tell you, so they give you a name to go with your symptoms. But the name is a generic term that means nothing to the medical community…and is nothing and everything to you. Because you have nothing else.

You’re thinking, hey, I got stuff that hurts, too.

I’m sure you do. But this kind of hurt is different. It’s something deep inside your muscles and it’s like someone is strangling the muscle. Technically, the pain comes from the fascia that surrounds the muscle. It becomes stiff and hard and does strangle the muscle it is sheathing. It feels achy and hard and hot and painful and deep and unending. It doesn’t respond to painkillers, and it doesn’t go away. It doesn’t ease up. Stretching makes it worse. Moving is difficult because the muscles feel short and tight and there’s no give. Muscles should be soft and pliant, move easily, and support the rest of your body. Yeah, I don’t have that. Forget exercising because it is like you are tearing the muscle into a million pieces, and then it takes weeks or months to repair enough to use the muscle again. If this is happening in your leg muscles, it could mean not being able to walk for days or weeks or longer.

For me specifically, my issues started mainly with my arms, my elbows, my shoulders, my neck, the ribs under my left breast, and my back. The arms, shoulders and neck were the worst. It came to a point where I couldn’t pick things up heavier than a dinner plate because my arms hurt so much. Some short time later, my fingers and hands became affected. Years later, my knees started giving me trouble–at some point leaving me walking on crutches because putting weight on either knee was impossible. Sometime in between those two points, my hips offered up their own special brand of pain, mostly at night which made sleeping an uncomfortable experience.

But let’s start at the top…my neck. Sometimes it felt like it couldn’t hold my head up. Especially if I’d spent the day before reading a book. Because reading a book meant holding my neck in one position for a period of time. That strained the muscles back there, which left me hardly able to move my neck or hold my head upright. Forget writing, which required me to look down at what I was writing for any period of time, because I ended up with the same issue. Bending my arm for any period of time–like to hold a book or a pen–left those muscles around my elbow squeezed and in pain. It was like they locked in that position and straightening felt nearly unthinkable. My shoulders always ached, so sitting or moving or lifting things hurt.

Cut to the core, any movement hurt. Not moving hurt. And the doctors had no clue what the hell to do with me or for me. At the time, fibromyalgia was up-and-coming, still very much unknown. Myofascial Pain Syndrome was pretty much unheard of. I was lucky enough to finally stumble on a doctor who specialized in Fibro and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. We thought–having read the minimal amounts of information online–that Fibro was the closest explanation to what I was feeling. The major exception? Fibro is whole body, and my pain was very consistently on the upper half of my body. Fibro was balanced all over the body–both sides equally–and my pain was consistently worse on my left side. The neurologist I saw agreed with me, it wasn’t Fibro…and he was the one who gave me a name.

But as I said earlier, the diagnosis was of exclusion. Nothing else fit, despite test after test and doctor after doctor. So the neurologist put me on B12 and iron supplements (both of which were desperately low) and prescribed physical therapy for me. I was in therapy for eight months, all of which was manual (massage) therapy, because anything else would have been devastating for my muscles.

That was over twelve years ago. The myofascial pain syndrome has migrated, changed somewhat, varied in intensity, but has never left. It follows me everywhere, it reminds me of who I am every day. I’ve been in and out of physical therapy, I’ve spent months living on a heating pad, I’ve been on and off supplements, and I’ve been in and out of more doctor’s offices. When my knees went bad, I wasn’t sure it was related. I went to orthopedic doctors and I had MRIs, but they never found anything. I think it was sparked off an adverse reaction to anti-biotics, but I can’t be sure. Either way, I’m fairly confident at this point it is the myofascial pain syndrome spreading and changing. It sucks.

I can tell you quite clearly, it sucks.

No one can see the pain I carry with me every day. Most people don’t understand why I limp, or can’t pick up a grocery bag, or can’t put dishes away in an upper cabinet. They don’t understand why I can’t read for an hour, or write for an hour, or sit in one position for an hour. They don’t understand why I need to be in physical therapy, or why I get depressed over my health. They don’t see an illness, so they don’t understand. They don’t know the term “myofascial pain syndrome” so they don’t know what it’s like to live it. They don’t understand a hurt that goes so deep and won’t go away no matter what I do. Even going to physical therapy for three months, two times a week, did not resolve the pain in my shoulder. It made it feel better for a couple of weeks, but now that I’ve been out of PT for a month, I’m feeling the same pain all over again…like it never got better.

There’s no resolving this pain, there is just the hope that something I do will make it less intense for any period of time. Even an hour is welcome. Even ten minutes is welcome.

You can read about CMP (or MPS) online. There is a lot more information available now than when I was diagnosed. You can read about trigger points and myofascial release, and better description of symptoms, I’m sure. I’ve learned what I need to know to survive living with this in the way that I can. My experience is long, but your mileage may vary.

If you have questions, please leave them in the comments section for me. I’m more than willing to share my knowledge and experience, such as it is.

 

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Failure

I’ve been having some shoulder pain again. This is part of what started me back to physical therapy in February…that and the need to get my muscles reconditioned from the Prilosec-fever. I pretty much worked on my shoulder(s) in PT for about six weeks, then moved into working on my back when I threw it out. Then I stopped going because our insurance changed and my physical therapist went on vacation and Butthead came into our lives.

My shoulder was feeling better until the last two weeks or so. Now I’m in pain again. This is part of my myofascial pain syndrome, and it’s chronic, recurring, and on-going. No other way to say it, the pain always comes back eventually, no matter what I’ve done to help it.

On one hand, logically, I know it. I know the pain may get better and may go into “remission,” but it is always going to recurr or “flare” up. On the other hand, at the thought of having to go back to the physical therapist and tell her that my shoulder pain is back, it feels like a failure. Talking to T I understand that it is the therapy that failed me and not me that failed at the therapy, and the truth is pretty much everything is bound to fail. The chronic pain is just that, chronic. They don’t call it Chronic myofascial pain for nothing.

Even so, the idea that I have to call and go back to the therapist is depressing for me. I’ve avoided calling the office, feeling resentful that I’m going to have to devote two days a week to the therapy, every week, potentially for an indefinite amount of time. It sucks. It sucks to lose that time, it sucks to not see a resolution to this stupid shoulder pain, it sucks to not be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel (i.e. recovery).

It also sucks to be in pain, and the truth is that during and after being in PT for my shoulder, I haven’t had to sit with my heating pad like the months before. So I know it’s the right direction. But man, it’s sucky.

 

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