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Monthly Archives: October 2013

A year ago

A year ago at this time, I was on the down-slide of my “Prilosec-fever.” I was at the beginning stages of lethargy, I had already cut out all carbs and sugar–cold turkey–and I was falling deeply into depression. I ate very little and was barely leaving my bed. I was paranoid and having panic attacks. I had no idea what was happening to me, but it was both physical and psychological. I thought I was going crazy…I thought my brain was broken, along with my body.

Today, I’m driving and taking care of a lot of things due to my husband’s ankle problem (poor boy is in a walking cast now). I’m cooking for a get-together on Saturday, I’m grocery shopping without Hub (something I hadn’t done in years), and running errands on my own. I’m going to PT twice a week and seeing T every other week…driving myself to nearly all appointments. I’m doing laundry and taking care of the dogs, traveling out of state with family, and a few weekends ago I helped my parents setup for, run, and breakdown a yard sale.

And I’m still afraid. I’m afraid that this is all temporary and any day I will fall backwards into the pit I was in a year ago. I’m SO much more mindful of things today, of where I am physically and mentally, but I’m still afraid. I let these thoughts drift through my consciousness, but I don’t linger on them. I don’t want to dwell, I want to live in the moment and move forward in the state I am in now. I try very hard. I often wonder if other people have to try this hard to be “normal.” (whatever “normal”  means.)

I still struggle with fatigue and anxiety, don’t get me wrong. But when I look back to where I was a year ago this time, I am grateful for the progress I’ve made. Last year on Christmas eve I was in the ER, in tears, sure I was about to be committed. No one knew what was going on with me, even there. They sent me home saying I was dehydrated and needed to eat more. They sent me home thinking I had a horrible tumor growing in my brain that they would do nothing for unless it began to impact me significantly (a diagnosis that was later redacted…after I spent weeks and weeks freaking out). I still struggle with pain from my chronic illnesses, and I still get down more than I’d like.

And Hub has pointed out–and I see it myself now–that I do get short with people sometimes. I feel like I have reasons for getting exasperated with people, but Hub disagrees with me. He says I get that way without any reason he can see, but a lot of times I don’t tell him why I’m annoyed because it’s him or something he has done. But I am at the point where I pick my battles and the rest of the time I don’t want to start anything with him. It isn’t worth the energy or the aggravation, but apparently I’m still letting my annoyance show. I’m trying to work on that. I know I have this issue with my mom sometimes, too, but with the same explanation. I really really dislike (see “hate”) when she asks me three or four times in one conversation if I’m OK. Just because I’m not ebullient (fucking cheerful) all the time, she worries…and so she asks repeatedly if I’m okay. If I say YES the first time, don’t ask me again. It really aggravates me to no end. And I have told her this, but she doesn’t seem to get it. I don’t want to fight with her, but again the annoyance comes through, and i hear it, too. It is something I will continue to work through.

So I’m a work in progress. No shock there. But I am far forward from where I was last year. Thankfully.

 

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Please Recycle: Bailey The Reusable Dog

I am so touched at this story. And I understand very clearly the question of “Who saved whom?” Thank goodness there ARE people in this world who recycle.
Recycled dogs ROCK.

Going To The Dogs

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They found her in the back seat of a stranger’s car at the mall, wearing a tired red collar without a tag, a crumpled paper sack holding two cans of dog food next to her bushy black tail.

Whoever left her probably believed they were doing the best thing, that maybe the owner of a nice car would have the money to keep her and care for her. She was well groomed and well fed; her people had cared for her. Whatever it was that brought them to the point of parting with her — a divorce, a deployment, a lost job. They must have believed this was better than taking her to a shelter.

But the owner of the nice car didn’t or couldn’t or wouldn’t keep her, and she ended up at the shelter anyway, one of the several million homeless dogs that are killed in shelters every…

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Posted by on October 29, 2013 in anxiety, dogs

 

Blah blah blah

Some days you just feel blah, right?

I feel blah today. Technically, I feel crappy. I’m tired, I’m stressed, I’m overwhelmed. Stuff hurts, I’ve got some dizziness going on, my stomach is unhappy. My arm hurts. It’s cold out. I’ve had to turn the heat on in the house, at least on the main level. I don’t like the heat on, because I trend toward feeling overheated. Also, I have had moments of anxiety over the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning because I’ve just turned our heat on and what if there is a leak? I keep talking myself out of it, but it lingers with me. In our previous houses, we had no gas utilities so carbon monoxide poisoning was not a possibility. Here we have gas heat, so it’s a new fear for me. But really, it’s me not feeling well that is upsetting me. It’s my arm. It’s my health anxiety that is screwing with me today. I am unamused.

So I am still thinking about T telling me that I fear change. It is bothering me because I don’t feel like I fear change…I fear the unknown. Is that different? It feels different. I don’t mind change most of the time. I mean, of course there is some fear of change because it’s change. But it isn’t a deep down stop-everything-and-freeze fear. It’s a normal fear of something new. But the unknown…what might be coming that we can’t be prepared for…that’s what I don’t like. I don’t like being unprepared…and when there’s unknown, how can you prepare for it? These feel like silly things to say, but it IS how I feel.

I just don’t feel good today. I don’t like feeling this way. I know it’s my health anxiety, but I haven’t been able to work myself out of it, or distract myself away from it. I don’t like days like today. These are the kind of days when I want to tell my husband “In case I don’t see you again, I love you.” I’ve never done that. We tell each other we love each other all the time, often before we separate contact to go somewhere. But there are days when I want to say that to him because I worry that I will die before I see him again. It’s a horrible thought and I would never say it to him because it would scare the shit out of him. It’s my health anxiety fucking with me, there’s no reason it has to fuck with him like that, too. It’s bad enough what it does to our lives.

I started this post in one direction but I ended up trying to use it to distract myself from the pain in my arm and the health anxiety that follows me around. It isn’t working, so I’ll try to come back and talk about fearing change and the unknown another time.

 

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Not again!

It’s been over 4 years since I discovered that I have a wheat allergy. I discovered this after months and months of symptoms, without any assistance from any doctor. They all thought I was nuts, that there was nothing wrong with me, and that the symptoms I had were a figment of my imagination. No doctor helped me, despite me begging with several to figure out what was wrong with me.

At the time I was eating a lot of wheat products (cous cous especially), and my reaction was what I considered histamine related. I later figured out on my own that I would eat something with wheat, and within five to ten minutes, sometimes sooner and sometimes a tad later, my face would begin to burn and turn bright red. My ears would burn so hot that they would turn purple. I would get very agitated and wired, like I was getting an adrenaline rush. At the time, because I had no clue, I would sit with cold packs on my face for hours trying to get the heat to dissipate. I was frustrated and scared that there was something wrong with me that the doctors couldn’t find. Sound familiar? One day I was eating lunch–which consisted of cous cous (which are basically little teeny tiny balls of wheat) and cheese, and cottage cheese–and as I was coming to the end of the bowl I felt my face burning. And it struck me that I had been eating cous cous a lot, and that the majority of my reactions were after I’d eaten lunch or dinner (I never eat breakfast). But because the reaction would sometimes happen later in the evening, I didn’t attribute it to food. And because I had no allergies, the “histamine” part of the reaction was foreign to me.

On my own, after my own research about gluten and celiac issues, I abruptly cut out wheat from my diet. Unfortunately, when I say abruptly, I mean I attempted to cut out all wheat from my diet. It took me a very long time to realize that there was wheat hidden in all kinds of things I didn’t know about, so I continued to have reactions at times without knowing why. But once I learned, I began feeling better. I always knew when I’d accidentally eaten wheat because I would start to get a burning face and feel really agitated. If we were out to dinner, I would start twisting and turning in my seat, or I’d be repeatedly adjusting my position in my car seat. It is very uncomfortable and quite discomforting. We’ve stopped eating out unless it is somewhere that offers a gluten-free menu, or I stick to things that are plainly cooked, no sauce, and I skip the bread products. So in essence, we eat out fairly rarely, and when we do we go to the same places. I don’t eat at other people’s houses if I can help it, with the exception of my parents’ house. If I have to go to a function, I stick to raw vegetables and/or plain turkey or roast beef (like deli meat if there is a tray), or cheese slices on a deli platter.

So the “not again!” part is that last night I did something stupid. I was out at Wegman’s and I picked up a rotisserie chicken for dinner. I checked it online and although there was no wheat in the ingredients, there was an allergy warning saying there could be cross contamination to wheat, nuts, tree nuts, shellfish, etc. But every time I eat out there is a chance of contamination. So I took the risk. And last night I believe I suffered for it, because my face was burning and my ears were so so hot. I had to drag out the old ice pack and sit with it for about an hour. But I figured it was my mistake. I had a moment of weakness and I suffered for it. Sucks that it was over a stupid rotisserie chicken that wasn’t even all that great. I mean, if it had been a chicken-fried steak, that almost would have been worth the aftermath. Maybe an Outback bloomin’ onion… <drool>. ANYWAY, so I figured I did it to myself, and I would know better. But tonight, after dinner, my face started getting hot. But I had nothing unusual for dinner. I’m very confused.

And as my face started burning, I wanted to cry. I’m not sure I can make my way through this allergy situation again. The only thing I had in common from last night to tonight was potatoes (if it wasn’t the chicken last night). But I had potato chips with lunch and had no issue. So WTF? W.T.F. ?? Figuring out the allergy the first time was a pain, but at least I was able to single something out fairly easily (once I realized it was an allergy reaction). If I have to start eliminating food again, I’m going to go nuts. I have such a dysfunctional relationship with food as it is, putting myself on an elimination diet could send me spiraling into a direction that would be really bad for me.

Right now my face is not too hot and it’s been just over an hour since it started. And I haven’t had to use an ice pack, so maybe I was just too warm after dinner (even tho I felt chilly). And I didn’t end up with the burning ear or the chills or the agitation…so maybe it was an anxious reaction? I don’t know. But I guess I have to start paying attention again. *sigh*

 

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Don’t know how to title this post

So Hub has been told that he has a job until November 3rd. The contract he is working on is over on November 3rd (if they bother to get the extension signed for THAT). He’ll have no job, no income, nothing as of the 3rd. I’m trying very hard not to freak out, not to cry, not to panic.

Well, too late. I had my session with T today (lucky her) which I went to after I had already written the above paragraph. And it was so much fun and there were lots of smiles and laughs and…well, that was all a lie. Not the session part, because I did indeed have my session with T. However, she was running 10 minutes late and since I’m always 10 minutes early, I got to sit and wait for 20 minutes. And unfortunately, considering I had heard the news about Hub’s job only an hour or so before, I got all teary-eyed in the waiting area. And not only was there someone sitting there (presumably waiting for the person who was running into my allotted time), but one of the other therapist’s kids were wandering around back and forth back and forth back and forth. And I did my best to wipe away the tears and not meet anyone’s gaze.

When T finally came out–as did the people who were in her office–I went into her office and when she joined me, she knew I was not having a good day. She told me I looked like I was in more pain than usual, which I agreed to. Then we started talking and I told her about Hub’s job. And pretty much promptly burst into tears. And I am SO not a good crier. I am an ugly ugly crier. My eyes get all red and swollen, my nose gets red, and my face gets all blotchy. And my nose runs. A lot. And I tried not to cry loudly. And T sat there looking all reassuring and calm, which totally didn’t help. I’m fucking afraid. I’m scared of Hub being without a job. I hate being in this vulnerable place. I hate not being able to contribute to our finances. Even if it’s not as much as he makes, we’d still have had extra money coming in during the past months (or years even), and it would be some money to stretch us through this time. But I’m not working, and finding a job now (or in the past) has been hard for me, because I’m not able to handle a routine job. I can’t tell whether I’ll be up to working from one day to the next. Sometimes it can even be long stretches of not being able to work. No employer wants that.

And what came up–that T found really interesting–is that the anxiety of not knowing what is coming next is what gets to me. It isn’t ONLY bad things (a lot of times it is), but sometimes it’s just things. To which she has now labeled me as fearing change. And the truth is, sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. It kind of depends on my head-space and what circumstances are around that time. Sometimes I do fine with change, sometimes I hate it. But I really hate the unknown, and the fear that comes along with the unknown.

So I cried, a lot, in session. And for me crying can be a release. But really this whole crying session was because it had JUST hit me what was really happening. And I had no time to process it at home, alone. Otherwise I wouldn’t have broken down in session and wasted a whole hour with T. I only get to see her every 2 weeks…and now with the job loss, I might have to stop going until he gets another job. As it is our insurance is only paying for part of her fee, without insurance there’s no way we can afford it. I’ll not only have to stop my PT but therapy as well. It sucks, but at least I’m not in a crisis.

I’m tired. I’m overwhelmed (and I often cry when I am either of those things, so both at once is a double-whammy). Hub is grumpy (and rightly so) and upset. So living in the midst of this is not a happy place to be. It’s not pleasant, I told T. And she told me that was the politest damn way to say it. So I said, it feels shitty. And she nodded. It feels shitty to be in this place.

I am extremely lucky that we will never be homeless and never be hungry. I have family who have the ability and the means to help us. They will not let us be in a bad way. And no one has died. No one’s health is at stake. It doesn’t mean this isn’t a shitty shitty shitty situation to be in.

 

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Day down the drain

This has been a crappy crappy day.

It rained. It was raining when I woke up, it was raining when I had to go to PT, it was raining when I got home. I was going to drive myself to PT in the rain, but by the time I had to leave, it was pouring so bad that I chickened out and had to ask my mom to take me. She didn’t mind, but it made me feel like a failure for not driving myself. I hate driving in the rain–I worry so much about spinning out or sliding, both of which I’ve done in the past–even back before I got sick. I had a car that was notoriously bad in rain and snow and one time just on wet pavement, I did a 360 degree spinout…with cars rushing by me. I hit my head on the doorframe of the car and freaked myself out. So although I’ve driven in the rain a few times, today it was coming down really hard and I just couldn’t do it. PT was okay, but by the time I was done, stuff hurt. And it was still raining when I got home and my poor dogs didn’t want to be outside. Le Moo hadn’t peed since dinner time the night before and I just kept begging her to go out and pee already. (She finally did at about 7pm today…that’s 24 hours!)

So when I get home from PT, Butthead is acting funky. And two days ago she puked all over my freshly cleaned family room carpet, so I was worried about her. And Hub and I are trying to figure out why the hell the stairs going down to our basement smell musty and gross. I’m worried we have a leak behind the drywall or something and that mold is growing in hidden areas. And I’m worried what it’s doing to my health and what repairs are going to do to our wallets. So Hub makes an appointment for someone to come inspect tomorrow (when I’m home alone btw), and 2nd appointment for Monday evening. So I get to deal with the dogs and some stranger tromping through the house tomorrow.

Then Hub gets home and he tells me that if the government shutdown isn’t over by Tuesday, he’s going to have to take paid time off…and he can only go in the hole for 40 hours (he has 2 days saved up). After that, it’s no pay. And even after the shutdown is over? They only have 30 days of work left for him. They’re looking “really hard” to find him more work, but at this point I don’t see that as likely. So I’m scared shitless he’ll be out of work and we won’t be able to pay our bills. He’s only been with this company since June and already they’re letting him down. I’m so pissed and angry and scared. His foot is still bad and not getting better…and if he loses his job we’ll be without health insurance. We can’t afford to be without health insurance between his issues, his medications, and all my issues? Fuck, I want to curl up in a ball and cry. And you know what Hub says to me? Don’t worry. I’m worrying enough for both of us. To which I tell him to stuff it, that there’s no way I can’t worry about this stuff. And he tells me it makes him feel worse to know that I’m worrying, which makes ME feel worse. ARG.

So then Hub goes down to the basement and tries to come back up on our elevator. And gee, guess what? The elevator ain’t working. So he tries to reset it, but that doesn’t work. So I go downstairs to reset it (because I’ve done it before and he hasn’t) and that doesn’t work either. I climb the stairs (on unhappy knees) back to the bedroom to find the paperwork on the elevator and I make the after-hours phone call. I left a long, rambling, sad message for those poor people, finally just asking them to call me the next day. I’m so fucking tired and feel such a heaviness, I have no idea what I said on the freaking voicemail. But the bad news is, we have no repair contract on the elevator, so whatever needs to be repaired is going to be out-of-pocket. A hit to the wallet we don’t need right now with Hub’s job hanging on the way it is.

Bad day. Bad, bad, fucking day.

 
 

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Physical therapy continued

I’m still trying to keep up with things around here, as Hub is still dealing with his ankle injury. We’re starting to suspect there is some gout flare up that is aggravating him, because the pharmacy who refills his pills were not getting his refills done. He had to call his doctor’s office and have the nurse call the pharmacy to yell at them. And pow, two days later the refill is ready. He’s been waiting on this refill for 2 weeks, having run out of the pills altogether last week. So maybe being back on the pills will help him.

Anyway, so yesterday after a week off from PT, I went back to start on my knees. And I had my official evaluation for my fantastic knees. I’ve had knee issues for probably eight years or so (as far as I can remember) that cropped up after what I believe was an adverse reaction to some medication. I woke up the second morning after getting the medication and couldn’t stand on my left knee. It was extremely painful to straighten and would take absolutely no weight. I started walking on crutches while I tried to figure out what happened. And I went to an orthopedic surgeon, who took an MRI and found nothing. Shortly after the MRI appointment, my other knee gave out, buckling underneath me. I spent weeks on crutches, unable to bend either knee or put weight on them. I was on crutches 24/7 or moving around in a rolling chair (and going up/down the stairs on my fat ass). I ended up in physical therapy back then, since no one could explain what happened and everyone just wanted me to get better. I was in PT for quite some time, working on both knees, trying to get them back into good physical shape. The muscles working my left knee were so atrophied that I couldn’t straighten it anymore (it seemed permanently bent which was freaky), beyond the inability to stand on it. The right knee was painful and weak, but did have more flexibility than the left.

On and off I’ve had knee issues since. Overuse, underuse, generic pain from injury…but I’ve just dealt with it. I have a TENS unit at home and I use it and heat to try to keep the pain under control. But as I was finishing PT for my shoulder, Hub indicated he felt I should have my therapist look at my knees, as I seemed to be complaining more about them recently. I, of course, gave him a pissy look and pretended to ignore him. But I knew he was right because I was walking differently and taking the stairs differently…more often. I was having more trouble getting up off the couch, and I was taking the steps differently off the deck when I was going out with the dogs. *sigh* So I did schedule myself for an evaluation with my physical therapist, who I repeat that I love very much. She’s not only really good at her job (seen again during my eval yesterday), but she’s a really great person. She’s easy-going and patient, and has a fantastic sense of humor. Same for the tech I’ve been working with, and the woman at the front desk. So although it’s a pain in the ass to schedule my world around PT twice a week, I am doing it.

So I went in for my evaluation yesterday, thinking I’d have her concentrate on my left knee, which is the one with more trouble. Or so I thought. Until said PT indicated she would just go ahead and check both knees since they’ve both given me problems. Turns out my left knee (and surrounding muscles) is weaker, but the right knee has its own issues. Left kneecap? Moves side to side but not up and down. Tsk tsk she said, not good. The right kneecap? Moves too much to the side and is…cockeyed. Even worse than the left she mumbled as she made notes. WTF. So one doesn’t move enough and the other one moves too much. Fucking A. On top of that, I’ve got a hip drop. I dunno what the hell that is, but apparently I do that bilaterally. Yes, ladies and gents, both sides. And I’ve got some sort of weakness in my IT band on the right. Weak calf muscles on the left. Good, even length strides when walking, she told me, but I walk on the outside of my feet. I knew that from the markings in my shoe inserts, clear as day. Not sure what we’re doing for that lovely issue.

Grumble grumble. So not only do I get to endure kneecap manipulation on both knees (which is not entirely comfortable), but I also get to do PT for both legs. Different exercises on both sides. As I said, I like my physical therapist and I know she’s going to get me back to a better place. And I like the tech who monitors my exercises, but she was a little too freaking gleeful at starting a new routine with me. Then again, she’s always freaking gleeful…both a plus and a minus. She’s good with motivation, but sometimes I want to strangle her Homer-and-Bart-Simpson style

On the way out of eval, my physical therapist also decided to tape up my knees with Kenesiology tape. WTF, that doesn’t look right. But anyway, she put black tape around both my knees which is supposed to help support my knees in a better position. I’ve been taped before–different type–and it’s weird. It’s weird to walk and weird to sit and you get to wear it for 2-3 days through everything including sleeping and showering and etc. Unfortunately, before I even made it home one knee had tape peeling off…I gotta tell her about that because man is that annoying. Every time I move or change clothes or get up from a seated position, I gotta smooth down the tape again. Feh.

Tomorrow I’m back for my first day of actual therapy for the knees (versus evaluation). I know from past experience that it’s painful and tiring. I am not sure how much different than with my shoulder, except that afterwards my shoulder didn’t have to hold me up, but my knees do. So I have to walk on the tired and painful joints after therapy.

Oh, and also? Means I gotta keep up with shaving my legs. Feh poo. I hate shaving my legs… At least when I was doing PT on my shoulder, keeping my pits shaved wasn’t a big deal (technically, I epilate, but whatevs…TMI). My legs are more of a pain to keep hair-free because of the size of the surface and the requirement that I bend and twist and reach to get to all areas. Epilating does keep them hair-free (ish) longer than shaving, but still it’s a pain in the butt. Sorry for the oversharing! 😉

 

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