Daily Archives: May 3, 2014

Deity on a Donut

I figured that C-st on a Cracker might offend some of my Christian readers, so I was trying to figure out the best pairing using deity… I figure it’s a pretty good one, ha ha. Unless you’re one of those people who get huffy and insist it’s a doughnut, and really, I’m too cranky to argue over that one. *grins*

Still, it is apt. I have been in rather severe back pain the last couple of days. Is the kiddo on a nerve? I’m not really sure. I’m not really sure exactly where the kiddo is, though I have some guesses. All I know is that something might be pinched, but that there’s definitely ridiculous levels of pain necessitating lots of laying down. I’m not really good at laying down. I can’t nap ’cause it makes me feel significantly worse in spite of chronic fatigue making me feel non-stop exhausted. Like, makes me feel like I have been beaten with hammers worse; that doesn’t even take into account how much it screws up trying to maintain a sleep schedule, which as we know, is a VITAL thing in the Battle Against Bipolar. Because I’m tired, laying down too long risks falling asleep, and whelp. Thankfully, this laptop battery lasts a couple of hours, meaning that I can distract myself for a bit, and hopefully enable myself to not be flat out too long.

Not that laying down helps much, but right now, I’m sort of desperate for relief. I’ve tried that, hot baths, magnesium oil, Deep Heat. I had a friend using me as a Bowen Technique test case, though that didn’t seem to do much either. By the same token, I’m not inclined to cough up £40-60 for a massage that will likely only give very minor relief. I just sort of sigh — the muscles are all screwed up and out of place and full of relaxin. And of course, with my luck, it’s not just lower back — it’s all of the back, ha ha. I can hope that, like I think, part of it is a trapped nerve and the kiddo will shift and give me some relief, but. We’ll see. ‘Only’ another 40+ days… though of course, that’s a long time when pain is factored in (especially when the most powerful painkiller I can take is paracetamol/Tylenol, and that’s reputedly giving my baby ADHD ¬¬).

Still, at least my mental state is holding steady. Which is especially good, since my appointment letter came through… and is the week I’m due to give birth. Um… yeah… naw, that’s not gonna work. So I’ll have to call next week and get them to bump it back, which means I probably won’t get to see anyone until August or September. Sigh? A teensy bit, but at least my prescriptions are on repeat, and I’ve already got my basic plan of action organized for getting back on my meds, and getting my doses ramped up to where they were. Part of me wonders about going for less, but then I remember how super-mega-horrible depressed I was after Lilbit was born, and yeah… taking my meds properly is the smart idea to avoid postpartum depression atop bipolar depression. And I know that if things are too severe, I can take myself to A&E and talk to the on-duty psychiatrist, so that’s a boon. And I’m a lot better in tune with my mood and mental health now, so… woo? *waves tiny flag*

Anyhoos, as I am in need of not being in pain, I am going to console myself in some freshly baked cake, and then crawl into bed. Yes, cake — Lilbit and I have been making baking dates the last couple of weekends, and it has been joyful. Even as bad as the pain levels are today, I wanted very much to make one of my favorites with her — Coca-Cola cake. It’s a bit fussy, but completely worth it. Plus yanno, bonding with my kiddo and sharing one of my favourite hobbies instead of hiding from everyone… sort of nice. *pats slightly less broken brain*

Hope everyone out there is doing well!


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This Is Gonna Sound Weird, But…..

…..my mood and my self-confidence have only improved since I was fired.

I don’t know why, but I wonder if it’s not just the feeling of relief now that I don’t have to keep trying to do the impossible. That was harder on my self-esteem than being unemployed, as much as I hate it (to say nothing of the financial crisis in which I now find myself). Whatever the reason, this time is as different from the past as night is from day, and I just don’t believe I’m going to be jobless for very long.

I’m sure this could be construed as OVERconfidence, especially since I am a “mature” worker with an employment history that’s as variable as my moods. But the job market is improving, there are several positions open that I think I can handle, and I have both the energy and the attitude to go after them. I really don’t want to have to sling hash or work as a Wal-Mart greeter—although I will if I have to—and while money is important, it’s not the driving force anymore in choosing a job.

For example, I applied for a clinic position yesterday that starts at $21.33 an hour, which is ridiculously low for an RN in this day and age, but it would pay the bills. Besides, it’s an opportunity to do something completely different, which is still high on my list of priorities even though it didn’t work so well for me this last time. I’ve also applied for a full-time urgent care job and a case manager position. Why not? I have absolutely nothing to lose, and possibly a lot to gain. Just because I couldn’t learn how to be a surveyor doesn’t mean I can’t learn something else.

I’m also looking at ways to cut expenses so that no matter what I wind up doing, Will and I won’t always be chasing our tails financially. I found a pretty apartment in a nice 55-and-over community with lots of amenities that’s $450 per month less than our house, which would also significantly reduce our other expenses—no more $500 electric bills, and they pay for water and garbage.

Now, what we would do with the tremendous amount of stuff a couple collects over 34 years is anyone’s guess, but we both like the idea of being in a senior housing complex where there are no children or loud-partying college kids. Besides, people tend to look out for each other in places like that….and someday I’m probably going to need it. Will just came through a bad fall which was followed by a week of intermittent fevers, coughing, and generally feeling lousy—oh dear God, shades of last summer—which in turn was a potential trigger for me. But he’s feeling much better today, and the threat has already receded into the background.

Sometimes I’m amazed at the things I can accept, while at other times I can’t handle change at all. One year ago, I was let go from my nursing director job and thought life as I knew it was over, and I didn’t know how I would ever learn to cope. Fortunately, I happen to be in a good place at this moment in time, and I feel I’m in shape to take on whatever challenges I have to face. Getting a new job is the first one. I’m ready.





Health Update — Not for the Faint of Heart

I will try to keep this clean, but my story may still make some a bit squeamish.

First, the basics.  I had my annual physical a few weeks ago.  Everything seems okay.  We didn't do blood work yet because I've switched thyroid meds and we'll need to do blood work for that in a couple of months anyway.  In order to spare me a poke, we're doing it all then.

I wanted his feedback on my thoughts about how to proceed regarding my prolapsed uterus.  I wanted to give him my full medical history (since this is my first full physical with this new doctor).  I wanted to give him an overview of my current symptoms, not looking to fix anything but just to give him a whole picture and see if anything worried him.  And I wanted to switch thyroid meds from a synthetic to a natural.

Doctors prefer the synthetic for more accurate dosing control, so it's not always easy to get one to switch you when your numbers are good.  My thyroid numbers have been good for a couple of years, but I still feel horrible.  My gut told me I needed to try something new.  He was a bit reluctant but said if I felt really strongly about it he would be willing to give it a try.  I've been on the new medication for about two and a half weeks.  I don't want to jinx anything, but I have been feeling a bit better on the energy front.  Not great.  And no where near how I used to feel.  But I have been able to do a bunch of work around the house - spring cleaning - that I had wanted to do for a long time but just couldn't make myself do because I was so exhausted.  Any improvement on the energy front is wonderful, so I'll gladly take these baby steps with joy.

After hearing my full medical history (including a headache for eight and a half years) and seeing my list of symptoms he suggested another MRI.  It's been about eight years since I had one and my symptoms certainly warrant it.  I told him I want to wait until we try the new meds for a while and after I have surgery and let my body adjust a bit.  If things are still the same I'll have the MRI then.  Besides, we have a one year waiting period for pre-existing conditions that will end in September.  Perfect timing.

I told him about my uterine prolapse diagnosis from the gynecologist and said that after all my research I wanted to have a complete hysterectomy, including ovaries.  He understood my reasoning and said he would back that decision.  He said I wouldn't have trouble convincing the surgeon to do the hysterectomy but might have trouble with the ovaries. But he also said when I mention two second-degree relatives with cancer (my grandma died of ovarian cancer and my aunt died of breast cancer) he was pretty sure I could persuade him.

I go back in two months for those blood tests.  I promised to have a mammogram at the end of the year.  We're good to go there.  That part was easy.  But then I had my surgical consult.  Ugh.  That wasn't so easy.

Sorry to make this so long, but I want to keep this all one post.

My husband came with me.  I told him he didn't have to, but he wanted to.  In the end I was very glad he did.

We start with the basic preliminary stuff, weight, blood pressure, etc.  The doctor comes in and asks lots of questions about my discomfort and pain.  Does this activity hurt?  Does this one?  What about when you do this?  So many questions about things I hadn't ever thought of.  So far so good.

Now, I'll step out, you take off everything from the waist down, cover with the drape, and we'll do an exam.

I'm sure there are women who don't hate pelvic exams.  I'm even sure there are some who get off on it.  But for most women a pelvic exam is something we know we have to do and we just try to endure.  Just get it done quick.  Honestly, trying to be elsewhere mentally as it's happening.

A regular pelvic exam isn't usually painful.  At least for me it isn't.  Uncomfortable, to be sure.  But not painful.  This wasn't a regular pelvic exam.

This exam was more extensive (my husband later said something to the effect of the doctor being in up to his elbows).  Instead of the typical two or three minutes of poking and swabbing, it was ten or fifteen minutes of pushing and reaching and pressing internally and externally.  (There was a nurse in the room that I paid no attention to.  My husband said he looked over at her during the exam and she was squirming and looked uncomfortable and pained just watching it.)  It hurt.  A lot.  And everyone in that room knew it was hurting me a lot, even if I tried to be still and wait it out.  The doctor even apologized a couple of times when I jumped.  It wasn't too long after it started that my pain became evident and my husband came and stood beside me and held my hand.  I'm so grateful for that; it helped get me through.

Eventually the doctor had all the information he needed from the exam.  He said he would step out, I could get dressed, and then he'd come back and talk to me.

He left.  I got dressed while standing on very weakened legs.  And I cried.  It hurt so much.  More than anything but labor.  It just hurt so much.

He came in.  We talked.  He did quickly agree to the hysterectomy and balk at the ovaries.  He told me all the reasons the medical community would suggest I keep them.  I told him I'd done my research and gave him my reasons for getting rid of them.  He said he would back that decision.  He said he couldn't guarantee that the surgery would relieve my pain.  Even after all the exams it's possible my pain isn't coming from my uterus and ovaries.  But he also said women tend to have a very good sense about this and it's best to trust them on it.  (That earned him a lot of points with me.)  He said my uterine prolapse isn't as bad as the lady who examined me before had said, but it can vary from day to day depending on how much I've been on my feet.  But he also said that with the amount of pain I've had and since I'd tried pain medications and hormone treatments already with no success, even without the uterine prolapse a hysterectomy might be advised.

I need to have a bladder test to see if I am a candidate for a bladder sling (you'll have to look that up; this is too long already).  Then we will schedule my surgery.  I will have a complete hysterectomy including ovaries.  It will be performed laparoscopically (with robot assistance) and delivered vaginally.  The recovery is two to six weeks (small stuff at two weeks, full activity at six).  I will stay one night in the hospital.

The day of and day after the exam, my pain was excruciating.  So bad I had trouble walking and was brought to tears more than once.  My pain used to come and go, but I am hurting all the time now.  I am cancelling a lot of plans because I hurt too much.  I am taking pain pills to get through the most important things (like my daughter's college graduation, yay!), but then I pay a price the next day.  Rebound headache from over-the-counter pain meds is tough.  Rebound headache from prescription pain meds is awful.  So I have to be very selective about what I take and when. 

I've missed most of my son's track season.  I missed the big party for the neighborhood's seventieth birthday that I'd been anticipating for months.  I missed my friend's fiftieth birthday party.  And so many other things I wanted to attend.  I'm just so ready for this to be over.

I understand things could be tough after surgery.  I know my body will go through a shock and might not adjust well to the lack of hormones.  I know I will hurt a lot as I recover from the surgery.  But I am so ready to trade the pain and problems I have now for the ones I may have in the future.  I'm just so ready to feel like I'm on the road to recovery.

A lime-a-rita a day…

…Keeps the misery at bay.

Not really. I am a mixed stress/mania/depressed drinker. Sometimes I go bonkers. Sometimes I go months without a drop of liquor. One doctor said I had a drinking problem at one time. The people at the rehab center said I had a coping problem. How do you ever know who is right? I know me better than anyone and I am pretty sure…I have a coping problem. And sometimes, when you’ve put up with so much shit…having a couple of drinks isn’t a bad thing.

Lime-a-ritas. And I didn’t have to pay for them, for we were invited to R’s house so Spook could play with his granddaughter. They even fed us pizza. Tis a good thing.

I am…happy and content right now. Perfectly lucid, too. I just feel relaxed and at peace. That happens as often as an eclipse. I like it.

I was manic today. Good manic. I had a chance to “be bad” with a guy but…I’m not sure if it’s the meds or common sense but I didn’t do the typical manic thing “do first, guilt after.” Maybe I am growing up. Or the Paxil is just setting off the mania. After 8 months of depression, I can’t bring myself to care as long as I have some semblance of self control. You don’t know desperation until you’ve spent 8 solid months in a walking coma.

I FEEL things again. Bye bye lithium, hello spring and Paxil. It’s hard to tell what is responsible for the sudden uplift or if it’s a combination of all. I feel good, so I am just going to let it be.

I ran errands today. I was afraid when I faced the landlord I would “fail to regulate emotion” and explode over that maintenance guy being such an ass. I didn’t. Maybe because Mrs. Landlord was there and while she is sicken ingly polite, you can tell she’s upper class and looking down on you. Makes me nervous when I see her, especially when she comes through the trailer court in her $40,000 SUV. The landlord is nice, I like him a lot. She, on the other hand, is a pain in my ass. I’ve not dealt with her once in 5 years and now she’s in my bloody face. I pay on time, I am quiet, fuck off. He said I do good and he appreciated me apologizing and having the yard cleaned up. HER I could happily go my whole life without encountering. I don’t like snotty fake people who are nice to your face and probably trashing you behind your back. Maybe it’s paranoia but I’ve been proven right too many times to believe it.

I did something AMAZING today. It’s such a normal banal thing no one else thinks twice about. Some even consider it enjoyable. Me…Panic city. For almost three years I have lived on drive thru food. Today…I actually took my kid to McDonald’s so she could go in the playpit there. It was packed and noisy but…I felt totally calm. That almost never happens. My mood was up, my anxiety was down. Instead of anxiously biding time til I could escape, I just sat and watched the kids have fun. It felt…beautiful. Such a small thing and yet when it’s beyond your capability at times…It feels like climbing a mountain.

Also beautiful is this absence of feeling like I am smothering. I am enjoying my kid again, enjoying my cats again. The other night I woke up with all four cats and my kid in bed with me. Instead of being disconcerted…I felt happy and warm and fuzzy. WOW. I want a Paxil IV if that is what is responsible. Free base it.

I was reading another blog about someone else’s struggles with the illness and the incompetence of mental health care…And my heart just went out to her. It seems condescending to say “I’ve been there” but it’s the truth. When I was stable enough to work I couldn’t get insurance or pay for my shrink or meds. I had to go on disability just to get my illness properly diagnosed and half assed treated. And it’s sad because they preach about eating healthy, not being overweight, blah blah blah…But the healthcare system everywhere is so fucked up, it’;s no wonder people just give up or become self destructive. And mental healthcare is even worse because while Prozac and the like may be handed out like Tic-Tacs, for the most part mental illness is still the bastard child of health issues and treated accordingly.

I don’t have the answers but I know the way things are now simply isn’t working. The abundance of murder and such should speak volumes. Half the people convicted for violent crimes have some sort of mental illness. You have to wonder if they’d gotten proper treatment if things might have turned out differently. I frequently wonder why some people crack up and do such things, while some people (like me) just keep hanging on by the skin of our teeth and avoid that route. It’s food for thought. Is it genetic? Behavioral? Weakness of character?

Okay, I am getting deep and philosophical, the mania has ended.

While I’m being less shallow… R declared today “I like cheerful Niki.” While it may be truth, every time some idiot says that, I cringe because it’s like a rejection of who I am. Yes, mania makes me pleasant and fun. But if you can’t accept the flipside, then you’re an ass. As Marilyn Monroe said, “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.”

Truer words were never spoken.

Just chillin’ on my pony

Had a good day today. No work. Cancelled my shift tomorrow (5:45am-6pm, with a 45 minute drive both ways. Fuck that) Went riding.

Here’s me relaxing on my pony. I just need a pillow and blanket and I could fall asleep.


Ayla and San