Spring is in the air!

So there are a few piles of snow still on the ground, mostly where the plows have pushed them. It is actually rather nice outside. I sat outside for a few minutes shortly after I woke up this morning. I would love to open a window or two, except they aren’t easy to access, and they tend to be difficult to open.

My husband texted me to ask how I was feeling today. I mistyped that I “feel like oj” to which he asked if I felt like killing people. Haha! I told him I felt more like a retired washed up pro football player! I’m not actually in pain pain, but that’s because most everything feels numb.

I feel still and my head feels annoyed (huge improvement over migraines!), and I feel stiff. My hands and feet feel like blocks of ice. Although I’ve had that most of my life. “Cold hands, warm heart” To which I’m sure my dog and husband would completely disagree and say I’m rather sadistic when I put my ice cold feet and hands on them in the middle of the night!

My big project I want to get done today…I want to get the ornaments off the Christmas tree. Yes, it’s still up. But I’m the only one that does more than the bare minimum around the house. So far, I’ve looked at it…that’s exhausting. Trying to figure out and plan the best, fastest and least physically draining way to get all the ornaments off. It took me three days to decorate the stupid thing. I wanted a nice Christmas, that turned in to Valentines Day, soon to be St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter….an Easter tree! I could swing it, most of the ornaments are religious anyways!

Well, I’m off to kill the barking dog (not really) although I wish I could just throw something at him so he would stop!

I HATE MONDAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pride

So I met with my pain psychologist for the first time today. I went into this appointment not knowing what exactly it is that she does. I thought she would be trying to teach me to “deal” with the pain. I deal with the pain, everyday! I thought she would try to teach me breathing techniques to cope and get through it. That’s something I learned how to do a long time ago. So I really went into her office thinking this would most likely be a waste of my time, but I’m willing to try everything.

She is going to help teach me ways to deal with the pain, using guided imagery and all that. I’ve seen it help other people, so I’m going to really try it. If she had told me I need to imagine my “happy place” I was going to walk right out of there. I did tell her that when I’m having a migraine, the last thing I want to do is think. But it’s something you work on every day so that when you are in the moment of pain, it is there for you to use as a tool.

For me though, the big thing she said to me boils down to this; I have to throw my pride out the window. I come from a family that, no matter how bad something is, you PRETEND everything is perfect. I’m great at this! And I’ve been an athlete since I was a child, so it’s been beat into my mind to play through the pain and not show weakness. I need to learn to stop when I’m in pain. My pride be damned, I have to admit that I’m not Sheera or Super Woman. I have to ask for help when I hurt, or it’s too much. This is not something I’ve really ever done before.

I’ve watched many people in my family push through the pain. I’ve been told for so long to be strong and keep going, not to let anything get in my way. So, for me to stop because I hurt is going to take A SHIT TON of humility (something I’ve struggled with for years).

She told me when I’m out shopping, if I hurt, to sit and rest for how ever long and how often I have to. I told her, I don’t want people to look at me and judge. I look super young and healthy. You can’t see pain. She told me forget what people think. I told her I’m much better at pushing through the pain. She told me it makes the pain worse later. I said, “yeah I know. But at least I’ll be at home where no one can see.” Mind you, after one of my knee surgeries when I was in a locked straight knee brace and you could see the bulky dressings, I was in an amigo cart at a grocery store and I actually had someone come up to me and tell me that I should be ashamed of myself because the carts are for people that really need them because they have trouble getting around. I know my jaw dropped because I was with my sister and it was clear I was not able to get around well. Being as it was just a week after my surgery and I was still on high doses of pain meds I was rather nasty. The woman that said it was a super morbid obese woman. My snarky comment was to the effect of I was sure the extra walking wasn’t doing her any harm. Petty I know, but I do feel that way. And I’m a super fat person myself.

I want to be healthy and pain free. My physical health is taking a toll on my mental health. I feel useless when I can’t walk, or do everything around the house that needs to be done because of my pain. I have to show my weakness. I have to admit to everyone that I can’t do it all. I have to stop and ask for help.

I’ll let you know how it goes…

Into the unknown

Well, in just 30 more minutes I will be going into the hospital. Now, I’m not currently ill (well not any more than usual), but I’m going in for Pain Management. Not pain control, but MANAGEMENT. For my migraines. Taking drugs to help prevent them no longer works. Not that they ever really did.

So I am scared. I am pretty sure they won’t be loading me up on narcotics. Which I don’t want. I know how easy it is to become addicted. I grew up with addicts in my family. So I won’t go there. I’ve turned down methadone for pain control in the past. So I can handle pain.

I’m scared because this is a last resort. Nothing else works. I can’t live with the debilitating week long migraines, or even just having headaches every day. It’s no way to live. I’ve gone from being this outgoing vivacious, fun person, to someone who hardly leaves the house these days. It’s not fun!

Well, wish me luck guys! I hope something can be figured out!

The ONE thing I never wanted to hear from a doctor…

…you need to go to the pain clinic. But we’ll get back to that!

I had to drive down to Ann Arbor today. I finally had my appointment at The University of Michigan Hospital with Neurology. This is after two stays there with Thorazine. The last time was a drip overnight. I was told that it’s really painful. I was finally asleep, so I don’t know!

Now, I lived in Ann Arbor for awhile. My ex, Jay,  did undergrad and med school at U of M. So I’m sort of familiar with the town, and WAY too familiar with the hospital! I used to stay right across the street about a block down the same road the hospital is on. Now, if you have never been to Ann Arbor, count yourself lucky! No, it’s not because first I’m a Notre Dame fan, and secondly I’m a Spartan (GO GREEN! GO WHITE! MICHIGAN STATE BABY!!!!), but it’s because the roads are TERRIBLE! The campus is all split up through out the town, and there are one way streets everywhere! And we are talking you can only go one way, the same way for like three streets! Now, I’ve gotten lost and turned around more times than I care to remember in Ann Arbor. I’ve even stopped at the police department to try to get to where I need to go. And when I get confused driving, I panic! Jay can tell you…full hysterics, freak out!

Today, I get into downtown, going down E. Huron St. You need to turn Left onto Fuller which runs perpendicular to Maiden Lane (Jay’s old town house)/Medical Center, (Fuller is where the road changes names) which is the road that goes around the hospital. Well, because of traffic and an accident, I couldn’t turn on Fuller, so I veered right on Huron (it actually changes names, but I don’t know it). The next light is Geddes Rd. I turned left down Geddes, because I knew somewhere it turns into Fuller (somehow). So I’m going down Geddes and it turns into full out super rich people residential (I think I passed the Governor’s house). I’m way out in the country by this point. But I didn’t panic! Well, Geddes has an “on ramp” for Huron Parkway. So I take it (you have to). I turn Right onto Huron Pkwy, still calm. Well, about a half mile down the road, there is a sign Fuller (left) Geddes Rd (right). I KNEW GEDDES TURNED INTO FULLER!!!!!!!!!!!!! So I turned left, went back through the country into town, and a few miles later…Medical Center/Maiden Lane! I DID IT!!!! Not one second of panic! Oh, Jay would be proud!

Well, I get into Neurology, get my vitals taken, wait a tad bit. Finally I get called back to a room. Now, at the U, the doctor you are seeing comes out and gets you. So I have the head of neurology. Cool! So we are talking, going over my history, he read my hospital notes. And he asks, “what is it that you want me to do for you?” My answer, “I want to not have headaches or migraines, or at least not as often nor as severe.”

Long story short, I’ve been on everything you can be on to prevent them. I even give myself shots at home of the same medicine you get in the ER when you go in with a migraine, to keep me out of the ER’s as much. So if I go in for a migraine, it’s bad! I’m on a couple of meds now to help with migraines, but they also help with my SVT.

And he utters the words, “You need to go to a pain clinic.” I know my face fell! He follows it up with, “I know you’ve come to this conclusion, you just needed to hear it from someone else.” He goes on to tell me that he could just start pulling drugs off the shelf and start putting me on them, but that we both know, it’s not going to work. I’ve been dealing with this since I was 16, almost 20 years now. He knows that 10 years ago the idea of going in and actually removing the calcified plate I have between the layers of my brain was thrown out there, but he agreed, it probably wouldn’t do much to help.

He actually made me very comfortable! He acknowledged the fact that I have the education and have held the licensure so that I know what I’m talking about. Not only as a patient, but as a practitioner. He told me that I’m “high strung, smart as hell, well educated, you know medicine cold, active to the point of being over active” and even said he’s pretty sure that the reason the neurologist from Michigan State University that I used to see that threatened me with “blindness” if I didn’t come back and see him and insisted on continuing my care with U of M neuro, was because I intimidated him with my brains! Oh yeah baby! Wouldn’t be the first time!

The whole reason I even went to U of M, is the first bad bad migraine I had, when MSU dropped the ball, I called Jay and asked him what to do because I was in so much pain I couldn’t even think straight! He was the one that told me to go to U of M! So thank you Jay! (I can’t call him Doctor…it makes me laugh!)

Well, the reason I need to go to the pain clinic is that they can do coordinated care for my migraines. And I need medical and non medical treatment. I will be seeing an anesthesiologist, I will be getting eastern and western medical treatments. So I need to call around and figure out which pain clinic I want to go to. And I’m hoping that this will wok. I have pretty good hopes for it!

Oh, the best part! I almost forgot! The doctor was doing a neuro exam, and I guess the first time they gave me the Thorazine I was singing, and they noted that I’m pretty good. He had me close my eyes, switch back and forth what foot I was standing on and sing whatever song was in my head. So I belted “Dreams” by The Cranberries. The staff was standing outside the door and they clapped when I was done! Oh I was laughing! I haven’t sung for an audience since I was asked to sing last winter for a group! It felt great!!!!!!!! I think I might go to karaoke this weekend for fun!

So what is this crazy woman doing?

This is my first (real) of hopefully many blog posts. I want to say right off the bat, thanks for stopping by and taking a look. Feel free to leave comments and such. I do want to set a few guidelines.  This site is MY blog. It is about the journey I am on, and my life and struggles with Mental Illness and other health issues that have made me disabled. Please respect that. Negative comments and bashing will NOT be tolerated. I do welcome open discussion and debates, though.

I ask that you refrain from mentioning very specific drugs, dosages  and or specific therapies, unless you are sharing your own experience. I.e. saying “I have had luck with a mood stabilizer taking it twice a day.” but not “I take Prozac, what do you take?” If it is a common drug, like an OTC, that is fine, like mentioning aspirin,  Tylenol or Motrin/ibuprofen, Robitussin for a cold. But please, unless you are a licensed physician, do not give medical advice for treatments.

That being said, I started off at 18 working in EMS. I continued on into Law Enforcement, and after some severe injuries ended up teaching at a large well-known medical school. I specifically taught patient care and chronic illness. But I will not recommend specific treatment advice as I am not treating you. I will be willing to answer general questions you may have about treatments and drug therapies, but really the information is quite readily available on these intertubes! I highly recommend www.medscape.com

I have some (possibly lofty) visions for my blog. I want to help stop the stigma of mental illness, at a minimum.  But I would really love to be able to help just one person on their own journey by sharing my life story. All I’ve ever wanted to do was to help other people. My illness has really side tracked my plans (you know the saying, you want to make God laugh, tell  him your plans).

So, who am I really? I am a 30 something Okie transplant in Michigan. I have not had the easiest or best life, nor have I had the worst life. Although some of the trials I’ve endured may make you cry, or feel for me, DO NOT PITY ME! That’s not what I’m out here for! I only share in the hopes that someone else who may have been or is going through something similar, may find strength.

I have survived cancer twice (6 years free). I have an auto immune disorder, nerve conduction pathway disorder, asthma, chronic migraines, endometriosis and poly cystic ovarian syndrome (just about non existent since my hysterectomy) , IBS, SVT, both high and low blood pressure, and the dreaded high cholesterol.  A history of anxiety, Bipolar (mostly mania). ADHD, borderline personality disorder, closed head injury, and please don’t get me started on all the normal injuries I’ve had!

I am also a survivor of domestic violence (both when I was 18 and again in my late 20’s, and I’m ashamed to admit it, after being a domestic violence investigator for a police department). I also have one failed suicide attempt. No one is still quite able to figure out how I’m still alive, and with almost no lasting issues.

So I invite you to join me on my road to recovery. And to also look back at just how far I’ve come! So welcome to my crazy little corner of the world, and please keep your hands and feet inside the ride while we are in motion!

HANG ON TIGHT! LET’S GET THIS SHOW ON THE ROAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!