Second Laparoscopy: Day 18 post-op

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I woke up at 6:45am and got ready for a psychiatric appointment. Since I had been out with my husband last night, this meant that I got 6 hours of sleep when I’d been so used to 8 solid hours, so I was really tired.

Outside it was so cold that there was frost on my car windows. I’m glad I’ve kept my snow scraper with me all these years after having moved from Michigan! It came in real handy that day.

After scraping ice off half the windshield

After scraping ice off half the windshield


 

It doesn’t snow at ground level in the Bay Area, but every winter does bring some frost on the ground and on the cars. After scraping and warming up my car, I successfully drove to my appointment, but was late because parking was stupid. The meters in two out of the three places I tried to park were not working correctly. Finally I parked and went inside the building. They have an elevator, so I used that rather than brave the stairs first thing in the morning. My mid back was already stiff and sore from getting into my little Neon, driving, and getting out of the car again. Any time I have to twist side to side for anything, the pain ramps back up again.

My psychiatrist still wants me to try Abilify. She’s been pushing this on me since September, 2010 and I’ve been too afraid to try it because of all the side effects. She offered to get me an even smaller prescription dose than she gave me in September (which is still sitting in the cabinet), and she said while I’m off work already, this should be the best time to try the Abilify to see if I will have side effects.

My rationale states that I want to be alert to any possible surgical side effects FIRST. I don’t want to try to figure out if my mood or whatnot is caused by EITHER surgery OR the Abilify. Too much on my plate, y’know?

After I got out of the psychiatry appointment, I decided to take the stairs down instead of using the elevator. There were three flights of stairs. I took it slowly, but by the time I reached the bottom, sure enough I had pelvic cramping going on.

When I got home, despite being in pain, I wanted to get some housework done, so I tackled laundry. I slowly loaded up my laundry basket with two loads’ worth of dirty clothes, and then scooted the basket over to a waiting luggage cart. I finagled the basket up onto the luggage cart and secured it, then towed the laundry basket out to the back of the house where the laundry room is.

After the first load washed and I had put it into the dryer and the second load into the wash, I took a nap, because all of that had worn me out. I set out 600mg Advil and a half Tylenol 3 for the pain, but then refused to take the meds all day because I’m stubborn like that.
I slept for nearly an hour.

After my nap, I was still really tired, but I brought in my laundry and just let it sit (folded) in the basket. I threw myself together to go join a friend for her birthday dinner. We were late, which made me feel bad, but it all worked out. She was at a Mediterranean restaurant, and since I still have not reintroduced solid meat to my diet, there was very little I could eat. The waiter cobbled together a vegetable plate for me, consisting of sliced asparagus and bell peppers, and I used those to dip into the Hummus. I also drank red wine for the first time since before surgery. I was happy to have the wine because my social anxiety was spiking again. There were only five of us for dinner, but still, I felt very awkward socially.

To my glee, I did not have any major digestive problems with the vegetables or the wine! Yay! The bell peppers usually give me heartburn, but even that was minor on that night. Awesome.

Our friend left to go off to a dancing class, and we paid her bill, being that she was the birthday girl. We then got back to our car and my husband drove us over to Forbidden Island Tiki Bar, where we met up with two more friends who had secured an area for our birthday girl. We hung out and had drinks – I drank an Exotica (Coffee liquor and other flavours in a martini glass), a Chamborlada (Chambord and Pina Colada), and part of my friend’s birthday Fugu drink that she could not finish. That was enough to get me pretty tipsy, nay, drunk. Thankfully, not a sloppy or embarrassing drunk. Chatty, yes. Having fun, yes. It was a good night.

At Forbidden Island Tiki Bar for a friend's birthday

At Forbidden Island Tiki Bar for a friend's birthday


 

We got home around midnight and I went immediately to bed after consuming a pint of water. I had to be up the next day for my post-op appointment in San Francisco.

Firsts for Day 18:

  • Drove alone on my own to Oakland and back – stiffness and soreness returned.
  • Did my own laundry, using a luggage cart to haul the basket.
  • Worked on some homework.

 

Limitations:

  • Still having pain with climbing stairs and driving.
  • Lifting anything over 5lbs is still painful.

 

Complications:

  • Still having thick mucous vaginal discharge – doesn’t smell foul anymore. Is likely ovulation.

Second Laparoscopy: Day 16 post-op

I slept until 10am – another eight hour night before my body was too sore to stay in bed. Actually I should say my body is sore by the 6 hour mark, but I am stubborn and keep going back to bed until it’s been 8 hours. Oh how I love 8 hours of sleep.

The first thing I did when I got out of bed was spend about 20 minutes walking around the house and doing gentle stretches.

Today I cleaned up some papers and such on the kitchen table, but I didn’t get my ass out of the house until after 4pm. The weather was cold, overcast and windy – I think it only got up to 50°F today, and it sprinkled throughout the day.

My husband and I got some pet supplies for the cats, and then we went for a short walk behind the shopping center, which has a sidewalk overlooking the estuary (which flows into the San Leandro Bay). There are observation decks one can climb up to in order to get a better look at a view of the estuary and the Oakland hills. I climbed a bit faster than I had done yesterday, and coming back down the stairs, I was able to go at my normal pace. I did so giggling with delight.

However, less than a hundred feet later, I began to get stabbing uterine pains and had to slow my walking pace. I adjusted and picked up my pace again, but I still struggled with the pelvic pain. My husband stopped into a game store to ask a game console question, and while I stood there waiting, the pain reached a 5 on the pain scale.

When we got back to the car, I took 600mg of Ibuprofen. I’ve been fatigued ever since. I spent the rest of the night on the couch taking it easy, which sucks, because I had wanted to try going to a nightclub for the first time since before surgery.

Food I ate today:
Leftover Indian (Saag Paneer)
Gluten-free freezer pancakes
Boost drinks
Rice Chex cereal
Homemade macaroon a friend had made
20oz of water
Coconut juice

Note:
The foul smell abated some and the bloody discharge went away overnight, but late this afternoon I had some thick mucous discharge again. I’m wondering now if this is ovulation already. Today is about Day 6 of the new cycle, and I always get mittelschmerz on Day 8 of the new cycle. Could it be a couple of days early?

Complications:
I am still having the round of diarrhea or loose stool every morning. I’m guessing this is still a holdover from when the surgeon bumped the mesentery on the way in with the camera.

I nearly threw up tonight after eating the same kinds of food I’ve been eating; gluten-free pancakes and Boost. I also developed a headache so I took my temperature and the temporal digital read 100°F. The glass therm read 99°F. Bah, whatever.

Firsts for today:
I wore loose-fitting slacks! I looked like a dweeb, but at least I have a pair of slacks I can wear to work in the first week back, which is coming up fast.

Second Laparoscopy: Day 15 post-op

I went to bed around 2am and slept til 11am today, but suffered for it. I’ve only been able to sleep a maximum of 8 hours before the trunk of my body really starts to hurt. I try to roll over on my left side, but it’s painful after a few minutes. It’s still not possible to lay on my right side.

My husband and I lolled about the house and ate breakfast at noon. We waited to hear back from friends who might want to go to the movies with us. It didn’t work out for friends to join us, so we went on our own to see TRON: Legacy. It was the first time I chanced going to the movies post-op. It worked out – the chairs were as uncomfortable as they usually are for me, but all the sitting did not aggravate my tender belly button further than it has already been.
TRON by the way was pretty neat. I had no great expectations for the dialogue or plot, so I sat back and enjoyed the pretty – in 3D even.

When we got home, I had just enough time to clean up a bit before friends were to arrive, because we were going to do even more sitting and watching of movies. My husband had to go feed and water a friend’s cats, so I cleaned up papers and small boxes and crap from the living room, and got out the vacuum. I had not attempted vacuuming until now, so I gave it a whirl. It was a bit tough to maneuver the vacuum. I had to squat down and hunch forward a bit, and really use my arm muscles to push the damned thing around. This is an upright HEPA vacuum – it’s not like some big old fashioned monstrosity, and yet it was nearly too much for me to handle at 15 days post-op. But I did it.

Shortly afterward, our friends began arriving. We ordered Indian food, my husband returned home right after the food arrived, and we started the movie of the night: The Abyss.
All of us have seen it. Some of us (like myself) have not seen it in many years. The dialogue is hilarious but the imagery is still pretty cool, and all that underwater filming – wow. Some of us had to remember not to hold our breath (including me).

Shortly after the movie began, I started having pelvic cramps. I went to the bathroom and discovered thick mucous and dirty bloody discharge. It smelled foul. The discharge is normal but the foul smell set off alarm bells for me. I took 600mg ibuprofen and put a heating pad on my pelvis, then on my back, and finished watching the movie.

Diet today consisted of gluten-free pancakes and decaf coffee at breakfast time, along with a Boost drink. I had popcorn and some white chocolate at the movie theatre, and for dinner, I ate Saag Paneer with some rice. I drank some sparkling apple juice, and then some blood orange soda. I’ve not been taking in enough water for the past two days.

After The Abyss finished and we saw our friends off, I looked back through my diary for “coffee ground” debris and found that 61 days post-op, that’s when the inner scabs sloughed off and came out. After reading that diary entry, my memory of the debris came back, and it did not match what I saw tonight. But I don’t see any of my old diary entries detailing mucous discharge or a foul smell post-op.

I told my husband about it and took my temperature. It’s normal. I’m not feeling dizzy or nauseous, and I do not have a headache. So we’ll see what the rest of the night and into the morning brings.

Firsts for Day 15 post-op:

  • Vacuumed the house.
  • I am walking at a faster pace each day, but still not back to my normal.

 

Limitations:

  • Stair climbing is still painful on the pelvis and knees, though I did make a point to climb up and down the stairs twice again today.
  • Laying on my sides is still painful.
  • Laying on my stomach is still not an option for me just yet.
  • Haven’t tried driving a car, still feel I’m not ready.

 

Complications:

  • Discharge and foul odor.
  • I slipped coming down the stairs to the house we live in, because it had just started sprinkling outside again. I caught myself, but I worried that I might have stretched or pulled something a bit too much inside.

Second Laparoscopy: Day 13 post-op

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Around 1am, I asked my husband if he’d like to go for a late-night stroll with me, since we were both up. He said yes, and off we went. We walked the same path I’d walked the other day, only this time, I was not on any pain medication. I had taken Ibuprofen only once on December 28, and twice on December 29. It was the wee hours of December 30 when I wrote this.

Along with the half-mile loop, we added a second round-the-block loop, which came out to a whole mile when I looked it up on Google maps. Go me! Last time I walked outside, my lower back hurt quite a lot. This time, it was the knees and buttocks that hurt the most. Even the calves hurt a bit.

I’m going to bed now, but when I wake, my goal for the day will be to climb and down the stairs attached to the front of the split Victorian I live in.

I had gone to bed close to 2am and woke up 8 and a half hours later with stinging pain in the abdomen. Urinating didn’t help. I think it is just that I still can’t lay around for that long – my body needs to be moved around. Also, I tried sleeping on my right side that morning and it was too painful to relax all the connective tissue and muscles to successfully fall back to sleep that way.

I drank Boost first thing in the morning and had diarrhea right after. Hmmm.

I had no diarrhea for the rest of the day but had one more instance of loose stool – it was solid but you know what I mean.

Firsts for Day 13:

  • I wore underwear for the first time (I’d been wearing the hospital “fishnet” underwear this whole time because even my own undies were too constricting on the incision points).
  • I walked up and down the stairs twice!
  • I stayed on my feet for much of the day.
  • I had a lot of energy all day, only waning once, but I did not require a nap.
  • I was able to sneeze at full force without hurting.

 

I medicated before stair climbing – I took 400mg Ibuprofen. After I was half way up the staircase the second time, the pelvic pain began. Although I have to say the sharpest pain was actually in my knees, because I’d been sitting or laying or reclining for the past 13 days. My knees are usually painful and crunchy, but on Day 13 they hurt more than usual.
Still, I made it back down the stairs and took some more Ibuprofen (400mg).

The rest of the day saw me active as well, even though I had bouts with the pelvic pain and had continued knee pain all day.

The rain had stopped and the sun was out, but it was cold and windy all day. Still, I walked to the corner store and back, and my husband drove me to three more stores that day, looking for something for a gift to my co-workers.

In the evening, my husband stepped out for a band meeting, and I had the place to myself. I turned out all the lights, fired up the faery lights and some candles, and put on my favourite music. I had quite a cheerful time of it, just hanging out online with friends, chatting with my chosen sister, and filing some paperwork.

When my husband got home, we had an interesting text session with a drunken friend in Seattle, which turned into a hilarious speaker phone call. I accused our friend of trying to pop my glue plugs, I was laughing so hard. We totally captured the audio and plan to embarrass him with it when next we see him.

Second Laparoscopy: Day 12 post-op

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I had diarrhea first thing in the morning, twice. I experienced shooting pains in the abdomen right after.

It calmed down, so I ate some rice chex and some chicken broth. The cramps started up again and I had another round of diarrhea.

This continued a couple more times, and I was freezing cold, despite the house being 71°F.

I took a nap on the couch, wrapped in a blanket, then got up and drank some Boost. I had another round of diarrhea and stomach cramping.

I was drinking water to stay hydrated, but I did not have any further water because we stepped out to run an errand. The errand took over an hour, and about half way through, I had to squeeze my butt cheeks together to avoid crapping myself. When we got home, I had immense diarrhea again.

I have had a headache all day, worsening after I ate gluten-free mac ‘n cheese for a late lunch.

But the good news is that all my blood work came back normal. It was difficult to feel relieved or convinced by that news, given how awful I felt.

I took another nap for over an hour, again bundled up in a blanket on the couch with the heating pad and the heater fan on me. I was still cold, so I cocooned myself. My cat joined me as he often does when I cocoon myself. He laid on my belly, but did not disturb my incisions, and we both slept.

When I woke from my nap, I had to use the bathroom, and was happy that I didn’t have a bowel movement or diarrhea. I guess it had settled down. I was hungry again so I drank another Boost and ate some jello.

The diarrhea has not been back for the rest of the day.

Reading back through my post-op recovery from 2007, I had TMJ issues resurface from all the meds I was on. It didn’t help with the migraines, of course. This time, I have been having TMJ issues since about September. At first, I blamed it on all the stress of school. Now I wonder if it’s due to the Smart Meters that were installed sometime in August or September. Those things are nothing but trouble, and I am EMF sensitive.

I was still having trouble with solid foods at Day 9 last time. By Day 11, I still had a sore throat and was still trying to heal up the scraped gums from the anesthesia blade. This time around, the solid foods thing is still an issue, even at Day 12, but the sore throat went away by about Day 3 or Day 4.

Firsts for Day 12:

  • I was able to slowly march around the house to get some leg lift exercise.
  • I was able to swing my arms and do slow side twists, but it hurt after about a minute.
  • I was able to wear a bra and sweatpants all day.
  • I can plop down onto the couch, the car seat or the bed.

 

I also accomplished some more walking, and I have been sleeping flat for the past three days.

Oh, and I have not had any Tylenol 3 since December 27 because of the fear of liver problems. I’m on Ibuprofen only.

Second Laparoscopy: Day 11 post-op

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Woke up that morning with the intent of going to the social security office, because both of us have name change stuff we’ve been meaning to do. I also wanted to call my doctor and see if I could get an appointment today for liver blood work, because I was still freaked out about the pink hue in my fingernails. I called UCSF and left a message. Then I called the local doctor’s office. They sounded condescending to me on the phone. “What, you think there’s a medication issue going on?” Ummm YES I’ve eaten over 80 Tylenol 3 since being in hospital on December 17, and I had an issue with high liver enzymes before, so YES I think there’s a fracking medication issue going on! I’m afraid of irreversible liver damage thankyouverymuch!

The local doctor had an appointment for me at 4:15pm. I then talked with my husband, who said he thought going to UCSF would be better, since they already have all my most recent blood work and surgery records. When they called back, they had a sooner appointment, so we took that.

It didn’t leave us time to go to the social security office after all, but I told my husband we could do that tomorrow, and that his priority is to me and making sure that I am well before dealing with any of his stuff. Yeah, he was still in the dog house.

The bumps in the road during the car ride did not bother me immediately and intensely the way they had when I was driven home from the hospital and like when we went out a few days ago. Rather, the torture was delayed. Half way to UCSF, I experienced stinging sharp pain under the diaphragm. The pain went away once we were out of the car and settled at the doctor’s appointment. The pain returned on the ride home, and returned again when we drove to a friend’s house that evening.

My exercise for the day came in the form of walking to the car, walking from the parking garage to the hospital and back, and walking back to the house.

I’d like to also note that while we were at the UCSF Women’s Center, I also walked across the street to the main hospital, where I delivered a Thank You card to Nurse Hannah. She wasn’t there, and the wing I had stayed in (4 East) was shut down and being painted, so I delivered the card to the other side of the wing (ICU).

Firsts for Day 11:

  • Able to put on and tie my own shoes (have been wearing slip-ons til today)
  • Able to wear a bra for part of the day
  • Able to wear tights for part of the day
  • Able to jump (we have ants entering at the top of the door frame. I was spraying the outside of the door frame with Bugs-R-Done spray, but wasn’t quite reaching the top. Before I knew what I was doing, I had jumped to spray. When I landed back on my feet, my eyes were wide, and I stood there in shock for a second. Then I thought, “Holy crap! I didn’t die!”

 

I was so excited by jumping that I jumped again. I giggled. And then I had to take a nap, because that had seriously worn me out!
I napped for about an hour.

Because of my fear of liver damage, I took no medication that morning or afternoon – not until I had gotten the blood work done. I gave three vials of blood that day; one for liver, one for kidney and one for blood count.

When I woke up from my nap, my husband informed me that it was time to head over to a friend’s house. She was going to take us to dinner in exchange for my husband watching her cats this coming weekend. We had Thai that night.

The weather had been rainy all day (winter in California), and worsened by evening to a drenching downpour. This made my life a little more miserable because of how slow I am in getting into and out of cars during recovery.

I had diarrhea as soon as we got to our friend’s house, and twice more as soon as I got home.

Nausea and stomach pain followed, lasting through bedtime. This was the second time since surgery that I had intestinal issues after eating Thai.
That night, I had fitful sleep. I was hot and cold all night – sometimes drip-sweating. This was about the third night in a row where I went to bed freezing and woke up sweating to death.

Second Laparoscopy: Day 10 post-op

Monday, December 27, 2010

My husband was in the dog house as he recovered from a severe hangover and a morning of puking his guts out, amongst other bad behaviour. I was severe in my verbal punishment, telling him he failed me as a caregiver, that I needed him to remain level-headed like he promised me he would be, because I’ve been scarred before by caregivers letting me down (my boyfriend promised my parents he would take care of me after a near-death head-on auto accident back in 1994, and then he left me alone for days while he hung out with friends. I had to crawl to the kitchen to get food, with a massive head injury and whiplash. I will never forgive him and in fact I sued him as an uninsured driver in that accident). So anyway, I’m scarred physically and emotionally, and it took many years to build up trust. I boasted to my parents how well my husband had been caring for me to this point. And then this. Oh my gods I was so mad.

On to brighter things though – on Day 10 post-op, I noticed that I was able to lay on my back, my right side, and my left side with effort and controlled breathing to settle. Although the right side is the hardest to lay on. I discovered through having to clean up my husband’s messes that I was able to sit on my knees. I was able to more easily swing my legs off the couch or the bed. I was able to more easily climb into bed.
All of this is only one day later than my last recovery, wherein I could lay on my sides by Day 9.

I have to keep reminding myself that this time is different. I had surgery a week before my period, not after. I have four incisions this time, not three. They bumped into the thin tissue outside of my bowel, bruising it badly, upon entering my body with the equipment.

The headache that started at 8pm the previous night still with me at 2pm the next day. It finally went away by 4pm. This, despite lowering the dose of Tylenol 3.

All day, I experienced cramps, and the bleeding had ramped up again. This was Day 10 of post-op and Day 5 of my menstrual cycle. I was still passing a lot of big clots. I cried from the pain and had to take a whole Tylenol 3 around noon. I held the heating pad to my pelvis for the first time since surgery, the pain was so bad. It felt like white hot burning in the center of the uterus, alternating on the ovaries.

Because I am determined to keep the body moving as doctors instructed, I went for a walk around the block. The weather had cleared again, and I wanted to take advantage. This is a half-mile round trip walk, and I did it! I walked at a shuffle in a Tylenol 3 induced haze, but I did it!

Because I was still constipated, I took two doses of miralax that day, and finally had a bowel movement at 10:24pm. It was a mix of solid and liquid.

I forgot to mention that around Day 4 or Day 5, I had noticed that my fingernail tips were turning pink hue. My fingernail tips have for years been so white that it looks like I have a French manicure, so when I looked down at my nails one day and saw that they matched my skin tone, it freaked me out.
I finally remembered to google it, right before bed…and found this page, which says, “White fingernails with pink near the tops are a sign of cirrhosis of the liver.”

This freaked me out further and nearly led to a panic attack. I went to bed uneasy that night.

It’s PMS time ALREADY?!?

The last time I blogged was on November 9. The pain abated by November 11, and so I decided again to try bicycing to work. I seemed to be okay, so I pedaled to work again on November 12, despite the trapped nerve resurfacing overnight once again from all the stress I’m under. Speaking of stress, I began taking Ativan again – on November 11. :(

On November 13, I participated in my friend’s wedding. It was beautiful. :)

The grooms

The grooms

The cake cutting!

The cake cutting!


My husband

My husband

Me

Me


The only thing though, we all drank for about 12 hours that day. I had a total of 3 glasses of wine and two and a third hard alcoholic drinks in the course of those 12 hours. Not bad, but then again I shouldn’t be drinking at all with autoimmune disease. Hell, I got more drunk the night before, at the rehearsal dinner, heh. I think I drank 2/3 a bottle of wine that night…

During the wee hours of Sunday morning, a virus within me had activated and let loose on my maxillary sinuses. It felt like my runny nose coated my pillow. Ugh. I’ve been sneezing and blowing my nose ever since.

I tried resuming bicycling to work Monday and Tuesday this week, but with the virus making me excruciatingly tired (like, wanting to be in bed by 8pm), I decided to not bicycle to work today.

Because of the virus, I have renewed heightened sensitivity to dust, mold, perfumes and chemicals in general. This of course did not stop me from getting super PMS-tastic last night and using Tilex diluted in hot water to scrub moldy window sills – without a mask. WTF!!

Also, the biggest WTF right now is Mittelschmerz. It hit like clockwork on Day 8 of the new cycle – yesterday the 16th. And ever since yesterday, I’ve been trying to eat all the chocolate on the planet. Tonight, I wanted alcohol, and I’ve been imbibing on liquor in the house. The boozing is in part to the stress I’m under at work, and in part due to nightmares I’ve had for two nights straight.

This upper respiratory tract infection is not helping with my stress level. I know I shouldn’t be drinking, especially with a virus going on, and yet I have no control over my cravings and wants right now.

I’m experiencing mid-cycle pain, PMSing, and my period is already due by next Saturday, even though just last week, I was just coming off my period. This so-called 25 day cycle is for the birds.

So I just wanted to let you know where it’s at – I’m PMSing, chocolate-gorging, stressed out, drug-addled on Ativan and Benadryl, and totally having a pity party over the Blue Moon Menstrual Cycle this month.

Yeah, pity me. Wah. Boo hoo.

Mental state, part 2

I still have not begun taking the Lamictal. Still too afraid of experiencing the possible side effects.

I had an appointment this past Monday with my psychologist. This is the same psychologist who, by either the first or second visit with her, decided that I have Bipolar disorder and need to be medicated ASAP.

By the fourth visit, I asked why she kept pushing for me to take meds, when she is a psychologist, not a psychiatrist. She claims she went into the wrong field and SHOULD be in psychiatry, as she knows enough about meds.

Uh-huh. I see.

Anyway, I saw the psychologist this past Monday, as I said. On this particular day, I had awakened to a 99.8°F temperature, but still went in to work. I experienced low uterine pain and low back pain for much of the day, and generally was highly emotional all day. By the time I got to my shrink appointment, it’s what we ended up talking about was the fact that I was PMSing and in a bit of pain.

The psychologist – I haven’t mentioned this before – but there are two things I really, really dislike about her. One, she flutters her eyelids and often goes on for entire paragraphs worth of talk with her eyes closed and/or fluttering. Two, she rambles and doesn’t let me get a word in edge-wise, often talking about something meaningless to my situation, or trying to relate something to my situation that doesn’t relate at all. I finally have to say STOP! loudly to get her attention, so that I can TELL her that what she is saying holds no meaning for me whatsoever.
The last example of the meaningless is when she told me for the third time that she knows for a FACT that *I* will not experience side effects on Lamictal, because she has first-hand experience, seeing her daughter on Lamictal, and she was FINE.

Okay, number one, it’s SECOND-HAND EXPERIENCE, because it’s your daughter, not you. And number two, your daughter does not have endometriosis. She has a seizure disorder. So you cannot tell me for a FACT that *I* will not experience any bad side effects.

She of course wrote me off when I boldly spoke up.

So there we were, talking about my PMS and cramping and my ongoing major depression, when she mentioned that I try to get on disability. I told her I tried that already and was rejected by both federal and state.
This woman sat there and tried to convince me to play the state and federal governments! She told me to miss more work so that I *can* qualify for disability! I told her flat out that I will NOT play sick JUST to get disability pay, because in playing sick, I commit to routine check-ups and drive-bys from the state and federal government, who will make sure that I am in fact, truly disabled.
When they photograph me at the grocery store with a basket on one arm, or photograph me driving in my car, or photograph me going to the gym or whatever – I will lose my benefits. Then what? I have a stain on my record as someone who was a fraud. I may be fined or worse. Then I have to try to get a job again.

The disability insurance people do ‘spy’ and take photos – it is part of their job. I worked for an insurance company which provided disability benefits to auto workers. I had to be the one to make the pay cut-off phone calls after people were caught on film doing things they said they could not do. It’s just part of the job in that industry.

So I told the psychologist that going down that road meant playing sick ALL THE TIME, and I will not do that. I told her I have my precious 7-14 days each month where I am active and can get shit done, and I’m not going to give that up just to collect some disability pay.
She kept making a point to stress how much pain and suffering I’m in, and how SHE doesn’t like to see me in so much pain, and wouldn’t it just HELP if I went on disability?

I told her NO, it WOULDN’T help. I told her about the joy I get from the children at work. I told her about how much I love to be able to get on my bike to go to work or run errands. I told her I like roller skating and going dancing – when I am able to do these things, I DO them. I told her that if she takes these things away, I WILL go ahead and kill myself.

When I left the psychology appointment, I was MAD. I went home, changed into my workout clothes, and went to the gym for an hour, despite the low-grade temperature and the uterine pain and low back pain.
Then I walked a half mile to Walgreens and back again to pick up my refill of Lorazepam. I popped two on the walk back home. When I got home, my husband was home from work. I collapsed on the couch in tears, and told him about the visit to the shrink and how I’d rebelled by all the exercise I did. I said the exercise made me feel better, but overall I was more depressed because of the psychologist.

My husband was hopping mad at this woman, of course. He held me and sided with my every reason for not wanting to go on disability. I love my husband.

I stewed over the shrink all of Tuesday, and then on Wednesday (yesterday), I was feeling outright rage. I called on my lunch break and left a message for her.
She called me back and left two voicemails. I could not answer the phone because I was in a meeting with my school director, who wants to place me at the other school location. I’ll go more into detail about that later on, if the move happens.

When I finally had time to listen to the voicemails, the psychologist sounded shaky and emotional, and repeated herself no less than four times about how she never meant for me to go on permanent disability – she was only referring to my post-op, and going on temporary disability.

I called her back or she called me back last night, and I told her in so many words she was full of shit. I brought up my pet peeves with her, and rehashed how the convo in session had gone. She apologised again, and said she’d had an excruciating headache for two days, and should not have come to work that day. I rolled my eyes. Excuses, excuses.
At the end of the phone call, we agreed to meet again next week to give it another chance. But actually, a day after my phone conversation with her, I’m still feeling really pissed off.

These psychologists – they’re more mentally ill than I am! I swear! I’ve not had one yet who I can endorse!!!

I’ve made up my mind. The psychologist is fired.

This leads me to the psychiatrist. I saw her a total of three times; once in January, once in February, and once in September. In-between that time, she was on maternity leave, and then I’d forgotten to reschedule with her. So the third visit counts as #1 all over again. A do-over as it were, since much had changed since February. On that first re-visit, she reviewed my history, and got caught up with my new history, including the cannabidiol incident (documented here and here). The psychiatrist told me there are several documented cases, including some of her own patients, who experienced depersonalisation and bi-polar-like symptoms after using marijuana or any form of cannabis. She assured me I am not crazy or alone in this.

And yet she wanted to prescribe Abilify, which is an anti-psychotic, often prescribed to schizophrenics and people with Bipolar I.

I asked her if she feels I am Bipolar. She said she’s not sure, based upon the fact that cannabis was involved. So I asked why she wanted me on Abilify. She said I should be on some kind of antipsychotic or mood stabiliser to get back to a baseline.

Up til this point, I had told myself I needed mood stabilisers. Now that the psychiatrist, on the first visit, wanted to give me antipsychotic medication, I began to get The Fear.

I told her I’d research the side effects and get back to her.

I called her a few days later and said no to Abilify and asked what else she could recommend.
Lamictal, the same thing my psychologist had suggested, was mentioned. So I said yes, and the prescription was filled.

I went so far as to cut all the pills in half as instructed.

But I haven’t taken one pill, yet.

I have The Fear.

It’s the fear of exactly what happened to me on Yasmin happening all over again (read more about that descent here).

I just don’t want to take another chance. I am convinced that the major depression and bipolar like tendencies I’ve had since the end of July are *because* of a medication (cannabidiol), and therefore I am convinced that taking *more* psychotropic medication is NOT the answer.

Let me work through this. Specifically, let me be active and work out the anxiety and the inner and outer restlessness.

I have been to the gym only 9 times this year. I have bicycled to and from work 17 times this year.

Ten of those 17 times have been within the current school year (which began August 31, 2010).

It is my personal expert medical opinion that I need to up the gym time. I need to become an exercise fanatic. THAT will manage my mental imbalance.

Give me some time to see this through.

If it doesn’t solve the issue, I’ll stare at the bottle of Lamictal again.

Pain, fun, allergic reactions and trapped nerves

I tried to go back to work on Thursday, September 16, but the Last Gasp happeed two hours into my workday and so I took a whole Tylenol 3 and came home. Thankfully, by Thursday night, that was the end of the major pain and bleeding.

I went to work on Friday and was able to complete a full day of work – the first all week. I never need this much time off this job for the pain, which tells me either the endo really is getting worse, or I’m becoming a wuss to the pain after enduring it for 25 years. I worked a total of 10 hours that week. Ugh.

Friday was not only my first day back to work, it was also my birthday. After work, my husband took me to a very nice sushi dinner, where I stuffed myself until it hurt, heh. I don’t think we went out that night – I was still too tired from just having spent a week bedridden. That’s how it goes.

Saturday, September 18, set the clock! Go out and have fun til the next endometriosis attack! We went to a nightclub down in Menlo Park to support the scene down there. I didn’t really have a good time, but we did get a nice picture taken of us:

steph_badger_clubsurgery09182010_bygeoffreysmith

 

On Sunday, we joined up with a fellow birthday girl for her annual Ice Cream Crawl, which took place in Oakland and in Berkeley. Around stop #6, I decided to eat sorbet instead of ice cream, which had given me a tummy ache, no matter how much lactaid I had ingested. The sorbet was raspberry chocolate flavour. To my dismay, it was full of raspberry seeds. I shared the sorbet with people in our group, and we all winced at how seedy the sorbet was.

Within twenty minutes, my throat began to get dry, then swell up.
Great.

So now I’m allergic to raspberry seeds? Wonderful. It’s in the same salicylate family with peach skins, grape skins, apple skins, apricots – all the stuff that also hates me either orally or intestinally.

I took a children’s benadryl but it did nothing, so I took a adult dose of benadryl on top of it – 36mg total. This of course made me a zombie, and so my husband ended our Ice Cream Crawl and took us home for the day. The swelling did not abate all day and all night, but I refused to go to E.R., because the last time I did, they told me they could not visualise the swelling, so it must just be me having a panic attack. To which I’d replied, “I know what a fucking panic attack feels like, and this is not it.”

I get the same throat swelling when I eat eel. Actually it’s the uvula that swells up. Same thing happened with the raspberry seeds, only not as horrible as it does with eel, thank [insert deity here].

I refused to go to E.R. because I cannot afford further debt with them – still haven’t paid off the June debt I incurred with another oral allergy attack. And I refused to use my epi-pen because you HAVE to go to E.R. if you use it. So I was kinda stuck. I knew I wasn’t gonna die, or at least I hoped I wouldn’t die choking on my tongue.

I made it through the night and the swelling went down by morning.

What a sucky end to my birthday weekend, though.

All through this whole time, I was still dealing with having to be on muscle relaxers for the trapped nerve in my shoulder. So I was quite the grump.

Monday, September 20, while bicycling to my psychology appointment after work, I experienced pulling, stabbing pain in my right ovary. This is not a good thing to be going through while pedaling. The pain lasted for several minutes after I climbed the two flights of stairs to my shrink’s office. Ugh.
The pain went away, though. Thankfully. But I was not even a full three days into my new cycle when that pain hit. The endometrioma is doing bad things to me. :(

I was able to bicycle to work for most of last week. I even made it to the gym on Thursday, September 23, for the first time in 146 days. I did the 2lb hand weight workout exercises as prescribed by my trainer, and then I did 14 minutes on the elliptical machine.

The pain from the workout did not hit until Saturday, just in time to help my friends move in 85°F heat. I designated myself cleaning lady that day, because on top of the workout pain, I slept wrong again and the trapped nerve issue in the neck/shoulder flared up real bad again.

On top of all of this, I’ve been bruising the hell out of my legs by running into the coffee table repeatedly, as well as the child-sized furniture at work. I have bumps and bruises and scrapes. I think the clumsiness is due to the muscle relaxers.

Because I’ve not really enjoyed a pain-free or sick-free or allergy-reaction-free day in about seven weeks, I have hit my breaking point emotionally.

It’s not fair that I can’t enjoy my 11 – 20 days between endometriosis pain cycles being totally free of any other sickness or pain.

It’s always something. :(