Friday, October 28, 2016

Pills Pills Pills

It occurred to me the for the first time recently that I am dependent on pills for my life.

If civilization ended tomorrow, and I had no more access to birth control or anti-depressants, I would die. I would bleed out through my uterus, or cancer would grow, or my depression might win. It's not uncommon at all for people to depend on medication of course, but it's the first time in my life, besides having an asthma inhaler, that I've felt this sense of vulnerability.

There's my mortality, dosed out in a monthly supply by our friendly, local pharmacist.

I've been thinking about it every morning when I take my meds; sort of blessing each pill as I lay it out carefully to be taken in a group. There's the birth control, which is keeping my uterus from bleeding out and anything unwanted from growing. There's the anti-depressants, which have helped me climb out of that miserable hole I was stuck in. I'm not all the way out, I'm still having some desperate thoughts on my bad days, but it's like 50% better, which is enough to give me a life again.

Then there's the vitamins, which are maybe not essential for life, but they're pretty important to feeling like anything is worth anything, so I take the D and the C, the iron if I'm feeling peaky and a probiotic if my stomach's been weird, which it is only rarely now. I take them all together, one big gulp of a life affirmation. With that swallow, every day I choose to be here, I participate in my own wellness. And while the action is small, it's significant to me to be moving forward, to be getting better, to be caring for myself.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Typing Into the Wind

The good news is I've been exercising frequently, the bad news is that's pretty much all I'm doing.

I have been social with new people in the past month, I suppose that's new and exciting. I've been keeping up with learning spanish, y lo disfruto mucho. (I am so sorry spanish speakers, if that was a butchery of the language. I didn't say I was any good at it, I just said I'm enjoying it. Well, at least that's what I was attempting to say.)

I'm having this new visual thing where words get mixed up. It's an occasionally normal thing to read a word wrong, I'm sure everyone does it, but this is becoming more frequent, and it's got to be a migraine thing.

Writing is still a struggle lately, as is evident by my absence. I miss the outlet, but I don't have the mental energy. My depression has definitely improved -thank zoloft- but hobbies continue to be difficult.

My anxiety, which I'm realizing more and more I've had since I was a child, is getting slightly worse. I have to talk myself down from ridiculous obsessive thoughts and am concerned for the time when I might not be able to talk myself down. Panic attacks are rare, but they are awful, I certainly don't want any more of them.

My head's been pretty consistent through the last few months of iud and antidepressant adjusting. The usual symptoms persist; nausea, fatigue, irritability, throbbing head pain, stabbing head pain, dizziness, body aches, and confusion. Besides reading words wrong, I'm also having increased short term memory loss.

My garden has been growing well this year, and I'm plotting how to carry it into winter. I've got some pics up on instagram (username smpomg), if y'all want to be friends on there let me know.

But the exercise has become my favorite thing, it's the only time I feel normal. I don't get out every day, but I go every day I can which has been more and more often since my periods stopped trying to kill me. Check out my progress in just the last three months:

So, I may be tired all the time and in pain but at least I get 20 minutes a day of bliss, I can be grateful for that.


Friday, July 29, 2016

Wonky Socks: Better Than No Socks

Summer is kicking my ass as usual.

I've regained my exercise regimen, though I'm nowhere near as fit as I was this time last year, but I just checked myfitnesspal and 20 workouts in the last 30 days is pretty good, so I'm feeling positive about it. However this morning, I started the uphill trekking part of my routine and it was BAD. Straight away I had mild nausea, disorientation, irritability, and total exhaustion. I knew what the problem was, the heat. No matter that it was only 8am, the sun was shining and I was overheating, fast. So, I came inside and finished up in front of the fan. I still feel sick but it's going to happen eventually today anyway - summer guarantees me an existence of barf by 4, every day, without fail - but at least I got a workout in.

My mental health is a little improved, but I'm still struggling. When I realized this morning that my workout was sending me to migraine hell my brain automatically went, "ugh you suck, you can't even jog for 5 minutes without feeling like shit and now the rest of the day is ruined." Like, I'm already feeling bad, wtf brain?? But I've been trying this new thing I saw going around on tumblr, where if I catch myself doing negative self-talk I turn it into trump's voice and then whatever it is sounds absurd and obnoxious and I can rightly tell that voice to fuck off, like I would Donald, if I ever had the pleasure. I sincerely recommend this ridiculous-sounding tactic, it has literally helped me turn depressive cycles of self-despising into giggling fits.

My uterus is dealing well with the mirena and pills combo. After the procedure and insertion I bled very lightly for about two months, with sometimes severe cramps. The bleeding stopped for two weeks, and now has started again, with milder but still some prominent cramping. I have yet to get my follow up scan; money, my health, and the hassle that is the radiology dept have impeded me, but it's a priority. I mean, you can't screw around with cancer.

My IC is holding steady with dietary restrictions, which are still pretty liberal. In daily meals I avoid acids, sugars, and soy, but not all the time. I eat soy every day some days, but I am also very conscious of my body's reaction and adjust my diet accordingly if I feel even the tiniest twinge. Ginger ale has been the only thing that really pushes it for me; when I'm feeling pukey, I love a cold Canada Dry, but if I don't push plenty of water with the soda, my urethra can become angry. And I really don't like it when it's angry.

I've been trying some new things. Pokemon GO is barely usable in my rural area, but it's still a good time. I downloaded a coloring app, and it's so relaxing, and gives me a little feeling of accomplishment after completing a design. I've been crocheting some slipper-socks and the first one came out... ok, but then I lost the pattern I found online (srsly can't find it anywhere in my browser history, i'm convinced it's been lost to the berenstein 'verse) so I'm trying to wing it from memory and the second sock is coming out... ok-ish? I'm sure they'll be usable, but they certainly won't be pretty!

And that's all. :) I hope you all are doing well. <3

Friday, June 17, 2016

Pelvic Prognosis

The results are in and they are not good.

I had a precancerous polyp in my uterus. The treatment is what I'm already doing, progesterone therapy. I'll be rechecked in the next few months for new growth and Doc says i need to have kids now if I'm going to do it because if the growths come back they'll likely recommend hysterectomy. Dealing with this information has put me in a strange place emotionally, and I'm not sure how to sit with this fear. Constant anxiety and suicidal ideation are not great ways of coping with stress, so I'm trying antidepressants again, and I'm really hoping the pills help me deal with this with some grace.

The prognosis isn't awesome for my uterus, but so far the treatment is going well! The mirena placement has been a success so far; I'm still bleeding, but lightly, and I'm still getting some cramps but they've really died down in the last few days.

My doctor is really awkward about delivering bad news, and yet she insists on doing it in person - despite my asking for info via phone or email - and then enthusiastically axclaimed "Isn't is better to do this in person?!" to which I did not reply, "For you, maybe."

After explaining what they'd found in their tests she also got really enthusiastic about reinforcing "IT'S NOT CANCER!!1" with a huge, desperate smile. I tried to force a smile back, but didn't. Ugh, just email me the bad news, I seriously need to get her on board or get a new doc. I hate when people need you to perform emotion in a certain way for them to be comfortable with your reactions; it's tiring, I've got a headache, and I don't have energy for these social niceties.

I'm just putting one foot in front of the other, and remembering to inhale and exhale in the proper sequence.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

My Uterus Had a Photo Shoot and All I Got Was This Mirena

I had a hysteroscopy, d&c, polypectomy and mirena insertion. The worst part for me was the anesthesia.

My periods have been bananas so I got scoped to see what was what. They found a load of polyps, which they removed and sent off for testing, I've got two weeks for those results. They also put in a mirena, since it's my best bet for controlling my bananas periods with my current medical options. (I'd much rather see a naturopath and try to deal with whatever the underlying issue is that is triggering my uterus's jacked up response, but medicare dgaf what I want, so a mirena it is.)

The staff was awesome, they were friendly and gentle with me, and the superstar post op nurse looked after me for five hours when I had a bad reaction to the anesthesia. I couldn't wake up, I was dry heaving, they finally gave me benadryl and some kind of speedy something to get my metabolism going and that seemed to do the trick.

It's been five days and I finally feel up to doing some chores around the house, albeit slowly. I had some cramps yesterday, but mostly I've just been very, very tired.

I'm continuing the bc pills for a few more months, until the mirena is settled and hopefully doing its thing.

My migraines aren't a fan of all this progesterone, I've got a constant low level thrum in my head and my good days are now what my medium days were a few months ago, I'm just happy to be able to go outside and wash the dishes in the same day. But it will be worth it if the mirena keeps my periods in check.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Good News and Next Steps

Life keeps happening whether I write about it or not. So let me catch you up a little on the latest.

I FINALLY heard back from SSI about whether they are going to open my case for review. It took almost a year for them to decide not to. So I'm going to do something extreme to my hair to celebrate my relief at not having to jump through a thousand migraine-triggering hoops to prove my migraines. Maybe I'll dye it blue, or cut a mohawk, or both. Bleach and dye cost money though so we'll see.

My periods have gone absolutely apeshit bananas on me, they're now two weeks long and I had another terrifying bleeding spree that left me *this close* to going to emergency. I forced myself to eat salty and sugary foods to keep my blood pressure up and I doubled up on the iron supplements to keep my iron stores from becoming dangerously low and luckily the bleeding stopped before I felt I was in mortal danger. Well, it slowed.

So my doctor gave me micronor, which did trigger an IC flare last time I tried it - over a year ago - but since I've had the IC under control for a while, and I didn't have a whole lot of options, I went for it. It's helped, but I'm still bleeding, way more than is normal. I had another ultrasound done and they found a cyst on my ovary and growths in my uterus, possible fibroids or polyps. I'm going to have surgery to check things out in there and remove anything problematic, and also to put in a mirena, since it's my best bet overall to control the bleeding without compromising my future fertility.

A side note on periods and quantity: my doc recommended doubling up the micronor on days when I was bleeding heavily. I asked specifically what "heavy" meant, because I suspected my perspective of what was a normal amount of bleeding might be skewed. She said if I need to empty my cup (about 25 ml capacity) more than 4 times a day, that was heavy, and to take a second pill. I threw my head back and laughed, then put my face in my hands and cried. I'd already emptied my cup four times that day and it was only 11am, and this was considered light by comparison with the previous week! The doc agreed I was essentially hemorrhaging every month, and put a note of urgency on the surgery order.

My depression continues. I tried zoloft for nearly a week, but it gave me the shits and nausea so bad I was like, I'm never going to be not depressed on this pill, and I quit it. My doc recommends splitting them in half and trying again. Maybe after all this period stuff is under control, I will.

I've got a little garden going! Growing things is so therapeutic for me, I've made it a priority this spring. We got some thyme and rosemary, I resurrected a few kale plants from last year and one chard, I'm pretty sure the peppermint will bounce back from whatever rodent-related assault recently decimated it, and I got one of these grow your own mushroom kits going in the kitchen. No sign of growth yet, but I'm hopeful!

Holy cow this is more than I've written in a month. Better hit submit before I wander off or lay down and forget all about it.


Saturday, April 2, 2016

Still Here

I keep trying to write, but it all feels really pointless.

So this is just a marker to say I'm still alive, still struggling, still here. I do think I'll be back, but right now, it's just too hard to write it all down.


Thursday, February 18, 2016


It's an uphill battle, but at the top there might be s'mores.

Exercise is the hardest and most rewarding thing I do for myself. It hurts afterwards, but feels so good in the moments, and the long-term benefits are undeniable. It's incredible to me that my body has relearned a level of fitness that I never thought I could achieve again. Even if I'm unable to work out for weeks, months, my body bounces back into it so quickly, it restores my faith in my ability to heal, and be well. Being sick all the time can make every little nothing ache and pain seem like another permanent albatross of bedridden anxiety, but exercise may be retraining my brain to remember that pain can be productive, and I will survive it much better by not diving headfirst into a debilitating depression, thankyouverymuch.

My mental health remains stable, which is nice! I've had fleeting depressive or destructive thoughts, but nothing I couldn't handle in the moment, which makes me feel like I'm successfully slaying a dragon. Depression is so big, so threatening, and so all-encompassing, it feels like there's no way out, at least not alive. Depression lies. It may look like a dragon, but with the right tools in hand, it can be reduced to a newt, which is a harmless, adorable creature that we do not slay, we let it do its own thing under the leaves. We know it's there, but we don't need to bother each other, not on such a glorious day.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Better, Worse, Same

I'm not really here.

I'm having to force myself to come here and write, and even when I do I'm leaving half-finished drafts when I inevitably run out of steam. And what's worse is that I'm essentially rewriting the same post over and over. I see the older drafts, maybe even give them a once over, think, "I could rewrite this better from scratch." Start all over and get confused/distracted/tired at roughly the same place on every one.

So my brain is weird right now, in that sort of unfocused way, but my emotional well-being has been better. I'm unable to get mental health care through my county (I'm not addicted to anything or actively self-harming/willing to be institutionalized for it, and that's the limit of their powers right now) so I've been taking St. Johns Wort regularly and it's been helping with that wave of depression I was getting nearly every month at the end of my periods, the last two (three?) have gone great. Woohoo for emotional stability! I'm so relieved not to be afraid of myself anymore.

My head is not great lately. I always think that winter is easier on me because I don't have to worry about the heat, but the weather changes are frequent this year - thanks el nino - and I'm finding myself planted in my chair far more often than I'd like. The nausea is back, and it's brought body aches with it. I feel like I've got weights attached to my limbs, and I'm sleeping a bit more than I feel is normal for me.

My IC continues to stay under control, I haven't had any pain at all and my usual frequency and urgency remain usual. I am still following my IC protocol, but not nearly as strictly as I was when I was healing. I don't avoid anything entirely but eat only very infrequent, small portions of ingredients that I know flare me, like onion or citrus.

Oops, running out of steam. Is this a complete post? It is if I say it is, so it is.


Monday, January 11, 2016

On the Eve of my 37th Birthday

I'm recycling the title from last year's bday post because I liked it so much.

I'm ready for 37. Bring it on. 36 was hard, my mental health was a mess, I felt more alone than I can ever remember feeling, and I didn't know for sure that I'd come out of it alive. But here I am, another year older, another year wise-assier.

I'm not in a much different place than I was a year ago; I'm still studying spanish, I still live in a wee house in a big-tree forest and still have two dogs, a man, and a whopping case of the migraines. But this year I took some control back. I started it off by beating my IC into remission (if there is such a thing) and now I have pain extremely rarely, and it wouldn't even be worth mentioning if I wasn't specifically mentioning it. That gave me some confidence, so I started doing more research and following my own instincts, outside of my doctor's limited recommendations. I began using essential oils, vitamins, herbs, and supplements for my health issues and while I haven't found anything for my migraines, I've developed a routine that has helped my emotional state, my immune system, and my skin. With the promise of better access to mental health care in the coming year, things can only improve, at least on that front.

The migraines remain. At least they're consistent. I've had some really good days though! A few really terrible ones, lots of mostly awful and frustrating ones, and not a few where I just kept going, despite what I felt, because sitting still was making me feel like a slow-growing mold that had started to rot. The other day I was walking in circles picking up clutter and putting away stray hair clips because I simply couldn't sit down. Despite not being able to think or really even see, I was still compelled to keep moving, keep sorting, keep doing, until I began stumbling into furniture and finally laid down, and almost immediately fell asleep. So, no improvements physically, and none expected in the year to come, but never say never, because nothing is certain.

I'm made some strides in setting boundaries for myself and my health, and I've stuck to them. This is something I'm starting to really like about myself. Some might see it as being rigid or unkind, but I have to protect myself at least as much as I would protect a friend. No one would fault me for protecting a friend.

I am getting some baaaad baby fever. I'm still not in a great place financially to have a kid, and I'm unsure what it would do to my health and certainly doubt my ability to care for a baby with a constant migraine, but my heart aches.

Tomorrow, I plan to spend the day with my mom, who is dealing with some significant health issues. She and I have always been close, and sharing a birthday has always felt special, but this year is harder for her, and I'm glad we're going to be able to be together. I'm tempted to never leave her side again.

It's a beautiful, complicated, sad, joyful, hilarious, ridiculous, painful, demanding, interesting, fabulous life. And I'm here.