Monthly Archives:: July 2015

Exhaustion, Endometriosis and Endless Appointments

July 9, 2015 Katie A Chronic Illness 1 Comment

I’m sure many of you will understand how utterly exhausting it is to just get through one appointment, much less three appointments in one week – two in one day. Wednesday was brutal and I am beyond exhausted and still trying to sort everything out, even though they were both good appointments and I got a lot accomplished in one day.

Monday was my second round of therapy with V, where we briefly talked about my recent bipolar diagnosis, how I was adjusting to medication so far and then we moved onto talking about my coming out experience (you can read about that here) and how it’s been such a struggle for me since it happened. It was hard, but not as hard as I thought it would be. I thought I’d break down in tears, but I didn’t. I thought quietly at several points during the session, but I really felt somewhat better when I left.

I go back next Monday morning for round three before I head to work for the day. I’m assuming I’ll be going weekly for awhile, at least until we start to make a dent in some of the things that I need to deal with and start working through. It’s overwhelming, but I know I have a good team behind me.

Wednesday morning started off crazy. By the time I was ready to leave to pick up my mom to go to my appointment with me, I couldn’t get my car started. I didn’t pick her up until ten minutes before my appointment and then I had to speed over to the office, but we made it on time. The entire way, I could feel myself start to panic. The stress of the morning plus knowing I could get some huge results had me all worked up. No matter what I did, I couldn’t calm down.

We waited forever. Nearly over an hour. So frustrating, but what can you do?

Finally get called back, and no surprise – my blood pressure is fine but my pulse was fast. I explain it’s anxiety, it’s always that way… so they recheck it in a few minutes. Still high. Telling me to “relax” doesn’t help, it just stresses me out more. Ugh.

Doctor M comes in and tells me my lab work results and I am floor. My A1C dropped from a 10.3 at diagnosis in February to a 6.9, which is under where they want a typical diabetic patient. I almost fell out of my chair and I am still in shock, holy crap. He also said that I can stop all medication for diabetes and just continue to eat healthy and exercise and test daily. I go back in three or four months for another round of lab work to check and see how things are doing.

I also left with an inhaler for exercise induced asthma and a refill of my anxiety/migraine/heart rate medication. Apparently the new call center that was forced on the clinic never relayed the refill request I asked and yeah… not happy. My nurse told me the secret about who to call and what extension to use, so now I don’t have to worry about it!

The big news is that I left with a referral to a gynecologist since my Endometriosis has only been getting worse these last few months. I’ve had a period for two weeks now, doubled over in pain nearly every day and nothing I’ve tried in the past seems to be helping anymore. I’m going to be pushing for surgery. I can’t stand this pain anymore. I go in on July 28 and hopefully we can get things rolling and begin some serious treatment.

Wednesday afternoon was my visit to Planned Parenthood. The pills I got in November just… weren’t working. I was still in pain, still having crazy periods and just… not working the way we’d hoped. After paperwork, waiting and surprise another slightly high pulse, I finally talked to a doctor and got new pills. I started them last night so it’s still too early to tell if they’ll help.

The doctor there also said it sounds like surgery is the next step since everything we’ve tried hasn’t worked and to make sure I tell my new gynecologist this when I see him at the end of the month. So, that’s what I will be doing.

It was an exhausting week for appointments and I know it’ll be this crazy for awhile.

I’ve spent today resting, and plan to curl up again and watch some television for the rest of the night. I go back to work tomorrow for a short shift, and I’m excited to see my work family but I am hoping I am not this tired and sore when I go tomorrow.

One day at a time, right? Just keep breathing. Stay strong.

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All Those Words: Starting a New Journey

July 1, 2015 Katie A Chronic Illness 1 Comment

You may have seen me blog about my struggle with depression this winter, an eye opening post about what I had experienced. I was then referred to a clinic specializing in counseling as well as psychiatry. That was almost six months ago.

Five and a half months later, I made my first appointment. I walked into the doors at EH at 8:45am yesterday. I was shaking from head to toe. I was scared. I was worried. I was half convinced that no one would believe me and tell me I was fine. It was a new environment and I didn’t know what to expect.

therapy pink

I filled out the stack of paperwork I expected and was soon met in the lobby by my new therapist. I’ll call her V. Older, quiet, but very kind and welcoming. Calm and caring – I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Bonus: a woman. I had forgotten to ask on the phone the day before that I’d prefer a woman therapist.

Therapy isn’t new to me. I had gone on and off for years as I grew up, but coming to therapy alone is a new adventure. I have never really been in charge of something like this, planning my own appointments, getting myself there… these are big steps. Big steps I knew I had to take. I knew the first appointment would be more along the lines of getting to know each other, why I’m there, etc.

We talked somewhat about the variety of issues I’m dealing with, why I’m there (depression, things I’m still struggling with that have happened over the years, etc). It had been several years since I had gone to therapy and she openly asked how I had coped and I explained – sometimes I’d keep it all inside, sometimes I’d isolate myself, sometimes I’d rely on my close friends and family.

She gave me a list of coping techniques to try and said we would work on getting pas my experiences and being able to cope/manage when times get rough. After that, we scheduled my next appointment after V told me I could come as often as I want – weekly, once a month, every other month, etc. WOW! That’s awesome.

I go back next Monday afternoon and I am expecting to work hard that session to address some major things I’ve dealt with.

TheĀ  next thing we did was schedule an appointment with their psychiatry department. Originally scheduled for August, V was walking me out back to the lobby and the receptionist ran to us saying there was an opening for right now and was I willing to go now?

Why not, I said. I have no plans!

psychiatry pinkWalking into the office of PL as I’ll call her, felt surreal in so many ways. I couldn’t believe that after so many years, I was finally walking into the office a psychiatrist. I was going to get the help I needed. I was shaking again, overwhelmed but I knew this was what I had to do. This is why I was at EH.

I took in a deep breath and sat down in the chair, gripping the arm rests tightly. I was restless, anxious and not really sure what to expect. But I was here. I was doing this. I had already taken the first steps to the rest of my life.

We did the general questions about what brings me here, what meds I’m on, she asked questions about what my depression and anxiety were like, how often I experienced them, how often I had panic attacks or “down” days. We discussed my family history of mental health, how that has affected me, living with chronic illness and how I feel like a burden to others at times and when my own mental health issues began… it was a lot. It was a lot to remember, to discuss, to openly talk about. Overwhelming in so many ways.

As I’m already on Zoloft (prescribed the lowest dose by my primary care doctor), we talked about that and then began the big talk of what other medications could help me and a diagnosis. I was formally diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It’s still a lot to take in. It’s hard. It’s incredibly scary to think about, but it makes so much sense. The days where I am full of energy, can’t stop talking or moving… and then the days where just getting out of bed is a challenge.

In a way, I’m mad. I don’t want to be that person with bipolar, but I also know how strong I am. How I’ve struggled with this for so many years without a diagnosis, forcing myself to do what I needed to do to get by. Now that I have a diagnosis, I can get the medication to help keep me stabilized (well, when my insurance decides to sign off on it and cover it).

PL also gave me something for sleeping – something that has been incredibly rocky for me lately. I slept last night. Almost through the night. It’s an amazing feeling (even if I am still groggy today) and I know that getting the sleep I need will also help in my recovery.

I go back to see PL in August and from there, we will discuss what has or hasn’t been working medication wise and likely add in an anxiety medication for me as well. It’s a lot to digest, to think about, to get used to – it’s overwhelming in a numbing way.

These are just the first steps in a new journey, and as scary as it is – I’ll continue to fight, to stay strong and keep putting one foot in front of the other even on my darkest days.

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