I always hoped I’d never need it. When I made up my emergency kit it was more a peace of mind thing, not a real thought that I’d ever need it. On Wednesday, I was so grateful I had that emergency kit! (TMI -This post contains information that may be too much for some people.)
The day started off so wonderful. You can see that in the last post….but later that afternoon I was hit with an attack, and I was in public! We decided to go out and check out a few stores that carry allergy friendly foods, but we were hungry and thought we’d grab a bite to eat. (yes I know, too much food out…too much sodium! But I had steamed chicken with vegetables and rice, no sauce….I ordered smart!) We were sitting in the restaurant and Stuart pointed out something to my left and over my head, I glanced at it and everything spun around. It scared the mess out of me! First I started to panic, then I felt it was slowing down. I thought it was Migraine Associated Vertigo and would pass after I took my migraine medication and emergency pills. Boy was I wrong! I took the pills and things didn’t get better. I was getting sick. Very sick, and the world was spinning faster and faster. I handed Stuart my purse and asked him to get my emergency kit. I needed to cool down, and I needed something to throw up in (just in case). I have cold packs in my emergency kit that turn cold when you twist them…or hit them really hard. This was a wonderful thing. I needed to cool down my core fast. We left the restaurant as soon as I could stand. It had slowed down so I thought the medication was finally working and we could get home with minimal discomfort.
I was VERY wrong again! We drove a ways fairly well, then the spinning got so much worse. I couldn’t stand the car moving. I asked Stuart to stop the car, he couldn’t stop where we were, and I started to panic….”Please just stop the car!” It was torture. I was actually screaming before he could get stopped. He stopped. Later he told me he was not in the best spot. It was pretty public and he knew I’d feel uncomfortable. Frankly, I didn’t care, nor did I notice. I was throwing up (thank goodness for those little garbage bags I packed in the Emergency kit), and I was losing control of my bladder. I was devastated. We were in Stuart’s father’s car, it had just been detailed….I mean like an hour before we left in it….it has leather seats! How could this be happening to me, in my father-in-law’s Lexus? (luckily it was his older car, but still, leather seats!!) Stuart swears when he went to clean it up, there was nothing on the seat, and no vomit anywhere. I did miss some the last time and got it on me. I’m so glad I was wearing a reusable pad, I use them for my menstrual cycle, but I also use them most of the time in case I sneeze or cough and pee a little.
We got home, and got me inside. I collapsed on the couch and passed out. I woke up an hour later gagging, but didn’t throw up. My body was spasming, it feels like I’m convulsing (not that I’d know what that feels like first hand), this lasted what felt like hours. I got very scared. I was having a hard time breathing with the spasms, and for the first time during one of these attacks I was afraid of dying. Then i passed out again, but only for a few minutes. When I came to, I decided I wanted to try to get to the bed. We succeeded. Not without much difficulty, but I was out after that for a few hours.
I know most of you have heard my horror stories of my vertigo attacks before, but the main part of this recount is how much my emergency kit helped. In it I have cold packs (to cool me down), small trash bags (to throw up in), large Ziploc bags (to put the soiled items in…and bags that have throw-up in them), wash cloths (to wipe my mouth, and help cool me down when they are wet), extra meds (we always have my emergency pills on us, this is an extra safe guard and it has more meds than I usually carry), a card explaining what is happening to me…and I keep a water bottle with me (normally this is just to drink from, but when I’m having an attack it helps to wet wash cloths and I need to rinse my mouth).
I will never think I can go without that kit again. I was recently thinking it was taking up too much room in my bag, no more! If I go out with nothing else, I will have my kit!
I’ve been working on this post since Thursday, the day after it happened. I’ve had days and days of extreme disequilibrium. I couldn’t move my head at all without seeing the world move. It was like it just didn’t keep up with my head….strange. I just started walking some unaided yesterday. Today I feel better and can get around by myself, but I still feel a bit wobbly. I’m pretty sure this wasn’t just a Meniere’s attack. My hearing in my right ear did drop significantly, and hasn’t returned to its normal level…that’s weird for me, normally after the attack ends the hearing comes back…at least almost to where it was. We think I had another spinal “blow out”, and my Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure (CSF) dropped. Stuart suggested the first night after the attack to not take my medication that controls the high CSF, it’s a strong diuretic and I couldn’t afford to lose any more fluids. But I started taking them again the next day after I was sure I was well hydrated. Then things didn’t get better. I was scared that I would feel that way all the time. I was having a big pity party for myself (sorry I didn’t invite you all). Yesterday morning, Sunday, I woke up feeling much better. I took my CSF medication, then I got up and fixed myself some breakfast. After making breakfast I turned and the world spun, dang-it! But it was at that time I realized my CSF pressure was too low. I had all the symptoms…the wooshy head, a headache when standing..ect. I went back to bed and lied down flat and the symptoms lessened and went away. Ah…yep, low CSF. So yesterday I spent the day lying flat. I’m holding off on the high CSF medication until I get signs of high CSF, then I’ll ramp back up on them.
Today I’m feeling much, much better, but still weak. My main goals for the day are a shower, and finishing this post…not necessarily in that order.
I’m sure I’ll feel better and better. The weather here is still gorgeous. We had an overcast day, but it was still nice. Today we have the windows open and are enjoying the fresh air.
The trip to Tucson, AZ was a bit rough, but not bad. The recovery after we got here was much harder. We arrived late afternoon on Friday, and today is the first day I feel like I don’t need to sleep every moment.
Today is a beautiful day! Right now it’s in the 70′sF and the high today should be in the mid 80′sF. At home, Durham , NC, it is in the 50′s all week. This is the reason I wanted to come to Tucson….oh the weather! We had a cold front here for a couple of days right after we got here…..I laughed, Stuart was worried about me and the “cold front”, it was in the upper 60′s during the day. It did get in the 30′s late at night, but I wasn’t out during those hours.
The second day we were here I walked outside to get some fresh air, I saw the prettiest bird! It was the reddest red I’ve ever seen! I looked it up and it’s the Vermillion Flycatcher.
That’s one red bird, isn’t it? I was lucky to see it, normally it has migrated by now. Right after seeing this lovely bird I saw a hummingbird, actually, he saw me first and was quite interested. He buzzed by my head, then came back and hovered about a foot or so from me and just looked at me. It was a brilliant iridescent green. What a lucky day!
Today I have been sitting outside enjoying the sun. I know it won’t be this nice all winter, but there is much less barometric pressure change here than there is at home.
I have much more that I planned to say, but I have had a bit of trouble with my email. I just found out that one of my email addresses that I have imported to my main email address, so I can read everything from one place, wasn’t being forwarded. This email address is a pretty important one to me, and it appears it hasn’t been forwarded for months. I wondered why I wasn’t hearing from some people. Now I have about 1500 emails to go through. I’m sure I’ll get tired and start deleting many without even thinking about it….so if you have written me on my “name” email, please forgive me for not getting back to you, and try again.
One more thing about email…well commenting on posts actually…On our ride out here I read some of your posts and commented on them, I don’t think they posted. I’m not sure I will be able to go back and comment on everyone’s posts. I’m sorry. Please know I was thinking of you on our way across the country. (FYI…I-40 is a boring route) I read many posts, and even tried to keep in touch.
Some have asked about how Max did on the trip. He was very good. I was afraid he wouldn’t settle down since Sandy wasn’t with us, but he did. The only time it was evident that Sandy was a real help with him, was when we’d try to leave the motel in the mornings. Max would hide! When Sandy was with us, Max didn’t want to be left without his dog, so when Sandy was ready to leave, so was Max. But for the actual ride in the car, Max was great. He meowed quite a bit the first day, but he settled in and slept most of the time. Oh the life of a spoiled cat. (he got tuna every day to coax him out of the motel, I’m surprised he hasn’t been pestering us for tuna since we arrived!)
So I to all I hope to be posting more and more about our trip and how it is affecting my illnesses. (I should say that on the drive here we mostly ate out….way too much sodium! So for the past few days my tinnitus has been louder than ever, and I’ve been very off-balance. I’ve been drinking lot’s of water and really watching my sodium intake, so today I’m feeling much better, but still not hearing as well as I was.)
We are finally getting on the road to Arizona. We leave for Tucson tomorrow…so no we aren’t gone yet.
and neither is that stupid cold. I’m sure the virus is gone, but some of the symptoms are still here. Mostly a cough. Oh how I hope it’s gone before we get to Tucson, the last time I was there I had a cough from a bad cold, people thought I was dying….or very contagious. I don’t want hubby’s family to think I have a chronic cough…for years!
So what is Gone? My hair. Yes, I had 14 inches cut off yesterday. You read right, 14 inches! Stuart took pictures, and I promise I will post them, as soon as I can get them off his phone. We are just so busy trying to finally get out of this house and on the road, that’s on the back burner right now. (my hair is now just above my shoulders…or right on them) I look like a different person!
I know I’ve been missing in action for a bit. I’m sorry. When I’m feeling icky, I don’t really like to be on the computer. I was feeling overwhelmed every time I looked at my email.
Today I just wanted to touch base with my lovely friends….and anyone who happens to drop by for a read. I’ll give you the update from the doc and audiologist on my Cochlear Implant soon.
This overwhelms me too. so much I want to share, but what to tell first? I don’t want you to have this long post to sort through, but do I tell you what has happened most recently, or what happened before that I still haven’t shared.
I guess it will just come as it comes. If I could just get back on track with posting I wouldn’t have this problem.
sending a wish for a happy day to all
Opps I forgot to Publish this…*smiles* So it’s a little out of date, but much of the info is still good. This post was more of a Freeform post….I just sat down and wrote, if I felt like it or not and didn’t re-read or edit so please forgive the errors that I’m sure are in abundance…..so…here’s for a bit of out dated news (I’m pretty much over my cold, it’s still hanging on with Stuart)
You will not believe this, but I thought I finally published this yesterday! I looked today…no it was not there. I think this post is haunted….read at your own risk.
For the past week I’ve been taken over by the cold virus. (you aren’t normally cold when you have a cold…so where did that name come from….and no I really don’t care enough to try to look it up…just pondering.)
My dear sweet husband that does so much for me caught my cold around day 4 of my dreaded mucus maker. He is such a trooper. I can look look at him and tell how bad he feels and how tired he is, but still he would take care of me. I will admit, I have not been able to walk very well since I caught this virus, my ears do not like a head cold! I started feeling better a few days ago (ok, maybe 2), but when I’d try to walk around I’d start spinning. Back in bed for me. So Stuart has been left to nurse his own cold and take care of me too. We’ve had a lot more takeout this week. Honestly, for me, just put my meds close enough and feed me (a lot, this cold has made me ravenous….strange for me when I’m sick!), and I’m ok. I have been sleeping more than I thought possible.
Oh, I must tell this story. I always thought I was very careful with my medications….but I did a really stupid thing the other day. I have my Diamox sitting by my bed because I have to take one as soon as I wake up to keep my cerebrospinal fluid regulated. I reached for it and took a pill….then thought, that pill was way too small. I then really looked at the pill bottle. My prescription for Ambien had been left on my nightstand, instead of in the drawer, and I took one of those. You can guess what happened, I went back to sleep and slept all day! But first I decided I should try to do a couple of things….like answer some emails….not the best idea. My husband also told me of one thing that happened that I don’t remember at all. Yes, I thought I had always been very careful with my medication, but I will me much more diligent now!
As a result of this cold I shared with my hubby, we have decided to post pone our leaving for Arizona by a week. We should be leaving on the 3rd now. The cold just put us way behind in getting things ready to go.
It also postponed my hair appointment. So it’s still long. And I may keep some length. The test results didn’t show any reason that I should be losing my hair, and my doctor said I may want to see a dermatologist. But she also put me on Biotin. I changed my shampoo and condition to one that is supposed to give you more lift or something, I got a real boar’s hair brush, and I’m taking the Biotin. Much to my surprise, I looked at the back of my hair this morning and I couldn’t see scalp. I asked Stuart and he said he didn’t see the “balding” spot I’ve had for a while now. My hair seems to be getting thicker. So….my hair appointment has been changed to Halloween. We’ll see what happens. Stuart said it could be a horror, or perhaps magical. (the magical suggestion came after I told him he was mean and scaring me.)
I’m a bit disappointed we are leaving later now. I love Halloween, and I’m not prepared for it. The house isn’t decorated, I have no costume, I don’t have the treat bags put together, and would need to purchase more stuff. I think our house will lose its reputation this year. (the first year we lived here we had less than 20 kids Trick or Treating….last year we had about 100, they come from different neighborhoods to come to our house….it has kind of gotten a little out of hand….but I love it!) But I’m not prepared! This year, the kids will just get candy. (normally, they all get treat bags…made for different age groups…with things like pencils, stickers, Play-doh, glow sticks, temporary tattoos…..all kinds of things….plus they get candy.) yes, my house is the house to come to! We often have a grave yard set up with a fog machine….oh I love Halloween. The decorations are just so cool.
Yes, I’m rambling a bit. I’m still tired from my cold and when I’m tired I ramble….or sleep…..I think that’s next. No wait, I’m hungry!
BTW: I always buy my treat bag goodies right after Halloween for the next year, I don’t spend a lot….and it’s really worth it to see how the children love them.
People who are chronically ill have to deal with symptoms every day…some days are better, some are worse…but what about when you get sick from something else.
Even a cold can knock me for a loop. There have been many times this year that I’ve felt I’ve had a cold, but it’s only lasted a couple of days. What was that? At least it didn’t last long. I keep thinking it’s probably allergies. Now, I feel like I have a cold…Day 3…perhaps I really do. But ragweed is really blooming here and it’s EVERYWHERE! So maybe??
It doesn’t matter, it’s causing the same symptoms: scratchy throat, more mucus, stuffy ears, a bit of a headache, (but much less than usual when I’m sick). Being sick, when you are already sick can cause all sorts of trouble. My ears are stuffy…not a good thing. I walked in the bathroom night before last and just before I got to the toilet the world moved and my world started to go dark. This is the closest I’ve ever come to taking a complete nose dive straight on the bathroom floor. I held onto the sink for dear life, and started squatting down…thinking if I fall it won’t be as far to fall. I called Stuart and he saved me. It didn’t last long, and I felt a bit guilty for waking Stuart up, but if he hadn’t come I would have been on the floor soon and preventing that is much better than trying to get me up after I fall. He was a dear and stayed right with me.
I’m not sleeping well because of this cold thing…and that’s not good for most chronic illnesses, mine is no exception.
I can say my head has been feeling much better. The day before I started feeling sick, the day was overcast and just yucky. The type of day that normally sends me to bed with a category 8 migraine. I actually went out that day! I did not have a migraine! Unbelievable. So maybe the Botox is working..(crossing fingers and toes). What ever is causing me to have less headaches I’m happy. This week has been nice….as far as the head pain goes. : )
All of this brings me to another question. Sometimes when I have symptoms of getting sick, it mimics symptoms that I get from my chronic illnesses. If you have this problem, how do you tell the difference?
For example, I have a lot of gastrointestinal issues because of the gluten and fructose intolerance. When I have any tummy issues, running to the bathroom sick, I automatically think I must have eaten something I shouldn’t have. or was hit with cross contamination. But, what if it’s really a stomach bug, or worse…food poisoning? I keep thinking it’s my fault, I ate something I shouldn’t have, when I possibly should be heading to the doctor.
Or with my ears. I get off balance, feel like my ears are full…all symptoms of Meniere’s that I have often…but what if I’m getting an ear infection? This has happened numerous times. I end up getting a very bad ear infection because I think the first signs are just my normal stuff.
I don’t really expect any answers. I try my best to be as in tuned with my body as I can, to notice if something isn’t exactly like the usual symptoms, but it’s hard. The thought of going to the doctor and being told it’s nothing just makes me cringe. (but we’ve all had that haven’t we) I think all we can do is try hard to keep ourselves as healthy as we can in spite of our chronic illnesses, and really pay attention when you start to have more symptoms than normal. (doesn’t that sound strange, that we have symptoms that are just every day normal things.)
A little update on other things.
I was supposed to get my hair cut today, but it has been postponed until next Friday. Not that I don’t like my long hair, but it’s thinning, and the doctors haven’t been able to figure out why yet. She put me on Biotin to hopefully help some, and I may have to see a dermatologist…but that will have to wait. In the mean time, I’m getting my hair cut to make the thinning less obvious. (right now I have to wear my hair in a pony tail, or tied back so it’s not visible.I’m not saying I have a huge bald spot or anything, It looks like I have a wide part trying to go down the back of my head, and I can’t cover it.) So next week, I should have photos of before and after! I plan to get about 10 inches cut off. I’m donating it to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.
The progress with the CI (cochlear implant) is going well. I’m hearing more, but things still sound a bit tinny. I hear best with the CI and my hearing aid at the same time. I’ll see the audiologist and Dr. K. again before I leave for Tucson.
We leave for Tucson, AZ on the 27th. I can’t believe it’s almost here. It’s been months away for so long, now it’s just around the corner! So much to do…actually, my darling husband has done almost everything. He’s a wonder!
One more note about the Botox….as Allison said on her blog about her experience, I’m having less expressions with my eyebrows. I had an appointment with my therapist the other day and she actually noticed my expressions were not quite right. I guess that’s why she gets paid the big bucks (haha) she needs to notice things like that. It was strange to say, oh it’s just the Botox. (she already knew about the treatment).
I’ve had another couple of breakdowns abut Sandy…I think it has actually helped some. To get it out and not hide it, to let people know how very much I’m still grieving. The last time I broke down (I really breakdown, can’t talk, sobbing, shaking all over….ect) Stuart said the wrong thing. He didn’t mean it and thought it was helpful but…he said, “This isn’t helping”. No shit! Well, him saying that actually did help, I got so mad it him it snapped me out of it. He really felt bad…just awful really. I couldn’t stay mad long, but it was a learning experience for both of us.
Sandy is still with me. She always will be. As someone told me, I have a Sandy shaped hole in my heart and nothing will be able to completely fill that shape. I do hope I’m through with the complete breakdowns. No fun, and Stuart is right, it doesn’t help. It actually hurts me physically, then I’m hurting everywhere. My therapist suggested some art about Sandy. I had started some, but haven’t finished it….I have a lot of things I’ve started but haven’t finished (I’ll take photos some time, and you can see the great unfinished works of W. H.)
I’m sure I’m leaving something out….but there is always next time. : )
Botox is now used to treat migraines. I know you saw me post that I was getting my shots on October 3rd….and I did…more in a moment. However, isn’t it amazing that Botox will help migraines? Or at least I hope it will. I’ve been reading about it, and it seems to, I know someone who has been getting the shots for a while now and she has had wonderful results.
Botox is for people who have tried many other treatments but still have 15 or more migraines a month. In trials it prevented about 9 of those headaches. Having half as many migraines as i do now would be amazing. However, I also read that people who took the placebo reported having 7 fewer migraines a month….a difference of 2…not so great.
There are a number of side effects you could have, but I haven’t noticed anything. On the Allergan site (they make Botox, I found that funny since they are known for contact lens stuff) it says, “It may take several weeks to see a response. In clinical trials, patients showed a response at their 4-week evaluation. After 2 treatments (at 24 weeks), BOTOX® was proven to reduce headache days each month.” I was told by my doctor (and I know others have been told this too by their doctors) that you will notice a difference in 4-7 days, normally about a week. I hope the doc’s right, I’m ready for relief. Also, considering I won’t be able to get my second injection for about 5 months I might have waited until then for my first treatment if it takes 2 treatments to be proven to reduce the number of headaches each month. (We will be in Tucson, AZ for the winter, so I can’t get my next injection until March 7th).
I’ll keep you updated on how my headaches are doing. Allison, from Taking Life for a Spin, recently had her first treatment and after about a week she reported she couldn’t lift her eyelids. You can check out her story here: Unresponsive Eyebrows.
So, how did the treatment feel you ask…what exactly did they do???
I had 31 injections….here are photos from the Allergan site showing the injection sites. One of mine was a bit different, Cochlear Implant in the way.
What did it feel like? My doctor told me it would feel like little bee stings. Well I’ve only had big bee stings so it was much less painful that I thought it would be. The needles are tiny, but the solution does sting a bit, and some of these areas were pretty sensitive on me, but it wasn’t bad. I’d do it again. : ) It went really quick, my doctor really knew what she was doing, just a few minutes and it was done. I spent much more time waiting on her to come in the room. : )
So like little bee stings, yeah, but remember I got stuck by the whole hive! hahaha. No…I promise it wasn’t bad at all, it was nothing like some of the other procedures I’ve had!!
After I got the Botox injections, I also got an injection for the migraine I had right then. (one that had been going on for nearly 2 weeks) So after my visit we got a bite to eat and I came home and slept for 6 hours! What a way to spend the day…a good way actually. The shot in the butt helped my head pain, and he shots in my head will hopefully help me to have less head pain, and I had a good 6 hours of sleep straight through. I did feel like I wasted the day, then I thought, “What else would I have done?”
Oh….I forgot the funny part of the story! But beware…this is Way Too Much Information!
I had been having cramps and all the symptoms of having a period, with no period, for over a week. That morning I woke up and felt fine, I thought….hmmm, guess I’m not having a period this month. (I am 49, I’m expecting to start skipping some periods) So I got dressed, and left for the doctor’s, we get half way there and I’m hit with a horrible cramp. I thought….no, no, no…I didn’t bring a thing. Of course, when we got to the office I go to the rest room and yep, I started. Well, If you are a woman, I’m sure you’ve all had this happen at some point in your life, and what do you do? No dispenser on the wall….so…Toilet Paper to the rescue…and pray it’s good enough for the time being. So I went and waited and waited for the doctor, and had all my shots and 2 hours later we were leaving…and I forgot, yes, I forgot about my makeshift protection. So we go out to eat lunch, and go home and I walk in the door and remembered. How could I have forgotten?….well the shot could have had something to do with it, but, but, ewwww. Luckily, it wasn’t that bad. But I will never again assume I’m not having a period!! Lesson learned!
For months now…oh about six…I haven’t had the desire to do much. Blogging always helped me deal with things and I’ve found support here I never thought possible…but I just haven’t felt like it. I’ll think about blog posts, write them in my head, but then in the day I don’t get out my computer and get in touch with the world. I keep thinking I’m snapping out of it, and I am better…and I do think I’m pulling myself out of this depression now, but it was there sitting on my shoulder, whispering in my ear “What’s the point?”
It’s almost 6 months since Sandy died, and I’ve been consumed with grief and guilt. I know I don’t have a reason to feel guilty, but all the “should have, would have, could have” questions kept swimming around in my head. Those kind of questions don’t do any good at a time like this, but they’ve been surrounding me…all the “What if’s…”
I still expect to see her, and occasionally, out of the corner of my eye, I could swear she was there. I will feel her on the bed, and nothing is there. There have been times I could have sworn I heard her. (Now I wonder how many times I heard noises and thought they were her and they were something else?)
A lot of people would not understand this deep grief I feel for the loss of my dog. But she was more than just a dog to me…she was a constant companion for 19 years, my Baby Girl, my Sugar Plum Fairy…or as Stuart would call her, our “Stinky Dog”. No Sandy wasn’t a Stinky dog. It is a term of endearment from my husband, if he makes up a little song about you and it says you are stinky then he must love you dearly.
Because of this lack of understanding, and the feeling within myself that I shouldn’t feel like this still, I’ve been feeling very alone with these emotions. I hid a lot of it from Stuart for a while, but recently I haven’t been able to.
Two nights ago, I had a complete breakdown. Nothing sparked it, nothing. I was just about to doze off, and it started. I ended up crying (read sobbing uncontrollably) for almost two hours. Since then I have felt a release. I’m still crying over her, but something broke during that night of gut wrenching sobbing. I feel freer from the guilt than I have, I feel like I can move on….that doesn’t mean I’m forgetting my dearest Sandy Girl and everything she means to me, but I hope it means I can begin to see the sun again. I’m kicking that little guy off my shoulder, he will no longer be able to whisper those disparaging words to me. I love Sandy, and always will. I know I did the best I could for her, even if i do question that sometimes. More so, I question if the vet did the best she could have done for her, but I need to let that go too. (However, Max has a new vet now.)
I know she was 19 1/2. That’s amazing I’m told. But just days before she died she was chasing the cat, curling up with me, and just such a happy dog. I remember how every time she ate her dinner she wagged her tail the whole time. I need to think more about the good memories, and remove the shroud that has been over me holding in just the memories of her last days. Sandy brought me too much love to dwell on the tragedy of her death.
I won’t make promises that I will be here more often, but I think I will be….I need to get back to my friends, and managing my life, instead of allowing it to manage me.
(there may be many errors in this post, I just can’t read it again right now.)
Where have I been you ask? Or perhaps you haven’t noticed (don’t tell me, I want to think I was missed) I haven’t been commenting as much on other blogs, or chatting away on mine (I know for a while I’ve been a little silent here so you probably didn’t notice), I haven’t even been able to answer emails in a timely manner. I logged on today and I had over 230+ emails in my inbox. Normally there are about 30…so how many days has it been??
I’ve been much sicker, if that’s the word to use, lately. I’m not really sick, it’s my chronic stuff, plus a little oops added in. First I’ll tell about my oops.
I know in my last post 30 things you may not know….. I mentioned how hard it is for me to wash my hair. It’s normally easier in the bathtub than the shower (I’ve fallen too many times in the shower), but I’ve decided that my bathtub is evil. I’ve had heart palpitations in the tub and nearly passed out, I’ve slipped a few times trying to get out, once I smacked my head against the wall. My latest fight with the tub? I pulled the tendons in my left ankle, and knocked everything out of whack on that side from my foot to my lower back, while I was lying in the tub. Yes, I said, LYING IN THE TUB! Only me right? Ok, it was a little more than just lying still. I had scooted down in the tub to rinse my hair, then I pushed with my feet to scoot up – my left foot slipped and went in a direction it shouldn’t have. But I must say, it really didn’t hurt. When I got out of the tub I could stand fine as long as I didn’t go up on my toes. So I’m thinking, no big deal. Then Stuart looked at my ankle and said, “Oh My!”. My ankle was very swollen!! My lower back hurt, but my ankle really didn’t. If you touched the swollen area it hurt, but not much. This happened last Friday night. On Wednesday the swelling was down and I had a massage, she helped the leg and back, but last night my ankle was swollen again. (not that I’ve been on it, I had vertigo all day yesterday so I was in the bed.) So now you know. I am afraid of my tub and shower….makes it pretty hard to keep up personal hygiene, but I manage….thanks to that darling man of mine.
What else had been causing me frustration and just plan fear lately? I was supposed to have the Botox shots for my migraines on the 18th, my doctor was sick and they had to reschedule….they wanted to make the appointment in November! We are leaving for Tucson, AZ the last week on October, we won’t be here in November. So they scheduled it for October 20th…I cried. I had the worst time with migraines this past month. Right before my period started the pain started…they gave me special medication for that time of the month, it didn’t work. I had 15 days out of 20 were spent in a dark room, often without any hearing device on because the light and sound would make me throw up. Throw in some vertigo, and we have a great party going on. Luckily, the appointment has just been changed to October 3rd. This should be during my period, so it will be a real test. Big problem now? If it works I need to have another shot regimen in 3 months, we won’t be here. I’m not sure I can find a neurologist in Tucson who would be willing to see me just once to give me Botox injections. Actually, I doubt I will be able to, so it will be more like 5 months between injections.
Recently I’ve been having more vertigo, and constant disequilibrium. Frankly, it scares me. I’m pretty sure some of this is Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure. We changed my medication that controls the high pressure to a times released form instead of the kind I have to take numerous times a day (I kept missing one). Since I’ve been on this new version of this medication I’ve been having symptoms like I did when my pressure was too low. I started back on the regular form of the medication yesterday, I hope this really is what’s wrong. Because the vertigo is scary. I’m proud of myself about how much better I’m dealing with it. I don’t panic as much, I’m sure I would if it was a severe attack. My biggest fear I have is that when a severe attack hits it will never end. I’ll give you an example of my days…Yesterday I woke up to the word spinning, slowly, but still spinning…this went on all day. Luckily, I was able to sleep through some of it. Then when it actually got to be bedtime, I couldn’t sleep. So many things going through my head. I kept thinking, something doesn’t add up….but I’m not sure what…at least I finished Uncle Tom’s Cabin…and still laid awake until 5am. Today, I’m not spinning, but I can’t walk straight. I can’t move my head at a normal speed or I will fall down from the disequilibrium. In the past 48 hours, I’ve been to the bathroom once unaided.
OK…I know this is another venting post. But I’m scared. What if the change in medication doesn’t work? Then why is this happening? We’ll figure it out, or I’ll learn to live with it! Right?
The other night I was talking to Stuart and told him that sometimes I envy people who don’t have to feel like I do. Of course, he said that’s natural, part of self-preservation and all that…. I then told him, I would gladly be the only person in the world who had to feel this way if no one else ever did. And I mean it. The thought that others go through this is heart breaking to me.
I do have some good news about my hearing! (unfortunately I had to cancel the last 3 appointments I’ve had with my audiologist because I was too ill to go, so I can’t tell you what she has to say, but I have some Wow! news.) Stuart got The Lorax DVD from Netflix and we curled up in bed and watched it on the computer. I used the direct link cable and linked the computer sound up to my processor. I didn’t expect to hear any better than I hear the TV, I thought I’d mostly read the movie, as usual (thank goodness for closed captioning!), but this was different! I heard the movie!! I heard the characters the way they were supposed to sound! I really heard it all, just right! Isn’t that amazing? That gives me hope that one day my CI will give me sounds that are normal. Right now, I hear better with it than my hearing aid, but sounds are a bit off, however, I understand things more. It’s coming along! And The Lorax is my new best friend!
September 10 -16 is National Invisible Awareness Week – If you’d like to get involved check out the official site.
30 things about my illness you may not know.
(warning, some answers may give too much information, but it’s not detailed)
- The illness I live with is: The main illnesses I live with are Meniere’s, chronic Migraines, Bipolar I disorder, and chronic hip and pelvic pain. If you are interested in my other illnesses please see the the tab above titled The Ants That Bite.
- I was diagnosed with it in the year: I don’t remember any more. I think I was diagnosed with Meniere’s in 2001, Migraines (I’m not really sure, I’ve had doctors tell me on and off since my teens that I have migraines, but they became chronic in my late 20′s…I’m 49 now), chronic hip pain and pelvic pain – they haven’t figured out what is causing all the pain, so no diagnosis. Bipolar I – 1990 then was told they were wrong – re-diagnosed in 1994.
- But I had symptoms since: Meniere’s – the first attack I remember was in 1993. Migraines – the first one I remember, I was 11. The pelvic pain – in my early 30′s, in the mid 1990′s. The hip pain – 2008. Bipolar – in my teens.
- The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: These are a few major ones for me…. Losing my hearing. Not being able to drive. Not seeing my friends like I used to. Realizing that I will never be cured. Not being able to have a sex life without pain. (but I’ve dealt with, or am dealing with all of these. They will not keep me down.)
- Most people assume: I can do much more than I can, after all, I don’t “look” sick. And some assume I use my illness to get out of social situations, but honestly I hate being so solitary
- The hardest part about mornings are: Never knowing what the day will bring. I often wake up with a blinding headache, I know what that day will bring. But if I wake up feeling decent I never know if I’ll continue to feel that way, or if I’ll be hit with a Meniere’s attack or Migraine. However, I try to make the most out of every day.
- My favorite medical TV show is: Ummm, funny, I used to watch some medical TV shows, but I don’t any longer. I think I see too much of the medical community in person.
- A gadget I couldn’t live without is: I suppose I could “live” with out most gadgets, but there are some I wouldn’t want to! My Cochlear Implant, I can hear so much more now. My laptop -so many of my friends are in there!
- The hardest part about nights are: Trying to sleep, and trying to stay asleep. Fear. Fear of having an attack just as I’m falling asleep (this happens more than I’d like to admit), fear of waking up with a blinding headache……However, each night before I sleep I acknowledge my gratitude for the day, and plan what I’d like to do the next day. I always have hope I will have a good day, and if I don’t I still know I’ll get something out of it.
- Each day I take __ pills & vitamins. (No comments, please) 18 daily (this included the total number, not different medications), 5 as needed, 4 vitamins daily, and one B12 shot a week.
- Regarding alternative treatments I: have tried many, including chiropractic, acupuncture, certain vitamin routines…. I found medical massage helps my migraines and hip pain a lot. I also use a special diet to treat gluten and fructose intolerance.
- If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: I don’t think anyone would choose to have an illness, but I’ll deal with the hand I’ve been dealt.
- Regarding working and career: I don’t work. I don’t have a career. Takes a lot out of conversations with others. My doctor suggested I look into filing for disability, but I haven’t done it yet.
- People would be surprised to know: I often don’t wash my hair for a month or more. Water on my head is a trigger for me, especially if I have to close my eyes. Luckily, my hair is pretty dry, and it’s long so I just tie it back.
- The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: There are a lot of times I have to say” I can’t” or “no” to people…and to myself. Losing most of my independence. Not being able to drive. And not being able to have a normal sex life.
- Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: Find the positive. Become my own advocate. Fire a doctor.
- The commercials about my illness: The only one of my illnesses I’ve seen commercials for is Migraines. Commercials are always drug companies wanting you to talk to your doctor about their drug. I’m not comfortable with this, and normally the side effects they list are pretty scary.
- Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: I miss being able to go places alone. (the answer to this question changes often, but right now, not being able to go anywhere alone is very difficult.)
- It was really hard to have to give up: My hearing. Even with technological help, I have a cochlear implant (CI) and a hearing aid, it is still very hard to hear at times. I know my hearing with the CI will get better, but it has been very hard to loose all my hearing in one ear, and almost all of it in the other. Without technology, I can’t hear anything.
- A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Blogging. Reading a lot! I’ve always liked to read, but now it’s almost an obsession. (thank you to Kym for my Kindle! Oh. another gadget I wouldn’t want to live without.)
- If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: I would be so very thankful!! Then I’d spend a day pampering my husband, in and out of bed. ; )
- My illness has taught me: To be my own advocate. To be more tolerant…I thought I was tolerant before, but I realize I needed a wake up call on that one. That I’m not alone….this one relieves me because I needed to feel that someone understood, but it makes me so sad that others have to go through what I have. And that I can handle much more than I ever thought I could.
- Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: Any form of, telling me I’ll get better. “When you get better….”, “You will beat this….” NO, I won’t. This doesn’t go away. I may be able to find something to make it more tolerable, but it will never go away. And often treatments that work, stop working. I also hate it when people say, “You don’t deserve this” I know they are trying to be kind….but I never thought I deserved this! And one more….”But you look so good.“
- But I love it when people: Tell me how they are doing, want my opinion, want to talk to me as a friend…..Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind if someone asks about my illness, if they are interested and want to know more about it. But, sometimes I feel like people forget I’m anything more than my illness.
- My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: This may not be the life I expected, so I’m changing my expectations. I don’t know if this is a quote or anything, it’s simply something I thought one day and it has helped me through accepting a lot of things that have had to change.
- When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: Often people who have been recently diagnosed find my blog and it scares them, so I start off telling people: Everyone’s journey with Meniere’s is different. Most do not get to the stage I’m at, so please don’t think you are going to lose your hearing….or any number of things I’ve been though. I’m in the very rare group. I let them know there are many treatments to keep Meniere’s under control, and point them to sites and other bloggers who can give a different perspective. Most importantly, I assure them, they are not alone. They can contact me any time, and there are online groups.
- Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: That my husband and I have gotten even closer. Thank you to our therapist, I think having to go to a therapist about all of this surprised me too. I was not handling losing my independence very well, and hubby wasn’t communicating very well. But by going to a therapist we began to communicate out needs much easier, and recognize our needs. Another big surprise is that people will reach out to me. I’m very surprised that I’ve touched people, and made some honest friendships with people I’ve never met.
- The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: (This does not include things my husband does for me) Come to visit me. It doesn’t happen often, but I do enjoy other people’s company. I hate that I often have to cancel when someone wants to do something with me. I’m already so isolated, and if I have to cancel people often think I don’t want to see them, or I’m just too much trouble. I don’t blame them, most of my friends have families, and they have to work their schedule around a lot of things. So missing a visit makes it harder to make plans the next time.
- I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: Because I have more than one. Some people I love and care about have invisible illnesses. We need to let people know we are still people, but don’t judge us by how we look.
- The fact that you read this list makes me feel: That you care, and maybe you understand some things about me you didn’t before.
There is so much to tell, where do I start?
I think I’ll just make a list of things that have been going on, then I’ll expand on them later….with some pictures.
First, the day after I wrote my last post be got a Foster Puppy. (that’s why I promised the next post would be happier.) For 2 weeks, we have the love of a 5 month old lab/Shepherd mix…this is a big puppy. But he was adorable, and we loved spending the time with him, fortunately Max (our cat) did not share our enthusiasm. I’ll write more about that later.
Then I had a migraine that lasted for 5 days without letting up, my meds would take the edge off a little, but not much. I spent those 5 days in our bedroom with blankets on the windows, and the doors closed. Most of the time I also had my hearing devices off. The light and sound was so unbearable. I really hate have hormone headaches. And this month was horrible. The cramps, the ….well you know what happens during that time of the month, but I will say, this was one of the heaviest periods I’ve ever had. I’ve heard that some women right before they start menopause they have worse periods. But I really don’t know about that. I need to look up much more about menopause.
Hearing with my CI is getting better. Stuart and I went to a restaurant that I can never hear in, and I heard the waitress, I ordered for myself! I carried on a conversation! This are still a bit distorted, but I’m beginning to tell male voices from female. Some things sound as they should. More on this later.
Tonight my hubby made homemade chicken soup for me, can you guess why? That’s right, I woke up in the middle of the night last night with a cold. I can’t remember the last time I’ve sneezed so much, and where does all this stuff that’s coming out of my nose come from? Ick! (btw, that’s not a serious question)
I probably have more to tell, but my head is hurting too much now. And I should try to get some rest….and some tea…oh yes, some tea will make it better.
The chicken soup was AWESOME! if you’d like the recipe you can find it here: http://wendycooks.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/the-best-chicken-soup-ive-ever-eaten/
Stuart did change one thing. We just made a huge pot of Chicken Stock, much richer than the broth the recipe makes, so he used that for the liquid. Sure is funny how chicken soup can make a cold sufferer feel so much better.