Wednesday, July 15, 2015

July update

Thanks for asking for an update, Vickie.  Here's the scoop.

We have not made any changes yet with my job.  They fired my coworker at the end of May, so it's been crazy busy for me and just gotten worse.  And it hasn't been a good time to ask for them to lower my hours when my manager and I can barely keep up working 40 hours a week. For all of June I worked 44-45 hours a week, and we were still behind. And I didn't want to just find another job and up and quit. That's a bridge I wasn't ready to burn. 

They still haven't found anyone to replace my fired coworker.  First round of interviews were a bust. They are interviewing another group next week. 

Anyway, the plan is to ask if they will let me work 30 hours a week.  And if they won't, I will probably have to find another job. I want to keep my benefits, of course, and who knows if they will go for that.  It's a lot to ask.  BUT the upscale private university in town pays benefits for part time employees--20 or 30 hours/week.  I know this because I interviewed for a 20 hr/week position with them back in February, and I've called them about a 30 hr/week position (but didn't apply).  So I will bring that up as a "it's not unheard of to pay benefits for less than 40 hrs/week."  

If the 30 hr/week thing goes through, the idea is to work a full day and two half days with Mark. 

I am hoping to address this with my manager at my annual review at the end of this month/early August, or possibly sooner.  I'm scared to bring it up when we are so slammed, but it's starting finally to slow down.  Also I'm just flat out scared.  

The kids are good.  Sophie didn't get a part in Shrek the Musical, but she was the lead in the summer day camp play, Alice in Wonderland (can't remember if she had that part yet in my last update). She had to learn all her lines at home before day 1 of camp, and then in one week they put it together for a show on Saturday night.  She was AMAZING!!!  She was the perfect Alice.  I was so stinking proud of her.  She's now rehearsing for a play that runs the weekend before school starts; she has a small role but at least she's in the play. 

She has had two bad dizzy spells this year--once in March that was really bad (ended up in the ER with dehydration) and another in May; both lasted 2 weeks.  She missed the last day and a half of school.  We weren't sure if she would even get to do the summer play as Alice, because she was still dizzy the weekend before (and still, she learned all her songs and her lines).  Thankfully she was able to push through, although she was "dizzy in her head" several days of camp that week. 

At any rate, we saw a new neurologist (in town) last week.  He basically just listened to her history and gave her a new abortive (triptan) drug, since maxalt doesn't usually work (which is also a triptan, but the new one is supposed to last longer).  

She also has been seeing a physical therapist for a little over a month to work on her balance; I think this is the best thing we have done for her.  She has horrible balance--can't balance on one leg even.  The PT thinks something may have gotten off with her brain's balance system back when Sophie was little and had her first episodes of vertigo, and it just never learned what it was supposed to do.  So we are trying to retrain her brain.   

Vickie you will like this:  The PT office also made her new custom orthotic inserts for her feet--her arches collapse when she stands (Luke has the same issue, called ligament laxity).  She had inserts from the chiropractor from 2013 but they weren't as substantial as these.  Luke has inserts from the podiatrist I took him to last year, but they don't help--his feet still hurt when he walks or stands very long.  The PT said little kids shouldn't have the half-insert hard shell type for their feet, which is what he has.  So I am planning to get him some made, also. 

School starts on August 10.  I am taking July 30 & 31st off to get kids ready (Mark's birthday is also the 31st).  Sophie will be in 8th grade, Luke in 4th.  

It's going to be a big homework year for them both, I think.  Sophie has great study habits; Luke does not.  

For him, I expect a lot of maturity and emotional growth as a 4th grader. They switch classes at his school starting in 4th grade--so he has a different teacher for every subject and the students change rooms (like middle & high school).  In 4th grade the school puts all the high-ability kids in one class together, which is great b/c they can all learn together at the same-ish pace.  

We haven't done much this summer--Mark went to Colorado in June for his brother's wedding.  We couldn't go b/c Sophie was at sleep away camp at the same time (I couldn't have gotten off work anyway).  

Sophie did two weeks of acting camp, a week of church sleep away camp, and now is in the middle of 3 weeks of being a camp counselor at Angel Mounds (outdoorsy) camp.  

Luke.... he did one week of Angel Mounds camp and then has just been home all summer, either with Sophie when she's off, or with my mom & niece (6th grader this year). He's enjoying being a PJ wearing kid almost every day.  Back to school is going to be an adjustment for him, to say the least.  

I saw a new nurse practitioner for my medications last week.  I wanted a new perspective and new drugs.  I weaned myself off of topamax--I could tell it was making me more depressed and anxious.  I've been completely off it for a couple of weeks, but it took me about 3 months to wean off, I went very slowly. I feel better from a depression and anxiety standpoint, but the topamax was helping me with my food cravings, and as I weaned off, I started eating more.  Last time I weighed I was up to 161.  Ugh. 

I started a drug on Saturday called brintellix (she gave me samples, apparently it's expensive).  It's a newish antidepressant.  Also still on wellbutrin xl.  Brintellix is very well studied and doesn't have many bad side effects, according to my NP.  The worst has been it makes me feel slightly nauseous if I don't eat with it.  I go back to see the NP in mid August.  We are starting with this and if we need to add something else for my intrusive thoughts/OCD/perfectionist issues, we can.  

I've been having more migraines in the past couple of weeks.  I need to tweak my food, I think, and get off of processed crap I eat at night.  I don't know what else it would be--my migraines are almost always food related.  So, two birds and all that--stop the migraines, stop the weight gain. 

So basically I am just taking it a day at a time, doing the same thing over & over every day, every week.....with this big work decision hanging over me.  I'm sort of in the middle of the road emotionally.  It's been better, it's been worse.  I'm not complaining, much.


Vickie said...

Sounds really good overall. Glad the months have been mostly positive.

I have been on the road much of the summer. Home tomorrow which is likely to be a big adjustment.

Vickie said...

I consumed an enormous amount of sodium in England. It did not set off my dizzied by some miracle. How is Sophie doing with her PT and dizzied and migraines in general now?

Laura N said...

I need to go find your England posts. Sounds like you've had a busy, busy summer.

She hasn't had any more episodes since the end of May/early June (knock wood). The PT is still working on her balance--which is soooo bad. It's painful sometimes to watch her sessions each week b/c she struggles so much still. I don't know if it will make any difference in her migraines, but if we can retrain her brain to learn to balance better, I'm sure it will help her just in general. She's always saying how clumsy she is (which who knows if she is more so than other people, but she does tend to trip over her own feet a lot).

The last dizzy spell, when she could walk in the house but not go outside b/c of the light, I found an article written from research with the British health system that said once these migraine vertigo episodes start, it's just a matter of getting the body to find it's balance again, which can take a long time (for some people, months). And then I found exercises she could do-which involved walking in short bursts and turning the head from side to side and up and down (she did them inside first, then outside in the sun/cloudy light). I think they helped her bc after she started them she was finally able to handle outside. BUT who knows. She had the episode for almost 2 weeks before we started the exercises, so maybe it had just run its course.

The idea with PT is to get her baseline balance better and stronger, so that her body recovers its balance after a migraine episode more quickly.

Vickie said...

Walking looking up and down and then walking with head side to side are exercises my PT had me do. Also looking at spot on wall while moving head in time to a metronome. And standing still with my feet in various positions and my eyes closed for certain lengths of time. Plus more.

So I think you might be with a traditional PT working on balance and there is another PT (like I saw) who works with the inner ear/eye connection and balance and retraining the brain.

ENT offices might be able to tell you if there is that type of PT in your area. If there is, I would take her.

Vickie said...

I wrote very little about England. We had a really good time. Traveled for over two weeks. We were in England, Scotland, Wales. Middle and I only.

Then I was at Mayo with her.

Then she went to east coast and stayed with oldest for a week. They did lots of physical stuff (parasailing, wave runners, kayaking, etc). Had a fabulous time.

Youngest starts back to school this Wednesday. Senior year in high school. Four classes at high school, one class at local college. Still plans to volunteer at local theater. She just finished summer show this past weekend. Is skipping the next show (as far as I know, it is possible they will call her) and then is ASM (assistant stage manager) for their next show. The SM (stage manager) has a son getting married in the middle of that show, so she will be filing in for her part of the time. She has ASM-ed before, but never SM-ed so it is exciting and terrifying. This is local, but on a large scale. The show that just closed ran for three weekends and was sold out most of the time.

We move middle to her apartment next weekend. Very, very excited for her. It is furnished but no kitchen stuff included. Nothing on walls. Etc. So we have been getting all that together. I had been picking stuff up on sale. I still had queen size bed stuff. We have been ordering and hitting outlet kitchen stores. Etc.

As we have been getting middle's stuff together, we are prepacking youngest for fall of 2016 away from home college. Stuff is on sale now. Middle has things she is not taking. We have a college packing list. So, I am really working on that to make next fall easier.

I have major list of things to do when everyone is back in school.

Vickie said...

How are you doing?