Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Solution to a small problem, and quitting Facebook

I'm sitting in the sunshine this morning, outside in my front yard.

Our dog barks at me from inside the house (jealous) when I sit in the backyard on the deck.

She can't go into the backyard even though it's fenced because she is a killer of bunnies. And we are over run with bunnies.

Also because there is a gap under our deck that she can wiggle under and the bunnies have nested under there. Sigh. Wildlife. My mom has stone blocks we are going to place around the deck openings to keep Belle out (with room for the bunnies to roam) but we haven't had time to do that project yet bc of Covid.

Anyway, last week I moved two of my fancy plastic Adirondack chairs to the front door area. We don't have a porch, there's just enough room next to the picture window for the chairs. The window is North facing and tucked away a bit, so this morning when I woke up I got my coffee and pulled the chair out onto the walk into the sunshine.

I've sat here for an hour writing and then reading Vickie's blog and now writing this.

This reading and writing has mostly happened because I deleted the Facebook app from my phone. I was off FB for a long time. Then back on it the past few months. Now I'm done again.

There will be things I'll miss like friends' kids pictures and cute videos. But those don't outweigh the bad. I'm not equipped to deal with what is happening on FB anymore.

And I will take ownership that it's my problem. I just can't deal. There's too much information and too much negativity and too much positivity.

Since I'm an input junkie I have to find other outlets (and I don't follow enough people on Instagram yet, lol).

I already do books on tape—love Audible. And I read on my Kindle. I'll survive, ha. Yesterday was my first FB free day and I was 100% happier.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

2020 Update--All things big and small

Hello from stay-at-home Southern Indiana, where life in the time of Covid-19 is weirdly still pretty normal but also twistedly sooo NOT normal it's enough to make me break down every few days and cry. Can I get an Amen?

Here's what happening in our little corner…

Mark and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary, by doing nothing and going nowhere...because we were in lockdown. I did get my engagement solitaire remounted into an anniversary band, which was "held hostage" at the jewelry store until last week (I emailed them and they had just reopened for private appointments).

I turned 50 a couple weeks ago. We celebrated by going nowhere…. same story as above. We ordered Red Lobster take out. I bought myself stuff. I also took the day off from work and everyone was very nice to me. Lots of Facebook happy birthdays. It was fine. I'm in a new decade. I'm half a century old. (Dear God.)

We are both still working. I work at a hospital (I don't take care of patients, I'm a unit secretary) so my job is essential. Our patient census is really low. People just aren't coming to the hospital in general. It is so weird. I'm thankful to have my job and health insurance (the reason I work). But. I work where the sick people are. We have had patients on our unit who have been positive for Covid. And we have had staff who have been around people who have been positive for Covid at other jobs (like RNs who work at nursing homes). So that is scary. So far none of our staff has been positive, and we all wear masks when we work. So I wear a mask for 12 hours--a home made cloth mask, because we don't have enough masks for nonclinical staff to have procedural masks. Until my step-grandmother made me a giant cloth mask a week ago, I was really struggling with "air hunger" and claustrophobia—it is a bitch to wear a close-fitting mask for 12 hours. This new mask I have is big enough that I have room to breathe without it sucking into my mouth.

Mark is working from home most days, he goes into the office maybe 2 days a week. His client appointments are phone calls. Being a financial advisor is whack right now, I'm sure. I don't really ask what's going on, I know it's crazy. He already had his clients defensively positioned for the most part, but no one could anticipate this. He's been in this career for 27 years, so he's seen a lot, but who the hell knows what is going to happen in the next few years, with Fed rates at 0% and unemployment at depression levels. We are in scary times.

In random news… I've started repainting the inside of the house. This began pre-Covid. I haven't painted some areas since we moved in 21 years ago, it is high time for a refresher. Things are very dated. I'm going with a grey-blue palette mostly. I redid our front room in January, it's a cozy den that we can all enjoy now instead of a crappy catch all room that no one ever uses (I can't tell you how much this room has improved our lives). I've finished the hallway and I'm on the entryway. I am sloooow. I get a burst of energy and paint for 5 hours, then I don't paint for a week. I have everything out on the dining room table so it's no big deal to just let it sit and then decide "hey I'm going to paint for a couple of hours today." I plan to paint the entire house (kids rooms have already been painted in the last few years) so this is a project over a year or so. I have all the colors picked out. It should be lovely when I'm finished.

I am still seeing my therapist about once every 3-4 weeks, now on the computer of course, which turns out to work just fine for me. I also added a new drug to my medication regimen—I now take R exulti (space is intentional—i don't want to end up in a search engine). It's a relatively new drug, an add on for antidepressants. I've been struggling since last year, A LOT, to find a balance with hormones, depression, & anxiety. I went to my primary doctor, my OB/GYN, a new holistic doctor (who cost me $$$ but did more harm than good), and NO ONE helped me. My OB wanted to give me an IUD (um, no). The holistic doctor had all kinds of tests run on me, including hormones, and then when I went to my appointment, she just barely glanced at the results, and prescribed a pre-determined dosage of hormones—which messed. me. up. I got off those hormones after two months. Oh my gosh I was sooo much worse on them. I am pissed off that no one can or will help me but whatever, I digress.

I also talked to my nurse practitioner about my psych meds, and we increased my wellbutrin by 75 mg, which increased my anxiety after about 6 weeks—which tracks, bc I can't take more than 150 mg of wellbutrin, this happened when I took 300 mg of wellbutrin, I had panic attacks. But we hoped 75 might help. It didn't. So then she thought let's try this new drug R exulti. We'll start on the lowest dose. OK, I am at the end of my rope. Seriously, I was crying every day, weighed more than I ever have, no energy, just really bad. I got the Rx (after the PA, it is super expensive), and then I went home and read the reviews online. OMG this has some horrible reviews—including major weight gain as a side effect. I left the drug in my bathroom for a week. And I continued to be miserable. Finally I gave up and just took the damn pill. And two days later—TWO DAYS—I felt better. I kid you not. Never has a drug made me feel better in two days. I just continued to feel better and have more energy and LOSE weight. I think this works for me because it works on dopamine in multiple ways, and that is what my brain likes. I've been on it for 2 months, and it has made a huge difference for me.

I've also had a CPAP machine for a little over a month. YAY middle age! But seriously, that CPAP is my bestest friend. I love him with all my heart. He breathes for me and helps me sleep and makes it all better (and I don't snore! So I can sleep in my own bed!). I finally feel rested and human again. It has been years since I've woken up and not felt like I've been hit by a truck. I wish I'd gotten a sleep study sooner. It took 3 months from my appointment with the nurse practitioner to when I got my machine, but it was worth it.

OK so food and weight. I'm attending OA meetings. I started going back before this Covid crap. My friend Amy and I had gone to like 3 meetings and then BAM! STAY HOME. So we now have Zoom OA meetings. I can go to a meeting with no makeup in my PJs (which I just did). Woot! No excuses. I'm not really working a program but I'm eating kind of better. (Drug mentioned above helps.) I've lost about 15 pounds this year, which has made a difference in my clothes. It's coming off super slowly. I am entertaining the idea of getting a sponsor and starting the steps of OA, but I'm also super hesitant because 1) can I do really do that while we are in this quarantine unreal state of life? and 2) I can't go anywhere, it is hard enough to work a program in "normal" times, how would I do this now? The flip side is, am I just going to wait until we get back to "normal" because that could be years. Am I going to wait years for recovery? Ugh, not an appealing idea.

Sophie graduates this year. Well, she's a senior and school ends. No idea what is happening with graduation. The school is trying to figure something out. Next weekend her boyfriend's parents are taking pictures of them in their prom clothes (thankfully, we bought her a dress she can wear again, it is simple enough to wear to any black tie event). She still hasn't decided what college she's going to attend. it is down to two private schools in Illinois. She received the highest scholarships awarded at both schools, and additional scholarships to one of the schools. She hasn't visited one of them; we had a visit scheduled on 3/28, which of course was cancelled. She's visited "online" and she likes a lot of what they have to offer. But it is very hard to make a "yes" decision for a college you've never set foot on. Also, it is very hard to make a commitment to a college when there is a very big chance you will be doing online school there next year for part or all of the year. She really likes the other school she has visited (which has given her more $ and would be less out of pocket and is an hour closer). There are pros and cons for both schools. If Illinois ever lifts the stay at home order, maybe we can visit school #2, but who knows. The decision date has been pushed out to July 1st. We have deposits at both schools and right now she's moving forward as if she's attending both, so that she can make a decision at the last minute. It is so stressful.

In some ways the stay at home thing helped Sophie because she was about ready to break when it came to school. She was a stressed out mess. School was ridiculously stressful this year. And then BAM! full stop it's done. Yes, they have online classes and she's busy of course. But her IB tests were cancelled (International Baccalaureate diploma - it is what her HS is known for and what Jr and Sr year are structured around, taking tests that are graded by people around the world - Covid comes and the tests are just cancelled). So her stress level went POOF GONE. Her boyfriend also came home from college in March so they have been able to see each other (yes they see each other. We aren't seeing people, their family aren't seeing people, no one sees the harm in the two adult teenagers seeing each other, they would go crazy otherwise). In other ways, this has been horrible for her. No warning, no seeing her friends for the last time, no yearbooks signed, no Prom, no Senior night, no last month of school easy breezy fun time after exams. So much loss. This generation of kids is going to have some serious abandonment/loss issues, I think. It is really sad, we haven't even begun to see the repercussions of it and no one is talking about it.

Luke is already homeschooled so this didn't affect his school at all. It did set us back as far as getting him out of the house. We had just started getting him back out into the world and now, of course, he's right back to being stuck inside, which is where he wants to be anyway. But it is still hard on him. He has days where it all feels pointless. He has very little to do. He has one friend he talks to on facetime, which helps some. It's not like we can promise to start something new for him because there is nothing we can do right now. Plus he has horrible spring allergies so he can't go outside (this has been a thing since he was 5 years old—he has to stay inside for like 6 weeks in the spring while the trees bloom because he's allergic to all the tree pollen). But… he is mostly ok. Mark spends time with him, I spend time with him, he plays with the puppy, he enjoys his video games, he does his school, we watch TV together. We will get through this. He's growing tall (he's 5' 9"+… I KNOW) and his hair is growing out. He decided a couple months ago he didn't want to get his hair cut anymore, so his bangs are now to his mouth and it's well below his chin. He actually looks really cute, he has great hair, it's wavy and he's at the age he can pull it off. It is so weird having this boy whose voice cracks and is as tall as my husband and who has the largest feet in the house and who can reach anything I can't and helps carry in the groceries.

My mom & stepdad and sister are OK. I've seen my mom once, at the end of the driveway with our masks on. I miss seeing her. She was going to help me paint but I don't want her around me since I'm still working and I don't want to risk it. My sister isn't working, but she is getting paid (lucky). She is baking and giving away her baked goods. (She is a food pusher by nature—this is the person who put chocolate pie in my mouth at Christmas when I wasn't expecting it.) So twice she has brought us cookies and treats. I gush and say thank you, but have thrown most of it away.

Other random stuff…
I make weekly to do lists, there is always so much to do, and I rarely get everything done.

We are refinancing our house and cutting our interest rate by more than half.

We had our deck cleaned and painted, it had 15 years of yuck on it and it looks so much better.

I'm having our yard mowed this year instead of mowing it myself (this is a HUGE burden I've taken off myself, totally worth the $).

We had a tornado come through a few weeks ago, it missed us by just a couple of miles, and I was thankful I had the trees trimmed last November because the winds that came through were brutal and we would have lost those pear trees had they not been heavily pruned last year.

The only places I go and get out of my car are work, Target, and the grocery store. I drive through the pharmacy, McDonalds, and pick up food at our local pizza place. I use DoorDash occasionally and we pick up food from other restaurants once in a while. Sometimes I drive through Starbucks (which is always packed), although only one Starbucks is open and now it is closed on the weekends. And mostly this is what I did before Covid hit. Except I went to the mall or Home Depot or other places to shop, but I can do all these things online. So life still seems "kind of normal." Except I'm shopping with a mask on, and half the people in the store (ONLY about half—are you kidding me??!!) have masks on too and there are X's made of tape telling me to stand 6 feet away from my neighbor in the check out line—reminding me this is sooo not normal.

I need new glasses but the eyeglass stores aren't open. I can't wait for them to reopen. Is that selfish of me? I guess it's selfish. I'm selfish.

The eyeglass store did see Sophie because when they went to all online school and she was on her computer for 10 hours a day, her astigmatism was really bad and her glassed from middle school (I know, but she never wore them) weren't cutting it. So the eye doctor considered Sophie an "emergency" and let her be seen. So Sophie has two new pairs of adorable glasses. And she can work on her laptop without her head and eyes hurting.

I will shower and put on makeup and do my hair and wear a real bra to go nowhere (I do wear yoga pants, I'm not totally crazy)—it just feels better to be put together.

I have started using Color Street nails since I can't get my nails done and I love them.

I miss my hair stylist more than anyone else and I hope and pray my appointment at the end of May sticks.

Now that I can't, there are so many people that I want to have lunch or coffee with. I hope when this madness is over and restaurants open up, I remember that feeling and set up lunch dates with all of them.

Be well, friends. xoxo

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

New Puppy--Belle at 6 weeks

This is our new puppy, Belle. She is 6 weeks old in this picture from the breeder. 

Back to school 2018

Luke started school today at a new school - it's a small (very small) private Christian school (k-8) with a total school population of around 150. His 7th grade class has around 13 kids, he said. There are 3 new boys in the 7th grade class, including him.

When we looked at schools starting back in the late spring, this was the last of three, and it was the best one by far. Everyone has been extremely friendly and helpful, from the very beginning.

The Principal has even been involved with us, and did Luke's entrance testing and talked to Luke about what to do if someone bullies him or what he should do or say if Luke sees something that he thinks isn't right (this was an issue at his previous middle school—not the bullying, but Luke seeing other kids bullied or Luke having kids cheat off him).

The principal even showed Luke his office the day he did his testing, telling him it's nothing to be afraid of and Luke can come and talk to him anytime he feels like he needs to. Every time we've been at the school, the principal says hello to Luke and asks how he's doing.

When we went for registration day a couple weeks ago, Luke said "I'm nervous and excited." That was the first positive sign I'd seen out of him about going back to school. He said it would be the first time he was going to school where he would be starting off with all new people, and he was going to be force to be more extroverted if he was going to make new friends.

Last week was the school open house. We originally were going to miss it, because we had tickets to a show in Louisville that we bought for Luke. Luke decided it was more important to go to the school open house that to go to the show (it was for a couple of YouTube-ers that he follows), so we ditched Louisville and went to the open house so he could be prepared for school, have his supplies put away, see his classrooms and meet his teachers and a few kids from his class.

Then today, he got himself up for school—he said he was awake an hour before his alarm went off—and he was a chatterbox and making jokes all morning. No talk of dreading school or not wanting to go. We have to drive him and pick him up—no bus—and that is a definite plus for him, since he hates the bus. It's about a 15 minute drive to the school from our house and he was relaxed and talkative the whole way there.

When I picked him up today, he said it was a good day. One of the new boys has an unusual name and spoke with an accent (he's not sure where he's from). But the new boy also is into Pokemon (Luke's favorite thing ever) and they sat at lunch together.

Luke said everyone in his class is nice, except for one boy who is really a little out of control and got into trouble a lot by the teachers today. But that is only ONE boy, and at his old school, there were lots of kids like that. Also, this kid has a peanut allergy, and Luke is taking peanut butter sandwiches to school, so Luke won't be able to sit by him at lunch.

We've all asked him how his day went, and he keeps responding it went well. He also said a kid from school even asked him how his day went today—that is just how nice everyone there is. He got his small bit of homework done as soon as he got home. He got his binder organized. He is now relaxing in his room for some introvert time.

It's only the first day, but I have high hopes for him. I can seriously tell that his Wellbutrin is making a difference for him. Even though he still likes to be in his room a lot by himself, when he is with us, he is more interactive and witty, more like his old self. I'm just praying things go well at this new school.

Since it's a Christian school there is a lot of prayer and neat things they do there. They have Chapel once a week, and the 7th graders are paired with a 1st grader all year to be a "buddy." Next year as an 8th grader he will get a kindergartner. He got his 1st grade buddy today. He didn't realize this would happen (I guess I forgot to tell him); he loves little kids, so this is a cool thing for him. They pray every day at the end of the period before lunch. He is taking religion classes. This is so far from the public school setting, I just wish I'd thought to send him there last year. You don't know what you don't know.

I just pray things keep going well for him.

Sophie starts school tomorrow. She will be a Junior—at the #1 high school in our state. Her schedule is brutal. All AP & honors courses, since she is working on an International Baccalaureate diploma (by default—all students there are required to get an IB diploma). But she says she wouldn't go anywhere else. She has an amazing work ethic. She's going to do an amazing job this year, I'm sure.

She's been working all summer on her summer assignments, mostly French (Jill—she's taking 4 years of French, although I doubt she'll do much with it after HS! She's not quite enamored of it, I'm afraid, although she has a delightful accent, IMO). She had to read "The Little Prince" in French and it just about killed her, and also answer questions about the book, in French, of course.

So that's the scoop on the kids.

Other news.

I got a new computer! My 9 year old Dell laptop finally showed signs it was ready to give it up. When I turned it on and it reset the date back to 2009, and it did this multiple times, I thought it was time. I made the switch to a Mac. Sophie and I both did. I've been using my MacBook Air for weeks now. She has yet to use hers, but she will when school starts. I love it so much.

Some sad news. We had to put our sweet dog Lucy to sleep back on June 28. She was 13 years and 2 months. She was not eating, had digestive issues and losing weight. We did everything we could including getting a 2nd Vet opinion, It was just time. We miss her so much. The kids both grew up with her. It was super hard on Mark, too. He spent the last 8-10 months basically keeping her alive by making her people food.

We waited as long as we could but we can't be dog free for long, so we are getting a new puppy on August 18. We picked her out a couple of weeks ago. She is a Cavachon—a mix between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Bichon Frisse. She is so stinking cute. Cavachons are hypoallergenic and don't shed. She'll only be 8 weeks old when we get her, so it's going to be interesting around here, starting back to school and having a new "baby" in the house. But she will be good for the kids. Sophie especially has been aching for a puppy.

OK that's it for now. Gotta go and I will write more when I have more. Hopefully the weather will cool off soon. Best wishes to you, friends.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

What's going on

I've tried to write an update three times this year. It's just been too hard to put things into words. And I haven't been able to.

First, no one has died, to put that to rest.

But both my kids are seriously depressed and Luke hasn't been in school since mid January. He's on homebound instruction.

About Luke. Last time I posted I explained he had trouble with 6th grade middle school and had developed TMJ. We treated the TMJ with 25 sessions of physical therapy and after he stopped going to school, his pain is mostly gone.

He went through testing with a psychologist in December. She diagnosed him with anxiety and depression and slow processing speed (and a high IQ otherwise). Not on the autism spectrum at all. She confirmed ADHD.

He's been seeing a therapist, and a nurse practitioner for meds since around October. In November we put him on lexapro. He's also on buspar for anxiety.

He was basically off school with TMJ from October through November, then went back to school on half days (8-11:30) after Thanksgiving.

In mid January, I caught him one night while we were watching TV holding his breath. I asked what he was doing. He said he was trying to make himself black out--he didn't want to live, and if he could push a button to make himself die and it wouldn't hurt me or his dad, he would do it.

Mark and I went to see his therapist the next day and talked to him about this. The therapist agreed that Luke's primary stress was coming from school, even on half days--Luke was still having TMJ pain around 6-7 (on a scale of 10) every day, and some mornings he didn't want to wake up.

So we all agreed to pull him from school and put him on homebound the rest of the year. I also started weaning him off lexapro very slowly--there's a black box warning for kids on SSRIs, that they can cause suicidal thoughts. Luke says he had these thoughts before lexapro, but he never expressed them or did anything like hold his breath. He just took his last 2.5 mg dose yesterday.

We did a genetic test for him (and Sophie and me) to see which drugs work best, and we all three have a short gene allele that is incompatible with SSRIs (meaning serotonin from the drugs do squat in our brains). The SNRIs are supposed to work, but I've had terrible experiences with those (so has Sophie--more on that).

I asked to have Luke start wellbutrin last week, and he's on a very low dose, bc it's in his "red" column, meaning he could have side effects at higher doses. Wellbutrin is the only thing that works for me, and his and my gene profiles are very similar. Also he craves things that increase dopamine (like video games) and I think it may be what works. We will see and only time will tell.

But he is not out of the woods. My sweet son does not want to live a long life--he does not want to live to be a teenager or a grown up or live after Mark or I die. He just told us this last week. It is terrifying and heartbreaking.

He has severe social anxiety and is highly sensitive to sounds and smells and light. I have no idea what we are going to do for 7th grade. We are taking with two of the private schools in town, but not sure if he'll even be able to handle either of them. He may have to be homeschooled.

I have called a friend of Mark's who is a psychiatrist who does TMS (magnet therapy) and also does ECT. I went to high school with his office manager and told her everything. They are checking if they can do TMS on a 12 year old. Honestly I don't know if Luke could handle it--it is loud and thumps the head.

I'm also going to get an ECS device from Alph a Stim and try that on myself, and if it helps me, then see if Luke will try it.

Luke sees his therapist every 2-3 weeks, but he won't talk about serious issues. He clams up. Which from what I've read of other parents with kids like him is the usual way with them. We are looking at possibly switching therapists but I don't know if it will help.

He has sworn he has no plans to hurt himself, and my therapist says kids his age can have feelings of suicide but no actions. My concern is that we have to help him now, bc the longer he's depressed and the older he gets, he could figure out a way to act. I check his phone and search history all the time for if he's looking for ways to hurt himself. And he hasn't. He doesn't know I'm checking his phone.

He does have happy moments and does laugh. He has had a friend over to spend the night a few times this year--but it's just exhausting for him. And he's spent the night at my sister's with his cousin once and had a great time. So he has some fun. I think though that in the background there is the black dog of depression always there.

Now for Sophie: She has been depressed since last May. We took her off her migraine med amitriptyline, which is what I thought was her issue. It took from May to October to wean her off it. She started seeing a therapist last fall and also a nurse practitioner for meds.

The therapist hasn't helped her. She wasn't a good fit. In March we tried an SNRI antidepressant, Pristiq, based on the genetic testing results. It was a disaster (Pristiq was awful for me, as well). She was exhausted and lethargic to the point she couldn't function or do any homework for almost a month. She was only on Pristiq for 5 weeks, and 2 of those were at 25 mg (other 3 weeks at 50mg).

The NP had her try trintellix next. Another disaster. She took it for two days, and both days threw up 20 min after she took it. Not a side effect we were willing to deal with. Those two days were the start of her spring break. And she was coming off Pristiq. So she had to deal with withdrawals that week as well.

Now she's just back to being depressed and sad. We aren't willing to try another medication while she's in school. She's going to see the NP in June. And she's seeing a new therapist in June, also.

She does better when she's with her friends. But she can't be with them 24/7. She also has times when she's fine, but she has weeks when she's just down and struggles to smile or have any joy at all.

Her grades have slipped this quarter. She'll probably get a couple of Bs and maybe a C+, she said. I told her it's ok, she's doing the best she can, and her semester grades will average out better and she can still get into a good college even if she doesn't get straight As. She puts so much pressure on herself. She's in the #1 school in our state, and they put a lot of pressure on the kids, too. But there's no where else she wants to go. So she's sticking it out.

But she keeps going because she has a strong work ethic. And she and I talk openly and I stay on top of how she's doing. I worry about her, but I know she'll be ok. I'm getting her help it's just going to be a little longer until we can get there.

We are going on a family vacation to Florida at the end of May. Hopefully it will be a fun trip for us all, a "vacation from our problems." We're driving to Daytona Beach, staying for a few days, then going to Orlando and doing the parks.

I started seeing my therapist Julie again in January. She's a miracle worker. She has helped me a lot these past months.

I'm taking the same drug cocktail as ever. I miss Vyvanse though, but it made my blood pressure go up.

I've gained a ton of weight. I weighed 204 this morning. I'm freaking miserable and I hate it.

And for the past week I've had a constant, horrible headache. So I've been checking my blood pressure and it's sky high (even off Vyvanse). So I'm going to the doctor tomorrow and will probably have to go on BP medicine. Oh joy. I'm sure I'll get a lecture about my fatness. I haven't seen him in 3 years and I'm at least 40-50 pounds heavier now than I was then.

Mark started eating vegan months ago and goes to the gym all the time. So he's doing his part to stay healthy. Which is awesome. I need him to stay around for the long haul.

So that's the drama and the insanity that is my life. It's not ok and it's not happy and I cry all the time in the car and wonder what the f*** I did to screw everyone up so badly. Now I'm just doing everything I know how to do to fix it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

I hesitate to write an update...

So it's mid October. And it's been a rough school year for the kids. Especially Luke. This is not good news.

I hesitate to write this, because there's so much personal stuff going on with him. Basically 6th grade was a tough adjustment for him--new school, youngest and smallest of the school, new teachers and classes and students from another school. He did make a couple new friends but it wasn't enough to offset the things he can't cope with.

Basically middle school was more than he could process. He started hating school more and more everyday. Mark had a talk with him about what he hated specifically--the noise, the annoying kids, annoying teachers, the crowds in the hall, switching classes at far distances, band, the bus. For one class in particular, we got him into a different class with a teacher who was a better fit. We started driving him to school in the morning instead of riding the bus. I suspect he has sensory integration issues and asked for a referral for occupational therapy.

On top of this, on August 27 he got a bad sinus infection and what we thought was an ear infection. And basically he had severe ear pain for 6 straight weeks. He was on 3 rounds of antibiotics. The dr put him on a steroid bc he thought it was Eustachian tube dysfunction. Luke missed 11 days of school in total from the ear pain.

We went to see an ENT last week. He said it wasn't his Eustachian tubes as our pediatrician thought. Luke has TMJ. His jaw is radiating pain into his ears. I have read other TMJ sufferers' stories similar to Luke's.

Last week he tried to go to school. He got sent home because the teacher said he can't function in class. Tylenol and ibuprofen don't touch the pain. Heat and cold don't help. Nothing helps.

As of right now he's not going to school. We are getting his homework and having him do what he can at home.

He has an appt with a physical therapist this Thursday. And with his dentist a week from today. I also have an appt for him with an OT for an evaluation on 11/1, and a referral to Easter Seals for OT eval, but they take months to get into--Easter Seals is the gold standard for testing and what the schools require if he is going to get an IEP or 504.

So we are really struggling with him and I am so so scared. It's awful to see him in pain. It's terrifying to not know when he'll be able to go back to school or even if he'll be able to handle it. To know we have a long road ahead of us to get his issues worked through. I tell myself it's not cancer or anything deadly and it's going to work out. But it's still so uncertain and I'm struggling dealing with everything.

He is very introverted, sensitive to sounds, touch, smells, doesn't like to shower or brush his teeth, sensitive to certain types of clothes, socks/shoes, limited food choices. Basically I looked through a list of issues for sensory integration disorder kids and he fits a lot of the categories. He's just been coping well enough and we've helped him compensate, until now.

Sophie is doing well in school (1st qtr only got one B, in Chemistry, all As otherwise), but she has been suffering from depression since May. We think it's from her vertigo med amitriptyline, which we are close to having her completely weaned off of. But it has been a slow process to get her off of. And in the mean time she's still feeling some depression. She also gets anxiety attacks at times. She has Ativan for that when she needs it.

We saw a nurse practitioner last week about her options. Sophie doesn't want to start an SSRI, which I'm fine with. She is deciding whether she needs/wants to do talk therapy.

She is in the school play which is this weekend. She has a principal role, not a lead but a good part with several lines and solos. It's been really good for her to have play practice after school every day. She needs structure and to be busy, in order to be happy.

Mark and I never spend time together. We are all work, all kids, no play. It's taking a toll.

I'm so thankful that Sophie has stayed healthy (knock a giant piece of wood!!!) and she is self motivated and has a solid group of friends. I know she's going to be fine.

I know we have to act now to help Luke get his issues healed, or we will end up with a 25 year old playing video games on our couch and doing nothing else with his life. And he is much too smart and kind and loving for us to let him go down that path. I just pray it's not too late.

Friday, July 07, 2017

It has been a while.....

So yeah. It has been quite a while since I've shared anything here. Amazing how the days march quickly by.

A lot has happened in the past several months. I left my job at the college and got a part time job (with insurance benefits!) at a hospital, as of the first week of April. The pay is quite a bit less, but the insurance benefit cost is also less. My take home pay was basically cut in half, but I'm only working 2 12 hour days a week. So I am working 3 days a week with Mark--so my time with him doubled.

I'm a patient care tech, and was trained to do patient care (taking out IVs, fetching food and water, taking blood sugars, changing soiled bed linens, basically all the people care of nursing but not skilled nursing). But I'm not doing any of that. I was hired for my office skills and am doing data collection, excel spreadsheet stuff, payroll, and other office type help to the nurse managers.

I work on a new observation unit that started May 1, so they need all kinds of data collected to know if it's successful. And we are starting the same type of unit at the East side campus (I am at the downtown campus, and we also have an East side hospital), and I'm helping the nurse manager get it going. I'll split my time between hospitals.

I really like the two nurses I work for. They are both YOUNG (mid to late 20s). Everyone is so young. I'm lucky I still look young. But I don't feel so young anymore. I feel like I could be everyone's mom. LOL

The kids are good. Sophie finished her school year with a 4.0. A real accomplishment, considering her high school was recently ranked the 3rd most challenging school in the country. She also got a 4 on her AP US History exam, which means she should have college credit for that subject. She was so excited to get a 4. She knew she'd pass with at least a 3, but a 4 is a big deal (a 5 is the highest score and I take it quite rare).

She still takes Improv class, private voice and acting lessons. She has an active social life. It's time to start driving lessons, although I haven't signed her up yet.

She went to Prince Edward Island with my mom at the end of May, and to church camp in June. She had a busy start to her summer.

Luke got straight As his last quarter. He goes into 6th grade in August. He'll be in band (trombone) and I'm hoping to get him started in a fencing class soon. He needs an outside activity badly. He only has a couple of good friends and one of them hasn't been available all summer. His middle school will have another elementary school that will join with his elementary school, and I'm hoping he will meet a couple new boys and girls that he can make friends with. He has a hard time making friends. We've talked about it. We'll talk more before school starts. I want him to be happier. It's been harder for him to find his niche.

He enjoys having a quiet summer at home. He is definitely a homebody and it's hard to get him to do things outside his comfort zone. We go to my sister's house to swim and my mom comes down to visit. But other than that, it's pretty quiet during the summer at our house with us both working all day. The kids often go for walks in the late afternoon after we get home from work, which is really great for them as siblings. Mark and Luke spend a lot of time together playing, either video games or with Legos or with the frisbee or his other toys. He gets attention, I just worry he doesn't have as much interaction as he needs with kids his own age when he's not in school.

Everyone has been healthy, thank goodness. That's most important. More than anything.

Mark is working a ton, as usual. He's happy to have me with him at the office more. He went to Louisville for 4 days in June with his brother from Colorado and they saw U2, and did several other fun things. It was nice for him to have some guy time.

Through all this change, I've managed to--what else?--gain weight! Yep. 20 freaking pounds. Thank goodness for the store Torrid. They have the cutest clothes. I actually was going to OA for a while, then I started working on Mondays until 7pm, then that fell apart. And my food is just over the top. And boom. I'm back at 185 pounds. Boo. :(

And my nurse practitioner who does my meds, who has been in Ohio for the last year getting her doctorate (we've been doing appts via Skype at her office) is no longer doing appointments. So I've been pawned off on a new NP and can't see her until late August. My anxiety was off the charts and I took myself off Wellbutrin, which I've been on for years, but it has helped lower my anxiety somewhat. Hopefully I'll like the new NP.

So that's the scoop. Kids start school August 9. It will be here in no time at all.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Princess Half 2017

Well I did it. I finished my 9th half marathon. This was my 4th at Disney. I had been training for about 6 weeks before Thanksgiving, but quit after that. So I went in cold.

I still finished in just under 3 1/2 hours. I lucked out and ran/walked the first 7 miles with a pacer--a team of two people who keep you on pace to finish in a certain amount of time. This pacer was doing a 3 hour 15 min finish, which consisted of 15 seconds of running and 30 seconds of walking, equaling about 14 min/mile.

Around mile 6.5 you hit the Magic Kingdom and it gets really congested and hard to stay together. So I had a hard time keeping up with the pacer (she held a sign so I could keep her in my sights, and she would yell "run" and "walk" when it was time to switch intervals). I had to run for half the walk breaks to catch up, weaving through people. And by mile 7, I was out of gas and was done with the pacer.

So for miles 8, 9, and 10 I ran/walked my own intervals, which were around a 15 min/mile pace. Then I walked the rest of the race. My last mile was slow--19 min. I was cooked.

But I never saw a Balloon Lady--those dreaded women carrying balloons who maintain the 16 min/mile minimum you have to maintain in order not to be swept from the course. I started in the 2nd from the last corral, so I had an additional 6-10 min cushion. Plus the fastish miles of the first 7 miles. And I knew I'd be ok if I walked the last 3 without killing myself.

No blisters, no knee pain, no damage. Normal soreness which I'd have had even if I'd trained. I am beyond lucky that my body still cooperates with me. Especially at my age and at my weight (174--the heaviest I've ever done a half).

We rested and got ready after the race for about 2 hours, then went back out to the Parks. Had dinner at 9:45pm at O'Hanna's at the Polynesian. Got back to the hotel at 12:30 am. I was up for over 20 hours (woke up at 2:15am to catch a 3:15 bus for the 5:30 start).

We walked another 8-9 miles in the parks that day. Walk=hobbled. But it worked out the lactic acid and Monday was better soreness-wise and Tuesday was even better.

It was a great trip. These are four of my oldest and closest friends that I never get to spend time with. It never rained; we had sunshine and warmth every day.

Mark and the kids did fine while I was gone. I of course had everything "idiot proofed" for Mark--left him 5 pages of notes and had the kids lunches pre-packed in lunch sacks. He still had a new appreciation for how much work it is to get the kids ready in the morning and at night. I am glad to be home with them all again. 6 days is a long time to be away.

I am back to being abstinent. I am on day 16. I am doing an intensive 12 step workshop with my friend Amy (she's in the black t-shirt beside me in the pic) through a workbook. I've done steps 1-3. Now starting step 4. That's where I got stuck last time. So this will be new territory. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

December update

It's almost Christmas.  How'd it get to be almost Christmas?!

I am so not ready. 

I mailed the Christmas cards, and I've bought almost all the kids' gifts, which I did all online. But I haven't opened one box or packaged that has arrived since I shopped for them on December 10th. So I don't know what has arrived and what hasn't. And I haven't wrapped a thing. 

So I have a lot to do before Sunday morning. 

Thankfully, we don't have to buy for anyone but the kids. We stopped buying for extended family years ago. It just got ridiculous, spending money on people who didn't need spending money on, and we all agreed to put a stop to it. Which is a relief. 

I do usually give my mom new pictures of the kids every year. And this year I'll give my sister a framed 5x7 of the kids, and my mom a framed 8x10 of the kids.  The fall pictures in the park turned out really well this year. 

So, updates.  

Sophie is still doing really well in school.  Going into finals, she had all As and a B+ in Biology (got a 92 on her final, so we're hoping it pulled up her bio grade to an A... still waiting for the school to post grades for the second quarter). 

Luke is getting straight As this quarter, also. He had his first band concert earlier this month and did a great job. For a 5th grade band, they sounded amazing. In tune and everything!

They both have been healthy all year.  No dizzy spells for Sophie.  Luke did have an ear infection that we had to see the urgent care for on Sunday morning, and I should have known because he'd had a cough for almost two weeks that I just let go because he wasn't running a fever or complaining and didn't miss school.  But other than that, they have been great.  

Mark has been sick with bronchitis for the past four days (sick the week before that but didn't get an antibiotic until Monday). When he gets sick, he reallllly gets sick. I don't know why it hits him so hard, but it does. Goes straight to his lungs, he gets a fever, has no energy, and is down for days. It's a real drag. He's still not well.  Today is day 4 of antibiotic, and tomorrow I'm hoping he's doing better. He went to work today but didn't do much and said he felt awful all day. 

Thankfully, I haven't gotten anything so far this year. Knock wood. 

I started going back to OA meetings about a month ago.  The college changed my hours on Monday's so I only work until 6pm and not 8pm now, so I can go to my 7pm meetings.  I'm still not abstinent, though. Haven't worked out my stuff to get it all figured out again.  I'm just doing what they say at the end of each meeting--"keep coming back." Eventually it will click.  I'm hoping after the holidays I can get my act together. 

I was going pretty good on the running/training front up until Thanksgiving, and then that fell apart. Nothing since. Blah.  I have to get that together, too, or I'm going to be in a world of pain the last weekend of February at the Princess Half.  

Basically, I work too much, have too much responsibility with a home life, and when I get done with everything at night, I'm fried. There's nothing left for me. Same song, stuck on the same track, playing over and over. 

At least things aren't getting worse, really. They just aren't improving. 

But hey, they aren't getting worse. 

Here are pictures for you to enjoy! 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October update

The kids are doing very well in school this year. 

Sophie loves her high school. She got straight As her first quarter. It's a very demanding curriculum (charter school, ranked #1 in the state and also ranked nationally), so her getting such high marks her first term says a lot about how hard she worked. 

She also did an outstanding job in the school play--she had a lead role in Act 1 of The Musical of Musicals (she was June). She got a lot of compliments from teachers, students, and audience members. It was the first time she had such a large role.  She's also in a play at her acting studio, where she has a lead role, as well; it runs Halloween weekend. It is an original play that her voice teacher wrote, a little over an hour long. 

Luke also did well, getting As and one B (an 89.66 in science--but the teacher only had 5 grades for the entire quarter. It's only 5th grade so I'm totally not stressing over a "B."). 

He got to bring his trombone home several weeks ago, and I was impressed with how much his band teacher has been able to teach him in such a short period of time. Luke seems to be a natural with this instrument. He likes band and doesn't mind getting up early to catch the early bus (at 6:52) to go to band at around 7:10am at the high school (then he rides a bus to his school, which starts at 8:15). 

Last week I started training for the Disney Princess half marathon, which is in February and I am going to do again next year. I got in two training days. The first day was brutal and only two miles. The second day was better and three miles. This week I'm shooting for three days.  My plan is to train Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.  It is next to impossible to squeeze in any time for ME, which is why I signed up for this race (I wasn't going to do it, but Mark told me I should, if it meant I would start running again). And I did run. In tenth of a mile intervals. But I'm running. And even though it's hard, it feels good to be moving again. 

My anxiety still has been bad. I started taking a new medication a few weeks ago. I'm on a very low dose. It makes me extremely sleepy within about 20 minutes, and gives me a bit of a sleep hangover. It seems to help with the anxiety somewhat. I haven't been taking it long so I'm not sure how effective it is yet. 

My nurse practitioner and I talked about what drugs to try next at my last appointment.  I am so against taking a different antidepressant because of weight gain on SSRIs, that I basically have tied her hands on how to help me with the traditional methods. But she totally gets it and has never tried to push me into an SSRI or anything that would cause me to gain weight. 

I've gained about 8 pounds in the last three months. So not happy about that. I've been eating too much in the evenings, mostly carbs, and it has caught up with me. My clothes still fit and it doesn't show too terribly badly, but I can feel it around my waist more than I used to (thanks so much, middle age). I'm hopeful that running again after work will prompt me to make better choices. I also know that being heavier makes it harder to run faster, so that is motivating me. 

Luke turns 11 on November 6th. I "met" most of you when he was around a year old. So we've been doing this about 10 years now.  It is crazy how fast the years have gone by. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Back to school

Back to school pics. Luke--5th grade. Sophie--freshman.

Luke hasn't gotten a real taste for school yet since they didn't start changing classes (different teacher for each subject) until today. He's getting on the bus at 6:50 for band, learning the trombone. So far he's handling the early mornings well.

Sophie loves her high school. She's handling the workload just fine. It is a lot of work. They have block scheduling and her A days are much more demanding than B days. No bus for the downtown HS. I have two other moms I'm carpooling with, and one of them picks up everyday when school lets out. I could not do this (well or easily or without going crazy) without them.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

June update

Hello there!

Yes, it's been a looooong time since I've posted.  Mostly because I'm not in a great place emotionally and don't like to talk about it.  I definitely tend to cocoon and isolate when I'm feeling more anxious and depressed in my life. 

So here's what's been going on. 

Kids got out of school at the end of May.  We have no vacation plans, other than possibly taking them to Louisville for a brief weekend trip at the end of July.  That in itself is depressing, because it's hard to deal with your kids' (teenage daughter specifically) asking if we have vacation plans for the summer and having to tell them we can't afford to take them anyplace special, especially when her friends are taking European vacations and annual trips to Florida.  So that's strike #1 against my anxiety filled summer. 

Strike #2 is that my kids had no camps to go to this summer, other than Sophie going to a one-week sleep away camp earlier this month, so they have been stuck at home by themselves every day. They are homebodies and like to introvert and be in PJs and are indoorsy by nature.  But day after day after day gets to a person.  My mom had been coming down once a week to take them swimming at my sister's house, which was helpful but not really enough to break up the monotony. 

Last week it hit Sophie hard and she had a little mental breakdown and said she couldn't take it anymore.  She had to get out of the house and needed something to do.  So I arranged with my mom to do more with them this week.  It helped.  Mom took them to the library Monday, and then Tuesday and Wednesday she took them to her house and they spent the night and did some things up there in the country.  

Sophie decided she didn't want to be a counselor in training at the camp she usually helps at--she had a bad experience last year and didn't want to repeat it.  And she felt too old to do the acting camps she usually does.  So that's why she had nothing on her calendar but the sleep away camp she does each year.  

Luke hasn't done a regular camp for several years.  He hates being outside when it's hot and I haven't been able to push him beyond his comfort zone to do anything else.  I'm just not THERE to help him.  I can't make my mom be responsible for doing these things to help raise my children during the summer.  So he's become a summer home body. It doesn't seem to bother him as much as it does Sophie.

I have a lot of mom guilt over having to work full time and leaving them at home by themselves. I was left at home alone with my sister when I was a pre-teen and teenager, and I hated it. And I hate relying on my mom, who means well but isn't the best at coping with kids and gets stressed easily.  I think she did OK this week because the kids had fun.  Luke doesn't sleep well at her house, which is also hard to deal with. Sophie was a big help in trying to talk him through some coping strategies but he still had a hard time. 

Strike #3 is that my meds are out of whack and I can't get in to see my nurse practitioner.  She now travels to Cleveland during the week, working on her doctorate, and is only seeing patients on a limited basis.  I had an appointment on 6/27 which was cancelled.  My next appointment is now 8/27.  

My anxiety is off the charts.  I have to take xanax every day just to get through.  I stopped taking the stimulant vyvanse, which I was taking during the winter and spring months, but it can cause anxiety--at least I figured that much out.  But I think my buspar needs to be increased--this is an anti-anxiety med.  I also stopped taking rexulti, which is a "booster" medication add-on, because my coupon was about to expire and I couldn't afford the copay that I was going to have to pay on it.  So I've made two adjustments on my own, one good with dropping the vyvanse (we had discussed going off of it during the summer months), one maybe not good with dropping the rexulti without discussing it with her. 

Sophie goes back to school August 4.  She has two big projects that she's supposed to be working on that are due when she starts school.  I think she's glanced at them and maybe watched part of a video for her history project.  I'm stressed about that, because I know they are time consuming and she's not started them.  Every time I mention her homework she gets upset and says it makes her not want to do it.  She says she's a good student, she'll get it done.  Yet it's not getting done and time is ticking away.  It is so hard for me to keep silent and just let it go when I know she's going to be scrambling at the last minute if she doesn't get started soon.  I haven't said anything for a week or so. I"m trying to keep my mouth shut. 

She's going to Chicago this weekend with three of her friends; one of the parents is taking them. So she's lucky she has this weekend to look forward to and we are paying her way for that. I'm praying she doesn't have any dizzy spells and keeps herself hydrated. Any number of things could trigger her vertigo--the long car ride (motion sickness), if she doesn't drink enough water while they are walking around the city (I'm sending water bottles but she's pushing back on taking too many with her, said she can find water fountains to refill them, but I won't be there to remind her to drink water all the time), if they take elevators up the tall buildings (I have NO idea what that will do to her). She's been doing OK until yesterday when she got dizzy on the golf cart at my mom's. Little things can sometimes set her off. 

Luke goes back to school August 10th.  He starts band this year--he's playing the trombone.  They have band practice before school starts at the high school; a bus will pick him up at home, take him to the high school for band, then the bus will take him to elementary school.  I really really hope he takes to it OK.  I've talked to him about how it may be hard but he has to stick with it. He knows he needs something in his life as a hobby/interest and this may be it. 

Sophie will need a ride to and from school every day; no buses to her downtown school. I thought we had a carpool set up with her friend's mom who lived 3 minutes from our house, but they decided to move this summer to a new house.  So now they live about 12 minutes away.  So I don't know what's going to happen to the carpool situation.  Yet another anxiety producing situation I have yet to deal with. 

I'm still working for Mark a day and a half a week, and working at the college 32-36 hours a week.  I'm not really feeling fulfilled at either job. Both are pretty boring and I don't feel challenged.  So my work life is bleh. Do I tell anyone any of this? Oh hell no.  It stays all bottled up inside and I pretend like everything is hunky dory.  I'm a worker drone like millions of other people, doing my job and living for the hours I get to go home and put on my PJs. Sad, I know, but I don't see a way out and it's just the stage of life I'm in right now. I've kind of accepted it as the way life is right now. 

My weight is staying stable at around 164 pounds.  I only weigh once every few weeks and it's always around 164.  My diet isn't great, but I'm still not eating desserts or binge eating.  No OA meetings and I don't talk to my sponsor anymore.  I really don't have a support system at all. Things kind of fell apart on that front.  But at least I'm not eating ice cream and cookies and cake. That mindset stuck like glue, thank goodness. 

Is there any good news to report?  Well, let's see.  Mark started working out at the gym again, which is awesome.  He needs to keep his heart healthy.  Sophie's vertigo has mostly been non-existent for the last several months (until the brief episode yesterday which hopefully has resolved itself).  We are mostly financially OK, although there is nothing "extra" from month to month. Sophie finished her confirmation class at church and was confirmed as a member a few weeks ago. Both the kids had their physicals and dental checkups this summer, so those are done.  Luke had an appointment for new shoe orthotics yesterday, which he desperately needs since the ones we had made two years ago don't keep his feet from hurting.  We had a nice little day trip to New Harmony last Saturday that was one of the most pleasant family outings we'd had in a long time. Mark and I are planning a Friday-Saturday trip back to New Harmony for just the two of us next weekend. Nobody has been sick with the flu or colds or anything serious. 

So I guess it's not all gloom and doom.  I need to remember that, don't I? 

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading my rambling thoughts today.  I hope you are having a good summer. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

March update (164.8)

I'm still kickin'.

The newest thing is, I'm on an anti-anxiety medication called Buspar. I think it is helping with the small anxiety things. My p-doc prescriber is awesome at paying attention to my needs and trying new things.

The rest of my life is same old same old.

I'm not running and should be. I'm supposed to be training for a half marathon in May. Big regrets piling up around that. I'm either not going to go or I'm going to go half assed trained. I haven't decided yet. I still have time but my schedule isn't getting any better and my body is at rest and not wanting to get in motion.

I work two jobs and they are both busy. I'm not real happy at either. The kids are ok although Sophie still fights vertigo spells. She missed a week of school the week before last. It's so frustrating. I'm having her cut chocolate completely out of her diet. She would eat a little now and then and usually be ok but then sometimes have a spell every few months. We are trying a zero chocolate diet and seeing if that makes a difference.

Mark works 50-60 hours a week and is usually pretty stressed. We don't have money in the budget to hire a full time or part time assistant for him (whether that would even make a difference, I don't know--I still think he'd be overworked and stressed). Nor for me to quit my job and work for him full time. So we are just stuck with what we are doing, with me working for him a day and a half a week (lucky I can do that). It's just a hard season of our lives right now.

Sorry to not have more to say. Just wanted to send something out there to let you know I'm ok and nothing horrible has happened. I'm sorry it has been so long.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

January update (170.2)

Tis the season for SAD. Yep, it's hit like a ton of bricks. I've been slogging through life since Thanksgiving basically. I was doing great before that (the mini boost from Rexulti was short lived).

I saw my nurse practitioner Friday and she's definitely not one to just throw up her hands and say "oh well, we tried! Sorry about your luck." She mentioned another anti depressant I could try but ultimately decided to put me on a stimulant. You heard me right. I'm now taking an ADHD med. A newer one, a non-amphetamine called Vyvanse.

So far I can tell a difference. I have more energy during the day. I'm less listless and more focused. I don't crash in the afternoon, and really I can't tell when it's out of my system. I do have trouble sleeping so I'm taking a Xanax to sleep (I sometimes did before so this is no big deal, it's a low dose).

I'm just excited there's something that is helping me through the last of this miserable season. I was seriously starting to lose it. Crying in the bathroom at random times and dreading going to work. It was the moving through mud feeling that I absolutely hate.

The plan is to take it during the SAD season and stop when the light is back. Or I can stay on it if I want, if it's what I need. She's pretty great about helping me do what's best for me. I see her again in a month.

So the big question. How's it affecting my food? I guess it makes me a little less hungry during the day. But my evening appetite is normal. It's not a diet pill, at least not the low dose I'm on.

I finally bought myself some new clothes (and a pair of shoes). I was tired of wearing the same things over and over and not feeling cute at work. We got a new Torrid at our Mall so I went there. It's for size 12 and up. They label clothes 0, 1, 2, 3. I'm a 0 since I'm in size 12 now and the clothes are loose. So it was the perfect place to go shopping. Everything fit and I was the smallest size. :) I got some great pants and 3 long shirts, which is what everyone is wearing so I feel fashionable now. It's all black though. Hopefully by spring I'll either be thinner and can shop for color at other stores, or Torrid will have colorful clothes I can buy and add to my expanding wardrobe. I'm tired of not dressing well just because I'm not my ideal weight.

Kids are good. Sophie got into the charter high school she wanted, which was determined by lottery drawing. It's the number one high school in our state (so they say--I don't know, it's a great school whatever the ranking). It's the only school she wanted to go to so we are fortunate her name was drawn. I'm thankful she was #10 so I didn't have to stress during the drawing!

Expecting snow again tonight so we may have another snow day this week. The kids will be thrilled if that happens. I can't wait for spring. Only a couple months away.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

December update (169.4)

A quick update. 

My meds leveled out. I'm pretty much at around a 5 or a 6 (on a scale of 1-10) most days; no more nearly-manic feelings (that was too good to last).  I did go up from 1 mg to 2 mgs of rexulti after my appointment with my nurse practitioner last week.  But I haven't noticed a significant change in my mood for the better (or worse). I see my NP again in mid January; she's good about making sure I check back in with her, which I like at this time of year.

I am really starting to notice the lack of sunlight now. I am using my SAD light, but only about half of the days of the week. Some mornings I have time, like on weekends and on days I go to work later than 8 am (like Mondays and the days I work for Mark--today, for example), and some mornings I don't.

I'm not having trouble getting through the day, so there's not full on SAD dysfunction.  But I don't have energy to do much else but the required minimum of work, home, kids.  I haven't run or walked since before Thanksgiving (and I was really doing well there for a while).  I miss it, but I can't make myself pick it back up again yet.

On the good news front, I am way ahead in the Holidays game.  I sent out our business family Christmas card yesterday.  Still need to do the personal cards but those are not as big a deal as the business cards. 

We have all the kids' presents bought, and I also wrapped almost everything last weekend. I still have several of Luke's to do, and we have a few gifts that are yet to arrive that I'll wrap this weekend. This is a huge deal.  It will make next week so much more enjoyable. 

I am taking next week off, except for Tuesday when I will work for Mark for 6 hours or so.  But I'm not working for the college at all.  Monday I'm going to lunch with a girl I used to work with (excited to see her), the kids are off school as of Wednesday next week, and then on Christmas eve we will spend lunch and the afternoon with my mom and family, then Christmas eve evening service at our church. 

Christmas day is just us.  We don't have to go anywhere or do anything we don't want to.  It's awesome.  Ever since Mark's sister moved to Indy, we haven't had any obligations on Christmas day. We miss his family at the holidays, but it is super nice to be able to spend the day in our PJs.

We are planning to go to a friend's house that evening to watch the Dr. Who Christmas special, since our cable company doesn't have BBC America anymore.  This is a woman from church that I became good friends with during a Bible study that was just the two of us several years ago.  She lives alone since her husband died a couple of years ago, so it will be nice to spend time with her on Christmas day; she doesn't have close family in town. The kids really like her, too, especially Sophie. She's very interesting and well travelled; she's a surgery nurse by profession and is in her late 50s. And she's as big a Dr. Who fan as Sophie is.

So I'm pretty stable, considering the time of year. 

Merry Christmas to you all!!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

we have a winner (170.0)

The add on medication Rexulti must be doing it's job. Because I'm feeling emotionally healthy and pretty happy, my intrusive thoughts are way down, I'm getting up in the morning w/o hitting the snooze at around 5am (sometimes 4:30am), I'm eating real foods (and cooking!), I'm cleaning and organizing, I'm going to OA meetings weekly, I'm exercising regularly, I'm working with my sponsor, and I've been abstinent. 

I started rexulti on 10/26.  I'm still on 150 mg wellbutrin and also on 100 mg of topamax. It's a nice little cocktail.  I'm also taking a lot of supplements.  Calcium, fish oil, magnesium, Vit D, Vit C, glucosamine, and I think there are a couple of others I'm forgetting.  I take the calcium, fish oil, & glucosamine twice a day. 

I've done a lot of organizing and decluttering the past couple weekends, in my closet and drawers, in Luke's closet & room, in the front sitting room (which is really a catch-all room and was a total disaster), in the kitchen cabinets. It makes me happier to have a cleaner, organized living space. And I've had the energy to make it happen. 

I've wondered lately whether I'm TOO happy and energetic.  I'm not staying up all night.  I don't think I'm manic, but I'm certainly more happy and energetic than is normal for my normal self. So it's weird, and the thought has crossed my mind.  Is this a touch manic? 

Which is pretty sad, isn't it? That I'm questioning whether this happy energy, this getting up in the morning before my alarm goes off, getting up at 4:30 & going for a run at 5:20 AM (which I did on Tuesday--& it was amazing) is OKAY or if it's abnormal. It's just so unusual for me. 
I figure as long as I'm going to bed and sleeping, getting a solid 7 or so hours of sleep (which is about what I normally get), I'm not technically manic and hopefully it's just an awesome combination of drugs, supplements, good food, working my OA program, and the grace of God working in my life. Whatever it is, I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts. Hopefully a realllly long time. 

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Halloween 2015

Sophie is Sally from Nightmare before Christmas. We bought her dress and tights from Hot Topic. This was the 5th time she wore it. She had a lot of Halloween events this year. Dress is well made. I washed it twice and it held up. Mark did her blue makeup and she did her stitches.

Luke is Luke Skywalker from Return of the Jedi. You can't buy this costume. Mark made it from a priest's robe (worn backwards and bottom cut off, extra used as belt) and a black t-shirt (cut up and fabric glued to look like a vest/tunic). And I found black gloves for $1 at the craft store.

First year they didn't trick or treat together. Sophie went with her three best friends from the acting studio, then they went to a party. Luke had a great time being the center of attention from us, and we ran into friends of ours who have kids in his grade that we walked with for about 45 minutes.

After we were all done, Mark, Luke and I watched Empire Strikes Back. I picked Sophie up at 10:15. And then she and Luke did the annual candy exchange.

It's been three years since I've eaten a piece of candy. Not tempted by it in the least. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

My Halloween Costume

I dressed up this year for work.  Halloween is a big deal at the college. People can wear costumes all week.  I only dressed up today.  Last year, I didn't dress up at all, and was the only one who didn't. So there was no way I wasn't going to this year. 

The coat was my mom's (faux) from when I was a little girl.  I had the dress from a work event with Mark a few weeks ago.  I bought the wig, gloves & cigarette holder from Amazon (separately) for a total of $25.  Sophie had green eyeshadow and I had the lipstick.  So an easy costume to pull together.  And it's a big hit.  Especially since we have a Vet Tech program with doggies in the Kennel.  Muwahahaha!  :) 

Monday, October 26, 2015

starting over is humbling (172.2)

So your advice, Vickie, about not pushing myself and over training came at a great time.  I had mild shin splints the day I read your comment, and I was ticked about it.  I had gone for a long, fast outdoor walk with a little jogging thrown in on a Friday, and by Sunday my shins were really super sore. I needed to do more miles to stay on track for my (self imposed) "training schedule," but your comment slowed me down.  It would do me no good to keep tearing my muscles & tendons with further pavement pounding, so I just rested until they healed. 

And I brought my training indoors to my treadmill and slowed down to a snails pace.  And I mean slow.  20 min miles last week (3.0mph). Tuesday=2.5 miles in 50 mins.  Wednesday=2.0 miles in 40 mins.  Those were my only two workouts last week.  And I felt like a freaking old woman.  My shins didn't hurt, but it still pissed me off.  So I made sure to eat well and I went to my OA meeting on Saturday morning.  My goal is to get this extra weight off so I can get faster and not be in pain. 

I did do an hour on the TM yesterday with a faster walking pace (I varied it from 3.0-3.5mph), with five or six running intervals thrown in. I ran at a 5.2 mph, couple of times pushed it to 5.5. The running felt amazing.  Nothing hurt. I felt strong and excited to be running again.  Of course after about 90 seconds I was struggling to breathe, and at around 2 minutes I had to slow back down to a walk. But that's how running begins. You don't go from 3.0 to 5.5 mph nonstop overnight. 

Food is much better.  I started cooking again, which I know sounds lame but I really have been super lazy on the food front and just eating what Luke eats or what Mark cooks and lots of frozen and restaurant foods.  I pulled out a couple of old Roni favorites (her greenlitebites website is wonderful), and even came up with an easy couscous/veggie recipe myself (cook couscous in veggie broth, then add chopped 1/2 cucumber, 1 red bell pepper, 1 carrot, add a big bunch of chopped cilantro--that's it. I added some avocado and you could also add black beans).  Sophie & Mark enjoy my cooking; Luke not so much--he's beyond picky (not even going there). 

I still am struggling with needing SOMETHING at night before bed.  So that is what I am going to work on with my sponsor now that I'm going to be working OA again.

I meet with my nurse practitioner this afternoon about my meds. I'll report back. 

Sophie has high school open house this and next week.  She doesn't want to go to the school in our district. She can choose any public school in the county, and we have several charter schools to chose from. So she is looking at one of the toughest charter schools that has an International Baccalaureate program (it is in downtown) but has limited number of spots and usually a lottery system to determine who gets in (there is an application process with an essay and everything).  And then another public school which also has the IB program; my good friend used to teach English at this school before she moved out of state. The principal at this high school has won multiple awards.  I had a student in my office today who went to both of these schools, and she loved the public school and the principal.  At this point the charter school is her first choice with the public school as back up if she can't get in. 

Still working with Mark 1 to 1.5 days a week.  It's going OK. I think he still wants me to work for him more, but that's not going to happen any time soon. For now the college is working with me to keep my hours flexible so I can do this.  They haven't indicated that this is going to change, and while it may not continue indefinitely, there isn't a date as to when it's going to stop in the near future. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

SSRIs are not my friends

I've learned my lesson again. The hard way. I cannot take an SSRI without gaining a crap ton of weight in a hurry. No matter the studies, no matter how fancy or expensive. My metabolism, my brain, my body, whatever--they just don't get along with SSRIs.

I started tapering off topamax in March. I gained about 4 pounds by the end of June. Not great but no bigs. Then started on Brintellix on July 11. By August 23 I had gained 7 pounds. By Sept 30 I had gained another 10 pounds. Yes 17 pounds in less than 3 months! I got up to 177. And I was done.

My appetite had increased some and I was eating more but not that much more. It was exactly what happened the year I started Prozac when I was 27 and I gained 40 pounds in a short time.

Well I'm done. I'm weaning off Brintellix. No drug will make me happy enough to offset the depression from gaining back 50 pounds.

And today I signed up to run the Indy half marathon on May 7. I'm going with a girl from the college who recently lost 80 pounds and took up running. She's really excited.

Will post more soon.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Good news about work

I got the ok to work 32-36 hours a week at the college and work a day and a half a week for Mark. Yay!

I finally had to ask when my manager told me there was a hiring freeze and they weren't replacing my fired coworker's spot. I had been waiting to talk with her until after the new person was hired. But this news forced my hand.

I explained I had to start helping Mark a couple days a week or he was going to either sell the business and get another job, or kill himself working so hard. So it's either the college let me work less or I was leaving to get a part time job and work for Mark.

My boss and the campus president got it approved through corporate, and if I work 32 hours a week I can keep my benefits. For now I'm working two 10 hr days, and half day of 5 hours on Tuesdays, a 7-8 hour day and Saturdays for 4 hours (until Sept 21 it's every Saturday but it will likely go every other after that). I have alternate Wednesday's and Friday's off.

So I work Tuesday afternoons and either Wednesday or Friday with Mark. This is my 3rd week and so far it's going well. I enjoy seeing Mark and seeing his relief at me being there to help. I like the slower pace with his office too. It's less intense and less extroverted. I'm not very efficient yet but any help is a help to him.

Now, this is all supposed to be evaluated by the college in September to make sure it's going ok. But I'm busting my butt and bending over backwards to make it work and keep everyone there happy. As long as I get the work done, and we don't get overwhelmed, it might work for a long time.

And if it doesn't then we'll deal with it then.

On the weight and food front. Ugh. Sunday I started tracking my calories. I was up to 168 and had to buy bigger pants (I have away my size 12s).

And that was The Line.

I knew I had to get my act back together. Because you can still gain weight even if you don't eat cookies, pies, ice cream, or donuts. Pretty much everything else, I ate. I was snacking at my desk. I was eating later and later at night. I wasn't eating fruit and veggies.

Once a food addict, always a food addict.

I can't fit OA meetings into my schedule right now. So I've created a food plan by using the app Lose It. I keep track of my calories and you can't eat crap if your limited to around 1500 calories a day. So far so good.

That's it for now. I'll post more as life develops.

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.