Who needs sleep?

So, no one in this house seems to be sleeping well tonight.  Sean and I went to bed around 10 PM and I haven’t managed to fall asleep yet (1:30 AM).  The couple times I’ve peeked my head upstairs I’ve seen Zoey, who also can’t sleep.  Sean is still in bed and probably technically asleep, but he’s tossing and turning and coughing so much that it can’t possibly be restful.  I am tired, but restless as well.  I can’t find a comfy position and if I do my legs feel the need to move, or my nausea kicks back in and I have to switch positions.  I’ve had a hot shower and taken some medicine to relax and hopefully sleep.  Back to bed – a quitter I am not!

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Knock, knock

Since my moods have been on the decline and my self-harming thoughts have returned I took responsibility and told my doctor.  I asked to be referred back to my psychiatrist, to DBT, to be put back on medication, and to attend counselling.  I don’t want to do any of it, but I don’t want to be as bad as I have in the past and I know I won’t be able to “fix” myself without help.

So, I had my first counselling session, which wasn’t really a counselling session as it was “intake” to see what programs for therapy I would suit.  It did involve some back and forth – strategies to try when my moods are low until I get into the other programs, stuff like that.  But one question she asked me is one I’ve asked myself, but couldn’t answer well so I pushed it way to the back of my mind and tried very hard not to visit it… Who am I?  And she qualified that she did NOT mean my name, occupation, etc. unless that actually is who I am.   I understood but was stumped.  Beyond the basic drivers licence info, who (really) am I?

Physically – I am no longer the super morbidly obese girl.  I am not even technically (according to BMI scales) an overweight girl.  BUT I do NOT come anywhere close to feeling like a skinny girl (especially with the extra skin hanging and the “apron” I pray every day will be removed soon) or even average or the evil “normal.”  I actually think I was prettier when I was heavier, and now think my smile is too big for my face, so I can’t say I’m the girl with the amazing smile.  I can’t describe myself physically.

Personality – Well… I have Borderline Personality Disorder… but that’s not who I am.  That’s how I react sometimes, how I think most times and primarily what drives me but I don’t think it actually is me.  I also have chronic and severe depression and anxiety but I don’t think that’s me either because sometimes I feel fine.

I can’t tell you who I am, really.  Because I don’t know.  I’m one giant contradiction.  If you asked me, in passing, if I am happy with my life I’d tell you without hesitation that overall, yes, I am.  But when I think about it, there’s a lot not to be happy about.  So a lot of the time I’m not happy.  A lot of the time I’m stressed and miserable.  But I still feel happy, too.  I love my boyfriend, and my daughter.  They also both drive me bonkers and sometimes I feel stressed and miserable.  But I still feel happy, too.  My fake smiles are a lot less, and real smiles are a lot more.  So, I think, while it seems the bad outnumbers the good – and it very well might, actually – the good outweighs the bad making me say that I am, in fact, happy.

It’s actually quite terrifying, though.  Maybe I should be miserable and angry about everything but I end up being hopeful.  I’m having a lot of pretty serious medical issues that are causing a great decline in my quality of life but I keep plugging away because I’m sure we can fix it once we know what’s actually wrong and then I can go back to being happy.  Maybe I should let everything get me down, and a couple years ago I totally would have.  I wouldn’t keep trying with a relationship that required work because I didn’t want to put work in – I thought if a relationship didn’t work itself then it would never work and wasn’t worth trying, but I don’t believe that anymore.  I wouldn’t keep trying to find a job that pays decently but that won’t stress me out and make me physically ill.  It’s much easier to quit and go on permanent disability but I don’t want to.  I want to be productive and feel like I’ve made some sort of difference.

So, I don’t know.  I ramble, a lot, but that’s part of the thoughts racing through my head constantly and sometimes I just have to get them out.

Knock, knock.

Who’s There?

I don’t know. 😦

Shout-out to those with Chronic Pain

So I’m not going to pretend that what I’m dealing with is considered “chronic pain” because, while constant, it’s more of a discomfort than pain.  BUT when the pain swells, like today, and I can barely function… When I’m missing work because I can’t think past the haze of pain… When I can’t stop crying… And can’t sleep but am so deprived… Today is a day I think about the actual day in and day out chronic pain sufferers.

I’m wanting to give them a shout out because I’m ready to give up already.  Less than 24 hours of this round of pain not touched by any pain killers I’ve tried so far (including hospital administered IV morphine) and I’m ready to chain myself to a hospital bed until they figure out what’s actually wrong and then fix it.  My pain is awful, but it comes and goes so I’m not giving up because I’m confident it’ll end (this round at least) soon.

But days like today… Today I wish for oblivion… To never feel pain ever again.

Sleepless… In Welland

I’d be lying if I said I am feeling good.  I haven’t slept well for several weeks, and it seems to be getting worse.  I did some research on vitamins and what symptoms their deficiencies cause and trouble sleeping is definitely one, along with nerve problems (like in my leg), mood changes/depression, dizziness, headaches… Basically take my prolapse out of the equation and the majority of the leftover symptoms are now explained.

I already know I’m low in vitamin d (though most people here are low in d just due to our location), low in b12 and extremely low in iron.  They were talking iron infusions at one point.  I have bloodwork be taken on Wednesday to check my levels again but I suspect they’ll be lower than they were a few weeks ago.

So, as I mentioned, I did research into the vitamins.  I’m hoping with having a full picture as to why I need to take them I’ll be better at compliance.  Also, changed the schedule for taking them to align better with when I’m home and more likely to take them properly.  So far it’s been a couple days and I’m doing well remembering.

Last week I went back to the OB/GYN to talk about my prolapsed uterus.  She says it’s not getting worse so I qualified that no, the prolapse itself isn’t worse but that the pain and quality of life is much worse.  She put a pessary in me to try to relieve some of the discomfort and it made things worse.  So it’s out, but I got some good news anyway.  My surgery is tentatively scheduled for October 23, 2015 to have my uterus removed.  I’m slightly concerned about my labs though.  At pre-op if my levels are low I wonder if they’ll still take me? Well I’ve got time to get them up through compliance. So, fingers crossed.

Sleep deprivation is killing me.  I can barely think. I can barely speak.  I’m stumbling around, slurring, missing words, forgetting words, forgetting almost everything I need to remember, have serious mood swings and irritability… I have a prescription for sleeping pills at the pharmacy waiting for me… But while it’s a mere $20 script I don’t actually have $20. 😦 I also have depression meds I’m supposed to pick up but they’re $90… Those I’m not thrilled about, but Geez I desperately want to sleep so I’m going to beg, borrow or steal for enough to grab them at the very least.

Oh well, going to go.  Having hot flashes 😦

Shove it up your…

So lately I’ve been having some medical issues that have been severely and negatively impacting my quality of life (and the quality of life for those who live with me).  My doctors and I are working on getting everything figured out, but the whole process has led me to wonder why we don’t treat the body as a whole.

I’ve suffered with terrible headaches since I was a young child.  Mostly they’re tension headaches that try their hardest to be migraines and kill me (so, for ease of understanding for most people I call them migraines, even though technically they’re not) but I ALWAYS have some form of a headache.  I call it a brain cloud (thanks to Tom Hanks in the movie Joe Vs. the Volcano – the first movie I ever saw in theatres) and it doesn’t hurt per se (or maybe I’m just so used to having it I don’t notice the pain anymore) so when I DO say I have a headache it’s because it’s something different and actually does hurt now.  Today, I have a headache.  But here’s the thing… I’ve NEVER had my head looked at.  No CT scans or X-Rays or MRI’s or whatever to see if there’s anything wrong.

These are the medical issues/symptoms I’ve been suffering with:

– Nerve problems in right leg/foot
– Prolapsed Uterus
– Constipation
– Abdominal cramping
– Ovarian Cyst
– Irregular Periods
– Stiff and sore neck when extending backwards
– Clumsiness
– Memory and attention troubles
– Depression/anxiety and mood swings
– Pins/needles sensation in hands when working on computers for long periods (i.e. work)
– Urge to pee often (every hour usually, even at night) and urgently
– Trouble holding urine in (incontinence) or urge to go desperately but only a little comes out
– Trouble initiating urine flow
– Lightheadedness when rising but also at random times
– Fatigue
– Constant headaches (Brain Clouds)
– Trouble Sleeping (1.5 hours at a time max, usually can only fit 2 or 3 cycles in during the night – approx 4.5 hours max sleep per night and broken/not deep)
– Nausea/trouble eating not related to surgery

So, as far as all the doctors have told me none of this can be directly attributed to my weight-loss surgery.  Of course the doctors have been treating everything individually.  I have a nerve doctor looking at my leg, my OB/GYN is dealing with the prolapse.  No one seems to care about the constipation as they keep telling me it’s diet changes (except nothing has changed diet wise) and they don’t seem to care that as the constipation flares up so does the prolapse.  I researched it and a prolapsed uterus CAN cause/irritate constipation and the excruciating pain that doesn’t even consider getting better with an ER administered IV drip of morphine apparently isn’t important enough to take note of.  Apparently women live with ovarian cysts all the time and only have them removed if there’s an issue.  I get bad cramping in my left side (right in the same area as my left ovary – the one with the cyst) when I do any kind of physical activity… but, again, this doesn’t seem to be important to anyone (even though it meant I had to quit my job as a maid).

I won’t go through details of every symptom/complaint but the gist of it is I am CONVINCED they are all related as they all get worse at the same time.  AND I NEVER had these issues (or at least the severity of these issues) before so that’s why I’m certain they connect.  I want someone to look at my head (with an MRI) as I think that’s the area with the most common symptoms and seeing as how a lot of these symptoms are shared with MS I’d really really REALLY like to have that considered BEFORE it gets so bad I’m in a wheelchair or whatnot.

So why can’t the medical profession link everything together and test for things that encompass all (or most) of the symptoms?  I don’t want tests on my leg, on my uterus, on my ovary, on my stomach, on my bowels and all by different specialists… I want tests that will determine the ROOT CAUSE of the problems not just individual issues that all seem to come back clear.

My GP is having my vitamin levels tested because she thinks a vitamin deficiency is the cause of all these problems.  I looked at the requisition and it’s pretty much the same test they gave me a month ago that showed my iron, vitamin d, vitamin b12 and calcium were low. So unless these results come back with a significant drop in numbers I’m going to argue that the level of “worseness” in my symptoms that have occurred since my last lab test does NOT correlate with the vitamin levels being the same “lowness” or only slightly lower… especially since I’ve been way more compliant on my vitamins (seeing as how I didn’t take them at all for several months) I take them more often than not, now.

Plan of attack: I have a referral back to my old psychiatrist for the depression/anxiety medication issues, and a referral to a mental health counsellor within our GP’s practice.  I have a referral to a dietitian through my GP’s office (as the dietitian at the bariatric clinic was telling me a good way to up my calories to stop losing weight was to do things like add sugar to my cereal… empty calorie white sugar to cereal that I’m not supposed to eat because it’s all carbs?  Are you SURE you’re a dietitian?  Because I’m pretty sure as a formerly super morbidly obese diabetic telling me to go back to eating crap is probably not a good idea…).

I’m waiting for a date for my hysterectomy but in the meantime my OB/GYN inserted a pessary to help with the prolapse.  It didn’t work – made things MUCH more painful.  It was in for 7 hours and I had to take it out.  Am going back to her today to tell her to shove it up HER …

I’m going to try very hard not to let this get to me but the combination of sleep deprivation and constant pain/discomfort is really getting me down and moody/snappy.  I apologize to everyone I offend.  And to those I haven’t… don’t worry, I’ll get to you soon.

Inspired…

So Sean (the boyfriend) has been blogging again.  Not daily (as his name implies) but whenever he feels like he has something to say.  Well, he’s inspired me to attempt to do this again, too.

I found as I attempted to write this blog (which was really just for me but if anyone else read it – bonus) I kept writing as if someone who might judge me or make whatever decisions might judge me so therefore it wasn’t 100% honest.  It was the same as a teenager, when I attempted to keep a hard-copy journal.  I kept writing as if I expected my parents to read it so I’d write things for a reaction (or keep them out to avoid a reaction) and really, at that point, what’s the point?  Isn’t a journal to write your innermost feelings?  And if I couldn’t write them without fear of repercussion then what was the point of writing at all?  I’d rather go out and have fun than sit and write things that were insincere.

So, for those of you who may have read previous posts and now see this and are wondering, “what happened with her weight loss adventure?” I’ll give you an update (with some background info, too).

Highest recorded weight: 320 lbs

Weight on day of RNY surgery (May 21, 2014): 277 lbs

Current weight: 143 lbs

Goal weight: 160 lbs

I don’t have my measurements, but basically they support the fact that I’ve lost over half my excess weight and show about the same (I’ve lost almost as much as I currently am, size-wise) so, bottom line, I’m pretty happy.  To be 100% honest I’m not thrilled – I feel too skinny (very weird, I know) and hope to actually gain a little more weight.  My 1 year follow-up appointment confirmed I’m still losing about 1 lbs a week but, at this point, it’s actually not a good thing.  I’m still considered “normal” on a BMI scale, but the clinic (and me) are concerned that I’m still losing too much (approximately 20 lbs more loss and I’ll actually be considered underweight!!!)  I want to stop losing and actually gain a bit.  It’s so odd though, because (mostly when naked) I still feel that I look fat.  I see pictures of me and I don’t feel fat but it’s when there’s no clothes to mask anything I feel badly about myself.  I guess surgery can address the physical eating issues but not the mental ones.  It’s actually pretty important to know this going in and having support ready for you when the depression hits (I say “when” because from what I’ve seen EVERYONE goes through a “WTF did I do???” phase after a couple months and lasting a couple months.

So, attached, are some pictures.  Hope you enjoy them!

As for life, this is what’s going on: July 2014 I left my “hometown” (I wasn’t born there, but have been there 26 of 33 years) and went to Guelph, Ontario, Canada, to be with my boyfriend.  Other than my daughter I had nothing here – my job was making me very sick (depression/anxiety made it so I could barely leave the house and I was off on a disability for over a year), my daughter was (technically is, still) suffering from depression/anxiety and self-harming behaviours, money was tight due to the disability and not having ANY payments for over 3 months while they worked on paperwork, and I was miserable with my weight and how I looked/felt.  I was diagnosed with diabetes, couldn’t walk more than 300 metres without being in bad back pain, out of breath (and sweaty) and stopping for a break and totally hated how everyone saw me.  I knew I had value as a person and if people could just get past my fat they’d see that…

So, anyway, I left my daughter behind with her dad and stepmother, thinking their structure and discipline was stricter than mine so maybe they could help her better than I could, and moved in with Sean.  Things were very tough.  I had to not only find a job but pay off all debts that had accrued during my disability and non-payment periods.  I had just financed a new vehicle that would be suitable for Sean’s disability needs as well as damn sexy.  Plus we had to deal with me, who had been single for years, and Sean, who had also been single for years, trying to re-learn to cohabitate.

Anyway, I love Sean.  He met me in February of 2014 and before even knowing I was considering surgery he fell in love with me (FOR me, not for what I COULD be).  When he did find out I was approved he was so happy.  He never said anything about my weight or me being gross – the surgery was “applied for” way before I met him (here in Ontario, Canada it’s about a 2 year wait from referral of your GP to actual surgery – if you want more info on that part look at my old blogs) – and even though he said he wouldn’t ban all sweets and “bad” foods from his home he was COMPLETELY supportive in my decision.

Back to my life story… so moved to Guelph in July of 2014.  September/October of 2014 the landlord tells us he’s selling the place so we decide to move back to the Niagara Region.  Sean’s thoughts were that I have family/friends here and, (SUPER unfortunately) while he does have family in the Guelph area, since no one actually talks to or visits with him he figured it would be smarter to move back here.  In November of 2014 we moved to Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada.  Cute little town, but if you’ve ever heard the phrase “they roll up the sidewalks at 5 pm” it’s probably because it originated there…

The house we rented was a piece of crap.  I hated it from the minute we drove up to it (sorry, Sean, if you’re reading this – I know I didn’t say anything and it was because the house appeared to be fine, I just didn’t like the area from when I was a kid – we knew that was a bad area – and because we had a nicer place in Guelph) but Sean loved it for the location and there was nothing legitimate that I could see that would make me say no to it.  Well, big mistake.  We thought we had found a gem; granted, the floors were uneven and tilted dramatically, but the neighbour was nice and a potential friend for Sean (fail – turns out neighbour likes talking A LOT but not listening AT ALL so very frustrating to try to be around), and the location – well, it was a 15 minute walk to downtown, had a nice sized yard and was 5 minutes from the beach but in the winter (cold, yes, but bizarrely cold?  I don’t actually think so…) our pipes froze.

So, like any responsible tenants, we alerted the landlords that there was a problem.  They acknowledged that they knew this might happen as it did last year when they lived there so we should just keep water running constantly in the kitchen (pipes on other end of house in laundry room were affected) and put heaters in the laundry room.  So we did.  It didn’t work.  Not only did the pipes freeze again, but they actually burst.  I woke up to a sound of rushing water and a freezing house one night… I checked the “basement” (which is just a crawlspace) and the water spewing out of the pipe was mid-calf which was high enough to kill the furnace.  We spent hundreds on extra heaters since the furnace was broken (not to mention the cost of the hydro from running the electric heaters – almost $1000 as opposed to a “normal” bill of less than $200) and the landlords were going to get the issue fixed.  After a month they still hadn’t fixed the pipe or the furnace – supposedly waiting for insurance.  They offered to send us to a hotel until it was completed, provided we submit an insurance claim as well.  Well, here’s the thing – Sean is disabled.  Not completely, but enough that leaving his custom-decorated/accessible home is completely inconvenient AND add to that we have a nervous/barky 12 lbs dog AND we’re smokers AND at the time I didn’t have a vehicle AND my job was in a town where there were no pet-friendly hotels I’d actually be willing to step foot in AND money is already tight so upping the premiums isn’t cool and so we had a BIG problem.   We told the landlords we were going to break the lease and leave early – they agreed, with no penalizations.

In April, 2015, we moved to Welland, Ontario.  Not my hometown, but I’ve been here basically forever so I was happy to be back.  I’m now (physically) close to my dad, my 2 sisters, my 1 brother (other one lives a couple hours away), my 2 nephews, 3 nieces and friends I’ve known since I moved here at age 8… oh and BEST of all my daughter moved back home with me! .

I’ve tried out a couple jobs (who knew I’d LOVE being a maid when 2 years ago I couldn’t walk 300 metres!) and am currently employed by one of my best friends’ husbands (even though we’ve lost touch for a couple years she still reached out to me when his office had a position I’d be suitable for).  I leased another car (I had wanted to buy one outright so I’d never have to deal with the repo man again, but we couldn’t find anything that suited my tastes and Sean’s needs at the same time for our price) and we LOVE our new place.  The floors are even, the pipes have not frozen (yet, at least) and we’re having a visit from a great friend from Australia in a couple months.  All in all, while money is still tight and depression takes a toll on me and my daughter, I think we’re doing well.  I hope Sean is doing well.  I know he’s been having a rough go lately, but he won’t really open up to me so it’s hard to fix it (and my goal in life has almost always been to fix things – it’s a curse, actually).

Anyway, so I’ve been having a VERY VERY VERY difficult time sleeping lately.  I can’t seem to get more than 2 hours at a time and I’m very very very frustrated.  Today I decided (at 5 am) to drink screwdrivers to try to get sleepy. It’s now 7 am and after two screwdrivers containing 1.5 shots of vodka each I am completely drunk (yay for RNY – before surgery I could drink between 7-11 screwdrivers before feeling this messed up) and I can’t think so I’m going to go back to bed, and hopefully FINALLY sleep.  (I went to “bed” at 11 pm and haven’t slept yet even though I’ve been desperately trying everything I can think of).  Sean just woke up and (as shitty as this is…) I’m completely drunk now so I have to go to bed. My fingers are numb.  I don’t recommend this approach to sleep… just I’m so desperate I’m trying anything.  Will blog again soon about some side-effects I’m having, but for now feeling too numb to care. BeforeAndAfter FaceToFace