Tag Archives: FM

Bipolar – What is it?

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I thought it might be a good time to share with you what I think is one of the best explanations of what Bipolar Disorder is that I’ve come across in all the years I’ve known I have (am?) it. Read on:

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out daily tasks. Symptoms of bipolar disorder can be severe. They are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.
(NIMH Bipolar)

I admit that when I was a single parent of three young children life was less than fun. I was very sick. I spent what time I could be “normal” growing my kids up so they would be productive and good members of our society. More than that, I wanted their lives have the potential to make a difference somehow.

Despite my Bipolar (Type 1) I kept at it making memories when I couldn’t buy the kids stuff their friends and exploring their world around them. They had me at home and my “mostly” full attention all the time. Most kids don’t get that do they? Today, years later, most of my kid’s friends come from broken, dysfunctional and unhealthy families. We try to make our home a haven for these kids, welcoming them in if they behave like good people. We have standards we maintain here. No drugs, no dating my kids, and we encourage the kids not to be sexually active. Okay, the kids themselves try to encourage that. Why? Because it messes them up more. If they have a bad family life you can bet that heavy dating isn’t going to be the answer. The answer comes from within. Just like it does for you and I.

I have Bipolar Disorder in Aces and Spades… Full on and all the time. Yet, today I’m under the supervision of competent med provider and counselor (mostly lol) and you know what I suffered the affects from today? My ADHD. Yep. Like wow. My Bipolar is in order for the time being (and I take all my meds). Now to deal with the ADHD.

I cleaned house today. Until my back pain (I have chronic back pain and FM) and my right thumb (arthritis) slowed me down and demanded my painkiller and muscle relaxer.

It’s a fine line I walk with my meds. (Each person who prescribes for me knows all the other drugs I’m on. Still I check for drug interactions. That would suck.) Managing the pain in my brain and the pain in my body is difficult to do.

Here’s what I’ve learned. Drugs meant for one thing do NOT help for the other thing. Painkillers do not help Bipolar Disorder. This is what I remind myself of so I keep on the narrow track:

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out daily tasks. Symptoms of bipolar disorder can be severe. They are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.
(NIMH Bipolar)

You would do well to remember this too my friend, no matter what else happens or what else you suffer from, this Bipolar is a different beast and you’d best not forget it nor neglect it lest it eat your life to bits.

I invite you to visit my re-blog of this blog on Facebook under Redux 2.0. Share this blog with your friends if you think it would help them or help them understand you.

Here you will always have the truth as I find it and as I discover it within myself. I will always try my best to be honest with you.

Write me, I answer all emails. I’m pleased to receive them.

Be well. Remember there is hope for you as there is hope for me…. take one hour at a time.

Your friend, Robin

Bipolar – Handling an Insane Schedule and Still Having Fun

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I tend to forget a very important fact when I’m busy and especially when I’m going to be driving… I have chronic pain in my back and I tend to forget to take my Oxycodone. Or, if I’m going to be driving, I don’t take it. Late this afternoon I remembered I was in pain (I also take Lyrica for FM and have OA so go figure with all the pain right?), I remembered and I took my pain killer. Quickly I was able to do house work and things I had stopped doing again, like moving around like I’m not a super old and very cranky woman.

I’m not high. Just experiencing less pain. It’s makes such a difference with the Lyrica and Oxy and the anti-inflammatory they have me on for my OA.

Back to the really important stuff: The Magical How to Be Too Busy and Still Have Fun.

Since my last post things have gotten more complicated and because I neglected to take some of my meds as prescribed I started being angry for no good reason and wanting to lash out. Took my meds…. I’m ok now. I can’t stress enough that we have to take our meds. You don’t think you need them? Especially during this next 30 days or so then you are nuts and a dope. Take your meds.

Starting last
Saturday  – Afternoon at my parents just to visit (my dad has stage four cancer and they “say” he has 6 – 12 months left) My brother and I are trying to spend time with them as much as possible.

Sunday (today) – Early family dinner at my parents with Tony and Mat too (my brother and his partner)

Monday – Take Kyle to the bus at 7:50 (the transit bus line stops exactly 8 minutes before our house)
– Take Syd to friend’s house so friend can get Syd to work on time (Kyle and I will be heading to Seattle)
– Pick up kyle at UWT at 11:00
– Arrive at UW medical center to get my new dentures (only Kyle and Syd know I’m getting them now)
– Drive through Seattle/Tacoma traffic through rush hour home. Usually takes 2 to 2.5 hours. Crazy drive. Seatac is almost that far.
– Pick up Sydney at end of bus route at 6:00 or find her a ride home

Tuesday – Sydney Braces for teeth…. orthodontist appt. at 7:50 a.m.
– 3:00 Sydney works till 5
– Kyle school then works till 5
– My brother’s birthday – at Bob’s Burgers (Where everyone will see my new teeth and that I cannot work them very well yet. So funny!)

Wednesday – Pick up “Carol”, my friend for lunch at Seatac during her layover. Actually, I’m picking up Jessica (my other daughter) from the airport and sneaking her home to surprise her sibs. 1:15 p.m.
– 3:00 Sydney works till 5

Thursday – Thanksgiving where I will again try to eat and talk with my new face. I anticipate talking funny for a bit and eating… carefully. lol
– Dinner at my brother and Mat’s at 4:30. It will be a banquet for kings and queens. They always throw amazing parties. The food is amazing. But then, they have lots of money.

Sat – Sun Syd is supposed to work on a project with a girl from school…. only she doesn’t know her sister will be leaving Monday. OMG!

I think those are the highlights. All the while I will be thinking of my dad and how he’s doing. And that the stress of all these secrets is making my brain burn like a torch lighting the way to a wondrous gift: family… and taking my meds as prescribed every day. Even the stupid ones that want to be taken 3 times a day. Uh. Don’t you hate those? Makes me bonkers.

My friend Carol and Jessica are the only ones that know what’s going on. No, Jessica doesn’t know I’m coming to the airport with my face in (dentures, it really changes your face).

Now more how to survive Thanksgiving tips that I use myself:
Play games – I don’t care if they’re card games with others or computer games by yourself. Play something!
Breath – from deep down in the belly when you feel the stress monster coming for you.
Ask for a hug – you don’t even need to say why. Just ask for one… or give one, maybe more than one!
Eat properly, and drink lots of water. No booze. NO BOOZE. Seriously. Don’t drink it.
Get enough sleep.
Smile. Smile for others if you can’t for yourself. Don’t bring your world down to your mood if you’re cranky.
Meditate, pray, be still… recharge yourself. Go to your happy place.
Oh, and do not over eat.

And then the next day will come and what you did the day before will still be with you so make wise choices.

Lastly, if you have a service dog avail them of their services. It’s what you have them for! Mine is sleeping soundly in her place at the foot and her side of my bed. Even with her cone on she knows when I need her. (She had her girl bits removed and wants to lick it too much) So that damn cone  is another stressor for us all. It makes it very difficult to train her with it on.

I’ve taken on a lot this week. I’ve decided I can make it work if I take my time and keep things separated. I believe I can do this. I even have a separate schedule in my desk in my room for Jessica coming. If I mess that up the game will be blown. Normally, I wouldn’t do this much, but Jess and I decided she should come home for a quick visit now and a longer one in December in case something happens with my dad; her grandpa.

She just became a Senior Airman in the USAF. I’m so proud of her! Her new stripes and all that are so cool. I can’t wait to see the picture of her in her blues besides her selfie. lol

And now the test. Can I follow my own plans to succeed? Have I set myself up for a huge fall? I don’t think so. I’m having to focus on others;  always a good thing. Focus. That’s important. I’ve got to stay focused and balanced and ask for help when I need it. Sometimes that’s hard to do.

Let me know how you fair this week my friend. I’ll tell you how I do when I’m through next Monday.

May you escape the nibble of a turkey on the end of your nose. May you eat said turkey instead. May you stuff your bird with stuffing . And may you spend time with loved ones, even if it’s only by phone or Hangout or… thinking of them. A little bit of love goes a long way. May you succeed in all your goals

Ciao,

Robin

Bipolar – PENS & Oxycodone

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I love pens. I really, really want to get one of those very expensive jobbies. I saw some in a gift boutique downtown Wednesday afternoon. They were 2013 models and at a bargain 50% off the normal $450 and $300. Oiy! Maybe not today. I’d love to get one for myself and one for my eldest daughter. We both love to write.

Writing can be a passionate thing. It is with me. Always with me I’m investing something of myself when I write whether it’s something blatantly obviously personal or if it’s something going on in my head that I want to talk about.

Right now I want to say something that I think is very important so sit up and read carefully. I’m putting this in terms of applying to myself so I know this from personal experience.

I have chronic pain. I have something wrong with my L4 and L5 disks, degenerative disks all the length of my spine, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia. I have a twice replaced right knee (replaced twice in two years, the first time it didn’t work) known as a TKR. I am 51 years old and I must say I do not appreciate needing to go to a pain management specialist and taking narcotics… every day.

I’ve been having what i can only label as nightmares now that I’m taking closer to the prescribed amount each day. (I also take Tramadol but that gives me migraines after a few days use). I don’t normally have nightmares. I was having trouble discerning reality fro dream when I would wake up in the morning.

Tonight I woke after another “nightmare” and remember something quite startling. When I was “incarcerated” in a facility to recover for my TKR the second time because my parents were moving and my kids wouldn’t be around to care for me giving me meds and such. It was a horrible experience. Besides generally feeling like I was incarcerated I was on Oxycodone at my maximum dosage every single time I could take it. The staff were only too happy to let me have it.

Unfortunately I had several nights in which I had terrifying and convincing hallucinations. It has taken me a long time to admit they didn’t really happen. Add to that, that I don’t remember my eldest daughter calling me daily from the MacDill Air Force base where she works as an air traffic controler. We live across the country from each other and that eats at my heart. We’ve always been close and the distance is difficult. But I don’t remember her calls and I know that bothers her. She took care of me during my first recovery and had to go through my even having two blood clots below my surgical knee. That was also a nightmare.

Last night and tonight I’ve been about at the level of Oxycodone that I was at in the rehabilitation center (read: nursing home) and I’ve started having hallucinations, not nightmares.

I suspect my use of pain medications is on the way down. We’ve tried a number of things and nothing seems to help.

I have an idea that I am sure will help. Ever hear of neuroplasticity? I’m sure you’ve heard of Luminosity, that’ s neuroplasticity. For me, this will mean using mindfulness to “remap” my brain and in doing so enable my actual brain structure to interpret pain differently. It won’t seem painful to me.  I guess I could put it like that without going into detail right now. I will soon though.

Neuroplasticity is becoming my key to dealing with my much of my troubles. Think of it, how awesome it will be to control my chronic pain, Bipolar, FM and OA… at least to a degree. Many advanced meditation practitioners are known to change their brains in a manner like the mindfulness I’ve mentioned.

Mindfulness. Neuroplasticity. How great to have the possibility of using these disciplines to help myself!

I’m not likely to be drug free… but I’ll get as far as I can.

I’ll talk about Mindfulness and Neuroplasticity in depth soon. They are very important disciplines that science backs up. I mean they are both proven scientifically to work in the areas I need. They impact many other things too.  After all, they are not confined to “topics” the brain considers. They do however, change the brain in ways we cannot comprehend considering the vast expanse, the last frontier as they say. At night I’ve taken to listening to Pandora. I searched and found a Mindfulness station to listen through the night. It’s playing right now. I finally decided to subscribe. Know why? The commercials were scaring me as I slept. Ew.

Watch your consumption of drugs like Oxycodone. You could have side affects you would think would anticipate.

Be cautious. Be ever vigilant.

Catch you later.I’m trying to stay awake for a while. Those hallucinations were getting very weird. Scary.

Robin

I’m in such pain…. I’m a BP1, ADHD, PTSD, FM, OA, MOM

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Seriously though… I’m in an extraordinarly dismal pain deep in my bones I think. I’m not certain. It starts somewhere around my swollen and annoying disks down around the L-something-or-other.

Restless legs? Perhaps. Runs in the women on my mom’s side of the family.

Anxiety encouraging psychosomatic (maybe) spinal pain to radiate through Restless Legs and deep to the ass of the leg with the double times new knee.

Translation… My equal isn’t ibriumating. Get it? Equilibrium. Equal. Equal-ibrium.  New knee as in “not using it much for years and am lopsided and out of synch.)

What?

Seriously though… From my lower back down past my toes especially in my right leg and alien beastie is trying to pull the bones out of my flesh. Meat. Oh my.

Seriously though… Hurts like a “$(%*& ”   of  a    ” )(*&#_ ”   If you know what I mean.

Sitting on my bum on the floor is a feat of unsurpassed hilarity. Translation: I’m either laughing madly – or – crying with great abandon. Take your pick.

Tonight the pain started about 1:15 in the afternoon PST.   Not EST.   PST.

I took my Oxycodone and heating pad and lie down (lay down… well I wasn’t “sitting” down) on my bed while my puppy (Australian Shepherd/Heeler named Bailey, a little girl) snoozed at my feet. Literally. She slept temporarily where my feet could go on my queen sized bed. Then she slept where they also could have been. And then again. Add. Spin. Rinse. Repeat.

Where was I? Right. Bloody bleeding sickly . . . agony. Pain. Unrelenting, mind blowing, consuming… pain.

I don’t watch American Idol. Did once, when it all first began. Still have a fondness for Kelly Clarkson. The queen upon the Idol throne. I sat tonight not watching the 13th season with my son (Kyle, 19. He’s a boy.). I think I must have been doing it louder than I noticed because suddenly he sideswiped my attention from my ass to, well, to my whining. I was whimpering and whining.

I never allow myself that luxury while my kids are about. At least, not before this. Today, I’m in such pain… And it started well before bedtime.

Oh damn!  I just want to sleep.

I think, I think I’ll go soak my ass. Okay, I’ll soak everything that will fit in the tub too. Maybe some soothing heat not floating around my body will help some. Oh great bird of the universe I hope so. Damn I do hope so.

My car is in the shop. Again.

My phone is stupid and dead.

My knee is still new.

My weather is nice. Just right today.

My belly is too big.

My kids are amazing. And my puppy too.

I can see my feet again.  When I move my boobs out of the way. I’m short you know.

I’m in so much pain.

Good night.

Tomorrow is going to come whether I’ve slept or not. As it always does and always should do. I would do well to remember this.

Come on pain, time to have a bath. Pain, would you consider going down the drain? Please. No? Screw you. I’m having that bath anyway.

Again. Good night.

What’s Wrong with Me?

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All right then…. early on in my adventure in this thing called “me”… things were really rough. Actually, things have always been rough for me.

STOP!

Wow, that was horrible. I cannot relive all the horror that I’ve been through just to tell you this thing I’ve discovered.

When my kids were young and I was coming apart at the seams I struggled against myself to find peace. Some days the darkness wanted me too much it seemed. God was nothing and I was all alone. Alone in my head with myself.

The thing about me is I’m never ready to stop. Even when that’s what I’m screaming that it’s what I truly wish for.

I came across an idea, a lot of ideas. Things written and spoken that gave me the beginning of control. Control of myself… stopping.

Think about this. . . I am the only one in my head, controlling what I think and who I am. Yes, I may be admitting I’m bonkers and I’ve chosen to be bonkers… but I’m not. I’m not!

Youch! Bipolar is . . . my brain dancing to a private tune. When I’m off my meds or on something that just isn’t working for me my blessed brain runs amok. Everyday I enter into negotiations with myself to see if I’m going to cooperate. Cooperate with myself.

I am the only one who can control what I think.

Just me.

Yes there have been and will times when I don’t believe that. But it is true. My strength comes from within myself. I had to be on medication after medication and so much pain… when the drugs started helping me begin to hold on to myself, I was finally able to find an idea that would see me through this day.

I am the only one who can control what I think.

Okay, I need a little help with that from drugs, but what’s a girl to do when her brain runs bizarre?

I am the only one who can control what I think. Just me.

I won’t say I’ve been saved, because that’s not what this is about. It is about mental health, about my brain dancing Bipolar, ADHD, PTSD and always some new alphabet soup. I’ve been trying on OA and FM. We’re not on great terms just yet. And then I saw the Neurologist last week and he told me basically I’m mental. This facial tick I’ve developed over the last six months or so is my brain trying to get my attention.

Let me get this straight. My often out of control brain wants my attention so it, my brain, thought it would have a party on my face? Seriously? Sucks. He suggested I see my mental health professional. Wow. Show stopper.

My brain, with a “mental” disorder… is mental. Super sucks.

I am the only one who can control what I think. Just me.

Maybe that’s what my mind has been trying to tell me. That I need to listen to myself, that I need to learn and teach myself. I need to find whatever helps me handle me (good and healthy things) and pursue them with great vigor.

I must always remember that I am the only one who can control what I think. Just me — with a little help from my meds.

Confused yet? You are? Good. Me too.

You Can’t Have My Leg!

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It would seem that I’m not done with me yet. I’ve paralyzed myself for a long time, not willing to write, telling myself that I don’t know where to start. So many odd and terrible things have happened to me… are happening each day… that I rationed that I was waiting for a lull in the storms that are me so I could present you with a neat package all polished and not like I am now. If I were a color book I would never have drawing inside my lines.

Here I am. This is what I’m thinking tonight:

My right leg is going to fall off.

Seriously. That’s it. Oh sure, with my alphabet soup (Bipolar 1, ADHD, PTSD, FM, OA… for now) crowding me for more undeserved attention. They annoy me. Like a flock, a gaggle of Canadian Geese launching themselves at me unreserved and underrated. They scare me. They are impossible to reason with. No matter where you are if they decide you need to be chased, you’ll be chased as long as they can chase you. No lie. Your heart will pound excitedly when the medium sized birds take after you on the ground like a Disney movie gone terribly wrong.

My leg. I had my right knee totally replaced in January two years ago. By the following year it was clear that the surgery had failed. The prosthetic that was implanted in my leg bone failed to graft with the bone it was supposed to graft to which would, had it worked, have given me a working and reliable new knee.

Wrong.

August 2013 a surgeon specializing in replacing messed up knee replacements replaced my replaced and prosthetic knee. Both times I suffered terribly (differently each time). I suspect that no surgeon would appreciate me talking with any of their patients and telling them how the whole sordid mess went. (To clarify – Sordid meaning: involving ignoble actions and motives; arousing moral distaste and contempt, sleazy, dirty, seedy, seamy, unsavory, tawdry,cheap, debased, degenerate, dishonorable, disreputable, discreditable, contemptible, ignominious, shameful, and abhorrent. The exact opposite of: respectable.)

The up-to-the-minute report is this: Friday I showed my MD that my entire surgical leg (right) was bigger than the left. No sense in studying it to see if I was imagining it. It obviously belongs on some other person’s body. This is a problem. I don’t even know what the problem is and already I realize it’s a problem. I think my name must translate in some language to “problem”. I’m certain of it.

I exposed the bare and big leg to my doc on Friday last. He sent me back to my surgeon, but not till after we get another and new authorization to see the fella. Seriously. Same leg. Obvious connection. Gotta have that new authorization. I called his office and explained the situation. The woman at his office agreed to request one for me from my MD. (Yes, I’m saying “MD” and not PP, PC or any other ridiculous set of the alphabet… again with the alphabet. He’s my doctor, my medical doctor. That’s Medical Doctor. MD.

What I didn’t realize was that my MD had that very day put in an order for me to have a vascular study done on the affected leg. They would take me as soon as today (Tuesday). Getting an appointment that fast freaked me out. (Just a little FYI.) Since my doc referred me to my surgeon I assumed he was done with me regarding this particular medical happenstance (coincidence).

That last sentence looks strange to me, but my brain refuses to use any other word.

Anyway, the surgeon didn’t order the imaging before he even saw me. I wondered if maybe he had so he would know ahead of time what might be going on. But.. no. My MD ordered it. When he starts a process that really should probably be ordered to the specialist I was being sent to I hit the “worry” button and all hell breaks loose. Again.

Today the resounding thought that pestered me like the rain does every time it soaks me when I take the puppy potty was: “They are going to take my leg off.”

Seriously. “They are going to take my leg off.” That’s what my brain has been saying all damn day.

Just to show you how badly I freak myself out living inside my head with my alphabet soup, my MD has ordered me to have a service/companion dog. This, is our puppy, my service/companion dog in training. She’s so awesome. But more about her at another time.

I’m going to jump now through the rest of the day to now. I’m having considerable back pain which has kept me from sleeping. I began to write this. I got half way through it. Suddenly I see my bedroom door open, but I see no one opening it. Ahh. It’s Maks. Maks is one of our awesome cats. Throughout all my ailments Maks has been my healing kitty. Cat. He’s too old to be a kitty. Just don’t mention that to him and we’ll all get along just fine.

Whenever (most of the time) I’ve been doing particularly terrible, like today and taking my leg off, he comes to me and loves me up. Right now he’s purring and clawing, I mean needing, my right hip. This isn’t where he normally lays. He usually takes up station keeping on my left side somewhere but since we got the puppy (Bailey) he hasn’t been up to see me very often. I’ve been having my son bring him up to me when I retire for the night so he can get used to puppy smells and sounds. It’s working. He’s beside me doing his magical cat thing. How the hell do they know when we need them? Of course I’ve heard about the cats and dogs that can smell/sense impending death or various illnesses. He thinks he’s one of these special and extraordinary furry companions. I agree with him.

He’s been urging me to pet him and love him up stabbing me gently and now snoring at me. The look of love on his face is wonderful. (I know what you’re going to say. Cats don’t make that kind of face and they don’t feel like that you bozo. And then I would tell you to shut your trap. It works for me.) I’ve been alternately petting him and waving his loose fir away and writing this. I like it. I feel better. He knows my alphabet is haunting me. I do… feel better now.

Tomorrow afternoon I’m having the vascular imaging done of my entire right leg. It’s weird and cool to watch. Stay tuned in to this same bat time, this same bat channel.

Wow, can this cat snore.