Sunday, December 30, 2012

Weigh In and Stuff

I love to watch the show, The Biggest Loser.  I find it motivational and inspirational, and I love those moments where people who didn't know each other before make a special connection based on their compassion and support for each other.  Well, when a contestant drops into the 100s, they are excited to announce that they made it to One-derland.  I've always found it corny and silly, until this morning.  I stepped on the scale, as light as I could be and lo and behold...100.  I am at one hundred pounds.  Three digits.  One-derland.  And I am so pleased, happy and full of joy to be here.  100.

Our Christmas break has had its ups and downs mood-wise for me.  Most nights I am sleeping for between 10 and 12 hours.  This makes me feel a little guilty, because I am an 'up and at 'em' girl, and normally sleeping in tends to make me headachey, grumpy, lazy and lethargic (somehow that has not been the case lately though).  On the other hand, I feel like I should take the extra rest while it is possible and hope that it is a part of my healing and that it does me good.  We have had some great family time, but I feel that we should be getting out of the house and doing fun things too - swimming, sledding, bowling, skating...  However, I just don't feel up to that; I am thoroughly enjoying just being home. We spent a couple of days at my hubby's brother's house and by the middle of the second day I had reached my limit in patience.  There were too many people around, I was not comfortable, I had not slept even close to enough, people were arguing and I really just wanted to be alone somewhere quiet.  It was a fun Christmas, but I was glad to be at home that night.

This morning for the first time in a very very long time, I put my contacts in.  It seems like something so small, but to me, for some reason, putting in my contacts seems like a huge chore, and even before the anxiety, I would tend to only wear them once or twice per week.  Once for church, and once if I was going out with friends.

I also put on makeup.

Unfortunately I am still not feeling 100% about my appearance; a couple of nights ago, I bit into a piece of pizza and a front tooth broke off my top denture.  Of course right near Christmas and of course on a Friday evening.  I have an appointment to have it repaired on Monday morning.  I'm hoping for an easy, inexpensive fix and to not hear, "Well, it's about time we replace this whole denture," because well, dentures are pricey and now is NOT a good time.

I wanted to share a bit about what I have been clinging to through this whole anxiety journey I've been on.  At the beginning, I was scared.  A few years ago I was given the awesome gift of a trip to Cuba.  One night I took a walk down to the beach with my sister-in-law to check out the dance party going on there.  As we walked along the shore, I stared out toward the horizon and saw nothing.  Complete darkness.  Only black.  And it stirred fear up in me.  Fear of the darkness, fear of the greatness of the ocean, and fear of its power and fear of what it contained.

I felt that again when this anxiety came upon me.  It came so quickly and with such strength and no answers about why or how it was happening.  The one difference between feeling it while standing at the edge of the ocean and feeling it while trying to live my everyday life was that standing at the edge of the ocean, I could say, "The ocean is big and strong and powerful, but God is bigger than the ocean.  He created it.  He commands it.  I don't have to be afraid of this."

In the throes of anxious days and panic-filled nights, I had no sense of God.  I know that He was, and is, there, but my heart and my mind didn't automatically call out to Him like they normally do.  I felt like I was being pressed down and He was not close.  There were no more spontaneous prayers, I had to struggle to feel grateful for my blessings, I started to become jealous of others who are living life without fear and anxiety - taking their kids to events, having coffee dates and playdates with friends, going to movies and theatre productions - and posting pictures and statuses about it on facebook.  I stopped reading facebook.

I have to admit that I do not read my Bible enough.  It has never been something that has come easily to me and it is something that I wish I could be better at, but I just never make it happen.  My boys, they are fabulous Bible readers.  They know their stuff, and I am so proud of them for that.  I knew that I had to find a way to feel God working in my life again, and since searching the Bible seemed like such a huge task, I turned to music, one of my great loves.  One Sunday when I just couldn't bring myself to drag me and the kids to church, I went on YouTube and searched for songs.  Worship songs that could help me, reassure me, push me to call out to Him.  I made a playlist and since then, I have listened to it many many times.  Some days I have listened to it over and over and over.  My playlist has been my thing to cling to.  The words are words that I can sing when I have no words at all.  One of my favourite phrases, and one that I have repeated over and over in my heart comes from the song, 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman.

"Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes."

If you are interested in checking out the playlist, you can find it here.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cipralex Day 47 and Weigh In

Today I just feel weird.

I feel a lot like I did in the beginning, when I started this whole mess, before the constant and gripping anxiety took hold of me, when I was just tired and breathless and a little scared that I felt off without explanation as to why.

Today at one point I had anxiety run through my body.  It didn't last long, but it did give me the, "Oh no, please not again," feeling.  I've been having breathing issues too.  Blah.

For the last two days I have been beyond thirsty with a thirst that is not quenched with water.  Yesterday I drank over two litres of water, and today about one and a half litres so far, plus my daily frosters.

I just mixed myself up a glass of Emergen-C and I hope that it will help me with whatever is going on; help with my electrolytes and vitamins since I have been playing with my vitamins a lot lately.

After a few days with no vitamins, I still have the throat lump and mucous issues.  My hubby has been noticing that the air has been drier lately too, so this is probably just something that I am reading into now.  We have our humidifier running 24/7, but it has been super cold out for the past few days, so the furnace is likely running more too.

I started my quest to gain weight on November 12, and I weighed in at 93 lbs.  This morning I weighed myself at 98.5 lbs.  Hooray for hitting that five pound mark!!  Five pounds in six weeks isn't quite what I was hoping for.  I had hoped it would go on a little faster, but I can't complain, really, because I am gaining something.  Something is better than nothing.

More thoughts to come soon; tonight I am just too tired, and I want to lay in my nice warm, cozy bed.  :)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cipralex Day 46

The comforting goodness that I had settled into seems to be leaving me.  I don't know if it has to do with me not eating as much as I should or if it has to do with me messing with my supplements or if it has to do with me changing my medication time, but it's sucking.

Today I am short of breath and my chest is aching.  I just feel weird altogether.

Last night I had panic attack symptoms when I went to bed.  They were intense; I thought that I was coming down with a stomach bug.  I was so nauseous that even my husband moving in the bed sent my queasiness into overdrive.  I was so hot, which never happens, and then so cold.  My heart was pounding away in my chest.  Thankfully, I fell asleep rather quickly despite the movement I felt the room making every time I closed my eyes.  It was awful.  I was praying, "Please, God help me to be healthy and well.  Please let me fall asleep quickly."

I slept in this morning and then lounged around my bed for awhile after that.  I skipped all supplements, even the ones that I make a point to NEVER miss, and I am spending the day in my jammies.  My chest is aching and I am so thirsty.  I have already drank a litre of water this morning.

Tonight I'm going back to taking my Cipralex with dinner.

I am trying to make arrangements in my head for all that needs to be done for Christmas, everything that cannot be forgotten.  It is stressful and I've tried to make it easier on myself by buying rather than baking, but a lot of the stuff just has to be done, stressful or not.  My hubby and I have made arrangements to make things easier for us as well, and I am so thankful that he is pretty laid-back and will go with pretty much anything I suggest, as long as it is logical.  Which I mostly am.

Yesterday I went out to get a few last-minute things and stopped in at my favourite jeans thrift store.  They sell much more than jeans, but I only like them for their jeans.  LOL  The last pair that I bought from there a year or two ago finally sprung a hole in the knee yesterday after losing one of the two buttons last week.  Pretty good for a $10 pair of awesome jeans!

Anyway, I went through the racks and picked out some size 2s, a size 5 and a size 0.  I went into the change room and tried on the 0.  It fit, but it gave me a bit of a muffin-top that I think will just get worse as I gain my weight back.  Even though I am trying to gain weight - I WANT to gain weight - it made me sad to see that.  The size 5 and one of the size 2 jeans were gigantic on me.  I took the size 2 that was "good enough" and paid for it and left.  $6.99.  Hopefully it'll do me for awhile.

Today I am feeling low.  I feel like I need to do *something* but I don't know what.  No energy to run away to a tropical island, don't really want to be alone, but don't want to have to deal with people.  My hubby struggles with vacation time because he is always so busy he can't just sit still when he finally gets the chance, and also the kids get on his nerves very quickly with their antics, and him being frustrated makes me frustrated too.  I send him out on errands to give him a break, but then I have to deal with the kids on my own while I imagine my hubby out enjoying himself in the company of other adults.

I guess I'm in the best place right now, just sitting alone on my couch in the silence by the beautifully lit up Christmas tree that holds so many cards full of good wishes and thoughts for our family.  Electronics have been banned for the day, and the kids are off on another floor playing some camping game that they are making up as they go along.  It's the best gift ever when they just get along.  I suppose I should go find myself a snack and get back to the laundry since I can.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Vitamin B and Christmas Spirit

I've decided it is time to play with my supplement intake a little.  As much as I love the energy it gives me - it takes away my afternoon slump - it also has been giving me a lump in my throat.  I noticed that every day that I take my morning supplements, I immediately have a lump and uncomfortable swallowing on the left side of my throat that lasts for the day.  I also am noticing increased mucous presence in my throat and as post nasal drip for up to 48 hours afterwards.  Not worth it to me.  I looked up vitamin lump in throat on the internet and some of the pages that came up mentioned that my symptom could be an allergic reaction.  Today I took all my morning supplements but not my B100, hoping that was it.  But the lump is here now, so tomorrow I'll take away the vitamin C.

I also am noticing a serious lack of Christmas spirit this year.  I am just not into it.  All the Christmas music is depressing.  I can't wait for it to be done.  This isn't new, per se, I have actually seen a steady decrease over the years of my desire to "do Christmas".  It just has become all the things that I don't like.  My kids are really hard to buy gifts for, as they realize they don't NEED anything (proud of them for that) and getting them to make a list of stuff they want is near impossible.  I don't have time to wander around malls looking at everything to find "that perfect gift".  I feel like the gifts that we purchase or make for others outside of our family of six are just not enough.  Not expensive enough, not thoughtful enough, not good enough.  I don't like secrets or surprises.  I'm feeling an overwhelming sense of being kept in the dark about something right now.  This year Christmas has a whole different set up and time table than normal and I am already mourning the loss of our own little family traditions.  I know that my kids are going to have the best Christmas ever and I am so excited for them, but at the same time, sad for myself.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cipralex day 41(?) and Weigh In

Gained two pounds and am now at 97.  I stopped tracking my calorie intake and that sets me back.  It is not easy to eat to gain weight.  Many days I eat as my stomach threatens revolt.  A lot of the time I will eat whatever is in front of me (lots of goodies on my counter right now) even if I don't want it, just because I realize that I haven't eaten near enough for that day.  Food, bleh.

On Saturday I was out all day and forgot my Cipralex at home.  Instead of taking it at 6:30, I took it at 9:30, and have stayed with that for the past few nights because there is a better chance that I will be home and not trying to rush somewhere with the kids at that time of the night.  My body has been readjusting to that; I didn't think it would make a difference, but it has a little.  I am exhausted by the night time again, and have noticed a low point in the afternoon where I really just want to take a nap.  I had some of the eye flashies again too, either this morning or yesterday morning.  I don't really remember.

The jaw clenching is pretty much gone now, thank goodness.  For awhile I was wondering how I would be able to function with having to constantly think to relax my jaw.

There is likely a lot more to write here, but my daughter is asking me to play with her, and my body is asking to lay down, so it will have to be written another day.  :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cipralex Day 32 and Weigh In

Last night I had a really hard time getting to sleep.  Still with the lump in my throat, though it did get better with hot tea.

Yesterday afternoon, I had a short period of dizziness.

Small amount of anxiety this morning when I woke up.

I'm noticing less intense jaw clenching.

When I got to church this morning, my whole body was exhausted.  My muscles ached and felt weak.  I forgot most of the stuff I was supposed to bring with me to church this morning and we were late.  I'm feeling like I'm in a bit of a sleepy fog lately.  I didn't enjoy church like I normally do.  Came away thinking I probably should send a Christmas card to my biological father since a big part of the message was about forgiveness.  Felt bad that we missed last week and my oldest son missed out on a wood working project.  My third son threw a temper tantrum all the way home, lost three privileges for today and refused to get out of the van when we got home.

I am clinging to the thought that I only have to take the kids to church alone for one more week.  I'm not feeling particularly strong - physically or mentally - lately, and taking all four kids anywhere in the van is the hardest parenting task of our family life right now.  I don't know why, but being in a small space like that brings out the worst in all of them.  And when you are trying to drive safely, it is hard to dodge thrown footwear or ignore the fact that one child is whipping another with a seatbelt or punching him in the face.  Last time hubby took the four of them to church alone, he was quite emotional when he got home, so I know this is not just me.

Setback on the weight gain.  I lost three pounds this week and am back to 95.  Bummer.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

One Month on Cipralex

I did it!  I made it through the first month.  I am in my fifth week on Cipralex and except for one minor setback (the flu this week), things are going well.  I've read that by six weeks, it should be well into my system and working at its full potential.  :D

I was feeling so good (normal??) before I got the flu that I actually forgot to take my pill one night until two hours after my normal time.  That made me happy.  :)

Last night, I think I was feeling the effects of not having the Cipralex as full in my system as it should have been.  Headache, nausea, pounding heart, jaw clenching that I could not stop, unable to fall asleep despite feeling so horrible.  I did take my pill last night, but it didn't seem to be effective; I really felt last night and this morning like I did before everything stabilized for me.  It was quite upsetting because I feel I've come so far, then all of a sudden everything I've done is gone and just the debilitating feelings remain.  It is scary, and I don't want to go back there.  I so want to live a normal, busy life again, where I just do what I want to do instead of feeling like my life is in jeopardy for doing it.

Today I have a lump in my throat that feels like a sharp pebble.  I had it last night as well, and I've been able to calm myself and convince myself that nothing is physically wrong with me when I am feeling short of breath or having chest pain, but this throat thing is startling to me.  I've spoken to friends who have anxiety who've shared that they have the same symptom that comes and goes.  It is probably the most scary symptom I have - it feels like my throat is narrowing.

I started my newly acquired pills a couple days ago and found them way harder to break in half than the first bottle I got.  Strange.

I don't remember when, but one night this week I decided to take a Tylenol Rapid Release to get some headache and muscle pain relief.  It did NOTHING for me.  Normally I get relief about half an hour after I take pain medication.  I very rarely use pain medication, but when I do, I've turned to Advil Liquigels.  Since it is advised to avoid ibuprofen when taking Cipralex, I went back to my old friend, Tylenol.  I know that I woke up groggier than normal the next morning, but I don't remember my headache lessening at all.  I will have to remember this for the next time I feel a need to take Tylenol and see if I get the same (lack of) results.

I think these are all my observations from the last couple of days.  Life is busy, we've been ill and stressed, and everything is running together in my fuzzy, sinus cold-consumed head.

Thank you to everyone who has been there for me, sent me messages, been patient with me (I know it's not easy!), and listened to me blather on for the past month.  I hope the next month will see me with the courage to invite people over for tea and playdates; and in January, I hope to be able to visit friends in their homes, and to take my kids on fun outings again.  Baby steps.  :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Just Rants and Rambles

This has been one freaking crazy week.  If I didn't have such good support, and such undying hope, I'd sit down and cry.  It's like I'm in topsy-turvy world.  Or a dream.  Am I going to go to parent teacher interviews tonight and hear that my boys are all horrible??  Because that would fit right in with everything else this week.

My Leading Star husband is getting punished and yelled at at his job but receiving no explanation as to why.  My family has been ill.  It started with boy #3 on Tuesday.  Normally we get our illnesses from church, and they always start on Tuesday.  This week we did not go to church because my sinuses were draining copious amounts of mucous.  But still, the Tuesday illness.  We didn't go anywhere on Sunday, and only to swimming  early Saturday morning.  We do, however, get sick EVERY time my hubby has to work in the office.  I used to joke that I made him strip his clothes off at the door after he worked at the office, and run straight up to the shower.  I didn't do this on Monday.  Perhaps I should have??

Also, I never get colds.  I seriously think I have had only one or two colds in my life.

So then, what I guess is the flu runs through our house and guess who gets everything at once??  Me.  On the week that my husband is not working from home, and is therefore gone for 12+ hours of the day at his two jobs.  So last night, I am sitting on the toilet and I have my period (TMI, sorry), sinus cold, diarrhea and am vomiting.  Nice right?  I puked up my anxiety med.  I cannot stomach my vitamins.  I can't drive to get my stress-relieving Froster that not only gives me a nice bit of caffeine, but also calories and yummy hydration (because 2L of water per day gets boring).  AND tap water makes me gag, which is not good this week, because it is not cold enough.  So normally we have a jug of water on our water cooler that I fill my water bottle from.  No water at the store when I got groceries last Thursday.  Blah.

Oh yes, AND I ran out of my probiotics two days ago and the store I normally get them from is out so my hubby ordered some from Shoppers for me, but since they don't stock it (I know this), it usually takes about 4 hours for them to get it in.  This week - one and a half DAYS.

My jaw is clenching almost constantly, my mouth STILL hurts from the root canal (probably also from the clenching).  I have a headache that I can't even guess what it is from and I am afraid that the next person to vomit (my daughter, likely) will do it a) on the couch, and b) when my hubby is not here to help me.  I'm sure my kids are so tired of me saying, "Does your tummy hurt?  Do you feel like you are going to throw up???"

A few things I forgot to mention in my last few posts:  A few nights ago, I woke up in the middle of the night because the doorbell rang (it often rings and there is noone there).  I held my breath and listened quietly in the night, but heard nothing, so tried to calm myself and go back to sleep.  I had the flashies behind my eyelids as my heart raced.  I eventually woke up my hubby and asked if he could go take a look around the house, which he so nicely did without grumbling even once.  I was able to go back to sleep pretty quick after he gave me the all-clear, which I normally can't do.

At my dr. appointment on Tuesday, my dr. asked how I was doing on the Cipralex.  I told her it was helping with anxiety, and she told me she would put me on the 10mg dose then.  I asked if I could just stay on the 5mg.  She seemed a little surprised and said yes, and gave me another prescription so I can continue on the med.  I know that 10-20 mg is the full therapeutic dose, but I'm confused about why she'd want to bump me up to 10mg when 5 was fine.  She gave me a prescription for 3 months after asking me if I thought that was a good amount of time.  This kind of gives me hope that maybe I won't need to stay on this long-term.  I thought that once I was on it, I would lose my ability to function without it and it would be a lifetime commitment.  All that said, I have to say that all of my emotions, IBS problems, anxiety, depression, everything has seemed to really level out since I started taking the Cipralex and right now I don't want to go off it, ever.  Well, as long as I can get rid of the jaw clenching thing.  On some levels, I seriously feel better than I have in my life, and there are many days (well, there were, before this week) that I feel so HEALTHY, and I just sit and revel in the feeling of not having a stomachache or headache or nervous feeling or fatigue.  I hope that this flu bug goes away quick so I can keep getting better.

And, speaking of getting better, I went out and got my hair cut on Monday, and I bought a haircolour from the drug store and put it on a couple days ago.  I wasn't as excited about it as I used to be, but it is a start.  Just a couple weeks ago, I felt like I would never be brave enough to step foot in a hair salon again, and "who cares what my hair looks like?"  Now I care a little.  :)

I hope to be able to eat again soon...I'm a little scared that I'll step on the scale on Sunday morning and see that all the weight I worked hard to gain is gone.  My hip bone is feeling a little sharp today, and I know that I've lost a bit what I've put on.  Frustrating.

I think that is all the rambling for now.  Tomorrow the boys have no school and hubby will be gone from the morning until late night with our vehicle, so it should be a laid-back sort of day.  Hopefully I'll remember to take the girl to preschool, as long as she is feeling okay.  I never can really tell for sure with her.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

This is not the Tuesday I am looking for

Normally Tuesday is my favourite day of the week.  No need to get dressed and run out of the house in the morning.  I can stay in my jammies as long as I want.  Not today.

Today the PLAN was:  Send the boys to school, have my daughter and hubby accompany me to my dr. appointment, drop my hubby off at work (since his manager has decided that he cannot work from home any longer, even though he is an AT HOME AGENT and has worked from home for 5 years), do some errands, laundry and baking, eat dinner, pick up hubby from work, drop him off at his other work, drop son #3 off at Beavers and pick him up an hour later.

What actually happened...so far:  Send two boys to school and one back to bed with a stomach ache.  Rush to my dr. appointment early hoping that she is in early and will see me quickly (didn't happen) while hubby stays home with the kids and has the right side of his face slowly go numb starting at his lips and expanding up to his eye.  Since there is no paralysis, he decides it is not a stroke and that he should go to work rather than the hospital (so he doesn't lose his job since we seem to be on the cusp of that!).  He meets me in our parking lot with all his work stuff and I get out and he gets in.

I come in the house and check on the sick boy, who is asleep in his bed.  I decide to start that laundry and find that my washer has not appropriately spun the last load I did so I need to restart that.  I get bagels out to make myself breakfast and pop one in the toaster.  Get phone call from school saying son #3 is not feeling well.  Wake up sick son (#1) and tell him I'm going to the school.  Get daughter and self bundled up and trudge to school where son #3 has now puked all over the sick room and is sitting in the office bathroom by the toilet.  Sign out the boy, make sure he is stable enough for the trek home, and away we go.

10:30 am and I am STARVING and feeling quite like vomiting myself.  I got the boy settled on the couch in his jammies with a bowl.  Sanitize my hands.  Retoast my bagel.  Try not to think that there are five more people in the house who haven't vomited yet and that of course this would happen when I am behind on the laundry.  It always does.

Today I will be doing laundry like mad to try to catch up for when I am vomiting and can't do laundry.

I still have my cold - my nose is running like a faucet, and aunt flo arrived with a vengeance this morning.  Her timing is impeccable.

And with kids at home and no van, I will have to skip my beloved stress-relieving Froster today.  I might have to try getting creative with my blender and some ice.

I hope my hubby is okay.

I am handling this with poise and confidence and am not anxious at all.  A lot like my old self.  I'm proud.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cipralex Day 25 and Weigh In

Today I woke up feeling great.  Energy, joy, hope, peace.  Happiness.  All this despite the nasty sinus cold that started yesterday.  I've gone through almost one box of kleenex, I am carrying a hot pack around with me, slathering Watkins' medicated ointment all over my nose and lips every couple hours, and my head and muscles ache.  But I can't complain.  I don't feel anxious, depressed or nauseous.  I feel better than I have in so long.

It is so wonderful to feel light again.  :)

I want to say that the medication has not fixed everything that was wrong with me.  I still am short of breath most of the time, and I still have a place on my chest that aches constantly.  It is on the right side and feels like the pain is in a bone.  Also, every evening I get what feels like a lump in my throat that sometimes makes it hard to sleep.  I think that that has to do with mucous and post-nasal drip, and I plan to battle that after I am well established in my eating and on the Cipralex.  I have an appointment with my doctor this week for a prescription refill and I will let her know about the lingering chest pain and shortness of breath.  We'll probably just continue to watch it - I have been suffering from these two things for over three years now and all tests have indicated there is nothing wrong with my anatomy.

Today's weigh in showed that I have gained two more pounds in the past week.  WOOHOO, it is working!!  I have not been denying myself anything - when I feel hungry or crave something, I go for it.  I did have some IBS issues on Friday and yesterday that reminded me I still need to pay attention to what I am eating and I will adjust to accommodate my body again, but for the most part, food is not causing me pain.  And I am thankful for Christmas cookies, PowerBar and peanut butter.  And banana-avocado-orange juice smoothies.  :D