Astramillie’s Weblog

Just a girl who’s bipolar trying to figure out her world

Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Bad Back and anything else that can go wrong! April 12, 2009

Filed under: Mental Health,mental illness,Uncategorized — astramillie @ 1:17 pm
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I haven’t been writing at all lately.  Horrible block.  But, I have some things to write about right now.  Where to start?

OK, I’ve been on Seroquel for about 8 years.  Started taking it before it was even approved for Bipolar.  I have even given speeches praising it.  Well, that has come back to kick me in the ass.  Last blood test showed sure enough I might be joining the Diabetes club.  My levels are only at pre-diabetes numbers right now – but that’s enough to scare me into changing my diet and talk to the P-Doc about  switching meds even though I love my Seroquel. 

How can I love something that has a track record of causing a horrible illness while fixing another?  That’s the key – it fixes me.  My mania is almost non existent when I take it regularly.  Next blood test is in May, we’ll see if my sugars have been affected by my new diet (here’s a plus – its helped me lose 10 lbs!) and if I have to go cold turkey on the Seroquel if there has been no change.  Or, G-d forbid I’ve moved into actual diabetes.

The other thing that the blood work found was “critically high” LDL Cholesterol.  So, I’mworking on a low cholesterol diet as well as an anti-diabetes diet.  Scary, but not as scary as the diabetes.  We’ll know more in May.

Now, I’m Samantha so the whining can’t stop there.  My back is killing me.  For real, not some sort of hypochondriacal (word?) twinge that I’ve blown out of proportion.  I am generally spending large portions of my day flat on my back.  My last cortisone shot didn’t work.  Its now progressed from lower back to middle and I’m getting sharp pain down my right leg and arm.  I’m having two MRIs on Wednesday so we’ll know something by the end of the week.

So there you go Samantha’s health update.  There is more to update everyone on (big stuff on the relationship front), I’ll write that in another post.


Where I’ve been October 5, 2008

Filed under: Mental Health,mental illness,Uncategorized — astramillie @ 6:06 pm
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I haven’t written since before the hysterectomy.  I’ve been blocked.  The surgery went very well – the fibroid was honestly as big as a grapefruit.  Why do we always use fruit as our gauge?

I was getting fuzzy headed so the p. doc took me off Topomax.  The change is amazing, clear head, getting things done, and I have my short term memory back.  Yay!

Doing well this semester but I was reminded that I have a limited amount of RAM.  I was taking two classes and at the same time organizing Obama events.  Nothing was getting done well.  I was just spread to thin, I don’t have the capacity others have.  I can only concentrate on one big thing at a time.  Dropped one of the classes and gave up on my career as a campaign organizer.  Hopefully he wins without my daily help.

I even attempted a relationship – didn’t work.  I really am a spinster at heart.  I’m all for casual dating, but I don’t have it in me right now to put the proper work into a serious relationship.  But, that’s ok.  I have the dog, the two cats, and buddy the betta.  I also have a rat – but I’m looking for a new home for him, I can’t play with him like he deserves.  He’s going to live with a pre-teen boy, I hope. 

That’s all for now, just an update.  More to come…


Watch what you wish for;or the world’s biggest anxiety attack May 27, 2008

Well, I’ve kept quiet on this blog for a while.  I’ve been absorbing my health news.  The cm vs mm michigas was solved.  I have both.  There is a 6 cm fibroid on the outside of my uterus and 5 mm on the inside.  The gyno told me that he would remove the one on the inside since that was the one that was causing the wacky menstration.  The huge thing growing on the outside we’d just “watch” as the only way to get rid of it would be a hystorectomy.  Ummm…ok.

Now, I put on a lot of weight in the last year and a half.  Both my p-doc and GP decided that after 8 years the seroquel was causing it.  I never really bought it, but sure enough when I ramped down I lost 10 lbs pretty quickly.  But, when I gain weight I usually gain it first in my belly.  When I lose it, I lose it there first.  Not this time.  And, its not fleshy, its hard, as if I were pregnant (I’ve been waiting for someone to ask when I’m due.  I’ve seen that happen to friends, so cringeworthy).  I’m sure that’s the fibroid. 

But, that’s not the reason for my decision, its just a piece of the puzzle.

Anyway – as I’m talking to the gyno I ask “if you remove the fibroid in the uterus, what are the odds I’ll be back in your office within say, a year?”   He answered “Very good odds.”  So, I explained to him that it was found that I had some genetic anomaly that made it impossible for me to have children, and therefore had no need for my uterus.  He said “so I’m hearing that you would rather have a hysterectomy sooner than later?”  I said yes if you think I’ll have to have one later.  He told me he didn’t want to use the word “have” to.

Here is the self-fulfilling prophesy – Ever since I got the no children sentence handed down, I’ve joked that I didn’t think it was fair to have to still have periods and I might as well have a hysterectomy.  Well, guess what.

I’ve been very clinical about it.  I’ve researched the hell out of the topic.  Doctor sites, discussion boards, books from the library, and very clinical articles.  I know what I’m getting into, I’m not doing this lightly.  I was having surgery anyway.  And, would eventually have this one.  I could discuss it calmly, was  little scared, but the academic in me was in control.

Then came Saturday.

I woke up with an elephant on my chest.  I know what an anxiety attack feels like.  I know agoraphobia like I know my best friends (actually better).  It came time to walk to my parents for ironically my klonopin and Xanax, and I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t just leave my house, I couldn’t leave my bedroom.  What I was scared of in my living room I can’t explain, but it scared the hell out of me.  Luckily my mother was kind enough to bring my pills to me.  They barely dented the anxiety.  I spent the entire day in bed kind of playing on the computer reminding myself to breathe.  I was too far along for any type of relaxation exercise.  It was terrifying, I haven’t felt that way since I moved here almost 2 years ago.  Everything just hit at once I guess.

I’m better now, still have low lying anxiety.  Can walk to my parents, trying the grocery store this morning (maybe).  Does anyone know if they make either a xanx drip I can pull around with me or a klonopin patch?


Scared and semi-alone May 19, 2008

Filed under: female health,Mental Health,mental illness — astramillie @ 8:30 am
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So, today I see the gyno.  My mother is going with me, which is great.  I need the support and a second pair of ears.  Its the kind of appointment where a lot of information is going to be thrown at you and I don’t know about you but there will be a slight buzzing in my ears from fright.  So its good to have someone else there to pick up info that I miss.

Because of my lifestyle, in the year and a half that I’ve lived here I’ve made 2 friends.  Neither of which are very close friends, they are older women and have grown children of their own, I’m like a novelty to them.  I have a couple of old friends from my previous life, but they aren’t the ones I would pick to be the ones who I’d still have if given the choice.  Things had gotten so bad I alienated friends I had had for 10 years or more.  I’ve made overtures towards a couple with no luck.  Yes, I have my parents.  But, I can’t pick up the phone and just chat with them.  And I’m not allowed to discuss my sister on this blog.  Enough said.  I tried to call two of the old friends yesterday and both were busy and I pretty much got blown off.  One called back and wanted to call while she was in transit somewhere, but I was at the store.  The other, was, well with her who the hell knows.

So, here it is 1 in the morning and I realize how alone I am.  How am I supposed to meet people.  People scare me.  I have three or so places that I’m not afraid to go to.  Otherwise I’m petrified to leave the house.  Why else would I go to school online?  I used to be so outgoing, made friends easily.  I had anxious periods, those periods became longer and longer until they were everyday.  Even on the amount of klonopin that I am, this fear takes over.  I’ve tried all the things you are supposed to.  Maybe I’m lazy and its easier to just live this way than do the work.  But, at this point what am I supposed to do?  Go to a cafe walk up to someone at a table and say “Hi, I’m Samantha, will you be my friend?”

Anyway, its too late right now.  I’m scared and lonely right now.  I need someone to talk to about today’s appointment and the biopsy now.  I need to talk on the phone, have someone make me laugh and forget about this underlying panic for a few minutes.  But, for a variety of reasons (which I have to honestly say I still don’t completely understand) I don’t have those type of friends anymore.  And, I miss them terribly.


Mania, money, and me May 18, 2008

Where did it go wrong? So, so many places.  Now, this isn’t a therapy session where I’m going to place all of the blame on my mother.  But, I learned quite a few habits from her, or what I thought were her habits.  Let’s start at the beginning, or at about age 13.

My problem with money has two parts.  Manic spending, and bad money management.  So, its illness related and situational – if you can understand the distinction.  When I was a kid my dad would go on and on about how tight money was, then the next Saturday my mother would take us shopping.  Here’s the catch – My mother had her own job.  I didn’t put that into consideration.  Next – we lived on a ranch and I was a big time 4-H’er (I’ll take a second here for you to laugh and get it out of your system) OK, so I raised cattle.  I needed to be able to buy alfalfa, grain, etc. And have a place to put the money I would earn from selling a steer or what have you.  So, at 13 I opened my first checking account.  Not a joint account, my own.  BAD IDEA.  I kept getting overdrawn.  I have this idea, that I guess started then that I can keep a tally in my head.  Well, I can’t.  Well, mom would end up giving me the money I needed to cover the overdrafts.  So, their big plan to teach me responsibility actually taught me that money comes from the sky.

I still have that theory, because in the worst of times I’ve been able to figure something out.  Yes, at times its been my parents bailing me out.  But, more often its been something more inventive (always legal, so wipe that thought out of your head), like getting an advance on financial aid checks sent to me even though my school only gives them to people who live on campus, etc.  Used to drive my ex-boyfriend crazy when all of a sudden I’d find some weird temp tutoring job right in the nick of time. 

 Yet, it doesn’t always work.  I might find enough money to keep the lights on and to be able to eat, but I’ve had three checking accounts closed and I filed for bankruptcy about 5 years ago mainly due to pay day loans (evil things).  I don’t write things down, I don’t keep receipts, paycheck stubs, tax returns, bank statements, or any of the other things you are supposed to.  I have this fantasy that I can keep it all in my head.  Why I still hold on to this fantasy I don’t understand after 25 years or so of this you’d think I’d learn.

When I’m manic, and if I have money, or some type of access to money, I generally head to Target, I get a cart and just walk around the store in a sort of daze and throw things into the cart.  In these cases I usually can keep a tally of how much I can spend.  If I realize I have too much, I’ll choose something to take out of the cart and just put it on a shelf wherever I happen to be.  As I head to the register its a rush.  While the cashier is ringing things up I’m crossing my fingers that I didn’t go over.  I rarely do.  Its almost better than sex.  When they hand me those bags, I don’t know, it must be what smoking that first hit of crack must feels like.  Then, when I get it all home, I crash.  Hopefully, I did buy something I really needed or wanted.  If I’m well enough I can do what my previous Psych doc used to tell me to do.  Take things back.

Therein lay the problem with ebay.  You can’t return items you win.  You can try and resell them.  Which I did try.  But, I bought a lot of crap that no one wanted.  That’s why I won a lot of stuff, no one else wanted it. 

After my parents realized I had pretty much hacked into our joint account to set up paypal so I could go on ebay, they were furious (obviously) and scared for me and for themselves (I had put them in financial jeopardy).  I was starting to feel better, the new meds were finally stabilizing, and realizing what I had done.  With this realization I knew that I needed someone who was tougher to watch over my money.  I also wanted to take it off my mother’s shoulders, it was killing her.  She was angry as hell, but in deep pain because she saw how ill her daughter was.  I didn’t want to inflict this on her anymore.

I’ve talked to a group of lawyers who act as conservators and money managers mainly for elderly clients, and they set up exactly what I need.  I only need a money manager, I’m in no way in need of anything as serious as a conservator.  They aren’t going to take my case because they are too expensive, but are going to help me find someone who I can afford – they already have a few names for me.  My mother acts like she doesn’t mind doing it.  But, I know once I set this up a huge weight is going to be lifted off her shoulders and our relationship is going to improve ten fold.


Ahhh, meds that work! May 17, 2008

Filed under: Mental Health,mental illness — astramillie @ 9:54 am
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So, let’s get off the uterus subject.  After two months of utter hell, its over!  Ramping down my blessed seroquel (why oh why did it have to stop helping like it used to?) and starting the higher dosages of Abilify and Topomax was awful.  I was climb the walls, spend money like water, scrub the walls with an sos pad manic.  I couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t write, couldn’t even read a book.  And, I’m a two book a week reader.  Somehow I got through my semester with an A.  When I had a paper I just chunked it into little pieces.  Luckily, I was fascinated by the topic enough to get through it, and had a fantastic professor who understood my predicament.

I can read again!  Finish a complete thought, and look I’m writing!  It might not be great, but its something.  I see things clearly now and am looking for a money manager who can take my finances out of my mother’s hands and make it harder for me to get my hands on my funds in case I have a manic spending phase again.  Not a conservator, just a money manager/accountant type.  I found a group of lawyers who laid out a plan, but said they were too expensive for me and pledged to help me find someone.

Now I can deal with some family crap.  Can’t go into it here.  I made a promise to my family I wouldn’t post anything about them.  This leaves definite wholes in this blog, but a promise is a promise.

I’m working on post of a few parts about my manic trip from Sacramento to Maine.  Look for it!


Finally over on day 19 May 16, 2008

So, the annoying period part of this ordeal is over.  May you never have an 18 day menses.  And for my male readers may your female loved ones never have one.  So, what’s left is this low level feeling of fright.  This is one of those times that my computers should be taken away from me and my research skills are a curse.  I know all about fibroids, hysterectomies, and the word that won’t cross my lips or fingers as I type.

At the same time this has been happening my mania has been slowing down praise who ever.  Except I haven’t been able to concentrate.  Haven’t read a book in a month, which is a big deal.  I usually read at least a book a week, even during school.  I can’t exist without something casual to read. But, I was finding myself reading the same sentence over and over again.  It was a hard semester in a sense.  What saved me was a fantastic professor and a subject that fascinated me.  I didn’t think it would – History of Mexico.  I was able to create a time-line of the creation of the country and develop an understanding of how they became what they are today.  I saw where there were mistakes made.  I’m obviously not an expert, but I think I have a basic understanding of how a country so geographically close to ours developed so differently from ours.  I won’t bore you with my elucidation.  I’d get started and wouldn’t stop.  Anyway, when it came to my papers I just took it slowly and kind of put them in little chunks that I could concentrate on.  And it worked!  I got an A!

So, the new med cocktail works.  Yay!  This blip of estrogen is not fun, but its only for a few weeks.  Unless I need a … not going to even say it.  Forget I was going to mention it.

I’ve been looking for some online work, most are scams.  So frustrating I could scream.  And looking for a money manager as I want to take it out of my mom’s hands.  Its getting to be too hard on her and on our relationship.  Found great lawyers, but charge too much, they are helping me find someone else.  More stress.

So, yesterday did something I haven’t done something I haven’t done in a year or more.  Took a seroquel nap in the middle of the day.  Just popped 300 mg.  and slept through the afternoon.  Just wanted to shut off my mind.  Felt wonderful, but won’t do it again.  Scout’s honor.

Head may explode waiting for gyno appt on monday.  Send good thoughts!