Followup – Lithium Has Been My Truth All This Time

 

Photography by Vickie

In my previous post I mentioned that doctor took me off Lamictal – she saw a rash on me and freaked out.  I was immediately taken off of it and told instead to take two Lithium a day (600 mg).  I’ve been taking 300 mg Lithium for 3 years and have had no problem.  Taking me off Lamictal worried me since I’d been doing so well.

Yesterday, September 2, I went to the doctor to check on my rashes and the extreme itching I’ve been having.  Not only did my skin feel like it was  burning the skin felt like thousands of pins sticking in me.  IThe doctor ordered a really extreme blood test of about 8 or 9 vials – I almost passed out!  The doctor  was checking on allergies, autoimmune disease and how my Hepatitis C is doing. (Yes, Hepatitis C – I carry a heavy load 1.8)

I take Lithium once in the morning and before I go to bed.  Additionally, I take one 150 mg of Tradozone nightly.  Between the two that makes a great sleep.  On Lamictal I awoke up each morning around 5 or 6 am and felt tired most of the day. Now, I sleep until a good time in the morning and have more energy than I’ve had before!   After a week and a half of taking the increased dose I feel really good.  In fact, I feel rested.

With all this new energy I go for a long walk, work in the garden, read, write, make jewelry and anything else I can get my hands on.  It’s like mania but a good mania.  I’ll stay busy up until about 3pm when I need to sit down and rest.

I want to add that up till now I have not been able to read a book – I would read a paragraph or two and go in a trance – I would forgot what I read and have to start over.  I have so many books to read!

With everything that is going on I’m trying very hard to manage my life by talking to God  and listening to him every day.  I write in my devotional that has helped me thoroughly. This is very important to me.

Never Give Up On Life

Battling Bipolar has been tough.  But, finding out you have cirrhosis is another battle.  It just keeps getting worse. All I can do is pray and hope things will turn out okay.  I try to have a positive outlook by leaving negativity behind. Sometimes it’s hard.

Let’s see I have Dual Bipolar, Hepatitis, Recovering Alcoholic, now I have the cirrhosis.  That disease makes my stomach turn.  It just sounds so trashy and I’m not.  This happen to a perfectly good compassionate human who unfortunately, was dealt a bad hand.  I was a great kid growing up with a loving family.  I just chose the wrong path to take in life. Should I feel sorry for myself?

Bipolar can be caused by trauma’s and I went through several of those.  My marriage was physically and mentally abusive -not sure which is worse.   The verbal abuse was so terrorizing that I believed what he said most of my life.  The abuse continued through bad relationships that I kept getting myself into.  I was raped by someone I know that I felt at the time was my fault since I let him in.  Why do we pick guys that are mean to us.  My x  husband said he loved me, but how could he do the things he did.  So I felt loving was being treated badly.  Not any more.

Today, I’m not in relationship and  haven’t been for 3 years.  I chose that until I can take care of me first.  I don’t need a man in my life telling me what to do.  I’ve become very dependent on myself.  I found out that I can get things done.  Not having a job or insurance I found ways to help with my health through different resources.  It can be done you just have to research.

Living on low income qualified me for insurance at a non profit mental clinic.  I get my Lithium and other medications free.  I found another place for my hepatitis and now my cirrhosis.  I don’t know what I would of done if I had just sat around waiting for things to happen.

I’m a caregiver for my mom and dad and I  have to be tough.  It’s so hard sometimes, because with Bipolar you can get your feelings hurt easily.  I’ll go to my room and close the door so I want have to deal with confrontation.  I have to try and maintain calm or it’ll trigger me into a mess.  I get very confused and it probably shows in my writing.  I can switch my mind quickly and then wonder what I was thinking before.  That’s why I write and keep a journal both have saved me.  Going to book stores is a great outlet.

Now, I have to be courageous with cirrhosis.  Next week I go the the liver clinic to get the rest of my results and see what happens from there.  All I can do is hope and pray there can be something done.  I don’t need any more bad news.  I have discovered god and I believe strongly the miracles he can make.  He’s already helped me quit drinking and smoking – March 14, 2009.   Heck of a deal!

I Didn’t Plan For Today

Last Monday around 2pm, my dad called me into his room to ask me to take him to the hospital. I thought maybe I was imagining this since I get delusional at times.

My mom and I took dad to the hospital and was in the emergency room until 1:30am when we were told he would be staying the night. That was Monday. It’s Saturday and he’s still there. They found a clot in the top of his foot and had to do surgery. The procedure was to slice a hole in the vein on top of his foot and drain it. The quest was to figure out what caused the clot – his heart or the stroke he previously had? After the surgery we were told it was probably his heart. We were also told he’s Alzheimer’s/Dementia had gotten worse and to be prepared. Also, they were going to put him back on Coumadin, a blood thinner. This makes him hallucinate.

I started having anxiety with the fear that the same thing that happen last time, about 6 months ago, was going to happen again. I just don’t know how I’m going to handle it with everything that is going on in my life including my car wreck.

Dad was in the nursing home after a fatal accident and he hallucinated about his mom being alive. He depended on me for everything. My mom suffers as well from Bipolar/Dementia.

Just today, I dropped my mom off at the hospital to see dad. I returned and dad said that she had left to go looking for me downstairs. I went downstairs and couldn’t find her anywhere. I starting freaking and thinking the worse. I called my brother and he told me if I can’t find her to call security. I decided to go back up to the room just in case she returned. Mom was not there. Dad started getting upset and getting out of bed. I went to the nurses desk and said my mom was missing. “Oh, the nurse said, she went downstairs to eat lunch.” Gee, I was so relieved! I went to tell dad and he was tearing all the machine’s off of him and a nurse was trying to get him to calm day. He did calm down when I told him where mom was.

Boy, I was scared! I thought, “Is this what I’m looking forward to when Dad comes home?” What’s happens when Dad comes home and leaves without letting us know? How is he going to react to me. Mean or depend on me?

You have to live from day to day. Don’t take life for granted. I tried to tell my son to always make sure he tells his love ones including me that he loves them. Even with my bipolar something changes with me all the time like my memory. I get confused and delusional like during my accident. I lose items all the time like clothes, jewelry, purse, and keys. I organize my room all the time so I can find things. My room gets messed in one day and I have to organize again and again.

Keep coming back.

Hyperkalemia – Just Another Problem

I got some mail yesterday from the mental clinic I go to for my bipolar.  Inside was my blood test results and in there they said I needed to go to the doctor quickly, because of the test results. Boy was I surprised.  Not only is my Hepatitis enzymes high, but now I have something called Hyperkalemia.  What’s that? Well, I did some research and never thought I would have something like this.

I’ve had Hepatitis C for a while since since the 1990’s.   I’m not sure how I got it.  I had  a series of operations in 1989 – 1990 and  had to have transfusions since I lost so much blood.  Through out the years I have undergone treatment and each time I had to stop and go back to work.  I was never able to complete my treatments, because I had to feed myself and pay bills.

Today, I can’t find a job I can do.  Either you have to stand too much, sit too long, use your mind.  All those is hard to do.   It’s so depressing.  Lately, I’ve been crying a lot.  I’m so tired of being in pain and my memory is getting worse.  What’s even worse is I’m on 57 years old and I feel like I’m 80. My mom is 83 and we look like twins when we’re walking side by side.

Hyperkalemia is a scary name.  I looked it up and it’s a term for potassium.  I have too much potassium in my body.  Here’s what I found out about Hyperkalemia (potassium).

Potassium is involved in regulating muscle tissue, and is part of digestion, metabolism, and homeostasis (maintaining a balance between the many electrical and chemical processes of the body).

Hyperkalemia occurs when the level of potassium in the bloodstream is higher than normal. This may be related to an increase in total body potassium or the excess release of potassium from the cells into the bloodstream.

The kidneys normally remove excess potassium from the body. Therefore, most cases of hyperkalemia are caused by disorders that reduce the kidneys’ ability to excrete potassium.”

It’s possible this is the reason my legs and feet are swollen and painful all the time.  This can also look like you gained weight on the scales. On the other side –  It could be my Hepatitis that’s causing all these problems.  Hepatitis can cause a lot of problems with your joints, muscles, organs and more.  When I was diagnosed many moon ago I was told this might happen.  But what am I to do?  Once you have it you have it.  I haven’t heard of anyone being cured.

Now, would be a good time to get on the treatment again.  But I don’t know how.  How do you do that we your not working and you don’t have insurance.  The treatment is very expensive.

I am trying to get disability.  I’ve already been to one doctor and next week I go to another doctor their sending me to. How many do I have to go to.    It would solve some problems by giving me the money to go to a doctor and possibility get some treatment.

Is there help out there.

What is it – Bipolar or Dementia? Confused!

I have a dilemma – Is it Bipolar or Dementia?  Both run in the family.  Just recently and over night I have become a caregiver for both my mom who has dementia and bipolar and dad, who was okay.  Mom has been getting worse and my dad just a month ago had a bad fall and suddenly my life changed in a split second.  My dad was walking across the parking lot then – BAM!  He fell flat on his face with the results of looking like Rocky.   He was sent to the hospital then home and then back again – he became delusional. I took him back to the hospital where he got worse and worse resulting in an onset of Alzheimer’s /dementia.  I had to feed him, bathe him, change his diapers and pray a lot.  Why did this happen?  Everything fell apart.  What do we do?  My brother and I stressed and quickly got together all papers – living will, will, finances, etc. Things we were not prepared for.  After a few weeks we had to put him in a nursing home for rehabilitation.  He had forgotten how to work, his speech was bad, and had no idea what had happen.  He didn’t even know who mom was.

After a week in the nursing home he had a stroke and was again sent to the hospital.  There, he thought he had gone on a helicopter ride with a lot of people and taken to this big building where the ceiling dropped and black dust was dropped on them.  I told him that sounded more like aliens.  He said, Well, maybe so.”

He was returned to the nursing home and is still there.  He may come home in a week.  I’m not ready.

Since all this has happen Mom has gotten worse. Crying all the time and her mania and dementia have gotten worse.  She’s even drinking more. I’m afraid for her and I have a fear that some day it will hit me if it hasn’t already.  Being an alcoholic myself makes this difficulty for me.

I’ve had to hold myself together.  It is very hard to sit and listen to my dad because he is so angry and blames people for taking his money.  It was decided that I move in – there was no other way.  Mom can’t drive, walk or make her own decisions and when dad comes home he will be disabled.  They can not stay alone together.  That could mean disaster.

As mentioned in another Blog, I have taken myself off medication for bipolar and hormones and trying to treat myself with healthy food and exercise.  It seems to be working but I slip sometimes.  The hot flashes the mania and depression.  Also, my unemployment benefits have been exhausted and will not receive any funds.  So now I’m working about 28 hours or less making 6.55 an hour.  The hours may be shortened depending on the situation at home.  I will be the cook, maid, nurse, and housekeeper.  Do I have the strength to do all this?  I find no help from other members of the family.  They have disappeared.

With all that’s going on with my parents, I don’t have time to take care of me. So I’m struggling.  I have to be strong for both of my parents.  If I fall – all will fall.

Life is Like a Roller Coaster

Since my last entry my life has been on a roller coaster.  I made the decision to stop my bipolar and hormone pills.  Both deal with the chemistry in your mine.  I wanted to do it alone.  I’m tired of pills and spending the money on them.  I have only a part time job making $6.55 an hour and collecting unemployment. With those I’m  only getting by.

After several tests from doctors I was told about my bipolar, ADD and mini strokes.  Here I was blaming the ghost for hiding items I couldn’t find.  “LOL”  I’m always loosing keys, glasses, purses and well just about anything I touch.  I try to put items in the same place everyday.  I even post notes to remind myself.  I forget to remind myself.  Maybe I should post notes not to buy wine and cigarettes all around the house.  I hate to be controlled and I’m allowing these THINGS to take over my mind!

THINGS HAVE TO Change or I’m going to go crazier.  I decide to write myself a prescription for life by exercising, eating healthier, stop smoking, stop drinking and stop the impulse buying.  Just stop going crazy!  It’s been a long road dealing with hot flashes, pain, anger and just not feeling good.  Along with my Hepatitis C it makes it a little more difficult, because it slows me down.  When I don’t drink and smoke I feel worse. The only way to feel better is to drink and smoke.  But I don’t want to.  I’m tired of it controlling my life day by day.  When I wake up in the morning I don’t know which me will show up.  I may wake up and feel great and say “I’m not going to drink, and I’m only going to think positive. Today, I’ll tell everyone to have  great day.”

One prescription I wrote myself was that I was going learn to be a business woman.  This is something  I have wanted and dreamed of for a long time, but was afraid to try it.  I’ve always felt stupid since I didn’t go to college.  I was afraid to take the TASP!

I did some research and decided to take risk and open my eBay store.  Today, I owe my business my sanity.  Opening my eBay store has been the best thing that has ever happened to me.  It gives me something that’s mine and to take charge and learn on the way.  In order to be successful you have to work hard.  I’ve been researching, reading, and studying all the things that I use to do.  I was horrible in school.   I never could comprehend words, pages, numbers or anything else.  Everything was harder for me. I feel that I had lost a job, because of my grammar skill.  I’m trying to make something of myself.  I want to make my family especially my son to be proud of his mom.  He has made me proud – now its time to make my son.

I want you to know that with disabilities this doesn’t mean you have to give up – keep trying – make yourself proud.  I feel that I’m smarter now than I have every been by teaching myself.  I want let anyone take that from me.  I have a lot to learn to be successful and I’m n ot giving up on myself.  One of those is to be a better writer.

You can always visit my eBay store to see what I have accomplished.  I’m still working on and I won’t give up.  I’m so proud of myself and I’m going to keep going forward – not backward.

Writing for Therapy is the Perfect Drug-Manic Depressive

It is so nice to get comments from others that’s why I feel that writing about my disease is the perfect drug.  Why has it helped me? Knowing that others really care.  People with bipolar feel so lonely, because they’re afraid to tell anyone about their disease.  I know I was afraid to tell a coworker, because I was afraid of how they would look at me.   I started to realize a few years back that something was wrong me.  I started remembering my past and what I did (that’s another story).  Although many doctors have told me that I have bipolar I just didn’t want to believe. In my last job I was having issues forgetting things I was suppose to do, loosing items and loosing my temper, etc.  I didn’t understand what was happening me. The company ended up letting me go because of and of course, I felt they were getting rid of me was that I had memory problem and my age.  Especially since everyone in my group were in their early 20’s and I was 55.  It was after that job I decided to make some changes in my life and to starting taking care of myself.  I wanted to do the things I enjoy.  I felt I was so angry because I wasn’t happy.  I hated what I was doing and felt I was better than that.  So I started doing the things I enjoy, which is creating my own jewelry and having my own little shop. I’ve also started buying and selling for others. 

It takes a lot of hard concentration and organization for me.  I get confused and being disorganized is my biggest trigger. I’m having a issue with that today.  I woke up at 3am this morning. We had a rough storm and I just couldn’t go back to sleep.  My committee was going off in my mind of all the things that I needed to do so I just got up and went to work.  There is so much detail to my business that you have to be organized and have a list to go by.  My problem is that I don’t go by the list – I get side tracked.  Now I have a client who wants to buy a TV so I have to get busy on that.  But I love it. I’m doing things I like and what I can do.  No getting up and driving in traffic to work – no boss standing over my shoulder and no one tell me I can’t do this or that.  Being busy helps. 

So you see writing is good for me – I got all that off my back.  I’m a strong believer in writing.  I just realized the other day while going through all my journals that I’ve actually been journaling since I was 18.  I must of had bipolar then – I was really depressed.  I will share some of the writings and poems on another day.

This morning I got a nice comment where said he enjoyed reading my stories.  He said I could use some of his cartoons on my blog and I went to his website Mental Humor and there was this funny cartoon that I would like to share, but I can’t figure out how to put it on my blog.  So you can go to his website by clicking here.  Once I can figure it out I’ll post.

Back later!

Awareness of Bipolar is the Hard Rock

I got a comment on my other blog about nobody listening and she mentioned that it’s possible that my dad or anyone that knows you have a problem, probably doesn’t want to know you have it.  Does that make since.  My mom has been depressed for a long time and that’s the norm conversation over there.  So I’m commenting on her comment here.

Thank you so much for your thoughts.  Your right my dad has been helping mom a long time.  When she gets he one of her moods – He says she’s having a bad day. 

Dad isn’t a big hugger or outspoken as far as showing compassion.  I made him aware one day when I was in rehab that I really needed help and support. I told him that he never has hugged or said I love you, and I needed that.  My mom says it all the time to me.  But I wrote him a email since he interrupts me and jokes about something instead of listening, and told him how I felt in the email.  He’ll never mention that he read it and will just go on like nothing has happened.
 
You know I write here because I can’t find any real books out there where someone is talking about everyday problems, whether it’s an illiness, relationship or just everyday real happenings. So I started writing in this blog and in my other blogs.  It is the one thing that I do love to do and that’s writing.  I have since I can’t remember.

I remember being always sad when I was around 18 or 19. I felt lonely all the time and every poem that I wrote was really sad.  I read them the other day and I started crying.  It was all about lonliness.  I must of been depressed for along time and didn’t really realize that something was really wrong with me.  Doctors told me, but I didn’t listen, because when I said something to my parents they would say Oh, there’s nothing wrong with you. So that’s how it’s been with me. 

But now I’m talking about it and I’m going to finally get some help with the research hospital.  If they accept me I will test a new medication, be treated, therapy and the whole wash.  I think I get paid for it to.  It’s the only way I could get help since I didn’t have money or insurance.  Man, I sound like a sad case!

Thanks for listening and being a friend.