Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Get it done

I just made my mammogram appointment. I'll also soon have a colonoscopy. 

Someone needs to start a One Stop Medical Shop, where they just put your body on a lift like they do to cars at the mechanic's shop and do IV sedation, do teeth cleaning, remove wisdom teeth, tonsils, adenoids, perform EKG, mammogram, pap smear, colonoscopy, vasectomy, Lasik eye surgery, haircut & manicure/pedicure all at the same time. 

Just get it done. 90 minutes or less, get $10 off with coupon. 

Then, feed feral cats the tonsils & such. Nothing wasted. 

If you don't like my idea, you're just jealous.  If you need me, I'll be in Bay 2.

Monday, July 27, 2015

My current medications

70 mg Vyvanse in morning
20 mg Paxil in morning
Zyrtec at night if I remember!

I have Tramadol 50 mg on hand for flare ups. I can take up to 200 mg a day, but on my worst days I usually only take 2.
This is 4-7 days out of entire month. 

I have Flexeril for when I pull a muscle.

My health conditions, in order of awareness or diagnosis are:

Anxiety- thumb sucking 
Anxiety - fingernail biting
Trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder)
Allergies to fabric dyes, perfumes, environmental stuff.
Sleep Apnea, mild
ADHD Combined Type (had since childhood but didn't know)
Tinnitus (ear ringing)
Depression/Anxiety - diagnosis 
Casein (dairy protein) allergy, several weeds
Premature Ventricular Contractions

How much do you know about Fibromyalgia?

From Lifescript.com:

"How Much Do You Know About Fibromyalgia? 
Described by Hippocrates in ancient Greece, fibromyalgia is one of the world’s oldest medical mysteries. The disease – a complex illness marked by chronic muscle, tendon and ligament pain, fatigue and multiple tender points on the body – affects about 2% percent of Americans, most of them women. How muchdo you know about fibromyalgia?"

I wonder if grandmother had FMS...

I have been thinking about my paternal grandmother (my father's mother), and whether she might have had Fibromyalgia. 

She died in 1956 at age 66, so I never knew her. In her photos, even the photos of her when she was younger - show her as fairly large - as in width - for the times. 

I know she was somewhat of a medical mystery, and my father blamed "her quack doctor" for a lot of her health problems. I know that the cause of death on her death certificate was Athlerosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and it came from poorly managed high blood pressure.

In her photos, she looks like a nice lady, but older than her age, and probably in pain. The look on the face is familiar. The look of pain, but trying to cope.

We blame many of our health problems today on our modern foods. My grandmother was born in 1890 or so. I doubt she ever ate a Pop Tart in her life.

Do I have proof she had Fibromyalgia? No. I wish I had some letters written by her - anything like that. But all I have are photos.  My father said she was very religious & her second husband was a rough character. So I can't imagine that helped her health very much.

Her daughter - my elderly aunt, has heart problems and terrible peripheral neuropathy. All related? I think so.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

"Do you EVER stop talking?!?"

Sister said this to me, followed by an apology, and she said something like she didn't want my head to explode or anything. WTF.

Ok, sorry, I know I talk too much. 
I will just stop being nervous and having ADHD.  lol I'll get right on that.

Psyched Out

I get so confused sometimes. I saw the psychiatrist yesterday. Interesting that I typed I saw THE psychiatrist yesterday...as if I don't want to say he's MY psychiatrist.  I suppose I feel like I'm admitting I'm psycho.  Yes, ADHD is a DSM manual listed mental disorder, and so is Trichotillomania. I probably need to stop being in denial, huh?

Oh sorry, I went on an ADHD backroad there for a moment. I'm back now. 

I got confused, because on an earlier visit to my psychiatrist, he said for me to keep the few pills that I have left of Paxil in the lower dosage, because they can be useful if I need to wean off Paxil at a later date.  So yesterday, I asked him about being weaned off Paxil, and how long should I expect to need to keep taking Paxil. He said probably for the rest of my life.

The rest of my life? OMG! What the actual F...oops sorry. We almost added Tourette's Syndrome to my list of stuff. Oh why the hell not, it's related. When I tried taking Amitryptylene (sp?) I cussed without realizing I did. I cussed BAD. I was a bad girl. Roar!

Oops back to Paxil and the Psych doc. OMG the rest of my life...that was a surprise. Does he think I'm totally whackadoodle or what? Sigh. Oh it's okay, it is helping I guess. I'd like to see better help in the hairpulling department (enter an elevator, "Hair Pulling Department, Aisle Four!") but it continues. It grows when life is hectic and I really don't have any time to pull, and when I get time, I'm just too exhausted. BUT, when the stressful time passes and I have time to stop and think about how bad that stressful situation was (like my mother getting hurt), then the pulling goes full force.

That is why a blog is good to have. As I typed that, I realized that thinking over the stress I had just BEEN THROUGH caused a pulling reaction. Hmm. File that under Stuff To Tell The Therapist.

Oh yeah, it really pisses me off that I have to see a psychiatrist for the medications and a therapist for talking. Why can't I express some problems to the psychiatrist? Ok, sure, I realize he's busy like every other psychiatrist who has a beard, wire-rimmed eyeglasses, and a tweed jacket.  Do they all shop at the same suit store? Is it called Psuits for Psychs?

The medical costs really rack up. Primary care (sends me to rheumy), rheumatologist (useless), psychiatrist, therapist...and more. I'm going to stop here because I am starting to worry about the future and the "what ifs" like if we didn't have health insurance through my husband's work, what would we do? Good place to stop, that's for sure. I can go sign up for 90 day prescriptions and be productive, which is what I got on this laptop (devil box) in the first place to do.

Let me know how you're doing. Do you have to see all these docs for a variety of issues too? Does your psychiatrist look  like he shops at Psuits for Psychs?  Oh and why do therapists always look like Earth Mothers...what the actual heck...lol

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

ADHD and Fibromyalgia

It's been a long time since I've been able to write in this blog. I have been so busy it's incredible. But some of the "busy" I put on myself, because I've finally been able to DO THINGS! Yes, I am not kidding. Let me tell you what happened.

My son was having trouble in school. He had always been a great student. Suddenly, he couldn't start writing his papers, he couldn't finish anything, etc. He didn't turn in papers/homework. His teacher was getting very frustrated with him. I wasn't too frustrated, because I was used to him...lol....but I was also frustrated to constantly hear that he wasn't turning in work. It turned out it was ADHD.

I took him to a psychiatrist, who also diagnosed ME with ADHD. I am ADHD Combined Type. They divide ADHD into subsets now. It used to be ADD and ADHD with the ADD being the sluggish person and the ADHDer being a very hyper person. But now they don't use "ADD" and they just use "ADHD" and break it into the primary types. There is primarily Inattentive Type, Hyperactive Type, and the middle bear is named Combined Type. This one is juuuuust riiiight!

Well a lot of things make sense now. Why when I was in elementary school, and the teacher said it was quiz or test time, EVERYBODY ELSE knew about the test or quiz. I didn't remember anything about a quiz or test and had no idea why. Often, I'd feel as if I had been tricked. Like the rest of the class had had a meeting and I wasn't allowed to attend the secret meeting. But it wasn't that. I was there in body, but my mind was off in la la land.  My drawing all through classes was a form of helping myself focus and concentrate, and deal with painful boredom.

Women with ADHD often slipped under the radar, because people thought ADHD was "a boy thing," and girls tend to be quiet and not disruptive in class. Out of sight out of mind. Now, teachers are starting to get a clue. I was fortunate that the teacher who brought my son's problems to my attention was a teacher my daughter had had years before, and I knew that this teacher wasn't wanting to get kids on drugs to keep them under control. So I listened. It took me awhile, because I can be sluggish to act and make phone calls, but together we saw that my son was really struggling. Something was wrong.

Now, you may not believe in ADHD.  I already understand that people don't believe in things they can't see. Having Fibromyalgia, we are aware of this fact, yes? But as a famous scientist (whose name I can't recall right now) said, "The great thing about science is that   it is real whether you believe in it or not." How true that is!

My son started on a medication called Vyvanse. At first we weren't really sure if it worked well or not. Gradually the dosage was increased. We could see a difference. the drugs don't do all the work. the drug is like having a handicapped ramp outside a building for people in wheelchairs. It helps you get IN the building, but it doesn't do everything for you. It's just a tool, a helper.  Once the dosage was right, definitely a huge improvement.   What I like the most is that it leaves the body after 10-12 hours. It does not build up in a person's system. Also a big deal is that my son is confident. Maybe sometimes TOO confident. lol....but he is pretty bright. Most people with ADHD are very intelligent.

So then I started Vyvanse also. I was told it would take effect in approximately 40 mins to an hour. Oh yes it DID! I was so scared to take it, because I had bad experiences with psychiatric medications in the past. Effexor caused me to cuss like Tourette's syndrome almost, and Amitriptylene (sp?) made my heart race and I had to swing my crossed leg to work it out of my system. That was scary stuff. So I was nervous about the Vyvance.

However, when it kicked in, I did feel it, and it was a very nice experience. I felt lighter, as if a huge burden was taken off my psyche. My enthusiasm and positivity came back! It was as if I had been seeing life through a sheer curtain, but it had been lifted and now I could see again. Not literally about vision, but about the way we see the world. I hope I am expressing this right. It wasn't like a "drug trip," no double rainbows and kewl maaaan....it was just like I was normal again!

The pain of fibromyalgia has been greatly reduced, which is good. Because my medication for pain was Tramadol (ultram) and that is not good to take with Vyvanse. They both have a risk for patients having seizures, so to take them together would be bad. I can take a half of a tramadol late at night if I have night pain, but most of the time, I don't need any pain medication. I can feel some pain and I still have burning pains from fibromyalgia sometimes, but it is manageable.

I had been taking 1-2 tramadols a day, and on "good" days, I would take half a pill in the morrning and half the pill in the afternoon. I always wanted to stay at the bare minimum with medications. Some studies have determined that Tramadol use may actually make fibromyalgia pain worse later in life. Yikes, I hope that will not be true.  I would also need to take Flexeril muscle relaxant from time to time, but I haven't needed that in ages (but it's good to have on hand just in case I pull something).

Overall, I've been much more active. I have more muscle strength now. I can actually do home repairs and painting and I've been loving it. The only side effect I have from Vyvanse is that about an hour after taking it, I can be overly talkative (even drive myself a little batty over this) and it goes on for about an hour then it calms down. That is something to tell the psychiatrist about. maybe he will have me take the medication in split doses. But, if I get talkative, I should probably just get online and blog. you see how long this one is getting. haha!

So back to the pain. Pre Vyvanse, my Fibromyalgia pain was an 8 or 9 on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the worst pain ever. Now on most days my pain is about a 3.

Now I find out that they think that some 70% of Fibromyalgia sufferers may also have undiagnosed ADHD...which makes sense when you think about how it is mainly women who have Fibromyalgia. Remember, girls with ADHD are generally NOT disruptive in class!  So they slip under the radar and don't get help.  We need to spread the word.

If you wonder if you might have ADHD, find one of the many online diagnosis tools, just to see if you have even a slight chance of it then find a doctor who is knowledgeable about ADHD. We were lucky, we found a good psychiatrist who knows a lot about it. Also the ADDitude Magazine Expert podcasts online are free, and full of good information. CHADD.org is another source of good resources.

You may be a pretty organized and together person, even so, you could have it but perhaps developed coping strategies.  Most people with ADHD are high normal or above average intelligence.  It has nothing to do with how smart you are. It is about the frontal cortex of the brain, brain chemicals, how your brain works, etc. It is not a character flaw. A couple of problems typical of ADHD are numerous traffic tickets, car accidents, lateness. and so on.

Well, those don't apply to me. I've had my driver's license since about 1984 and I've never had a ticket or an accident. Oh I've run Stop signs accidentally...ooops. And being punctual is always a big thing to me. That has never been a problem. So I asked my psychiatrist, and he said I developed good coping strategies.

I went home and thought about what he said. Coping Strategies...Yes, I was trained well in driving by my father.  I was taught the importance of safety all my life, and being a defensive driver. I had a routine in the car. I wasn't haphazard there.

Confession: I have had moments when I was driving somewhere and didn't know where I was supposed to be going and who I was going to be meeting, and that was disturbing. I blamed that on Fibrofog. I also had times that I was driving and suddenly realized that I was the driver and not the passenger. I had been looking at the middle of the steering wheel and daydreaming as I zipped down the highway. Don't let my car insurance company know about that, please. lol

Regarding punctuality, that was very important to me.
I hate it when I arrive early or on time and have to wait for the other person. It is perceived by me as rude unless they have a good reason. But really it is because the waiting time is uncomfortable and because I have ADHD I need to have something to do to fill the time....I don't have enough time to do anything, but I can't stand NOT doing anything either. It is aggravating. So that's the real reason I don't like other people to be late!

Thinking about my grade school years, I was very shy and probably had social anxiety (probably still do have it, even though I do like people, and if you met me you probably wouldn't realize this about me, you'd think I am an extrovert.)   Anyway, as a kid, if I had to walk into school late or because I had a doctor's appointment, etc, when I walked into the room, every head turned. Of course now that isn't a big deal to me. The other students were just bored, and anything other than what the class was doing was a break.  But to me, the eyeballs burned into me, and I hated everyone turning and looking at me, it was so very uncomfortable. So what I had done in coping was to work to never be late if I could help it. Coping skill achieved.  That's natural consequences in action, folks!

My younger son probably has ADHD also, but his grades have not been hurt badly by it yet. . He will turn 10 in October, yet last night he jumped on the wing chair in the living room. Jumped, feet first. I'm like, WTH?!? Ten-years-old is way too old to be doing that. He is thin and always active. He drives his brother nuts just for entertainment (I used to do the same to my brother). He had some issues in school about talking too much but he had a wonderful teacher who helped him find the appropriate times to be able to talk or have movement. With a new teacher, I'm not sure how well he will do.  Sometimes, he will talk so much he drives ME nuts, and my husband gets a big kick when that annoys me, because I'm getting a taste of my own medicine. The kid is like me. But he doesn't have much social anxiety, he doesn't care if all eyes in class are on him. He likes the attention.  Impulsive...and that's why you really need to get your kids diagnosed and treated for ADHD if you think they show signs.

People are very scared of the medications, but the legal medications, prescribed by a doctor, are safer than letting your kid go out on their own with low self esteem caused by always getting negative feedback and doing poorly, they're smart but they think they're dumb and useless, they're impulsive, can get angry fast, have mood disorders, etc by not having treatment. Yet with treatment, their brains actually develop better. Medication started as an adult like in my case, doesn't help brain development. It only helps my brain work better the day I take it. But for kids, the medication will help the brain DEVELOPMENT.  Rather than your kid "getting hooked" on drugs, you and your child will be much LESS likely to have dependence on drugs (including caffeine). The doctor is the gatekeeper. You will not be able to get your prescription unless you see the psychiatrist monthly. 

So do your research, keep an open mind. Watch videos by Dr. Russell Barkley on YouTube about ADHD.

Take my word for it, if you do have ADHD and get treatment, you may get your life back. I did!
I'm not problem free, but this reduction of problems has been genuine and long lasting.

My current medications:
(Compare with my list from the previous post)
Vyvanse 70 mg 1x per day with breakfast
Paxil 30 mg at night
Zyrtec at night if I remember to take it! For allergies.

Blessings! :)