Monday, November 30, 2015

Scared.

Anxiety can be a very life-altering thing. The same goes for depression. Having both, can feel like your own personal hell. On one hand, you care so much and think so much about every aspect of your life and spend time worrying and wondering about what is going to happen and on the other hand, you feel hopeless and desperately sad and have no motivation to do anything that will better your circumstances because you feel there's no point. So, having both is really hard to deal with.

This is what I've been experiencing. It's not even sadness that I feel necessarily. It's the emptiness. My life feels void of meaning. It feels meaningless and hopeless. Which I guess, makes me feel sad, but I don't feel sad I just feel empty. Like I've got nothing left to give, and no fight left in me. I'm ready to just crawl into bed and hibernate in my fluffy duvet and drown my sorrows in coffee and medication. Which when I think about it, I know is awful. I know I shouldn't. But I do. Because, I don't care right now. I don't care that I spend my days in bed and blocking out my thoughts with netflix or with music. The goals I used to have feel too far off and unrealistic and the motivation I used to have is completely gone.

I'm not sure if it's just been such a long time with no answers that has brought me to this point, or if it's the new progression of symptoms and knowing that I won't have answers for another few months. Maybe a combination of the two. I know that I'm scared. That's one thing I absolutely know I feel. I'm more scared than I have ever been. I've begun to get so fatigued that I can fall asleep at almost any moment, surrounded by any amount of noise (which isn't typical of me at all), I experience muscle spasms and stiffness daily now, I'll be sitting on the couch completely still yet my head will start making me feel like I'm spinning as if I'm drunk and trying to lay down; and to me, the scariest of all has been that my short term memory seems to be deteriorating. Today, I was leaving a message for my councellor and I completely forgot my phone number. My own phone number that I've had for years. The number that I call when I'm out and need to get a hold of my mom or dad. The number I write on every form or online application or anything. The number that I should know off by heart, which I know that I do know. But I didn't remember it at all. I literally began talking and said "You can get a hold of me best at 705-64.... Actually, just call me back on my cell phone since you already have that number." Fully, knowing that my cell gets no service at home and he wouldn't be able to reach me on that number. 

I know, that maybe seems like one small thing. A fluke. But this is happening every day. I'll take my meds, then forget if I took them. Or I won't take my meds, because I think that I already did, and end up in pain because I didn't take them when I should have. I'll be mid-conversation and just stop talking because I forget what I was saying or I can't find the word I was going to say. It's small things but it's getting more noticeable every day. And that, makes me scared.

I've been over things with my doctor and in order to rule things out, all of my Rheumatology blood tests came back negative. All the tests we've run have come back with no asnwers. Nothing out of the ordinary. We've booked an MRI of the brain and cervical spine to be done of February 10th. Which is still months away. Which means months of being unsure and scared. At this point, my doctor has decided to refer me to a Urologist and Gastroenterologist to focus on my other symptoms that we may be able to get some answers about while we wait for the MRI. But the MRI, is going to be done because there is suspicion of something neurological going on.

*Sigh* 

Unfortunately, yet again, I've got nothing happy to end on. I wish I did. I wish I felt happy and positive. But I'm scared. I appreciate any well wishes and prayers that anyone has to offer. I hope that soon, I can find some positivity and hope and answers. Thanks for listening. 


*ALSO, just realized that my last blog post was also titled "Scared"...... sorry.*

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Scared

Since my last blog post I have been avoiding writing another because I had a feeling that I would just break down and cry. And I don't really feel like breaking down and crying. But maybe I just should.

As I mentioned in my last post; I am experiencing some new symptoms that have been quickly progressing and that have been scaring me. I've got a ton of weird things that happen on the regular in my body and I'm used to them, so it's not scary to me. It's my normal. But this, is not my normal, but suddenly it's here and it's very prevalent and it's scary. I think the scariest thing has been that I don't know what is causing the issue. Personally, I am an overthinker. I overthink the silliest and most mundane things. Like, my thought process of whether or not I'm going to shower before bed takes a good fifteen minutes. If I shower, my hair is going to be wet and I might wake up with crazy bed head. Also, my head will be cold while I'm falling asleep and it will make my pillow wet. But if I don't shower before bed, I'll have to wake up an extra fifteen minutes early to shower. But I'll actually have to wake up even earlier in order to sit and have my coffee first. And then I won't get enough sleep and I'll be grumpy. THIS IS ACTUALLY HOW MY BRAIN WORKS. Usually.

So the thing is: when something is happening to me or going on in my life I like to know why it's happening. I need answers and explanations. All of these things are happening to me and I have absolutely no explanation for them. The things that are happening are the kind of things that end up making you feel like you're going legitimately crazy. I actually have felt seriously mentally unstable. This could be explained by so many things but likely, it's being magnified by the fact that I'm stressed and dealing with anxiety and depression. Which all of those things are being magnified by the fact that everything is unanswered. It's a vicious cycle. Anyway, because of all of this, I've been thinking and overthinking. I know that I won't have an answer for another four months or maybe even more. But I feel like because things are progressing so quickly and changing so suddennly that I need to know what the possible outcomes might be. I want to know if this will continue happening, can it be stopped or prevented, is this something that I'll have to live with for the rest of my life? I want to know these things.

If I were you reading this right now, I'd likely be wondering what about this makes me feel like I'm going mental. I'll try my best to explain myself. Do you ever have one of those days when you wake up and you just feel off? You don't feel like yourself. Maybe it's because your coffee didn't taste right or you didn't get a coffee and you usually do, maybe it's because you barely slept and have a massive headache and can't function normally, maybe it's because you had an anxiety attack and are feeling emotionally drained. The last week especially, I've had that feeling. I just don't feel like me. I am ridden with anxiety, I'm weepy and crying, I have a constant headache, I am completely exhausted one hundred percent of the day, I'm irritable and grumpy and impatient. I feel like yelling at everyone about everything. I feel like I'd rather just stay in my bed all day long and not talk to anyone, see anyone, or think about anything at all that has to do with reality. But being alone just brings out the reason why I feel like this. My body is acting seriously strange.

It's hard to avoid thinking about what might be going on with you when every other minute a different body part is spasming and half of your face is tingling and burning like you have pins and needles in it. All the while being so tired you feel like you can barely roll over. It makes you wonder what could be going on.

I've explained this the best that I can. Not feeling like myself is taking a lot out of me. I don't want to do the things I normally do. I feel like I don't even care about the things I normally care about. I'm scared and I don't think that will change any time soon.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Human Stress-Ball

Since yesterday I have been on quite the emotional rollercoaster. I have been meaning to write this blog post since I got back from my doctor's appointment yesterday afternoon but instead I tried to de-stress by working out. I ended up bawling on my bedroom floor on my yoga mat. (Just so you know world, exercise does not relieve stress for everyone)


Anyway, if you're wondering why I broke down and bawled instead of working out I'll tell you. But first, we're going to have to go to the beginning.


Well, not the actual beginning but the beginning of this story.


I am in the process of applying for Disability. I am not currently working so that I can focus on my health and get some answers and treatment, etc. Which leaves me feeling very poor and sad and not at all independent. But, it's something I need to do right now. Applying for a disability is a very stressful process, especially when you do not look disabled. When your disability can only be seen when someone slices you open and looks inside, it is not easy to get Disability Benefits. Therefore, I've been pretty stressed. 


I had an appointment yesterday with my general practioner so we could go over my Disability Application and to yell at him a little about not fixing me yet. Because sometimes doctors are stubborn. My doctor, can be a very good doctor, but my doctor also tends to put 'bandaids' on bulletholes. In my personal experience with  doctors (which is A LOT of experience), a lot of doctors tend to treat a symptom and not the cause. Which really bothers me. If you would treat the cause, the symptom would likely be eliminated or at least not be as bothersome. But instead, they treat the symptom with some medication that leads to more symptoms. And it just sucks. I'm getting off track though.


SO, I went to the doctor's office so I could go yell at my doctor a little. And I ended up crying. Because I'm a human stress-ball at the moment. And when I'm stressed, I cry. Anyway, I think the crying helped because I now have a supportive doctor and many tests coming my way. Sometime's I think a doctor needs to see how much chronic pain affects someone emotionally to understand that something needs to be done. 



Something I haven't opened up about yet is the fact that I'm developing a lot of new symptoms that do not seem to be at all related to Endosalapingiosis. Because of these new symptoms I was sent yesterday to be tested for Celiac Disease and to have a Rheumatology Blood Screening. I'm also being referred to a neurologist and being scheduled for an MRI of the brain, neck and spine. Unfortunately, the symptoms that I have been experiencing have been quickly progressing and are mirroring the early symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. 


I want to be clear and say that I am not diagnosed with MS. But it's now something that my doctor feels the need to look into. Ruling out MS or getting a diagnosis of MS is not a quick process. It will take about four months just to get an appointment to have the MRI done. So, I won't have any answers likely until February or March. I'm hoping and praying that there is another explanation for these symptoms. But we need to cover out bases are get some real answers. That's what this time off from work was all about. Answers. 


I guess now you probably can understand why I broke and cried on my yoga mat in my bedroom instead of working out. A mix of emotion and frustration. A big thing though that is contributing to these emotions I've been experiencing is the new symptoms I'm having. Feeling like you're not in control of your body is a really scary thing. Imagine laying in bed at night trying to sleep and suddenly you're wide awake because your hand just decided to clench into a fist over and over and over again and you didn't tell it to. You need to choose to tell your brain to act and when it acts without your consent, it's a pretty terrifying experience. 


Again, I'm really hoping there is some other explanation for these symptoms. But we need some answers. And that takes time. Over the next few months I will try to keep you all updated to the best of my ability. I appreciate any well wishes and prayers you have! Thanks to everyone who has shown their support.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Waddling Like A Penguin

I've started something new over the last few days and I've decided to share my experience so far because it's a topic that I think can be a tough one for those with chronic illness or pain. 


When you live with chronic pain, the every day tasks that we do can be daunting. We know it's going to be painful and we'll have to push ourselves just to do the regular things we do. Many of us end up losing the body we once had, we lose muscle and gain weight. It's a natural process when you aren't moving as much because you're in pain and when you're in pain (especially during a flare) the last thing you want to do is stand for 2 hours to make a nice home-cooked healthy meal. Many people with chronic illness end up being over weight. Which adds a whole other level on to our pain and our health.


If you regularly read this blog you'll know that I've made some changes in the past month or so including seeing a councellor, taking a break from work, pursuing new doctors and looking for a proper diagnosis, etc. One of the changes that I have been trying to make for a long time (over a year now) has been to get back into good physical shape. I know that I will never be that "healthy-healthy" person. It's not me. I hate working out. I would much rather eat a poutine than a salad. I would rather lay on the couch and watch netflix than go to the gym. BUT, in my time of change, I have decided that right now is the perfect time to challenge myself. What have I got to lose? 


The challenge I have given myself is a little something called The 21 Day Fix (this is in no way advertisement for the program, I'm just recalling my experience thus far). I had already made a change and begun eating better. I added more vegetables and would prepare them ahead of time so they were ready to go when I was hungry, I added more healthy protein and was making fruit smoothies with spinach every morning. My dad saw me making these changes and ended up ordering The 21 Day Fix for me. I was nervous when it first arrived. This box full of these colourful little containers staring me down and a work out DVD with Autumn Calabrese on the cover looking completely jacked. But, I decided to give it a try.

One thing I will say, if you decide to start the 21 day fix: Pick a time when you will have as little disturbances as possible in your schedule. If you are new to working out or haven't worked out in a while, or if you have chronic pain, you will be SORE. My first workout was three days ago and my legs and glutes are still burning. I am actually waddling like a penguin. And don't even get me started on stairs. BUT the good thing is that I know that I'm working and pushing myself. My muscles are feeling it and I am doing something good for my body. And maybe, if I experience this pain now willingly, I will experiences less chronic pain that is usually worse and lasts much longer and is completely unwilling (hopefully!). But back to my point: make sure you pick a time to start when you know you will be able to commit. COMMIT. You might want to quit when it starts hurting just to sit on the toilet because your legs are so sore.

OKAY, So it's day three now for me and other than being sore: I'm feeling good and really encouraged. I also feel determined which I haven't felt in a long while. I've already lost 2 pounds! Physically I cannot see a difference so far but it's still super early. I think the physical differences will be an even bigger encouragement though. Something that always ends up screwing me over when it comes to healthy eating is CRAVINGS. I like bread and salt. A lot. The 21 Day Fix has a meal plan that allows some of those things in moderation which I find amazing. Over the last two days I haven't felt hungry the entire time. It includes a lot of protein to help you build muscle and to keep you full. It also allows for one small amount of healthy fat a day and 2 smaller containers of "carbs". For example, I used my carb container yesterday to crush up multi-grain tostitos and used them in my taco salad! You will not go hungry and because you aren't depriving your body of some of the foods that it's used to -- you're less likely to get cravings that will throw off your diet.

I think I'll keep you all updated on my 21 Day Fix journey as I go but so far I am loving it! It is important for us to push ourselves sometimes even when it hurts and even when we're scared to do it. Something that helps me when I'm nearing the end of a work out and feeling like I can't go on I think of the reasons WHY I'm doing this..


Reasons Why I'm Working Out and Eating Healthy:

- To feel better physically
- To not have my heart race just from walking up the stairs
- To be proud of my body and what it can do every step of the way
- To love my body more and take care of it
- To control whatever aspects of my health that I can
- To feel GOOD mentally and physically
- To look in the mirror and love what I see


etc.


If you're working out or starting to, making a list like this can be super helpful and motivating. When you remember WHY you're doing it and what a huge difference it can make when you commit; it'll help keep you going and stay on track.


Thanks for listening! Wishing you all a pain-free day!