Monday, August 27, 2012

A prejudice uncovered

I hate prejudice.  I find it ignorant and arrogant and actually quite rude.   The assumption that you are normal, right and how things should be and anyone else who is different is somehow less worthy, normal or valid.   I do obviously find myself thinking or acting in a prejudice manner every so often and try and nip it in the bud.

Working with surrogacy really forced me to confront my feelings re homosexuality.   Its easy saying you think or believe X, Y, Z but when it comes to actually putting those principles in practice, its a little different.   I also have the added complexity of being a Christian and having many Christian friends with ideas very conflicting to mine.  Anyway, turns out I really do believe gay people can and should be allowed to marry their partners, have biological or adopted children and be awarded the same rights and respect of hetero families.  Children are very accepting of differences and love their parents for being their parents.   Their family is their family and for them, the place where they are loved, nurtured and cherished.  I love that our Constitution is tolerant and respectful of diversity and the value and freedom of the individual is so important.   As far as race goes, its never been an issue although I do regret being raised in our apartheid system with no real opportunity to grow up with, make friends with or really connect with other racial groups in SA.  Our kids are lucky to have many different friends of many different cultures.

So where do I fall short?  What group of people do I carelessly lump together and paint with the same brush.  Presume they are all blended into one flavour and one I do not particularly enjoy.  Its the oldies I'm afraid.   I don't want to be old and unattractive and slow and impatient and grouchy.   I don't want to be invisible or feel useless or no longer valued by society.   I don't want to bide my time till I die.   Rude I know and I am sorry I have been so blind to this whole massive group of people who I will inevitably join one day.  If I am lucky!

So the eye opener has been my pottery.   When I walked into the class I was extremely disappointed to see 4 old ducks, very old ducks!   Two ladies are in the seventies, one is 82 and the other got married in 1949 so must be SUPER old.   Three are widows and have been for decades and the one has a husband called Bokkie.   I almost changed so I could find a younger group and make some friends.  As time has gone by and we sit and paint and shape and potter I have got to know them a little more and I see behind the grey hair and wrinkles, are dynamic and funny and interesting people.  Ones with humour and family dramas and recipes and travel stories and gossip.  In fact not very different from my own set of girlfriends in our thirties and forties.   I feel both relieved and a little sheepish.   So one day we will still laugh and have fun and talk shit and learn new things.  Why did I even presume this wasn't possible?  It makes me all the more determined to make sure I have my health and I have enough money invested so I can do things like join a pottery class etc.

We largely choose who we want to be and how we will react to things in our life.  I hope I will always be open to new experiences and to travel and to meeting people and to being involved.  I hope I won't be bitter or grouchy or impatient.   I feel incredibly fortunate to have the friends I do and I can just imagine us one day parking off doing something like that.   

PS:  Although this isn't like my old blog where comments are mostly posted, pls don't let us get into the whole gay debate and respectfully agree to disagree. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My weekend trip away

I went away this weekend, on a trip.  The trip started off fantastically and ended horrendously.   On Friday the TD was really bad and my mouth still so painful and tongue still so spasmy.  Gary suggested I go and see my GP and get something to counteract the effect of the Cymgen.  My doc was on leave so her stand-in gave me Akineton.   I took my first pill at 5 ish and later when I lay on my bed I saw 2 spiders roll towards me.  I looked and looked only to see if was just 2 dirty marks on the skirting.  I was amazed at my clarity of vision and felt quite spaced out.  Saturday I took another and both my girls had birthday parties to go to.  Off I drove marvelling at how I could see each blade of grass, every crack in the tar and every brick of every building.   Later I looked down as I could feel one of the hairs on my arm blowing in the wind and ta dah…I located the exact hair.   Fortunately Gary fetched them and I hiked up the waterfall with my friend Anton feeling fabulous.

Saturday evening was pill number 3 and I was telling my friend Martha how I could make this cool prayer cave in front of my eyes when I closed them and could see the black.  Mmmh, she says.   I also managed to look at myself in the mirror and could see how I looked.  Now I know that sounds whack but I mean how others could see me.   It was both good and bad as I could see I carry sadness in my face which I wish I didn’t.   I also looked a little older than I thought I did but my bod looked good and my butt smaller than I pictured.

Anyway, Sunday arrived and I still debated whether I should take a pill before or after church.  I decided if I take it after church then the evening pill would be too close to the morning one so at 8.00am I popped one in my mouth.   Church was amazing.  My pastor’s sister was standing next to him and I could see every single hair on her head.  Linda has FAB hair.  I could feel the ridges on my nails and see the threads that made up the fabric of my clothes.  Every breath felt cool, the air going in through my nostrils and then exhaling again.  I told Gary about these 2 amazing God visions I had and he wisely persuaded me not to get up and share with the whole congregation.     

After church they had an alter call to go up for healing and I got up to ask my BF to pray for my TD.  Fortunately my other 2 really good girlfriends were with me and we were chatting about my trippiness which at that stage, was still funny.  She started praying and suddenly the trip took a very freaky turn and turned into a bad, bad trip.   Hyper ventilating and crazy heartbeat and shaking like crazy from my head to my toes.  Feeling so out of it in waves almost like contractions during labour that would come and go and feel like the unbearable part of pain without the actual pain.  It’s hard to describe but it was intense and scary and I was freaked that I was still in church and people were packing up around me.  I was so aware of any kids around as didn’t want to frighten them.  I was relieved it was my close friends around me as I would get super claustro and couldn’t handle anyone or anything touching me.   Just totally mental.   Eventually my pastor came who is a close friend of Gary and has had his own battle with anxiety and depression.  He could see I was having a bad reaction to the meds and they took me to casualty.  Two little white pills under my tongue later and the awful trip ended.    I stayed the night and got to come home yesterday morning.  What the freaking heck was that?  From a prescription drug?  It has reminded me that we might call them meds but they are still drugs.  It has also reminded me I just cannot tolerate any chemical sh*t as it makes me nuts.  Every anti-dep, this akineton, the tramacet I took for pain that made me feel out of it and unable to read, the trepaline that made me cry for a week and suicidal.   I will need to do this another way.  Sister Tertia used to joke they have meds and I have Jesus but I guess it’s true.   Exercise, diet, prayer will have to work for me as everything else just makes it all worse.

I feel better today but still anxious with a racy heart.   The TD hasn’t stopped completely but neither have my desperate prayers.  I just want all the meds out my system.  I don’t want to feel like I have chemically altered my brain and I cannot fix it.  I will stick to therapy but no more meds attempts.   I am extremely grateful to my friends who stayed with me and held me when I wanted and stood back when I couldn’t be touched.  Who stayed calm and prayed and loved and never judged.  I know it was scary for everyone.   Agatha is not popular with my friends and I know she will be prayed away.  They are serious clappers, you don’t want to mess with them!

PS, the egotistical psychiatrist who treated me last year and who I had a massive falling out with was on duty and refused to treat me.  After he screwed up early this year he phoned to apologize to do damage control and tried to get me to come and see him.   He knew he had crossed the line but I decided not to report him.  The fact that he refused to see me on Sunday even though he was right there makes me wonder if I shouldn’t take it further.  What an unprofessional uncaring human being who clearly cannot recall the oath he has taken.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Self-inflicted injury

I am in so much pain and its inadvertently self-inflicted.  I have done some more research and the Cymgen has definitely given me Tardive Dyskenesia.   What the hell is that you say?  Its this:

Regardless of the variety of the disease, tardive dyskinesia is characterized by sudden, uncontrollable movements of voluntary muscle groups. Signs of classic tardive dyskinesia normally consist of coordinated, constant movements of the mouth, tongue, jaw and cheeks. The patient may move their jaw laterally or up and down, as if chewing. The tongue may suddenly protrude or move about in a squirming, twisting manner. Repeated lip smacking and puffing of the cheeks may also be present. Severity of the condition is indicated by the frequency of these movements or spasms. In extreme cases, the tongue may move well over 60 times a minute. 

I am annoyed because its crises mode and I haven't heard back from my psychiatrist who I mailed on Monday.  She did get her receptionist to mail me back and tell me she would contact the drug company.  She suggested I go off for a week and then go back on for another week to see if its really TD.  Hello!  Its classic TD and its definitely caused by my Cymgen which is manufactured by Lilly.   I only see her the 27th.  Their is no way in hell I will put that poison in my mouth again ever.  The really depressing thing is I took my last pill Sunday morning and I am still spasming and doing weird stuff with my mouth.  My mouth is in agony and it feels like I have taken a huge sip of boiling water.  By the end of the day I can hardly speak and have applied lip-balm a hundred times.  Tomorrow I will get some baby teething meds for some pain relief. 

I am scared I will be suffering for a long time.  I also read it can take months or years to stop after ceasing the meds.  (It said sometimes never but just not going there!!)  The pamphlet and  literature made no mention of TD and if I hadn't found the active ingredient and googled the side effects of that I would have never found out about the TD.  In some ways I am relieved to have a diagnosis as it describes me exactly.   I just want it to stop.  I have been nauseous too and landed up vomiting last night which is crazy 4 days after my last pill I was only on for 19 days.  And at the lowest dose???

I will never ever take another AD.  My body just can't cope with them and I have tried 5 different ones now.  I will happily have Agatha over this and even my back pain.  What to do?   Who to see?  I need this to stop so I can feel normal again, the old wired normal me who in hindsight was just fine thank you very much!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cymgen/cymbalta side effects making my tongue go crazy

It seems I am once again going to have make my friends with Agatha my non-beloved Anxiety.  Why oh why can I not handle any ADs?  I have tried all sorts and the worst side effect is always oral.

I have been on Cymgen for almost 3 weeks and after the initial nightmare of feeling super wired, chills and sweats and a tight jaw I thought things were settling.   Then last week I started doing this odd thing with my tongue and haven't stopped.  I have googled it and I think its related to Parkinsonism or maybe Tardive Dyskenesia.  I push my tongue against my teeth & palate constantly and have to keep on swallowing my saliva.  My mouth is so incredibly sore I can hardly speak by the end of the evening.  I also want to bite down hard,  especially on my RHS.   Last night I stood in front of the mirror with my mouth open and tongue out and looked totally retarted  spaz special (r word probably not PC?)  I was watching my tongue spasm constantly and I could see it do all odd things and could understand why its so painful.   I wish I could keep it still and just give it a break.  I will call my psyche later this morning but I am definitely not taking this mornings pill and cannot wait for the relief once its all out my system.   ,

The real bummer is this is the best my back has been in years, amazing pain relief.  I am hyper sensitive to meds so for those of you with constant chronic back pain who can handle meds, I would advise you to speak to your doc and try it.   Off for my walk with Goose and Claire, chat later in the week. x  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Permission Slip

I cannot believe I used to blog daily and now I am so scarce.  I guess I had way too much time on my hands and it was new so pretty fun to debate all sorts of issues and chat to my readers.  I have been wanting to do a few posts lately but every time I read or mess around on my computer, I am very aware I should be studying instead.  Responsibility, the curse of the mature student! 

I realised the other day I have hardly chatted about my critters on this blog and new readers must hardly know them.  I will introduce them properly at some point.  At the  moment my blog is very me me me.  Blogging by nature is terribly self-indulgent if its a general blog.   So this 6 month period is a me me me time and by December, I hope to be in a much better place.  I know I am not supposed to put a time limit on these things but time and money plus my personality dictates that the Fix-me-up project will conclude by the end of the year.

I am now 2 weeks in on my anit-deps and I think its helping.  The side effects are certainly better although I am still doing weird things with my mouth and especially tongue.  By the end of the day my poor tongue is so sore I can hardly speak.  I saw her (psychiatrist) on Monday and I see her again in 6 weeks.  She was much more chatty this time and I half wondered if the extra 5 minutes of chatting took me out the 15 minute time bracket so my bill for 20 minutes was over R700 bucks.  Next time we skip to the chase and do 15 minutes tops!

Then my psychologist and I had a second session and I think I LOVE her already.  She is just divine and funny and warm and gives me a new perspective on things.   What I have found interesting is the last 2 times I ventured into sorting out my baggage the same issues popped out which were unexpected.  Both were courses at my church and one from 7 years ago.   I have resisted going there and told her therapy seems so self-indulgent and the things I say so cliche.  Its all very Jerry Springer for me.   She told me I need to give myself permission for this therapy and it was an Oprah aha moment.  I had come to see her to try and get out my non moving funk and the trauma of the past 3 years but of course we go deeper than that.  I am saying yes.  Yes to going back and trying to make sense of who and why I am.    Patterns from past molds, perspectives and ideas and thoughts.  Its interesting that I am self-aware and can take a step back to logically look at something in black and white yet my feelings are anything but logical and in all sorts of colours imaginable.   They are what they are and I am going to discover why and re learn some truths and chuck out some fallacies. 

Truth be told I feel rather proud of myself for taking this step.  For trying the meds, going to the therapy.  Doing my exercise and my pottery and just working on this plan to sort my head out.   For taking the time out and choosing not to work for this time period.  I know I am not going to sort out everything in 5 months but I have already gained new insights in just 3 weeks.  

And now I am off to walk with my beloved doggie Lucy and my friend Claire in the freezing cold beautiful town where I live.  Gorgeous snow on the mountain means my big schnozz will definitely freeze off but the endorphins are always so addictive and delicious!