Posts Tagged ‘stress’

If only it were that easy. I finally have a family I believe would understand what I’m going through. My host family cares about me more than my biological family can and ever will. Friends and mental health professionals have suggested I open up to them and tell them that I struggle with eating, well that I have an eating disorder. It’s not that I’m afraid they won’t get it. It’s that I know it hits too close to home for them. My host brother (who lives away from the house with his fiance and son) had a serious girlfriend a few years back who struggled with what sounds like anorexia. When my host mom began describing the situation a few months back, I felt her heartache for her son and this girl. Things didn’t work out between them, I believe because of her eating disorder.

When I began treatment this summer a few occurrences are necessary to mention. Days before entering my first treatment facility, I had an anaphylactic reaction. At the time, I didn’t panic; it was actually a nurse at the school health center who flipped out more than I did. I calmly reassured her as I swallowed allergy pills (of course that day they didn’t have Benadryl or the like).

A few days later, I was admitted inpatient for what was supposed to be a short (2-3 day stay) to make sure I was stable before heading to a residential facility for eating disorders connected with the hospital. About three days after the anaphylactic reaction and one day into treatment, the allergy resurfaced, my leg and throat swelled yet again. In my first eating disorder treatment, I was constantly utilizing liquids to meet my nutritional needs. I was given excessive amounts. If I finished any less than 100% of my meal, I was given one Ensure Plus (I’m sure if you’re reading this, you’re a pro on calorie content, and there’s no need to trigger someone even more). If I finished less than 50% of my meal, I could look forward to having to down 2 Ensure Pluses. It was certainly not a liquid calorie for solid calorie equivalent. It was unfair and I was often noted as “not-compliant” with the meals and told I’d stay longer because of this.

Insurance company wasn’t on the same page as the treatment center. I wound up remaining inpatient for 9 days which I know isn’t long but remember I was only supposed to be there 2-3 days and then transfer to a residential facility. Upon an immediate, abrupt and unexpected discharge, (thank you insurance), I went to an extended day program not connected with the facility (since insurance refused to cover residential at that point) and began my journey there. Liquid supplements occurred every so often for me.

My body seems to always have expressed itself more than I can express my emotions. Lo and behold, I developed a bizarre condition where it felt like food was getting stuck and backing up in my throat. Like any “decent” treatment facility, a group therapist prompted our group as to if anyone else has experienced such a phenomenon and if so, raise hands. Every hand in the room was raised. It was all I could do to not scream out, “this is different, I just know it”, and so I sat silently, knowing within me that it was.

After weeks of having most meals finished with a Boost or Ensure Plus (this facility does calorie for calorie exchange so that’s a relief), the directors prompted me to seek medical advice. Not knowing where to turn, I decided if the problem’s in my throat, let me go to an ENT (Ear Nose Throat) doctor.

Upon seeing the doctor, he noted inflammation in my esophagus which he could tell by bubbling forming in the back of my throat. He sent me for a liquid swallow study. After the results came back, the doctor said there didn’t appear to be anything acutely wrong, yet referred me to the gastroenterologist. I scheduled an appointment for the following week.

Things were progressing pretty well in treatment, I was bringing up traumas and feeling them a little bit emotionally. This occurred after weeks of narcoleptic fits or “seizures” after delving into something emotional (I now can attribute this to traumatic stress release and the shaking wasn’t actually a bad aspect, it was my body’s was of discharging the negative energy). One night, after progressing to a lower level of care in IOP (Intensive Outpatient), I was having a regular conversation with other clients. I had switched mainly to liquids for the rest of the meal. This was a common occurrence and o one thought much of it at this point. As I was mid-sentence, I felt something come up my throat. At first, I thought it was something that used to occur. When I was 14/15, I would often have a clump (sorry for graphics) of what appeared to be semi-solid mucous come up my throat. I attributed this to anxiety at the time. However, as the object of this night was traveling up my throat, I quickly realized this was not the same. It was almost as if someone or something was trying to force me to vomit. Let me clarify- I have never engaged in vomit behaviors. I always knew my throat was sensitive and in this disorder, I wasn’t trying to kill myself.

I quickly got up from the table to find something to spit this into. Bathrooms are locked during meals, so I found a tissue and spit the thing out. Only later did I realize that it was undigested food. I sat weeping the rest of the meal, alone (as I was always a slow eater) and by then, people had finished their meals. My dietician happened to be sitting at the same table as me that night and said I should get an appointment with the gastro earlier than a few days from then. Long story short, after many procedures (some traumatic, some not), it was found that I have Jackhammer’s Esophagus or Hypercontractile Esophagus. Essentially, peristalsis doesn’t function as expected and succinctly for me as it does others. My esophagus contracts so frequently that it doesn’t allow food to move down as needed. The radiologist performing and evaluating one of the studies said “we don’t see this pattern of swallowing in your age group, we see it in 80 year-olds”.

I don’t feel special. I am quite certain (whether wishful thinking or not) that my physical problems are mostly related to the excessive traumas I’ve endured. It’s interesting to me that I develop a motility disorder while undergoing Eating Disorder Treatment. Rather than put my thoughts and feelings into words, my body speaks for me.

I care so much about my host family and how they’d be affected and perceive my eating disorder, that I can’t bear to let them in on this. They’ve already adjusted much on my motility disorder and buying foods I can bear with. At least, they managed that for a week or two. I feel like a burden already. I don’t want to hurt people who’ve shown me the most kindness anyone has ever shown me for extended periods of time.

So, I sit here and write this post as I hear the dishes clanking and the laughter emanating upstairs.

 

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Today was a rough day. I went to the sleep doctor after waiting five weeks for the appointment, thank you Socialist medicine in a democratic nation= um 1+1 does not equal 2.

I was stressed arriving at the appointment as I had given myself what I thought to be plenty of time, silly me and forgetting about LA traffic.

Some would consider my driving wreck-less; one individual even called me an idiot as I made a bad ass move. There is a distinct difference between close calls because you’re an awesome driver who has driven all sorts of vehicles including ambulances and just being a shitty, careless driver.

At the appointment, the doctor continued to inform me that he is baffled about my case. The doctor provided me with a special device (actigraph) to wear all the time for the next two weeks to track my circadian rhythm.

He spoke to my individual therapist while I was in his office. She informed him that she too was uncertain how much was my eating disorder and how much was chronic sleep problems. Interestingly enough, she told him that I have anorexia. I don’t get it; my BMI is far too high (meaning greater than 18) to carry a diagnosis of anorexia.

 I am supposed to return to his office on the 5th of August for an appointment, and possibly sooner to return the device (in two, maybe one week).
 He seems to believe that I should integrate CBT-I into my routine (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy specific to Insomnia). Part of this includes not going into bed until I am extremely tired and ready to sleep. 

Additionally, he seems on board for minimally invasive procedures including somatic and was also wavering between the following:

 1. For me to potentially meet with his supervisor. Kaiser has apparently never ordered a cerebrospinal fluid (spinal tap) test in the sleep clinic and he’s strongly considering that to rule out narcolepsy. It gets sent to Stanford to test for a particular subtype. 

2. He is still considering Xyrem; he would admit me to the medical hospital to track respiratory status. Though it’s a strong medicine, it has saved people’s lives consolidating sleep. He said even five hours of consolidated sleep is good, which I don’t maintain at present. I mentioned Denmark and how I’ll be abroad there in one month for the following four months. He said the test could be postponed until my return from there. 

 For the next few weeks he wants me on as minimal meds as possible so poly-pharmacy doesn’t become a distraction. I’m continuing on the Nuvigil, Intuniv and Synthroid and supposed to mention to staff psychiatrist to not touch anything regarding sleep.

Initially he was wanting to integrate heavily caffeinated (military-grade) gum into my daily routine (as caffeine tires me because of ADHD. Again, he didn’t want to pursue that route at present because of poly pharmacy.

Following my appointment with him that was longer than one hour and I had waited nerly one hour to see him, I knew I wasn’t going to make it to the recovery meeting at the eating disorder facility; today’s meeting happens to be run by my favorite therapist. Oh well, missed the boat on that one. 

Next, it was off to my newly acquired somatic therapist. I arrived later than I anticipated; she was ok with it as I provided her with advanced notice of my potential delays. Upon entering her office, I was activated to say the least. She didn’t touch me at all last week, it was the first session and she didn’t want to re-traumatize my system.

This week, I was anxious for her to touch me as I heard that is how she practices. I was also extremely nervous. Since my sleeping issues have been weighing heavily on my system, I decided that it would be of great benefit to be touched today as it is supposed to bring about a sense of calm, and often people nap after session. My therapist at the eating disorder center believes somatic therapy will be of great healing for me, releasing the toxins that are pent up within my body.

She didn’t touch me for a while and when she did, I felt this energy radiate throughout my body, and it was as though a radiant light was shining distally to the front of my torso. It felt exhilarating and mysterious and unsettling all at once. I barely made eye contact with her. I couldn’t it was uncomfortable enough to be laying down in front of a therapist.

She guided her hand slowly to my kidney and mentioned it was quivering (common). She slowly earned my body’s trust and began moving it around my kidney, creating a surge of power each time she made motion with her hand. When the motion ceased, I numbed out. I was on the brink of tears until I heard session was about to come to a close. She comforted me saying I could check in with her throughout the week via text, saying something to the effect of “Are you there?” She’ll model a positive relationship for me and I appreciate that, it makes sense. I sure hope I get to sleep now.

After session, I was planning on heading to the ocean to restore my sense of calmness. The removal of the somatic therapist’s hand was just as unsettling as the initial placement. I was going to restore my spirit by heading to the ocean and then a meditative yoga class. I was debating between eating dinner and not. I was more on the brink of restricting and limiting my intake when I was on an elevator ride with a man and his young son.

The son was thrilled at the glass elevator we were riding in. The dad said, “Should we ride on here forever?… Or should we eat?” The boy, baffled, uttered, “Oh no, because then the batteries will go out.” Good point little dude, a good reminder that eating is a battery refuel. No batteries out tonight. I trekked back to the house whereupon I cooked a rather late dinner. I had a bit of a snack after that, also late.

And with that, I bid you all adieu.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, and remember:

If you need a pep talk, check this awesome kiddo out:

My Body is Falling Apart on Me… or, am I falling apart on my body?

Posted: 20 J0000005UTC 2011 in Education, Entertaining, Health, medication, Update
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interactive symptom checker

I think if I used one of these interactive devices, I’d overload the system.

As mentioned in previous times, I have quite a few afflictions. I’m always fascinated by the medical professionals who look at the piece of paper (containing medical history first) and then at the patient. If you were to “see me on paper”, I look like I’m dying, or should be a 500 lb. couch potato (no offense to you “couchies”- made that one up on the spot. Clever, eh?).

We’ll start with physical diagnosis and work our way across the board to emotional and psychological diagnoses (current and past included, you’ll see):

Cerebral Palsy-got that one at birth, lovely umbrella diagnosis. If only it covered or explained all of my ailments

Jaundice-birth, but after bright lights blinding me, good to go after a few days

Hyaline Membrane Disease (severe), also at birth, due to swallowing mother’s blood- ewww! No longer an issue, but am I now a vampire?

Not sure if this warrants its own line, oh well…. Multiple blood transfusions as a baby. Glad in this case to not be a Jehovah’s Witness (nothing against them, just might not be alive if I was one considering they don’t believe in receiving blood transfusions).

ADHD-definitely super duper severe (according to one dr., even with meds.) An acquaintance once said I was the poster child for this. Though I believe I have this, I wonder if the diagnosis is correct. The signs/symptoms didn’t appear until about 9.

Anemia-on and off since young adult-ish era

Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome/Disease-diagnosed at age 20, essentially reversed illness by age 24, doctor was surprised, but I got off of Glucophage (a medication for Diabetes as I was considered pre-diabetic)

Hypothyroidism-unsure if it was lithium-induced or biological in origin. Doctor never took a baseline level prior to initiating lithium therapy. First blood test showed poorly functioning thyroid levels. Have tried (with endocrinologist’s approval) to discontinue drug therapy. Unsuccessful with attempt, levels did not remain consistent off of medication.

Insomnia- this one can pretty much go back to as young as I can recall. Horrible sleeper as long as I can remember. This resulted in a diagnosis of

Narcolepsy- yep that’s right, I have clinical primary narcolepsy and primary insomnia. The doctor is mystified. Note, cataplexy though a hallmark sign of this disorder, not a necessity to make an established diagnosis. I do not have cataplexy just random falling asleep usually when under stress or extremely bored and unable to move.

Exploding Head Syndrome-yes, this is a real diagnosis as I have to explain to most healthcare professionals upon giving them my full health history. It’s just as it sounds; a large noise occurs in the head (not schizophrenia thank you) during the period between wakefulness and asleep. It is rare to happen more than a few time, rare to happen in females, non-smokers and usually only occurs in obese, over 50 years old populations. Well, I am female, under the age of 50, not a smoker, not obese and it’s happened countless time (more than 3 dozen)

PNES- also know as (Psychogenic) Non-Epileptic Seizures or NES. Traditionally, it was thought that these were “pseudo seizures”; until recently it was thought that the person was faking these seizures. It is not false advertising folks, it is an actual seizure without brain wave alteration. These seizures are brought on by stress as the name indicates.

Borderline Personality Disorder-if you have read any of my previous blogs, you’ll see where this one stems from with a heavy history of abuse and neglect.

Situational Depression- Sometimes I think I’m lucky for it to be merely situational. At other times, I am considerably frustrated because there is not a medication which alleviates situational depression and I often run into situations which trigger it, alas, it is a constant on/off battle with my brain.

EDNOS- Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified- I alternate between periods of Bulimia and Anorexia, and ordered-eating, so I get this essentially throwaway diagnosis.

OCD- I used to believe that I had the rarest diseases. My doctor even said to me, “most people come here thinking they have cancer, or AIDS and you present with this (Hanta virus)? I mean it makes sense considering my family’s medical history and my personal medical history that I should be concerned about having the rarest of diseases, right? Fortunately, I went on a awesome medication at age 15 and discontinued it at age 18. I was essentially symptom-free. Sure, here and there I have medical student syndrome, but as for all of the diagnoses I’m listing, these have been established by medical doctors or professionals.

Seasonal allergies and allergies to half of the world-trees and grass for seasonal, mold (all year-round) mild allergies to Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Coconut (in excess of a small amount), Kiwi (in excess of a small portion), Mango, Pineapple, Walnuts, Pecans, Macadamia Nuts, Chestnuts. There’s probably even more than that, I just don’t always recall it in full detail. I do however know what I’m allergic to if I were to come across it.

Urticaria, unknown etiology surprise surprise. If I’m stressed and don’t react with either eczema, a stress seizure, dissociation, surely something will appear. I’ll guess this is the etiology for the hives.

Paralyzed vocal cords-for nearly one and a half years, I didn’t have a voice. Initial speculation was cancer, followed by unknown (for most doctors), followed by overuse, stress, hiatal hernia. The whole time I presented to the doctors that it may be attributed to mold toxicity being that I tested positive for three types of mold in my system. Each physician shooed that diagnosis away aside from the non-traditional physician who initially mentioned and tested me for it. Unfortunately, he was 3.5 hours away from where I was living at the time, and I only had one day off per week, spending it going to doctors a bit closer, and occasionally relaxing. The voice came back after leaving the moldy environment and then disappeared again when I returned to an excessively humid, and therefore moldy environment, complete with breathing challenges.

Hiatal Hernia-one day my stomach felt weird, I went to an urgent care, and was referred to a GI doc. I had an endoscopy where they biopsied a part of my esophagus and this lovely diagnosis was made.

Nasal Fibroma- removed when I was 18. Removal lead to site infection which spread and led me to stage 4 antibiotics, the summer before I was set to begin college. My freshman orientation was a blur to me as I was still recovering from the infection and doped up on pain pills. Great way to end high school and start post-secondary education.

Thornwalt cyst-yeah I think I still have this one, no need for removal though as it’s not causing any signs/symptoms that I’m aware of.

Scotopic Sensitivity- sensitivity for me includes to light, and certain colors. It’s a perception disorder. Irlen Lenses can help

Speaking of perception disorders, I probably have Sensory Integration Disorder. That’s not diagnosed though believe it or not. There’s a time and place to see a doctor for things, particularly when it is necessitated. I have gone to far too many doctors offices and spewed out my history. As I’ve conveyed, on paper it looks like I’m dying, so I try to avoid stepping foot into a doctor’s office unless I have to, or because I’m observing a super awesome surgery (as I did a few weeks ago). Plus, our healthcare system does not make things financially feasible to go for any condition, never mind the significant ones.

xxx (Ken’s partner at the moment) has unofficially diagnosed me with Aspergers syndrome. I don’t take to heart what she says, even if she is a physician because she’s full of issues herself, namely an untreated personality disorder.

As a child, I had processing disorders, namely auditory processing and reading comprehension challenges. These can be referred to as learning differences or learning disabilities. Semantics.

Well, that about sums it up for now. I assure you, that if I think of any more or I receive additional diagnosis, it will be posted on this here lovely page in due time.

Thank you as always, for choosing to use your limited time to read this blog!

I couldn’t fathom why K hadn’t texted me back after the text asking “4 on Sun?”. My thoughts have been:

1. She didn’t know what to say. She knows exactly what she did. That’s why she’s not calling me or texting me to see how I am.

2. She didn’t know I was affected

3. Even if she does know, she’s a really bad therapist (never mind the whole other situation) for not responding after some time of my not responding. She’s a pretty shitty therapist to not follow up after her last text on Wednesday considering it’s out of character for me to not respond. Why isn’t she responding?

4. I wish you (K) were my friend too. I need a friend. I need someone to check in on me, someone who I get along with, someone who can trade life stories with me.

Evidently, as of now, apparently she thought I was coming. Just received the following text:

Running Late K

The therapist at my school believes I should report K.

You know, up until the past few days, I’ve never experienced something like I am now. This wave, this rush of sadness and emotional pain that starts in the pit of my stomach and ends in my throat happens dozens of times a day.

I wish you were my friend.

Now that you’d technically be on the clock, now you’re texting me?

R u coming

I don’t think so, considering I’m an hour away, sitting on my laptop typing this. Are you ever going to step up to the plate and acknowledge what you did? How can you act like you don’t know? And hey, even playing devil’s advocate, if the numerous incidents that have occurred in the past week didn’t tip you off, there is NO WAY I can deal with this now, on break.

Even the mediocre doctoral students are better than no one around to run things by, and they have break too this week. The one I saw on Friday “applauded me” for “only” restricting and not resorting to other behaviors. I guess she thought that losing 8 pounds in four days was a no biggie. And so instead, I’ve been minimizing my emotional pain by restricting my intake. It’s overwhelming to even process all that’s happened even at this extreme restriction level, imagine full-fledged feelings and actually hearing things (including answers) I may not want to hear.

This will be an interesting next few hours. I’m going to try to remain as objective as a news reporter to the situation, yet somehow I don’t believe I can be that detached. It’s also interesting because I know for a fact that C will be seeing her today at 6:30PM, and I told C I’m not doing well (didn’t divulge the reasoning behind it though). I’m not sure if B has an appointment today as well. She and I haven’t been in contact aside from the one text conversation I mentioned in a previous post and one other time about her asking when I was coming to the sober living on Saturday night (yesterday). Apparently, the house manager didn’t relay the message to her that I wouldn’t be staying there. B didn’t ask how I was actually doing any of those short texts. Some people might say she’s too wrapped up in her own stuff to think about others. That might be accurate. Some would say that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t talk with her about what’s going on. The aspect I find most fascinating throughout though is that K, fully aware of how much B has been struggling STILL went to her house IMMEDIATELY after she was fired to tell her. Do you know how easy it is for someone not in denial of an addiction, but not wanting to change ways to completely immerse herself into another person’s life, another person’s drama, so that for a bit, their focus can be entirely elsewhere? I’ll tell you. It’s pretty easy. It’s great, it’s appreciated. AND IT’S DANGEROUS… AND B’s VERY GOOD AT REDIRECTING HER ATTENTION ELSEWHERE. I just want to flick K on the head with that decision because she knows B well enough to know that’s exactly what B did after K left. She shifted her focus to anyone’s problems except her own.

We’ll see what K makes of this whole situation today, we’ll see if she takes any action whatsoever beyond this last text. We’ll see if somehow she can recognize, acknowledge, and validate my pain. I wish it with all my heart that she’ll take notice, and yet, I doubt she will.

I still wish you were my friend.