ACHY BREAKY BONES

8 09 2009

I just haven’t been feeling like writing lately.  I’ve been trying very hard to change bad habits and to get my shit together.  So, I’ve restarted my company.  I’ve hired new teammates and have gotten things off the ground again.  The first major task: finances.  I’ve got to get my finances back in order.  I’ve really let it slide the past two years to the point of horrible.  BUT – I can’t get on SSI (disability) unless I have my past two years taxes.  I also can’t get any grants for ANYTHING without the past two years of taxes.  It is truly a mess.  I’m still in the hospital progra 3 times a week working hard on unraveling the years of abuse along with my health issues.  I have so much work to do before I can leave the hospital program.  I’m grateful for it – it’s really helping me get my life back together.

I want to go to sleep!  I have horrific insomnia and forgot to take my medicine tonight.  I tried Geodon but it made me overly tired all through the next week.  So now I am trying neurontin. My Dr is also going to raise my dose of Cymbalta in the hopes of getting me above super depressed.   I’m still so upset that I lost what feels like my entire life to this disease (CP and RA and Lupus).  I have more Lupus symptoms and wondering why it’s still not showing up in my blood work.  UGH!

So last item for the day:  I got this awfully sad email/comment from a reader.  It’s so awful because her husband is only 29 and has chronic pancreatitis – but is still actively drinking.  I couldn’t imagine drinking alcohol with pancreatitis.  My thought: it must not be hurting him as much as mine hurts me.  It’s impossible to have pancreatitis a bad as I have it and even conceive of drinking alcohol.  BUT maybe the difference is that I don’t have pancreatitis from drinking… mine is idiopathic – meaning no reason found.  Well, that’s illogical but…

So it got me curious – Does drinking make RA worse?  How about Lupus? I would imagine it must – but since I don’t drink i can’t say one way or the other.  So I’m setting up a poll to ask exactly this question.

That’s it for me for he night!!  Thank you to all my readers.  May your bones and joints not hurt as much as mine do right now!!  Love, Sasha.

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CRASH DOWN

31 07 2009

So moving right along with my new style of writing here on my blog  – more personal…more details about my real life and how it goes living with chronic pain.

Yesterday marked the end of the 2nd week of the program I’ve been going to.  Essentially, it’s a psyc ward – but called partial hospitalization/mental health services.  I am not crazy or off my rocker (uh – at east I hope not) but my life had spun completely out of control because I did not know how to deal with living with so many health issues.  There are other reasons including the terror I experienced as a kid (literally terror), but the primary background is this: Jax split up with me one year ago almost.  I was depressed of course .  I had been my primary care taker when things were truly awful, but he had a really tough time transitioning out of that role.  Our relationship crashed as a result of both of our issues.  Then at Christmastime my family couldn’t deal with the reality of my illnesses at all.  They could not se me as a sick person – they couldn’t bear the site of me.  My father, whom I love dearly, has been the worst of the lot.  He is so out of touch with his emotions (and mine) that he was getting irate with me personally as if i could turn my diseases off and just wouldn’t stop being stubborn.  Eventually we had an all out family brawl and I got sent away (Code words for I got cussed out and kicked out by my brother who is totally in denial about my illnesses and he’d rather send me away then deal with it).  Before I spent New ears alone in a hotel room in the Washington DC area I fell to my lowest point where I planned out my death.  I was on the way to the car rental place when Jax called me back.  He talked me off the cliff (not literally, but sorta literally) and I checked into the hotel for a few days.  My brother and Po werent able to deal with me and continued to blame me personally for all of the troubles – it is all my fault.  I brought this on…and that sort of thing.

My therapist told me I had had a mental breakdown and I don’t disagree this time.  It felt cataclismic.  My world crumbled.  The few people on this earth i thought I could always count on had left me on New Years Eve to be alone.  A month later I flew to my folk’s home to confront my dad about the events, but all he could say is how sad he is about my health problems and that I ruined Christmas.

As the months passed I grew closer and closer to the edge again.  Nothing could shake me off the deep depression.  I’ve lost everything due to this disease (chronic pancreatitis) and that disease (Lupus, RA).  Jobs, friends, loads of money, friends, acquaintances, people, strangers, and eventually there was almost no one left.  You must be thinking – WoW!  She must’ve been a real bitch when she’s in pain – but it isn’t true.  They left because they didn’t know what to say, didn’t know how to handle any of it.

Finally, I started cutting myself again like I had when i was 14 years old. Jax saved the day.  He moved an apartment away.  He’s so close yet so far away. I never wanted him to break up with me.  I’m not over it because I’m in love with him and the only thing that stood between us was pancreatitis, lupus, RA, and diabetes.  But eventually that became many things.  My self-esteem was shot (after prednisone adding 50 pounds) and I was not myself.

I know I have to take care of myself first and foremost right now.  I know I can’t be in a relationship right now.  I know it’s baby steps… but I still am in love with Jax.  It’s been 10 months and I haven’t moved on because I believe we have a future together.  Not right now of course… but in the future once I have my life back together and once I am back on track with my dreams and goals.  Once I am back t being me again.  Of course I’ll be different by then, but I see Jax a lot and it always feels right.  So Im focusing on Number 1 right now -me- and it’s not easy.

Love, Sasha xoxoxo





MEETUP LOS ANGELES

12 07 2009

Here’s an article sent to me by the National Pancreas Foundation’s Newsletter about dealing with keeping your job when you have chronic pain: “Protecting Your Job While Coping With a Chronic Illness

The Hollywood Chronic Pain Support Group Logo

The Los Angeles  – Hollywood Chronic Pain Support Group will have it’s very first meeting AUGUST 2nd, (Sunday) at 6:30pm-9pm.  Join and RSVP here.

Today, after getting fed up with the utter lack of support groups for anyone in my situation with multiple autoimmune diseases OR chronic pain – I decided it’s about time I take some action.  My blog is called “Type A” with RA afterall.  And being a good Type A person – I feel it’s my duty.  Not that I have the energy to do this – but I need to reach out so badly that I’ve decided to spend my energies on an actual support group rather than continuing my never-ending search.  Also, I want a place where I can actually talk about forced sober living with pancreatitis, death and pancreatitis, what to eat with any autoimmune disease, what actually helps for lupus, death and lupus, and all kinds of things that really matter to me.  Beyond that, after my last almost meeting I had received quite a number of emails asking when the next meeting would be.  So below I have pasted the exact text that is at this link on the new meetup page.- but from this link you can sign-up to attend.  We’ll welcome any and all out of town guests.   If you run a blog, could you mention this meetup?  Well, I have my first client all week – so I better get on it.   – Love, Sasha xoxo

This is the welcome message I wrote:

Welcome to the Hollywood Chronic Pain Support Group!
Thanks so much for joining- You are truly not alone!

We look forward to having you at our next meeting. We are brand-spankin’ new group, but committed to getting together once a month to talk about our struggles, triumphs and lives.  Please RSVP for our next meeting.

I’m Sasha, your Group Organizer.  I almost wrote “reluctant group organizer” because I live with 4 diseases that often take me down for three days at a time.  I have Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Chronic Pancreatitis, and Diabetes Type 2.  I have enough energy to get the group started, but as we begin to meet I will ask each member to take on a very small role of participation.  This way it will be more doable and sustainable to meet each month – I know we all need it!

I was surprised or rather, shocked that there are so few support groups around the globe.  I have searched for quite some time to find a support group here in Los Angeles.  I’m guessing that you might have done the same.  The meetings will be structured so that we all get the very most out of them.  Everyone likes to have snacks and drinks, but if you’re like me – you don’t know what you’d say without some icebreakers.  For this reason we will have a guest speaker briefly give their personal story followed by individual sharing on a volunteer basis.

Please Note: I’ve currently closed the group mailing list until we have a member managing the list.  I can only do so much – –

SOME BASIC AGREEMENTS:
1) In order to best serve the group we ask that caregivers do not attend with you – unless you are a caregiver and your mate is not going to be attending our group.

2) Each meeting we’ll pass the hat to donate what we can to the organizers.

3) If you’re seeking anonymity – we will honor your request.

4) We’ll all respect each others abilities.  Each of us may come to be temporarily too ill to fulfill our role/responsibilities.  We’ll all help out.

END ###





THE PERSONAL TOLL (Pt 2)

27 05 2009

AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES GALORE (Part 2)

THE PERSONAL TOLL

THE CAREGIVER’S BROKEN ARMS.

 

Here’s my current autoiummune disease list: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Interstitial Cystitis, Hypothyroid, Diabetes 2 and then Chronic Pancreatitis. And I also have the tentative Lupus Dx sitting in the wings.  I always wonder if it all tied to Lupus.  Anyhow…I was just diagnosed with Diabetes. I’ll try the new meds and come up with a plan w/ my Dr. in about a month.

…the news did not shake me the way i would’ve thought.  Now I think it is all hysterical.  I mean, it’s literally gotten absurd.   I finally feel like this is all so much that I will prevail – I have to  – from where I stand now it can only go 2 ways: 1: UP (the only way it will go) and the other is death – which I have no control over anyhow – and it certainly is no way to live out the days i do have left on Earth…so I am choosing to now laugh in the face of adversity.  You know that great scene in Forest Gump when Lieutenant Dan is legless and sitting on to of the boat  during the hurricane?  That’s me – except for that I am now finally past the storm saying I won.  I know that might sound odd-  how could I feel like I won if I just found out I have another f–ed up disease – but, it’s because NONE of it has had the power to take me down.  NONE of it!  I’m stronger than all 5 chronic diseases and I’m sure if another one got added to the list i would find the strength to feel the same way.  

 

The disease (or rather these diseases) have already taken EVERYTHING away from me that I love and care about.  I am not even exaggerating…. My family couldn’t hold itself up through it, my own father has chosen to be angry at me for it,  my relatives find themselves in the dust simply saying “poor girl”, old friends disappeared, jobs vanished, my career and company fell off the map, and my true love imploded from the sheer stress of the lifestyle this disease gave me.   Read the rest of this entry »





PAIN’S HEAVY PRICE

19 04 2009

SEVERE DEPRESSION-THE ALONE-NESS

It’s not the sort of thing that I like to admit is happening. It’s not the sort of thing anyone would want to admit.  It’s definitely not party conversation.  2 days ago my doctor talked to me about possibly putting me in the hospital  – not the regular hospital – but a facility…As in getting committed.  All I needed to say was one extra sentence or actually word- and I would be there right now.  All I needed to say was the truth…”Have you thought of harming yourself or others?”  How do you answer that question when I’ve even looked up possible locations to drive a car top speed into a concrete wall?  How do you answer that when you’ not only thought about it, but even gotten to the stage of trying to research if the airbags popping out would prevent me from being dead.       I don’t want to be dead, nor would i ever do this, but I’ve thought about it.

Pain comes with a heavy price.  Most people don’t understand long-term pain.  they always say stuff like “get better soon” or “i hope you’ll be feeling better the next time I see you” or they go on and on about their healer or raw foodie friend that cured their lupus completely simply by eating a raw food diet.  They seem to think I want to have a chronic disease.  They seem to think that it’s in my mind   – and that this is the reason for my physical pain.

The toll is much larger than just physical pain.  It’s much larger than absolute alienation from friends and family.  It’s alone-ness that I never could have imagined.    All of the hours I spend pretending to be normal are wasted hours.  All of the hours back and forth to the doctor is time rolled up and tossed away.  Most of all it’s the alone-ness I am left with.  Some of my friends started this journey with me and only last a week.  Others lasted several years, but now that I’m going into my 7th year of chronic pain I feel as if everyone has left.  Everyone is over it.  My doctor’s are there  – and that might be the only thing keeping me from completely breaking down.  Two of my doctors stepped out of their uniforms this week (figuratively speaking) and hugged me, grabbed my hand, felt my real pain from all of this.  It was the most human thing I’ve seen anyone do in such a long time.  it did change my mind about wanting to stay here.  they both urged me to remember that this depression is temporary.  It doesn’t feel temporary.  I feel like I’ve been here for a very long time.

I was thinking about the steps that led to my big crash into ultra-severe depression.  The main one was over the holiday when my own family couldn’t take it.  My own family left me.  We talk on the phone now, but I know when it gets really hot that they can’t handle it- and i’m the first to go.  My dad couldn’t take me being in pain and so instead of having sympathy for me he threw me out. , all because I had to work over the holiday while he felt I should be resting.  My brother disowned me because I was in so much pain after playing soccer with his soon and I complained about them having nothing I could eat for breakfast.  I thought a lot of people got grumpy at breakfast-but with my physical pain on top of it I’m a “complainer”.  And no one comes to my defense anymore.

I’m also now open game for rude and hideous comments.  An acquaintance I know took me to a concert last week but spent the whole time telling me how fat i’ve become.  I’m not actually fat at all in any city outside of Los Angeles.  I’m average after the prednisone, but not fat.  She went on ad on about how she would kill herself if she got as fat as me.  Naturally i will not ever spend another second with her, but the damage was already done.

The part that is still the hardest is that Jax left.  I’m getting over it – I can feel that – but I’m still not over it.  I don’t know if I ever will be.  Right now it doesn’t feel possible.  Mainly because it doesnt feel possible that anyone will ever like me again.  I am simply exhausted and can’t think of good things right now.  Facebook has brought some good old friends into my life which does give me hope that at least I might have friends in my future, but right now the ones I have in LA can’t be bothered to spend any time with me.  LA people tend to be overly selfish.  (Not the ones born and bred here btw – just the transplants).

I’m ready for good things to come into my life.  I am open to all good things coming into my life.  I invite all good things to come into my life.  In the moment my depression is in the passenger seat.  I just want to go to sleep on the couch again – I’m not into sleeping on the bed.  it has too many memories.

Love Sasha xoxo





DEALING WITH DOCTORS: RS09

11 03 2009

DEALING WITH DOCTOR’S OFFICES/STAFF/DOCTORS:

This post is part of my Resource Series 2009. –Sasha xoxo.  Also, learn more about my new  consulting services for dealing with an autoimmune disease or chronic illness.


1) FINDING A DOCTOR: Always start with your general doctor’s advice. Don’t feel forced to stick with that doctor. Then branch out to ask any of your other Dr’s advice. If all of that is not possible then here’s my approach: I like progressive teaching hospitals. They are usually up with the current gear and practices.

For example, in LA I would go to UCLA or USC’s website to check out the list of doctors. Most cities have websites with reviews. Also, your health insurance website usually has reviews.

An example search: Type in google “best doctors in (city here)” . I found this site in LA: LA Doctors and even the Yellowpages now has reviews. It goes on from there. [note: Due to my own privacy I am not going to make referrals to my doctors.]

2) Earlier posts were written on this subject.  Links to the most useful ones are on the Resource Series 2009 home page.

3) AT THE OFFICE: You are almost certainly NOT CRAZY. (please ignore that sentence if you’ve spent some time in a psychiatric hospital OR if you are unable to have even 1 friend because no one understands you).

(Read on to get all of the Lessons that will help your Doctor’s Office Exprience Improve Dramatically)—-> Read the rest of this entry »





Dx LUPUS

14 12 2008

I’ve had a tough week.  I’m working hard at staying positive, but it is unavoidable to have some pitfalls along the way – that’s how it always goes for the first couple of weeks after an ER or hospital visit.  I went in for a severe pancreatic attack because of my chronic pancreatitis.  I didn’t get treated, the hospital lied to me about calling my doctors and after 4 hours of screaming & writhing in pain I eventually had to take my own medicine and left.  My pain management doctor is furious and said they gave me the “drug addict” treatment which means that the ER team thought I was faking it so I could get meds.  Forget all of the facts 1) my doctor called ahead telling them to expect me.  2) I was in so much pain I was hyperventilating and literally screaming/crying.  3) I was severely dehydrated and was upchucking bile.  4) I haven’t been to the ER for a year and a half.  5) I gave them 3 of my doctor’s phone numbers and they didn’t call a single one but claimed they did.  …and the list goes on.

Jax found out I was in the ER from our building’s security guard.  He’s been so sweet ever since then and has even written xo’s on his text messages.  I truly hope that he chnages his mind about splitting up and realizes we made such a great team (and still do even as friends).  But this post isn’t about Jax or my severe depression or my new anti-depressants as a result.    This post isn’t even going to be about the horrific treatment I get in ER’s because pancreatitis does not sow up in my blood work.  Nope – this post is also not going to be about sex or the lack therein.  It won’t even be about my small vctories making friends old and new and reclaiming my life.  It’s also not going to be about my RA limbo due to changing prescriptions ofEnbrel and thus another lovely month of being off Enbrel more than on. I’m not even going to talk about the anti-depressan Wellbutrin causing these bizarre spacey-head episodes where I feel like my brain is floating in and out of reality.

This post is going to be about the facts.  My mom at age 65 was just diagnosed with RA.  Her hands are gnarled and her fingers and jointy and f–ed up due to it. But it still doesn’t show up in her blood work.  Then, the day of my ER visit she had a pancreatic attack for the first time in her life – but the bloodwork and MRI show no issues with her pancreas.  BUT she was just diagnosed with Lupus at age 65.  She has EVERYTHING I have except she also has heart issues.  So essentially, Lupus did not show u in her bloodwork until she was 65 years old but she’s had it all along.  Dr’s rely too much on bloodwork.  It’s a flawed system.  There’s got to be another way.  I understand they must rely on blood lab results for health insurance reasons… My general doc says the likelihood/chances that I have Lupus even though it’s not showing up in my bloodwork just shot through the roof.  In a way it would be a huge relief to be able to tie all of my autoimmune diseases together under one roof.  My Dr said it makes sense given that the pancreatitis and RA don’t show up in my bloodwork either.  I’ve simply had the marker for inflamation through the roof – as did my mom in her lab results for years.

I am torn between sadness, confusion, and a deep desire to grab the net hot man I see and ask him to have sex with me right now while I still can before my body falls part even more.    I’m going to start dating via match.com or maybe nerve.com.  The only thing getting me through right now is faith and the belief that I’ll find someone out there that won’t be afraid of breaking me in two when we are shagging or something more romantic. I’m just hoping I don’t scare any prospects away.  Now I just want to go to sleep.

Love, Sasha xoxoxoxo