PAIN and DEPRESSION II

2 11 2008

CHRONIC PAIN & DEPRESSION Part II – SWOLLEN BLOB/RA7

Please read Chronic Pain & Depression Part I to get my full background if you are new to the site.  It’s focus is about my other autoimmune disease chronic pancreatitis (CP).

BACKGROUND/So getting you quickly up to speed: It’s been 6 long weeks since Jax split up with me and moved 2 doors down.  It has really shaken me up.  It is not the core reason I am so severely depressed, but it was certainly the catalyst for my deep depression.  Clinical depression is a pretty serious issue as I am coming to learn.  If I don’t get my act together and snap out of it then I could end up with diseases far worse than RA and CP.  Mainly the issue is that Jax leaving has accidentally brought up all of my old childhood BS.  Well, it is not BS at all.  It’s some very heavy sh*%@!!  Sexual abuse comes back at you so many times through your life.  It is so unfair.  My experiences covered many years and with over 4 different people who did not know about any others being so awful at the same time.
But I really don’t want to write about this topic now.

To make matters more complex I recently switched to a new Rheumie (rheumatologist) and am now waiting for the paperwork to go through on the Enbrel.  So i stretched out 1 month of doses of Enbrel to 2 1/2 months.  Naturally, all of the RA symptoms have been coming back full force.  Massively swollen ankles and legs.  My feet are larger than horses hoofs. THE INSANITY is  that I waited an entire week to get the prescription filled.  I am positive I have clinical depression – as is my Dr.  but what to do about it is a totally different story.

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IN THIS MOMENT: Since today was my birthday, I invited a small group of friends (5 total) for sushi dinner.  Jax was one of the guests.  I’m so happy I invited him.  All of us had a very nice conversation about politics, silly things and such.  It was great to get out of my own crappy head space.  Even though I am a total dog person I did get a kitty-cat – Guvnor (pronounced with a British accent) and that is helping my blues a lot since he has real needs and I can’t just ignore them.  So far I love the responsibility.  He’s getting used to me and the house so looking forward to taking photos for this site.

OVERVIEW: I imagine it must be very common to have a chronic disease along with depression.  When my RA is untreated or under-treated then I get so extraordinarily tired.  It’s the “I can barely move” tired.  It’s extreme and insane all at once. That causes me to fall behind on work and important things in my life… which leads to more depression until everything mounts to become full-on depression.  I’m at the point now where I have severe insomnia, but so afraid of the sleeping meds that make me fall asleep for 15 hours straight.  It’s probably because I need 15 hours straight of sleep to be ore healthy, but since I am looking for so many hours a day and then doing the work I have for current clients I simply don’t have time for that much sleep.

MY RA STORY: One year ago almost to the day I was diagnosed with severe RA.  The damage was very obvious on the xray and MRI so I was put on steroids (prednisone) and promptly gained 45 pounds.  My doctor was awful and only asked me to stop eating so much. She hadn’t mentioned that I should join a group like weight watchers.  After that rheumie put me on methotrexate (which would also be the plan in case I had lupus).  During that time my relationship w/ Jax was getting harder and more strained.  We had aready gone through three years of the medical roller-coaster with CP & surgeries in order to live. I started to hate my appearance and myself.  It was a very slow process to get here to this place where I am at now.  Before this i had the confidence of steel.  I was the “can do” attitude poster child.  Slowly it all gave way to a haze  –  the haze i find myself in now.

I imagine the path to discovering you have a disease is often like mine.  I certainly didn’t realize it at the time, but now that the dust has settled I realize the whirlwind I had gone through.  I was using a cane all the time.  I couldn’t grab things w/out  much focus and effort. If I had buttons on clothes I would be forced to deal with them but my path was to always buy clothes without laces, buttons, or any small fingers-needed items.  My legs and feet were so giant and swollen at 3 1/2 size their normal shape.   I couldn’t stop sleeping.  At one point when I didn’t know I had RA & I also had untreated pancreatitis I slept 5 days a week and then stressed out the other two while trying to squeeze a week’s worth of client meetings and work into them.  At some point during this I started the doses of enbrel.  Within a few weeks the symptoms of RA went away.  It was a true miracle.  But as you might’ve read I have been off of it twice due to my awful finances.  It’s my own fault for spending all of my money on my huge project working with at-risk teens the past two summers. But when the Enbrel is kicking in then things are good again. I got my new shipment of Enbrel in today.  I am so thrilled and can’t wait for the swelling to go back down.  I’m also looking forward to getting back into a decent sleeping pattern.  I am debating whether to take Wellbutrin (an antidepressant) or not.  I might only need proper sleep to get out of this depression.

Over this weekend I realized my depression only has a small part to do with Jax leaving me.  Mostly it is my fears about no one ever wanting to put up with me.  A larger portion is due to my mind dwelling on my past.  There’s been so much violence and sexual abuse in my story/life that I am often amazed that I’ve even gotten this far in life in general. So Jax is only one small portion of my bigger demons.  He’s been a great friend through this even if he broke up with me.  I know I should let go and lose hope so I can move on faster.  Well, I don’t think it’s actually as easy as that.   He got me through the worst of my medical issues for 4 years.  He’s a gem of a person which is probably making this more tough.

I lost 4 pounds this past week from weight watchers but have been pigging out from my birthday week.  It’s only Monday so I have 4 days to be very careful before the next weight watchers meeting.  Now it’s time to go to bed and see how Guvnor the cat deals with it. Anything to keep my mind off of the core issues.

It’s raining now and very late (5am). The rain sounds beautiful.  Goodnight.
Love, Sasha, xoxoxo

ps – dont forget to read about my life with pancreatitis in Part I.

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PAIN/ANTIDEPRESSANTS

28 10 2008

If you’ve been reading any of my posts the past 5 weeks then you’ll know that I’ve been severely depressed. I’ve also been looking for work because all of my clients and company work literally dried up the minute the economy started to become terribly worrisome.  All my company contacts have told me that they are being forced to scale back and no longer use contractors.  This is one of the toughest times I have ever gone through that is non-medical. In addition, the love of my life, Jax, split up with me because he could no longer deal with the stresses in my life and he moved next door (one apartment in between) to my old office so he could work on himself.  We had our business together so all this week we’ve been working towards pulling it apart in an organized manner.

On top of this, I take a very low dose of Cymbalta, which is used to treat pain in my case…but I am not on an antidepressant.  (I still get those shocking jolts from Cymbalta).  Tomorrow at the Dr. office I am going to ask for the first time in my life to go on one.  I am a painter on the side and I never wanted to take antidepressants.  I’ve always been afraid it would ruin my creative abilities and urges…but now it has become a matter of life or destruction.  I would never harm myself intentionally, but all my close friends and family know that I injure myself very badly through thought alone.  My health can not hold up under such depressing news on so many fronts. Plus i can’t sleep. I have horrific insomnia and keep sleepwalking although ive not yet heard of anyone else sleepwalking due to enbrel.

I keep falling asleep outside in the chair which has made my RA rage out of control.  I can barely walk again (and will need to use the cane tomorrow) and am looking forward to getting my new shipment of Enbrel in.  My legs and feet are so swollen and I have to take vivarin to stay awake because my body clock has become so tuned in to night hours when I spend 8 hours or ore applying to jobs.

Do you remember the old movie SINGLES?  remember the guy who loses his job and girlfriend so he locks himself up in his apartment and eats crappy food and his place is a dump until somehow he finally gets his life in order?  Well, I’m him right now, but still locked in the apartment mode.  I’m waiting for interviews and hoping something breaks through!!

Finally,the good news is that i started Weight Watchers.  i am not like the lucky people who have taken steroids/prednisone and were able to quickly lose the weight.  For me, the steroids turned OFF my thyroid (I now have hypothyroid) and made it impossible to prevent 45 pounds of weight gain.  I was 130-135 and am now 176!!!  I’ll update my blog each week about my status – My first goal is to go down to 158 puonds which is 10% of my current weight. I am going to Weight Watchers meetings this time with some good friends and I plan on really doing it this time. It’s been exactly 1 year since I started taking steroids.

Thank you for your sweet comments about getting through this dark time.  I do want to write one Jax update.  This past weekend I came to a breaking point where I realized that I need to remove myself from his space.  We were spending a lot of time together even though he broke up with me.  I was loving it – but the times in between were far too painful.  (I just heard a gun go off… oh Hollywood can be so nasty).  A friend told me it was killing me.  So now I have told Jax that I could no longer see him ever again.  I planned on making this true, but much easier said than done. My birthday is this weekend as is Halloween and we’re going to go with friends to the parade here in Hollywood.  Maybe that’s the end of it.  I need to stop having Jax in my life for a bit, but I also don’t want to.  He helped me so much/  It’s so tough to go back to living alone.

Being this depressed absolutely affects my pain level for pancreatitis (CP).  I just have to manage it better.

Love,  Sasha xoxoxoxo





HITTING BOTTOM

25 10 2008

If I was allowed to drink then I would be plastered right now.  TOTALLY plastered.  I know… drinking doesn’t solve anything – and i can’t touch even a drop of alcohol with chronic pancreatitis.  Is drinking alcohol also bad for RA?  I never even asked the Dr because I knew I couldn’t drink anyhow.  When I was still allowed to drink i was never into soft stuff like wine.  I was in it to get drunk – I know I sound completely immature right now.  And that’s okay with me.   I’m in a truly dark and horrible place.  My RA is okay and I did see the new Rheum Dr. (known as the rheumie) and she was GREAT!  I really like this doctor.  She is at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.  She didn’t do all of the anal testing which is not always a great thing, but I went in on a mission to get a new scrip for Enbrel and that’s what I got.  I’m now going to take 50mg with that “pen” rather than the 25mg twice a week with a proper needle that you jab into yourself like an old RN pro.
Why, you might be wondering am I in such a bad place?  I know this sounds retarded – i really do but this is the problem which has nothing to do with RA.  This is all about relationship issues stemming from being sick for 3 years.  BUT I’m not sick anymore.  I’m now in the “management” phase… but my whole life just fell apart in one fell swoop.

Essentially 5 weeks ago Jax broke up with me.  He said it was medical reasons.  It really wasn’t but it was a good excuse.  The real reasons?  5 year itch?  5 year flight from committment?  Not sure.  i hadn’t even realized he fell out of love with me.   Now, I had always been super independent before Jax came along.  I even liked being single most of the time.  I painted a lot and had a good network of friends.  Now, after 3 years of being sick my friends can be counted on  one hand.  Of those only 2 can be counted in my hometown.  The others live back in my college town. I had multiple clients running at once.  I had a company with employees, an awesome office, an amazing apartment, and so on.  I was my own self 100%.  i didn’t need to rely on anyone, but I leaned on my friends as they leaned on me because that’s one reason friends stay so close.

Now, after battling for my life while Jax and I lived together he just got “over it”.  He was super supportive throughout the whole ordeal, but now that I am finally feeling better… he breaks up.  Problem #1 is that many of my “friends” left when I got sick.  I know, you must be saying – then they weren’t real friends.  And I suppose they weren’t, but I really need a support team right now and I only have 2 people here to lean on.  Everyone else left when they realized I couldn’t hang out.  They took it personally no matter how much I assured them it was my diseases preventing me from going out.  And it really was.  i couldn’t be superwoman in my free time.  it had taken all I had just to get through a day of work. Problem #2 – i am still beyond upset that Jax left.  I’ve done a really good job of keeping my mouth shut in public, but once I get home I just crumble.  I know I am not the first person to go through a break-up, but this one hurts so bad.  I was totally in love with Jax.  I thought we were a great team since we went through so much together.  I hear that is common – that the couple splits once the sick person is much better.

Now I am simply a total mess.  I can’t stop crying.  I really can’t.  I’m supposed to be a very strong woman.  All my friends (I actually do have a number of friends but they live in different cities) see me as that.  I am known as strong, tough, capable of kicking ass and taking names.  But now… now I am just a lump of stupidity.  I NEVER thought I would be this upset over some guy!!! Who cares that he loved me through my worst?  I simply had hope and faith in humans  – and now i feel so duped, like it was all a show just to prove to himself that he could go through it (subconsciously).

We’d been hanging out more and more these past 7-8 days and I thought it was a good sign, but tonight I saw a woman come over to his apartment.  he lives one apartment away.  No big deal, right?! Except that he told me he was going out with his guy friend and he said if this guy didn’t call him then we’d go see a movie tonight.  We had laready spent the day togethr running errands and having a good time doing it.  I even helped him put up decorations at his new place.  I even asked him to tell me if he was going to start dating then to please let me know so i wouldn’t have to be shocked.  He agreed and said he had zero interest doing that right now.  BULLSH&*(!!  Apparently it has all been a lie.

I know I need to get back to my own life and MOVE ON.  I just don’t know how yet.  I mean, this will certainly help!! Now I have a reason to slam the door shut and not see him at all – but before it was like this odd limbo… trying to be good so he could see that i am not sick anymore. i haven’t had 1 pancreatic attack around him in months.  ive been uber-sweet so he could recall all of the good times.  BUT I had no idea it was like this.  I feel like such an idiot.  I can’t believe I’ve been so fu^%ing sweet to him since he broke up with me.  If I had known it was about a woman then I would have just moved on sooner and stopped crying ages ago.

I know I need to stop crying and buck up – put my “bootstraps on”.  To get on with my own life.  I know I need to do this.  I will no longer be sharing, kind and gentle.  I will simply snip snip snip and cut him the f&** out of my life right away.

I believe it is a woman he works with. And because of the prednisone weight i gained earlier in the year i feel like triple shit.  I am supposed to be 135 but I am 175lbs. I’ve never been fat my whole life, but I know I am now.  Plus, now I feel so ugly.   I’m going with my friend to a weight watcher’s meeting in the morning @ 730am  (it is 445am).  But I can’t even go to sleep.  i am so upset right now.  Its way too late to take a sleeping pill.

Who would ever want to be with me – even once I am healed from this experience?  the mental and physical toll of this is too much.  I simply am very unhappy being on earth right now. don’t get me wrong, I would never do something horrific, but I certainly have thought about how nice it would be to be dead finally.  none of this has killed me yet and I honestly don’t know hwy.  It should have. I mean, I might never be able to have kids.

RA, CP, a metal pump, Dr visits all the time, prescription meds all the time.  I can’t go to far for too long without needing my pump refilled or my Enrbel cold.    Maybe i’ll just walk around Hollywood and try to calm myself down.  I am very un-chill right now.

love is so confusing and messed up,  Sasha… no xoxo’stonight. sorry.