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katrinasurvivor

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  1. Hi M.A.D., I'm really happy to hear that it was a good weekend! That's great news. I'm even happier for you that your son is turning things around. Holy cow, kids! Like Forrest Gump said, they're like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. And sometimes you don't know what you're going to get from one day to the next. But kids can and do grow up sometimes. My son was a real pill at times when he was in college. He treated me as though I were an idiot. Sometimes worse. I was really hurt at times by the way he acted. But as the joke goes, I seem to have learned a lot since he was in college. He even asks my advice at times. His children will soon be teenagers and they'll turn on him, no doubt. That's what teenagers do. That'll "learn" him. I'm glad you're going into the holidays in good spirits. Hang on to the good feelings as long as you can. I'm still concerned about the generic bupropion. I had such terrible side effects with them. Sandoz is the best. Don't forget that you might try saffron. Life Extension (a brand I trust) makes an eye supplement called Macuguard with 20mg of saffron in it (research shows it's good for your eyes) and a couple of other ingredients studies have shown to be good for eye health. No discernible side effects. It definitely helps me (30 mg is considered the therapeutic dose), and Macuguard is a easy way to try it and see if it helps you a bit. It won't hurt you to try it, and it may give you enough of a lift to carry you through to the 300mg of brand name Wellbutrin if the generic, well... bites. And, BTW, I totally didn't want to, but walked my half mile today. I'm going to try to make the walks a little longer, but at least I'm moving. Struggling with nausea myself since I've lowered my dose of benzos. It will probably last a couple of weeks, maybe three. Then I'll lower my dose again. Yay. And yes, Zofran is the stuff they put under your tongue. They give it to you that way when you can't keep anything down. The pill form is helpful with nausea when one isn't actively throwing up. I won't expect to hear from you much, since you're busy with family. My son and his family are visiting his biological father this week, so we're having a quiet Thanksgiving, which is fine with me. I like quiet. Hope you have a great week. Hurricane
  2. M.A.D. Yes, take dramamine, the non-drowsy kind. Unless you want it to put you to sleep. If your nausea is fairly mild, it should help. And you've got to eat! When I lost my appetite for awhile, I was happy to be losing weight and was eating few carbs, so it was coming off pretty fast. Then I started feeling weak and lousy. I realized that I was losing too fast, and that I needed to slow it down. I continued to lose after that, but at a slower pace. Walmart sells a chocolate (and other flavors) protein drink called Premium Protein (if Ensure sounds too old-person). It has very few carbs, 30 grams of protein, no sugar, and lots of vitamins and minerals. Letting your nutrition go to the dogs isn't going to help your anxiety and depression. I'm really going into mommy mode now and lecturing you. I have to nag my husband about staying hydrated. But a couple of of the Premium Protein drinks a day will help and they are pretty "keto." I felt better once I started drinking them and forcing myself to eat more, and I still lost weight. Your nausea could also be a function of your not eating. I find eating usually helps nausea, even when I don't feel like eating. Good luck on your trip. South Carolina is pretty, but I don't miss it. At one time, my husband would've been one of those cameramen on the sidelines shooting the South Carolina game. S.C. is where we washed up after Hurricane Katrina. People were nice to us there, and it's where my extended family is from (but not me - I never lived there until after Katrina), but we never felt at home like we did in New Orleans. I like the high tolerance for eccentricity here. I blend in - no one notices that I'm weird. I used to joke with my co-workers that among them, I looked downright normal. Again, be sure to eat unless you want to pass out. I practically did a couple of times. Almost fainting will put the fear of the Lord into you. You really don't want that to happen during your trip. I hope the trip is a good one and not too stressful. I won't expect to hear from you until you get home. Good luck and safe travels, Hurricane
  3. P.S. M.A.D. Try to talk to your doctor before your trip and see if he'll prescribe some Zofran (I think it works better than Phenergan) at least to get you through your trip. If your nausea isn't really debilitating, you don't need to take 8mg. You can cut them in half. Some people can't travel without taking something for nausea, so your request won't be unusual.
  4. M.A.D. I wanted to respond to your last post about your appetite. I have problems with nausea, too. I use peppermint tea (Heather's Peppermint Tummy Tea is my favorite). I don't even sweeten it. It really helps with nausea. Saltines (though we're trying to avoid carbs) are helpful, too. That's an old pregnancy trick. But when all else fails, I take a bit of Zofran. As I'm weaning myself from Ativan, I'm finding that I wake up nauseated. If the peppermint tea doesn't completely quell it, I take a sliver of an 8mg Zofran. I cut it into 4 pieces so I'm really only taking 2mg. Zofran is what they give you when you're having chemo to keep you from throwing up. Oh, you probably know that from your shingles ordeal. If the Wellbutrin is helping you as much as it seems to be, it might be worth discussing the nausea with your doctor. There's also Phenergan. You might try non-drowsy Dramamine if you haven't already, the others are prescription drugs, but Dramamine, of course, is not. And I highly recommend peppermint tea. It could be the Wellbutrin causing the nausea. Hard to say. Like I said, if Wellbutrin is helping, just a little something on the side to treat the nausea may be worth it. You need to eat so you don't lose weight too fast (being a mommy again). The downside to any of these nausea drugs is constipation. And what do we know works for constipation? Magnesium! I find that as I've gotten older, my response to medications is very different than when I was younger. Sorry to mention the O-word (old). So, yes, it may be that your body is responding differently to Wellbutrin. I'm leery of the generics. Just try to get Sandoz, not Solco. The generics are so different from the brand name and from each other... You are smart not to try the generic before a trip. I never make any drug changes before anything that might be even remotely stressful - like trying to lower my Ativan right before the holidays! How dumb is that? I just got tired of waiting for my life to settle down. When you do start taking the generic, if you find you suddenly start experiencing nasty side effects, you might want to stop it until you can get the real thing. I know you don't want to wait, but my experience with generic bupropion has been awful - which is what started this whole thread. And, wow. I'm impressed with your stoicism. I don't know of any way I could've hidden my problems from my son. I told him it wasn't his fault, his problem or his responsibility, and I tried not to let him know how much I was suffering, but he knew I was sick. I've been hospitalized at least 3 times and then there was the year of the shock treatments. And, yes, there is a genetic component, so I worry. I didn't mean to sound dismissive of your concern about drinking. It just sounds a lot like what I've done with tranquilizers. People (that includes myself) have always expected a lot of me, and I have always tried to deliver. But it takes a lot out of me. When I get too stressed, I resort to taking extra benzos, though I don't want to. My husband sees me suffering and doesn't understand why I resist taking more. I explained to him that if you take more for too long, then you have to taper again from the higher dose. I guess I did keep a lot from him as well as from our son when it came to how much I was suffering. You and I are survivors, for sure. And I think I've always felt like I was in transition. There was a brief, halcyon time after my last cancer treatments when I didn't have a lot of stressors (for the first time in many, many years), and that's when I weaned myself from benzos. I hate being dependent on the stuff. I really want to get off of them again. As I'm pretty sure I said, I think it'll take a couple of years of slowing tapering down. I just discovered that Librium is unavailable at the moment. Pharmacy can't fill my prescription. I have Valium as a back-up. I hope Librium becomes available again, soon. I prefer it. It feels different. I don't know if what I feel about benzos is the same feeling you have about drinking. I think we drink or take other drugs to try to get by - to keep from going under - knowing that other people are depending on us, expecting things from us. I've done a pretty good job of seeming normal most of the time. That doesn't always work in my favor. People think I'm normal, so they expect me do normal things. I can't always pull that off, but I sure try. Like I said, cancer was nice. Nobody expected anything much. I did have to be executrix of my father's estate when I was having chemo - and I had a (leave out a few choice words here) brother breathing down my neck wanting money. That would be the same brother that never lifted a finger to help with Mom and Dad when they got older. Are there any families that aren't dysfunctional? My dad grew up during the depression, too, and they were really poor. He went to work in a cotton mill when he was 13 to help support his family. He was determined that his kids weren't going to live like that. We were never affluent, but we had what we needed. I appreciate him more as I grow older. I hope he knows that, wherever he is. The great golf course in the sky? It sounds like you need to get out on a boat again. Any boat. My husband finds it very Zen. Say hi to all my relatives in South Carolina. Hurricane
  5. M.A.D. I gotta disagree with you. I think your shingles episode beats anything I went through with cancer - and I'm serious! It's not selfish of you not to think of the cancer. Why should you remember all the stuff we've talked about? When someone calls me a "survivor" I look around to see who they're talking about. Cancer and the treatments were a pain, but honestly, I've been through depressions that were worse. Most people can't comprehend how painful a major depressive episode can be. It was a bummer to go through cancer once, much less twice, but I still think what you went through with shingles was much worse. And anxiety and depression are a lot harder than cancer. I know whereof I speak. I needed you to remind me about your diabetes. I had forgotten that, even though we talked about it not long ago. My excuse for not remembering things now is that I'm old. When I was on chemo, it was "chemo brain", when I was having shock treatments...well, you get my drift. Cancer was nice in a way. I know how strange that sounds. But everyone is so nice to you! And you can get out of anything you don't want to do. I wasn't afraid of dying. I didn't think I would, but I wasn't afraid of it anyway. Everybody seems to have a reverence for the word "cancer". Depression, which is much worse, doesn't register with most people, and they don't make any allowances like they do when you tell them you have cancer. If I could lie (I can't), I'd just tell people all the time that I have cancer. Telling people you're depressed doesn't get you anywhere. Nobody gives you any quarter. Well, my husband does, now. He knows better than to say, "Snap out of it!" He finally gets that at any point in time I'm doing the best I can. In truth, I think most people are doing the best they can or know how pretty much all the time. I couldn't do keto either - at least not for long. Good for you for reversing your diabetes. That's what I'm trying to do with my pre-diabetic situation. I didn't point out to my doc that I had gone down almost 20 points from my last fasting glucose test. It wasn't supposed to be fasting that time, so I didn't catch any flack about it. I've lost 15 lbs. since then, and my fasting glucose has dropped a lot. I've lost 25 lbs. in the last five years, just by cutting down on carbs and sugar. Sort of haphazardly. Another 15 wouldn't hurt. I'm impressed that you're cooking and trying out low-carb recipes. I wish I had the wherewithal to do that. Fortunately, my husband likes to cook. Thank goodness somebody in this house does. Yeah, magnesium can be problematic for one's digestive system. Magnesium glycinate is the best in that respect, but some people can only tolerate even small amount of that. See what your system can tolerate, even if it's just 50-100mg a day. I've found Thorne to be good products. I'm glad you're taking good supplements. If you want to lose more weight, I guess it's good that you don't have much of an appetite. It can only help your glucose levels to lose a bit more weight if you feel you need to. I went into mommy mode when you said you were concerned about your appetite. Sorry. The mommy in me comes out sometimes when it isn't appropriate. Us mommies have to make sure everyone is getting the proper nutrition. We can't help ourselves. It's the old mommy thing of saying, "Take your vitamins!" We're so bad. I managed to get in a walk today. A whole half mile. Don't laugh. That's pretty good for me. I've had one illness or injury after another in the last few months that have prevented me from exercising. I'd like to get up to a couple of miles. A girl can dream. I know that when I exercise it really helps with my depression. In the summer, I can get in the lake (in our backyard) and sort of swim. It helps a lot. But if I'm really depressed, it takes a lot for me to drag myself out there. I'm sorry these last posts are so long. Don't feel you have to reply to everything. I'm pretty sure I'm slightly manic today. Hangin' in, Hurricane
  6. Hi M.A.D. My son went through a similar episode. I was diagnosed with cancer (going through chemo and radiation), his girlfriend broke up with him (he was shattered) and his cousin, with whom he was close, died in a motorcycle accident. My son was in college and stopped going to classes. He almost flunked out that semester but had a professor who helped him through. I kicked myself for not figuring out sooner that he was depressed. I, of all people, should have recognized depression. But he wasn't telling me anything and he was at college. He got through it, but it was tough. I'm glad your son is finally seeming to get over the trauma. As parents, we just do the best we know how. But all of these things take their toll on us, too. I did get one thing right at that time, anyway. My son told me that I was the only person who didn't say to him, "You'll meet someone else." I knew he would, but I didn't say it. I just told him that I'd had my heart broken, too, and it was awful. That I was sorry he was going through it. My father once told me that his mother (whom I assume was bipolar from descriptions of her behavior - I didn't really know her) had said to him when he was a kid that he was "God's punishment" to her. What a thing to say to your child! She was quite the harridan from all accounts. Fortunately for my dad, his father (who died before I was born) was a really sweet guy. Phew. Life is hard. My (now deceased) MIL was a bubble off plumb. The first time I met her, when my husband had left me alone with her, she said, "I want to show you something." She pulls out a switchblade. It was scary. I never managed to get along with her, and when she came to visit us after we married, I ended up getting completely fed up, leaving, and checking into a motel until she left. I only managed to put up with her for a few days of the week she stayed. She said I threw a cup at her. Actually, I did throw a cup but not at her. I was so sick of listening to her complain and of my husband catering to her, that, standing at the sink and washing dishes, I turned around and threw a cup across the room. It broke, of course. I could go on about that relationship, but I won't. I know she had serious mental problems, but I didn't have whatever it took to deal with her. I had problems of my own. Having said that, I always encouraged my husband to visit her, to call her (he never wanted to), and I bought gifts for him to send to her. I never tried to keep him from her. I just wanted to keep myself away from her. Unfortunately, it was before caller I.D. and she often trapped me on the phone. She was a sad, miserable woman. I do feel bad about that. I wish I'd known how to deal with her or help her. I know it's tough when you lose a good doctor. I've had a problem finding good doctors since we moved 5 years ago. It's harder when you get older, too. Not only am I a woman (doctors tend to be more dismissive), but they seem to start to think you're not competent once your hair gets white. I get the impression that old equals "stupid" for a lot of them. Doctors can be so patronizing. But I always try to be pleasant and friendly when I have to see one. Unfortunately, I need them sometimes. I figure it's better not to alienate them. As to the alcohol use. Those of us with mental/emotional difficulties often self medicate with whatever is at hand. For me, it's been tranquilizers. I don't see much difference. I did get off of them at one time, but ended up back on them when I went through a bad patch. I didn't mean to get hooked again, but I did. I'm now trying to get off of them again. If I manage it, I figure it'll take me about 2 years (based on past experience). To avoid the worst of the withdrawal, I have to go really slowly. I've tried to taper psychotropic drugs too quickly in the past with very unpleasant consequences. Right now, I'm dealing with the anticipated nausea. Every morning I wake up feeling sick. I've got Zofran (anti-emetic) that I cut up into quarters and take 2mg to take the edge off, so I'm not sick all day. I don't like being dependent on benzos, because any doctor can decide he wants to cut you off at any time. Very few docs know anything at all about withdrawal. I had to learn about it myself. The first time I tried to get off of benzos, it was much too fast, and I didn't realize that all the weird stuff that was happening to me were because of withdrawal. I finally had to reinstate (go back up to a lower dose) because my blood pressure went through the roof. That was just one of the truly horrible side effects I was experiencing. When I reinstated, I went back up to about half of where I started, so I didn't go back to the original dose. I've since learned that it's best not to try to taper more than 10% every 2-4 weeks. The slower one goes, the more successful one is likely to be. What does all this mean? That I'm in no position to judge that you use alcohol to try to get by. How is it any different? I don't have answers for you. I wish I did. I can't drink anymore because it makes me sick. Literally. So I take more benzos when things get too hard. I don't want to do that either. I'd rather have a drink. I'm not surprised about your appetite issues. You just got off of Remeron, which often increases your appetite and makes people gain significant weight. Wellbutrin has the opposite effect. I get your concern about your appetite and weight loss, because I went through something similar. I went through a period when I was having trouble eating and, while I was happy to be losing weight, it was happening too fast - to the point that I was feeling weak and faint. I started drinking Ensure Protein Max, which has a lot of vitamins and minerals as well as 30 grams of protein. I still have one once a day. I don't drink the regular Ensure because it is loaded with sugar, and I'm trying to keep my A1C in the normal range. I don't want my doctor hassling me about pre-diabetes. He already made a remark about my fasting blood sugar being 1 point (!) above the "normal" level. Aside: I get really ticked off about all these tests that the doctors make us take and the "normal" parameters. The truth is, they keep moving the goal posts. Drug companies love that. The lower the goals, the more drugs they get to sell. I could get off on a rant about that. I won't even tell you what I think of the whole cholesterol and statin drug thing. I'd be more concerned about making sure you get enough vitamins, minerals and protein than about the weight loss as long as you still want to lose some weight. It's important to take magnesium and vitamins D & K especially. I take magnesium glycinate at night to relax me. I think it helps my tinnitus, too. It certainly helps my muscle cramps. If your lack of appetite continues to be a problem, you can drink a supplement once a day like I do. It just tastes like chocolate milk, which I like. There are other flavors. Just avoid the supplements with sugar. Sugar (I've discovered) makes my tinnitus way worse. I had to force myself to eat for awhile, so I get it. Even though you want to lose more weight, try not to lose too fast. Slow it down, if you can. How's this for TMI? I'm sorry I'm writing so much. I'm doing it while I wait for the Zofran to kick in and my stomach to settle down some. And I must be kind of manic this morning. Hugs, Hurricane
  7. M.A.D., I'm glad you think I'm awesome. There would be those that would beg to differ. I would be one of them. Don't ever worry about TMI. Isn't this one place where we can unburden ourselves and tell the truth that we can't tell to others? It's a relief to me not to have to hide how I feel. I've never kept my psychiatric history a secret from others, though I don't blurt it out to the girl at the check-out. I reveal it when it seems appropriate, helpful or necessary. But I don't tell everything. People I worked with knew (without knowing the gory details), so I guess that's why they felt they could come to me when they were dealing with heavy stuff. I didn't judge. My son always knew. How could he not? What I hid from most people was the degree of suffering that I experienced. I still do. I may tell them I'm depressed, but I don't usually tell them how that really feels. I still smile and carry on. Mostly. I'm sorry you won't be able to increase your Wellbutrin before the holidays. I gave up phoning my pharmacy. If you want to talk to anybody anymore, you have to go in and do it face to face. Nobody answers the phone. I get it. I hate being dependent on these darned (again, cleaned up) meds. I hope the holidays aren't too tough. I still think ignoring them is a good way to proceed. I used to see my cousin require all of her children to perform certain holiday rituals for which they all had to show up. I got an earful from them sometimes about the pressure she put on them. I vowed I'd never do that. We were supposed to get together with our son and his family this weekend, but they're leaving to go out of town on Sunday, and I told my DIL that I thought it would put too much pressure on them. I asked her if she wanted to wait until they got back from their trip. I want us all to be relaxed and enjoy being together. I don't want them to feel obligated to do anything. I think she's still learning that it's okay to do that. I hope you'll find ways to take the holiday pressure off of yourself and find things to do that you enjoy and just forget about the whole holiday thing. You are not a downer to me. I think you are incredibly brave, even though it may not feel that way to you. I wasn't always a good parent, though I tried to be. I coulda been worse, I figure. I managed to stay alive. That was really hard at times. I can't say more without using triggers. It may be that when everything "blew up and unravelled" that your children learned something valuable from that, too. Seeing a parent struggling through difficult circumstances can be a positive role model, too. Being the "perfect" parent all the time isn't possible. Isn't it okay for kids to see that we are human beings, too? Can't we tell them we're doing the best we can sometimes? Battle scars and wounds are part of our experience. It will be part of theirs, too. Stoicism is overrated. My son, when he was a teenager, once complained about how perfect some other kid's life was (I suppose compared to his). I told him that we never know what's going on in someone's life behind the scenes. It may look perfect on the surface but really a nightmare that we know nothing about. He understands that now. Sometimes I cringe at how I mishandled things at times with our son. Oh, well, one does the best one knows how. It's on-the-job training. That's all we can do in life - do the best we know how at the time, and hope to keep learning. I like what one therapist said to me, "You don't know what you don't know until you know it." I looked for your earlier profile, but couldn't seem to find it. But know this: always feel free to say as much or as little to me as feels comfortable for you. Hanging in, Hurricane
  8. Hi M.A.D., That's a lot to unpack. I'm glad your doc is going along with increasing the dosage. I hope that helps soon. As to holiday blues, I've managed to avoid them most of the time. When my son was growing up, he spent all of his holidays with his biological father. My husband, being in television, was always working on any holiday - be it Thanksgiving or Christmas. Having no family living nearby, I mostly ignored the holidays. I was relieved to do so. I hate all of the frenzy to decorate or cook or whatever - unless you really enjoy it. Then it's okay. If it stresses you out, then to heck with it (I cleaned that up). I say, do whatever feels comfortable. With my DIL, we had to train her that holidays or birthdays could be celebrated whenever it was convenient for everyone. We don't try to compete with the other grandparents (there are 3 sets). I can see that she appreciates our flexibility. In your case, you had a trauma on Christmas Eve. It sounds like it was an horrific time and not something you want to "celebrate". To me, that would make it a good time to do something completely opposite from the norm rather than try to make it a normal Christmas Eve. Get some good, happy movies and popcorn for the evening and forget about Christmas. Or whatever feels good to you. My opinion, as always. I hated that my son was away on the holidays. It was painful. But I learned to live with it. We celebrated whenever he was home and my husband was off work. There was never anything "traditional". It was whatever we felt like doing. We often invited single friends to join us. I'm a lousy cook, so I'd bring in food or we'd go to a restaurant. I don't really like traditions. They get locked in and then you have to do them, whether you want to or not. That creates a lot of stress. Again, to heck with it. As to your being the rock, it's funny you should say that, because in many respects, that's my role, too, in our marriage. Funny that the one who struggles should be the one to hold things together, but that's what I do. My husband was used to having an assignment editor tell him what to do every day when he went into work. I'm the assignment editor now. I may not be able to do something physically, because I've been ill so much (a lot of it side effects of meds), but I seem to be the one that figures out what needs to be done and how we're going to go about it. He's happy to be relieved of the decision making and to do the physical work. I don't mean that he doesn't do anything. I've been more than happy to let him deal with the insurance company, for example. But when the car broke down late Friday afternoon, and he was trying to figure out why it wouldn't start, I said, "Call AAA and get it towed over to the dealership right now and get a rental car. We'll worry about the insurance later." He was relieved to have me tell him, "Hey, this is what we need to do, now." He gets lost among the trees sometimes, while I'm looking at the forest. I'm always looking for the simplest way to deal with any situation. That's probably because everything feels hard to me, anyway. I depend on him to do things I can't, but he depends on me a lot, too. It actually helps my self-esteem, too, knowing that he depends on me. But I worry about what will happen if I'm not around. I have two huge notebooks full of financial, insurance, retirement information, etc. so that if I get run over by a truck, he'll have a guide. I wish your wife understand your struggles better. I've beaten my husband into submission. Yes, I've learned to hide my pain a lot of the time, but I do give him reports on how I'm doing emotionally. He needs to know. I'm sorry you don't feel you can do the same with your wife. She sounds afraid to me. Fear motivates so much of what people do - or don't do. It may seem like something else on the surface, but peel back the surface and you often find fear. I remember reading some books when my husband and I were having some issues, and one thing I learned was that you can NOT change someone else. You can only change how you respond to the other person. I think a book was called "The Dance of Anger". The premise is that in relationships, it's like we're partners in a dance, and we've both learned our steps. But if you change the steps (in other words, if you change the way you respond), the other person is forced to change theirs. First they get angry, though. "Hey, we're supposed to be doing a waltz! You've switched to a tango!" They will do everything they can to try to make you change back to a waltz. But if you persist, they either have to try something new or give up. Or stay mad. There are lots of options. It takes guts to stick to your guns when someone is railing because you're no longer playing "your part". Relationships fall into agreements without our realizing it. I agree to act one way and do certain things and you agree to act another way and do other things. Changing the unwritten agreement can be challenging. But once I started changing myself, I was more comfortable with myself. I stopped trying to change my husband. Gotta run. Let me know how you're doing, Hurricane.
  9. Hi M.A.D.! Just a quick reply for now. Can't remember if I mentioned it to you before. I had a teeth clenching/grinding problem and tried to wear a mouth guard at night, but couldn't sleep with it. I developed a TMJ problem after my initial gum infection, and I found a pillow that really helps with the teeth clenching at night. They are called cervical, neck or contour pillows - lots of names. They are lower than regular pillows and they tilt your head back slightly. Regular pillows tend to force your chin down and that makes clenching worse. I like the pillows with a "head" shaped hole in the middle. That enables me to sleep on my back and keep my head in place. That may not work for everyone - but it still seems to work when I sleep on my side. But, again, a low cervical pillow that tilts your head back slightly when you sleep has made a big difference for me. They have a bunch of them on Amazon. It may be trial and error. They first one I got wasn't great. The second one is terrific. I hope this helps. I also have some trembling with Wellbutrin but figure it's part of the trade-off for feeling better. I gave up coffee. Like psych meds, I weaned myself off of it gradually. I didn't want to experience the headaches I'd had when I stopped abruptly. Getting off of coffee helped some. More later, Hurricane
  10. Hi M.A.D.! Couldn't resist the acronym! Don't ever feel that you are under any pressure to get back to me. If there is any urgency, I'll let you know. Sometimes we'd like a reply right away, but most of the time, there's no hurry. Whenever you have time, just let me know how you're doing. Hurricane P.S. Looks like we might finally get some of our hurricane damage fixed. We're fortunate in that ours isn't too bad, but it's a seller's market down here when it comes to getting repair people in. They're under great demand, as you can imagine. It took over a month just to get a broken window fixed.
  11. MidAgeDad, Sorry to take an eternity to get back to you about your shingles ordeal, but I've been really sick with a lousy cold and haven't felt up to doing anything. The irony is that I caught the cold when I went to get a flu shot. I've tested for covid 3 times and all were negative. I can't begin to imagine what you went through with shingles! First the pain, then the paralysis, the vertigo, the surgery. Holy cow! I have vertigo episodes periodically that have to do with my inner ear as well (it's called BPPV), and I know what you mean about even lifting your head. If I turn my head, or roll over in bed and the world starts to spin and my stomach starts to churn, I know now what it is. The first time I didn't. The only thing that helps is Valium. I don't know why, but somehow it works on the inner ear - that and Zofran for nausea. The episodes last about a week. I can't imagine how you went through it for weeks. I don't know how the heck you got through it all. If it makes you feel any better, I've always had a lop-sided smile, and I don't know why. I'm sorry the surgery wasn't as successful as you'd hoped. These diseases take their toll. It's not the same, I know, but chemo thinned out my hair to such a point that now I just keep it really short. Chemo also decimated my eyebrows, which are now mere wisps. My hair is white, so without my glasses, I disappear. I'm pretty sure that chemo is the reason for my hearing loss, tinnitus and extremely dry eyes. Probably the reason for my early cataracts and God knows what else. I have some hearing aids that I wear when I'm around other people so I can hear the conversation. Both my husband and I depend on closed captions when watching television. But shingles really did a number on you! Whenever I reread (I've read it several times) your shingles saga, I shudder. It makes chemo sound like a walk in the park. I mean that sincerely. As to my medical knowledge, I was office manager for a group a physicians when I was younger and picked up a lot along the way. The covid scare did nothing to help my anxiety. I've ended up on a slightly higher dose of benzos (something I was trying to avoid) and have worked out a schedule to get back down to where I was and to keep going down (I hope). Being sick wears one down emotionally (I know you know) and that didn't helped my anxiety either. Just 2 weeks on a higher dose of benzos and now I have to taper again, darn it. How are you doing with anxiety and depression? I hope you're somewhat better. I haven't stopped thinking about you, I was just too tired and foggy to compose a really coherent response. Please let me know how you're doing. Hurricane
  12. Hi MidAgeDad, I'm still here. Got a flu shot last week and even masked and with hand sanitizer managed to catch a cold somehow - which I've been fighting ever since. Remember when you could get a cold and you'd think, "Darn, I've got a lousy cold"? Now you think, "Oh, darn. I've got to test for Covid." Hubby and I did the rapid test first and they were negative with no ambiguity. But being me, I dragged him down to the Urgent Care center for the PCR test 3 days later. I told the doc, "My rational brain tells me this is just a cold. My anxiety disorder wants a Covid test. Unfortunately the two occupy the same body." So the results this morning were once again negative. I'm on a lower Synthroid dose now and feel less jittery. Anxiety spiked with my Covid scare. I ended up taking a little extra in the benzo department, which I don't like to do. Not afraid of Covid for myself. Terrified of giving it to one of the kids. They came over Sunday for a Halloween Treasure Hunt, and I watched from inside wearing a mask. I had spent a lot of time on the clues and the "prizes" and they seemed to be having a really good time, which is what it's all about for me. I'll have to make the clues harder next time. They're too dang smart! They've all been vaccinated except the youngest, but my anxiety just wouldn't leave me alone. Being sick doesn't help (as you know only too well). When I'm sick, the anxiety and depression decide to have a field day. I'll respond more later, but I still want to know about how you're doing. Hurricane
  13. MidAgeDad, OMG! Shingles! Holy cow! Shingles are terrible. My Dad had them. I had one Shingrex shot, but had a bad reaction to it (surprise, surprise), so my doctor said not to get the second. At least I have some protection. The shot gave me what they call an "Essential Tremor" ("essential" being a medical term for "we don't know why") of my head. Think Katherine Hepburn, but not as bad. It's worse when I'm anxious and jittery, like now. I was also in bed for at least 2 weeks after the shot as I recall. I was pretty sick. I would've had the second shot otherwise. The good news is that even one shot confers some protection. I hate that you went through all that. I hope the facial nerves have recovered and your hearing is restored. I hope you don't have tinnitus (I do, but I'm used to it). Life leaves none of us unscathed. I'm really glad you were able to get your Moderna booster. My husband and I have to go get our flu shots tomorrow. I haven't been deliberately putting them off. I've just been trying to deal with other things. I can't take on too much at once or I get overwhelmed. Still dealing with fallout from the hurricane. Things still need fixing, and it's going to take awhile to get even the minor repairs we need done. My husband can't do as much as he used to. He's getting on up there - 76. He seems to need my help in figuring out what needs to be done and when. What can I say? I go into the kitchen to get a glass of water, do half a dozen other things and come back without the water. Hurricane Ida was a major stressor, even though we had very little damage. Being without power, internet, cable - all the things I'm used to, was stressful. I'm still fighting with the cable/internet company over all the days we were down and trying to get credit. They charge a fortune. They're the only game in town, so they can do what they want. I will soon drop cable, but can't drop internet. You'd think when you're retired, that you wouldn't have much to do. That doesn't seem to be the case for us. We spent a lot of time deciding if we needed impact resistant windows (we're going with impact resistant window film instead since we're so far from the coast), and there just seem to be so many details that need attending to... The nurse called me back from my doctor's office. He didn't want to adjust my Synthroid, but I kind of insisted. He said my T3 and T4 were fine (I had seen that, but my TSH was really bad) I got the lecture about cholesterol and a prophecy of statins in my future (not going to happen - I'm not going to take them, but I didn't say that to the nurse), and a mention of my fasting blood sugar (1 point too high! Run tell Henny Penny!). In any case, he wants to test me again in 6 weeks. I expected that. Like your MIL, this isn't the first time that my dosage has had to be adjusted. Gonna get an A1C tested, too. That's a better indication of glucose levels, anyway. I wanted one, what with cutting down on sugar so much. Gee whiz! All these "guidelines" that keep shifting (lower) supposedly telling us whether or not we're healthy. I was much happier without them. They test me for everything now. I really hate it, but I submit to it. You see, I'm on another rant. I'm not on a keto diet. I just gradually starting cutting out things and eating more protein and fats. I started by cutting out bread, then other carbs. Finally sugar. I haven't eliminated all carbs and sugar, but I'm way down. I agree - carbs and sugars are the killers, not cholesterol. I've lost 25 lbs. Or did I already mention that? I was a bit chunky. I'm not so much now. My husband (Bless him!) thinks I look good in a bathing suit. At 71? Come on! I'm guessing he's looking at me through the eyes of love, and that's fine with me. I'm glad your son got off Xanax. My doctors always told me I was dependent on benzos when I'd say I was addicted. I guess because I want to take less, not more. I don't see much difference. It's been hard to go down, but I'm trying. The last few years have been rough. But you wouldn't know anything about that. ;D I'm rambling and venting. I get really anxious dealing with doctors, and I'm running on nervous energy now. I hope you'll forgive me for all this nonsense. Please let me know how you're feeling and how the meds are going. All the best, Hurricane
  14. MidAgeDad, I'm glad you're feeling a trifle better. Sometimes the clouds part and we see a bit a blue sky. Sometimes the clouds come back again. We don't always go straight to a sunny day, but hope is a good thing. I'm having some struggles of my own right now. I finally had the lab work done that my doctor wanted (ages ago), and it looks to me like I'm on too high a dose of Synthroid (medication for under active thyroid). I've lost a lot of weight in the last year (cut out a lot of carbs and drastically cut down on sugar - to almost nil), and a Synthroid dose is weight dependent. I waited for my doctor to call me this week about changing the dose, but he hasn't. Now I'll have to call him on Monday. I have all the hallmarks of hyperthyroidism: my eyes are dry, painful and bloodshot. In the past week, particularly, I've started to feel weak and tired all the time. I'm anxious and jittery. My head tremors are worse. I'm having difficulty thinking and sleeping and I'm definitely jumpy and irritable. I'm trying to keep the irritability under wraps for the sake of my husband. I don't feel much like eating, but I'm trying to make myself eat anyway. I could still stand to lose some more weight but not this way. My blood pressure and heart rate are okay - that can be a problem with too much thyroid hormone. But I feel horrible. In short, I'm miserable. The only things that gives me any relief right now are tranquilizers, and I'm trying my darnedest to get off of them! I'm taking small doses spaced out during the day. I've decided to cut my Synthroid pill in half for the next few days until I can get a new prescription for a lower dose. Unfortunately, Synthroid has a really long half-life, and it may be several weeks before I feel better. At best. Darn. Just when I thought it was safe to go back in the water (so to speak). It seems like there's always something wrong with me. I can honestly say that in the last few years, the majority of my problems have been directly related to medications. I went through a miserable year trying every generic bupropion know to man - 18 months, really. Steroidal eye drops made me terribly ill after cataract surgery, but I had to use them. It was necessary. I'm glad to be able to see, but I hate steroids and they hate me. Most antibiotics and all antifungals make me sick. Pretty much all drugs make me sick! I don't know if it's a function of all the chemo I've had. Dunno. I've had so much radiation, I should glow in the dark. I know when my doctor sees my labs, he's going to want me to start on a statin. Long before I was in danger of being put on a statin, I had begun reading a lot of things that made me question whether statins did any good and if they did, in fact, do a lot of harm. Friends have said to me, "Tell him you're taking it and just don't take it." I don't operate that way. I don't lie to my doctors. In any case, with my next Lipid test he'd just want me on a higher dose of the drug that I wasn't taking! No more drugs for me if I can help it. Will I die of a heart attack someday? Maybe. I'm old, after all. I'm going to die of something. There are some doctors who think statins are responsible for dementia. Statins can cause some really serious side effects, and there's little proof that they help. They do make a lot of money for big Pharma, though. The hypothesis that lowering cholesterol is beneficial has become a "truth." Like everyone knew the earth was flat, or that the sun revolved around the earth. That's my rant for the day. If you get a chance, watch the series "Dopesick." It's about how Oxycontin was foisted on an unsuspecting public by telling doctors and patients that it wasn't addictive. Look, I don't hate doctors. If it weren't for doctors, I'd be dead of cancer long ago. I'd be blind from cataracts. I'd be in constant pain and unable to walk because I had to have hip replacement surgery (chemo ate my hip - another story for another time). I don't have it in for doctors or for life-saving drugs. I just want to be informed about the drugs I'm taking and make my own decisions. It'll be on my head if I'm wrong. I'm hoping I can hang on and not take too many extra benzos to get through this. I feel so awful physically and my anxiety and jitters aren't helping at all. B*tch, moan, complain. So it was my turn to kvetch. Tag, you're it, Hurricane.
  15. MidAgeDad, Sorry not to have responded sooner. Been kinda crazy around here. Maybe I shouldn't thrown that word around on this forum! 3 weeks is not enough time. At six weeks, you might want to consider upping the dose to 300mg. Sometimes, as I'm sure you already know, you just have to grit your teeth and hang on. It always gets better sooner or later. Never soon enough. I've been through it too many times to count. It always seems like this time it won't get better. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. That's all I can do when it's bad. My husband said it reminded him of the time he climbed the Matterhorn. At the top, his brain deprived of oxygen, all he could focus on, literally, was putting one foot in front of the other. Yes, my husband has been willing to go to counseling and that's helped. Some of the marriage counselors were not as good as others. Of course, I've pretty much beaten my poor husband into submission through the years. ;D I haven't been a traditional wife in many ways, but I guess I was traditional in always trying to be supportive of whatever he and our son wanted to do. But I'm outspoken and hard-headed, too, though more willing to compromise as I age. I'm not anybody's pushover. Fortunately, hubby tells me he has never liked women he could walk all over. He is now touchy-feely, but he wasn't always that way. At his own admission, he has become a sentimental slob, tearing up watching movies, etc. I prefer that to the strong, silent type. That was my first husband. I don't know how to tell you to convince your wife to go to counseling. Maybe if you found a counselor that you felt good about, and you went by yourself initially, you could talk her into it. I told my (present) husband that I loved him and I cared about our marriage, and I wanted it better for both of us. Neither of us was happy at times. It's been my experience that underneath most anger, resentment - under a lot of things, is fear and hurt. It sounds as though your wife may have retreated into anger, but underneath she may be afraid because she sees you having such difficulty pulling out of this. She doesn't know how to help you. We all get stuck in stuff we were brought up to believe. I've always liked therapy and counseling, because it's helped me see that there are other ways to be and to think. Marriage is complex. I'm not a marriage counselor. Have you tried the saffron? I look forward to hearing from you again., Signing off, Hurricane.
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