Monday, January 24, 2011

Comment Gone Post

I just finished leaving a comment on a post by The Bloggess, and I thought that it actually might make a good post in, and of, itself. So here ya go:
I'm so out about my mental illness, people get sick of hearing about it. I do periodic posts about it, and my last was, as someone else had done, in regard to the shooter in Tuscon.
I've suffered from chronic major depression and chronic anxiety disorder for as long I remember, literally. I didn't get help until after my oldest son was born in 1994. They told me I had PPD. I didn't. I was just scared to keep going the way I had been since I now had a human being depending on me.
My worst episodes of depression have happened since I've had my children. The kind of episodes that are so black and so long that I seriously consider suicide, but I never act on it because I cannot do that to my children and I know how to get help now. Even though it is motherfucking, god-damned hard to get that help sometimes. Lack of insurance or time or fucked up policies when we did have insurance all were obstacles at times.
I've been on various drug regimens for almost 17 years, now. Currently I take an SNRI, an anxiolytic and a mood stabilizer. There is some disagreement between various of my doctors whether I have bipolar II or the chronic major depression *and* chronic anxiety combo platter, but they all agreed that either way, adding a mood stabilizer would help and it has.
And you wanna talk stigma? In February of 2008 and again in February 2010 I had a round of ECT. Five treatments each time. Feel free to check the tag "ECT" on my blog for an explanation of the process and dispelling popular myths about it. [Please read from the oldest post at the bottom to the latest at the top for continuity.] It has been a lifesaver for myself and my family.
I decided to do it after a very long depression did not improve. In fact, it got much worse and cycled up more panic attacks as well. I did a lot of research, chose to do the ECT, did it and was amazed that nobody ever mentioned it to me before. I felt wonderful and everyone kept telling how normal I was, which may have been a retroactive insult; I'm not sure...
The second round came after a steady two month decline back into the hole and I decided not to let it get nearly as bad as it had been the last time. I did it again and was glad, again.
Within weeks of the second round, I started one of the worst years (situationally) of my adult life. An old friend abruptly died; my best friend lost her father to cancer; I lost my grandfather (the man who was my father figure growing up) quite unexpectedly to multiple cancers that apparently had been eating him alive for some time; I put my dog to sleep after raising him from an eight-week-old rescue mutt to a 15-year-old family member alongside my sons while I was a stay-at-home mother; I was laid off from the study for which I had been working; I had flairs galore of my autoimmune illness; I've seen my children through some tough times this year; I had some female plumbing issues which I thought would leave me sterile; and I'm sure I'm missing some other things...
But you know what? I was able to survive it and come out with hope in my eyes because I started out from a point of virtual mental health. So ECT has saved my life twice, now. So I talk about it. A lot. It makes people uncomfortable, sometimes, but I think that's okay, because we need to chip away at all of the stigmas of mental illness and it's treatments.
I got this tattoo:to commemorate the ECT the first time. And when people ask me what it means, I tell them--even strangers--all about it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Poindexter and Vajayjay

Today I was wearing my long, puffy black coat with the fur hood, my black knit UGGs and a hand crocheted slouchy tam. I thought it was very hipster-douchebag of me, but I was comfy. But then I looked in the mirror and realized that I'm not even cool enough to be a hipster-douchebag anymore. And that my head is pointy. Literally pointy. I've always know that my head is not one that will ever look good bald, but I guess it never occurred to me that it's because my head. Is. Pointy. I thought it was the hat and tried to smooth it down, readjust it, whatever. Nothing worked. Because my head is pointy.
In other news:
My troubled female plumbing led me to have the laparoscopy which led to a removal of a hideous adhesion. The day of the procedure I stood in front of a mirror and sucked in my considerable gut to see how much swelling there was at the site. Pleasingly, I noticed that I was able to suck in my gut farther than I had been. Sweet! I didn't lose any noticeable amount of weight, but I guess the muscles are where they're supposed to be now or something. I don't know what the explanation is and I don't care. Then, today, I put on a pair of jeans for the first time in a week. (The waist is well below my bellybutton but the rubbing of the waistband when I slouch or bend is annoying.) And the freshly washed jeans yielded an extra ½" to ¾" inches of space around my waist than normal. SWEET²!
(One more female plumbing trouble story, bear with me, please.) One of the post-operative care instructions the nurse gave me before she sent me home was not to insert anything into my vagina for two weeks. She started this instruction by leaning in towards me and half-whispering, "Don't have relations with your husband for two weeks." This was in front of my husband. I got a few things out of this exchange. First, she didn't want to embarrass me by implying that I might actually have sex with my husband. Second, until the next part of the instruction ("Nothing at all in your vagina.") I wasn't positive that relations just meant sex. The way she said it almost seemed to imply any relations at all. No talking, even. The whole thing was just bizarre coming from a nurse. Oh. I just realized that without the second part, she may have been whispering because she was implying sex with men other than my husband was okay. Maybe she was freaky-deaky. Hmmmmmm...

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Kingdom for a Gloppy Glue Stump

From my laparoscopy, I have a cute little scar on my lower left abdomen which looks more like a scratch than something from a surgery. It hasn't bothered me in any way at all. I think this is partly because it is on part of my belly which never fully regained feeling after one or both of my c-sections. So: no itch, no pain, probably won't even leave a mark.
The hole they cut into my bellybutton is not really much bigger, and it is vertical (rather than horizontal like the other one) so it blends in with the "crease" parts of of the bellybutton.
Both of the incisions were sealed with that surgical glue stuff that they use. When they sent me home the glue in my bellybutton was a little "gloppy" looking, like maybe they were trying to make a cast of it with the glue. And the glue had mixed a bit with a bit of blood and a bit of "discharge" (which is their word for "liquid leaking from your body because we cut you open" and is supposedly normal) so within a few hours my bellybutton was disgusting to me. I know that it was normal. There was no [gag!] pus; it wasn't red or hot; there was no "foul odor" as I was warned of in the "If This Happens Get the Fuck to a Hospital" section of the instruction sheet they gave to me. But it looked disgusting. So I, of course, couldn't stop looking at it.
All of the attention paid to my bellybutton made me think of a very weird belief of my husband's. He's quite sure if someone pokes you in the bellybutton that it can just "come undone" and you can get infected and die or bleed to death. I always make fun of this and poke him repeatedly until he (half-jokingly) freaks out.
With this ridiculous story in mind, I watched in horror when, three days after my laparoscopy, the "gloppy" glue stump fell out of my bellybutton. I was quite sure my entrails--yes, this was the word in my fear: entrails--would come out of the half-inch scar, like scarves from a magician's sleeve, until I died, eviscerated for a lack of a gloppy glue stump.

PS If I repeatedly misspell laparoscopy, it is because Firefox thinks the correct spelling is spectroscopy and Blogger thinks it is spelled periscope. So fuck all if I know how to spell it.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I'm still not ready to have a long discussion about the shootings in Arizona, but last night I wept for the all of the people affected by the tragedy in Arizona. All of them. Even the shooter. My belief (formed from the facts available so far) is that the shooter has severe mental illness. Everyone around him saw it. People were scared of what the illness had done to him. But nobody tried to help him. When one is that ill, it is almost impossible to get the needed help. Hell, it's almost impossible when one's mental illness isn't anywhere near that severe and the shooter was so ill that he didn't even know he was ill, so how was he supposed to do it without help?
This country treats mental illness as a weakness instead of an illness. Until we start recognizing it as an illness and stop stigmatizing those with the illness, we'll always have many people wandering the streets who are on the edge of this kind of breakdown. Had somebody reported their worries to a mental health hotline, impressed on his family the need to seek help, told the police that they believed he was a danger to himself or others, maybe 8 January would have been a normal day in Tuscon.
Here are some phone numbers for anyone who needs help or knows of someone who needs help.
Mental Health Hotline Numbers and Referral Resources

It's eight pages, so click through until you find what seems to be the most appropriate number.

Blahg Blerg

I haven't been here a bit. I lost a follower. I figured I'd lose that person when I started blahg-ing about all of my girl troubles. But this page is for me, so no worries. I guess...

So. My surgery.

After much worrying and fretting, I had my laporoscopy on 12 January (this past Wednesday). As expected, adhesions were found. Nothing else was found. So pretty much a by-the-book kind of experience. They went in through my belly-button, filled my abdominal cavity with gas to create space to look around and work, saw a super healthy liver, normal uterus and ovaries and a rather gross looking adhesion from my stomach to my my small intestine and uterus. They clipped and snipped and sewed--okay: glued--me back up.

Whenever I have general anesthesia it really knocks me on my ass. It leaves me a bit blue--as do the painkillers which often accompany procedures requiring general anesthesia--and pretty tired. Any kind of procedure also usually leaves my inflammatory disease more inflammatory than usual. So I have a little more joint pain and swelling than usual and a very mild fever. Since I am not currently employed I have decided to use this time to recuperate in bed. It seems luxurious and boring and lazy and needed.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Not Happy About Today's Horoscope

I kind of believe and kind of don't believe in horoscopes. But the Yahoo horoscopes seem to consistently relate to whatever my current situation seems to be. Here is today's:

Daily Extended for January 7, 2011 (Today)


12/22 – 1/19


There's one simple way to make the next few weeks of your life easier: Let go of all the things you can't control. Yes, this is easier said than done, but once you start to make the effort, you will immediately get a taste of the freedom it brings. Sometimes, guilt can keep you from moving away from old setbacks, bad relationships or other unpleasant dramas. If you're feeling guilty, ask yourself why. There's no way to go back in time. The only option is to keep going forward!

I don't like. Where's the "don't like" button?

Thursday, January 06, 2011

My Panties

I know that caught your attention, but this is really just a TMI, girl talk post. Feel free to click away if the words "tampon" or "uterus" make your squeamish or blush. In fact, go look at this to clear those words from your mind.
My laproscopic surgery is next Wednesday the 12th. In preparing for the possibilities of anything from them finding nothing to the horribly unexpected "total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy" (removal of uterus with cervix, tubes and ovaries) I have been reading some sites' lists of stuff I might want for recovery. I figured I'd prepare for the worst and then it won't happen. (That's always been my theory and it's always worked for me.)
Two of the things I had to buy gall me. Menstrual pads and granny panties.
I find pads gross for many reasons I won't enumerate, but if I have bleeding after the surgery I will not be able to use tampons, so I bought a pack of the hated items and hope I do not have to use them. I didn't even buy the cloth kind or the eco-friendly disposables, because I reallyreally don't even like the bad, plastic-y kind, but at least they lock "stuff" into their chemical goop. (By the way, I highly recommend Natracare tampons. They're just like old school Tampax or o.b.--depending on whether you get the applicator or not--but no dioxins, plastic or rayon. And they're an ethical business.)
And granny panties? Nuh-uh. I have never worn them, so buying a "7 pairs for the price of 6 100% cotton Hanes Briefs" pack at Target was somewhat shaming for me as someone who takes great pride in not haven "given up" on my looks and clothes. Even worse? They apparently only make such things in little girl patterns and colors. There was not a pack of all white briefs and there were no black briefs at all. So now I own seven pairs of 100% cotton granny panties which make me look like a very over-sized toddler. The worst? I bought them a size too big so they will be super comfy. Lets hope this doesn't lead to something awful, like a fondness for the damn things. Right up there with a taste for human brains in my book. Scratch that. At least zombies are cool, for crap's sake.

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