Hasn’t it been ages! About six months, which is roughly when my life started to go apeshit. I had planned to update in the beginning, but kept putting it off. There was so much to deal with and I was emotionally exhausted. I did post two short updates on Bookish Ardour (here and here) to explain lack of posting.
For the most part things have settled down now. I’m in a happier place and willing to talk about it all. Here’s my condensed version, and I mean condensed, of the last six months!
First Things First – Lets Get Through the Bad Juju
- Pulmonary Embolism – Went to hospital feeling like I was dying. Had blood tests. Lo and behold, one came back positive. After a VQ Scan, I was diagnosed with Pulmonary Embolism (clot in the lung). I had three clots. No wonder I felt like shit!
- Deficiencies – I had low potassium and low iron resulting in a potassium drip. My favourite kind! They burn like a mofo. People; avoid potassium deficiencies and overdosing. Potassium is fun like that.
- Psychological Issues – Had to explain repetitively about my choking phobia, odd diet, mental health, then was referred to a dietitian (who, I gotta say, should not be speaking to diabetics) and a speech pathologist.
Home and Warfarin – Began taking Warfarin, awesome-fun-times, then after three days went home with nurses visiting me daily. They took blood and gave me Clexane shots until my INR reached therapeutic levels. At first my body was coping well, but then the dizzy spells started. They were so bad I was forced to lay down. Often.
Rest of December
- Cuckoo Ca-Choo – I lost my shit. I’d been having trouble coping with reality for some time so everything came to a head. It’s all really blurry and messed up for me. Luckily my style of losing my shit is this – when I’m overburdened with depression I end up doing something stupid, which is followed by an OH-MY-GOD-THIS-IS-HORRIBLE moment of clarity forcing me to run for help.
Some of My History
I’ve had anxiety issues, depression on and off, phobias, panic disorder, and paranoia since I was a wee bub (and now I’m Scottish). This includes the choking phobia, which comes and goes in extremity, social phobia, health anxiety, and disordered, obsessive thoughts. I am also a general self-harmer from way back. When I say general, I mean it’s not limited to one particular form. Destructive behaviour can be part of a self-harmer’s profile. Alcoholism is a perfect example.
- Sleep – I developed insomnia and sleep disturbance on top of my usual M.E. sleep pattern. It didn’t help my anxiety, upper torso pain, and panic disorder seemed to want to come out and play more at night.
- Panic and Birthdays – I’m not really good at organising birthday celebrations to begin with, but my 30th was coming up and I was meant to be organising a party. A themed party as well. Panic attacks started occurring more so when party planning came up. It got to the point where I couldn’t even think about my birthday without having a full-blown panic attack.
- Hospital – I went back twice in one week. Twice! Oh, I was loving it there… Long story short, I was told to take Panadol for pain. Didn’t help much. I was prescribed Codeine. Codeine made me feel weird, then I panicked, and went into hospital. I was prescribed Endone. Endone made me act drunk the first night, then would knock me out for about five minutes, before I’d become restless, jittery, and develop a migraine. I decided pain medications didn’t really work with my body and to stick to Panadol when I was desperate. Screw you pain meds!
- Uncles – Two of my uncles passed away within a fortnight of each other. The first one was John Loizou (I do not know why he is an odd pink there). I am estranged from the majority of my relatives. Not for any sordid reasons, more for falling out of touch. I was mostly saddened by John’s passing as I learnt so much about him after he passed rather than learning from the man himself. Then my great Uncle Edo passed and I found out when I was in hospital. Good place to have a cry! No one cares. You’re in hospital after all. Why wouldn’t you cry?
- INR – Had been stable, but became unsettled in February. It didn’t calm down again till end of April, beginning of May. So frustrating.
- I had a Venus Doppler done on my leg. It came back negative. Went to see a neurologist. Negative again. I had some more blood tests, panicked lots, and visited doctors way too much.
- All I really remember from April was my great-aunt, Tante Hilly, passing away and then my rabbit, Fiver, having to be put to sleep on the same weekend. That was a traumatising weekend for sure. You can learn more about what happened with Fiver here.
Now, the Rest
The crazy havoc was more the negative events, but I think in some ways they all turned out to be positive. I believe it’s best to search for the silver lining with upheaval.
I was able to start the ball rolling on addressing all my problems. I’m grateful for this. I was getting help for myself, but more people wanted to sort me out as soon as possible. It means I had more options. I went to my doctor seeking help for my mental illnesses and began medication. I had been seeing someone for it, but needed more help than outside psychological support.
My birthday was great (themed fictional book and video game characters). I have an awesome and wonderful friend who is a great party planner. Honestly, it blew me away. My partner helped me deal with my panic and stuck by me. Plus she got me the best cake ever! Gluten free too!
Everything went well with my chest specialist and as of early May I have been cleared for clots. I’m now off of Warfarin (two weeks tomorrow) and am due for some tests to see what was going on, but otherwise it’s all over. Now I’m just celebrating! I’ve already gotten my ears pierced and will be getting some ink next. Ooooh.
I got a beautiful organic mix of Chamomile tea, from Sexpo of all places, which helped with my sleep so, so much. If you have sleeping issues, don’t bother with sleeping medications straight away. Try getting your hands on the full bloom chamomile tea instead.
Last, but not least, is one of the best things that has come from having a Pulmonary Embolism. I’m healthier. Can you believe it? I’ve had M.E. since 2005. Began bedridden with it, lost all my muscle, was in too much pain and fatigue to do anything, but the P.E. made me. I had to. No matter what my body wanted. It’s possible resting as much as I did brought the PE about. I’m not saying to move around all the time if you have M.E., but you have to try to keep your strength and fitness up as much as your body can tolerate.
Last year I couldn’t walk past the end of the driveway. Now I can walk over 3kms, each day if I wanted to, and I work out. No, the M.E. is not gone, and yes I still have pains and other symptoms, but I barely sit still. On the ability scale; I’ve gone from 5% when I first started to about 50-60%. I don’t think it would have happened this quickly without the P.E. I also have gone back to eating properly. My phobia was so bad I ended up living on Sustagen (Boost), but now I don’t even bother with it. I don’t have to!
My thought processes are so much better. I was very, very negative and so far gone earlier, but now I can both see, and opt for, the positive more often than not. I feel as though I have a future now whereas before I couldn’t see ahead. If you are struggling, get help. Only you can help yourself, but you can start by telling someone, ringing Lifeline (I rang them a few times), seeing a doctor, just tell someone.
There is one little guy I want you all to meet as well. This is Winston.
He is a very inquisitive, active, and adventurous bunny. We don’t know how old he is, just that he is an adult, and I’m having such a great time getting to know all his little quirks and traits.
Speaking About It
I know I’ve lightly touched on several intense subjects in this post. The reason I’ve only done so ‘lightly’ is more about how one subject can be enough to deal with without adding everything else. Each incident could merit its own long-winded post as well and I wanted to avoid that. I didn’t want to write you all a saga!
That being the case, I firmly believe issues should be spoken about in order to fight the taboo and stigma surrounding them. I’m happy to elaborate on any of my mental disorders and my physical illnesses, including the P.E. If anyone would like to ask me questions about it then you’re welcome to do so in the comments, or you can send me one privately. Eventually I might post about them individually if people do want to know about them. I know how isolating all sorts of ailments can be and I think it’s very important to work against that.