Oh NO!!

We had, up until this evening, a tree on our tree lawn. A line of severe thunderstorms flew through the greater Cleveland area earlier. When the alert came through my phone, it said winds up to 80 mph. Looking at our poor tree, I can believe it.

It could have been much, much much worse. There are a few pictures of huge trees that came down in the area. AJ Colby says more storms are in the future due to the high temperatures and humidity we’re having. Check out this segment of him talking with images of the radar and satellite from the storm. It does look like we’ll have a nice weekend, knock on wood.


I don’t have many memories from childhood. Most of them consist of what I describe as “snapshots”. It’s like a picture of sorts in my mind. Sometimes I know the context and sometimes I don’t.

Seeing the tree on the ground brought back one of these snapshots. It’s me standing in a garden center holding onto the trunk of this (much smaller version) tree. There isn’t much more to it. I’m actually assuming it’s a garden center, because where else would you have bought a tree in the late 70s. I guess it isn’t even a picture so much. It’s more of like me looking outside from inside of me knowing I’m holding onto this tree.

For some reason, seeing the tree on the ground made me cry last night. I don’t feel particularly emotionally attached to that tree. Maybe because it’s one of the few nontraumatic memories I have? I don’t know. And at the moment, I’m overwhelmed with everything else and I don’t want to explore it. Maybe when I talk to Dr. D the week after next.

Back to Work…

First day back after a long break. My anxiety level was climbing all weekend. It was so bad last night, I ended up taking a Klonopin. I even needed to take one this morning. My anxiety is usually much more controlled.

Once I got back, I got back into the groove. All the babies were glad to see me. L reached her arms up as soon as she saw me. I picked her up and she just giggled. I said “Hey D Man” to D and he turned and gave me a huge smile.

When I left, A was rocking back and forth on his hands and knees. Now he’s properly crawling.

There’s so much development that happens in two weeks when you’re talking about babies under a year.

I found out this morning that I don’t have to do any office work. I don’t have to enter notes for the other teachers. I don’t have to answer the phone in the afternoon. Well, from 5-6 I do. The school age teacher is holding onto the phone until she leaves at 5.

I really think the owner is afraid of losing me. She really can’t afford to lose any staff. And she needs my degree to move her star for Step Up to Quality. It feels good to be needed. But not for the cost of my mental health.

Starting Up Again

It’s been many years since I’ve written here. I decided earlier this week to get back into writing on this blog specifically.

So what has been going on the last 3.5 years? A whole lot. I had a second bariatric procedure and I lost more weight. My highest weight was 440 pounds. I’m now 177. I was down to 164 but pandemic…….

I’m still working with infants in early childhood education. I’m still at the same place, though I’m brushing up my resume. I’m still coloring, though on my own. The meetup group doesn’t meet anymore because, well, *gestures wildly around*. I’m still baking and I’m part of an online baking “club”. “Club” because it’s only two of us. We are still trying to get people to join us.

A while ago, I quit therapy with Dr. D. I’m back working with her again. Dr. W (who I still see) encouraged me to start therapy again. I’m glad I did. The thing that made me walk away was her trying to dive into (what I recognize now as) my social anxiety. I wasn’t ready to tackle it and I was doing well in other ways. The break was good for me.

In terms of meds, I’ve been able to taper off the Haldol, Effexor and Celexa. In a few months, I’m hoping to start getting off either the Zoloft or Wellbutrin.

Last summer, one of the baby girls in my class at work had some possible vaginal bleeding. The way it was handled by my boss plus just the idea that maybe someone was hurting that little girl really messed with my head. At that point, I was seeing Dr. D. I ended up taking a week off to get my head screwed back on. The family left the center and I occasionally wonder what happened to her and hope she’s okay.

A couple months ago, we had a new family join the center. There are an infant boy, a toddler boy and a preschool girl. These children were removed from their mother. The toddler spent many hours just crying “mommy” over and over. The way the building is set up is there is a half door between the infant room and the toddler room. So I could hear every single scream. It broke my heart. It didn’t help that the toddler teacher was getting frustrated and would say “J, please stop crying.”. Let me say, that I totally understand her reaction. She had 6 other kids under 3 and it was overwhelming at times. I’ve been in her shoes. I was told A, the baby in my room, was born to a crack addicted mother. I need to do some reading on what the shorter term ramifications are of that. I’m probably most concerned about B, the preschool girl. She seems totally unaffected. I know she’s older than J, but she’s only 4.

I’ve been dealing with my reactions to those two incidents with Dr. D. After the baby girl, I took a week off to get my head back on the right way. Last week and this week, I’ve been on vacation. There were many reasons, one being the new family. Another is physical exhaustion. I’m still dealing with fibro. Two weeks ago we were so short staffed because of Corona. I ended up working 8-6 with a 2 hour break. It just wasn’t sustainable for me. I’m also the acting administrator for 4-6. Another staff member thinks she’s in charge and was being a general pain in the ass. I told my boss that E can be in charge since it seems that’s what she wants. My boss told me that no, you’re in charge and I deliberately chose you. And then there’s all the BS that needs to be done for Step Up to Quality. I was doing a good deal of other teachers’ work.

It’s definitely been a crazy year.

Psychiatry Monday

BTW:  I’m writing these as sort of a record of what’s going on.  It helps me keep track of changes and reactions to meds and therapy.

 

Today was a fairly normal visit with the psychiatrist.  I’m feeling a bit better.  It’s getting there a little at a time.  I’m still hearing voices, but they are less frequent and less intense.  Dr. W isn’t as concerned as she was earlier in the month.

A few changes today.  I’m going down again on citalopram.  In need to get off of it because of interactions with the Lupron.  With that change, Dr. W decided to go up again on the Zoloft.  The only other big change is going up on the Haldol.  11 mg at first and then 12.  I’m hoping that will have to be the last dosage adjustment up.

Therapy Thursday

Today’s discussion centered around feelings.  The one observation I had was I know how to label the basic emotions; happy, sad, angry.  But I can’t label things that are more complex.  I like labels.  I like to know what things are.  Sometimes the hardest question to answer is “What are you feeling?”.  Sometimes I throw around names such as jealously or anxiety.  I’m not always sure that that’s what I’m feeling.

We also talked a bit about automatic thoughts.  Things that I jump to so fast that I don’t even think about it.  Two of those thoughts are guilt and responsibility.  I jump and don’t even know it.  I’m trying to challenge those thoughts after jumping there.  I’m reminded of a passage from “The Magic Tollbooth” where the dog flies out of the car and onto an island by jumping to conclusions.  That’s me.  I jump to conclusions about the abuse and who’s responsible.  No more.  I’ll jump but not land.  I won’t be perfect, but trying is the key.

Therapy Monday

Wow.  Today was intense.  It started with a discussion about Father’s Day.  And all the loving posts you see on Facebook.   And the whole industry we have.  And how it makes me feel.  Jealous.  Green with envy.  I don’t love my  dad, or grandpas, or God father.  Nope.  No way.  And that good old Catholic guilt and “honor thy father and thy mother”.

From there Dr. D asked about something we talked about a few weeks ago.  One of the things I felt was that I lost something of myself with the use of Lupron.  I lost the ability to reproduce.  Not that I want to reproduce.  I read somewhere (maybe on Not My Secret) about defining yourself by what society considers to be the defining traits of a woman.  That post really resonated with me.  So we talked a bit about other ways I could define myself.  Funny.  Blah Blah Blah.  Dr. D said that I was smart.  I couldn’t say no fast enough.  Which of course lead to another whole discussion.

In the end, I said that my mother said I was smart when it suited her, when she got to brag.  Any other time, I was dumb, and idiot, etc.  Then I said something really significant.  I said that I hated her for that.  That was really significant.  I had never said that word before.  I didn’t know how deep it ran.  That scared me.  It felt overwhelming at the moment.  Thank God that Dr. D was there because I was overwhelmed.  I was shaking and crying.  On some level it felt good to let out those emotions.  On the other hand, it was really scary.  I knew I had a safe place in her office.

I tend to stuff things down.  Dr. D told me it was a defense mechanism.  And now that I’m home, the old defenses are coming back.  I don’t feel safe to experiences the anger and sadness that I felt earlier.  At least I know now that I can feel without becoming overwhelmed or out of control.  I was even going to write a blog post in all caps.  I still may.  Maybe I can do it at the library where I feel safer.

It’s amazing how seemingly innocent trains of thought can lead to breakthroughs.  I see Dr. D again on Thursday (and on Mondays too).  I think at this point, that’s what I need.

Pink Pajamas

I’ve tried to write this out many times in the past.  In fact this is the seventh time the post was titled “Pink Pajamas”.  Today is Therapy Thursday and the topic took up a solid half hour.  Me just sitting there trying to get the words out.  Working hard to keep my head in the present.  Posting this is hard even though I just talked about it.  Here goes nothing.

I was 7 or 8 years old.  It was Christmas Eve.  We read the Bible and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  We hung up our stockings.  It’s a Christmas tradition to get new pajamas on Christmas Eve.  Mine were those one piece pajamas with the feet.  Mine were pink.

It was time to go to bed.  But I was warned that bad little girls got nothing in their stockings.  And I sure that I was a bad little girl.

Later that night, my dad came in and undressed me.  I remembered how cold it was.  He whispered in my ear that he knew how to make me a good girl.  Then he had his way with me.  He didn’t dress me though.  I slept all night naked.

In the morning, my mom came in to wake me up.  She asked why I didn’t have my pajamas on.  I told her I got hot.  I put them on and followed her to the living room.  I guess I was a good girl because my stocking was full and there were presents under the tree.

Dr. D pointed out that things came with strings attached.  And they really did.  That’s the topic for Monday.  I thought in light of everything going on, I should probably see her twice a week for a little while.

Psychiatry Wednesday

I met with Dr. W today.  A ton of stuff is going on with my cancer treatment and its intersection with my psychiatric treatment.  I had two options.  One was going off the Wellbutrin and going on Tamoxifen.  The other was using Lupron to shut down  my ovaries and using the drug for post-menopausal women.

I was going to start with the Lupron combo because I was having so much trouble coming off the Wellbutrin.  But…  Yes, there’s always a but with me.  Lupron doesn’t play nice with Haldol and Celexa.  I found out after looking up side effects of Lupron.  I came across the drug interactions.  There were big red stoplights next to the two drugs.  Some kind of cardiac problem that I simply don’t understand.  I guess that puts me between a rock and a hard place.

So after some discussion with Dr. W, we decided to go with the Lupron option.  The Wellbutrin was working so well for me.  I’m going to go down on the Celexa along with up on the Wellbutrin and Zoloft.  Together we decided to go up another two milligrams on the Haldol over the next few days.  That seems like a funny decision, but with other things changing (Zoloft up, Celexa down, Wellbutrin up) it’s best not to change too many things at once.  But up on the Haldol because the voices are still a big problem and are quite distressing.

I see Dr. W again in a week and half.  We’ll make some more adjustments then.  I’m not looking forward to this transition, but it’s necessary.

Therapy Thursday

Another week.  Another day of therapy.  And as usual, it didn’t disappoint (just kidding).

Since I’ve been talking about cancer treatment there, I went through what the oncologist said yesterday.  Basically I have two medical options for long term treatment.  I can go with Tamoxifen but it requires getting off the Wellbutrin.  And that doesn’t seem like it’ll happen anytime soon.  So medically, my other option is shutting down the ovaries with Lupron and treating with Arimidex.   That’ll cause menopause.  The other option is removing the ovaries and going with the Arimidex.  At the moment the choice is Lupron and Arimidex.  The long term plan is to go off the Wellbutrin and then switch to Tamoxifen.

We talked about control and losing control of my body.  Losing what makes me a women.  In other words, the ability to reproduce.  Not that I want to reproduce, but the thought of it.  I don’t know why it bothers me so much.  But it does.  Perhaps that’s something to explore next week.  The other small topic on this was going to the dentist next week.  It’s my worst nightmare.  Why?  At least I can answer that one.  Feeling exposed.   Feeling vulnerable.  Having someone (turns out it’s a woman) standing over me.  Yeah.  Nightmare.

On of my usual comments was X is my fault.  In this case letting the depression and voices get so bad without asking for some help.  I got the usual “It’s not your fault”.  Fault and responsibility is something I struggle with everyday.  I don’t even know how this came up.  But it did.

I guess it’s a matter of putting one foot in front of another.  Hopefully the increase in Haldol will help with the voices and the Zoloft will help with the depression.  And now that radiation is finished, hopefully the fatigue will subside.

Psychiatry Tuesday

You know things are bad when the doctor tells the scheduler that you are a priority for scheduling.  My chin almost hit the floor.  I mean, things aren’t good.  And there has been a lot of pain (both physically and emotionally) lately.  But I certainly didn’t think I fit into priority territory.  Priority.  Minimizing.  I do such a good job of it.

I have four appointments scheduled between now and the beginning of July.  She’s going on vacation for 6 weeks starting the middle of July.  She once to see me once again before she leaves.  Unfortunately, that means I’ll have to take what I can get off the cancellation list.  That is if any appointments come up.

I’m trying to get off Wellbutrin because I can’t take the estrogen blocker with it.  Wellbutrin renders the other med useless.  When I tried to go off before, things got dicey.  I see the oncologist tomorrow and have no idea what to tell her other than I tried and it’s going to take longer than anticipated.

So Dr. W started me on Zoloft.  Yippy skippy.  Another med to add into the mix.  She upped the Haldol and wants to be a bit more aggressive with it.  I’m still hearing voices…  almost constantly now.  Depending on how I’m doing, she may start weaning me off the Wellbutrin next week.  Yes.  Next week.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a psychiatrist that often since I was in the hospital.

It all seems so complicated right now.  Appointments with the medical and radiation oncologists.  Appointments with Dr. W.  Appointments with Dr.D.  Maybe moving up to twice a week with her.

I keep hearing people say that I will feel better once the radiation is finished.  I finished yesterday (yay me).  But it’s not like a switch.  Really recovering will take about as long as the radiation took.  In my case, four weeks.  The only one who gets how I feel is my primary care, Dr. M.  Dr. M went through radiation himself.  He said it’s not uncommon for people to get more depressed right after finishing.  I totally agree with him.  You’re in the middle of treatments and running around.  And it feels like you’re doing something active.  Now I have to wait on the Wellbutrin and see what the oncologist says.  It’s like I’m not doing anything at all.

I have some Haldol and Trazodone in my near future, so I better sign off.  I’m really fighting sleep right now.  Better to give in.