Beginning the Journey – “ReLoss”


It’s been a busy month since my return to sane medical care – had 2 blood tests, a mammogram, am scheduling a routine colonoscopy and a not routine stress echocardiogram.  … Started intake a few weeks ago at the medically supervised weight loss clinic my PCP referred me to – The Hernried Center here in Sacramento.  A full hour appointment.  Minimal physical, EKG (in which there was some small abnormality) and orders set forth for more blood lab work.   A 600-800 calorie a day (low carb/high protein) regime – definitely needing supervision.

The next day I gave 9 vials of blood which resulted in close to 50 lab results.  Normal actually. Got the lab results about a week ago – and found that some things I thought would be issues were fine, and some things need attention –

Chloride 110 High
Parathyroid (PTH) 94 High
Calcium 8 Low
Ferritin 7 Low
Vitamin D3 25-Hydroxy 8 Low

Started taking chewable calcium citrate and vitamin D3, along with my sublingual B12 (which was ok) again.  Add a multivitimin, ferrous sulfate iron, and slo-mag (magnesium) and fiber supplement daily and there’s breakfast (ha!).  This is not in any way sponsored, but my personal favorite source of bariatric friendly supplements is Bariatric Advantage. Reasonable, free shipping and they taste good.

The first week – the end of week one, I lost 2.6 pounds.  That was after a weekend of 2 days of travel, a trade show, networking mixer and visiting clients.  I was happy!

By the end of week 2, I lost 3 more pounds – probably would have liked to lose more – but as long as I’m losing every week, I’ll take it.  And gave them 2 more vials of blood. Labs – every 6 weeks to check vital levels.

Tomorrow is the end of my 3rd week – it’s been a struggle only from the point of missing my wine.  That’s my battle – nothing to do with the program! Let’s hope for 2 pounds.

And all the while, life goes on – my daughter was taken off her seizure meds because her neurologist feels that they have been causing her lack of sleeping (1-2 hours a night at best), and now she has started having small seizures again.  In June she goes inpatient for 5 – 6 days to be hooked up to about a hundred electrodes on her head to see if it can be determined if her seizures are localized in one part of her brain or not.  If so, she may be a candidate for surgery to help alleviate the seizures.  It’s a bittersweet opportunity.  She’s been on disability now since December – and there’s no end in sight.

My son now earns too much (marginally) for MediCal so has lost his free medical and can’t afford medical insurance.  I will likely end up subsidizing him for this because he cannot be without his bipolar meds and access to psychiatric med management. The last 2 weeks for him have been a manic week and a half (thank goodness it resulted only in him getting some business done in spite of not sleeping), then a 36-hour crash of sleeping non-stop, and general depression.  That’s bipolar life, even medicated.

One day at a time, my friends, that’s all you an do.  That’s the best we can take it most of the time.

Namaste – I honor you – with your crazy busy days ….  one day at a time.

Itty Bitty

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Day At A Time …


It’s a landmark day for me anyway, and hopefully for my son …

I’m preparing to take him to drop him off at work – and when I pick him up at 1:30-ish, will be taking him to enter a cocaine detox program for 5 days.  Some may think, well, duh …  but it’s taken me two years to get this far with him.

At first, he used to quell his anxiety attacks when his bi-polar meds weren’t calming him enough.  And, of course, the seductress drew him in.   He’s tried on his own and relapsed.  It hasn’t helped that his “girlfriend” I believe (no proof) uses with him.

Ranting and raving and mom temper tantrums haven’t accomplished anything – and I’m sure added to his anxiety levels- one of which is dealing with confrontation.  He doesn’t – he withdraws.  He doesn’t “fight back”, he shuts down (a defense he developed when dealing with his verbally and psychologically abusive father when my son was a teen).  Fighting back, sticking up for your self resulted in a tirade.

In early November I told him I was done with his drug use, he needed to get himself into a rehab program – inpatient or outpatient.  He found an outpatient program that Medi-Cal (California’s medical insurance for indigent and low-income people) recommended.  They don’t cover the cost of mental health/drug addiction treatment programs though IF YOU CAN FIND ONE THAT TAKES MEDI-CAL you might find a sliding scale.

The outpatient/day program requires intakes test clean before accepting them in to the $1100, 12-week program.  He couldn’t stay clean.  The next step is to do the $840, 4 night/5 day detox program, then go on to the $1100 12-week day program.

I’m getting a cashiers check for $840. this morning.  Some how, some way I’ll come up with the $1100.  I am 100% behind him and will do anything in my power to help him be successful.  I have my fears as I’m sure any parent or spouse in my shoes does.  But I am hopeful. I have to be.

I also have conversations with myself about what if it fails?  If it was a simple matter of drug dependence, as hard as it is, it would be easier to lock the door and tough love him.  The added complication of his Bipolar disorder II, rapid cycling and anxiety disorder makes it much more difficult to do that.  His anxieties I fear would overcome him.

It’s hard being a parent in the best of situations, it’s harder when your children, small or adult, have extenuating special needs.

And there always has to be hope.  And we start this day and move forward, one day at a time.  One step at a time.  With hope. And encouragement.  And love.

Namaste – I honor you and send you hope whether struggling with hopelessness, or loving someone and holding onto your hope that they find their way.

Itty Bitty.

17 negative stereotypes about bipolar disorder


I wish everyone who wonders what Bipolar disorder is about could read this…. I’m learning all I can to best help my son and understand ….

blahpolar

The most frequently used search terms that usher visitors to my blog are: bipolar disorder stereotypes, bipolar stereotypes, negative stereotypes of bipolar disorder, stereotypes about bipolar disorder, negative stereotypes of bipolar, stereotypes of bipolar disorder – and they occur every. single. day. I googled ‘bipolar stereotypes’ and lo and behold, my most visited post ranked first. It’s time to expand on that ole thing. Stereotypes breed stigma, which can have terrible (and in some cases even terminal) consequences. Everything gets an ism, dear reader, and the applicable one here is ableism.

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A Sanctuary In The Midst of A Crazy Week


So our move into our little apartment last Sunday was, though a long day, pretty painless for my son and me.  All the pre-arranging went off well.  It helped that we were not in a situation where we had to be completely out of somewhere by a deadline.

And husband, though on one hand, wanted to participate in the move as a show of support, as I anticipated found it awkward – so he busied himself with work, a nap and going to the bar.  Son and I (with the wonderful assistance of my nephew) managed to get done what was necessary.  Just one snarky bit was hubby telling my son that since all his stuff was out, he wanted my son’s key back as he didn’t need it any longer.  In my mind I wondered when he might want mine back.

This last week  was a crazy work at week on the heels of moving.  After the move on Sunday, Monday was spent at a golf course sponsoring a hole for a charity golf tournament hosted by  a meeting professionals’ organization I belong to.  7 am at the hotel to pick up jello shots – at the course by 8:15, set up and ready to go by 9 – and shot-gun tee off at 9:30.  18 foresome later, wine and hors d’oeuvres.  Met hubby for a drink (and to donate the left-over jello shots to our neighborhood bar for them to sell for their fund-raising efforts for an organization that trains companion/service dogs for veterans) – and then headed home to do a little grocery shopping and stop for the night.  Quick dinner of salami sandwiches and potato salad.

Tuesday was in the office catching up from being out Monday – and an annual gala dinner for the same meeting planner association – all day at work, then dinner – and home about 9:30 pm.  Exhausted.

Wednesday was an education day and trade show (I exhibited) all day from 7:30am to 6 pm – texted hubby to arrange picking up a TV for us to use – we met up for a quick cocktail and chat, then I headed home to make dinner for son – pork chops and angel hair pasta!

Yesterday our cable tv and internet was finally hooked up – while waiting for the tech to come I made good use of the time by doing some additional grocery shopping and bringing a few more boxes over.  Son and I made chili verdi and Spanish rice for dinner.

I hate to see my desk this morning and I know I have at least a dozen emails requiring action this morning for clients!

The first 3-4 nights son spent (after our daily adventures and dinner) with his friends who have been harboring him the last 6 months or so.  But the last few it appears he has been relaxing a little, hanging around in the evenings helping with getting settled.

I asked him if his anxiety levels from not being around hubby now were down at all  the other day – it happened to be his first post-divorce wedding anniversary day and he was not doing well emotionally.  He responded by saying he felt he is just existing right now.
So – our gentle ongoing conversation will be only he can make the changes in his life to move forward. I will support him in what he decides to do – but he must make the decisions.  Yesterday he seemed a little more engaged – and today he starts his 4-day run of working.

It kills me to see his sadness and emptiness on those days it consumes him.  But I am grateful we are close enough that he lets those feelings show and sometimes will even talk about them.

And back to hubby – I have been pleasantly (though guardedly) surprised by his outward acceptance of this necessary separation.  He has joined a bowling meet-up group so hopefully  he will socialize and participate.  Maybe even make friends!  We make a little time to spend together most days though he knows I will not be staying there.  Tonight because son is working I will go to his house for dinner – then come home.

Guardedly – I still wait for him to respond negatively.  If it goes smoothly for too long, I get worried – as is my life story. And I am honestly enjoying the peace and quiet of our little sanctuary – where I will insist on leaving the chaos at the door.

Here’s to Friday … with love ….

Namaste – I honor you all who are living life day to day and finding new paths.

Itty Bitty

Tackling BIPOLAR CARE


That this was written in South Africa is inconsequential .. Bi-polar disorder is the same everywhere. I still struggle to understand it and how to best assist my children. Thank you, Our Lived Experience!

Our Lived Experience

Despite the fact that more than one million South Africans have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, it is still a misunderstood and often stigmatised chronic illness. To raise awareness about the disorder, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) has ‘declared’ 26 May as Bipolar Awareness Day in an effort to create greater awareness about the disorder.
Bipolar is a severe mood disorder— it not only causes unusual shifts in mood, energy and activity levels, but also the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks, to have relationships or perform at work or at school. It can result in substance abuse issues, financial setbacks, even suicide. People with bipolar disorder experience unusually intense emotional
ii A long period of feeling ‘high’, or an overly happy or outgoing mood II Extremely irritable mood, agitation, feeling ‘jumpy’ or ‘wired’. II Talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another, having racing thoughts…

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Itty Bitty’s Hiatus … it’s done.


I realized I haven’t posted since January.  I started a new job at the end of January – and it’s been quite lovely.  Busy – but lovely – not only a source of independent income, but also a respite away from the house.  Something productive to do.

And while that part of me is going well, the home front is not so smooth.  In February I went back into therapy.  A month later husband and I went into marital counseling. It’s now mid-June and tomorrow my son and I move into our own apartment.

It is a decision that is equally easy and disheartening.

My son (almost 40) has anxiety disorder and rapid cycling type 2 bi-polar disorder.  He started his descent about 10 years ago when he could not explain his depressions. 5 years into therapy he was diagnosed.  2 years ago he spiraled for the first time under the pressure of a job that was requiring 12 hours a day, 6 and 7 days a week, and a wife not working and still in recovery from a traumatic brain injury 2 years before that.   (I started this blog while staying with them in NYC when she was in the hospital)

His depressions and anxiety render him for the most part incapacitated – unable to make decisions, to find motivation to conduct his personal business without encouragement.

As with many who are diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, he started self-medicating with cocaine a few years ago “for the release” it brought him from the anxiety when his prescribed cocktail of psychotropic drugs wasn’t working. He lost his job in NYC, found another in another state where he went alone, without his wife and knowing no-one else.  Got arrested two weeks later for possession, did not pass probation on the new job and ended up a month later back in NYC homeless for all intents and purposes.

A little over a year ago we (my husband, not my son’s dad) brought him home. I got him on medical care for no- and low-income people and into a mental health day program.  Through a friend of mine he got a part-time restaurant server job (something he had done well in his early college days).

Within a few months it became apparent that my husband held no interest in learning about the ramifications of anxiety disorders and bi-polar disorder with it’s manic (never sleep) and depressive (sleep for days) episodes; why it was necessary for me to make sure (repeatedly) that my son was awake in time to get to work and programs when his anxiety or depression or sleep deprivation overwhelmed him; or why when his anxiety disorder kicks in, he emotionally shuts down.

All he can see is a 40-year old male who 2 years ago was earning $90K a year and was perfectly independent and functional now being what he considers useless, coddled and a free-loader. And he made no bones about sharing his opinion.

Long story getting too long, over the last 6 months or so my son has become emotionally homeless.  He doesn’t feel comfortable in what is supposed to be his home and stays away as much as possible. When he is home, he walks on ice for fear of my husband getting angry for who knows what reason.

When my husband said a month or so ago that it was time for my son to leave, I told him that was no problem – that I would be finding a place for my son and I to live.  My son’s mental health and need for a SAFE, STABLE, LOVING ENVIRONMENT exceeds my capability to throw him out to fend for himself.

Our marriage counselor actually agreed with me and felt that might be the best thing to do right now.  For all three of us.

Will this be permanent? Temporary?  I don’t know because the issues this situation has brought up in our husband/wife relationship and our differing core values about family in general, have to be considered, evaluated and some decision on how we go forward explored.

My income allows me to provide what I need to for my family.  My children (yes, my daughter, too, though she lives independently with her 2 teenage sons and fiance) did not ask to have mental illness issues (both have anxiety disorders and bi-polar disorder, and my daughter has stress-triggered migraines and epileptic seizures) – it is a genetic and environmental disaster from their father and his birth mother (who gave him up for adoption at birth) who both had manic/depressive disorders.  I will not abandon my children.

I also respect in all of this that where I live is my husband’s home. He is not capable of understanding or dealing with something I have dealt with all my adult life at some level. I cannot expect him to understand a path he has not walked.  I cannot seem to help him understand that for my son, his path of mental illness is still unfolding.

I am hoping that in time my son will be emotionally more stable and regain some of the confidence he once had.  I pray he finds a path to a fulfilling, peaceful and independent life.  But if it turns out that his best chance for a normal life is with me in the picture, that is where I will be.

Namaste to you – who deal with difficult decisions and situations in your lives and yet on the outside appear normal …. namaste. I honor you.