Party!

Frank and I are having a party.  We are having cupcakes.  He is baking his chocolate cupcakes from a mix at his place on Maui, and I am buying a chocolate cupcake from Kick Ass Cupcakes in Davis Square, Somerville, MA. I will bring the cupcake home, and then we will eat our cupcakes together at our respective homes.

Frank has always wanted me to eat chocolate cake when I celebrate something.  He had suggested it for my birthday, but that didn’t happen.  I was in McLean Hospital on my birthday this past January.  My birthday sucked.  Even the staff at McLean forgot to get me a cake.  Not that I would have eaten any.  Actually, when they finally remembered the cake, days later…nope…I didn’t eat any.  And no, it wasn’t chocolate, not that that would have made a difference.  I have spent a number of birthdays in hospitals.

But now, we are celebrating something new and special: Frank is legally changing his name.  He is keeping Frank and changing his middle and last names.  The name change should go through very soon, and when it does, we will have the name-change cupcake party.

It is also the beginning of spring, of rebirth.  Snow is melting, and in case you were wondering: yes, it does snow in Hawaii.  Even though it hasn’t dipped under freezing very much lately, we still have a huge pile of snow back in the patio where I can see it from my living room window.  What a view.  It will take till mid-May to melt it all.  But now, the time of the name-change, can be the starting point of this melting.

It is the time to welcome in a new, fresh way of seeing the world, to cast off old ways, and to step into the sun.  It is the time to be strong and healthy.  It is the time to run like we’ve never run before, whether the wind is behind us or against us, because it is always within us.  It is the time that our age will not stop us from living our lives.  It is the time to be happy.

I am not going to worry about how many calories are in the cupcake.  I will set my eating disorder aside.  I will set aside all negativity I have around “junk food.”  There is no “junk food.”  There is good food out there.  There is food in every flavor you can imagine, some food in interesting shapes, food wrapped up in boxes, food with candles, food with funny names you can’t pronounce, food you drink or slurp, food that melts in your mouth, and food that melts everywhere and gets all over your clothes and makes you laugh.

So why should “fattening” come into the picture?  What creep invented the fact that if you eat certain foods in certain quantities, you will “gain weight” and “get fat”?  What a concept!  It is time to change the name of “Diet” to “Die.”  Let’s just kill it, okay?  Maybe we should change “Weigh In” to “No Way In.”  Because very, very soon I’m going to barge my way into Kick Ass Cupcakes and buy that chocolate cupcake and bring it home and eat it with Frank.  And we are going to have a grand celebration.

A sixth tooth removed today

Actually, this makes seven if you include one that was removed years ago.  But six have been removed this year alone.  I had my wisdom teeth out and one other in February.  Just now, a few hours ago, I had another removed.  This one was cracked in two.

The dental surgeon said the tooth was abscessed, and that the infection was spreading to the other tooth already, so it was a good thing I was getting the tooth out now rather than later.  An abscess can be really, really serious, and you can die from one.

I said to myself, “Gee, I can think of something else I might have died from,” but didn’t say that out loud.  Yes, it’s a good thing I’ve gotten this tooth taken care of.

I showed up at 11:15 and was out of there by noon.  The appointment was for noon.  I guess they had a cancellation.  Forty-five minutes ain’t long.  The dental surgeon didn’t need to take x-rays because he’d already taken them last time I was there.  Nothing showed up on the x-rays, but he could see the crack with his naked eye, anyway.  No x-ray needed there.

Now, who the heck came up with the expression, “Naked eye,” anyway? Aren’t all eyes naked?  Who would put clothes on their eyes?  Or do glasses count?  Do eyes have to wear bras?

I felt a little pain on the bus on the way home.  I do not feel pain now.  I don’t think I’ll need the painkillers, but I have some anyway, from the last extraction.  I didn’t take any of them.  I take Ibuprofen for whatever ails me, but I guess so far I haven’t needed it much.

They told me not to run even on Sunday, and to start off walking.  I’m going to go nuts not running.  But right now, I’m very, very tired, and need some rest.

Coffee before running?

THIS IS ONLY WHAT I KNOW FROM MY LIMITED EXPERIENCE AS A RUNNER:

My intro, for those of you just popping in out of cyberspace:  I ran for about a year in my early 40’s.  I stopped when I broke my leg.  I picked up finally last October.  I turned 53 in January.  I took a little time off in the winter but am back at it with a vengeance.  I run an 11-minute mile.  My goal is to run a consistent 10-minute mile. Before my time off, I was able to sustain a 10-minute mile for a quarter mile, but that was it.  Now, I’m comfortable running an 11-minute mile for over three miles.

Okay, so here’s the deal with coffee:  I normally drink a strong 16-oz cup of coffee every morning.  I brew six tablespoons of grounds to 16 ounces of water.  That’s slightly stronger than most brewers recommend (they recommend 2T for every 6 oz water).  I grind my own a little finer than recommended, so this also makes a stronger cup.  That’s my morning coffee.

I do like to drink coffee a bit before I run. It doesn’t bother my stomach.  I like to have it about an hour before.  I feel that it enhances my run.  I was told by a trainer at the gym that some people have “caffeine poop-out.”  This is when the caffeine suddenly stops working.  This happens all at once, and it is very, very dramatic.  The runner can lose energy, strength, and speed very quickly and suddenly when caffeine poop-out occurs.

I can confirm from experience that caffeine poop-out is real.  It has happened to me twice and it’s definitely a bummer I don’t want to repeat.  You don’t want to drink caffeine way, way before you run.  I don’t drink it more than an hour before.  It goes through your system real fast if you’re running, and makes a dive, apparently.  This I do not know scientifically, only from what I feel in my body.

So here’s the reason I’m posting this. This is what happened today.  Real dumb.  I felt tired, so I had–yes–a second 16-oz cup.  This one about an hour after the first.  Then a bit later I went to the gym for my run.  And I used the coffee as an excuse not to drink water before running (note: another no-no).

I was really thrown off to begin with.  I don’t run at 2:00 in the afternoon.  I am a morning runner.  I had eaten lunch at around 11:30, a little early so that it would digest before running.  I left the house at 1:30 and had some orange juice before I left but wasn’t sure that what I’d had nutritionally was okay for running.  And very, very little water and all that coffee, which was the “substitute.”  Dumb, dumb, dumb.

I’ve been running 3.25 miles and walking .75 miles.  Well, after walking .25 on the treadmill and then running two miles, I didn’t feel right at all.  I was sweating too much.  After 2.25, I continued to sweat, and it wouldn’t quit.  Finally, at around 2.6 miles, I returned to a walk.  I traveled a total of 5k (.5 of it walking) instead of 4 miles.  I realized that coffee is no substitute for water before a workout!  And 32 ounces of coffee before a workout, for me, is too much!

I did check my pulse as soon as I returned to a walk.  It rapidly went down by 10 beats per minute, almost instantly, as I slowed the pace, and continued to slow down. This is always the case.  I rebound–fast.

But still, I cursed myself for being so stupid.  I bought some Gatorade on my way out, and drank it, and just had some orange juice.  And I’ll have a good dinner.  Promise.

 

Trileptal dose halved–Day Four

After taking a total of 300 mgs Trileptal yesterday (down from 600) I feel fine.  Great, actually.  I am not wobbly.  I was able to run on the treadmill this morning.  I walked 1/4 mile, ran 3-1/4 miles, then walked 1/2 mile to cool off, total 4 miles, in around 50 minutes.  I had no problem whatsoever with the treadmill.  My endurance was fantastic.  I had a smile on my face the whole time. I listened to the group Virginia Coalition. The album is 40 minutes long, perfect for my running segment (37-38 minutes) and also listened to Vertical Horizon and Anberlin for my walking segments.  But I am getting off topic here.  I feel fine, no mania, no crying jags, no mood swings, no emotional lability whatsoever, on the lower dose, nor have a I had an eating binge.  Because I have been able to run so much better, I feel tons better about my body.  My eating has improved tenfold.  I now eat three meals a day and a bedtime snack, and drink a quart of milk a day.  I have been doing this since I started running and putting in more walking mileage.  It seems that I put in about seven miles every morning before my day gets rolling.  Then later, I might do three more walking miles in the afternoon, if I feel up to it.  I’ve been doing this for about a week now.  I feel positive about the Trileptal reduction so far.

UPDATE: I lowered the Trileptal to 150 June 7th due to further “swaying.”  At the time, I was not running because of a really bad knee injury.  I couldn’t even walk without crutches.  I figured the “swaying,” which had suddenly returned, was going to cause a problem on crutches, a danger in fact.  I lowered the Trileptal by cutting the 600 tablets into quarters starting the night of June 7th.

A week later, I began some serious bingeing (on food).  I had already gone through a period of bingeing on 300 mgs Trileptal, but hadn’t thought that this was caused by the lower dose.  I just wasn’t thinking straight.

In between all this, my injury had been diagnosed as an arthritis flare-up.  I didn’t even know I had arthritis in my knee, but it all made sense: I had fractured it in 1999 and at that time was told that this could happen.  So I was advised by this specialist not to run or walk for fitness.

In other words, the treadmill was out.  So last night, I did some thinking, and realized that I had made this promise to myself, that if the bingeing returned, I would return the Trileptal to its original dose.  Trileptal stops the bingeing.  No more treadmill = no necessity to eliminate “swaying.”  I’ll live with it.  I do not want to live in Bingeing Hell.  Anyone who has an eating disorder knows this place.  You do not want to go there.

So that is how the story went.  Have a nice day.

Lower dose of Trileptal–Day Three

For those of you just dropping in out of cyberspace, I am lowering my Trileptal without my doctor’s blessing due to “rocking” on my feet while standing.  I started taking Trileptal in January.  This “rocking” is from the side effect called ataxia, which is a weakening of the ankles and wrists.  Some people have ataxia so bad that they wobble while walking.  I, thankfully, can walk just fine, but I have noticed that I walk with my feet slightly separated, that is, not aligned properly.  A couple of weeks ago, I sprained my ankle.  I was very fortunate that this was a minor sprain, and I it has healed entirely.  When I pointed this problem out to my doctor, her response was that it was due to my antipsychotics, and that it was a “balance problem,” and that I should simply stand with my feet apart.  Bullshit, I thought.  This is unacceptable! I left a message for her two days ago begging her to lower the Trileptal.  Her response was that she objected to this.  My dose was 600.

I had my run this morning after 150 Trileptal last night, and felt fine–back to normal at last.  I had a total of 450 yesterday, which included the accidental 300 in the morning, which occurred because I goofed and took my bedtime meds instead of my morning meds in the morning.  How stupid can you get!  I use a med organizer, and I just wasn’t looking!  So yesterday I had 450.  Today I had decided to take 450 spaced out, that is 150 three times, over the course of the day.  Thankfully, I went for my run BEFORE taking my morning 150.  Now, I am “rocking” on my feet badly.  I took the 150 Trileptal at 8am.  It kicked in at 8:30, and now it’s 10:30.  The “rocking” has only gotten worse, not better.  I’m not certain how wise it will be to go to the library.  I feel miserable, not sedated, just miserable.  I am a little unsteady in my chair even.  Totally discouraged.  I have decided to take 150 tonight, lowering the dose to 300, and take none (obviously) Monday morning, and 300 earlier than usual Monday night, so it won’t affect me Tuesday morning.  I plan to go running at the gym tomorrow morning.  It will be raining, so I can’t run at the track.  I should be okay.

So far, I seem to be okay mentally.  I think the lessening of the obsessions has nothing to do with the Trileptal, and everything to do with the fact that I am running now. Of course, lowering Trileptal enables me to run.  Running helps me feel better mentally, and feel better about my body.  It also helps me eat better.

So there, Dr. P.

UPDATE: You can follow this whole story by clicking on “Trileptal Ordeal” below.

UPDATE: I lowered the Trileptal to 150 June 7th due to further “swaying.”  At the time, I was not running because of a really bad knee injury.  I couldn’t even walk without crutches.  I figured the “swaying,” which had suddenly returned, was going to cause a problem on crutches, a danger in fact.  I lowered the Trileptal by cutting the 600 tablets into quarters starting the night of June 7th.

A week later, I began some serious bingeing (on food).  I had already gone through a period of bingeing on 300 mgs Trileptal, but hadn’t thought that this was caused by the lower dose.  I just wasn’t thinking straight.

In between all this, my injury had been diagnosed as an arthritis flare-up.  I didn’t even know I had arthritis in my knee, but it all made sense: I had fractured it in 1999 and at that time was told that this could happen.  So I was advised by this specialist not to run or walk for fitness.

In other words, the treadmill was out.  So last night, I did some thinking, and realized that I had made this promise to myself, that if the bingeing returned, I would return the Trileptal to its original dose.  Trileptal stops the bingeing.  No more treadmill = no necessity to eliminate “swaying.”  I’ll live with it.  I do not want to live in Bingeing Hell.  Anyone who has an eating disorder knows this place.  You do not want to go there.

So that is how the story went.  Have a nice day.

I have a broken tooth

I went to the dentist yesterday and found out that I have to have another tooth removed.  This one is broken laterally and therefore hadn’t shown up on the x-ray all this time.  It was the original tooth that began bothering me back in December when my relapse began, the one that bothered me the entire time that I was at McLean.  The tooth is broken all the way through and it will not be possible to save it.  I remember when it cracked back in December.  I heard it crack.  I heard it crack open several times while I was eating.  Now, I can feel exactly where the crack is.  This will be the sixth tooth I am having removed this year.

Adventures with Trileptal…Day Two

So here’s the scoop….

I took half a dose last night.  This morning, when I got up, I felt less wobbly.  I decided to try going for a run.  I found that not only was I running better, but I was stronger and faster, and I no longer walked like an orangutan, with my feet splayed outward.  When I picked up Puzzle’s poops on our walk, I no longer felt like I was going to fall down onto them!  This amazing discovery told me that I was spot on: The problem with the “swaying” was indeed from the Trileptal, and cutting the dose in half did the trick–I no longer had the wobbliness that I had had before.

Unfortunately, I made a gigantic error: I took my nighttime dose of medication this morning instead of my morning meds!  Eeks!  This meant getting my Trileptal 300 mgs by accident.  I’ve been useless, and “swaying,” all day so far.  I am waiting for the Trileptal to wear off some so that “swaying” will ease up.  No such luck–yet.

However, I made an interesting discovery–As soon as the Trileptal kicked in this morning, my ED obsessions disappeared!  Really!  This leads me to conclude that I need a morning dose.  So, obviously, I cannot take 300…I am going to try half that…150….I will try 150 three times a day, the original dose I took at McLean, and see if that works okay.  I remember I ran on the treadmill at that dose no problem, but I wasn’t on it long enough to tell, because the doctor raised it so quickly to 600.

I am bad, bad bad…Dr P, will you ever forgive me?  Will you?  I know I am not supposed to go against Dr.’s orders.  We shall see.  We shall see.  We shall see.

Swaying on my feet caused by the side effect ataxia, caused by Trileptal

Good morning everyone!  I did my homework last night and have left a message for Dr. P this morning.  No Dr. P, the “swaying” that I experience while standing is NOT from my antipsychotics, but from my anticonvulsant Trileptal.  This is not a “balance problem.”  This started after I started Trileptal.  A side effect of Trileptal is ataxia, which generally goes away, but in my case, it hasn’t.  Ataxia is weakness of the extremities.  If I didn’t have this weakness, I may not have sprained my ankle!  I have checked everywhere on the web last night and this morning.  Yes, I am dead right Dr. P.  And no, standing with my feet apart is NOT an acceptable solution.

Yes, I can walk fine.  Yes, I can run fine.  But the treadmill is difficult.  I do okay, but my confidence is not so good, I hold on while I walk, and I don’t feel confident breaking into a run on the treadmill specifically (yes, I admit, I ran yesterday and the day before, and have been on the treadmill at the gym).  Even though I can walk fast on the treadmill and when I am out with Puzzle, how safe is it to do so if there is a risk of my stepping on a stone, and because of weak ankles, getting another sprain?

So, Dr P, I have already halved the Trileptal for tonight.  With or without your blessing.  Sorry.

My trip to see the neurologist for help with It

I went to see the neurologist today. It was a very interesting experience.  I talked his ear off about It.  I told him all about It and The Thing, which was the 1996-1997 version of It.  Here is my current version of my description of It, that I gave to the doctor:

Updated 4/7/2011

INFO ABOUT “IT”

I used to call it The Thing when I was 38-39.  I am older, and hopefully, wiser.  I turned 53 in the hospital.  My new name for it is “It.”

This is what happens:

First of all, I get pressure in my head.  Kind of a gooey feeling.  Not exactly a headache.  It is not painful at all.  In 1996 and 1997, this feeling ended up lasting for a fair portion of the day.  Lately, this has occasionally been the case…or not at all.

Then dizzy spell hits me.  It lasts 10 to 15 minutes.  Often it is an up and down feeling.

I get tingling around my lips, and occasionally my entire lips and jaw area.  Lately, I’ve been getting tingling around my upper arms as well.  Once, the tingling was all over my body, and I couldn’t stand up or walk.

Then, confusion.  My thoughts are all jumbled.  They make no sense to me.  Still, I am able to speak and communicate with others, but barely.  At this point, I am completely uncertain as to whether I am making any sense at all.

It gets worse.  I can no longer speak in sentences and don’t make much sense.  It is interesting that I am generally aware of this but can’t control it.  It’s like my thoughts aren’t right so I can’t get the right words out.  Once, when I was in this state, I was given a PRN, and spilled the water all over myself while trying to drink it.

In the hospital, there were a handful of times when I was completely unable to rise from a seated position off of my bed for extended periods.  This has happened a few times since coming home in my desk chair, but not for as lengthy periods, only for about three or four minutes.  This was in January.

In 1997, I had a problem I called “torture,” which was a phase of The Thing in which The Thing performed mental torture on me, but I was able to verbally communicate with others.  This returned as of 1/30/11.

It is became more and more like a person or being, but this is no longer the case.

Haldol stops this problem in 15-30 minutes, 45 on rare occasions.  Now and then, the Haldol doesn’t work.  Taking Haldol in the morning will not prevent It.

It lasts 45 minutes to four hours.  I get one to three Its a day, sometimes not at all.  I generally don’t experience It late at night, and never in the wee hours.  It is unpredictable.  I never know when I will get It.

I had double vision, vertical diplopia, for a year.  But I have had significant vision change and need to see the eye doctor soon (I am overdue) because I can’t see out of my glasses.   I saw the eye doctor in December and he said I needed new glasses, but I know there have been more changes since then.  He referred me to an eye muscle specialist to see about the double vision.  I have not yet made the appointment.

In 1996 and 1997 I had every test in the book done: MRI, EEG, EEG telemetry, even hormone testing, and they found nothing wrong.

While this is going on, I do not feel hunger, nor do I feel the urge to urinate.  I am generally unable to eat, but I am able to force myself to drink water.

If I limit my sleep to six hours or less, I do not experience It.  If I get six hours and fifteen minutes or more, I get It.  This was an amazing discovery.  So I learned to control It.  I am comfortable sleeping five and a half to six hours a night.  Occasionally, I need a nap during the day, and when I do, I sleep for 15 minutes, and then feel rested.

Before I learned to control It, my life was completely unmanageable.  Since I discovered the sleep trick, I have been able to manage my life.  Unfortunately, I occasionally oversleep.

The doctor asked me many questions, and looked at my EEG findings, which didn’t show much.  There were temporal lobe irregularities, which he said were probably unrelated, could be from the medication, and were inconsequential.  He doesn’t think It is a seizure.  He has no explanation, however, for the consistent numbness in my lips and head pressure and dizziness.  He did say, though, that if It was a seizure, Haldol would make it worse, not better.

So that’s where we stand with It.  He said it’s a good thing I discovered the “sleep trick” to control It, and that nothing needs to be done because I am improving.

You see, the whole reason I got It in the hospital was because I got eight hours of sleep every night, at least.  That explains it completely.  I came home and started limiting myself again, and got immediate relief.

Most of the time, I wake up before the alarm rings.  Occasionally, I wake up with the alarm.  Knowing that I’m doing this to avoid It and improve the quality of my life makes it easier to get out of bed in the morning.

Check out this link regarding reducing sleep to control depression

Check out this link.  Check out page 750:

http://books.google.com/books?id=u-ohbTtxCeYC&pg=PA750&lpg=PA750&dq=reducing+sleep+to+control+depression&source=bl&ots=9gszpec2wQ&sig=4HlIClJuH9cOBQxsj3nM5-Sjpo0&hl=en&ei=RlWeTe3gLpGC0QHPm82cBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CEUQ6AEwBTgK#v=onepage&q=reducing%20sleep%20to%20control%20depression&f=false

So there is “method to my madness.”  I sleep five and a half to six hours a night to keep It away.  Reducing my sleep seems to work.  If I sleep six hours and fifteen minutes, or more, I get It.  I’m not certain how much I am changing the amount of REM I am getting, but if what I am doing works, I figure I should keep on doing it.  One problem I see happening is that I require fewer and fewer hours of sleep each night as time goes on. Six months ago, I needed six and a half hours of sleep at least.  Now, six feels fine, and often I’m comfortable with five and a half.  So to avoid getting It, I need to limit my sleep to only what I need and no more, which means less and less as the months go by.

Less sleep?  The writer in me is delighted.