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Archive for the ‘Insomnia’ Category

I am trying very hard to make updating here a regular part of my schedule. It can be tough to do, especially when there is no real news. After all my GI tests came back negative I was a bit at a loss. In general, I have IBS-D (no big surprise there). I am officially on a lactose-free diet for pretty much ever. It has been an easier transition than I expected, although I really miss cheese. I’m still doing daily probiotics and metamucil and take meds for it three times a day. I’ve figured out a few of my triggers. The next step is working with a nutritionist to establish an adapted FODMAP diet but I’m dragging my feet a bit… I’ve been doing better and I’m a little overwhelmed- I may wait until after the medical study I’m participating in wraps up next week.

The study has been going well, even if I’m struggling to meet my self-established goals. The support structure is a huge help, and having more tools in my treatment repertoire is a good thing. I saw my rheumatologist today and have a script for a new TENS unit (since my old one bit the dust). I’ll be swinging by a medical supply store soon- I don’t use it often, but it is really, really helpful to have when I need it. I have also been reminded how useful icing is. I really don’t like the cold (it makes my everything ache), but it really does help certain kinds of pain. The PT for the study also lined me up with some good exercises for my knee (I twisted it two weeks ago and I’m still getting back up to speed).

I’m still using the FitBit and will write a formal review when the study is over. I haven’t been doing great with tracking my food, but being able to record and evaluate my sleep patterns is really useful (I just have to remember to turn the sleep tracker setting on and off- I sometimes have trouble getting it to switch programs).  I haven’t lost much weight, but I haven’t gained any and can tighten my belt a notch and slip my wedding ring off easily again (when my hands aren’t swollen), which are both welcome progress markers.  :}

Hubby and I talked it over and decided that this isn’t a good time to buy a new house and we’re putting the hunt on hold. I am disappointed but also relieved- we’ll still be buying a house and moving eventually, but the timing just isn’t right at the moment. Hubby and the cats are keeping me sane, and I’m looking forward to the Independence Day weekend (even if I know my sleep will suck thanks to fireworks every night). I am still enjoying learning how to care for my betta fish (named Fish, because, seriously, I can NOT think of a name for him). After a bumpy start he’s doing well and we love giving him bloodworm treats- he’s so FIERCE!

Back to the subject of this post- my doctor is moving to a new location. I really like working with her, but the new office is not at all convenient, so I’ll be staying with my current practice and have been assigned to their new rheumatologist. I’ll really miss working with her and I’m a little sad but completely understand (her new practice will be closer to home for her). Overall, my pain is down and while I’m still frequently tired, I’m not fatigued (which is a huge improvement). My bloodwork still isn’t where we would like it to be, but at this point I’d be going back on oral chemo and I’m really hoping to not do that. I have three months before I meet with the new doc and we’ll she how my rates are then. *fingers crossed*

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This will probably be my main topic for a while, so it you find it as boring as dirt, please check back in a few weeks. Usually once I get my living space up to a certain standard of neat/organised then I calm down. And that’s really what all this is about- anxiety.

My anxiety is still the most difficult aspect of my health to be open about. I have been feeling overwhelmed lately, and I attack that by bringing my immediate environment under control. I get compliments at work all the time about how organised I am and how nicely decorated my office is. It’s very flattering, but when I say that I “have” to be organised or else I don’t function, well, the meaning just doesn’t get through. I keep my office in subdued lighting and very calm so I can focus and have a retreat when things are hectic. I sometimes I have to deal with very stressful situations for my job, so keeping a neutral environment is comforting when I have to do things that I know are anxiety triggers.

It doesn’t always succeed, unfortunately. Friday I found myself increasingly tense and on the verge of an anxiety attack. I left before things could get out of hand, but it’s very rare for me to “lose it” like that, especially at work. I have been off my anxiety meds for just about six months, but bad allergies and poor sleep for a week had put me on edge to begin with, and I just had no buffers left.

I think part of the anxiety stems from the fact that (if all goes well) in the next 6-12 months we’d like to sell our house and move someplace a bit nicer is the same area. I find myself looking around the house and thinking about what it will mean to get the house ready to sell, and pack everything up to move. We still have boxes that were never unpacked from our last move, and we have a lot more large pieces of furniture than we did last time around.

In all, channeling my anxiety into putter is good in the long run- it’s just an intensity of behaviour that I haven’t seen since before the anxiety meds, and I’m still readjusting. It’s good to get rid of the open container of spices that I last used in 2009, the over-the-counter treatments that have been replaced by prescriptions, and the three grocery bags of clothes that were too small for me one size ago and exploded all over the shelf in our closet and onto the floor. I am considering restarting my anxiety meds, but there are discussions with doctors going on (and I am changing away from my current endo, which was its own source of anxiety, so the new doctor might want to provide some input on any prescription changes).

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Cold Time

I’ve been down for the last few days with a nasty cold. It started with head congestion, so I took a night off from the CPAP but still slept lousy. Things began to loosen up and move down into my chest yesterday so I used the CPAP last night and discovered the horror of coughing with the mask on. I am back at work but still coughing more than I’d like and will probably take another night off from Das Machine (the new name for the CPAP, because CPAP sounds like the thing the girlie doctor does).

Just a few more days until the holiday break. I still have hopes of getting the rest of my cards our and ornaments on the tree before Christmas. Also planning to host dinner and do my first full turkey. I will probably need that week off afterwards to recover. Cheers!

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…and the second, since I didn’t post this yesterday.  ;}

The medical device rep came by the house and walked me through all the parts, care and use. I already had a pretty good idea between online research and that my sister was able to give me a tour when she was visiting (we have the exact same machine). One little detail I wasn’t prepared for, though- it’s a “for her” model, so, of course, it’s pink. He thought that I might like it. ‘Cause I’m a girl. Although he conceded that not all girl like pink. *sigh* I suspect they have more than they know what to do with so they’re not giving new folks on option. I’ll survive, but I am considering covering it with removable stickers, heh.

I am using the “nose pillow” mask. This is the least obstructive, so I can read with the mask on if I want. I also like it since is has the most minimal straps. The fuller nose version put pressure on the bridge of my nose, right where I broke it in my teens. Since my sinuses are one of my migraine triggers, I really didn’t need to risk aggravating that as well. Sadly, I have had a headache for 48 hours that is just barely under my migraine range. I really can’t tell if the two are related or not. I did increase the amount of humidity last night and that seems to have helped a little.

I am currently using the “extra small” nose pillow size. I have never been more aware of my deviated septum than when wearing the mask. There is definitely less air flow on the right side than on the left. I may move up to the small tonight and give that a try so that I don’t feel quite so constricted.

The first night I managed less than five and a half hours with the mask. The second night, it took me two hours to fall asleep (yay, insomnia!). They would prefer that I not take melatonin to help me get to sleep, but I really can’t afford to lie awake for hours on nights when I need to work. Thankfully, I was able to sleep in this morning, so I actually ended up wearing the mask for 9 hours even though I only slept about 7. Both mornings I took the mask off when I got up to take my early- morning meds. Once my schedule settles down, I expect to wear it 9:30 pm – 5:30 am most nights. There is a chance that once I have better quality sleep I won’t need as much, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. My minimum compliance requirement is four hours a night, and technically I can have a night or two without the mask, but I want to use this consistently for the best results.

So what else? I’m not doing a formal product review yet since I’m still learning the machine, but overall it’s very easy to use and the programming is straightforward. I might need a larger nightstand or to add a small table next to the bed so I’m not knocking things over and can read my alarm clock without the tube in the way. I will keep tweaking things while I learn the system better and become more comfortable with it- updates will follow.

I will say, despite very poor sleep the first night, I woke up feeling more rested than I had without the machine. Sadly, today my headache is overwhelming everything else. I have moved my allergy pill back to earlier in the day, which I hope with help the sinus headaches and keep things down to low roar.

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Had one of those days that didn’t at all turn out the way I expected. I started by waking up exhausted (no surprise there), but I got to work just fine and got a fair bit done. Unfortunately, our air conditioning unit had starting speaking in tongues on Friday.

(Now, for those in more northern climes, the lack of a/c in November may not seem to be much of an issue, and while Saturday was warm (mid-80s F), Sunday was cool with lovely breeze. That said, we did need to have it fixed before the three Cold days we have each winter when just throwing an extra blanket on the bed isn’t enough.)

Back to today.

We had been leaving messages with our usual appliance repair person but hadn’t gotten a call back and were beginning to wonder if he was gone visiting family for the holiday. I tried the actual a/c company and not only could they get someone that afternoon, but he called an hour and half earlier than I expected so I zipped out of work and got to the house just as he arrived. I have to say, that kind of responsiveness is pure luck, but I appreciate it.

I ate lunch while he worked, tried to keep the male cats out from underfoot (Navi was hiding, of course), and (since I can’t have someone visit my home without being terribly self-conscious about the current state of cleanliness, or lack thereof) I caught up on some housework. The final cost wasn’t too bad, it was a logical issue, and it was not something I could have fixed myself without a whole lot more knowledge about electrical systems than I possess, so I feel that the cost was justified. He was very nice and gave me some suggestions on how to prevent it from happening again (and that would probably also lower our energy costs).

By that time I only had three hours left in the work day, so I called out and went to do grocery shopping. I chose wisely. Between poor sleep, fierce allergies, stiffness from yardwork and heavy air pressure due to the afternoon front, I am not feeling well at all. I can tell that I am somewhat sick by looking at the items I bought at the grocery store and recognising just how random they are and the high percentage of comfort foods. *blush*

This is the time of year when I am finally resigned to Christmas items for sale everywhere and I start looking forward to the holidays. I bought stamps for my holiday cards and a few supplies for cooking seasonal goodies. I finished up a few crafting projects (left over from last December *cough cough*) and wrapped a few gifts that I already have on hand.  We’ve had some beautiful sunsets lately and it’s nice to see the ducks back on the pond again. The cool, gloomy weather is lovely for blankets and sweaters (albeit light ones) and the cats are extra cuddly and loaf-like, which I adore. There’s many family phonecalls this time of year, we have a family dinner to look forward to and a long weekend to relax, catch up, and relax some more.

There’s a lot to be thankful for.

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I woke up with a notable lack of spoons today. The cooler weather is lovely but definitely making my joints stiffer and more painful in the morning, so it was a real effort to get out of bed, especially since I’m still not sleeping well. Saturday I had a glorious 12 hours of sleep, but one good night’s sleep in two weeks only gets you so far.

A hot shower helped some of the stiffness (and I always feel better when I’m clean), but between that and getting dressed I ended up spending a couple more spoons. Breakfast was simple and I fed the cats, then laid back down on the couch and closed my eyes for a few minutes. If hubby wasn’t able to drive me to work I probably wouldn’t have made it in today.

Other than that, I love the cool weather since I can actually wear my sweaters and light scarves. Tomorrow night is my CPAP test so we’ll see how that goes. I am still losing weight- not a lot (maybe half a pound a week) but I’m pretty pleased at my progress so far. I had a slight setback the week my family visited (so. much. good. FOOD!) but even then gained less than I expected by being moderately careful. The weight loss should also help the sleep apnea. (Honestly, the weight loss should help EVERYTHING.)

I had my first allergy shot in a month, yesterday. First I had my flu shot (which went quite well) and an ant bite in the same week, then family in town, so that’s why the delay. It’s only a moderate reaction, so I’m glad about that. An eye doctor also opened right next door to my allergist, which is great timing since I picked up a nasty scratch in my line of sight on my right lens. It’s my bad eye so it’s not as bothersome as it could be, but still annoying. I am due for an eye exam anyway (it’s been 18 months) but still debating if I want new frames or not. I will definitely remember the progression lenses this time, though!

And speaking of all this medical stuff, I finally sorted out some things with my medical reimbursement card. I will not go into it too much here, since I am partially angry with the system and partially disappointed in myself. Basically, I could have saved on a bunch of out-of-pocket expenses. At least I am properly informed now, all late bills and fees are paid, and I can use the card for the rest of the year, but I find this sort of thing supremely frustrating.

I have been completely off my anxiety meds for a week now and it has been… rougher than I hoped. I did so well during the taper I thought that I was in the clear, but that is not the case. A combined new-grocery store (mild) anxiety attack and heavy nighttime traffic culminated in a teary breakdown on an unsuspecting hubby. I have to keep reminding myself to not keep this stuff bottled up- talking about it with hubby helps, and writing about it here. I may start seeing a new therapist, but overall I’m trying to keep my worries from triggering more anxiety. The irony is palpable.

In a way, being medicated for a year means that I now have to re-learn all my coping mechanisms for anxiety. I do feel like I better understand when I’m mildly depressed versus when I’m anxious, but my next big progress step will probably be putting anxiety in my category list on the side, here. Obviously, I’m not quite there yet.

In fun news, I had Monday off for Veteran’s Day and got lots of little jobs around the house caught up. It was a very relaxing and productive day- I could use a few more of those. I am also still casting around for holiday gift ideas- I really need to get on that. One of my neighbours already put up their Christmas decorations, which I think is just TOO EARLY. *grump*

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My family flew back home Monday and I miss them already! Unfortunately, between a busy work schedule, seasonal changes, and not sleeping well, on top of an unusual amount of driving for me and I’ve been kind of a wreck this week. I stayed home from work Tuesday which ate up the little sick time I had managed to accrue. I’ve been slogging through work the last day or two and am really looking forward to my three-day weekend to catch up on some sleep and housework. I also plan to hit the sports store and try out a couple of treadmills to determine which one I like best. (I will then mostly like order it online for less, heh.)

I am really enjoying the cooler weather, although my allergies are a bit haywire. Also, it is sadly not yet late enough in the season for biting insects and I ran out of bug wipes while travelling- so itchy! The fall time change is a relief though- it’s much closer to my natural sleep-cycle.

Anyway, just wanted to check in- it will take time to get back into posting regularly and re-build a buffer of articles, but I’m working on it!

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