Been tossing and turning for a couple of hours now. I want to be asleep, but the Akathisia is back. I hate this. I'm so scared.

I am going to stop taking the Abilify.
kevyn: (Default)
( May. 26th, 2009 09:00 am)
From Wikipedia:
"Akathisia, or acathisia, is a syndrome characterized by unpleasant sensations of 'inner' restlessness that manifests itself with an inability to sit still or remain motionless... ...Its most common cause is as a side effect of medications."

"Akathisia may range in intensity from a mild sense of disquiet or anxiety (which may be easily overlooked) to a total inability to sit still, accompanied by overwhelming anxiety, malaise, and severe dysphoria (manifesting as an almost indescribable sense of terror and doom). The condition is difficult for the patient to describe and is often misdiagnosed... ...High-functioning patients have described the feeling as a sense of inner tension and torment or chemical torture." (Emphasis mine)

And here's the kicker:

Akathisia is listed as THE most common side effect of Abilify.
From Wikipedia:
Common side effects: Akathisia, headache, unusual tiredness or weakness, nausea, vomiting, an uncomfortable feeling in the stomach, constipation, light-headedness, trouble sleeping, restlessness, sleepiness, shaking, and blurred vision. (Emphasis mine to indicate symptoms I have experienced since beginning Abilify)
I gotta get off of this stuff. It's making me miserable.
kevyn: (Default)
( May. 20th, 2009 09:59 pm)
This evening, I've experienced a bit of a mood swing, from despairing to feeling confident again. After feeling so down for a while, it's good to feel good again.

No doubt, this is in part because I've actually got something in my belly other than just carbs (tip o' the hat to [personal profile] detailbear for reminding me that my diet hasn't been so great lately), and in part because the Abilify dose is back down to the level where I feel good, and in part because of the good weather, and in part because I'm looking forward to this coming weekend at the Longhouse.

But whatever the reasons, I felt good enough and energetic enough this evening that I went for a short walk to the woods and back at 9:30 -- my second walk today! -- and am doing some thinking about my future and where I'm going. I'm even thinking about trying to work again... how's THAT for a mood swing?

In any case, I've got a lot to think about, and I have a feeling that things are going to start clicking into place here again... break time is over!
kevyn: (depressed)
( May. 18th, 2009 03:41 pm)
I'm not doing well right now. I'm tired all the time. Sleeping way more than 8 hours a day.

Between the anemia, the depression, and (maybe) the Abilify, I'm barely functional. Thankfully they've reduced the Abilify dose, back down to 5mg a day. I just wish they knew what was causing the anemia.

I got up around 09:00, took my meds, ate, read the news, and then went back to bed until around 13:30. Dressed, took the bus downtown to the Opportunity Council for my appointment with the energy assistance program (they're helping pay my electricity), and came home, and promptly collapsed back into bed.

While I was out, I had to sit down and catch my breath several times. I felt fearful, almost agoraphobic about being outside. WTF?

Tossed and turned a while, then got up and wrote this. That's the extent of my day so far.
My knees are starting to bother me again, seriously. I almost cannot straighten the left one out all the way, and am walking with a slight limp again.

I started off the day by taking the bus down to Haggen to go grocery shopping. After I got back, I rested a while, then went downtown to see my therapist at Interfaith. We talked about how I've been feeling really tired lately, and how I thought that quitting smoking and the anemia may be factors, and he suggested something I hadn't considered: I recently upped my dose of Abilify from 5mg to 10mg, and tiredness is a known side effect of the drug. Oho! I'll certainly be talking about this with my prescriber later this week!

While at the therapist's office, I stepped on the scale: 416 lbs. That's up 4 lbs from my previous highest. No doubt quitting smoking is a factor, but no wonder I feel so bad, I've gained weight!

I also went to the podiatrist to have my new orthotics checked out. mostly, they seem to be doing pretty good, so I don't need to go back unless I have any further problems with my feet and ankles.

This journal entry also marks my first regular entry on Dreamwidth, crossposting to LiveJournal. I am still trying to decide if I should fully migrate over there. So far, I like what I see, though I am annoyed that they, too, have a 1000 maximum on tags.
I just had my Abilify prescription filled for the month, and I noticed the amount RiteAid is billing the State of Washington for my 30 tablets: $549.99!

That's $18.33 per tablet!

Sheesh, this is why I can't afford to work right now -- I need the psych meds in order to function, and I can't afford the meds without insurance... but I can only work part-time, and I can't find a part-time job with full insurance! If I work, I lose my benefits, and then I won't be able to work...

We need Universal Health care so desperately in this country, free from the gouging insurance companies, and in order to keep the pharmaceutical companies in check. Single Payer. That's all there is to it. (Unfortunately, Obama has taken it off the table.)

Third worst mistake this country ever made (after slavery and First Nations genocide) was tying health care to employment. Big, big mistake.
I have more energy, drive, and motivation. Things are getting done. I've been tidying my nest. Emails are getting answered. I'm writing more. And my sex drive has returned.

Either the new meds are working, or the light is returning for Spring. I can't rule either one out. I'm rarely depressed in Spring. I haven't used my lightbox much this winter.

If I could be like this more, life would be sweet!
Thanks to the ministrations of two Goddesses, I have Naproxen Sodium (Aleve) now and OMG it's like Night and Day. The pain went from an 8 to a 4 within minutes. It still hurts, but nowhere near as much, and I know I'll be able to sleep tonight!

The cure came about when [ profile] tianas_knife (Cass, who lives down in Olympia) contacted our mutual friend [ profile] miss_westenra (Tina, who still goes to school up here), and explained my situation. A couple hours later, on her way to work, Tina stopped in and gave me a bottle of Naproxen! HALLELUJIA!

I told Tina I'd pay the favour forward. I am so grateful to both of them for arranging for this!

Did I mention it's like Night and Day?!? I'm not curling into a whimpering ball of pain when I move my leg!

OK, next time I promise not to let myself run out of the Naproxen before the end of the month again, and not put all of you through that again.
...please... help me....

Is there ANYONE in the Bellingham area that can bring me some Aleve (OTC Naproxen Sodium)

[ profile] seespikerun brought over some aspirin last night, bless him, which did help take the edge off the pain, enough so that I could rest some... but it really wasn't enough. I'm very grateful, though, Alex. Thank you.

But the only thing I've found that restores me to semi-functionality is Naproxen Sodium.

I'm desperate. I've been in excruciating pain and bedridden for three days, and no one has been able to run to the store for me to get some meds (or had some on hand).

I don't know what else to do now, except continue to cry out for help.

Do I have ANY friends in Bellingham who can help me?
kevyn: (depressed)
( Feb. 25th, 2009 08:08 am)
Yesterday's physical therapy really upped the soreness level of my feet, ankles and knees. I'm having more trouble than usual standing and walking. I'm sure this is normal from after a physical therapy session, starting to move parts that have gotten a little rusty. But this is made worse by the fact that I have NO OTC painkillers left. No Alleve, no aspirin, no Tylenol, nothing.

I don't get my monthly benefits until the 1st, and am broke until then. I really, REALLY desperately need some muscular-skeletal painkillers.

Please, can anyone help me?
So, I've graduated from University, and the state has cut me off the health care teat.

If anything happens to me now, I'm totally screwed.

It's unlikely I'll be able to get decent (much less affordable) health coverage during the time I'm temping, especially with my myriad pre-existing conditions (major depression, sleep apnea, anemia, heart trouble, obesity, carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar fasciitis, and high blood pressure).

Basic Health, the State of Washington's health care plan for low-income people, banned me from coverage for a year after I couldn't pay the premiums last fall. I don't know if I can get back on there or not. Even if I can, the waiting list may be 6 months or longer.

I have enough anti-depressants to last the month, but after that, I'll be back to no meds.

I really like the CPAP for my sleep apnea, and it really helps, but it turns out Medicaid was only RENTING it for me, so it's likely I'll have to return it. That means the very thing that is helping me become more stable and energetic and able to work will be yanked out from under me.

The USA: Where health care is a for-profit industry. If you can't afford it, too bad, fuck you and DIE.

I fucking hate the United States of America. I really, really do. I am so very, very disgusted with the monster this country has become.
I met with Dr. Gober at the student health center yesterday, and she said my lungs sound great now, all clear, no rales (noises in the lungs). It appears that the azithromycin did the trick. Everyone was so focused on the drug interactions, the fact that I smoked, and the severity of my shortness of breath, that no one except Dr. Gober stopped to consider that it may have been a simple case of pneumonia.

After a 5-day regimen of antibiotics, my lungs cleared right up, and I am breathing normally again. It wasn't asthma, COPD, or anything else, just a case of pneumonia, coupled with bad drug interactions from the lithium & carvedilol.

That issue settled, now it's on to two unresolved medical concerns:

The first is the anemia question. I am still anemic, and it is clearly affecting my energy levels... and no one can figure out *why*. This is frustrating. Dr. Gober ordered a whole battery of blood tests -- they took four vials of blood from me -- and are trying to pin down the cause. So far my iron levels are normal, the white blood cell and platelet counts are normal, and I don't appear to have a history of anemia, so we're all puzzled. The next step will probably be a visit to a gastroenterologist to see if I am bleeding in my intestines somewhere, perhaps from a polyp.

The second issue is the sleep apnea. That's going to affect all sorts of things: energy level, depression, heart function, weight, metabolism. I know I have severe sleep apnea -- most of my lovers have told me I stop breathing frequently in my sleep, and I know it wakes me up sometimes in the middle of the night, often dreaming about drowning and fighting my way to the surface -- and it looks like I need to do something about it. In other words, get a CPAP, something I have resisted doing for about 8 years, since I had my first sleep study. But things are so bad for me now, physically and emotionally, that it seems time to do something about it, especially given that I have insurance coverage from the state.

I just hate the idea of being encumbered by the damn thing.
I've definitely physically felt somewhat better over the last few days, since the ER visit, and then stopping the carvedilol and lithium. Emotionally, I'm still a basket case.

Today I went in to see my MD, and she had some interesting news:

I may have walking pneumonia.
At least I don't have a blood clot in my lung )
kevyn: (Default)
( May. 14th, 2008 06:28 pm)
The shortness of breath, getting really winded while walking, tightness in my chest, coughing, the inability to take a full breath... it's all gotten much worse over the past 24 hours. I could hardly sleep last night, my breathing has become shallow and laboured, I have to work at it.

I'm amazed I made it through classes today.

At first, I thought it was all about the weight gain, fat displacing the available area for my lungs to fill. But now I'm beginning to wonder if it's an allergic reaction to something, possibly the Carvedilol.

I think it's time to go to the hospital. Thankfully, my medical benefits have been reinstated.
I got a letter from the Washington DSHS today, saying they are discontinuing my medical coverage and monthly cash benefits, effective immediately. (For some reason, I'm still getting food assistance, though).
A plea for financial help )

Let me reiterate this point: I'm asking for LOANS, not handouts. I will repay any money I receive as a result of this plea (Plus 10% interest. Seriously.)

Think of this as an investment in me, my education, and my future. Any amount will help.

Thank you.

Donate here:

I met with my Psychiatrist today for the first time in months (since I sat out of school Fall Quarter, I wasn't eligible to see her).

She and I agreed to keep me on the Fluoxetine, instead of putting me through another med change by switching back to Zoloft (eek! That last switch was HELL, as those of you who read my journal know!), but we did up the dosage from 60mg to 80mg per day. I'm fine with that, though I just wish the Prozac wasn't killing my sex drive, with a new boyfriend and all...

She also wants to put me on ADHD medication, Vyvanse, which is an Adderall product... BUT... she can't try me out on it until I get my blood pressure back down. It was 150/88 today, which is high for me, though my weight seems to be holding steady at 386. Once I get it back down to 135/85, she'll give me a free month's worth of Vyvanse. AND, after that first month, if it looks like it's working well for me, I'll need to find a way to cough up $150/month. *cough*
Had a followup appointment with the P.A. at Interfaith Medical Clinic this morning (which is why I missed DVR Job Club today).

We've upped the Fluoxetine to 60mg/day, close to where I was before back in the 1990s.

No comment from her on my blood pressure: 140/90. Pulse: 80 bpm. Weight: 389 lbs. She did ask if I was getting any exercise, to which I answered "yes, some" -- which is true. I've been taking guests and friends up to the Sehome Hill Arboretum a lot lately, which gets me out of the house.

If all goes well, with school registration, then I won't have to see the staff at Interfaith anymore - I'll be a student come January and have access to the Student Health Centre, which has far superior care to the free clinic.
OK, I've now been on the Fluoxetine at 20mg a day for 5 days. So far, so good, with only a few instances of suicidal thoughts, bursts of rage, self-destructive behaviour and binge eating. Starting a new regimen of antidepressant meds can trigger all of these things in me, which has happened over the past 5 days. I actually was "stable" in my depression before starting the meds, and was warned by the prescribing P.A. that the early stages of taking this med could be rough. She was right.

Today I up the dose to 40mg, as prescribed. It could be a roller coaster ride for the next few days, so be warned. Buckle your safety belts, please keep arms and legs inside the ride at all times, and enjoy your visit to Disneyland.
kevyn: (Default)
( Oct. 31st, 2007 06:02 pm)
So, I finally got to see a new Physician's Assistant today. She decided to prescribe Fluoxetine (Prozac), so I am back on that again. I was on it for years back in the 90s, but it stopped working. "Prozac Poop-Out," the phenomenon is called. She said it's possible it will work again now that I've been off of it for a few years, and it's covered by the state.

Of course, it takes 2-3 weeks minimum to start working, so we'll see.
I'm still without antidepressant meds due to bureaucratic snafus, and have been barely holding it together. I'm supposed to be going to the Dept. of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) seminar tomorrow morning, so why am I still awake tossing and turning and unable to sleep? My brain is going a thousand rpm, and the dark cloud that envelopes my soul is still there.

I'm still waking up in the mornings, disappointed that I hadn't died in my sleep.

Click here if you want to read more depressive ramblings )


kevyn: (Default)


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