Thursday, January 22, 2015

My downward spiral.

Have you ever been so tired and uncomfortable that you could sleep for a week? I have slept for weeks at a time. I have had at 4 or 5 major episodes in my life since I can remember. The first one when I was in elementary school, 4th grade maybe 5th. I called myself in sick for several weeks. Skipped school to stay in bed sleeping or watching TV. Exhausted. Bad stomach and hip pain. Took an xray where I had to swallow some chalk liquid. Never found anything wrong.

There were several small times in high school. I would just sleep all weekend.

There was the time when I left my ex-husband because he had been beating me. There had been many occasions where he had sent me to the hospital. The first time he had been beating me in the head. They said that if I had been hit one more time in the head I would have been dead. Another time he had broken my jaw. The very last time I had suffered bad hematomas to every major muscle group of my entire body. As soon as I got out of the hospital I took our baby and left. I hadn't hardly slept the whole year and a half we were together. When I finally got to my grandma's house I slept an entire week while she took care of my baby. I couldn't do anything else.

Then I was living with my ex-fiance. It had been going good for a year. His kid and my kid lived with us. I was working and I felt great. I cleaned house, cooked, went out together, took the kids places, and even helped him with his business. I found out I had gotten trichomoniasis. At that time I was told it was something that just happened. I now know that it is a STD. Then I got sick. I don't remember getting a stuffy nose or anything. I just felt huge body weariness. I couldn't stay awake. Then my neck started hurting really bad. I couldn't work. It felt like I had the flu. I went to the doctor who prescribed medication after medication. It messed me up so bad that I ended up in a psychiatric hospital because I couldn't stop crying. I now know it was because of all the medicines. I recovered a little but then we split up. He moved me out while I wasn't home. When I got to my mom's house I was very tired. Exhausted. It took everything I had to move my stuff and I needed my friend's help. I kept getting more and more tired. Eventually I crashed. I slept for an entire week. I couldn't get out of my bed except to pee. Even then I was unsteady on my feet and I felt drunk. I was very out of it for an entire week. Thank goodness I was living with my brother who helped me take care of my son who was in first grade. After that I got better slowly and went back to work.

Which brings up to the next time. I had been at the job for almost a year. It was a desk job. I answered phones and sold phone services. After awhile my neck started to hurt. It got so bad that I couldn't move. I had to quit my job. I couldn't get out of bed again. My son was in 3rd grade. Again he was taking care of himself. I could only get out of bed to pee or get a drink. I started having bad migraines. Once again doctors tried meds. I had migraine meds, amytriptyline, muscle relaxers, wellbutrin, and a few other things plus constant ibuprofen and Tylenol. The way they just let me suffer through the pain of the migraines and my neck without giving me pain meds was ridiculous. But I had a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. The next few years were rough. I was disabled. There would be no more working for me. I couldn't even take a shower most days let alone feed my kid. We were still living with my brother though.

Over the next 5 years I tried everything they wanted me to in order to get better. I did their water physical therapy. I saw a therapist and went to a mental health group. These five years were when I had all my dental work done. One after the other all my teeth became infected. They all needed root canals and crowns. Some needed pulled. My gums were very infected and I needed major help. I am lucky. I didn't end up with dentures. My dentist is awesome and did his best to let the 28 yr old woman keep her original smile. I even ended up with a whiter smile because of the crowns instead of the permanent yellow color they had been before. I think battling these infections caused the overwhelming fatigue. Once it was under control I started getting better, but never as good as I had been before. I was able to start cleaning and cooking again, visiting friends, and being with my son. During this time I met my now husband. I was able to do everything but work.

Then we had a baby. The whole time I was pregnant and had a newborn, he was gone. He would stay at friends houses after work and get drunk. He was hardly ever home and when he was he was drunk. We stopped having fun together and I started to resent him. Every time he didn't come home I would get real upset and have panic attacks and cry myself to sleep. I would feel dull for days afterwards. I will always be resentful of how this affected my pregnancy. It got better after she was 2 months old. We were given custody of his older daughter by the state. They were involved and monitored my husband's every move. He had to be sober. It was the best part of our relationship ever. He was emotionally available, home, and helping with the kids. I recovered again. Mostly. Until the court case was over and he started doing his stuff again. I was upset a lot but I could still handle the kids and house. I even got pregnant again, on accident. Slowly over the years everything got better, but I am sure the stress of living with an uncontrolled alcoholic was just as damaging as my abusive ex husband because of my existing PTSD.

Here are the good years. I cleaned house, figured out medical problems, started the FM diet, got the EDS diagnosis, was doing yoga at the YMCA, lost 30 lbs, had no infections, read my kids bedtime stories, and was active at their school and started church. I would get tired in the winter, but I could still make it to church and do my work. Then I got pregnant with our last child. The pregnancy went well even if their were some stresses. My husband had to have eye surgery. We also had some very stressful moments over our sex life that started some bad fights. We had had long term issues with what I wanted out of a relationship in terms of emotional availability and they came to a head towards the end of this pregnancy. I was still doing well though. I gave birth to our son at home. It made my husband happy, It was the first son he had fathered. It seemed to help him to get better and he has become more emotionally available. There was very little stress in our relationship at this point. I was cleaning house, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, making homemade bread, following our diet, doing yoga and bodyflow, swimming with the kids, camping, walking, going to church and being active in the Sunday school even attending meetings. I even went to Chicago for 3 days with the youth group. I walked for days and felt energized when I got back home. I lost the baby weight again, an entire 35 lbs. My hips weren't falling out of socket and I had more energy.

I finally decided that I was done trying to use birth control. I went in to get sterilized. I had already lost one tube to ectopic pregnancy. Getting my other tube tied carried the risk of another ectopic and it maybe undoing itself. So I asked the Gyn to just remove the other tube. Recovery went well and I was back on my feet within 2 a few days. I still had to take it easy for 2 weeks because of the EDS. I didn't want to rip anything open.

My best friend and my grandma died within 2 weeks of each other. It was very hard and i grieved very hard. But still I felt good. I spent the next year helping to clean out her house. I had the energy to do that and to run my own life and clean my own house.

A few months passed then I started getting more tired again. I couldn't control my anger. I started snapping at the kids and calling them names. I walked around the house acting like an angry alcoholic but I wasn't drinking. I had weaned my nursling months ago. It seemed like everything anybody did felt like they were doing it on purpose to hurt me and cause me pain. It wasn't overwhelming but it wasn't nice for anybody living with me. I thought I was just stressed out. There were upsetting things happening at church and I thought I was just sad about them. I stayed home and tried to rest while doing housework. I could still walk the kids to school but I found myself yelling at them all the time. They started getting depressed and stressed out.

I didn't know I had an infection. I had no fever, no pain, and no nausea. One day while having sex with the husband, I heard a pop and felt a gush of blood run down my vagina. It was messy like I had started my period. Even then it didn't hurt. I made an appointment with the gyn. By the time I got there I was dizzy and weak. I felt drunk all the time. I couldn't think straight, I couldn't walk straight. I was a mess. I shouldn't have been driving and I barely made it to my appt. I felt so bad I almost went to the hospital instead.  They did a vaginal ultrasound, didn't see anything, and gave me doxycycline. She said that it was most likely an infection and to take the antibiotics. For the next 2 weeks on the meds, I couldn't get out of bed without feeling like the town dunk. I slurred my words, ran into walls, stumbled around, and couldn't see very well. When I finished the antibiotics I thought that was it, I would feel better, but I didn't. My heart was doing funky things and I still felt drunk. I gave it another week until I got scared and went to the ER. I thought I was having a heart attack or the infection had come back.They found nothing wrong. They did blood tests, ultrasounds, abdominal cat scan with contrast, and a chest xray. They even tested for VDs and other infections. Nothing. Went to the cardiologist the next week. Diagnosed with neurocardiogenic syncope. I still don't know what caused the infection.

Since then my heart does funny things. The fludrocortisone they gave me got rid of all the personality changes though. I am forever grateful for that. I am not treating my children badly anymore. I have patience for them and talk to them. I still can't do much though. I still can't read them bedtime stories or walk them to school. I can barely do any housework. I have to choose between laundry and a shower. I can't put away clean dishes and then wash the dirty ones. I have to do one job one day and the other job the next day. Even then I will go a whole day doing nothing in between. Today I have done nothing really. I washed the pillows for the kids and dried them, made breakfast for the 2 younger kids, and called to make an appt. I didn't take the preschooler to school but I did call my dad and ask for help. I am more than just tired. It is like my muscles refuse to work and when I do get up, my heart rate picks up and I get exhausted that way.

I keep the hope that I will recover from this too. That with the warmer weather I will feel better and be able to go back to church and yoga. But I keep remembering last summer and how i was yelling at my kids. I am afraid there will be no getting better this time. Maybe this is my better after the infection. That thought leaves me paralyzed with fear. I had dreams of what it would like to have kids. Fishing with them, talking to them, walking with them, teaching them all the mysteries of the world. All they are learning is how to live with a chronically ill mother. 

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