It’s Nice When They Go Well

I was anxious as I drove to my appointment today. 😐 Even after I had checked in and was walking down the hallway to his office, I still wasn’t sure if I was going to decide to stop seeing him or not. But once I got to sit down and talk with him, it made my decision to continue going there an easy one. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ™‚ I explained how the IME doctor’s report made it seem like my treatment there should be something that demands great concern, with all of the “scary” things that were implied, and (even though we obviously continued our conversation) his reaction told me all that I needed to know. 😏 In a good way.

One of the first things he said, was that it was absolutelyΒ fine if I decided to no longer continue my appointments with him. Not only because my primary care doctor could prescribe the same relatively run-of-the-mill meds that he currently does, but also because he wouldn’t want it to cause me any unnecessary problems with my WC case, as ridiculous as the questioning of my mental health may be. 😎 See, that’s how a doctor should be… giving me his blessing to stop going there, even though he’d be losing a paying client, because he wants to do what is best for me.

That in itself made me decide to schedule at least one more appointment with him, about two months from now… not only so he could follow up on me, but so I could also follow up with him and let him know how the (yet to be scheduled) hearing went. He also said that he’d be happy to write a rebuttal report as well, setting the record straight when it comes to my treatment, as well as correcting other facts that the report got undeniably wrong. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ€“ Because, as you’d expect, having another doctor doing things that serve to further the stigma of mental health care… 😟 I don’t think he appreciated it. 😏

So I felt much better leavingΒ that appointment than I did when I arrived, and to let my thoughts stay on that positive path – I took most of the rest of the day off when it came to checking messages, watching the news, or doing anything else that could possibly subject me to negative stuff. πŸ™ˆπŸ™‰πŸ™ŠπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ And now that I have started catching up on the news tonight… 😯 Goodness. I think I made the right choice in avoiding it for the better part of the day. Our government is a mess, man…

World Mental Health Day

(Just got done writing this one. Heh… sorry, it turned out way longer than I anticipated, but here we go…)

Any time you get on Twitter and scroll through your feed, you see any number of people posting something because it’s a “National (whatever) Day” of some sort. Usually it’s not… but it gives folks a good excuse to post cute pictures of their cat, dog, kid, or whatever – but after seeing several posts and doing a quick google, it turns out today really is World Mental Health Day.

It’s meant to raise awareness, show support for folks getting or needing mental health care, and to also reduce the stigma that’s sometimes involved. Often involved, actually. πŸ˜’ For example, a while back at one of my primary care doctor appointments I was discussing some of the things in my life that were causing me anxiety. My disability, pain, the (then) newly discovered cancer, Mom being sick and now having passed, other close friends dying from cancer, dealing with workers comp, etc… 😟 like I told her – stuff that would probably cause anyone to feel stressed. I was just telling her so she’d have the full story, but she said she could refer me to a counselor if I wanted to talk to someone about it. πŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Seemed like a good idea to me. Sometimes just being able to let out your stress or anxiety to someone that’s not involved in your life in any way… it can just take a little bit of the weight off. I saw her like once a month for a few months, and she said she could refer me to their in-house doctor to see if there was any medication that might be able to help. I wasn’t really interested, since I was feeling an appropriate amount of “bleh” in regards to the stuff that was causing it… but I went ahead and took her suggestion.

I now see that doctor about once every six or eight weeks, and I’ve actually got an appointment with him tomorrow where I’ll need to make a decision. πŸ€” Because, despite this feeling like a normal series of doctor visits – just as if I was dealing with a physical health condition – the fact that this doctor gives me medication to help with my anxiety is now being used against me. 😠 And being used against me by the last person that I would expect to further the stigma surrounding mental health care… another doctor. ☹️

And when I say “mental health care” … I don’t even take any type of super serious medication, and I haven’t been diagnosed with any extreme disorders. Until this hiccup happened, I looked at this doctor and my treatment there as “Yeah, I guess it makes me feel a little better maybe… or at least I know it’s not making me feel worse… so I guess I’ll continue going.” Like, in my mind, it was barely a thing, but I continued going since it was now part of my current medical routine.

But when I had to go to the independent medical evaluation for the workers comp system (a week or so before getting that second radioactive iodine dose and scan for my cancer followup) one of the things discussed with that doctor was what medical treatment I was currently getting, and from who. (Regardless if it was related to my WC injury or not, to get a complete picture…) So of course I talked about the cancer doctor and treatment, my WC doctor and treatment, and then my PCP doctor and referral regarding the mental health care.

Now, these exams, they’re initiated by my former employer’s insurer, so of course they’re rarely going to be helpful to my cause. So I expected him to say certain things, but I never expected that being treated by a doctor for occasional anxiety would essentially be “weaponized” and used against me the way that it is. 😟😞 Because this doctor took the names of the two meds I’m prescribed, and picked some of the absolute worst possible reasons that I may be taking them. You know how almost every medication has one “thing” it is known for treating, but then it can also be used for treating a half dozen or more other things?

You could even do this test on yourself. Just grab whatever meds you take, get on WebMD, pick out the most extreme, “worst case scenario” possible uses for each medication, and see how close that sounds – compared to what you’re actually taking them for. 🧐 That’s what this doctor did to me. Taking what is run-of-the-mill, minor anxiety treatment to me, and twisting it into all sorts of implied, speculative, “concerning” mental conditions that could be so severe that they even affect how I interpret / talk about my pain and disability. πŸ˜§πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜  Reading those things in his report was honestly shocking. πŸ₯Ί

The funny thing is, for most people… just the pain that I deal with each day, and the sheer amount of things that I can no longer do due to the disability in my left shoulder and arm… just those things alone are enough reason that a person might want to include anxiety treatment in their normal medical routine. And I was doing it mostly because another doctor suggested it, and it sounded like a “might as well” thing, rather than me desperately needingΒ it or seeking it out. And now it has bitten me in the ass. πŸ™„πŸ˜’

Well, maybe it has bitten me in the ass. (Maybe the commission will see right through it, as they should.) I won’t know how his report will affect my worker comp case until the hearing is scheduled and all of the doctors’ information (from both sides) is reviewed. But now I’m stuck, wondering if tomorrow I should let this doctor know that I no longer need his services. πŸ˜ŸπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ He probably helps me a little bit, but it’s certainly something that I could do away with if it’s going to damage the treatment that I get for my work injury. It’s obviously more important (and logical) for me to want to keep the treatment that keeps my pain to a minimum, which also helps keep my stress and anxiety to a minimum.

Yeah, so anyway, it’s a bit of a clusterfuck… and, unfortunately, anyone that reads my story here… anyone that may have been considering seeing a counselor or psychiatrist for the first time… they’ve now got something to add to their mental “nope” list when it comes to the pros and cons of seeking any type of mental health treatment. πŸ˜’ I don’t take it personally, what the “independent” doctor wrote. I understand that his job is to come up with all of the “worst case scenario” stuff that he can, since my doctors will obviously be talking positively about all of the ways that my current treatment is as effective as the WC situation will allow.

I guess I look at those types of doctors the same way that you might look at public attorneys who are appointed to defend obvious criminals in court. They still have to give that defense their maximum effort, even if it goes against what many people would consider to be “right.” That doctor has chosen that job for reasons only he would know… so I can only hope that sometimes he stops to think about the effect that his actions have on us folks who rely on our WC treatment to keep our pain and lives at least tolerable. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜Ÿ

Happy World Mental Health Day 2019. πŸ˜’πŸŽ‰

Unfortunately… Nope

This will be a lengthy entry.Β Β πŸ€”Β  Although, I suppose that’s typical for me and the blog… 😏

A few days after going to my full dose of Paxil, one in the morning and one at night, the side effects that I hoped would go away were actually getting much worse. 😳 So over the past couple of days I’ve weaned myself back off… and today was the first day I started feeling close to my normal “normal.” 😟

The biggest problem was the tremors. Any time I would yawn, which was a lot,Β probably due to the new med… every time I would yawn, my left shoulder and arm would start shaking uncontrollably – sometimes lasting up to 30 seconds before it would calm. 😧 And then it started doing it with my other shoulder as well, to where eventually when I yawned (and even when I wasn’t) I’d honestly compare the tremors to what you would see in a person with Parkinson’sΒ disease. πŸ˜₯ I suppose it makes sense, as the disease is related to dopamine problems and that’s often something that psych meds mess around with as well.

The daily waking up in a near panic attack… that didn’t stop either. And when on the full dose, taking the morning dose was no longer relieving the anxiety when I took it. So, it was waking up with severe anxiety, taking the pill (along with my others) that was supposed to help with anxiety, only to have it then stay around all day. 😣 Awesome. πŸ™„ That was reason enough for me to reconsider if I wanted to continue taking it… and I really did want to give it a chance, to wait out the side effects to see if they’d pass. But you have to remember, after my work injury, the main thing that my doctor and I had to work on for a long time was getting my left shoulder with the nerve damage to stop randomly shaking.

So not only was the new med increasing my anxiety, but it had brought back the uncontrollable shaking in my left shoulder, which always leads to much more pain by the end of each day. πŸ˜’πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ So I hope most people would understand why I wasn’t willing to “just keep hoping it’ll pass” while possibly risking it getting worse or even becoming permanent again.

It’s disappointing, but again I’m experiencing the “Ahhh” of just losing all of those awful and scary side effects, and returning to my “normal” self… which now feels like a relief – hopefullyΒ returning just to “how I was” a couple of weeks ago. πŸ™‚Β (The tremors weren’t gone today, but they’ve lessened quite a bit.) And with my thyroid doctor calling today and wanting to accelerate the next step with that issue, I just don’t think I’d be able to do it while essentially fighting against the side effects of the Paxil. The next step with my thyroid stuff is gonna be difficult enough as it is. πŸ€•

More on that when I know more. (Although I’m gonna try to squeeze in a subjectively more positive entry between this one and that one.) But in the mean time, I’m still wondering if sometimes it’s in the doctor’s plans, or at least something that they know can happen – where a medication that is supposed to help makes you feel so awful that when you stop taking it, you actually feel happier and more relieved just to be back to how you were. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ€¨ Because boy, that’s been the trend with me, the few times I’ve been prescribed something by a shrink. 😏

  • Just to cover my ass, I’m not saying with any type of certainty that the Paxil definitely caused all of the symptoms that I was experiencing while taking it. It’s possible that all of the things that I considered “side effects” were completely unrelated… this is just my account of how things went while I was taking it.

Adjustment

At my most recent shrink appointment, he prescribed Paxil and Lamictal. He spooked me with the Lamictal though, so I haven’t started taking it yet. Serious talk about the possibility of a rash that could mean something very bad. 😳 So it’s a difficult medication to “sell” when someone already has high anxiety. But the Paxil, the first week (which is now done) I was to take only one in the morning. Now, I’m supposed to take one in the morning and one at night. I’m hoping that will help the problem that I’ve noticed all this week.

I’m also going to start the Lamictal tonight as well. I just never like starting two new meds at the exact same time, because then whether I experience a benefit or a side effect, you can’t know which one was the cause… although I suppose sometimes you don’t get the benefit or side effect unless you’re taking both of them. 🧐

This past week, even though I usually slept well, every time that I’d wake up the next day I would have instant severe anxiety already happening. 😣πŸ˜₯ Now, it’s not like this is the first time that this has happened… and I know it sounds bad to describe it this way, but sometimes when anxiety is so bad, it’s just the disappointment of waking up that triggers it. 😐 Oof, yeah, that sounds way worse than I intend it to. But yeah, it was random before, but it’s been a constant since I’ve started taking the Paxil in the morning. So hopefully now that I’ll be taking an evening dose as well, maybe that’ll change how I wake up.

That’s the one positive though… as long as I take it immediately upon waking up in a near panic attack, the feeling actually goes away relatively quickly. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚ So I’m still hoping this will be something good, and it’s just a matter of getting on the right dosage. And yeah, it’s probably a little weird that I’m just putting this all out here for anyone to read – but it’s not like I’ve tried to keep the “twitchy” side of me a secret. 😏 And I really do know the majority of the things that have triggered it (and keep triggering it) so it’s not like I’m staggering around in the dark, unable to see the boogeyman.

It’s not a permanent solution, because it’s not a good solution, but part of me getting my head straight is by cutting myself off from people for a while. 😞 As I’ve described it before, my empathy is like a horrible super power that I’ve got… and when I know so many people that are going through so many awful things, I absorb the feelings that they’re experiencing regarding many of those things. 😣 Add that on top of my medical stuff, my workers comp stuff, my disability, etc… and unfortunately the easiest way to reduce anxiety is by avoiding the sources (and even potential sources) other than my own. πŸ₯Ί Then (I’m hoping) once I’m in a better place, I’ll be better able to function like a “normal” human and bring myself back into the fold. I don’t know if it’s a good plan, but it’s a plan…

EDIT:Β  Jesus… maybe I’m not quite ready to risk this Lamictal. 😯 I shouldn’t have googled.Β 

Grumble

I had Bri around for a few days. I hadn’t been able to spend much time with her since Christina passed, partly due to schedules, partly due to my radiation stuff still going on… but yeah, the last few days have been nice with her around. I don’t need to entertain her, there was plenty of Netflix, Plex, and YouTube, and we were both probably more productive with whatever stuff we needed to work on than had we not been each other’s company. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚

Had to wake up before the sun rose this morning, to make sure I’d make it to my 8-o-fucking-clock doctor appointment, and I’m still in a shit mood about it. 😠 I’ve never been excited about any type of mental health care… heh… and I suppose it shows sometimes, but yeah, this was my first real session with a shrink shrink, and getting medications that he thinks will help me be less twitchy. Meh… I’m trying to not even think about it much right now and I’m gonna just see how it goes.

I can’t be bothered with all that stuff right now though because, yet again, I’m doing the monthly fight to get my workers comp medications. 🀬 You know, the same medication that I’m apparently being accused of not getting filled and not picking up like I should. Is that what they’re trying to use against me? That they force me to completely run out and sometimes have to wait days before the next prescription is finally approved? Are they holding that “delay” against me? Yeah, I don’t feel like talking about that right now. πŸ˜’

I swear though, next month’s calendar is already peppered with doctor and other appointments. Half of them are actually still related to the thyroid cancer treatment, but now there’s PCP appt, workers comp doc appt, thyroid stuff, talky shrink, pill shrink… bleh… it’s making me tired just looking at it. Gonna try to continue to make some changes at my next WC appointment as well, which might not go easily… I’m just tired of going to a pain management place while still being in pain each day. πŸ˜– Something obviously isn’t working quite right and I deserve to have it changed in order to improve my treatment and my condition.

Yeah… already done with today, man…

C’est la vie

Well, I suppose it was bound to happen one of these days, considering the amount of appointments and other obligations that I’ve got… but this morning I completely blew past my scheduled appointment with the psychiatrist. 😬 It was scheduled at 9am, so I knew it was gonna be a struggle, but I really thought I’d be fine. I mean, I haven’t missed any of my other stupid-early appointments… but I didn’t manage to fall asleep until after 4am, so meh… whatever, I guess. πŸ˜’

I shouldn’t look at it this way, but when I’m keeping up with all of the other stuff I need to be keeping up with, waiting a little bit longer to bring in the doctor that provides the happy pills… yeah, I guess I’m just not that worried about that. 😡 And I know, mental health is probably as important as physical health, but hey… I’ve got the counselor now, and I’ve already got that next appointment scheduled, so that’ll have to be good enough for the time being.

The two offices are related though, so I’m not sure if ghosting the pharmaceutical shrink will have any affect when I go to the talky shrink. 😐 I’ll give ’em a call on Monday and make nice and see what they say. I did make it to the dentist though a few hours later, so I can report that maintenance on the lower part of my mouf is now finished and those teefs are about as good as they’re gonna get. πŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ‘πŸ» The permanent crowd actually feels really natural, although I’ve been afraid to look too closely in the mirror in case it looks wonky.

The Rest of My Month Looks Fun

  • γ€°PharmacyΒ  /Β  monthly visit to jump through hoops for meds
  • γ€°PsychiatristΒ  /Β Β intake appointment
  • γ€°DentistΒ  /Β  temp crown removal and permanent crown installation
  • γ€°EndocrinologistΒ  /Β  injection #1 prior to 131 treatment
  • γ€°EndocrinologistΒ  /Β  injection #2 prior to 131 treatment
  • γ€°FMCΒ  /Β  nuclear medicine department for radioactive iodine (131) treatment
  • γ€°HomeΒ  /Β  (one week of isolating myself from the humans)
  • γ€°FMCΒ  /Β  full body scan 7 days after 131 treatment
  • γ€°PsychologistΒ  /Β  first “real” counseling session
  • γ€°Rehab/PainΒ  /Β Β monthly WC appointment

Spent most of this morning on the phone, trying to wrangle all of my other appointments around the iodine treatment schedule – since that’s the one that is the most important, and the one that effectively removes a week of possible scheduling time from my life.Β πŸ˜’

EDIT: Just got off of another call with Dr Walter’s office. We’re now trying to figure out how much of a pain in the ass it’s going to cause… me being seen by his PA rather than directly by him, because Dr Walter is my “physician of record” when it comes to anything related to my workers comp claim – and they loveΒ finding any reason that they can to deny me treatment or medication. 😠 This sounds like it will be a work in progress, and we probably won’t know what the negative side effects are until they happen.