July 4th, 2013


Sertraline redux day one

Right. So I'm being pretty hammered by the prednisolone right now (on a reducing dose, 80 the day I tried to die, then 60/40/20) as I decided that rather than reduce my dose to 40 last night I'd take another 60 since the swelling all over my neck was freaking me right the fuck out. However thanks to the miracle that is the way steroids make you stupid I also forgot to take my antihistamine combo (fenofexadine 120 plus cimetidine) last night so it's entirely possible that part of the reason the swelling wasn't going down (and new stuff was starting) was because, you know, I forgot my meds. But the swelling on my arms and shoulders was the really thick unshiftable kind that only happens when I am having a serious urticaria attack so I don't think the Ffx would have made a difference to it; but it was, probably, why I started welting on my inner thighs. Anyway, took the allergy meds at 2 AM, finally went to sleep at 2:30 figuring I probably wasn't going to choke to death.

RE: the prednisolone: as near as I can tell the whole reason for the reducing dose was to taper me off smoothly rather than to keep addressing the swelling with the steroids. But, you know, it's a guess.

This morning (and actually it's morning again) I started in on the sertraline (can't remember the dose). The pharmacist said if it was making me restless (i.e. that thing where I can't sleep for three hours, "restless" to some, death by insomnia to me), to take it in the morning rather than at night. In part they're worried about its interactions with the amitriptyline, which I've been taking nightly for insomnia (I'm taking 15 mg per night now), only my doc things because I'm taking such tiny doses (it's normally prescribed at about ten times the strength for depression), she thinks they won't interact. Anyway, cautious pharmacist says I should split taking them as she described, and so I am, which means I delayed starting it by a day. (Also note: take it "with food" to reduce effect on stomach.)

So cue me at 4 PM, trying to catch a nap, can't sleep, aaaaaand .... my fucking heart goes off. BOOMBOOMBOOM BLAM! BOOMBOOMBOOM BLAM! BOOMBOOM BLAM! *** and then what seemed like nothing at all ***

Just what the fuck, really, WHY WAS MY HEART RACING? And ... my mouth going dry ... oh yeah, that's the sertraline kicking in. Awesome. Bizarrely what I decided to do was to get out of bed and go for a run and see if it would burn off whatever fucking adrenaline shit was cranking around my system like a rabid rat in a hot cage and screwing up my heart in that way I remember so unfondly from Easter's panic attacks and of course the ones I used to get when I thought Richard had abandoned me (which was when I lived in Seattle, ages ago - didn't even know what was going on back then).

And, funnily enough, the run seemed to take care of it. I even managed 22 minutes, damned good given that 1) I'm recovering from a lung infection (or getting it back again, not sure ATM) and 2) I haven't run in a week. So I may try to keep that as part of my plan. I certainly have the spare time if I can manage.

So health overall fuXX0r3d atm esp as on meds that make "getting better" feel like "worse." 1) Recovery from near anaphylaxis: quite good except for residual stupidity due to steroids. Tight throat with bonus swelling from yesterday night all gone. 2) Recovery from lung infection: coughing seems to have stopped mostly but I think my sputum is turning back into "infected" color. Have antibiotics I can take if this is indeed the case but want to avoid them as they ruin my digestive system. 3) The fucking urticaria: if I'm not mistaken the sertraline has rather quickly made all of my spots go away and I may wake up looking perfectly lovely and maybe even be able to stop the antihistamines. On the other hand, given that I dropped two tablets of prednisolone into a glass of water TWICE ("where did the others go?") today, I might just be forgetting that actually I'm still very spotty UNLESS I TAKE MY ANTIHISTAMINES.

And then the big number 4): handling the sertraline. This was my plan from June, that if the "lifestyle health and stress reduction" plan didn't work, I could try to up the ante and go back on the sertraline. I didn't want to, but I knew that if I was still out of work, I could afford to do it knowing I wouldn't be putting myself at risk of being fired for having to take sick leave due to the side effects of the sertraline (or, worse, yet, the incredibly debilitating adverse effect of CAUSING panic attacks, which is the thing I'm hoping will not happen this time, but if it does I can just stay home quietly until it sorts itself out). The side effects that nailed me last time were: sleeplessness (which makes me emotional and paranoid); dry mouth (big ol' whatever); upset stomach (actually really a problem for me, I didn't want to eat). But I can make it through those three - and, well, after my urticaria-caused near death experience this weekend, I'm feeling like a few side effects (and the shame of trying to fix myself with chemicals rather than lifestyle changes) are just going to be the cost I have to pay to ensure that I really, really have done everything in my control to try to kill this fucking problem my body has before it kills me.

Meanwhile, can I just say that I'd LIKE TO SEE A SPECIALIST PLEASE.

And this all just sucks. But hey, I'm not depressed! I am too busy fighting to live to be depressed.

But then sometimes tears of repressed fear burst out so maybe I don't really know what's going on inside my head right now. Thank God for Jason and Katie (my roommate), they have been amazing to me these last many months.

Please, I'd like to see the other side of this, and at the end of this summer, not in six more years (like the internet says it could take).

Oh, and I'm losing weight again. Yay. 181 yesterday and today. But if I can just keep myself moving and keep from losing the muscles I've been working so hard to build back up ... that's gonna be my little hope for this summer, to be able to keep being active, which, if nothing else, is something I can afford to do while I'm living off of my savings and trying to get well enough to be able to hold down a job again.
Sea dragon

My horoscope for the year

Well, this is what Rob has to say on my birthday week:

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
"I know that I am not a category," said philosopher Buckminster Fuller. "I am not a thing -- a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process." Philosopher Norman O. Brown had a similar experience. "The human body is not a thing or substance, but a continuous creation," he mused. "It is an energy system which is never a complete structure; never static; is in perpetual inner self-construction and self-destruction." Now is an excellent time to imagine yourself in these terms, Cancerian. You're not a finished product, and never will be! Celebrate your fluidity, your changeableness, your instinctual urge to reinvent yourself.