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Saturday, April 20, 2013

better living through chemistry

a month ago i had my checkup for my diabetes.  i received good news - my a1c had dropped, my cholesterol had improved, and my doctor was pleased with my progress.  i told her about how unbearable the PN pain was in my feet;  that no meds could dull it, and it was affecting my sleep and daily functions.  at previous appointments she suggested a particular medicine but i was apprehensive becos it is also a med prescribed for depression, and i didn't have that.  at this point, however, i was fed up with the pain that i was ready to try it.  she gave me a few weeks of samples and a script for the meds and sent me on my way.

i started the meds that evening, and discovered that adjusting to the meds was tough.  i woke up the next morning feeling tired and, for lack of a better word, stoned.  i could barely focus, i sat like a lump. good thing the kids had school that day, as it allowed me to veg that morning.  the next day the kids went to their grandparents for the weekend, and i felt less stoned but still fuzzy headed.  the third day i felt much better, and by week's end felt no pain and my head felt clear.  until i increased the dosage again...and i had a couple zombie days as i adjusted again.

you know the scene in the wizard of oz when dorothy arrives in oz...from the black and white world she lives in to the technicolor land of oz?  that was me on the new meds.  for the first time in months my feet didn't hurt, pick or burn anymore!  it was such wonderful relief, to fall asleep without kicking around in spasm.  i wore heels for the first time in over a year, and they didn't feel like bear traps on my feet!  last week i tried shoes on, and they didn't hurt.  and when one of the kids accidentally bumped or stepped on my foot, i didn't fly off in a rage.  the sensitivity i was feeling on my scalp, hands and legs - gone.  it was awesome to not be in pain anymore.

another thing happened with the head felt clearer.  i had more energy.  i felt more ambitious.  i felt calmer.  i stopped screaming at my kids.  was this patience?  yay!

i also found that my appetite changed - i didn't pig out and i didn't snack as much in the evenings.  the meds are weight neutral - they won't cause gain or loss - but this is a side effect i don't mind.  i feel more in control of my eating.

hubby even noticed a marked difference.  he thought i seemed calmer, less brittle, and sometimes more cheerful.  it was a side of me he hadn't seen in a long time.  we couldn't pinpoint when i changed - pre twins, pre kids?  at any rate, he was pleased and relieved that i was feeling better and in less pain.

that's not to say that i didn't experience negative side effects.  while falling asleep was easier now that i wasn't in pain, i found myself waking up at 3, 4 or 5 in the morning.  unable to fall back to sleep, i'd go downstairs, lay awake on the sofa, doze off around 6 or 6:30 then wake to the sounds of a kiddo padding around upstairs.  i haven't felt this sleep deprived since the kiddos were babies.  i try to remedy it by taking naps and catching up on weekends.

i've always been a very lucid dreamer, but i noticed that since taking the meds, i no longer dream.  or if i dream, i don't remember it.  i'm not sure it's becos i'm missing rem sleep (which is when dreams occur) or if the meds calm my neural synapses.  it's kinda weird, and a little unnerving, to not dream.  then again, i used to have really awful dreams...i won't miss them.

i could kick myself for not trying the meds sooner.  my pride got in the way.  this is in no way a wank against psychotropic drugs a la tom cruisebut i thought i didn't need them.  i felt that the depression and anxiety i felt was more situation (various worries about myself and family, financial worries and so forth).  i assumed my escalating PMS symptoms were hormonal - even my ob/gyn suggested meds in that they would alleviate some of the symptoms.  i was afraid the meds would turn me into a stepford wife or put me in a "i have no cares to give" mode (as i'd heard certain meds can do).  now i feel normal - or what i imagine is "normal" - and i'm sad to think that i could have felt better so much sooner.

i'm glad i got over my apprehension.  i feel so much better now that my pn pain is muffled.  i love my newfound energy - i get things done now!  i feel like a better mother as i'm less grouchy.  not that i don't feel overwhelmed at times, but i'm coping better.

finally, i feel hopeful for the future.  it's about time!

*i am fully aware that many people require psychotropic meds in order to function in life - i used to work in mental health/d&a, and i witnessed first hand what happened when someone went off their meds.  i also know many moms who went on meds for their postpartum depression.  i'm grateful that we live in a time where there is treatment for mental illness.